Our August column features Dr. Laura Vasilakos who founded Family Eyecare Solutions in Hanover in 2018. We asked “Dr. Laura” a few questions about her practice and passions for optometry, especially regarding eye care for children.
Why did you decide to enter this field?
As a former science teacher, I am very passionate about working with children and adults who have vision problems that interfere with their ability to read, learn and comprehend. After receiving my doctorate in optometry from New England College of Optometry in 2005, I provided comprehensive medical eye care in a private practice setting in the South Shore which included contact lens, eye disease management, specialty eye care services including Infant See and Orthokeratology for nearly 10 years. I am known as “Dr. Laura.”
Tell us about your practice.
I believe there is more to vision than just seeing 20/20. The story of Family Eyecare Solutions started in 2013 when I saw a market for an innovative, non-surgical therapy that eliminates the need for glasses or daytime contact lenses and slows down the progression of near-sightedness. This process is called orthokeratology or ortho-k. As I increased my clientele and included pediatric services, I realized that many children could pass a standard eyesight evaluation but continued to struggle with reading and learning. In 2015, I started post-graduate education to learn more about the association of vision with reading and learning. I continued my education and created Family Eyecare Solutions in 2017 to expand vision therapy and myopia control services in other optometrist practices on the South Shore. Eventually the demand was too great, so I opened the doors of my own location at 51 Mill Street in Hanover on March 1, 2018, and have continued to grow and expand and help the surrounding South Shore communities ever since. In April 2021, after completing over 200 hours of post-graduate education in binocular vision, vision development and vision therapy, I earned my fellowship and became board-certified in the College of Vision Development, which gave me more skills to diagnose and treat more complex vision problems.
What makes Family Eyecare Solutions unique?
Since one out of four children suffer from a vision problem that can interfere with their ability to learn and achieve in school, Family Eyecare Solutions offers vision evaluations that examine how eyes work together as a team, how eyes move and how a person understands what they see. Just because a child may have passed a pediatrician or school screening does not mean that a child has all the necessary visual skills for academic success. Did you know that 80% of what we learn is obtained through our vision? Vision is more than 20/20. There are 17 visual skills necessary for reading and learning and seeing 20/20 is only one of those skills. Therefore, my vision evaluations are different from a routine eye examination. Treatment varies depending on the findings but can include specific eyeglasses, vision therapy and/or collaboration with other professionals.
We also offer Neuro-Optometric Vision Evaluations after concussions, which involves testing how well the eyes move, how they work together, how they focus and how one understands what they see all while performing normal activities of daily living. Treatment varies depending on the depth of the problem and may include lenses, special tints, prisms to improve visual comfort and/or Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation to increase the range of visual comfort and tolerance in activities of daily living.
Family Eyecare Solutions also offers Myopia Control, which are specific treatments used to slow the progression of nearsightedness (myopia), especially in children and teenagers.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, means distant objects look blurry but near objects remain clear. Myopia progression is caused by the eyes growing too quickly and too long for the normal rate of eye growth. Higher levels of myopia and excessive eye growth are associated with a higher risk of eye disease in adulthood, such as retinal detachments, glaucoma and cataracts. Specific treatment options include special types of soft contact lenses, ortho-k contact lenses and eye drops.
Family Eyecare Solutions offers InfantSEE evaluations which are no-cost vision and eye health assessments for babies between 6-12 months of age.
What do you like best about your job?
I enjoy getting to know each patient, their visual needs and helping them achieve their visual goals, whether it be to read without seeing double, not lose their place when reading, reducing myopia progression or improving their activities of daily living after a concussion.
To educate more people about the important role of vision and the services we offer. Many people comment after our evaluations, “I wish I would have known about [this] earlier.”
Laura Vasilakos, OD, FCOVD
Family Eye Care Solutions
51 Mill St., Building E, Suite 21B