HerKentucky Business: Stratton Eyes

Here at HerKentucky, we love sharing wisdom from women business owners from around the Commonwealth. Today, we hear from Dr. Dawn Stratton of Stratton Eyes in Lexington


Why build your practice in Kentucky? 
I came to Lexington in 1994 following graduation from Optometry school in Chicago so that my husband could finish a master’s degree. We fell in love with the area and decided to stay. Lexington often weathers recessions and downturns much better than most cities because of an abundance of colleges and universities in the area as well as a thriving healthcare industry and a diverse economy. These factors help small businesses thrive in the Bluegrass. In 2006, Forbes ranked Lexington, KY 21st among the Best Places for Business and Careers

You've been in business for a while now any words of wisdom or lessons learned along the way that you could pass along?
As quoted by John Wooden “Nothing will work unless you do”. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you push yourself. Sometimes success depends on your willingness to devote more personal energy and work longer hours. However, when challenges slow your progress, it’s sometimes hard to remember that something good might come from all your hard work. Self-doubt can leave you wondering if your goals are worth the mental fatigue that you’re enduring along the way. I have found over the last 20 years of small business ownership that almost always, a worthwhile goal requires tremendous effort and commitment. If your goal means that much to you, and if you’re willing to do the tough stuff and not give up, you have an excellent chance of achieving it.

What should people look for when picking out an eye doctor? Should there be different considerations for children versus adults?
A major factor you should consider when choosing an eye doctor is the recommendation of that doctor by friends, family members and coworkers. Word-of-mouth referrals often are the best way to find a friendly, competent and caring eye doctor and avoid unpleasant surprises when you go to have your eyes examined. The little details can make an eye exam a very positive experience for your child. An office with a great play area and scheduled appointments with no wait time, along with a doctor who leaves the clinic coat in the closet provide a friendly relaxed environment for your child to sit back and enjoy their eye examination!


What are the general guidelines for how often people should visit the eye doctor? Does the age of the patient determine how often they should go?
Children should receive their first comprehensive eye examination before the age of 3, unless a specific condition or history of family childhood vision problems warrants an earlier examination. Children ages 3 to 19 should see the eye doctor every year or two, unless more visits are recommended due to specific medical conditions. Adults from the ages of 20 to late 30’s should have an eye exam every two years. Yearly exams become important in the late thirties when changes in vision and focus along with eye diseases are more likely to develop.

I know a lot of people who avoid going to the eye doctor because they don't want to get their eyes dilated, but the past several times I've been, I haven't had to do that. What other options are there?
While eye exams generally include a look at the front of the eye to evaluate health and prescription changes, a thorough screening of the retina is critical to verify that your eye is healthy. This can lead to early detection of common diseases, such as glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration, and even cancer. In the past, dilating the eye was the only way to get a full view of the retina. Thanks to new technology, the Optos Retinal Imaging System is able to provide a digital picture of the back of the eye without the use of dilation drops. The exam is quick, painless, and provides an image that can be saved for comparison at future exams.

Are there any trends in eyewear that you're seeing coming down the line? Will we all still want to wear hipster glasses?
Eyewear has become a must-have accessory for both men and women that provide an exciting way to change your style without having to buy an entire new wardrobe. The newest trends include streamlined cat-eye styles; dramatic patterns and colorful temples with a rounded frame; as well as shapes and retro-keyhole cut bridges. Hipster frames are on the way out, to be replaced by Statement frames in shapes that bridge the gap between rectangular and square; these frames can perfectly frame the face.

Here at HerKentucky, we love to support Kentucky's women owned businesses. What advice do you have for women who wants to start their own business?
Find your passion. Set a goal and go for it. Just prepare to do a lot of hard hammering, chiseling and polishing but the end result can be so worth it.

Quick Fire Round: 
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee 
  • Bourbon or martinis? Wine red and dry 
  • One dream you still want to reach? Creating a one stop shop all under one roof for busy moms that includes an optometrist, dentist, chiropractor, gym, gynecologist and, best of all, child care to entertain your kids while you take care of all your appointments. 
  • Favorite Lexington restaurant? Azur 
  • Favorite way to spend a Friday night. Dinner, movie and the company of good friends!
Thanks Dr. Stratton for sharing a mix of business insight and practical advice! Make sure to check out our other HerKentucky Business posts here