- What type of practice setting are you in and for how many years?
- Do you have any specialties?
- Please tell me an interesting fact about your practice.
- What one thing do you love about optometry?
- What do you like to do in your spare time for fun or relaxation?
- What does POA membership mean to you?
Mark M. Margolies, O.D.
Out of my 31 years of practice, 22 have been spent as a solo practitioner in private practice in Levittown. Prior to that, I had practiced at a LensCrafters location, an ophthalmology-owned practice, and a multi-disciplinary practice that was owned by an insurance company.
I love primary care, and my specialties include treating glaucoma, removing corneal foreign bodies, co-managing macular degeneration with retinal specialists, and traditionally prescribing and dispensing eyeglasses and contacts. What I love about optometry is the ability to deliver primary care to a wide variety of patients in one day ranging from infants to seniors. An interesting fact about my practice is that my spouse, Sandra, began to work there in 1996 as a three-month experiment and it has turned into a twenty-year partnership that is still going strong! It’s not for everyone, but it has worked for us.
In my spare time, I love playing Blues guitar and exercising. I also love to spend time with my grandchildren.
POA membership is about being stronger together for our profession and for our patients. I would not be able to practice the way I do today if it wasn’t for the efforts of the POA. Together we can make a difference for the future of the profession.
Steven P. Eiss, O.D.
For the past 21 years, I have been in a multi-doctor, multi-specialty private practice with offices in Emmaus, Pennsburg and Quakertown. I had worked part-time at a corporate location for many years while growing this practice. I currently provide full-scope optometric care. Being located in a semi-rural area, I have gained a large number of glaucoma patients and see a number of ocular emergencies on a daily basis. Optometry provides me the opportunity to be both a medical provider and a business owner all in one profession. I enjoy the challenges of caring for a patient’s health and running a successful business at the same time.
When I joined my practice, it was a part-time, single-doctor practice. Over the years, it has grown into three locations with six doctors. About five years ago, our third location came about when we merged an ophthalmology practice into our corporation.
Most of my spare time is spent chasing after my seven-year-old twins. I am a big baseball fan, and have just completed my 32nd season of playing fast-pitch softball.
Initially, my association membership allowed me to garner information from other doctors on how to treat disease and to learn how to handle business and insurance issues. I was able to grow into a position where I am able to contribute to the advancement of the profession through committee and Board service. Of course, much of this revolves around the camaraderie and friendships I’ve made, and now being able to mentor others.
Rebecca L. Wincek-Bateson, O.D.
For the last thirteen years, I have been in private practice in Indiana, PA, where I have developed a specialty in pediatrics and traumatic brain injury.
What I love about optometry is getting to know the families in my practice, watching the kids grow up to graduate from high school and college, grandparents sharing pictures of grand kids, and couples marrying and having children. It’s a blessing to be able to share in it. Most of my fun and relaxation time is spent on the baseball or softball fields lately, but I love being with friends and my husband and twins, Wil and Lira. I enjoy traveling, snowboarding, kayaking, triathlons, running or most anything outdoors.
The POA is the only member-driven organization to advocate for our profession in Pennsylvania. I personally feel that being a member is like having “job insurance.” When Opternative, 1-800-CONTACTS, insurance companies and other providers are working against optometry and the care I provide my patients, the POA and AOA are advocating and fighting back for optometry. I am proud to belong to a group of doctors across the states that have a vested interest in protecting our profession. POA members are fortunate that we have a great group of doctors, lobbyists, attorney and staff that are constantly watching out for our futures.
Lori Gray, O.D.
I’m in private practice in Gilbertsville and have been for eight years. I also guest lecture at Salus University. I specialize in disease management. I love that optometry allows me the flexibility to have both a fantastic career and to be there for my family.
In my free time, I love spending time with my husband, Austin, our two children, Maggie and Zach, and our new puppy, Minnie. We enjoy hiking, golfing, skiing and spending as much time as possible outdoors.
POA membership is the insurance policy I carry on my profession. I want to be sure optometry is going to be a viable profession for the entire duration of my career and beyond. The POA works hard to ensure this.
David A. Evans, O.D.
For 32 years, I have worked in a solo private practice in Nanticoke. I also work in two rehab hospitals and see individuals who have sustained strokes and injuries of the head and brain. One thing I love about optometry is the relationships I am able to build with my patients. This profession often allows me to get to know the whole family. Having been in practice for this long, I now am seeing the children of the children I examined when I opened my office. I have many families that I see four generations of patients.
My spare time is spent with my family. I am also an avid hunter and love the outdoors.
