Meet Julia Tran, Michael Chow, and Lisa Hernandez, three of the people you’ll find at the new West Seattle Vision eye clinic that’s about to open at 6505 California SW in Morgan Junction. We stopped by Tuesday to meet them as they finish preparing the new space for a “soft open” later this week. Tran and Chow are optometrists; Hernandez is an optician. Another doctor is on the team but couldn’t join us for the Tuesday chat – Donna Matney, who, Chow points out, is also a published author with her own website.
West Seattle Vision is part of a locally owned mini-chain of clinics owned by Chow – this is the fourth one, and a fifth will open soon at South Lake Union. Each has its own name and identity, but they share doctors; Tran has been working at the company’s Auburn clinic and probably will still keep some hours there for a while.
Chow says she was the inspiration for the West Seattle clinic – they’ve been talking for more than a year about her having her own practice, ideally in this area, which Chow, who lives in Issaquah, has observed is a “cool little community, so tight-knit.”
Asked what will set them apart, the team says their modern technology will be a major factor, as will the time they spend with patients – while many eye exams run about half an hour, Tran explained, “we have 45 minutes.” Meantime, some old trappings of the typical eye exam have fallen away – you don’t need to have your pupils dilated for a doctor to see inside; new technology, they explain, allows photography into the eye so that they can even look “down to the cellular level.” And the process of narrowing down the prescription to correct your vision is “quicker and more efficient” than the old “which is better – one? or two? one? or two?” etc.
Technology also has improved for taking measurements to fit glasses, Hernandez says. And they plan to offer a wide range of frames, including high-end designs, and some full of color, which she says “is huge right now,” as well as a good selection for kids. Coatings are easier to clean, harder to scratch, these days.
And there’s one more place technology comes into the equation – they will offer online appointment-booking, which is accompanied by options including text messaging to remind you of your appointment.
Some things, of course, you just can’t determine technologically. They plan to adjust their hours depending on what their clients request – watching to see whether 9 to 5 makes more sense on weekdays, or maybe 10 to 6, while they’ll start off with one night a week – Wednesdays – open until 7. They say West Seattle Vision will have Saturday hours, too. So keep an eye out for signs of their “soft open,” to be followed by an official grand opening sometime this spring.
P.S.: They won’t be doing major surgery, but they will offer “medical eye care” for relatively minor problems.
Side note: West Seattle Vision’s impending opening is part of some big changes in that commercial building on the west side of California SW, just south of Fauntleroy – Pet Elements also has just opened its new space next door, relocating from a small freestanding building about a block away.