We had the good fortune of connecting with Dillon Batalo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dillon, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Fresh out of optometry school in 2015 I was so eager to jump into my career and finally start making money and stop living like a student. For a good portion of my first year out I was working 6 days a week before moving to a more traditional 5 day/week schedule. As of 2021, I have actually cut back to working 4 days a week which has seriously been a game changer for work/life balance and happiness. I’m really able to enjoy so many more aspects of life such as hobbies, friendships, relationships, and time with family. Burnout in medicine (and really any job), is so prevalent now that I think people are open to moving away from grinding away at our jobs and instead looking to work a little less to be able to get to enjoy more out of life and the things that really matter. Life really is such a gift and is so easy to take for granted, so cutting back on work just that little bit has hugely improved my overall quality of life.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have worked in commercial optometry since graduating in 2015. What I like most about this setting is being on the front line for patients who maybe have never had an eye exam or glasses. I do my best to create a welcoming setting and never judge people who may feel guilty about neglecting their vision or eye health previously. The gift of sight is one of our most precious senses and getting to help people obtain their best vision with the use of glasses or contacts is hugely fulfilling. One challenge I have faced is learning to give eye exams in Spanish since I have a significant Spanish speaking patient base. With help from my staff, language apps, and continual practice, I have become confident in providing eye care bilingually. My brand as an optometrist has significantly changed over the last year with the use of social media. I started making comedic TikToks and Instagram Reels about the nuances of eye exams from both the doctors perspective as well as the patients. Many of these videos have gone viral and its just been so wild to see how many people relate to these scenarios! I truly love the online community and have made so many amazing friendships through the organic reach these platforms have to offer. I look forward to seeing what’s next for my career both in the exam room and with social media. It has been such an exciting journey so far!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So any visitor to Denver HAS to see Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Preferably for a concert, but if no one is playing, it’s still breathtaking to see and walk around and explore the museum to look at the history of iconic musicians who have come through over the decades. Next, a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park is an absolute must. There are so many beautiful parks in Colorado, but Rocky Mountain is mandatory to truly show off the beauty this state has to offer. On the way back we would have to hit up New Terrain Brewing outside of Golden to get the full brewery experience. Nothing screams Colorado more than an outdoor brewery next to Table Mountain with tons of dogs, craft beer, mountain bikers, and friends enjoying the sunny weather. Food-wise some of my favorites to show off would be Señor Bear, El Five, Work & Class, The Woods and its amazing rooftop views, Snooze for brunch, and Sushi Den (among many others). For cocktails we couldn’t miss out on Death and Co, Ghost Donkey, Union Lodge, Forget Me Not, and Wildflower. Some type of professional sporting event would be thrown in there no doubt. And finally we would have to for sure hit up Happy Camper cause its the most Instagramable place in Denver, naturally.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Primarily I want to shoutout my optometry school: The Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. Getting into optometry school is really competitive and I am so grateful to be an alumnus of the first optometry school in America. I owe my success and confidence as a doctor to the renown educational experience I received from ICO. Second, I owe so much to my parents for the constant encouragement and support through college and the absolute grind of graduate school. The stress and emotional toll grad school puts students through can feel impossible without loved ones in your corner cheering you on. Finally, I have to give a shoutout to everyone on social media who appreciates my sense of humor. Growth on TikTok and Instagram in the past year have increased significantly all thanks to followers and people in the medical field who have shown support of my content so thank you!

Instagram: @dillonbatalo

Other: TikTok: @dillonbatalo

Image Credits
Orland Caampued (the salt bae photo) John Breznicky (the cycling photo)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.