Owner: Dr. Kelly de Simone
Address: 15725 S. 46th St., Suite 112
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (vision therapy only)
Information: (480) 893-2300; www.eyepriority.com
Q: Where are you from and what did you do before opening your business?
I am from Meadville, Pa. I graduated from Penn State with a degree in medical anthropology, got a job in a bank and really hated it. At some point I found a job with a local optometrist who happened to do vision therapy. That was it. I fell in love with the field, was inspired by the results I saw in the patients there and went back to school. Many years of schooling and a number of internships later, I became an optometrist with a specialty in developmental optometry and vision therapy.
Q: Why did you open your business in Ahwatukee Foothills?
My husband and I were attracted to Ahwatukee because it was growing and had so much promise. It just felt like home. We wanted kids and had heard great things about the schools - and he loved to mountain bike! I liked the opportunity to live and work in the same community.
Q: How did you get the idea to open your business?
I had worked and trained for a number of years with an optometrist in Mesa, and I felt a drive to be self-employed. I wanted to create an environment where I could emphasize practical optometry to really provide optimal vision for patients. I wanted to have control over the quality of my work and integrate my personal and professional goals.
Q: What type of merchandise/services do you sell?
Eye Priority provides a full range of optometric services: glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses. We also provide vision therapy for disorders of the visual system, which can cause headaches, eyestrain, learning difficulties and a range of other symptoms. These disorders affect children as well as adults, and they can be developmental in nature or the result of traumatic brain injury.
Q: What does your business offer that no one else does?
There are not many providers of vision therapy and we have two certified vision therapists on staff. Besides that, we have a personal approach to optometry that I think is unique. We have a great staff and excellent opticians who make sure each patient receives the best possible care. We provide a variety of types of eye exams, and we can assess vision whether the patient is 6 months old or 90.
Q: How have residents of the community responded to your business?
Our patients have become our friends and we enjoy their warm support. We were thrilled to be voted "Best Eye Exam" in 2008, and we try hard to live up to the community's confidence in us. It is a great pleasure to come to work every day.
Q: What does your business have in store for the future?
There is still a lot of work to be done to educate people about the need for eye care, whether it be for disease prevention with screenings, the need for sunglasses or helping children develop the vision skills they will need as schools require more and more of them. Vision therapy is still a "best-kept secret" and I am determined to change that! I am excited about the future and I plan to be here for a long time.
Q: Anything else you want the community to know about you or your business?
I am so grateful to live here and raise my family here. We love Ahwatukee!