NEXTGEN: Bringing eyecare to those in need
A new company is bringing eyecare services directly to patients.
Licenced opticians Aaron Shloush, 29, and Jack Benaim, 26, co-founded in July 2017 Eyecare Express, a mobile eyecare service that specializes in retirement communities, businesses, schools, hospitals and homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
Shloush, 29, the company’s co-founder and president, said he started the company with the goal of making eyecare attainable for seniors.
“We wanted to do something unique in the eyecare industry that has not been done on this scale before,” says Shloush. “Our goal is to make the eyecare experience as convenient as possible by bringing state-of-the-art equipment and eyeglasses directly to the retirement community.”
Eyecare Express is a team of 10, including optometrists, opticians, advisors and stylists, who offer comprehensive eye examinations as well as eyeglasses that are dispensed on site. Their office is in Thornhill, Ont., but they service the GTA and have recently begun expanding.
“According to Ontario Health Insurance Plan statistics, many seniors are not getting the suggested annual eye exam. We found out the main reason was that it was very inconvenient to get to an optometrist because of health, mobility and transportation issues,” says Shloush.
“The staff at the retirement communities have been helpful in encouraging the residents to sign up for the service and we are getting many calls daily requesting our services.”
Eyecare Express runs eye exam clinics about 15 to 20 times a month. About 20 to 40 patients are seen at each clinic.
“Living in 2018, we are all spoiled in the sense that we expect everything to be as simple and convenient as possible. By being mobile, we can travel to retirement communities, schools and businesses with a modern optometry lane as well as offer both generic and designer eyeglasses. To add a cherry on top, our opticians come directly to you, to dispense and adjust the glasses on site. If there are any issues with the eyeglasses, we come to you as much as needed, providing the ultimate convenience.”
Every day, Shloush, Benaim and their team are making a difference in patients’ lives.
“We saw a patient that suffered from dementia and could not communicate with her loved ones or care staff to explain her vision issues. She hadn’t seen an optometrist for over 10 years and was wearing eyeglasses under the assumption that her vision was fine. After seeing our optometrist, we were able to find a very dense cataract. This poor woman couldn’t see five feet in front of her. After explaining the findings to her family, we were able to refer her for cataract surgery and have since followed up to find out how happy they were with our service. Her quality of life has increased drastically, where she is now able to see her food, play games and do activities with other residents.”
Eyecare Express also recently had the privilege of participating in a charity event, organized by Michael “Pinball” Clemens and his Pinball Foundation.
“Our optometrists and opticians donated their time to the Youth Without Shelter organization. We provided comprehensive eye examinations and eyeglasses to these amazing children that haven’t had proper access to or funds for eyecare,” says Shloush.
“This was a very humbling experience where we were able to help these children in more ways than just helping with their vision. We showed them that they have the potential to overcome any struggles they’ve experienced.”