After four decades in any profession, most people find themselves dreaming of retirement and a more relaxed lifestyle. Not the case for Dr. Dick O’Connor of Elma.
For over 40 years, Dr. O’Connor practiced optometry in Western New York where he found great satisfaction restoring vision and hope to his countless patients. But instead of saying goodbye to his patients and a career he loved, he took it one step further by taking a leap of faith to pursue his specialty of behavioral optometry full-time. On Sept. 1, 2017, Vision Development of WNY opened its doors at 980 W. Maple Court, Suite 200, in Elma.
Flash forward one year and Dr. O’Connor and his staff are not only equipping their patients to fulfill their potential, goals and dreams, they are now educating other professionals about the importance of vision for their students and patients.
“Our greatest successes are helping children who have vision problems that interfere with their ability to read, learn, comprehend and even to pay attention,” said Dr. O’Connor. “This sadly results in bright kids underachieving, being mislabeled and feeling inadequate.”
“A lot of children are misdiagnosed and are often labeled as lazy or having behavioral problems when it might be that their brain and eyes aren’t functioning together,” added Dr. O’Connor’s wife Debbie, who joined in her husband’s passion as practice manager.
In addition to his groundbreaking work with children, Dr. O’Connor also specializes in working with patients who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury or stroke, many of whom have symptoms related to vision and nervous system imbalance.
“We use specific therapies to allow the body and brain to rebalance and move towards healing,” said Dr. O’Connor. “The results can be life-changing for the patient and the entire family.”
The dream that fostered Vision Development of WNY began many years ago, when Dr. O’Connor met a young girl named Beth.
“I’m often asked why I do what I do for a living and what keeps me working in behavioral optometry,” shared Dr. O’Connor. “My dad was an optician, which gave me the idea to become a Doctor of Optometry. But during clinic rotation in my last year of optometry school I met Beth. She was nine years old, in third grade for the second time and failing badly. We talked. She was sharp and funny but could not keep up academically. Beth had 20/20 visual acuity, so no one thought the cause of her school failure was due to a vision problem.
“My evaluation, however, revealed significant difficulty using her eyes together when working on up close activities — such as reading — to the point that she saw double and thought that was normal. At the end of a six-month vision therapy program, Beth jumped into my arms with her report card in hand. It showed two A’s and four B’s. Even more significant to me was the fact than instead of working long hours trying to keep up in school, Beth now had free time for fun and friends.
“Beth was a literal ‘eye-opener’ for me. I knew I could never stop doing this work because of all the Beths in the world who deserve a better chance at life.”
Focused on a career with no apparent expiration date, the success stories continue to grow. Dr. O’Connor’s website, VisionTherapyWNY.com, features several heartwarming testimonials from patients such as Steven, Sarah, Nicholas, Debbie, Alan and David.
With God as his firm foundation, his wife Debbie and an amazing and dedicated staff, the 72-year-old doctor is living his dream, and his patients couldn’t be happier.
For more information on Vision Development of WNY, please visit VisionTherapyWNY.com. To schedule an appointment, call 398-4300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. And for frequent updates, please follow Vision Development of WNY on Facebook.