Dr. Punzal’s Journey to Become an Optometrist

Dr. Punzal working with a patient in his optometry practice.

Dr. Punzal had difficulty seeing, so his mother Joyce Punzal took him to the eye doctor- his first eye appointment ever. He was then prescribed his first pair of glasses. Being able to see clearly was so exciting for him and he could not wait to show off his new glasses to classmates. When he arrived to school that next morning, happy as a clam, he realized that people were teasing him for wearing glasses. He felt so discouraged and sad. From that moment on, he promised himself that when he became an adult, he would strive to finish school and become an eye doctor.

After graduating from Kapa’a High School in 1994, he attended Seattle University and majored in Biology. Being born and raised on Kaua’i, at first it was hard for him to leave home. However, once he settled in, he had the ultimate college education and experience. From there, he was accepted to Indiana University School of Optometry which at the time was one of the top 3 Optometry Schools in America.

Dr. Punzal, Kaua'i eye doctor, assessing one of his patients.

During his fourth year of Optometry School, he finished his external rotation in Mexico where he learned to give his first eye exam in Spanish. Being able to travel out of the country to help people with their vision was a humbling and heartwarming experience.

During his winter and summer breaks, Dr. Punzal would return home as a student observer at Crane Eye Care. During that time, he learned a lot from Dr. Crane- he wanted to be apart of a practice that was medically driven and a face paced environment. Being in the States had taught Dr. Punzal a lot, but observing Dr. Crane solidified his decision to return home and provide care to his island community.

Dr. Punzal performing and eye examination.

June 23rd 2003 was his first day as an Optometrist at Crane Eye Care. Since then, his hard work and dedication has lead him to be where we are now- Punzal Vision in Hōkulei Village. He has won multiple Best of Kaua’i Optometrist awards, is involved in the community, supports local business, and served in the United States Army Reserve providing eye care to people on Big Island, Alaska, Texas, and Malaysia. Dr. Punzal hopes that his experience is an inspiration to Kaua’i youth that are interested in pursuing a career in Optometry.

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