Family and Fun Make Independent Best Vision Optometry Stand Out

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Shelley Kim, OD, opened Best Vision Optometry in 2002. Image via Best Vision Optometry.
DES PLAINES, Ill.—After Shelley Kim, OD, graduated from Illinois College of Optometry, she, like many other independents, never really planned on opening her own practice. But, in April of 2002 she did exactly that, opening Best Vision Optometry in Des Plaines, Illinois, inspired, mostly, by her desire to spend more time with her sons. At the time, her youngest son was just nine months old, and owning her own business while raising her kids “worked out in a way that the boys grew up more mature and independent at earlier age,” Emily Alpizar, Best Vision’s office manager, told Vision Monday.

Best Vision Optometry was founded on family—and it remains that way almost two decades later. The staff at the practice includes Dr. Kim’s son and many of her former patients: vision therapist and optician Sarah Scheau, a former patient who has been working at the practice for seven years; Emily Alpizar, office manager, optician and a former patient who has been working at the practice for four-and-a-half years; and Caleb Kim, Dr. Kim’s son, optician, and repair specialist, who has been at the practice for a little over a year.

This familial feeling extends to Dr. Kim’s patients as well. When it comes to treating patients, Dr. Kim told Vision Monday, “We try to think what we would’ve done for our own family member. Would I have done it this way if she were my mom? What would I offer her at what price?” Being an independent is what allows Dr. Kim to take this approach to her work—although opening her own practice started with the desire to spend more time with her own family, it has also allowed her to spend more time with her patients, and to give them the same attention and care she would give a member of her own family.




The staff at Best Vision Optometry includes Dr. Kim’s son and many of her former patients. Image via Best Vision Optometry.
Dr. Kim told Vision Monday that she strives to make Best Vision stand out “by keeping everyone happy with what we are doing so we are happy to serve the patients the way we want to be served.” Image via Best Vision Optometry.
Like many independents, Dr. Kim also finds that working for herself affords her a better work-life balance. Image via Best Vision Optometry.

Dr. Kim and her staff strive to go above and beyond for their patients, too—the way they would for their loved ones. They use a texting service for patients who need attention over the weekend or when the office is closed, so they can be available 24/7. Dr. Kim said that she strives to make Best Vision stand out “by serving patients the way they want to be served.”


Dr. Kim uses YouTube to educate her patients outside the office. Image via Best Vision Optometry on YouTube
Dr. Kim also finds social media to be a great resource for connecting with patients beyond the office. Emily explained, “Having social media presence is very important to us. It's a way for future patients to get to know us before they come in the office. It's also a way to educate our patients.” In addition to active Instagram, Twitter and Facebook profiles, Dr. Kim also uses YouTube to connect with her patients. The practice’s channel features videos walking viewers through a variety of topics, from how to choose the frame with the best value to cleaning your contact lens case to holiday gift guides.


Dr. Kim sees social media as a way to educate patients and connect with new ones. Image via Best Vision Optometry on Instagram.
Like many independents, Dr. Kim also finds that working for herself affords her a better work-life balance. She explained, “I can do anything I want the way I want. I can decide to work over 40 hours a week or less than 35. I can block my schedule to attend my boys’ school function or change office hours to fit my way of living my life.” This freedom, she said, “makes me focused and happy during the day regardless of how my appointment schedule is for the day.” And taking care of herself and her family allows Dr. Kim to be in her best mindset for her patients every single day. At the end of the day, it benefits everyone.

Although it wasn’t what she intended at first, Dr. Kim has found that independent practice works perfectly for her lifestyle, and benefits her and her patients. Emily explained, “She found her passion for optometry especially in vision therapy for children and adults who struggle to perform at their potential. She realized that she has most fun and fulfilling time at the office than any other place.”