Optometrist Dan Stein has worked in the city for eight years and said he likes what he sees.
“One of the things I like about the Downriver area is that it’s more of a family-based or friendly area,” he said. “I’ve worked and I still help a friend in Birmingham, and I’ll tell you, patients here are so much nicer.”
Stein has been an optometrist for 30 years.
In 2001, he became owner of what was formerly known as Blaize Eye Clinic, 3101 Biddle Ave. The clinic’s name later was changed to Wyandotte Optical.
Before owning his Wyandotte office, Stein worked several years for corporate clinics.
He said that over time the demanding workload became too much to handle.
“The real truth is that I had a heart attack,” he said. “Some clinics are more interested in numbers, and it produced so much stress on me that I couldn’t relax and enjoy my patients. My wife said: ‘That’s it. You can’t handle people above you telling you what to do.’”
Today, he believes he’s stronger than he’s ever been.
“I run and jog and I use my athletic equipment,” Stein said. “I’m in better shape now than I’ve ever been.”
Stein waited two years until Dr. Albert Blaize was ready to retire before he assumed ownership.
“Not only did Dr. Blaize sell me the office, but he set me up with my wife,” he added.
Blaize’s name still can be found on the building, a tribute to the former eye doctor.
The office has four full-time employees and a part- time one. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays; 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment two Saturdays each month.
Specialties are quality eye care and contact lenses, and Stein estimated that 25 percent to 30 percent of his customers request contacts. The office schedules between 40 and 50 patients each week.
Stein had an uncle who was an optometrist.
“I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but I didn’t want to be an M.D.,” he said. “Being an optometrist was a logical choice for me.”
He graduated from Illinois College of Optometry in 1975.
Stein is certified in visual therapy and diagnostic testing of children, which allows him to test binocular vision and amblyopic and visual perception difficulties.
His experience in primary eye care includes treatment of minor injuries and infections, advanced contact lenses, fitting and computer vision syndrome, a temporary condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer display for long periods of time.
Children who are ready for kindergarten should have an eye exam, Stein said.
“Some states are passing a law that before children can enter school, they have to have an eye exam,” he said.
Stein suggests that contact lens wearers have their eyes checked annually.
“The contacts are resting on your eyes, so you want to make sure the cornea and eyes’ lids are healthy,” Stein said. “There’s (a) tendency for people to ignore symptoms, but they should come in to make sure their eyes are healthy.
“Eyeglass wearers typically have their eyes checked every two years unless they have a medical condition, like being diabetic. Between myself and some of the eye surgeons in the area, we monitor some people for macular degeneration.
“With everybody using computers, there’s a high incidence of dry eye and other computer-related symptoms.”
Although Stein does not treat macular degeneration, he said the population is growing older and there are a growing number of patients with macular degeneration, cataracts and dry eye symptoms.
“We try to treat the dry eye and refer our patients to the cataract specialists in the area,” he said.
Stein treats minor injuries and infections, but if there is someone with a major eye problem, he would examine the patient and refer them to a specialist.
Maintaining state-of-art equipment is important to Stein and his staff. He offers digital retinal photography.
“Today’s technology allows us to see more of the retina in more detail,” he said. “Using technology, we can find retinal diseases and other disorders a lot faster before they start causing major problems. I think today’s society demands that we stay on top with state-of-the-art technology. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and it’s kind of fun seeing new technology and using it.
“I have a lot more fun using the newer equipment to find glaucoma sooner, and it can save a person’s sight when we can get them the help they need.”
In the three decades Stein has worked in the eye care industry, he has noticed consumers are getting more health conscious and the profession is getting more technological.
“We’re offering better care than they ever had before,” he said.
Stein credits a personable and knowledgeable staff for the success of his business.
“We have one of the largest frame selections in the area, thanks to Pat Phanawong,” Stein said. “She works really hard on that.”
Phanawong, a Wyandotte resident, is an optician at the clinic with more than 20 years’ experience.
Stein said a large percentage of his patients are referred.
“I have a phenomenal staff,” Stein said. “They do a very good job of taking care of each patient like they are family. They are genuine. They do it because they want to, not because they have to. They are an extension of me. We want to make sure people get the care they need.”