Sammy (l) and Honey Hashemian
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—Twin sisters Sammy and Honey Hashemian give the term double team a new meaning. The pair of fraternal twins has been in practice together at Island Optometry for over a year now, but have been optometrists for six years. They were interested in the medical field from the time they were kids and volunteered at hospitals and senior centers throughout their lives. However, the interest to become optometrists didn’t come until they were undergraduate students at UCLA.

“When people would wave at me on campus, they’d get upset that I wouldn’t wave back even though I was supposedly looking right at them,” Sammy stated. “I just had no idea my vision had gotten so blurry during college. I had an eye exam and was fit for contacts for the first time which was so exciting and life changing that it sparked my interest in optometry.”

For Honey, who had been a lifelong contact lens wearer, interest in optometry came differently. “I had been wearing contacts and glasses since elementary school and knew that I couldn’t survive without them,” she said. “I had a friend who was going into optometry and she highly recommended it and I started to explore the idea.” After UCLA, the pair got jobs working for different optometry and ophthalmology practices and decided to go through the application process of getting into optometry school. They both got accepted into Southern California College of Optometry—Marshall B. Ketchum University, where they graduated summa cum laude in 2012.

Though the goal was to always start a practice together while they were in grad school, the pair went their separate ways before opening Island Optometry together. “Sammy worked for Eyexam of California full time while I was at a private practice,” Honey explained. “When I had availability, I would often fill in with Eyexam and a few times worked together with Sammy. During the sublease transition period, they asked Sammy if we would both be interested in running the store together and we were thrilled and excited to take on the opportunity as a team.”

Since opening the practice together a little over a year ago, the pair have found a working rhythm and run all the aspects of the business as 50-50 partners. “Our office is open seven days a week with at least 10 doctor days, meaning that at least three days a week, two doctors are here,” they explained. “Therefore, usually Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays we work here together and then take turns alternating the other days. We then take turns with various tasks such as accounting and scheduling and try to keep them balanced.”

While working with a sibling can present some challenges, being business partners is not all that complicated for this twosome. “We can trust each other with the practice, business and patients,” said Sammy. “We can bounce ideas off each other when we need a second opinion. We may not see each other all day because we are busy with patients, but we know one doctor can support the practice if a certain patient needs more attention. The real challenge is taking a vacation together!”

So, how do patients react to the fact that Sammy and Honey are fraternal twins? The response is pretty much positive across the board. “They say we have very similar demeanors and they feel comfortable coming to either of us for their visual concerns. Patients usually don’t have a problem telling us apart unless they haven’t had their eye exam yet and can’t see clearly,” the twins said.