Arguably our most important sensory organ, the eye is also one of the most delicate tools in the body, susceptible to changes in blood pressure, genes, and our daily habits. Daunting as caring for the eye may seem, there are those who would see everyone enjoy a lifetime of unimpaired seeing. Enter Dr. Lawrence Kessler, an optometrist who has dedicated his life to the task and spent the last five years servicing the community of Champaign through his Main Street-based practice, Kessler Optical.
I discussed with Kessler his aspirations as both eye doctor and business owner, in celebration of Kessler Optical’s five-year anniversary this week.
As a child, Lawrence Kessler was always interested in Health care, calling it a “given” by the ripe age of 10. Needless to say, Kessler had more direction at that age than most of us find until our early 20s, eventually deciding on optometry because of it blended his “passion for medicine as well as technology”. Born in New York, he spent most of his life in South Florida, and went on to obtain several degrees in the visual sciences, optometry, and pharmacology. He’s been a long time local in Champaign, having practiced optometry here for the last 17 years, and ultimately founding his own practice in 2009.
Kessler Optical offers a wide variety of services, from eye exams, to contact lenses, glasses, laser surgery, and more. As proponents of “routine vision care”, Dr. Kessler and his staff associate eye health and appearance to quality of life, pushing for regular monitoring as a means for early diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.
“We want to educate our patients”, Kessler says, “helping them understand the care their eyes need. We want to stand out as independents in a world of small and large chains that offer only mediocrity.” That goal in mind, Kessler has since expanded his business to encompass a continually growing base of patients “who are looking for the best that the field of optometry has to offer”, a feat he says is owed to his great relationship with the community.
A higher-end practice that doesn’t skimp on quality, Kessler Optical challenges the status quo with a clever and calculated blend of technology and experience, offering its patients the latest in medical advancements and expertise to meet the customer’s visual needs. Granted, you’ll pay a little bit more, but satisfied patients are near unanimous in rating Kessler’s customer service and professionalism highly.
“We strive to offer services that respect patients’ needs, and provide only the best that is available to them”, he says. Kessler recognizes his relationship with the people is two-pronged, and can only be achieved through a mutual and empathetic understanding: “we treat our patients as we would ourselves and our families, with an open ear to their needs”. He attributes his staff’s excellent customer service to their having had bad experiences elsewhere, with other businesses. “We’ve worked to learn from those experiences”, he mentions, “and to treat our patents with how we would want to be treated if we were a visitor to this office.”
I asked Dr. Kessler why he decided to set up shop in Champaign of all places. His practice seems more fitting for a trendy neighborhood in the big city than a small town in central Illinois.
“I was raised in urban environments”, he says, citing New York, Miami, and Chicago, “and thus have always been drawn to the center of our ‘micro-urban’ community…My family and I moved to Champaign in 1993, and I have always seen the potential for growth and diversity in the downtown area”.
Kessler doesn’t seem attracted by the prospect of providing exclusive care to an “upper class”, though he certainly could with his impressive set of degrees and the years of experience under his belt. He’s contented by other things — incorporating the latest in medical technologies in his work, owning his own business, servicing and developing relationships with his patients, to name a few.
Where something as delicate as the human eye is concerned, there are too many variables, too many variations to adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach to visual care. Kessler seems very much in tune with this, striving to give his utmost to delivering personalized care, to ensuring a lifetime of seeing.
“That’s what makes us happy!”