My POA membership is very important to me. Besides myself, my wife and brother are both optometrists. Since 1983, when optometrists couldn’t even bill Medicare for exams, I have seen the profession grow into what it is now, which is significantly more medically-oriented than when I began practicing. The POA has been instrumental in expanding the scope of optometry in Pennsylvania.
Edward B. Savarano, O.D., MS
At the beginning of my 31 years of practice, I bounced from commercial setting to commercial setting, finally settling on a solo private setting in Belle Vernon and a position at the Veteran’s Administration in Pittsburgh. I have spent 23 years at the private practice and 15 at the VA. Medical optometry has always been a passion, but lately post-trauma rehabilitation has proved to be most stimulating. Traumatic brain injuries take away simple things that we take for granted: single vision, not falling when walking, reading without maximum effort, and driving without a headache to name a few. It is exciting to watch patients who suffer from post-trauma vision syndrome/visual midline shift take their first few balanced steps without a walker.
All of this has been provided by organized optometry and I am very grateful. The future holds more than we can imagine, but we need an advocate to make those dreams a reality. The POA has helped to fulfill many and continues to speak for our future.
So, what do I do in my spare time? I’m a cheer dad! My daughter, Gabby, is the captain of her high school cheer squad and competes on an All-Star team as well. It is a travelling squad, extending to Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut and Florida. Thankfully, we love to travel, too. The Grand Canyon, Wyoming’s Teton Wilderness, The Snake River, Yellowstone, King Salmon Alaska and next year, Africa. When the “Cheer Dad” hat is off, I hunt for coyotes, trap beaver, and fish for whatever bites...usually mosquitoes.
Mark J. Dalton, O.D.
I practice in Allentown as a solo owner with one full-time associate. I have owned my practice since 1998, after spending about nine months in a corporate setting. We are a primary care optometry practice, treating everything possible within our scope of practice. I see a lot of diabetic patients and treat a lot of glaucoma. I love the variety of both optical and medical ocular conditions that I diagnose and treat, which ensures that each day is unique and never boring. I love the relationship I have with many of my patients whom I have been seeing for up to 18 years.
Spare time relaxation includes reading, listening to and playing music, drawing, and spending time my family. Because my practice is in a busy, urban location, with a large population on medical assistance, we’ve been forced to become very efficient. At our peak, we were seeing about 12,000 patients per year.
POA membership to me is essential to protecting my investment in optometry. Since we are a legislated profession, we need a strong association to represent us, protect us, and help move us forward. The hard work of the POA volunteers and staff have made possible our increased scope of practice that has helped all Pennsylvania optometrists. Also, for me personally, the POA Board has become a second family to me, always there for help and support. Some of my best memories in the past few years revolve around the POA meetings and Congress.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Richard P. Christoph, O.D.
I’ve been leasing space from Wal-Mart in Temple since I graduated in 1992. I see everyone, from six-month-olds to those over 100. I complete a lot of traditional refractive care and contact lens fittings, but also treat all types of topical conditions and a surprising amount of trauma. I also co-manage surgical cases, and what I’m not comfortable treating or don’t have the equipment to manage properly, I try to refer to my local optometric colleagues whenever possible. The thing I love the most is being able to make a difference in people lives. The child whose grades improve because they can see what is happening in the classroom or the adult with a challenging Rx and complicated visual demands that needs a creative approach to their prescription and eyewear are the most rewarding.
In my spare time, after seeing patients six days a week, I manage to fit in volunteering with our local minor league hockey team, attending 40 to 50 hockey games a season, and taking care of my four senior rescue dogs, ages ranging from seven to over fifteen years old. My wife and I also foster dogs from Henry’s Hope Dog Rescue and often dog-sit for our friends and neighbors. I have a large Hispanic patient population, including at least one patient per day who doesn’t speak English. Because of that, the majority of my staff members are bilingual. It has been a big practice builder, and a real learning experience.
The POA and AOA are the way we come together as a profession to address all the issues that “somebody should do something about.” I’ve found over the last 20+ years that the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. I’ve learned so much about patient care, practice management, third party billing, staffing, and every aspect of optometry from my colleagues. Many of those topics I never even sought out help with, they just came up in the process of volunteering or while having lunch or dinner at a POA event.
Please thank your 2016 POA Board for what they do on behalf of the profession when you see them at your local society meetings. In return, you will find a colleague who is more than happy to help you or, at the very least, point you in the right direction. If you would like to contact a Board member by email or phone, all contact information can be found on the POA website here: http://pennsylvania.aoa.org/x7760.xml.
On behalf of the current POA Board of Directors, I want to wish everyone a productive fall season.
Mark M. Margolies, O.D.