Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Brief History of Carillon Vision Care

The optical in Morton Grove (1st office)
In the last quarterly newsletter, I mentioned that Carillon Vision Care was about to celebrate its 55th anniversary. I have been pleasantly surprised at the response and number of positive comments I have been receiving from our patients the past couple weeks! Our patients appear to be genuinely interested in the background of the office. I will therefore take this opportunity to give a brief history.
Dr. Jerome Agrest
It all starts with one man, Dr. Jerome Agrest. Dr. Agrest graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1948. He opened the doors of his private practice in Morton Grove, Illinois, about five miles from today’s location, in June of 1958. He shared this office space with a dentist and two family practice physicians. The office had a single exam lane, a small wall of around fifty eyeglass frames, and the lenses for the glasses would be cut in the otherwise empty basement of the office.

Original exam lane circa 1958
Our optician, Phyllis, joined the practice part-time in the fall of 1984 while completing her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She subsequently pursued a Fellowship in the National Academy of Opticianry (FNAO). Fellows of the Academy exhibit a knowledge of materials, lens technologies, and optics far beyond the understanding of typical licensed opticians. Phyllis has been Dr. Agrest’s and Carillon’s lead optician and office manager since. Shortly after Phyllis joined, Dr. Agrest transitioned the front office patient records to an electronic database with computers around 1985, considerably ahead of the times.

Carillon Square (location #2)
As Dr. Agrest’s practice outgrew the small shared office, he moved into a much larger space in Glenview’s Carillon Square, just blocks down the street from today’s location, in December 1987. The office was re-branded as Carillon Vision Care at this time and featured more square footage, a much larger frame selection, and two examination lanes.

Carillon continued to grow over the next decade, and the practice was relocated once again to a larger, three exam lane, state-of-the-art facility next door to today’s location in 1997. One last move occurred in the winter of 2005  to the current home of Carillon Vision Care at 1900 Waukegan Road.
Phyllis helping a patient in our third location optical circa 1998

Upon completion of Optometry school, I began searching for a private practice and was fortunate to meet Dr. Agrest in the Fall of 2010. I officially came on board in January 2011. My education and training in school and residency was largely focused on specialty instrumentation and ocular disease. And, as a result, state of the art computerized instrumentation and systems were added to the practice.

Recent additions have included an online, 360 degree virtual tour of the office, an advanced Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, multiple large flat-panel displays for patient education, the most progressive Optical Coherence Tomographer available, the iCare “no air puff” tonometer (eye pressure device), three new high-end designer frame lines, two new staff members, and the ongoing integration of an advanced Corneal Topography system to aid Dr. Neukirch with his Orthokeratology, Corneal Refractive Therapy, and Corneal Disease patients (more on this in the next month or two).

Present day exam lane walls
Going forward, Carillon will strive to maintain the well-established traditions of personalized service, provide an unparalleled exam experience, and continue carrying the best optical products on the market. Simply stated, I cannot thank all of our patients enough for their continued support!

Here’s to the next 55 years!

Dr. Andrew Neukirch practices at Carillon Vision Care in Glenview, IL. He may be contacted directly here.