Eyes on the prize: ophthalmology residency in sight for school of medicine graduate

Long School of Medicine Class of 2024 graduate Grayson Means with Joshua Hanson, MD, MPH, professor and associate dean of student affairs
Long School of Medicine Class of 2024 graduate Grayson Means celebrates Senior Awards Night with Joshua Hanson, MD, MPH, professor and associate dean of student affairs. Means received the Excellence in Service award from the Office of Student Affairs for his work with the school’s Medical Student Council.


Soon to become a 2024 Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine graduate, Grayson Means recently returned from a long-delayed honeymoon to New Zealand with his wife of seven years. The overseas adventure also served as an early graduation celebration, since Means knows his life will get much busier very quickly.

Long School of Medicine Class of 2024 graduate Grayson Means enjoys Match Day
Long School of Medicine Class of 2024 graduate Grayson Means enjoys Match Day

Born and raised in Texas, Means has been matched to an ophthalmology residency at UT Health San Antonio, and he couldn’t be happier. He’s already experienced the mentorship of current ophthalmology residents and faculty. “This is a small specialty, with only four residents per class, so it’s a very tight-knit community,” said Means.

Looking ahead to his four-year postgraduate residency, Means is eager to develop the specific skills of his medical specialty. “Ophthalmology is not something students are broadly exposed to during medical school, so a lot of the real training starts in residency.”

While Means had considered pursuing internal medicine, he ultimately became fascinated with eye health.

“The eyes are the only place in the body where you can see the vasculature without an incision. You get a direct view into a person’s nervous system through their eyes,” said Means.

“So many medical conditions can present within the eye,” he continued. “It might be complications from diabetes, where vision loss is common. And a number of autoimmune conditions might first be detected by an eye infection.”


Part of a science-focused family

Means grew up in the small town of New Waverly, north of Houston, with a population of about 1,000. He met his wife, now an optometrist, in Huntsville, where both attended Sam Houston State University.

The path Means took to medical school was somewhat circuitous. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology and then working as an optometry technician, he returned to school for a master’s degree in medical science, then worked as a pharmacy technician while applying to medical school.

“I only applied to Texas schools,” said Means. He was thrilled to be selected for admission to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where his younger sister was already attending. A 2022 Long School of Medicine graduate, she is currently in the middle of her pathology residency in Dallas.

His science-focused family also includes his mother, a nurse, his father, an optometrist, and two younger brothers — one of whom is now an optometrist, and the youngest who is an engineer.


Maintain your balance, keep an open mind

Means would eventually like to return to a more rural community. His wife also grew up in a small town, and they both enjoy hiking and camping. Making time for that kind of recreation is among the outlets that have helped Means maintain balance in his life.

Grayson Means and his wife, Geneva
Grayson Means and his wife, Geneva, enjoy a zipline tour in the canopy of Dansey Road Scenic Reserve in the city of Rotorua, New Zealand, during a pre-graduation, delayed-honeymoon vacation.

“It’s easy to get fully immersed in the demands of medical school, but it’s important to do things that you value as a human being,” said Means. During medical school, Means also made time to serve in student leadership as a member of the Long School of Medicine’s Medical Student Council and as a representative of The University of Texas System Student Advisory Council. Advocating on behalf of the medical student population and spending time trying to help his fellow students navigate the complexities and challenges of attending medical school has been fulfilling for Means. He believes medical school can be especially tough for those moving from second to third year.

“It can be a stressful transition from preclinical to clinical where you are getting ready to see patients,” said Means. His advice: “Keep an open mind to the field of medicine that will capture your interest, and enjoy the exposure to everything you experience. This is the only time you may get to take part in certain procedures,” said Means.

He remembers going through his OB/GYN rotation. “I got to help deliver babies,” exclaimed Means. “When will I ever do that again? So many of these experiences will make you a well-rounded physician, so learn something from them all.”


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