In 1995, Dr. Robert Davidson was in search of a community in which to open a comprehensive ophthalmology practice. He had completed his residency program at Tulane University in New Orleans the year before and knew that he wanted to live in the southwest. In his research, he discovered that Chandler, Arizona, was the fastest growing city of its size in the country. The growth potential, along with the demographics, quickly put Chandler at the top of his list. The nearby medical infrastructure clinched the deal. When he chose a small office space on Chandler Boulevard near Alma School Road over 20 years ago, it was on the outskirts of town. His research panned out, and he now feels as if the practice is in the hub of Chandler.
Chandler has grown, as has Chandler Eye Center. Initially it started with Dr. Davidson and one receptionist. A friend had helped him interview and hire his first employee. The slow office pace wasn’t to the receptionist’s liking, and she didn’t stay. In her defense, the pace was slow. He used one exam lane and performed six surgeries his first year in private practice.
During those early years, he discovered how much he enjoyed having the time to develop relationships with patients. Rather than having to rush, he found the value in getting to know each person. Taking time to find out how each individual spends their time and what visual tasks are most important to them allows him to tailor his approach. This is especially important in cataract surgery. A park ranger may prefer vision set to distance, while an arts and crafts person may like near focus.
There isn’t anything more rewarding to Dr. Davidson than having the ability to correct vision at the time of cataract surgery. He loves Wednesdays. It’s the day that patients come in for post-op visits. “It never gets old,” he says, “to remove the eye patch and watch my patient read the eye chart.” Smiles, hugs and tears of joy are often par for the course.
The growth of Chandler Eye Center necessitated bringing in another doctor in 2013. Dr. Nicole Penke shares Dr. Davidson’s vision of individualized care. They both continue to hone their skills through training at national conventions and ophthalmology society meetings.
Patients have become like family. The Chandler Eye Center team now has six staff members (three have been with the practice for over 13 years) and four exam lanes. Dr. Davidson has completed close to 5,800 surgeries, and the friend who assisted him in hiring his first receptionist 21 years ago is now his wife. She recently added a woman’s touch to the reception room and patient restroom. “Our long-time patients especially appreciate the comfortable homelike feel of our new design,” says Dr. Davidson. “Caring for people and their vision. That’s what it’s all about and that’s why we’re here.”