Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care marks 10 years

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Donna Rovins drovins@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­cBiz on Twit­ter

When Dr. Lori Gray was look­ing for a place to lo­cate her pri­vate op­to­met­ric prac­tice — Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care — she knew she wanted to be able to live in the com­mu­nity where she worked.

Gray, who is orig­i­nally from north­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia, set­tled in Mont­gomery County, lo­cat­ing her prac­tice at 1806 Swamp Pike, Suite 400 in New Hanover. Gray is a 2004 grad­u­ate of the Penn­syl­va­nia Col­lege of Op­tom­e­try, where she grad­u­ated with clin­i­cal and lead­er­ship hon­ors. She re­ceived her bach­e­lor of science in bi­ol­ogy from Vil­lanova Univer­sity.

“This was the kind of com­mu­nity I thought I wanted to raise my fam­ily. At the time it was just my hus­band and I, but we have two kids now. It re­ally is a nice com­mu­nity for rais­ing kids,” she said. Gray added that she also had seen a need on the area.

Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care started see­ing pa­tients in Au­gust 2008. At the time, Gray’s prac­tice was a one doc­tor, two exam room prac­tice op­er­at­ing out of 2,424-square-feet of space.

Fast for­ward 10 years, and Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care has dou­bled its of­fice space to 4,848-square-feet, grown to a staff of four doc­tors (with a fifth to be added), eight exam rooms (a ninth soon to be added), 14 em­ploy­ees, an on site op­ti­cal lab and an op­ti­cal depart­ment that stocks an es­ti­mated 1,000 frames.

In ad­di­tion, pa­tients have ac­cess to two spe­cial­ists that come into the of­fice a cou­ple of times a month, and the prac­tice has added a dry eye cen­ter. “I never saw the prac­tice tak­ing off like it did, so we are re­ally for­tu­nate in that re­gard. This com­mu­nity is re­ally boom­ing,” Gray added.

One of the big­gest changes in her pro­fes­sion over the past 10 years, ac­cord­ing to Gray — is tech­nol­ogy.

One ex­am­ple she cited is a piece of equip­ment she re­ferred to as the “O.C.T.,” which helps de­tect and mon­i­tor dis­ease pro­gres­sion, diagnose dis­ease quicker, and know if treat­ments are work­ing.

“It ex­isted 10 years ago, but it wasn’t taught when I was a stu­dent. So this went from some­thing I hadn’t heard of as a stu­dent to a piece of equip­ment we needed to learn and use every day and quite hon­estly, I can’t imag­ine not us­ing this piece of equip­ment,” she said.

Gray is a part-time fac­ulty mem­ber at the Penn­syl­va­nia Col­lege of Op­tom­e­try, and likes to stay at the fore­front of her field — of­ten do­ing more than the re­quired 30 hours of con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion every two years.

“I have to keep up with the stu­dents; their ed­u­ca­tion is so dif­fer­ent than mine was. I like to stay on top of it,” she added.

Gray said an­other change in the past 10 years is that pa­tients are also more aware.

“They come in some­times and tell me what the di­ag­no­sis is. I tell them — Google cau­tiously,” she said.

Tied into tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ment in two ways is dry eye, which ac­cord­ing to the Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care web­site, oc­curs when the eye does not pro­duce tears with ap­pro­pri­ate qual­ity and/or quan­tity. Dry eye dis­ease can re­sult in per­ma­nent dam­age to the cornea and eye­lids, vi­sion loss and other prob­lems.

Gray said it wasn’t fully un­der­stood be­fore.

“Now we can get to the root of the prob­lem — there’s test­ing out there that we can do. Once we fig­ure out why some­one has dry eye, we can fig­ure out the best so­lu­tion,” she said, adding that it is a very com­mon dis­or­der. “Be­cause we are all us­ing so much tech­nol­ogy, we’re suf­fer­ing more from these prob­lems. The fact is — we blink less when we’re on these de­vices.”

Gray said the prac­tice sent one of its doc­tors to Florida for train­ing about 18 months ago, who then trained the staff at Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care.

“Now it’s solv­ing a prob­lem in­stead of putting a Band-Aid on it,” she said.

Reg­u­lar eye screen­ings, ac­cord­ing to Gray, are im­por­tant for every­one, not just when there is an ob­vi­ous prob­lem.

“We need to keep peo­ple see­ing clearly for as long as pos­si­ble. We have the tech­nol­ogy to de­tect prob­lems sooner and solve things we couldn’t solve be­fore,” she said, adding that 250 dis­eases in the body can be de­tected in the eye — in­clud­ing high blood pres­sure and di­a­betes.

“And for the lit­tle ones it’s im­por­tant for en­sur­ing proper devel­op­ment and mak­ing sure kids are see­ing well for school,” she said. “Vi­sion prob­lems are so preva­lent, but many of them you don’t re­al­ize, be­cause you think every­one sees like you see.”

Gray be­lieves that be­ing in a com­mu­nity means be­ing part of the com­mu­nity. To that end, the prac­tice gives back — with staff mem­bers vol­un­teer­ing to read to school chil­dren, per­form­ing screen­ings on preschool­ers, speak­ing to adults, at­tend­ing health fairs, do­nat­ing funds to lo­cal fire de­part­ments, pro­vid­ing gift bas­kets for school events and sup­port­ing Re­lay for Life.

A new ef­fort launched in Jan­uary awards $250 each month to a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion. Pa­tients or friends nom­i­nate or­ga­ni­za­tions by pro­vid­ing a con­tact per­son for the or­ga­ni­za­tion and the tax ID num­ber. Votes are then col­lected on Face­book and in the of­fice.

“We be­lieve in giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity. We be­lieve this is a good way to thank the com­mu­nity for all of their sup­port over that past 10 years,” Gray added.

Nom­i­na­tions can be sub­mit­ted via email to do­na­tions@my­comple­teeye­care. com. The pro­gram con­tin­ues through the end of the year.

To cel­e­brate the prac­tice’s 10 years in the com­mu­nity, Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care hosted an open house Satur­day, June 9.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.my­comple­teeye­care.com, www.face­book.com/CFE.Gil­bertsville/ or call 610-323-4445.

DONNA ROVINS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Dr. Lori Gray, right, opened her op­to­met­ric prac­tice — Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care on Swamp Road in New Hanover 10 years ago. The prac­tice has grown and now boasts five doc­tors and eight exam rooms. In this photo, staff mem­bers Cait Somerville, left and...

DONNA ROVINS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Op­tometrist Dr. Lori Gray said that in the 10 years since she opened her prac­tice — Com­plete Fam­ily Eye­care — tech­nol­ogy has been the big­gest change. In this photo, Gray looks at re­sults from an op­ti­cal exam.

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