Dr. Vince Simoncini - Optometrist
Dr. Vince Simoncini’s circle of friends keeps growing.
Last year, he had 1,700 – patients he saw at his practice.
“I want everyone to feel from the first visit that they’re a VIP and after like they’re seeing old friends.”
Vince, 53, opened Anne Arundel Family Eye Care in fall 2007. Prior to that, he worked at four other practices in Maryland and Virginia.
He grew up in Prince George’s County with an eye towards a career in health care. While he was in high school at Bishop McNamara, Dr. Francis P. Chiaramonte, founder of Southern Maryland Hospital Center, took him under his wing, providing advice and support.
Vince didn’t settle on optometry until after college. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland In 1984, then earned a doctor of optometry degree from the University of Houston four years later. "It seemed like a profession where you could really make a difference and yet be much more likely to deliver good news and optimism than bad news.”
He still relishes these moments – telling a senior citizen he doesn’t have vision problems or helping a child get his first pair of glasses and improve school performance. “It’s super gratifying and fun.”
Vince runs his Annapolis practice with two full-time and two part-time employees. The 1,400-square-foot space in the Anne Arundel Gastroenterology building includes an exam room, a pre-test room, contact lens fitting area and a selection of 600 of the latest and most fashionable frames from 20 designers.
The goal has never been to get the most people in the door. It’s to provide personalized and compassionate care.
The logo for the office – an eye being held and protected – isn’t an accident. “It shows your eyes are in good hands,” said Vince, who is a member of national, state and military optometry associations. “I listen more than I talk. It’s the best part of the job.”
Patients become like family – echoing the name of the practice – and hearing their concerns is vital. “Vision is a subjective thing,” Vince said. “It can be job-specific, lifestyle-specific, or need-specific. Five people with the same eyes you might resolve five different ways.”
When he’s not in the office, the Annapolis resident enjoys sports and is an avid foodie. He plays golf and is a fan of the Nationals and Redskins.
“My hope is that when people find us, they’ll want to stay. It’s all about relationships. I love watching people grow up and feeling like it’s a friend in my chair.’’
Karen Westover - Optician
Karen Westover went to the eye doctor for an exam and never left.
She visited the optometrist as part of a pre-college checkup and he asked her to fill in for his receptionist – temporarily. “I stayed 5 years.” The optometrist even paid for her coursework to become certified as an optician. She’s never looked back.
Karen, a West Virginia native, worked at three other practices before helping Dr. Simoncini open his office. She met him at an educational seminar and they clicked. “He is just a very dynamic person,” she said.
Her career has spanned 42 years, but she’s never tired of helping people. Her duties run the gamut – buying frames, helping people select them, making adjustments on glasses, pre-testing, front desk work, and insurance billing. “It’s much more personal here,” she said. “Our patients are not like a number. We get to know them.”
Karen said women tend to be the most fashion-conscious when picking a frame, but male engineers can be among the pickiest. “They’re so technical,” she said. Nevertheless, she’s up for the challenge. She wears glasses herself and knows about the “in” frames, as well as their details.
Eyewear tends to run in five-year cycles, she said, so the popular styles typically move from rectangle to square to round – and then back again.
“I like serving the public,” she said. “I like making people happy.”
When she’s not at the office, the Odenton resident enjoys movies, dancing and trying out new restaurants.