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A Small Wonder

This Chicago OD had a solid reputation for eyecare but didn’t feel complete until she opened a space in which to curate a spectacular frame collection.

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Moda EyeCare, Clarendon Hills, IL

OWNER: Mirjana McCarthy, OD; URL:modaeyecare.com; YEAR FOUNDED: 2017; YEAR OPENED FEATURED LOCATION: 2018; EMPLOYEES: 1 full-time, 4 part-time; AREA: 950 sq. ft.; TOP BRANDS: Dita, Mykita, Lindberg, Thierry Lasry, Anne et Valentin; FACEBOOK: facebook.com/modaeyecarellc; INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/modaeyecare; BUILDOUT COST: $300,000


Mirjana McCarthy, OD

Mirjana McCarthy, OD

GROWING UP, DR. MIRJANA McCarthy always enjoyed art and science at school. Getting her Doctor of Optometry degree fulfilled her love of the latter and steeped her in the world of medicine, but after establishing herself as an OD she found that “with every optometry job something was missing.” It wasn’t until an opportunity arose to take over a 70-year-old practice in Clarendon Hills, in Chicago’s southwestern suburbs not far from where she was born, that McCarthy finally got to meld art with science and truly felt complete. Adding another string to her bow as an eyecare professional, she threw herself into the world of frame curation. At Moda — which, after all, means “fashion”— she now offers not only a full spectrum of optometric care but also some of the finest frames from the likes of DITA-Lancier, Götti, Anne et Valentin, Mykita and more.

As they planned their sleek new office, McCarthy and her husband Dan tried to create a “unique urban space in the suburbs.” Given the limited room they had to work with — the space measures just 950 square feet — they had to be creative in not letting any of it go to waste. Numerous features of the space reflect this, including its pocket doors and window displays for frames.

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In tandem with the focus on curated independent frames, Moda prioritizes a personalized touch when it comes to the medical side of things. This begins in pretesting, which McCarthy handles herself in order to spend more time with each patient. “We pride ourselves in offering new technology so that each exam is thorough and complete,” she says. “With the office being smaller and more of a boutique feel, we keep the appointments spread out to ensure I have enough time to spend and get to know each patient.”

McCarthy’s skills include medical optometry, dry eye treatment, pre- and post-operative care with refractive surgery, and scleral contact lens fittings, among others.

Check Out What This Chicago OD Did With Just 950 Square Feet of Space!

The website is of a piece with Moda’s branding — elegant and uncluttered with plenty of space given to the practice’s extensive offering of independent frame lines, as well as contact lens ordering and appointment scheduling. “When orders are received in our EHR patients immediately receive a text or email depending on their preference,” says McCarthy.

Moda EyeCare does engage in marketing on social media, but the business’s primary focus in this area is on trying to sponsor local events as much as possible. “We feel that is not only a great way to market, but a fun and rewarding way to make the community better,” says McCarthy. Having said that, the practice’s social media accounts are well-tended; all the images are original and the tone is kept fun, with McCarthy’s sense of humor coming through strongly in her posts featuring customers in their new frames and holding felt letter boards displaying various witticisms. Other posts feature short videos showing the in-house edger at work, demonstrations of specialty contact lenses and new frame offerings.

One of the aspects of Moda that McCarthy is most proud of is her team: “My staff is super fun to work with,” she says. “They share the same love I have for unique eyewear, dogs and coffee. They are great at styling patients and making lens recommendations.”

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Ultimately, Moda is a fusion of all that McCarthy loves about eyecare. “I created an office where I get to practice medical optometry to the highest degree and get to express my creativity through designing the office, creating the website, and curating each and every piece of handmade independent eyewear. To me the frames we carry are a piece of art.”

Five Cool Things About Moda EyeCare

1. PAWSITIVITY. The practice is dog friendly… Just ask McCarthy’s French bulldog Jacques.

2. VERDICT IS IN. At the time of publication, 34 of Moda’s 36 Yelp reviews were 5-stars … the remining two? 4-stars.

3. GRAB A CUP. All customers are offered a fresh mug of locally roasted coffee or sparkling water.

4. ON THE SPOT. Moda offers in-office finishing for most prescriptions.

5. EYEWEAR FAN. In a recent Instagram post, McCarthy displayed seven favorites from her personal eyewear collection … one for each day of the week.

PHOTO GALLERY (10 IMAGES)

FIne Story

When Dr. Donald Maduzia put his practice on the market in 2017, McCarthy happened to catch the ad on the very day he posted it. She looks back on that as a sign that she was fated to take it over. Maduzia had operated the business for three decades after acquiring it from another OD who had been in Clarendon Hills for some four decades. “I liked the idea of keeping it going along with keeping it up to speed with technology. The history of this practice being here in Clarendon Hills for so long was definitely appealing to me,” she told the Chicago Tribune at the time. “There are some longtime patients, even some who first started coming here before Dr. Maduzia took over. I really love the whole feel of Clarendon Hills. I think it was a good choice coming here.”

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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