Enabling sight: Local optometrist nominated for top award
For the second year in a row, the Mississippi Optometric Association has nominated one of Picayune’s doctors for Optometrist of the Year.
Dr. Lori Blackmer has been providing visionary care for the people of the city for the past 25 years.
Blackmer grew up in Florida, attended Stetson University and studied optometry at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn.
During her college career, she met and married fellow optometrist Dr. Marc Hautot and together they have two children, Claire and Paul; both are graduates of Picayune Memorial High School and now attend college.
“I always knew I wanted a career in healthcare and originally wanted to be a dentist,” Blackmer said. “I’ve been wearing glasses since the third grade, so that got me on the path towards optometry.”
Blackmer said that one of her favorite things about the job is helping and allowing people to see.
“The people of Picayune have been very kind and cooperative,” Blackmer said. “I’m starting to see generations of patients and that is one of the reasons I chose a small town. I like that small town community feeling.”
Blackmer was sworn into the Picayune School District’s board of directors this past March and said she has been pleased with how dedicated school officials and employees are.
Blackmer’s public service does not end with the school board. She is also a member of many other community projects including Rotary Club, Picayune Chamber of Commerce, Picayune Diamond Club, sponsors the local Robotics Team, supports local police with summer youth camps and other activities. She also supports city and county youth baseball, softball, football, soccer and basketball teams.
She also provides vision screenings for students and staff members at county schools, examinations for Manna Ministries Free Medical Clinic and provides eye care for members of the Lion’s club and local nursing homes.
Blackmer has nine staff members in her Picayune office and three at her Poplarville office and said that she couldn’t do anything without them.
“They are my backbone and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them,” Blackmer said.
Cindy Rose has worked for Blackmer for the past 25 years and servers as office manager, contact lens technician and general go-to-girl.
“She’s the best at what she does and is very in tune with her patients; they come first,” Rose said.
Michelle Jones is a head technician and has worked with Blackmer for the past 12 years.
“She wouldn’t see someone for years and still remember their names and conditions, that impresses me,” Jones said. “She is kind, generous and considerate and her patients just love her.”
Blackmer recently expanded her Picayune office to welcome a new optometrist, Dr. Erin Anderson. Her office has six exam rooms and two patient care rooms.
Along with basic eye exams, Blackmer provides a number of services including pre and post-op care for cataracts and glaucoma, diabetic eye exams, fittings for contacts and glasses and continuing care for macular degeneration and dry eyes.
Her office is located at 908 Sixth Ave. and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact the office by phone at 601-798-4182.
The winner of Optometrist of the Year will be announced Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Mississippi Optometric Association’s annual luncheon in Jackson.