One-Stop Shopping

Eye clinic supplies multiple vision solutions in one center.

Being part of a well-respected eye care group has important advantages for an eye clinic’s patients, asserts James X. Lawrence, OD. Dr. Lawrence practices at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute at Ruskin, part of the institute’s family of eye care centers. The Ruskin office, opened in 1995, is a unique member of that family.

Dr. James Lawrence talks about the Ruskin office of Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute, based in Brandon, and the care available there. John Kelly describes the optical department and its products and services.

John Kelly

“Our clinic provides a wide range of eye care services for the entire family, from school-age children through geriatric patients,” discloses Dr. Lawrence. “When patients consider eye care centers, I urge them to select one with skilled eye care professionals who can handle not only their general eye care needs, but also the many changes and diseases that can affect vision throughout a lifetime.”

It’s that very thorough approach to eye care that Dr. Lawrence and the clinic’s staff are able to offer that sets the Ruskin office of Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute apart.

Services available in Ruskin include comprehensive eye exams that test not only for vision but also for general eye health, including eye conditions relating to diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid disorders. The Ruskin center also offers management of serious eye diseases such as glaucoma, dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration.

“Our patients in Ruskin have access to physicians in sub-specialties who practice under the umbrella of Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute, which is based in Brandon,” notes Dr. Lawrence. “Several of them come into our Ruskin office throughout the month, and we can also make specialized treatments and surgeries available when they are needed, without the delays patients might experience in trying to schedule first-time appointments with unaffiliated practices.”

Specialists who bring their skills to the Ruskin clinic on a regular basis include board-certified ophthalmologists Marguerite Kohlhepp, MD; a specialist in diseases of the retina and macula, and Dilip Rathinasamy, MD, a cataract surgeon.
Dr. Rathinasamy completes the pre-surgical evaluations and post-surgical
follow-up appointments at the Ruskin clinic.

Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute at Ruskin also handles a significant number of referrals from the area’s urgent-care centers when patients have eye injuries, infections or foreign body issues that aren’t responding to treatment.

Dr. James Lawrence talks about the Ruskin office of Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute, based in Brandon, and the care available there. John Kelly describes the optical department and its products and services.

“The prices for products in our optical shop, such as progressive lenses, are very competitive with most of the chain and corporate store products.” -John

“Another advantage that we offer in our Ruskin clinic is state-of-the-art instrumentation to diagnose and treat eye problems,” says Dr. Lawrence. “Our equipment enables us to perform many services, including optic nerve imaging, nerve fiber layer imaging and retinal thickness measuring.”

What really sets the Ruskin clinic apart is the full-service optical shop, which is located on site and open to the public. The shop offers top-of-the-line products at reasonable prices, and has a state-of-the-art, in-house laboratory.

“Our clinic is unique from the other Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute clinics in that it’s the only one that has an optical shop, where we fit glasses and contact lenses,” relates
Dr. Lawrence. “We do the eye exams, then the patients can go to the optical shop and choose their eyewear, all in one place.”

Lens Lessons

The optical shop at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute at Brandon offers a wide array of eyeglass and contact lens options. With glasses, the lenses are ground according to the doctor’s prescription in the on-site lab and fit into the selected frames. Many strengths of contact lenses are available in the shop.

“We carry a large selection of contact lenses,” confirms Dr. Lawrence. “In many cases, patients can be examined, fit with contact lenses, trained on their care and use, and then leave with a pair of lenses in their eyes the same day.”

The doctors at the Ruskin clinic perform comprehensive vision exams. This is done not only to evaluate the health of the eyes, but also to determine the most accurate lens prescriptions for vision correction. Among the issues they look for are problems focusing at near, far and intermediate distances, which can be corrected with progressive lenses.

Unlike bifocals or trifocals, which have lines separating the different powers included in the lens, progressive lenses have no lines, yet they still allow the wearer to see clearly at all distances.

