ClLINTON — Fifteen months after opening for business in Clinton, Mid-State Eye had to start working with the same COVID-19 restrictions as other businesses. But, residents have responded to having the optical practice in town, and the improved situation with the virus has made it possible for people to begin to relax a little.
It’s difficult to forecast or calculate year-to-date patient trends when dealing with something like COVID. But patient numbers for Mid-State are good and have increased substantially.
“It made it a little difficult to gauge, be we’ve had tremendous growth,” said Dr. Bradley Grant, O.D., owner of Mid-State Eye. “And, we’re thankful for that.”
Grant said the practice currently sees about 80 patients a week.
He said about May of this year people coming to his practice started to relax a little when it came to the uneasiness surrounding the virus.
“People wear masks, but you can come to work and not feel like COVID is the conversation and doesn’t hover over everything,” Grant said.
He said that, for at least a year, every interaction included some kind of discussion about COVID.
Mid-State is beginning to see some of those patients who were reluctant to go out much for a while.
“They just now are feeling comfortable to come back out for doctors’ visits and other things,” Grant said.
Patients tend to visit their optometrists about every year and a half to two years, Grant said. So, his office is seeing a lot of new patients who live in town but maybe have been going out of town for their eye exams and glasses and/or contact lenses. He said most of Mid-State’s new patients live in town.
“Clinton has more than enough individuals to support a service like this,” Grant said. “And, to me, it’s my preference for how we practice.”
He said he prefers working in smaller communities because it’s easier to get to know his patients.
“We get a lot of compliments based on that,” Grant said.
Grant also maintains practices in Shelbyville and Decatur as well as satellite offices in Champaign and Springfield. The satellite locations are in Target stores’ optical departments, which contract with Grant for optometrist services. Grant makes a point of visiting all of the locations for staff training and maintaining a relationship with employees.