Eyecare centers thriving, expanding under couple's ownership

From left are Tera Unzicker-Fassero, O.D. Daniel Fassero, M.D., Alex Lupolt, O.D., and Jennifer Hoffmaster, PA-C.

A ceremonial snip of oversized scissors last July outside a Montoursville office building marked the third grand opening of a clinic for Central Vision Eyecare within 16 months.

The married couple of Dr. Tera Unzicker-Fassero, an optometrist, and Dr. Daniel Fassero, an ophthalmologist, founded the practice. Daniel leased space in Selinsgrove before the couple closed on acquiring the former Milton optometric practice of Dr. David Fetterman in March 2019. They followed by opening a Lewisburg location along Route 15 in October 2019 and nine months later, the Montoursville office.

“We really wanted that location, that’s where we’re from,” Tera said of the Lewisburg office, located inside the fully renovated building that once housed AgChoice Farm Credit.

The four locations allow for a north-south distribution of services rather than a centralized location. Staff at the four offices, which includes optometrist Dr. Alex C. Lupolt and certified physician’s assistant Jennifer Hoffmaster, treat most diseases though laser work is performed exclusively at the Lewisburg location, Daniel said.

Services include refractive exams for eyeglasses and contact lenses, routine screenings for glaucoma and diabetic complications, retinal and corneal exams and exams for macular degeneration — basic comprehensive eye care.

“We try to serve all sides of it, medical and optometric,” Tera said.

“The scale tips to me when there is something outside the routine healthy eye,” Daniel said, referring to the surgeries and laser procedures he handles.

The Fasseros likened the cooperation between optometrists and ophthalmologists as the settling of turf wars. As Tera tells it, there’s plenty of patients to share.

There may be more, too, if a “large segment of the population” didn’t ignore the need for routine eye exams, Daniel said. That’s a problem for conditions like glaucoma where subtle symptoms don’t present before vision problems develop, he said.

“At that point, unfortunately, often the damage is done,” Daniel said, adding that even a basic screening for a patient with no known history of vision maladies can allow for early detection.

The Fasseros turned to the Bucknell Small Business Development Center in launching Central Vision Eyecare. At one point early on, the doctors used SBDC office space in downtown Lewisburg before finding permanent sites.

The pandemic disrupted the practice’s Montoursville opening, which had been planned for March. Tera said the state’s business closures kept the practice closed for six weeks. They worked to reschedule patient appointments and to reschedule them again. They worked to maintain payroll and pay their own bills. And, they worked to ensure patients in need of eye care and eyewear were served. If an emergent issue developed for a patient, Dan saw to it they were treated.

“We were scared. No one knew anything,” Tera said. “It’s not like we could turn away from Montoursville. We knew we had to go through with it.”

“Patients need quality care and that’s been our main driver in opening this practice,” she said.

Learn more about clinic locations and services at www.centralvisioneyecare.com.

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