Seeing the world beautifully, and helping others do so, is Dr. Terry Wood’s great passion.

“Looking at a sunset is as extraordinary as looking at the back of the retina,” said Wood, 63, sitting in his optometry office in downtown Pontotoc. “The complexity and beauty is similar, and really remarkable.”

As a bucolic counterpoint, Wood’s office, full of complex gadgetry and examination equipment, is decorated with photographs he’s taken over a lifetime of travel—everything from the Vatican, to sylvan landscapes, to family portraits. The emphasis on savoring life’s visual array is everywhere.

Wood sort of wandered into optometry, he said.

“In junior high, I used to work in Dr. Lawrence Shannon's yard, and I saw that he made a good living, and it seemed like a useful profession, and I was a pretty good science and math student, so I figured I’d apply,” said Wood, laughing.

He went to Ole Miss, then to Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. In November of 1981, Wood opened his office in Pontotoc—all 500 square feet of it, on Liberty Street

“I might have seen three or four patients a day,” said Wood. “The first 15 or 20 years were a struggle, but I’m glad I went through it, building a reputation. It makes me appreciate what I have now.”

In 1985 Wood moved into a new office, adjacent to where Merle Norman Cosmetics is now located, on South Main Street. In 2008, he brought onboard a family member, an addition he said has changed the whole dynamic of the business.

“Terry started his practice the year I was born, and I knew I wanted to do this, because of him,” said Dr. Miranda Maynard, Wood’s niece and now business partner.

A graduate of Tupelo High School, Maynard went to Mississippi State, then, like her uncle, to Southern College of Optometry. When he approached her, after graduation, about joining the practice, it was an easy decision, Maynard said.

“Twelve years later, I’m still ‘the new one,’” said Maynard, laughing. “People come in and say, ‘I didn’t know I’d have a teenager checking my eyes today.’”

In 2009, Wood, Maynard and company, including Wood’s daughter, Sarah Grace Golden, who handles the business side of things, and longtime employee Christy Wallace, moved into their present location, at 26 S. Main Street. A far cry from the shed where Wood started, the brick building has the stateliness of a Southern barrister’s lair, but inside purrs and blinks with state-of-the-art equipment.

“We have the latest diagnostic machines, and we stay current on technology and eyewear fashion,” said Maynard, who, in addition to the clinic’s basic services, like eye exams, contacts, lenses, glaucoma testing, and pre-and-post-operative care, also provides Vision Therapy, a doctor-supervised, non-surgical program designed to correct visual skills.

Wood sees the providence of God in the way his business has grown.

“I’ve treated people, their kids, and now their grandkids,” said Wood, who, along with his wife, Melinda, enjoys spending time with their four grandchildren. “I know God has had his hand on us for a long time.”

In December, Wood, who also paints rather well, will pack-up his cameras and hiking gear and set off to Argentina, to the Patagonia Region, to photograph a solar eclipse, one more example of the beauty of God’s world that he’s privileged to witness, Wood said.

“I like to think that, over the years, I’ve developed good relationships with people, and helped them see better, maybe improve their quality of life,” said Wood. “It’s amazing, in the visual arts, and technology, the things we can see. It’s amazing, and beautiful.”

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