Growing up in Oregon City, Terri Vasché never realized there were things girls weren’t supposed to do so she went ahead and did them.
She was the first girl at Oregon City High School to be excused from taking the required home economics class. Instead, she took advanced space science and calculus.
She had enough credits to graduate from Oregon State University when she was 19 years old and received her doctor of optometry degree in 1979 from Pacific University. She spent a year working with Dr. William Ludlum, a world-renowned expert in vision therapy and recalls when she became an optometrist and attended conferences, she was one of two women at the time, with the rest of her colleagues were men.
“My father told me I could be anything I wanted to be,” she said. “He was the one who encouraged me to be a doctor.”
Vasché said she never realized she “was a geeky girl” because she loved science and math in high school.
“My father told me that was normal for a girl to like math and science,” she said.
If you’ve worn glasses for a while,
somewhere in a drawer or hidden
in the back of your closet might be
specs that once were “hip” but now
make your children burst into laughter.
It’s time to bring those glasses out of
hiding and enter them in the
“Ugliest Glasses Contest.”
Silver Falls Eyecare celebrates
30 years in business Aug. 12, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
at the office, 600 N. First St., Silverton;
Stop by and bring a photo of weird glasses,
or the glasses themselves, to enter in the contest.
There will be food, drinks and prizes.
From being the first woman president of the Silverton Rotary Club to one of the first female doctors in Silverton, Vasché doesn’t believe in the word “can’t.” She focuses on finding a way to help people whether it’s by volunteering or through her work.
Vasché marvels at how quickly the years have flown since she first started Silver Falls Eyecare in 1980.
“It’s so exciting to be in business after 30 years,” Vasché said. “There still is so much to learn and so many new things happening in optometry.”
The daughter of Lee and Almeda Reeder, Vasché spent time in both Oregon City, where her father was a dean and founder of Clackamas Community College, and Silverton, where her father owned a dairy.
During her high school years, she worked for both an optometrist and a dentist.
“There was a battle between the dentist and the optometrist on which one I would become,” she said. “I decided to become an optometrist because people don’t mind coming to see me as much as they might going to see the dentist.”
Her credentials include being a member of the American Optometric Association since 1975 and the Oregon Optometric Physicians Association since 1979. She is a fellow in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, making her one of about 350 doctors nationwide who have passed the exams required to become a fellow. She also is an adjunct professor for the College of Optometry at Pacific University.
Since she specializes in vision therapy, she has been recruited to work in bigger cities.
“I wouldn’t trade where I work or live,” she said. “I live in the most beautiful place in the world.” She is married to Richard Tate and has two grown sons and two stepchildren.
Clients come from all over Oregon to see her. She specializes in children’s vision, where she takes a child who is having vision difficulties and corrects his vision using therapy rather than surgery.
“I have taken kids who are struggling in school or can’t catch a ball or are tripping and retrained their eyes so they can succeed in school,” she said.
She also works with adults who have had brain injuries or strokes and helps rehabilitate them.
Vasché practices with two associates, Dr. Keirsten Eagles and Dr. Matthew Lampa.
Eagles appreciates the benefit of Vasché’s wisdom and three decades of experience while she “learns to be a businesswoman and strives to be a better optometrist.
“I admire Terri very much,” Eagles said. “Her passion for our profession and our patients is evident every day. It is a blessing to have someone with such strong moral character, who is caring and dedicated to our community as a mentor.”
Lampa said the passion, dedication and energy Vasché shows to her patients, co-workers and family is “infectious.”
“Dr. Vasché is incredibly kind and is incredibly passionate about what she does,” Lampa said. “Being around her makes you want to be more like her.”
Vasché said what she does – whether it’s seeing patients or teaching – isn’t a job. Instead, it is who she is.
“I am one of those people who feel called to help people,” she said. “I believe God wired me that way and he inspires me. I feel blessed to be able to do the work I do.”