Giving Patients That Small Town Feel

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Our two practices are located on Amelia Island, a small coastal paradise boasting thirteen miles of pristine beaches and spectacular views of the Atlantic. We are a tight-knit community whose residents have come not only for the beauty of the island but also for the small-town feel it exudes. People here like the feeling of being taken care of by their community—and at Eye Envy Optical, we pride ourselves on caring for our patients as if they were family.

Providing this type of care and building these close relationships is as rewarding to us as it is to our patients. One of my favorite stories is a woman who came in to get her eyes checked and everything was normal. A month later she came back complaining that she couldn’t see out of the glasses she had just picked up. I did a prescription check on her and noticed she had a very large shift in her prescription. Following my gut, I asked her if she had any history of diabetes (she didn’t) and urged her to see her primary doctor. A week later, she went to the doctor and her blood sugar was almost 700. (Normal range is 70-130.) She was hospitalized immediately. She came back to see me afterwards, claiming that if I hadn’t intervened, she could have gone into a diabetic coma and never woken up. Those “you saved my life” stories don’t happen every day in our profession, but it’s quite rewarding when they do.

While we want to give our patients the “small town” feel, we want to ensure they have “big city” options. A big differentiator for our practices is the large variety of frames we offer—we want to make sure that every price range and every style is represented in our locations so patients always find what they are looking for. If we don’t have what someone wants, we order it. It is one more way we make patients feel like they are taken care of.

As we’ve grown and established our practices within the community, resources from VSP Global and the Premier Program have been very valuable—from the increased exposure on the “Find a Doctor” directory to the marketing benefits and increased savings associated with being a Premier Program participant. Dispensing Unity Lenses provides a high-quality lens our patients are looking for—our staff, myself included, wears them. Plus, it helps us achieve and maintain our Premier Program level, and Unity Savings offers financial benefits to our practice. We also benefit from VSP partnerships with popular brands like Maui Jim, receiving significant savings on our orders.

Like most of you, we’re anxious to get back to “normal.” We miss the days of patients bringing in friends and family to model the different frames we offer, and the face-to-face interactions that reinforce our relationships. As I see it, the best way we can continue to take care of our patients and support our community is to maintain that small-town personal touch while keeping everyone safe.

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