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4 Optometric Practices That Demonstrated Next-Level Community Outreach in 2018

They made a priority of making a difference in 2018.

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4 Optometric Practices That Demonstrated Next-Level Community Outreach in 2018

Classic Vision CareKennesaw, GA

Orchestrating Your Outreach

Translating good intentions into action isn’t always easy. Sometimes all you need is the right partner. Classic Vision Care, a community-minded practice in Kennesaw, GA, found a willing collaborator in MUST Ministries, a faith-based organization headquartered in neighboring Marietta that has been providing food, shelter and basic medical services to the less fortunate in its local community for decades. MUST were planning their health fair for the homeless when Ankit Patel of Classic Vision reached out looking for a way to give back to the community. MUST suggested he participate in the fair, but, according to Kaye Cagle, the charity’s vice president for marketing and public relations, “He took it a step further and said he would also help with some of our [non-homeless] clients who are in need.” Classic Vision Care now provides screening and eyewear to those that can’t afford it, as identified by MUST. Patel describes the payoff as “endless from personal to business. I have always enjoyed giving back to the community either by volunteering or donating.” Beyond that, the deeper community involvement has benefited Classic Vision materially: “People think of us when in need of eyecare. There are tax benefits since we donate our chair time, doctor time, and optician time … and we donate the lenses, either single vision or bifocals,” Patel says.

4 Optometric Practices That Demonstrated Next-Level Community Outreach in 2018

Great Spectacles
Stockton, CA

Turning Trash into Treasure

Recycling. If you’re talking about aluminum cans or PET bottles, it’s no hassle. For something more complicated—say, those frame boxes that clutter up your storeroom—it gets more challenging. As with most things in independent retail life, sometimes you’ve just got to come up with the ideas yourself. Lynda Winter at Great Spectacles in Stockton, CA did just that; she started saving frame boxes, figuring they must be good for something. That “something” was supplied by a retired educator who “asked to take the boxes to the Children’s Museum to use for projects.” As Winter jokingly puts it, a “reach-out recycle business” was born. “We save them for a variety of different teachers at many different schools around our area. We consistently collect them all year long, and once we have a bagful we reach out to our customers who are teachers. It’s first-come-first-serve, unless there has been a specific request.” In just one example, the kids at nearby Rainbow Elementary School were studying Italian architecture, and replicated Renaissance cathedrals using Winter’s humble frame boxes.
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4 Optometric Practices That Demonstrated Next-Level Community Outreach in 2018

Special Eyes Pediatric Vision Clinic,
New Bern, NC

Something Special

Special Eyes Pediatric Vision Clinic’s origins are traceable to a particular patient. In late 2014 Dr. Cathy Doty examined an 18-month-old boy named Joseph who arrived at associated practice Family Eye Care in New Bern, NC, with an untreated strabismus that had notably delayed his general development. Troubled by the fact that Joseph’s parents, as members of a public health scheme, had been forced to wait three months to see her, Doty made the decision to dedicate herself to pediatric and special-needs optometry. Her partners were agreeable, and by May 2015 she had opened Special Eyes Pediatric Vision Clinic. Doty now sees patients up to 16 years of age and special needs patients of all ages, offering comprehensive exams and same-day emergency visits with pediatrician referrals. “No two days are the same, that is for sure! Some of the patients come in on gurneys from residential facilities,” she says. Doty’s not one to talk about herself, but she does admit to being “just blessed beyond measure to have a supportive husband, partner, amazing staff, and community that have all supported this endeavor.” She took a leap of faith, she says, “and God has provided. I can’t even put a price on what this has all meant to me personally.”

4 Optometric Practices That Demonstrated Next-Level Community Outreach in 2018

Eye & Vision Care
Santa Barbara, CA

Fundraising Par Excellence

Since 1988, Eye & Vision Care has worked closely with a host of local charities to benefit vision-related programs and the community. The jewel in the crown of this impressive local outreach is an annual golf tournament that raises money for groundbreaking research conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, along with the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Last year’s tournament drew more than 100 golfers to the Santa Barbara Golf Club and, aside from the main competition, included activities such as giving sighted folks an opportunity to experience golfing blind. According to optical manager Joe Vega, the rewards have been “amazing” in terms of the fund-raising, the business returns, and bringing staff together. “The love we get from our town is a great reward,” he says—and so are the referrals.

After years covering some of the farther flung corners of the world of business journalism, Heath has more recently focused on covering the efforts of independent eyecare professionals to negotiate a fast-changing industry landscape. Contact him at [email protected]

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