Fan Club Friday: The Eye Gallery

I have been wearing glasses or contact lenses for as long as I can remember.  I can still picture my very first pair of glasses, a set of big red frames with pink paint flecked around the edges.  They screamed 1993, the year that I entered kindergarten.  By fifth grade, those glasses were nerdy old news, and I was ready to try hard contacts.  Disaster.  I distinctly recall more than one occasion during which my mom aimed the brightest flashlight we owned into my eye in a futile effort to retrieve the contact lens that had either pasted itself to my eyeball or rolled behind my eyelid and was swimming around in my head.  In my mind, though, this was a small price to pay for vanity, as opposed to the Coke bottle lenses that my glasses had become.

Needless to say, I've been seeing an optometrist for a looong time, though apparently not as long as I should've been.  My poor mom, bless her heart, had no idea that I couldn't see anything in kindergarten until the health screening people came around and made that determination for both of us.

Though I have visited many an eye doctor in my quarter century of ocular issues, Dr. Cliff Hughes from The Eye Gallery stands out above the rest.

{Okay, yes, I wrote about his wife, Nichole, for my last Fan Club Friday post.  I promise that I'm not obsessively stalking their family.  They just run great businesses!}

I knew Dr. Hughes as a friend from church before I knew him as my optometrist.  His kindness, wisdom, humility, integrity, and generosity are trademarks of his personality that he carries into his work.  Since The Eye Gallery was established over six years ago, it has set itself apart with a commitment to the pursuit of excellence and cultivation of a service-oriented environment.  Along with many other satisfied patients, I would say that my annual eye exam is always thorough, and all staff members demonstrate great attention to detail.

Like myself, Dr. Hughes has spent most of his life wearing corrective lenses.  His experience in the eye doctor's chair as a young boy paved the way for his interest in the profession.  (Interestingly, his two sons seem to be following in his footsteps; Knox and Hudson have been wearing glasses since they were babies!)  After completing his undergraduate program at the University of Central Arkansas and then graduating from Southern College of Optometry, Dr. Hughes chose to do a year-long optional residency training with an emphasis in ocular disease.  Basically, he's an overachiever, which is what you want when you're choosing a doctor.

Since I made the decision to go into dental hygiene last year, I have been shocked to discover the amount of people who know next to nothing about the importance of oral health.  Many men and women believe the lie that if their teeth are white and aren't hurting, they have no need to see a dentist.  A similar phenomenon seems to be true with ocular health.  20/20 vision alone does not constitute healthy eyes!  How our eyes work together as a team, how they focus light, how our brain processes visual information ... all of these components play a role in the visual system.  An optometrist is really a "vision" doctor, and good vision begins with healthy eyes.

Dr. Hughes likes to begin seeing patients at six months of age because he rightly believes that prevention is the best medicine.  One of the best ways to ensure our children's academic success is by having them tested to determine whether or not their visual systems are adequate for the demands that school places on them.  

Being the amazing mother that I am, I took my girls to The Eye Gallery for the first time when they were one and three, respectively.  {Better late than never, right?}  Thankfully, Piper's eyes are perfect.  She's adopted, so she didn't inherit my horrible astigmatism or near-sightedness.  Caroline has not been so fortunate.  Dr. Hughes usually examines his patients at six months, one year, three years, five years, and then yearly thereafter, but Sweet Girl is due back to see him next month at age two for a follow-up.  I'm kind of not-so-secretly hoping that she's one of those toddlers with the plastic glasses because, adorbs.

Speaking of glasses, The Eye Gallery has a wealth of fashion-forward brands to peruse!  From Michael Kors to Tom Ford, Ray Ban, and Maui Jim, every patient is bound to find a great pair of frames.  My favorite part of my annual eye exam is trying on some of these frames, even though, as we've discussed, my horrible vision requires Coke bottle lenses.

When I first began coming to Dr. Hughes, my astigmatism was already at the highest step.  Because of this, contact lenses were difficult to find, and the ones that I had worn in the past were uncomfortable.  Dr. Hughes worked with me, as he has with many other patients, to find a set of lenses that fit comfortably and corrected my atrocious vision.  His assistant, Dawn, has always gone above and beyond in helping with glasses fittings and contact orders.  Even my kids are happy to go to The Eye Gallery because the employees are so patient with them, and they have their own place to play while I get my eyes examined.

Located in an under-served area of south Oklahoma City, The Eye Gallery is convenient for patients from Norman and Edmond alike.  And if you're like me and have funky or nonexistent vision insurance, Dr. Hughes and his staff are great about working with you because they all believe in the importance of eye health.

The Eye Gallery is accepting new patients now, so it's not too late to schedule an exam before school starts.  Check them out on their website, Facebook page, or Instagram, and take a step toward healthy vision today! 

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