Dr. Rick Graebe, a behavioral optometrist in Versailles, is a bit nearsighted, but for most of his childhood he didn’t know it.
Rick was a successful high school student, achieving a 4.0 GPA and earning 10 varsity letters.
One day while watching a Woody Woodpecker cartoon, he tried on a friend’s glasses. Suddenly, he could see “XXX” marked on a bag in the cartoon, something he hadn’t noticed before.
For an eye exam, Rick visited the father of a friend, an optometrist whom Rick had always liked. He did a good job of explaining what was wrong to Rick and in doing so sparked the teen’s interest in optometry.
From there, Dr. Graebe studied at Indiana University and since has practiced optometry for more than 30 years.
“I feel blessed to be an optometrist,” he said. “I have a love of learning and optometry is a constant challenge.”
That’s because Dr. Graebe’s office is often a place of last resort for patients who have been told that they can’t be helped.
“So many times I hear from patients that they wish they had come to me sooner,” he said. “We make changes in such positive ways.”
For three decades, Dr. Graebe has been in the business of changing lives of people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly.
For the very young, a typical symptom is an inward turned eye. For older adults, Dr. Graebe often sees post-stroke patients.
Dr. Graebe employs Vision Therapy, a kind of physical therapy for the eyes, brain and body that can improve the health of people of all ages.
However, helping improve academic performance for school-aged students is Dr. Graebe’s forte.
As he points out, up to 85% of schoolwork involves the visual system, which is a dynamic process involving visual efficiency (how well the eyes and muscles function) and vision processing (how well the brain understands information the eyes transmit).
An inefficient visual system can undermine a bright student’s best effort to succeed.
“When we improve the visual system, we make school easier for students,” Dr. Graebe said. “If young people have a good school experience, they will probably have a good rest of their life. This can open doors for young people.”
That’s why Dr. Graebe believes that “optometrists doing their job properly can make a greater impact on people than everyone except for spiritual leaders.”
No wonder he’s so grateful to be an optometrist.
Dr. Rick Graebe, Family Eyecare Associates & Children’s Vision and Learning Center; 105 Crossfield Drive, Versailles; myfamilyvision.com • 859-879-3665