By Emily Glory Peters
It wasn’t a lifelong fascination with the human eye that prompted Dr. Eric To to go into optometry. It was tutoring underserved kids.
“I learned some of my students suffered from vision-related learning disorders. They were thrown into remedial classes or neglected due to poor performance—but after a bit of research, I learned that many kids like them were actually scholastically limited by weak near-focus, poor eye alignment and inaccurate eye tracking,” explains To. “I wanted to help these youngsters maximize their full potential.”
The timing wasn’t perfect. To was already wrapping up his undergraduate degree, but his optometric calling had become clear. He shifted gears and after a few years of training under the Stein family (who operate a well-known optometry office in Burbank), To prepared to break out on his own.
“The word ‘lumen’ is Latin for ‘light.’ I chose it to represent us because I wanted to shine a new light on how optometry is performed,” says To. That meant building out a practice from scratch— with a special focus on preventative eye health.
“I wanted to introduce technology to keep kid’s eyes healthier by reducing their dependence on glasses or contacts. I wanted to alleviate the dry eye and migraines many of us have accepted as ‘normal,’” says To. “The benefits of these treatments go beyond the idea of just seeing clear—which is primarily the only focus of traditional optometry.”
You’ll find innovative services as a result at Lumen Optometric. In addition to eye exams, To offers specialties like corneal reshaping therapy, which slows inherited nearsightedness and helps kids see clearly in daylight without glasses or contacts.
Scleral lenses, another specialty, lend life-changing clarity to patients with degenerative corneal diseases, while nuerolenses® align the eyes to reduce headaches, eye strain and even neck and shoulder pain. To says some patients call them “magic lenses”—a reaction that gets the young doctor and his staff excited about helping others.
“We obsess over the patient experience—we set aside double the time for each patient compared to other [optometry] offices,” says To. “We dig deeper beyond prescriptions and show you how to improve and maintain your eye/bodily health.”
Some of that education is simpler than you might expect. Want your kids’ eyes to stay strong? Get their eyes checked (by an optometrist, not just a pediatric screening) starting at age one, and encourage more time outdoors.
“Time in pure, unfiltered daylight slows the onset of nearsightedness,” he explains. For adults, put down those devices.
“Please take a break,” To says, “and remember to blink to keep your eyelids’ oil glands in shape! Eating leafy greens, exercising, not smoking, wearing sunglasses—these all are critical to one’s systemic and ocular health.”
To’s preoccupation with preventative health is well-founded. To finds many patients assume that seeing well equates to health eyes—but without pain receptors in the eye, exams are necessary to get a true reading of your body’s “camera.” Given Lumen Optometrics glowing reviews, that preoccupation is spreading. Yet there is more work to be done.
“The toughest part of my job is patient education and facing fierce competition,” says To, “but I won’t shortchange lens quality and doctor time for lower pricing. Simple preventative care comes with an educational hurdle, but what’s most inspiring to me is when I get to see my patients enjoying a better quality of life.”
Lumen Optometric is located at 14 West Sierra Madre Blvd. in Sierra Madre. To learn more, contact the Lumen Optometric team at www.lumenoptometric.com | (626) 921-0199 and follow along on Facebook and Instagram @lumenoptometric.