Growing up in Orlando, Chase Hutchings, PA-C, could typically be found on the water, whether kayaking on the many springs in the area or surfing with his dad and brother on the coast at Ponce Inlet. Chase would later turn that focus toward a career in medicine, specifically eye care, with Robson Eye Institute.
“I’ve always considered Tampa as my second home,” explains Chase Hutchings, Board-Certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) with Robson Eye Institute. “I love what I can do for fun here – and it’s an incredible area to practice eye care.”
Starting with his first role as clinic technician, Chase has held several credentialed positions at Robson Eye Institute. He has worked in most every aspect of the practice, giving him a well-rounded education on how the eye works, disease diagnosis, and surgical and non-surgical treatment options.
Chase has pioneered a unique discipline in the field of Ophthalmology as a board-certified Physician Assistant, a first at Robson Eye Institute. Physician Assistants are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, Physician Assistants are versatile and collaborative, practicing in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality. (American Academy of Physician Assistants AAPA).
Inspired by his experiences on a mission trip overseas, Chase became committed to his career path. “I knew I wanted to go into medicine after a medical mission trip to Ecuador. And, I knew I wanted to be able to offer the gift of vision to my patients,” he adds. Chase earned his Bachelor of Science in psychology with a double minor in biology and chemistry at Florida State University. Concurrently, he trained at Southern Vitreoretinal Associates in Tallahassee to become a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant.
In this role, Chase conducted technician examinations: vision check, dilation, measurement of intraocular pressure, confrontational fields, pupil exam and eye mobility. He served as medical assistant during in-office procedures such as intraocular injection, laser, pneumatic cryotherapy, and ocular infection treatments. He also gained experience performing special testing using Optical Coherence Tomography, Fluorescein Angiography, Ocular Ultrasound, and Fundus Photography.
After graduation, Chase moved back to his hometown and joined Robson Eye Institute where he served as Certified Ophthalmic Assistant and continued to perform diagnostic testing and medical assisting during clinic procedures. After this intensive on-the-job-training in Ophthalmology at Magruder Eye Institute, Chase pursued his Physician Assistant master’s degree at South University in Savannah, Georgia.
While earning his graduate medical degree, Chase did his clinical rotation at Robson Eye Institute, and continued gaining more hands-on experience in the eye care field that had now become his passion.
“My joining the Robson Eye Care Institute team as an advanced practice provider allows our practice to expand our care to more Retina patients – and lower wait times between patient appointments. It’s a great benefit for our patients.” Chase has a keen interest in oculoplastics, cosmetic and reconstructive eye surgery, as well as retina disease diagnosis and treatment.
Like all PAs, he is dedicated to the concept of physician-led care. “Physician Assistant medical training has a strong foundation in primary care and typically, it is then incumbent upon the attending physician to train the PA more in-depth,” Chase states. “Only the more progressive Ophthalmology practices have begun incorporating advanced practice providers like a Physician Assistant into their practices.”*
Since he was a child, Chase has made outdoor activities and physical fitness a priority. Along with paddling and surfing, he still loves playing soccer, having played club and varsity soccer in high school. With the health care professional mindset of helping people, he tends to spend his spare time volunteering. He has taught swimming to underprivileged and autistic children at the YMCA and mentored students with disabilities. Community-minded, he has built wheelchair access ramps for families with financial limitations, fundraised for leukemia and lymphoma efforts, and participated in construction work for Habitat for Humanity families.