Family businesses in LaBelle are often synonymous with community support. Take Family Eye Care. Since opening the center with wife, Vicki, in 1982, Randy Parrish has tended to LaBelle’s optical needs.
Born and raised in Fort Myers, Randy has always had ties to LaBelle, including attending church in Felda, so when he received his degree in optometry he just naturally leaned toward opening his practice here.
“I thought it was a great opportunity. There was a need. And it turned out fantastic!” he said.
From the earliest days, FEC was dedicated to community support as well as quality eye care.
The years have been good and the practice has not just grown but thrived. First, Randy’s brother, Tom, joined as office manager. He then became a licensed optician, offering a finishing lab, cutting lenses to each patients’ choice of frames in-house.
By 1990 the practice had grown so much that cousin Lamar Youmans, a third generation Floridian, joined as the second optometrist.
It was in 1995 that FEC moved from its original location in the old Winn-Dixie Plaza on SR 80 (where Beef O’Brady’s is now) to its current location at 100 N. Main Street.
FEC has always striven to stay current with state-of-the-art technology and medicine. Early on the doctors realized the benefits that telemedicine could offer to rural patients and provided the service to their patients. Although telemedicine has been eclipsed by internet capabilities, their early acceptance of new technology shows their commitment to excellence.
Their newest addition to their technical tool box is the OPTOS, a state-of-the-art retinal imaging device that takes a 200 degree digital photo of the retina, providing an unequaled view of the back of the eye to help diagnose diabetic retinopathy and Macular Degeneration.
These days FEC can perform virtually all eye health procedures except surgery.
They can even make prescription eyeglasses for patients who cannot respond.
Randy served as a lieutenant in the US Navy Medical Service Corps for three years. As a proud veteran, he has worked hard with the Veterans Administration to provide eye care locally for fellow veterans.
“I strongly feel the need to help these guys,” he commented.
After 35 years, the FEC continues to grow with the addition of Randy’s son, Jordan, last year. The 2004 LHS graduate spent his undergraduate years at Edison Community College and then FGCU working as an assistant technician in the family practice, building a firm foundation in optometry from the ground up. He also did a rotation at Bascom Palmer, one of the premier vision care companies.
With extra experience in the evaluation and treatment of “dry eye,” a serious condition which cannot be cured, only managed.
He received his degree in optometry from NOVA Southeastern in June 2016.
Currently, FEC’s extended “family” has grown to some 20 employees, including the three doctors, three opticians and clerical personnel.
The doctors are very active in supporting legislative change in the medical field through the Florida Optometric Association. Lamar even produced a video for the Florida Legislature in an effort to improve rural care
For 35 years the folks at Family Eye Care have been dedicated to providing top notch vision care to the community they love. Their commitment does not end there. Over the years they have steadily developed community relationships as well as their medical practice.
With a commitment to education, they reach out at health fairs and career days. Lamar is a long-time leader in the LaBelle Chamber of Commerce. Young Jordan’s wife is a teacher at LaBelle Elementary School. The couple has a new baby.
Randy served on the Board of Directors for Edison College (now Florida Southwestern) and continues to be involved in dorm and housing issues at Florida Southwestern. He even sings with a barbershop group in Fort Myers called the Gulf Coast Harmonizers.
Family Eye Care is located at 100 N. Main Street. You can contact them at 675-0761.