Clinic Spotlight : Burlington Eyecare
Sets Sight on the Strengths of Independent Optometry
Burlington, Ontario, was ranked as Canada’s best community and place to raise a family last year by Maclean’s Magazine. Perhaps that explains why Dr. Mark Germain, Owner Optometrist at Burlington Eyecare, chose this city to grow his practice.
“Burlington chose me,” says Dr. Germain when asked why this Timmins native decided to open his clinic. He attended the University of Western Ontario for his Bachelor of Science degree, before completing his Optometric Degree at the University of Waterloo. He followed this with a one-year residency at the Waterloo based Centre for Sight Enhancement, concentrating on the visually impaired and the elderly.
His interest in optometry sparked at the age of 12 when he received his first pair of eyeglasses. “It was a game changer. I started to see the leaves on trees. Soon after, I entered high school thinking of pursuing either medicine or sciences, and optometry turned out to be a nice fit.”
Dr. Germain purchased the clinic in 2002 from the original owner Dr. Ron Watson, who found his successor when having a surgical procedure. He moved the clinic to a new Burlington location in 2012, unveiling a larger and more modern space for his growing clinic. They now have a team of three full time ODs: Dr. Germain, Dr. Krystal Chee and Dr. Ryan Cavaliere, and are really missing Dr. Jerilee Nyman who is on extended health leave. His team of support staff and University of Waterloo interns really help to enhance patient care.
Dr. Chee is a University of Berkley graduate who specializes in Myopia Control, a growing area of focus in the clinic, while Dr. Cavaliere, a graduate from the University of Waterloo, brings his new graduate skills specializing in Binocular Vision and in Dry Eyes.
With a growing number of patients working from home due to Covid-19, there has been an influx of patients coming in for dry eyes. “We see more and more dry eyes especially in the younger population. We decided to start the Dry Eye Clinic last year thanks to OSI Group delivering a Dry Eye Seminar which helped getting it started. We offer Meibography, along with other tools to address the dry eyes, allowing us to put patients through a separate clinic.
Burlington Eyecare was one of the few clinics that remained open during the Covid-19 shutdown. The practice continued to serve patients, adhering to provincial guidelines and following all health protocols to ensure a safe environment for both staff and patients. The staff continues to disinfect frames and reduce contact points, while Optometrists are now involved in the complete journey from exam to dispensing.
“Our clinic staff is wonderful. Especially now, during the time of Covid-19, the staff has been amazing, going above and beyond. It requires a lot of work to make this happen now,” praises Dr. Germain.
Dr. Watson was a strong supporter of independent optometry and made the decision in the 80’s to partner with OSI Group. Today, Dr. Germain continues to support the same mandate.
“What OSI offers to us is that we can be independent making all our decisions in a timely manner. So we can be responsive and small and yet have the advantages of being part of a large buying group. OSI helps us with marketing and group purchasing discounts, easily takes care of our account payables, offers Opto Finance and Optosys, a patient management software, which we have used since 2011. We needed to upgrade our old software and OSI took our data base and converted it, established EMR for us and we have not looked back.
Optosys is designed to meet the clinic’s countless needs. Whether you have one employee or several clinic locations, Optosys management software will help simplify and personalize various tasks. The software undergoes regular updates to deliver the most innovative solutions for your needs.
“Optosys has been on the cutting edge of technology and we continue to look forward to the help they can give,” says Dr. Germain.
“Independent optometry allows you to build trust with patients. They come in for their appointments and feel safe. Some patients have come in for their exams and it being their first time out of their home because they trust us. It is reassuring to know that what is important, shows up, especially during these times of adversity,” shares Dr. Germain.
Peter Germain, Dr. Germain’s son, is continuing his father’s legacy by becoming an Optometrist. He is currently completing his second year at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Germain concludes, “Being part of OSI is beautiful because I’m not part of corporate optometry. I want to be able to make decisions for my practice and hand this on to the next generation. When student interns come in, I get on my soapbox and underscore what is important, to have your own practice. As my mentor and predecessor, Dr. Ron Watson, would say, 'You’ve earned this degree and you don’t want to sell this off.' Being part of OSI is making that a reality.”
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