BUSINESS: The Independent Eye: Optical on Main Street EyeXam Optometry Brings State-of-the Art Eyecare, Aesthetic Care and Luxury Eyewear to Southern California’s Upscale Newport Beach By Marge Axelrad Thursday, February 23, 2023 8:30 AM Dr. Nikki Iravani’s newest eyeXam location elevates the patient experience with the latest modern tech and eyecare plus an eyeBar, eyeSpa and a VIP lounge. NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—A leading optometric innovator has brought several elevated eyecare and patient experience concepts to her newest location in Southern California. Nikki Iravani, OD, the founder and CEO of eyeXam Optometry in Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara, Calif. opened a bright, bold second luxury practice in the Crystal Cove Shopping Center in upscale Newport Beach in Orange County last fall. It is conceived as an all-inclusive eyecare experience offering cutting-edge eyecare technology, services and high-end eyewear. The new space offers exclusive, high-tech vision care services delivered in a modern and lux spa-like setting. It’s equipped with the most advanced clinical equipment and fully staffed with specialty-trained doctors as well as beauty, wellness and high-end eyewear fashion experts. Stated Dr. Iravani, “Our mission is to create a new eyecare experience, one founded on the belief that vision is power and no measure is too great to take care of it. Today’s patients are drawn to new and engaging experiences,” added Dr. Iravani. “That’s why we wanted to make the visit to the optometrist unique and refreshing. Our interactive environment really captures everyone’s attention and makes caring for the eyes less intimidating.” In the new location, eyeXam houses an eyeSpa, where patients can enter a soothing, spa-like setting for care and attention to the eye as a whole, including eyelid and eyelash regimens to freshen and hydrate. The eyeBar at eyeXam will offer color contact lenses and other unique eyecare products. Make-up artists and estheticians will be available on select dates at the eyeBar for those looking for professional application following a service or treatment. The practice offers a full suite of dry eye services. Iravani's experience is deep in the eyecare space. In addition to her eyeXam practices, eyeXam was the second most downloaded free app in the medical category and was featured on ABC World News. Later she cofounded EyeXamVirtual, enabling eyecare providers to connect with patients virtually using a comprehensive telemedicine platform designed for eyecare. When she opened her Silicon Valley practice, Dr. Iravani combined her decades of experience in clinical practice and clinical research with the latest eyecare technology, personalized care and a blend of eyewear fashion and fun to create this new experience. Prior to founding eyeXam, Dr. Iravani was the vice president of clinical and professional affairs at CooperVision. VM’s The Independent Eye talked to Dr. Iravani about the opening of the Newport Beach location to learn more about her inspiration, ideas and implementation. THE INDEPENDENT EYE: First, how long have you been operating the practice in Northern Calif and when did you start thinking of extending the practice to a new office in Southern California, particularly in a leading edge, premium area like Newport Beach? I opened our Northern California practice-cold, in 2017. Since most of my career was spent in various industry and corporate roles, I never planned nor imagined opening ANOTHER practice. However, the Silicon Valley (Northern California) community appreciated our new and modern space combined with the most advanced clinical equipment and our professional team, and quickly various local shopping center developers started recruiting us. I did not have an intention of opening another location and declined every opportunity until I was convinced by the Southern California shopping center developer (The Irvine Company) to open in Newport Beach. I went to high school in Southern California, did my undergraduate studies at UC-Irvine and have an extensive network of family and friends in Southern California. So, opening a practice in Newport Beach meant returning home! I was familiar with the area and knew “the leading edge, premium area Newport Beach” community would welcome my vision for offering an elevated, luxurious vision care experience. IE: From securing the space to opening the doors, how long did it take to get the new location up and running? The Irvine Company gives a very tight timeline to tenants for opening doors. We only had 180 days from the start of construction to opening. This timeline during a post pandemic era with supply chain issues was extremely challenging, but we did not have another choice, as legally and contractually WE HAD TO OPEN, otherwise we were subject to significant penalties and fines. Extensive contact lens fitting services are part of the range of eyecare provided at eyeXam. IE: What was the concept in mind for the features and capabilities of the new Newport practice? Can you summarize all of these? What led to those—had you offered the breadth of services in the original eyeXam or was there something about Newport Beach that offered such new opportunities? E.g. wellness and beauty? Our concept was to offer the most upscale, luxurious and comprehensive eye exam experience. We knew the Newport Beach community would welcome ‘upscale,’ ‘high end,’ ‘first class’ and ‘exclusive.’ Our tagline since opening our first practice has been ‘everything eyes,’ as I wanted to address everything related to the eyes and around the eyes. From eyewear (frames, spectacle lenses and contact lenses) to products used on the skin around the eyes (SPF and eye creams, facial cleansers and moisturizers) to eye related surgical procedures. Although we are not surgeons, we know the surgical procedures needed for your eyes and can refer you to the best surgical teams. The “eyeBar” was a concept we introduced in the original practice and received great attention. Many patients would get drawn to scheduling eye exams with us as they had heard about our “eyeBar” and our approach to addressing the eye and everything around the eyes. My personal passion is managing dry eye patients and offering services such as lipiflow, blephex and most recently Optilight/IPL. In the new office, we have designed a dedicated space for managing our dry eye. We are ecstatic about our eyeSpa and our patients are so impressed. We also designed a ‘VIP lounge’ to be able to better cater to those patients requiring a private experience. Especially in Newport Beach, many influencers request a private appointment. IE: What’s the story of the architectural firm you worked with? How much overall space (square feet) is the new practice and how is the “flow” of the space in the new office. Our architectural design team are experts in creating ultramodern medical and surgical practices. eyeXam is the only eyecare practice they have designed. So it was a true team work to create the right flow. We described our vision and they created eyeXam practices in Northern and Southern California. Our practice is approximately 4,200 square feet and about 3,500 square feet is downstairs for multiple exam rooms, pretesting room, the eye spa, a lab and an impressive retail showroom. Upstairs is dedicated for admin offices, a conference room and the popular VIP lounge. IE: Who are the associates delivering patient care in Newport Beach? Currently Dr. Dannelle Chung and I are practicing in the Newport Beach office. IE: What are some of the new technologies and approaches you are taking in the new high end Newport Beach location? What are some of the brands you are offering there- distinct for Southern California from Northern California? Although we manage dry eye patients in northern California, our eyeSpa gives us the opportunity to better brand our practice as the destination for addressing dry eye and related issues. We also have a dedicated “contact lens Bar” which is a spacious area for training our contact lens patients (for myopia management and other specialty/scleral lenses). Of course, the famous eyeBar and the unique products and frame brands certainly differentiate us.