SAN DIEGO, Calif.—Independent optometry is part of the Chinn family's DNA. Thirty years ago, Stephen Chinn, OD, opened his very first independent private practice in San Diego, after graduating from U.C. Berkeley School of Optometry in 1972. Throughout his career, Dr. Chinn has had up to three private practices at once—but these days he focuses his attention on one in particular. Today, he and his daughter, Jennifer Chinn, OD, who graduated from the University of Missouri St. Louis College of Optometry in 2015, practice together at Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care, in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood. Their independent practice is a member of the Vision Source network.
Stephen Chinn, OD, and Jennifer Chinn, OD, are the father-daughter duo behind San Diego’s Dr. Chinn Vision Care. 

 Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care is located in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood.

For Dr. Stephen Chinn, independent practice has always been the path to follow. Dr. Jennifer Chinn (who goes by Dr. Jenn) explained, “He felt there were three main motivators that were pushing him to be independent: he wanted to be able to provide more individualized and specialized eyecare to his patients, he wanted to spend more time getting to know his patients and building strong relationships with them, and finally, he wanted to use his training and knowledge so that he could practice full scope Optometry.”

And the Drs. Chinn have done all of the above. Dr. Jenn told VM, “we approach the business having our patients in mind,” and credits independent practice with giving them the freedom and ability to do that. She explained, “As independent practitioners, we have the freedom to choose how we will service our patients, what type of equipment you'll purchase, what products you will offer to your patients, and how to run your business.” For them, this means choosing to put themselves in their patients' shoes, and choosing to “provide them the best eyecare experience.”

Being a long-term independent also means building meaningful relationships with both your patients and your community. This is something that Drs. Chinn take seriously—both online and in person. Alongside attending community meetings, getting to know other local business owners, and shopping at the local farmers’ market, both Dr. Chinn and Dr. Jenn volunteer vision screens and eye exams for underserved populations in San Diego, and Dr. Jenn speaks at local health fairs, Lions Clubs and Rotary Clubs around San Diego about the importance of eye health and vision. Dr. Chinn offers exams in Chinese and Vietnamese as well as English, and Dr. Jenn offers exams in Spanish, too.

Dr. Jenn and the staff at Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care use Instagram to connect with their patients and their community. Image via Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care on Instagram.  Dr. Jenn also has her own Instagram account, where she shares more personal captions and images. Image via Dr. Jennifer Chinn on Instagram. 

In addition, Dr. Jenn has expanded her community to include an online one as well. On Instagram as both Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care and herself Dr. ChinnChinn, Dr. Jenn shares snippets of her life as an OD and beyond—from peeks behind the scenes in the practice to special moments with patients to more personal, touching posts about confidence, growth and transparency. Dr. Jenn’s online presence, which has led to features in Women in Optometry and a print edition of Vision Monday allows her to connect with patients on another level, showing who she is beyond just their doctor, and allows them to feel comfortable enough to open up to her.

The staff at Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care strive to “provide [our patients] the best eye care experience,” Dr. Jenn explained. Image via Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care on Instagram. Part of providing patients with an excellent experience involves a trendy, comfortable lounge where patients can wait. Image via Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care on Instagram.  The Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care team also travels to trade shows around the world to continue their education. Image via Dr. Chinn’s Vision Care on Instagram.

For Drs. Stephen and Jennifer Chinn, it all comes down to family and independence, both of which give them the drive and freedom to create a practice that they are proud of. “Being a true 2nd generation family owned practice means everything to us,” Dr. Jenn concluded. “We put our hearts into this practice and treat all of our staff and our patients as if they are part of our family. That goes hand in hand with our desire to provide individualized care and have the freedom to schedule our patients accordingly. We spend our time with our patients and care for their eyes as if they are our own."