During optometry school, Charlotte Love, OD, traveled with her classmates to different locations to help them determine where they wanted to practice after graduation. Dr. Love fell in love with Hawaii then, and ultimately was hired by one of the doctors that she visited. She moved to the Big Island just 10 days after her 2019 graduation from Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University.
A project in her practice management class brought to her attention the dire need for more medical care on the island. “We had to pick our dream location, look at the statistics and see if it was feasible to open a practice. I knew Kona was hugely underserved; it can take three months to get an appointment with a primary care physician.” If a patient needs specialty care, such as retinal surgery, they must fly to Maui for those services.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was left unemployed, and she says that she knew she would have better control over her career if she was a business owner. So she made the decision to impact the community by opening Aloha Love Eye Care in June 2022. (Read more about Dr. Love opening the practice.) She brought to this venture the experience she gained working in multiple settings since arriving on the island in 2019, from private practice, to Walmart for a corporate fill-in work and an ophthalmology center with a retina specialist. Dr. Love continues to fly once per week to Maui to work as she builds the practice.
Dr. Love is the only low vision specialist on the island, and her office is one of just two places where people can go for same-day glasses.
She also enjoys giving back outside of her office walls through the Project Vision Hawaii, working with elementary schools and visiting remote areas of the island to provide access to care they couldn’t get otherwise. She’s also an active member of the Waikoloa Village Lions Club.