Meet a Specialist: Shannon Bligdon, O.D.

SBligdon155x218As a high school student, Dr. Bligdon greatly looked up to her optometrist. “I thought to myself, she is so smart, I want to be just like her when I grow up,’” Dr. Bligdon recalled. Her optometrist saw great potential in Dr. Bligdon and hired her as an administrative assistant. During those formative years, Dr. Bligdon not only gained exposure to the optometry field, but she also found a lifelong mentor. 

Dr. Bligdon earned her Doctorate of Optometry at the New England College of Optometry and thereafter pursed residency training in the specialty of Cornea and Contact Lens. Today, she is a member of the Optometry and Contact Lens Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, where she provides routine eye care and specializes in fitting contact lenses to patients with corneal diseases and ocular trauma.

“The specialty contact lenses we use help to restore and enhance vision in patients with a wide range of eye conditions and injuries that make it difficult for them to wear traditional lenses,” Dr. Bligdon explained. She sees patients with degenerative corneal conditions such as keratoconus and pellucid marginal degeneration, as well as patients who have had corneal transplants. She also fits contact lenses for patients with astigmatism, dry eyes, post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK), and nearsightedness/farsightedness. In some cases of traumatic injury, specialty soft lenses can also help improve the cosmetic appearance of the eye. 

“It’s incredibly rewarding to work in this field. It’s an area of optometry where patients get immediate results,” Dr. Bligdon said. “All of a sudden, they can see the world like they never have before. And to see the patient’s face light up in the exam room is extremely gratifying.”

In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Bligdon trains optometry residents in an outpatient office setting to prepare them for high-level clinical decision-making. “I am honored to be a mentor and resource to residents. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have strong mentors in my career, and this is an opportunity to pay it forward,” she said. 

Dr. Bligdon also applies her clinical knowledge to research projects. Especially, she is interested in the development, use and application of scleral contact lenses for various ocular conditions. These large, rigid contact lenses rest on the outer white surface of the eye and allow a layer of saline liquid to sit between the back surface of the lens and the front surface of the cornea. This can provide excellent vision and comfort. These lenses are often used in patients with irregular corneas or in those who have trouble wearing other forms of correction. Dr. Bligdon looks forward to collaborating with physicians at Mass. Eye and Ear to advance scleral lens treatment options for her patients.

Contact Dr. Bligdon’s office at 781-279-4418 (Stoneham) or 781-890-1023 (Waltham).

View Dr. Bligdon’s online bio for more information. 

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