Kelly Aung, OD, and Pete Chinosornvatana, OD, her husband, have been able to create a practice model that allows them to keep expanding their clinical and business skills with the full support of Luxottica behind them.
They became aware of how they might design a career path within Luxottica when the two were third-year students at Illinois College of Optometry, and they each applied to go on a OneSight mission trip to Mexico. “It was such an eye-opening trip, and it allowed us to see what Luxottica was like as a company,” Dr. Aung says. Feeling like she knew the core of the company’s philosophy, she and her husband both applied to work with the company after graduation. “Luxottica cared about the patient, and we liked that about the company,” she says.
Dr. Aung began working for LensCrafters in Joliet and Aurora, Illinois, and she enjoyed it. Dr. Chinosornvatana also landed at a LensCrafters. She soon added a Sears lease in 2013 in nearby Aurora/Naperville. “The lease gave me flexibility to see what days were the busiest so that I could adjust my schedule to meet the patient patterns.”
Expanding their reach
She enjoyed the ability to learn more about business management as a leaseholder, and when yet another opportunity became available in the fall of 2017—this time with a Target Optical in Glenview—she took the chance. “I couldn’t handle two locations all on my own, so my husband and I were able to open Aung Family Eye Care together. That makes it feel more like it’s ours. We each see patients, and we’ve hired another doctor.”
Within six months, the location needed doctor coverage for four full days. “Patients love Target. It’s such a family-oriented environment,” she says. For them as new leaseholders, it was perfect. “It’s a newer model store, so the equipment is new, and we started fresh.” An electronic health records (EHR) system had been installed, and data from the digital phoropter and other diagnostic instruments feeds right into the EHR. “We could create office policies and procedures as we wanted to; there were no old habits to break or old procedures to fix,” she says.
Medical patients welcome
The doctors have been able to expand more into a medical model of optometry here, too. The contact lens business is brisk in this location, more so than in her Sears location. “We have also incorporated some medical insurances,” she says, and almost immediately,
she began seeing more medical patients.
Patients with diabetic retinopathy, headaches, allergies and even a patient with a recently diagnosed case of Bell’s palsy have been in to see her. “They all say that they didn’t know that we’d be able to help them here. They’re delighted to hear that we can,” she says.
The terrific start-up experience at Target has left the doctors interested in doing more. “We really like the Target brand,” she says. “We’ve seen it grow so rapidly from word of mouth, foot traffic and the number of shoppers who are looking online at Target. There’s a lot of potential here.”
Each time Dr. Aung and her husband branch out, they find more rewards. They’re supported by the well-trained staff in the opticals and by the regional directors within Luxottica. And each time she is introduced to a new store or a new model, she learns more about the business of optometry and how she can create a career that suits her so well.