Dr. Matthew Hendrickson is your optometrist in Lombard, IL
With his own extensive family history of eye conditions, Dr. Hendrickson developed an interest in state-of-the-art eye care in his 20s to help those with their eye health. He studied under doctors who cared about their patients, who provided comprehensive eye exams rather than trying to finish them in record time.
After graduating from optometry school in 2009, Dr. Hendrickson made a decision to go against chain practices that have cheapened the public perception of the value of a comprehensive eye examination. In some cases, these big companies force employed optometrists to perform eye exams so quickly to make their high-volume business model work, that the exam quality inevitably suffers. Worse yet, many eye diseases go undetected until they have already caused damage to sight. Due to his passion for a detailed, quality exam, and genuine care for the eye health of the patients, Dr. Hendrickson decided to open his own practice.
With a background in LASIK co-management, Dr. Hendrickson learned how to be precise with prescription measurements. His training at Illinois College of Optometry provided an excellent skillset to treat an array of injuries and diseases of the eye. In addition, Dr. Hendrickson has a keen interest in specialty contact lens fittings and the latest tech in eye health. Specialty contact lens fittings are for people with diseased or damaged corneas that cannot see well without the use of custom-made contact lenses, and the process to fit these takes extra time and resources, so it is a specialty that the vast majority of offices will not do. So, in September 2013, Dr. Hendrickson opened Clarity Eye Care.
“Patients are consistently surprised at the difference in my eye exam vs. what they’re experienced at “eye exams” elsewhere. Today, in addition to the basic eyeglasses and regular contact lenses, I am able to detect and treat eye disease, prevent nearsightedness in children with contact lenses, repair injured corneas with advanced grafts, and much more. I, unlike many of my colleagues, am using my license to its fullest not just to treat eyes, but to treat the patient as I would my own family.” – Dr. Hendrickson
As with many small businesses, a main struggle as a relatively new practice is how to get the word out and stand out among the noise of advertising from the big corporations who are advertising an inferior service (ever heard of the “free eye exam” advertised?). The main obstacle, though, is public perception of what exactly is an eye exam. Most people think the eye exam is when you get a glasses prescription and the doctor asks you “which is better? 1 or 2?” In fact, that is technically a completely separate service from an eye exam, called a refraction. There are even some online companies touting an “online eye exam” where your eyes aren’t even examined at all!
That is such a misnomer, as they are actually “online refractions,” and even that is questionable. A comprehensive eye exam is accomplished by testing:
- The function of the visual system in multiple ways
- Examining the eyes in detail microscopically
- Scanning the retina, optic nerve, and other structures of the eye for abnormalities.
One patient at a time, Dr. Hendrickson is trying to shift the public perception to expect this level of thoroughness and to realize the importance of the yearly exam.