“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “I’ve got my eye on you.” “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”
Yep, that’s how important your eyes are. And taking care of those eyes is a life-long journey, because they continue to change and age, just as we do.
Thank goodness there are dozens of ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians right on Larchmont Blvd. who can answer every single one of your eye care needs.
“People become happier and more functional when their eyes are working properly,” says ophthalmologist Dr. M. Isaac Gordon, located at 321 N. Larchmont Blvd.
But first: what’s the difference between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician?
An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS), “an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery… treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery and prescribes and fits eye glasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems.”
An optometrist, on the other hand, is not a medical doctor. An optometrist is a “healthcare professional who provides primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes,” according to AAPOS. Graduates of colleges of optometry receive the doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree.
Finally, AAPOS defines an optician as a technician who is “trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses and other devices to correct eyesight.”
Whew! That’s a lot of eye information!
Dr. Gordon decided to pursue the field of ophthalmology because of the professions’ focus in one specific area.
“I like the surgery aspect. I’ve had people come in literally blind, then removed their cataracts and it was like a miracle. They could see again,” says Dr. Gordon.
With recent advancements in medicine and technology, Dr. Gordon is very hopeful about the future of ophthalmology and what it means for his patients.
“There are only going to be more issues with cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and age-related deterioration; the advances that are coming are exciting.”
For instance, laser-assisted cataract surgery, which is less than one year old, is almost risk-free. Detached retinas can now see full recovery within days, instead of weeks.
“I like solving problems,” says Dr. Gordon. “People are so dependent upon their eyes. Helping people to see is gratifying for me.”
Arpine Bosnoyan, an optometrist with Larchmont Optometrics, 317 N. Larchmont Blvd., agrees that technology is making the world of vision easier and more accessible to people.
“Technology is making it easier to show pictures to patients and help to educate them. Patients are feeling more comfortable with their diagnoses and the explanations behind them.”
The Larchmont Optometrics staff consists of three doctors of optometry and a five-member staff who perform regular comprehensive eye exams and treat dry eyes, diabetic changes and other issues related to the eye.
“We’re a happy environment,” says Bosnoyan. “In Larchmont, people live close and can walk to our office. It’s a family setting, so they see neighbors and have breakfast with each other.”
The ophthalmologists and optometrists on Larchmont Blvd. also refer their clients to the opticians on the street.
One of the most well-known in Los Angeles is Hans Fiebig of Hans Custom Optik. Having been in the optical business since 1941, Fiebig opened his Larchmont Blvd. location over 30 years ago. His love of eyes was discovered at an early age.
“I had a teacher in Germany who recognized a special technical ability in me. The teacher took me home to help build model trains, and then introduced me to his optometrist who hired me on the spot to be his apprentice at 12 years old!”
Fiebig has fitted celebrity clients such as Elvis, Sir Elton John and Steve McQueen, among others.
Some celebrities had “very specific ideas of what they wanted in a pair of eyeglasses,” says Regina, Fiebig’s daughter. “Dad helped create them using his technical ability and brought the industry to a whole new level… he took the boring glasses of the 1950s and with a little creativity and technical ability turned them into true fashion statements.”
After 30 years at his location in the 200 block of N. Larchmont, Fiebig moved his store to a new spot at 419 ¾ N. Larchmont. Fiebig, who is now in his late 80s, is helped by a dedicated staff of friends and family members, including Regina and his grandson, James, who has worked with him for over 20 years.
Daas Optique, 161 N. Larchmont Blvd., is another eyeglass store located in the heart of Larchmont. Opening in 2007, the store has become a favorite among locals.
“We are the pharmacists of eye ware,” says Alexander Daas. “As opticians, we consider ourselves lens masters. We’re the ones who know frames and lenses.”
Daas chose the Larchmont location based on his original store to the north.
“This neighborhood is a replica of the one I have in San Francisco, and this is such a great community and that’s what I was looking for. I fell in love.”
Daas performs exams and vision tests, as well as consults and helps people choose the correct style for their lifestyles. Popular brands Daas carries include Tom Ford, Dior, Celine and boutique brands Mykita, Barton Perreira and Moscot, as well as his own brand of glasses that are carried by top boutiques around the country.
A little further down the street is Perverse, 143 N. Larchmont Blvd., a fun, funky, trendy take on sunglasses for the hip and outrageous. With a price point of around $50 to $75, the sunglasses are almost too good to pass up. If you like the Perverse frames but need a prescription to fit them, just walk them down the street.
“If you a buy a pair of glasses here at Perverse and take them down to Daas Optique, they will take $50 off of your prescription,” says Kendrick Gibson, a store stylist at Perverse.
So if you’re in need of major eye surgery or just looking for a cool pair of shades, Larchmont Boulevard has got you covered. After all, seeing is believing.