When trying to get a law changed, it helps when one of your patients is the governor of the state.
So it was in the early career for Dr. Rick Graebe, a behavioral optometrist in Versailles.
Graebe started practicing in 1984 with Dr. Gordon Shaw, who seemed to specialize in governors.
At the time, the practice treated two governors – one sitting and the other retired.
And during the 1980s, the state amended the law, allowing optometrists to treat eye ailments such as pink eye, glaucoma and other eye pathologies that they had been trained to treat.
Previously, only ophthalmologists handled those procedures.
It helped that the sitting governor knew first-hand the skill and expertise of optometrists.
Fast forward nearly 30 years and Dr. Graebe’s practice in Versailles – Family Eyecare Associates – is a beneficiary of that law.
Dr. Graebe specializes in performance optometry, including Vision Therapy, an effective non-surgical treatment that is a kind of physical therapy for the eyes, brain and body.
“When a patient says I’m having difficulty doing task x, y or z, we can help them,” Dr. Graebe says.
“We see so many patients that nobody else can help.”
Those patients come from all over the state and beyond, covering more than 300 zip codes.
Although Dr. Graebe specializes, his practice doesn’t. It is a full service center with a staff of 11, including three optometrists – Graebe, Dr. Jennifer Brown and Dr. Regina Callihan.
The office also works with five specialists covering a wide range of surgical procedures.
Inside the 4,300 square feet of office space, Family Eyecare Associates offers a dry eye clinic, allergy eye clinic and care for other eye diseases, including macular degeneration.
Dr. Callihan ran the low vision clinic at Retinal Associates in Lexington while working with Dr. Graebe.
Dr. Callihan is now practicing full time at Family Eyecare.
Along with prescribing glasses and contacts, the practice also offers a myopia prevention program.
“We offer more services under one roof than anywhere else in the state,” Dr. Graebe said.
“In fact, if you can get a better eye exam anywhere else, your exam with us is free.”