As you get to know us, you will understand that we value community. We believe in the power of community. We intend for this blog to be a place for the You & Eye community to communicate and learn from each other. It will be a place where we highlight who we are, what we believe in, what we do, and what our patients are up to. It will welcome guest posts, but be primarily written by us, Drs. Nicole and Matthew Pearce.
While there will be posts about eye and health care, and eye care technology, there will also be posts about fashion and eye wear, contact lenses, and where You & Eye belongs in the world. If you have an idea for a blog post please pass it along.
During any medical visit, your health care provider asks for details about your life to enable a better exam and treatment plan. We learn a lot about our patients through this process! We thought it only fair, therefore, to tell you a bit about us in this first blog post!
The idea of You & Eye started even before Nicole and I were married. Nicole and I share a very similar world view and we entered our life together with the desire to make a difference in whatever community we found ourselves in. That desire led to some interesting experiences. Those interesting experiences led us to West Linn and You & Eye.
After graduating from the Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, we worked in the Portland metro area for 2 years. We then up and moved across the country to Atlanta, Georgia where I attended the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. While attending school, Nicole and I worked as optometrists. At one of our jobs, we had the opportunity to work side-by-side now and again. We found that we loved it. We enjoyed being able to consult with each other about patients and share learning opportunities. Seeing each other across the hall between patients was also a nice benefit!
After I graduated from Emory University with a Master in Public Health, we made our first overseas move. We relocated to teach at a University that had started an Optometry school but needed some teaching assistance. We shared an office and a huge workload. It was a very difficult semester but one that helped us understand the world (and ourselves) better and helped us realize that we enjoyed teaching.
We moved back to Atlanta after teaching for a semester and wondered what we would do next. We continued to work as optometrists in Atlanta, but missed working together and felt like we weren’t adding anything to Atlanta that wasn’t already being done by the many skilled optometrists who were already working there.
After being in Atlanta for 8 months or so, we were fortunate to learn about a temporary job in Nome, Alaska. When I called Nicole to tell her about the opportunity, there was no hesitation in her voice. She said, “tell them we’ll do it!” So we spent a short (too short) amount of time in Nome and surrounding villages providing optometric care. Fortunately for Nome (unfortunately for us), soon after we arrived they found a permanent optometrist to staff the clinic. We loved every minute of our time in Nome. It was an amazing and eye-opening opportunity to fly into remote communities and meet people who lived in very difficult circumstances. It showed us the power of community and reminded us that there are unmet social needs and environmental concerns here in the United States.
Our next stop was our most important. It changed our lives forever. It reinforced our world view and formed the foundation for You & Eye. From January 2009 until mid-2011 we lived in Fiji. While there, we met amazing doctors, nurses, and health technicians from around the South Pacific. They came to Fiji to learn eye care. They sacrificed time from their families and communities to spend 10 months in Fiji studying. We were lucky enough to be a part of their journeys. We worked very hard in Fiji. We taught and mentored and supervised. We experienced a lot of laughter and shed a lot of tears in Fiji. It was a time in our lives that we will always remember fondly. We formed strong relationships with wonderful people from Fiji and other Pacific countries. We talk about them daily.
Based on all of our experiences – from working side-by-side, to interacting with individuals from around the world, to seeing challenging circumstances overcome through community action – we had two goals in mind when we left Fiji: 1. Find a doctoral public health program for me to attend; and 2. Open a patient-centered, community-focused optometry practice. It took us a few years to find the perfect location for our practice, but we couldn’t be happier with where we are!
You & Eye is patient-centered (more on what that means in a future blog post) and is focused on two communities. You & Eye desires to serve the eye care community in the South Pacific. I am researching the provision of eye care in the South Pacific as part of my Doctor of Public Health studies at the University of Hawaii, and You & Eye commits to giving a portion of our proceeds to organizations staffed and run by local eye care providers in the South Pacific (PacEYES and the Pacific Eye Institute).
You & Eye is also focused on the West Linn (and surrounding) community. We provide high-quality eye and vision care in a socially and environmentally sustainable way. We have a fashion-forward optical boutique that allows our patients to express who they are in a fun way. We support local charitable causes (and will use this blog to highlight some of them) and are continuing to look for other ways to become involved in the community.
What You & Eye is, was formed over many years by many experiences. We think you’ll love what You & Eye is and what we do.
We want to get to know you.
Stop in and say “Hi”, have a coffee, look at our photos on the wall and get to know us.