The staff of the Vancouver Vision Clinic in downtown Camas recently joked that they needed sunglasses when they moved from a basement level office to desks surrounded by windows.
The ample amounts of natural light, on the street level, are at 329 N.E. Sixth Ave. The move from 405 N.E. Sixth Ave., occurred March 3.
Dr. Raj Patel and Dr. Derek McTyier own the building and the practice.
The new office has three exam rooms, compared to one at the former location.
“Most families prefer to bring their kids in after school, and we have had a difficult time having enough appointment times available after 3 p.m.,” Patel said. “Having more rooms and multiple doctors on staff makes it much easier to get these families in quicker.”
Patel said many times a week the practice is fitting in urgent care visits for patients with pink eye, eye pain, foreign object removal and referrals from family doctors.
“In our old space, this would make it more challenging to stay on schedule,” he said. “With more rooms and more doctors, we can easily take care of these cases and see our regularly scheduled patients seamlessly.”
The former office was 1,200 square feet. The new location of the clinic occupies 3,500 square feet of a 5,000 square foot building.
As clinical faculty members for the Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Ore., Patel and McTyier supervise and educate interns from their program.
“Until now, we could only do this at our Vancouver location [314 E. McLoughlin Blvd.],” Patel said. “Now we have the space in Camas to help train future optometrists too.”
The larger office space also provides room for additional diagnostic equipment, to help manage issues faced by some older adults, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes-related eye problems.
The equipment includes an auto-refractor/auto-keratometer, an instrument that lets doctors determine the focusing power and the curvature of the front of the eye used for contact lens fittings. It is a computerized way to get a close estimate of the patient’s potential glasses prescription.
“When eyes are examined, we evaluate the patient’s vision using this device and the patient’s eye health using powerful microscopes that let us see the smallest details of the front and inside of the eyes,” Patel said.
Options for checking a patient’s eye pressure at the Vancouver Vision Clinic include an auto-tonometer, a tono-pen and goldmann tonometry. High eye pressure is a risk factor for developing glaucoma. Uncontrolled glaucoma leads to irreversible vision loss, according to Patel.
The new office is in the former Lacamas Glass & Mirror location.
RSV Construction, Inc., of Vancouver, did the remodel.
That project included coordinating the engineering surveys, architecture work and the complete build of the exterior, interior and parking lot.
The acquisition and renovation costs were $1.2 million.
The project was in the works for approximately 15 months.
“Once the shovels hit the dirt, it took approximately seven months to finish,” Patel said.
The extensive work included changing the grade of the parking lot, to help with storm water run off. The foundation needed repair, and the roofing had to be completely replaced — in addition to “endless other things,” according to Patel.
“It takes a lot of work and vision to take a decades old welding shop, that essentially looked like a warehouse, and turn it into a beautiful medical building,” he said.
A consulting group from Pennsylvania, that focuses on eye clinic build outs, helped with the project. Design Showroom, of Vancouver, provided assistance with the interior finish.
“All aspects of the interior colors, carpet, lighting and decor were done with countless hours of work by our Camas office staff,” Patel said. “They have a real knack for making our office look warm, inviting and friendly. The project could not have had its wonderful appeal to our patients, were it not for our amazing staff.”
The Vancouver Vision Clinic, started by Dr. John Alm, has been in Camas for more than 50 years.
Dr. Richard Payne and Dr. Don Lenzie purchased the practice in 1978. Patel joined in the late 1990s, followed by McTyier.
“We are so very proud to make an investment in downtown Camas,” Patel said.
In addition to Payne, Patel and McTyier, Dr. Sarah Curtis works at the Camas office. Dr. Valerie Itamura provides eyecare services at the Vancouver office.
For more information about the Camas office, call 834-4802 or visit www.camas.vancouvervision.com.