Elvis Presley got his first guitar on his 11th birthday. Lou Gehrig got his first baseball mitt for Christmas when he was five.
Shannon Burgess was prescribed her first pair of glasses when she was nine.
“I have a very strong prescription and so I had a long relationship with my own optometrist,” explained Dr. Burgess from , the 1260 Valley Forge Road optometry practice she opened last September
Burgess, 37 and now in contacts, is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, a mother of two—the oldest of which just got fitted for her own pair of glasses—and the wife of a fellow O.D. She said she prides her practice on its versatility.
“We’re pretty full service here. We do emergency calls for red eyes. We provide glasses and contacts. I have experience in lots of ocular disease,” she said, adding that she co-manages cataracts and, in conjunction with Kremer Eye Center, directs Lasik procedures as well.
What Valley Forge Eye Care provides, she suggested, is a sort of primary care for the eyes.
“If something is outside the realm of what I’m managing, I have relationships with specialists and can get patients in the right hands quicker than if they went through their primary care doctor,” she added.
And as a mother of two, she also has an ease with young children that some O.D.s lack.
“Some optometrists prefer not to see kids until they’re seven or eight. I have a comfort level with young kids.”
She said treating the especially young ones can be difficult because they may not, for instance, know their alphabet well enough to take a vision test. There’s also the matter of fidgetiness.
“You have to get creative sometimes to hold their attention, but I know a lot of Barney songs,” she joked.
She added that when she went to college, she was drawn to the sciences and considered going into medicine, but chose optometry because, in addition to her positive personal experience with the field, it provides the practitioner, and the patient, an instant gratification that's unique in health care.
"If you can’t see, pretty much everything in your life becomes more difficult. People come in all the time with broke glasses, lost contacts, and their lives are completely disrupted by that. You give people glasses and they can suddenly see better. You impact their lives directly.”