By Ashlee Oakley
When Shannon Rosenswie first opened Springville Eye Care in 2006, she had opted to stop working for practices in both Buffalo, and then Olean, and start working for herself.
A graduate Pioneer Central, Rosenswie got her undergraduate degree at the University of Buffalo, and then went forward to Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania College for Optometry, receiving her Optometric Degree. Rosenswie recalls that, “They even warned us in school: there will be people that will feel that you [as a woman] can’t fulfill the role of the doctor.”
She says, “When I first started, actually…I had a couple patients that did not want to see me. I was in groups with male doctors, and they would request the male doctor. I don’t have that here, and I don’t think that’s so much the case anymore,” but she was not having it, and opened up her own, nearly instantly successful, business in Springville, a decade ago.
Although the business started out with just Rosenswie and Kelly Sanders, New York State Licensed Optician, as well as another female employee, having their newest optician, Steve Cronk, join them four years ago, opened up their variety of staff members who may relate to certain customers better than others.
Besides Sanders, Cronk is also a New York State Licensed Optician, which Rosenswie explains is distinctive, as some states don’t require their opticians to be licensed. She and her staff go through professional development, as well as needing to keep up with their licensure requirements every three years.
Rosenswie, on what she believes makes her business unique to others like it: “I think it really is the personal service, and family atmosphere. I think Walmart has great doctors, but you may not always see the same doctor, and when you come here, it’s the same people.”
She says that her favorite part is getting to see how everyone relates to one another in the community, and how everyone is connected in this small town. “We all love that since we’ve been here, now 10 years— we see some of these kids who were in middle school when we first started, who are now in college, or even married. We’ve seen them through all of these stages of their life, which is really awesome.”
Rosenswie discusses the perception the public has of optometry, versus what they are actually able to provide as a primary eye care physician— the services they offer may surprise you. She explains, “We specialize in primary eye care, so we are sort of the gatekeepers for any issues that may arise. If a patient needs more attention, as far as eyecare goes, we refer them over to ophthalmology— which is nearly the same practice, but they do the surgeries. But really, we can do everything from the basic eye exam, all the way to glaucoma and diabetic evaluations, cataract evaluations, as well as treating pinkeye and other eye diseases. Many things going on in the body can present themselves in the eyes. Sometimes, we may be the first person to see a patient who has signs of diabetic changes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis— they may have an inflammatory reaction in their eyes, and we’re treating it.”
If test results come back and they suggest issues with other body systems, they can refer you to a rheumatologist or endocrinologist easily. “Optometry has changed— we’re getting more health-based. Many people say they have never had the comprehensive exam and are used to the ‘Better 1/Better 2’ exam, so I think that it’s our job to teach those patients that there is more to our exams now than just reading the eye charts.” She states that insurances are putting pressure on optometrists to do full health evaluations, instead of the older, basic eye exam. They often do basic and comprehensive exams, full health evaluations, and checking eye pressure for different eye diseases and deterioration. They also have on-call emergency services for anyone that needs them, not just for patients of Springville Eye Care.
In her spare time, Rosenswie enjoys her life in Springville with her husband Michael and three daughters. She donates her time to be on the Board of Directors at The Children’s League, is a member of Springville’s Cordelian Club, and is an inactive member of the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s Women’s Association. She gives to many charities throughout the year for basket raffles and auctions, and does her utmost to help the community thrive. She smiles, “We are so grateful people still come to us, and return, and send new patients to us.”
For more information, view Springville Eye Care’s Facebook page, visit their website at www.springvilleeyecare.com, or call (716) 592-3322.