Saturday, July 20th, 2019

Beach Eye Care Story


BEACH EYE CARE

Committed to ensuring healthy vision for life

by Cristi Sanchez


Steven R. Wilkins, OD and Melissa K. Le, OD

Steven R. Wilkins, OD and Melissa K. Le, OD

Thirty-one years can seem to pass in the blink of an eye. If in doubt, simply ask Steven R. Wilkins, OD at Beach Eye Care in Kempsville.

“It seems as if it was only yesterday, but I opened my practice here on Kemps River Drive in July 1988,” he says in amazement. Dr. Wilkins’ reputation for attentive care immediately began attracting patients to his practice, while his quick smile and friendly, easygoing demeanor earned him their continued loyalty. “I’m still serving many of my original patients,” he says delightedly.

But after 30 years of solo practice, the optometrist decided it was time for a change.

“I’m 64 now,” he says candidly. “I decided that it was time to slow down a bit while I’m still able to enjoy life. My wife and I wanted to take some time to travel, but  I didn’t want to retire and walk away from my patients. So, I began looking for a partner.”


“Thirty years ago,
optometrists primarily prescribed
glasses and contacts
and treated conditions
such as red eye or conjunctivitis.
For the overall health of the patient,
an optometry practice now
must address medical issues.”

—Steven R. Wilkins, OD


Happily, Dr. Wilkin’s search led him to merge with Beach Eye Care in November of 2018. A leader in the Hampton Roads area for providing complete and comprehensive eye care services, Beach Eye Care has been meeting their patients’ eye care needs for over 20 years.

“Beach Eye Care’s team was extremely accommodating, allowing me to create whatever schedule I wanted,” Dr. Wilkins recalls with a smile. “So, I chose to go into semi-retirement and work three days a week: Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. It’s a great solution for cutting back hours without walking away from my patients.”

To facilitate Dr. Wilkins’ reduced hours, Beach Eye Care sent optometrist Melissa K. Le, OD to assist by seeing patients on Tuesdays. The Virginia Beach native and ODU graduate (who also loves to travel) grew up in Kempsville. She brings seven years of experience, knowledge of the latest technologies, and a personable, bubbly enthusiasm to the Kemps River practice.

It was her own experience with childhood nearsightedness that inspired Dr. Le to enter the field of optometry.

“Growing up, I had always loved science and math…and I also had poor vision!” she says with a laugh. “I started wearing glasses when I was five-years-old and was always going to the eye doctor. I can relate to and sympathize with not being able to see well, and I feel like that enables me to form a connection with our patients. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to establish a rapport with my patients by not only drawing on my medical training, but on my personal experiences as well,” she adds cheerfully.


The staff of Beach Eye Care in Kempsville. From left: <BR>Melissa Le, OD, Emily Kohler, Carrie Kaczmarek, Tameika Hines,<BR> Danelle Magrini, LeAnn Darby and Steven Wilkins, OD.  <BR>Photo by Stephen Coiner Photography

The staff of Beach Eye Care in Kempsville. From left:
Melissa Le, OD, Emily Kohler, Carrie Kaczmarek, Tameika Hines,
Danelle Magrini, LeAnn Darby and Steven Wilkins, OD.
Photo by Stephen Coiner Photography


“I feel like the major common denominator between my private practice and Beach Eye Care is that we are both focused on offering our patients the best care possible,” Dr. Wilkins explains. “In my practice, we have always worked to make sure that each patient feels welcomed and well taken care of; we want them to feel as if they’re part of a family. Beach Eye Care’s mission for patient care lines up perfectly with my own. Because of that mission, they repeatedly won Best of the Beach year after year.”

Dr. Le agrees. “Our mission is to give each of our patients friendly, personalized care; to ensure that they have good vision and eye health throughout the entire span of life, from childhood to middle age to their later years.”


“I think it’s important
for people to understand
the necessity of annual eye exams.
There are certain medical conditions
that have no obvious symptoms,
that can gradually erode one’s vision;
but if through routine eye exams,
we can diagnose those conditions early,
we can save a patient’s eyesight.”

—Melissa K. Le, OD


The key to maintaining good eyesight throughout life is regular eye exams. A common misconception is that one goes for an eye exam only when purchasing new glasses or contact lenses. The truth of the matter is that routine eye exams can often uncover other medical conditions that can severely impact one’s visual health. “I think it’s important for people to understand the necessity of annual eye exams,” Dr. Le explains. “There are certain medical conditions that have no obvious symptoms, that can gradually erode one’s vision; but through routine eye exams, we can diagnose those conditions early and save a patient’s eyesight.”

Dr. Wilkins nods in agreement. “Optometry practices have increasingly become medical practices,” he adds. “Thirty years ago, optometrists primarily prescribed glasses and contacts and treated conditions such as red eye or conjunctivitis. Now we are encountering medical vision issues such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. For the overall health of the patient, an optometry practice must now address medical issues.”

Fortunately, Beach Eye Care also offers the convenience of medical services delivered by their four on-staff ophthalmologists working out of their First Colonial office as well as their Great Bridge/Cedar Road, Redmill and Virgina Beach Town Center locations. If Drs. Wilkins and Le diagnose a patient with a condition requiring medical treatment, they can easily arrange for that patient to be seen and treated by one of these ophthalmologists.

“Our patients honestly appreciate this service. If someone were to visit another optometry practice without medical services on hand and needed medical care, they would have to be referred out to a doctor they don’t know at a different, unfamiliar practice,” Dr. Le points out. “Here, we already have our patients’ histories and files on hand; we know them, and they know us. It makes things comfortable and convenient for our patients. It’s all part of putting our patients first and making them feel like they’re part of the Beach Eye Care family.”

Patients first: this was Dr. Steve Wilkins focus when he began practicing optometry 34 years ago. Today he shares that focus with Dr. Melissa Le at Beach Eye Care. Together this dynamic and personable duo forge lifetime relationships with their patients in a family atmosphere by providing welcoming, friendly, convenient eye care to patients of all ages in the Beach Eye Care family.




Beach Eye Care

1201 First Colonial Rd
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

757-425-5550



5386 Kempsriver Drive
Virginia Beach, VA  23464


www.beacheyecare.com