As the son of a veterinarian, Dr. Chris Heetland grew up with a strong interest in the life sciences, anatomy and physiology.
Once he was in college, Dr. Heetland says he gravitated towards the idea of specializing in optometry.
“The science of vision is unbelievably complex and fascinating. The anatomy of human eye is equally incredible,” he says.
After graduating from Pacific University in 1998, Dr. Heetland moved to Chandler to begin his optometric career and founded Insight Eyecare & Eyewear in the summer of 2008.
“We have a wonderful team of caring professionals that truly love what they do and enjoy making a positive impact in the lives of our patients,” he says.
“It is our culture that truly drives the practice mission of ‘Highest Quality. Superior Care. A Better Experience.’”
In addition to offering the traditional services found at other eye care facilities, Dr. Heetland says he and his staff specialize in a couple of areas that are not very common.
For example, Insight's Dry Eye Center provides expert diagnostic evaluation and customized treatments for dry eye disease.
“As you might expect, Arizona has its fair share of dry eye sufferers, but dry eye is much more complex than most people realize, affecting 340 million people worldwide,” Dr. Heetland says.
“With our state-of-the-art analysis, we provide our patients with real solutions that treat the root cause of their dry eye, such as our Dry Eye Spa therapy.”
Insight Eyecare & Eyewear also sees patients in its Myopia Control Center. As Dr. Heetland notes, myopia is a medical condition, commonly known as nearsightedness, in which objects that are nearby are clear but distant objects are blurry.
“At our practice, we implement visual correction strategies to greatly slow the progression of nearsightedness in our younger population. The primary method of control features specialized contact lenses that gently correct the curvature of the cornea overnight while asleep,” he explains.
Dr. Heetland also advises concerned parents to encourage their children to spend less time in front of digital screens and more time playing outside.
“But don’t forget the sunglasses! We cannot overlook the intense, potentially dangerous sunlight that is part of our beautiful Arizona,” he says, adding that the sun’s UV rays can damage the various delicate tissues of the eye and lead to cataract formation.
“Furthermore, when considering the list of health-related problems associated with the intense Arizona sunshine, I believe age-related macular degeneration (AMD) should be at the top of this list.”
As Dr. Heetland explains, the sun is the most powerful environmental contributing factor to the development of AMD. However, unlike with cataracts, it’s not so much the UV rays that end up causing the damage to the macula at the back of the eye, but rather over-exposure to specific wavelengths of blue-violet visible light.
“The bottom line is everyone should be wearing high-quality, protective sunglasses. Interestingly, it is even more prudent for our younger patients to be wearing sunglasses because they tend to have larger pupils, which potentially allows for more damaging light to enter the eyes,” he says.
Looking back, Dr. Heetland says he is definitely pleased with his decision to go into optometry.
“I get to help people better understand how they can achieve their best eye health and vision on an everyday basis,” he says, adding that he also loves the challenge of staying on the very leading edge of best practices in eye care.
“I have found this to be deeply rewarding, as my patients really appreciate the time, care, and valuable insights I continuously strive to provide them at every visit.”
Insight Eyecare & Eyewear is located at 4925 S. Alma School Road, Ste. 1. For more information, call 480.883.0900 or visit InsightOnEyes.com.