Thanks for your question, anonymous.
I became a product manager in 1999 when I went over to Silicon Graphics and then to NetApp. I had gone MBA school for a marketing background just after military service and only because i wanted to ski, so I skied in the morning and early afternoon and went to night MBA school. Did this for four years. Then I opened a practice. Then two practices. In 1999. I wanted to transition into high technology and luckily I did a stint with one of the big 4 consulting and learned technology at night as a Windows system administrator just an intern.
One day, someone approached me because I had written some articles and presented some talks on video over the internet and digital television. At that same moment Oracle was making a big play on digital television in the US and the CATV (cable antenna television) was just starting. The rest is history.
I had planned all of these moves at least 5-7 years prior. I did not exactly how or why I would like a graduate business education. But I knew that it would not be a waste of time.
I don't believe that optometry and product management are that far apart. Each field works on what do users want and delivering the product at the right time, at the right place and the right price. So I quickly fell into product requirement documents and talking with program managers. I launched six software products during my time.
I firmly believe that anybody can switch careers and vertical markets. It takes planning. I have done this three times. In fact, I am a firm believer that the highest unemployed are the over 50 career seeker. I changed all of my careers at he age of 50. It can be done.