Owning three independent optometry practices in Southern California, he specializes in contact lenses and pediatric eye care.
Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Independent OptometristFavorite Adelphi Memories:Commuting in a white convertible Mustang, pranking rival fraternities, and basketball games in Woodruff
Favorite Professors: Bob Ernst, Hal Fishman, and Les Baltimore
Advice for students: “Optometry is great, diverse field. There are so many things you can do and specialties to develop – the potential is really limitless.”
Seeing Opportunities Clearly
For Gary Fishberg ’72, four years at Adelphi were not enough.
After graduating with a degree in history, he felt unenthused by the prospects of teaching or law school. Drawn to optometry by the advice of his uncle, Dr. Fishberg began to prepare for graduate school.
Having little background in science, he was forced to return to school to pursue biology, chemistry, and all the lab classes he had foregone as an undergraduate. After a brief start at Brooklyn College, Dr. Fishberg found himself longing for the small, friendly Adelphi classes and the personal attention he had received. So, he returned to Garden City for two more years, after which he was accepted to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia.
Today, Dr. Fishberg and his wife Robin ’73 own three independent optometry practices in Southern California. What began as a cross-country adventure – in 1979 he and his wife sold many of their possessions and drove to California with no place to live and no jobs – soon turned into a great success story. Dr. Fishberg was quickly hired to join a practice in Canoga Park, and soon began a series of successful partnerships that have grown into independent practices.
Dr. Fishberg specializes in contact lenses and pediatric eye care, but he and his associates see patients of all ages. His office in Riverside, California often sees up to 50 patients a day, and treats the University of California Riverside’s 20,000 students. Dr. Fishberg has worked with everyone from the chancellor to the newest freshmen.
Dr. Fishberg has 30 employees, sees hundreds of patients a month, and has probably fitted several hundred thousands sets of contact lenses. Yet, he still finds new challenges.
“Optometry is constantly growing and changing,” he says. “When laser surgery became popular, we all thought we’d lose patients. Today, I partner with laser surgeons to perform their pre- and post-operation examinations. Many of them return years later for reading or distance glasses.”
The line between optometrists and ophthalmologists is also becoming thinner, and Dr. Fishberg relishes the opportunity to do more work with eye diseases and special conditions.
“There is always a new procedure or new technology to work with,” he says. Over the years, he has investigated the first extended wear soft lenses, and the first gas permeable hard lenses. He has also worked with the FDA on product approvals.
As he says, “When you have so much fun with your work, you don’t really think about retirement.”
Dr. Fishberg fell in love with Adelphi on his first visit to campus and remembers thinking “This is what college is supposed to be.” A member of the basketball team, he also competed in the high jump and long jump for the track team. He was a member of Zeta Beta Tau, and the history honor society, Phi Alpha Theta.
Dr. Fishberg met his wife Robin ’73, a physical education major, in his sophomore year. “Between my practices and her classes, we spent a lot of time together in Woodruff,” he recalls.
Dr. Fishberg and his family live in Yorba Linda, California. Although he has not really considered retirement, he has found his next great passion in traveling. He and Robin have visited six continents, and Dr. Fishberg is always eager to test his newly acquired fluency in Spanish by visiting Central and South America.
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