PLEASANTON, Calif.—CooperVision has recognized 10 eyecare practices across the U.S as 2017’s Best Practices, the company announced. This new class of honorees was chosen after a nationwide search for eyecare practices that advance the profession through innovation, industry leadership and patient experience.

“We are so proud to introduce and congratulate our new Best Practices honorees,” said Michele Andrews, OD, senior director of Professional and Academic Affairs, North America, CooperVision. “Through this program, we have had the privilege of getting to know some of the nation’s most wonderful eye doctors, who have all found success in various ways. We look forward to partnering with them to share their experiences throughout the industry.”

This year’s honorees are:

Amarillo Vision Specialists from Amarillo, Texas, founded by Shauna Thornhill, OD, who was drawn to the underserved East Amarillo community in which she grew up. When the opportunity arose in 2010, Dr. Thornhill established her independent practice, Amarillo Vision Specialists, within a Wal-Mart located in the heart of that community, and has since opened a second location. Each year, the practice organizes a “Free Eye Exam/Toy Drive Day,” at which area residents can receive an eye exam in exchange for a donation to Toys for Tots. Dr. Thornhill also volunteers with the Laura W. Bush Institute of Women’s Health, Leadership Amarillo, and Energeyes, and the practice regularly sponsors local sports teams and community programs.

Blount County Eye Center from Maryville, Tenn., which, led by Will Tantum, OD, does not advertise, Instead the staff markets the practice by immersing themselves in the community while serving others. In 2014, Blount County Eye Center created a “wear and share” program called Eye Love Guatemala, for which the practice committed to donating a new set of frames to a partner clinic in Guatemala for every pair of frames sold in office. The program was so successful that it has since expanded to include Eye Love Blount County and Eye Love Haiti (which follow the same concept as the original, with different beneficiaries), and most recently Eye Love First Responders, a special community event that raised funds for the family of a fallen police officer.

Caruso Eye Care from Lake Worth, Fla., established in 2005 by Britney Caruso, OD and now locate inside Target Optical. Dr. Caruso is the sole optometrist at the practice and in the last year, she has also received her Fellowship in Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine, and is certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners. She is one of only three optometrists in the nation to have received this honor, which gives her the ability to provide patient care on a new level, with a holistic and preventative approach to care.

Castle Pines Eye Care from Castle Pines, Colo. whose owner Jason Ortman, OD, believes that embracing technology is paramount to running a successful practice. After he purchased the practice 10 years ago, patient charts and accounts were converted to EMR/EHR, thus streamlining office functions and providing better patient experience. In 2016, Castle Pines Eye Care added live patient scheduling via its website, providing convenience to patients and freeing up staff time to focus on other tasks.

Complete Eye Care of Medina from Medina, Minn., founded by Gina Wesley, OD, in 2008. The doctors and staff at this practice always asks themselves, “Are we helping this patient or staff member with their ocular health or ocular performance? And are we treating our patients and staff with the utmost service and respect?” Whether they are adding new technology or adapting processes, if the answer is yes, they know they are operating in accordance with their goals.

Havasu Eye Center from Lake Havasu, Ariz., the third practice opened by Stuart Adams, OD, aims to give comprehensive eyecare to its patients because there are few eyecare providers in the area. Beyond eye exams, glasses, contact lenses and specialty contact lenses, ocular disease management, and surgical co-management, the doctors also manage complicated retinal detachments, narrow angle glaucoma, corneal transplants, ocular trauma, and other conditions that are rarely handled solely by optometrists.

Lawrenceville Family Eyecare
from Lawrenceville, Ga., was founded by Mehdi Kazem, OD, who believes that making small changes to the practice every day—and not being afraid to occasionally make big ones—are the secrets to success. Patients are thoroughly examined utilizing the most advanced technology, and receive innovative and compassionate care. When lenses and frames are ordered through the dispensary, patients have the option of receiving their eyewear the next day by their concierge service. A licensed optician will deliver and adjust their glasses at the patient’s home or workplace.

Little Eyes from Carmel, Ind., was opened in 2013 by Katherine Schuetz, OD, and specializes in primary care pediatric optometry. The practice is unusual in that it does not offer visual therapy, but focuses on the importance of annual well visits. Little Eyes carries unique frame styles and exclusive designers that attract families from all over the state. Dr. Schuetz prescribes only 1-day contact lenses (when possible due to parameters and other limitations), and promotes the importance of fresh contacts each day.

Premier Eyecare from Knoxville, Tenn., was established in 2002 by Brent Fry, OD, who has since grown the practice to include six full-time employees. The practice provides comprehensive eyecare for patients from primary care eye examinations to disease management, from pre-and post-surgical care to occupational vision consulting. Dr. Fry’s passion is contact lenses, particularly the hard-to-fit lenses such as hybrid, rigid gas-permeable, and scleral lenses, as well as orthokeratology.

Specialty Eyecare Group
from Kirkland, Wash., was founded by ODs David and Kristi Kading in 2007 to provide personalized and innovative eyecare that enriches people’s lives. The practice offers patients the best of both worlds—a family eye care clinic that provides comprehensive eye care to people of all ages, with doctors who also specialize for those who need a higher level of care. The practice’s four doctors specialize in posterior and anterior segment disease, pediatric eye care, vision therapy services, dry eye, and custom contact lenses. With this broad range of expertise, the doctors at Specialty Eyecare Group can refer in-house for almost any eye condition that does not require surgery.

All U.S. optometry practices currently fitting contact lenses were eligible for consideration in fall 2016. Candidates were evaluated and honorees were selected by a panel of judges including past Best Practices honorees, industry experts, and CooperVision leaders, the company stated. Evaluation was based on insights and experiences shared about the practices’ innovation, patient experience and business culture.

CooperVision will open 2018 Best Practices submissions in the fall.