From patient to physician: Dr. Bullock returns to Clay Eye

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CLAY COUNTY – Dr. John (Jack) Bullock has been around Dr. C.M. Harris, and the Clay Eye Optometry practice for pretty much as long as he can remember. He is now the newest ophthalmologist at Clay Eye and will rotate around between the locations in Orange Park, Fleming Island, Riverside and Mandarin. There will also be a new location opening in Middleburg in September.

Bullock is a North Florida native whose father is a longtime friend of Clay Eye founder Dr. C.M. Harris from their days in the Navy as buddies. Harris has known Dr. Bullock for nearly his entire life. Harris played an integral role in sparking Bullock’s interest in medicine and eventual arrival at Clay Eye.

“I thought it was a neat story because it kind of came full circle,” said Melissa King, Clay Eye Marketing. “He [Dr. Bullock] had his first eye exam by Dr. Harris back when he was around 5 years old, and now he’s kind of landed with us.”

"I grew up in North Florida and received my Medical Degree from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Believe it or not, I had my very first eye exam as a child at Clay Eye 20-plus years ago by Dr. Harris,” said Dr. Bullock. “My education and training has really brought me full circle, and I am excited to be back home in Jacksonville. I knew that Clay Eye was the perfect fit for me, as their approach to patient care is exactly the model I was looking for. I welcome the opportunity to continue Clay Eye’s mission of providing high quality and compassionate eye care to the people of Northeast Florida.”

Bullock said when he completed seventh grade, he received a card from Harris, which stated something along of the lines of, “Can’t wait for you to join Clay Eye as an ophthalmologist.” That began the long process, which eventually led him to where he is now. Between Dr. Harris and an interest in the television show, “Scrubs,” Bullock’s interest in medicine grew. He didn’t know right away that he wanted to be an ophthalmologist; he was initially interested in emergency medicine. While in college, he served as a volunteer EMT. Once he entered medical school, he made his decision.

His education, both in the classroom and in practice, was long. After completing medical school at the University of Florida (Gainesville), he then interned at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, followed by a fellowship at Oculofacial Plastic Surgery and Orbital Disease at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Finally, he has returned to where it all began. He will be working with his mentor, Dr. Harris.

“It’s surreal,” Bullock said of his feeling for his new position at Clay Eye. “It’s so many different emotions, and excitement is a huge one. It’s also just surreal that it’s come to this after all these years. It’s a long pipeline. Four years of college, four years of medical school, another four years of residency, and then I did another year of fellowship on top of that. When I was in high school around 2007 or so, I remember shadowing with him [Dr. Harris] and Dr. Downer, who had just started there around that time, and then to come, you know 13 years later, to come back and now it’s my time to be there, it was just the coolest feeling.”

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