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Virginia Eye Consultants Specializes in eye surgery

Posted: May 13, 2011

Owners Karen J. Spencer, chief executive officer; John D. Sheppard MD, president; and Stephen V. Scoper MD, vice president

Main location 241 Corporate Blvd., Norfolk 23502

Phone 622-2200


Company mission Our mission is to provide world-class specialty eye care by leaders in innovation and education using state-of-the art technology. We build enduring patient relationships and provide clinical excellence in a family-focused, patient-friendly environment.

Employees 90

Growth in the past year 20%

Company info

Virginia Eye Consultants was established in 1963 by John W. Dickerson, Norfolk's first ophthalmic pathologist and oculoplastic surgeon. In 1979 Dr. Bruce I. Bodner joined Dickerson, adding his corneal specialty expertise to the practice and founding the Lions Eye Bank of Eastern Virginia.

The doctors' areas of expertise include cataract surgery, ophthalmic plastic surgery, corneal transplantation, refractive surgery, glaucoma, uveitis diagnosis and treatment, ocular infections, inflammatory eye diseases, diabetes, retinal disease, macular degeneration, eye movement disorders, pediatric eye diseases, and dry eye.

John D. Sheppard, MD, MMSc., is a board-certified, fellowship-trained corneal eye surgeon and the Virginia Eye Consultants specialist in corneal transplantation, dry eye syndrome, uveitis, cataract surgery, glaucoma and premium lens implants. He is listed in The Best Doctors in America and has received the American Academy of Ophthalmology Honor Award.

Stephen V. Scoper MD is a board-certified, fellowship-trained specialist in all areas of refractive surgery, from cataract surgery to LASIK.

Karen Spencer joined Virginia Eye Consultants and Virginia Surgery Center in September 2009. She has more than 20 years' experience in private physician practice leadership and management.

Community involvement

One primary way is by providing "charity care" typically in the amount of more than $100,000 per year in both direct clinical and surgical services as well as through the offering of public screenings for glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Our physicians, staff and sometimes our patients also participate regularly in events like Relay for Life, Polar Plunge, Wear Red for Heart Day, Wear Pink for Breast Cancer Day, Special Olympics and World Sight Day.

Spencer answered to the following questions:

What has been your biggest obstacle in running a small business?

In 2003/2004 our three partners and a few investors set out with a dream looking for the "perfect" location in the region to build a best-in-class, high tech/high touch/family focused facility where we could provide world-class specialty eye care for the region and beyond. Shortly after the land was acquired, one of the majority partners decided to take an early retirement, and in doing so left only two majority partners remaining to cope with large ticket expenses.

Once the building was completed, partner physicians were investing their personal finances to keep things running and not taking home any income.

Then the bank called in the loan on all the equipment and furnishings, equating to more than $2 million.

A local community bank took us on and funded our loan, keeping our doors open.

Together, our CEO, CFO, COO and our partner physicians have brought our organization to the leading position it occupies today.

What have you learned that you wish you'd known when you first started the business?

Having a strong experienced health care leader at the helm of our organization was critical to our past few years of success.

Without leadership paying attention to every intricate business/financial/operational detail and monitoring every department, every process, every quality point, it is impossible to be as successful as you aspire to be. nib