KATPO, the Kentucky Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology, is a state chapter of the national chapter, ATPO. As such, KATPO represents the profession of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel (OMP) in and around the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


The KATPO Board of Directors is composed of ten leaders, who are OMP who live and/or work in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Each board member is a member in good standing of ATPO and KATPO, and has a desire to promote ophthalmic education and professional advocacy.

The Board of Directors is in place to serve and represent all of the members of KATPO.  If you have comments or concerns that you wish to share with the Board, please email one of us.

President: Deborah McDonald, CRA, COT

Deborah started her ophthalmic career 40 years ago.  As a COT and CRA she is currently working at the University of Kentucky Advanced Eye Care in Lexington, KY.   She is an active member and past president of both KATPO and ATPO and holds the honor of being a fellow member of both organizations.  Additionally, she is the founding member of Ray of Hope Eye Care, Inc. that provides educational resources and support staff locally and abroad.  She received the Virginia Boyce Humanitarian Award in 2001.

Immediate Past President:  Julia Doering, COA

Julia has been in eye care for over 30 years. Her background includes refractive surgery, clinical management, retina, glaucoma and general ophthalmology. She enjoys working with patients and educating fellow partners in ophthalmology. Julia became involved in KATPO in 2007 and became treasurer for KATPO in 2014. As immediate past president it has been her honor serving our community of ophthalmic personnel. Serving on this board has been a great pleasure for Julia. She notes, "It has been gratifying helping others achieve certification and knowledge in the field of ophthalmology. I have made some life time friends and look forward to many years with KATPO!"

President Elect:  Meranda Sandlin, COT

Meranda had a career in ophthalmology for 13 years.  Her background includes many sub-specialties but most of Meranda’s years were spent with cornea.  Recently, Meranda accepted a position as a PR representative with Avesis in Kentucky.  She looks forward to using her COT knowledge in a whole new way.  Meranda has served 3 for years as KATPO secretary and is excited about serving as your new President Elect. 

Vice President:  Mary A. Bledsaw, COA

Mary has been in Ophthamololgy for 18 years. A senior technician at Robley Rex VA Medical center, she believes in Lincoln’s promise “to care for him whom shall have borne the battle..” and considers it an honor to serve our veterans. She contributes to ATPO as a Super Tech committee member, an ATPO ambassador and a presenter at ATPO 2018 Grand Rounds. As KATPO’s Tech Bowl chair Mary enjoys making learning fun.

Secretary:  Nicole Smith, COT

Nicole Smith is a Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) at Cincinnati Eye Institute. Her current role is Technician Trainer Coordinator.  Nicole teaches new technicians basic work up skills and how to be effective at their job. Her background is mostly in glaucoma, but her true passion is education. She has been in the field of ophthalmology since 2015 and have held many responsibilities during that time, such as technician, scribe, and departmental trainer.  Nicole states, I have been with my wonderful husband, Craig, for twenty years and we currently reside in Milford, OH. I am excited to be a part of this wonderful group called KATPO!

Treasurer:  Karen Susco, COMT

Karen has been working in ophthalmology for 28 years.  She has spent those years at the Kentucky Eye Institute.  She has had several roles there starting out as a scribe, certifying as a COMT and now is the Clinical Director.  Karen has had the opportunity to teach the COA Written Exam Reviews for ATPO and KATPO since 2006.  She has served ATPO and KATPO in several board capacities including President of both organizations.  She is a Fellow Member of both organizations as well.

Member-at-Large:  Allegra Taylor, COA, OSC

Allegra started in ophthalmology 9 years ago working as a scribe for a LASIK/general surgeon in Evansville IN. Met the man of my dreams and moved to Louisville for the last 6 years where Allegra started working for the University of Louisville and obtaining my COA and OSC. 

She works mainly retina and neuro-ophthalmology, with a little general/anterior mixed in there.  She joined KATPO in 2016 and look forward to my next two years as Member At Large.

Member-at-Large:  Danielle Saylor, COA

Danielle Saylor currently works at Huffman and Huffman PSC in Harlan KY. She has worked in ophthalmology for 6 years and currently holds her COA. Her job duties include everything from performing diagnostic tests, helping train new employees and handling all equipment issues. Additionally, she is also working toward becoming a licensed optician. Her favorite thing about ophthalmology are her patients because they make each and every case interesting.

Member-at-Large:  Steven Vaught, COA

Steven Vaught comes to KATPO with 19 years’ experience in eye care as a Member at Large. Steven’s background is largely in optical before joining an ophthalmology practice 4 years ago; having since obtained his COA. He works primarily in the contact lens clinic but also assists in diagnostic testing, general, cornea, and glaucoma. In his free time, Steven volunteers at various free clinic settings, writes and performs music, and spends time with his wife of 24 years.