Today we’d like to introduce you to Cecilia Nguyen.

Cecilia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a proud Houstonian— born and raised. My parents immigrated here from Vietnam. We were lucky in that most of their siblings, my aunts and uncles also ended up in Houston, so I always grew up with a strong sense of community and family. My parents always emphasized the importance of a good education, a great work ethic, and caring for those in need. In line with these values, I knew I always wanted to work in the healthcare field but struggled to find my passion. When I was finishing my last year of college, one of my older cousins happened to need an extra hand at her optometry office so I agreed to help her out. While I was there, I fell in love with optometry, as it combined two things I was passionate about: helping others and fashion. I was able to attend one of the top-rated optometry schools during that time where I met so many incredible people who helped shape me into the person and doctor I am today.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I do not think that opening any type of business is ever a smooth road. My situation was unique because I was taking over an existing office. The previous doctor who ran the office was ready to retire and looking for someone to transfer care of her patients to. I had to find a way to incorporate my own ideas and style without losing the charm and appeal that her patients were used to. On top of learning how to run an office and business on my own, I found out I was pregnant with my second son shortly after the transition. Working six days a week while pregnant and with a toddler at home is not for the faint of heart. However, it is because of my two sons that I knew I had to put in my time and energy into getting the office up and running as quickly as possible.

Please tell us about Today’s Vision Barker Cypress.
I provide routine vision exams for eyeglasses and contact lenses to anyone, ranging from young children to retired adults. We offer a huge selection of frames for all budgets. I love the fashion aspect of eyeglass styling, so we try to find the right fit for each of our patients. In addition, I am a licensed therapeutic optometrist which means I also provide medical-based eye exams. This can include diabetic eye exams, glaucoma evaluations, foreign body removals, red-eye treatments, allergic eye conditions, and the list can go on. Many patients don’t realize that, when they have an eye-related problem, they can go to their local optometrist rather than Urgent Care. I try to educate my patients on their ocular health and pride myself on my personal touch and care. I treat all of my patients like they are family and hire staff members who do the same.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
The saying “hindsight is 20/20” is very appropriate in our case. While I was in school, I did not consider the other outside forces that I had to contend with. Online contact lens sales and frame sites threaten our profession on a daily basis. I cannot compete on pricing with the big box names or the online sales, but I hope that consumers are mindful about the benefits of working with my business. I spent over eight years in higher education learning about vision and our visual system. What many people do not realize is that vision is not just about seeing clearly. There are many underlying problems that can cause your eyes to not see or feel well. Again, that is why I think it is extremely important to educate my patients on their ocular health.

I do not believe I could have done anything differently, but I wish I knew more about how online sites can affect us overall. The positive in all of this is that it has forced me to evaluate and change my business model. My office embraces ongoing technological advances and developments. I incorporate as much technology as possible in my office to better the patient experience and diagnosis. I now have a device that can measure eye pressures without blowing air into the patient’s eyes. I just recently installed a digital phoropter that allows me to perform an automated prescription check, greatly improving accuracy and reducing the time it takes. I also have digital retinal imaging and scans which help me diagnose, track, and treat retinal conditions. The main purpose of integrating these technologies into my work is to provide better, enhanced care without losing the personal touch.

Despite the hard first year, I am so proud of where we are now. I consider each challenge and misstep as a learning tool and hope we can grow better from it.

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