“Going back ten or twelve years, many people had issues with progressive lenses and couldn’t wear them,” recounts John Kelly, LDO, licensed optician. “Today, people who try them again are surprised because advances in computer systems and lens design have made them so much better and easier to use.

“With today’s technology, progressives are free-form and entirely customized to each patient. Not only are the lens prescriptions custom made, the lenses themselves are also specifically designed for the patient’s eyewear and unique visual needs.”

Because the newer progressive lenses provide sharp vision and smooth transition at any distance, they have become particularly popular among those who require a different lens power for reading than they do for distance vision.

Most people begin to have problems seeing objects up close or in dim light around the age of 40. This condition is recognizable in a person who starts holding the newspaper at arm’s length to read it or turns on a bright light to thread a needle.

These symptoms are common to a condition called presbyopia, which is a natural part of aging. Progressive lenses are designed to correct presbyopia as well as other refractive disorders such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

“The newer designs of progressive lenses are digitally made for better optics,” adds Dr. Lawrence. “They’re so much more patient friendly in the way they work. I agree that patients who couldn’t wear progressive lenses five or six years ago can more than likely wear them today.”

Another lens option available at the Ruskin clinic is prism optics. Prism is used to correct diplopia, or double vision, which is a common condition in older adults when their eye muscles weaken.

“Prism is used when there are muscle imbalances in the eye, causing strain and double vision,” clarifies John. “It’s a part of the lens prescription, a technique in how the lens is made. It reflects light differently and helps keep the eyes aligned.

“The amount of prism needed depends on whether the patient’s condition is static, which means it’s stayed the same for a long time, or it constantly changes, in which case the patient has to update their prescriptions frequently.”

“Putting prism into a lens prescription requires a lab that understands how to do it,” stresses Dr. Lawrence. “It’s a little more difficult than just making a regular pair of glasses for seeing distance or for reading.”

John mentions another option available for lenses that helps minimize the effects of blue light on people’s eyes.

“Medical studies show that blue light from handheld computers, laptops and phones can damage the eye’s macula, the center portion of the retina,” he reports. “There’re now products that filter out blue light like those that filter UV light. One is a coating that goes on the lens and doesn’t let the light pass through, and one is built into the actual material of the lens.”   

Everything Optical

With its on-site laboratory, the optical shop in the Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute at Ruskin fabricates its own lenses. That means eyeglasses can be finished in days rather than weeks. Patients can opt to use their existing frames and just get updated lenses or choose from the shop’s extensive selection of frames, including designer styles.

Dr. James Lawrence talks about the Ruskin office of Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute, based in Brandon, and the care available there. John Kelly describes the optical department and its products and services.

John helps a customer choose the best frames for him.

“We also offer a complete array of prescription and non-prescription
sunglasses from brands such as Costa Del Mar®, Oakley® and Ray-Ban®,” states John. “We also carry many sunwear products from private manufacturers.

“Many people have the misconception that because our shop is within the clinic, we’re more expensive than chain stores or standalone corporate stores. Actually, the prices for products in our optical shop, such as progressive lenses, are very competitive with most of the chain and corporate store products.”

John notes that the staff at the optical shop at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute at Ruskin see their purpose as more than selling glasses and contact lenses.

“We sell visual systems here because of the technology we use,” he comments. “Our products are the most natural you can put on your face, the easiest to accommodate and the best quality made today.”

In addition to offering quality products, education and exceptional customer service are hallmarks of the optical shop at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute at Ruskin.

“We educate our patients while we work with them and explain why we are advising them to go in a certain direction for their visual needs,” remarks John. “We want each customer to get the best visual product. We also give more one-on-one service to the patient. We don’t just take their order and their number.

“To us, convenience for the patient is first and foremost,” he adds. “People can come here, see the doctor, then come to the optical shop and get repairs, adjustments, buy new glasses or new lenses, or troubleshoot products they bought somewhere else. They can see the doctor, then see me the same day.
It’s one-stop shopping.”

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