Dr. Danielle Gordon runs purpose-driven clinic


By David Goldberg


It’s almost time for dinner and Dr. Danielle Gordon is chatting with me virtually from her home in Calgary.

We’re talking optometry and fashion frames when her two kids bust down the door. They ask her about food and when she’ll be done with her interview.

When you’re seven years old, waiting for your mom always feels like an eternity. 

She calmly asks them to leave the room, adding that she’ll be done very soon. The kids push back a bit, but politely comply with their mom’s request. 

The door softly closes in the background and she turns back to her laptop. 

“Sorry about that,” she says. “Now, where were we?”

Dr. Gordon is one of Canada’s great young eye care professionals.

The accomplished optometrist, wife and mother, runs Sphere Optometry in Calgary’s Mahogany neighbourhood in the city’s southeast corner.

She talks about Calgary with such enthusiasm, you’d like to think she was a local, born and raised in Cow Town.

“There’s a really fun undercurrent here with a lot of small business owners trying to do things differently. And people are very locally supportive here and they really want to know who their business owners are and that’s only increased since the pandemic.”

Although her love for Calgary is genuine, Gordon’s story began 3,000 kilometres away at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

While pursuing an undergraduate degree in science, she discovered optometry. She was drawn to the blend of biology and physics that led her to UW’s renowned optometry program.

“Once we started patient care at school, I found it was a really great fit for my personality and a good fit in terms of being a lifelong learner,” she says.

Optometry school is where Gordon also found love. After graduation, she and her husband decided to head out west to start their careers. It was a temporary plan that became a little more permanent than they expected.

“Our five-year plan turned into a life plan I guess,” she says.




Fast-forward to May 2019 and Gordon opens the doors to Sphere Optometry.

She describes it as a full-scope, purpose-driven optometry clinic and optical shop.

“Ocular wellness, whole-body wellness and also giving back to the community is huge. It’s been part of our fabric from the beginning.”

Gordon’s team members are constantly reinventing themselves, with the goal of providing compassionate and intuitive care.

“The eye care experience can be a little nerve-wracking for people when the news isn’t always good. You’re reminded about something about yourself that doesn’t work the same as other people or your prescription might be getting higher. When you do this job day in and day out, you can forget how anxiety inducing a trip to the eye doctor can be for some.” 

That’s why Sphere Optometry has made some special design considerations. 

“We’ve done everything we can to make this a relaxing environment, from the music we play and the fragrance in our space to the quotes we have on our walls…it helps us make those little connections with people.” 



Gordon’s team has also made a concerted effort to connect with the greater Calgary community with an important initiative, The Fit To Read Project.

“We collect books all year round at Sphere and donate them to Calgary Reads, a local organization whose mission is to create a community full of joyful readers.” 

So far, Gordon’s clinic has collected more than 3,200 books for donation. A self-proclaimed bookworm and the daughter of a librarian, she is extremely passionate about making sure these kids don’t miss out on future opportunities. 

“Most of us have a book that’s impacted our life and changed our trajectory even just a little bit. And to know that there are kids out there that just simply don’t have access is really heartbreaking.” 



One of Gordon’s favourite parts of being an optometrist is having dedicated time to connect with her patients.

“Let’s imagine the most routine exam: A healthy young person with no eye concerns and no prescription. You still have that chance to make a really meaningful connection and set their day on the right path and I feel like that’s still the best part of my job. Those nice little moments with people during the day and the feelings are mutual. It fills my cup too.”

Of course, there are also times when a routine eye exam can save a person’s life.

“A woman came to see me with a visual field loss and it had a characteristic pattern where it made me concerned about what was going on in her brain. I ended up referring her to ophthalmology and then she went on to neurology and it turned out she had a tumour and had to have emergency surgery.”

The woman’s surgery was successful and she returned to Gordon’s clinic a few months later to thank her in person. 

“I don’t diagnose brain tumours every day, but there are those who will say ‘you made me more comfortable with the thought of wearing glasses’ or they’ll say ‘you explained about my child needing glasses so well and I felt more comfortable with it’. All of those little thank-yous stand out. I remember a lot of those.”