The consultants at Visionary Optics are experts in their field and always ready to help eye care practitioners and patients find the perfect fit for scleral lenses. Every month, we will feature a different Visionary Optics consultant and the valuable work they are doing.
Belinda Priest has worked with eye care patients since she was a teenager. She started working in her stepfather’s optometry practice when she was around 16 years old, learning about eye exams, lens fittings, and other aspects of patient care. Fifteen years later, Belinda joined the Visionary Optics’ customer service team and later trained to become a consultant. She will celebrate seven years with Visionary Optics this year.
“Belinda is by FAR the best consultant I have ever had the privilege of working with. She is extremely knowledgeable about the various technologies and designs and can help troubleshoot complex cases. She is calm, patient, and composed and always strives to find solutions. But best of all, she sees cases through from start all the way to finish, she truly cares about every patient and every single lens that she helps design. I love Belinda and am so thankful to be able to collaborate with her on a daily basis. Thank you for EVERYTHING Belinda!”
Dr. Elise Kramer, Miami Contact Lens Institute – Miami, Florida
Q&A with Consultant Belinda Priest
What does your typical day look like as a consultant?
My primary goal for each day is to help as many doctors as possible finalize successful scleral lens fits for their patients. This includes everything from fit evaluations with doctors who are newer to scleral lens fitting to troubleshooting extremely challenging lens fits with some of the most experienced experts in our field. The doctors that I have the pleasure of working with every day start as customers but very quickly become friends. My job is not just to get a lens designed, manufactured, and out the door for them – it is to help them every step of the way from the initial fit to final dispense and every aspect in between. I really get to know my doctors and their staff – What does their ideal scleral lens fit look like (every doctor is different – whether it is clearance values, material preferences, etc.)? How can I make the scleral fitting process as efficient as possible for them? How can we optimize our communication to ensure a streamlined partnership between Visionary Optics & their Practice?
Is there a lens fitting success story that stands out to you that you would like to share?
I have so many I could share. Here are just a few:
- I had one patient who had a bad chemical burn in his eye while he was working in a production facility in Florida. The burn basically scraped off the whole front surface of the cornea. I was actually there installing the sMap3D when the patient came in to see the doctor. Of course, his eye was just in horrible shape; he hadn’t been able to see, and his eye was ready to perforate. We completed an sMap3D image acquisition and I came back to Virginia and designed the lens. The doctor called me after the fitting, and she was just ecstatic. The patient was seeing 20/40, which was amazing. It saved that eye from being perforated and allowed him to see out of it properly again.
- Another patient was a little four-year-old girl who had had surgery on her eyelids and wasn’t able to blink. She was trying to wear glasses, but it was uncomfortable and she was in pain. We worked with the sMap to design a lens for her that would protect her eye so she could function comfortably and sit and do her schoolwork. We were able to get her fit with a Europa lens. She’s now seeing 20/100 in one eye and 20/200 in the other, which was an incredible improvement.
- The last story I’ll share is a patient who had been poked hard in the eye with someone’s thumb. She had extensive trauma in that eye and wasn’t able to see clearly. It was a really tough case because the trauma had affected the eye shape and was no longer spherical; there were irregular peaks and valleys on the cornea and sclera. But, with the help of the sMap3D, we were able to design a lens to fit her comfortably, and now she’s able to use that eye again.
Is it a highlight of your job hearing these stories?
It’s amazing, it really is. It is very rewarding to see how scleral lenses transform patients’ lives. One gentleman had lost his business, his home, his marriage, everything because he wasn’t able to see and couldn’t get to work. We fit him in scleral lenses, and he called the doctor crying tears of joy because he could see again. You hear stories of people who are seeing their grandchildren for the first time. That really does happen. You think that’s only in the movies, but it’s real life.
For extremely challenging fits, what recommendations would you give to doctors so they can communicate with a consultant and get the best lens fit?
Document, document, document. We are dealing with minute numbers, microns. It’s very important to have adequate information based on what doctors are seeing with the clearance or the edge. If they can give us exact data — for instance, if they’re seeing compression at 180, that’s very helpful for us to know exactly where they’re seeing that. And images are worth a thousand words. If they can get photographic images of issues that they’re seeing or OCT images, that helps us better evaluate the edge and the clearance. The more documentation they give us, the better fitting lens they’re going to get.
What Doctors Have to Say About Belinda:
Hannah from Dr. Bank’s Office
Belinda Priest at Visionary Optics is thorough, kind, and a sheer pleasure to work with! She is always on top of things, very thorough, quick to respond, and with a very willing spirit at that.
In a world where good and genuine customer service is more scarcely found than ever, she takes it to the level above excellence. She is a ray of sunshine, day in and day out! Thank you, Belinda!
Dr. Holly Ternus
Heartland Eye Associates
Belinda takes the time to make sure the fit is correct, changes are accurate, and helps to maximize our fits with the sMap technology. She knows the perfect balance between what the practitioner suggests and what the technology provides. I know when she is consulting, the patients will have less lens orders and better results. Thanks for helping us improve our patients’ lives, Belinda!
Dr. David Shin
Gig Harbor Eye Care
Gig Harbor, WA
Belinda is my go-to consultant at Visionary Optics because she is exceptionally knowledgeable, responsive, and reliable. She provides practical, real-world advice that works. My scleral lens practice would not be where it is without her help. Thank you, Belinda!
Learn how Visionary Optics can improve scleral lens fitting at your practice. Get in touch with our team.