Complete Family Eyecare has grown with the community

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 Janice Miuccio, center boasts  with two members of staff
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 Janice Miuccio, center boasts with two members of staff Donna Rovins — Digital First Media

New Hanover >> 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.

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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 will host an open house on Saturday, June 9, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The open house will give members of the community a chance to meet with the practice’s doctors and staff. There will also be a trunk show featuring frames by Oakley, Tori Burch and Coach; basket raffles, a scavenger hunt and refreshments.

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

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