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Seeing Eye to Eye

Superior vision care for every member of the family

Taking care of our eye health involves more than just getting or updating a prescription every so often. Having regular yearly eye exams is an important part of our overall healthcare. 

“There are many ocular problems that don't necessarily have symptoms,” says optometrist Dr. Susan Rollenhagen, with Family Eye Care of Topeka. “Glaucoma is one of those things. It's a very serious sight-threatening disease.”

By examining the eyes, eye doctors can also see signs of other illnesses, such as diabetes, and on very rare occasions, cancer and different types of tumors. “Your eyes are really a direct connection to the brain, and if your vision is good, it doesn't necessarily mean that your eyes are healthy,” she says.

Family Eye Care of Topeka has been a trusted provider of optometry services and vision care products in the Topeka community since 1999. With its advanced diagnostic technology and vision correction products, patients can be assured that all their vision and eyecare needs will be thoroughly and thoughtfully addressed. 

In addition to the issues mentioned above, the practice also diagnoses and corrects common eye problems such as astigmatism, farsightedness, nearsightedness, and aging eyes. They can also treat computer vision syndrome, dry eye syndrome, inflammation of the eyelid and eyelashes and more. 

Having worn glasses and contacts from a young age, Dr. Rollenhagen became interested in health professions while in high school. After shadowing a few different practitioners, she felt that becoming an optometrist was the best fit.  

Her partner in the practice, Dr. Jessica Mai, originally intended to go into business. “In college, I quickly learned that my business classes were not nearly as interesting as math and science, so I decided to pursue a health profession. I started doing volunteer work with the Society for the Blind, and I just fell in love with helping people enhance and protect their vision.” 

Before having children, Dr. Mai also took part in multiple mission trips to provide eye care to people in Central America. “They were fun and a lot of work, but also very rewarding,” she says.

The two women had known each other for many years before partnering up. “I graduated in 1999 and worked in a few different offices,” says Dr. Rollenhagen. “I joined Family Eye Care of Topeka in 2009 and became a partner. I love that it's small and very patient-focused.”

By January of 2021, Dr. Mai had been practicing in Topeka for about 14 years. “I once worked in an office where Susan was an optometrist, and we've known each other for quite some time.”

When Dr. Rollenhagen’s previous partner decided to retire, she asked Dr. Mai to join her as a partner. “I really like the small family atmosphere, and how we really treat our patients like family,” says Dr. Mai. “Plus, to have a chance to partner with Susan was one of the big things that brought me here.” 

The two see patients ranging in age from pediatric to geriatric, which necessitates a diverse set of skills and services. “We treat many medical conditions and refer those who need surgery to someone here in town,” says Dr. Rollenhagen.

Family Eye Care of Topeka also really prides itself on offering custom made, quality eyewear. “It’s a really big part of what we do,” says Dr. Mai. “We've found that a lot of patients come in with glasses that aren't correctly made or correctly fit for them, and they're also not meeting safety standards. Here, we provide hands-on service to ensure the best fit and quality.”

The office manager and head optician, Lori, along with Kylie, another optician, help patients select glasses and choose the best frames and materials that will best suit their prescriptions and needs. Their insurance specialist, Janie, also assists patients with contact lens training and handles some testing prior to the doctor visit. Sylvia also assists the doctors and gets patients ready to see them, and then there’s Linda, who handles the front desk like a pro.

Comfort is also a focus of the practice. “We don't have a lot of office-type furniture, but instead comfortable chairs and a couch,” says Dr. Rollenhagen. “We even have a little kids’ playroom.”

A recent development the women are really excited about is partnering with a new nonprofit in town called Project 2 Restore, which will be a shelter for survivors of human trafficking. “This program will help women recover and get back on their feet, and we're going to provide glasses and eye exams to help out.” says Dr. Rollenhagen.

One nice bonus they both love about their careers is how it allows them to be there for their families. “My husband and I have three amazing kids, a new son-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter," says Dr. Rollenhagen. "A large part of my life is centered around them, and I feel very blessed to have a career I love that allows me to spend quality time with my family."

Dr. Mai has been married for 18 years and has two boys, ages 11 and 8. “They are very active and we try to keep up with them. We like to bike as a family and often take bike riding trips.”

To find out more about the services offered, go to https://visionsource-topeka.com/ or call (785) 271-8989

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