Hattiesburg Eye Clinic’s New Optical Manager Aspires to ‘Treat Customers Like Family’

Teen girl trying sunglasses in store

Ryan Leigh knows a thing or two about eyewear. Beginning at age seventeen, he’s spent almost three decades in the industry, and in particular with actual eyewear fabrication. Over the years he’s worked with major optical providers and even ran his own eyewear shops.

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“It all started as a summer job in my hometown of Amarillo, Texas,” says Leigh. “I was just amazed at how glasses were made, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Leigh began another chapter in his career when he joined Hattiesburg Eye Clinic last October as their new optical manager. It was, in his words, an opportunity too good to pass up.

“When I first came to Hattiesburg to interview, I instantly fell in love with the city and the clinic,” says Leigh. “It just seemed like the right fit all the way around.”

“Fit” is an important word to Leigh both personally and professionally. In terms of the latter, “Fit” describes his and other eyewear professionals’ main objective—to provide customers with their perfect set of glasses: comfortable, fine-tuned to the wearer, and amazingly vision-restorative.

“It’s our goal as opticians to provide each of our customers with an eyewear experience that exceeds their expectations. To do that requires staying current with new advances and trends in this ever-changing industry,” says Leigh.

To that end, Leigh began making adjustments within Hattiesburg Eye’s Optical Department. The clinic offers eyewear services to South Mississippi families at four convenient locations throughout the region: Oak Grove, Columbia, Laurel, and at the main clinic on the Merit Health Wesley campus in Hattiesburg.

The most significant of those changes has been the implementation of a new partnership with Hoya Vision, a major lens laboratory specializing in digitally-processed lenses.

“The agreement with Hoya, who is one of the top digital lens processors, was already in the works before I came. We’re now well established in our relationship with them and they’re working out great for us,” says Leigh.

Leigh says digital lens technology can produce highly accurate lenses. The process also opens up more options for customers, like electronic eye strain glasses for people who spend a lot of time on phone or computer screens.

One of the first customers Leigh fitted with the new digitally-processed lenses was a member of the Hattiesburg Eye staff.

“He was amazed by the difference between the new digital lenses and his older conventional ones. He’s a hunter, and he compared the sharpness and clarity of his new lenses to looking through a rifle scope.”

While lenses are the most important component of corrective eyewear, the frames holding the lenses are also important, albeit for different reasons. Leigh says frames are an expression of an individual’s lifestyle, personality, and fashion. Above all, they should be comfortable to wear

cheerful female optometrist holding mirror while smiling man choosing eyeglasses in ophthalmic shop

“We still carry many of our popular lines like Silhouette, Coach, and Longchamp, and sunglasses like Ray-Ban and Rio Ray,” says Leigh. “But we’re also expanding our lines so that customers will have more than enough choices to fit their needs.”

Leigh’s focus, though, goes much deeper than assisting customers with their eyewear prescriptions and frame selections. He, the nine other Hattiesburg Eye opticians, and the entire optical support staff are making it a priority to build relationships first with the people they serve.

“A person visiting one of our shops isn’t there merely to fill a prescription and pick out a set of frames. They’re looking for lenses that will help them achieve the highest level of vision possible for them; and they’re looking for comfortable frames that fit their facial appearance, personality, and lifestyle—all at a good price point.”

Leigh’s approach—providing great eyewear products with a personal touch—seems to have resonated with Hattiesburg. Participants in FestivalSouth’s Best of the Pine Belt 2023 recently named Hattiesburg Eye as the Best Optical Shop.

“We don’t always realize what a difference eyewear makes in a person’s life. So, we want to treat customers like family, getting to know them first so we can better assist them with the right set of eyewear for them. We want them to leave smiling, feeling like we’ve taken good care of them.”

For more information about the many eyewear options available at Hattiesburg Eye Clinic Optical, visit them online at www.hattiesburgeyeclinic.com/optical-department/ . To learn more about how Hattiesburg Eye Clinic can improve your overall vision, call 601-268-5910 (or toll-free 800-624-8254) or schedule a consultation with us at www.hattiesburgeyeclinic.com/contact-us/

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