Eye-Opening Experience
Patients seeking personalized care find the right fit at Doylestown Family Eye Associates
by Glori Gayster

Eyes are said to be the windows into one’s soul, and they also enable people to enjoy the most vivid details of life. But even the healthiest of eyes should be checked each year because some of the most debilitating eyesight conditions—namely, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy—are non-symptomatic in their early stages and can cause permanent damage if not detected. Recent changes in health care and the current economic climate, however, have made the task of finding the right doctor somewhat daunting.


With insurance carriers reducing reimbursements to physicians and malpractice premiums on the rise, doctors are replacing lost revenues by overbooking already crowded schedules. This, of course, shifts the burden to the patients, with longer stays in waiting rooms and less time with doctors. But it doesn’t have to be this way, according to Dr. Benjamin Rowe, O.D., of Doylestown Family Eye Associates.


“I think patients want to be heard and understood as individuals with specific issues,” he explains. “Large-scale, high-volume practices inevitably categorize complaints into ‘one size fits all’ diagnoses, which allows for quicker patient turnover. The quantity vs. quality concept can be a slippery slope—especially in health care.”


After years of working complex medical cases in an academic setting, followed by time at a large multidisciplinary private practice, Dr. Rowe knew it was time to reestablish personalized patient care. And it is this concept that he has successfully introduced at Doylestown Family Eye Associates.


“I believe most patients want more than just a diagnosis and a treatment plan, and the right doctor should want more than a co-pay and a quick turnover of the exam room,” says Dr. Rowe. “Both parties should try to create a relationship in which patients can become healthier, well educated and more active in their own care. For this to happen properly, a new practice model needs to be introduced.”


More than a Number

“What we’ve done is brought back traditional values in health care within a modern and state-of-the-art environment,” he says. To achieve his vision, Dr. Rowe clearly defined a practice model based upon five key criteria that would become his guiding principles for patient care.


The first premise is that a doctor needs to be passionate about his practice and, therefore, highly accessible to patients. “I live two miles from my practice and am available any time day or night,” Dr. Rowe says. “Patients can get my cell-phone number from our practice voicemail for emergencies and urgent care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”


The second principle for proper eye care states that doctors understand that each patient’s problems are specific and unique. “The doctor’s job is to determine an exact diagnosis and explain all treatment options in the simplest terms,” he says. “Once stated, the doctor must understand that patients may want to voice an opinion about their choice of treatment. From that point, I will manage the results and provide regular updates to the patient.”


The third practice standard requires the team’s commitment to embrace new knowledge and innovative technology. Dr. Rowe qualifies such innovations in terms of results—advancements that enable new diagnoses or allow for new information that can improve the course of treatment. “We currently have the newest digital retinal camera and the same visual field technology [to manage glaucoma] used at Wills Eye Hospital,” he says.


“With increasingly busier lifestyles, the fourth guiding principle is one [that] our patients value,” he continues. “While our exams are thorough and patient specific, the appointment should not take a long time, necessarily. We achieve our results by being solely focused on the patient during his or her visit, while being on time and respecting their personal schedules.”

In other words, the concept of waiting is the exception, not the rule.


Lastly, Dr. Rowe’s five-point philosophy accepts the fact that the “good ol’ days” of doctors living extravagant lifestyles are fading. “To maintain such a lifestyle in today’s environment, doctors are making up for their lost revenues by overbooking schedules,” Dr. Rowe says. “Quite simply, it is a matter of being happy with less—and I am.”


‘A Great Fit’

Like Doylestown Family Eye Associates, the adjacent IWear Optical Boutique prides itself on being locally owned and operated. The full-service optical shop provides the latest in style and state-of-the-art design combined with personalized fittings and affordable prices.


The boutique’s selection is vast—from its unique collections of stylishly handmade fashions, to well-known brands such as Maui Jim, Silhouette and RayBan. This wide spectrum enables the skilled team at IWear Optical to fit each patient’s face, style and budget. 


“We service the fourth grader who needs a simple yet durable pair of glasses to the professional who wants to make a statement,” says Dr. Rowe. “And, for those who need some help finding the perfect pair of eyeglasses, our optician will happily custom order frames and professionally fit them.”


Eyeglasses need to be more than stylish, however. It is important to consider each patient’s prescription, intended use and fit. By offering expert service, quality selection and an onsite lab, IWear Optical is able to provide clients with fast, affordable results.


“Even the smallest of adjustments by our experienced optician can help the glasses function properly and for a longer period of time,” says Dr. Rowe. “Staying on top of quality technical advancements is key to our commitment so we are able to offer clients the widest range of solutions.”


IWear Optical and Doylestown Family Eye Associates accept the same insurance plans to smoothly link coverage for glasses, contact lenses and examinations. A dedicated specialist in vision and medical billing works closely with both companies to ensure a pleasant experience for patients.


“At both Doylestown Family Eye Associates and IWear Optical, our mission is parallel with that of Doylestown itself—a small town with an old-fashioned feel and the latest in art, culture and technology,” Dr. Rowe says. “That’s why we are a great fit and plan to stay as long as our neighbors will have us.”


Doylestown Family Eye Associates and IWear Optical Boutique are located at 16 West State Street in the heart of Doylestown. Both offer convenient scheduling with hours Tuesday through Saturday, including mornings, evenings and throughout the day. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 215-345-4186 or visit DoylestownEye.com and IWearOptical.com.


Glori Gayster is a freelance writer and marketing professional based in South Jersey.