By Cathy Wharton
For Hometown News
When the Shoppes at Tuscany in Ormond Beach opened in 2005, one of the first tenants was Elite Eyecare Optical. While some businesses have since come and gone, Elite is still going strong -- still providing the best in eye care.
Dr. Edward Ling, co-owner of the business along with his wife, Weiling Chen, has been in the eyecare business since 1997. Prior to opening his own practice, Dr. Ling was employed first at Sears Optical, then Lenscrafters, where he established himself as a caring, hard-working eyecare professional.
Originally from New York, Dr. Ling was educated at New York University where he studied physics and biology. With his family in the eyecare business -- and having eye problems himself -- Dr. Ling decided to follow in their footsteps. "They got me involved," he said.
He attended Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he earned a degree in molecular biology. In 1997, he graduated from Nova Southeastern University's College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, where he earned his doctorate in optometry. Dr. Ling then decided to stay in Florida instead of going back to New York.
As an optometrist, Dr. Ling performs a variety of eyecare procedures -- complete eye examinations, diagnostic tests and glaucoma screenings. If it's determined, however, that a patient requires cataract removal or lasik surgery, or has retinal detachment, he or she is then referred to an opthalmologist. "We do everything they do except surgery," Dr. Ling said. Indeed, Elite Optical works with opthalmologists to co-manage the patient's care. "We work with everybody," Dr. Ling said. "It just depends on insurance and location (of the patient)."
In his practice, Dr. Ling typically sees a cross-spectrum of patients whose needs vary. Part of his patient base, of course, are those in need of a routine eye exam or perhaps are looking to upgrade their eyewear. But there are also patients who may have more serious problems -- a category that includes professionals and non-professionals alike, and every age group, including children.
Dr. Ling and his wife are both strong advocates of testing the eyesight of pre-school children, especially if they've been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This particular learning disorder affects a significant number of children who otherwise might be able to function properly. Rather than having ADHD, the problem could be "Accommodative Insufficiency," which means the child's ability to focus properly has been compromised, thus the inability to accurately process words, which often appears at the time when the child is first learning to read. Instead of a "mental deficiency," as is sometimes thought, the problem is often physical, usually associated with the ocular muscles -- the muscles around the eyes. The condition can be corrected; but first, it must be properly diagnosed.
In addition to expert eye care, Elite Optical offers a selection of eyewear and related accessories. When it comes to frames, "We're choosy -- we sell what we wear and test it ourselves," Dr. Ling said. "We also guarantee (our products). If it breaks, we fix it."
Most of the frames Elite carries are either American-made or European -- French and Italian in particular. Among the impressive array of products is a number of high-end frames, such as Armani, Gucci, Prada, Fendi and Versace. Elite also carries Chanel, the only place in town that does. Another distinctive line is 'Silhouette,' from Austria, which features an attractive light-weight 100 percent titanium frame If a client prefers something else, Elite Eyecare will special order the item. Elite also custom-fits contact lens.
Elite takes care of athletes, too. A selection of Oakley "performance sunglasses," designed for sports, are readily in-store, as is Ray Ban and Tommy Bahama. Prescription "sports specific" glasses and sunglasses are also available, including eyewear for motorcycle enthusiasts.
As for the "buy one, get one free" philosophy that some subscribe to, Dr. Ling and his staff prefer to focus on customer service. "Customers would rather have good service and not do 'buy one, get one," he said. "We have customers from other places who were unhappy. Here, we treat people like family."
After 15 years in the eyecare business, Dr. Ling is still focused on his main goal: quality service for everyone.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, Elite Eyecare Optical will be hosting its 7th Annual Vendor Eyewear Show and will feature a number of vendors who, once a year, offer substantial discounts on their eyewear products. Also on hand, for customer enjoyment, will be hors d'oeuvres, wine and a chance to win prizes. The show is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Elite Eyecare Optical is located at 1185 W. Granada Blvd. Suite 7, Ormond Beach. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday thru Wednesday, and Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday and Saturday. Phone: (386) 676-3937.