Meet the Provider: Sophia Visanji, OD

A Q&A with the optometrist and East Coast Director of Clinical Care for Zak. Eyes, practicing at HealthQuarters.

As a licensed optometrist, Dr. Sophia Visanji has long been committed to providing holistic care to people of all ages. Now, as part of Zak’s partnership with HealthQuarters, she’s helping patients connect to holistic, preventive eye care on a whole new level.


Dr. Visanji is certified in the diagnosis and management of a wide range of ocular diseases including glaucoma, dry eye syndrome, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. She received her BS from the University of Alberta with a major in Biological Sciences and her Doctorate of Optometry from the New England College of Optometry, where she was a member of the National Optometric Honors Society. Read on to learn how she found her way to optometry, what she wishes more people knew about their eye health, and why she’s looking forward to collaborating with other practitioners at HealthQuarters.


What inspired you to become an optometrist and how did you get started?

Early on in my career, I was working in sales for an eyecare boutique back home in Canada. I worked for an optometrist who was very passionate about the profession and eventually inspired me to go to optometry school. As I started learning more about optometry, I found that it married all of my passions, including science, medicine, healthcare, but also business and fashion.

What do you wish more people knew about eye health?

Don’t skip your annual eye exam! Even if you don’t have a prescription, annual eye exams are important, as there's a lot our eyes tell us about our systemic health. Even if you do have 20/20 vision, it doesn't necessarily mean that your eyes are completely healthy. There could be other underlying conditions, which is why you should treat your eyes like any other part of your body and have them checked annually.


What’s more, I think people don’t understand how much we are using our eyes every day with the increased use of digital devices. We are in a time unlike any other and our eyes need more support than ever before. That entails taking frequent breaks and wearing blue light glasses to relieve ocular discomfort (even if you don’t necessarily have a prescription). At Zak, we also recommend the 20-20-20 rule: Give your eyes a break by looking twenty feet away for twenty seconds, every twenty minutes.


What can a guest expect from an appointment with you? What's it going to be like?

One of the wonderful things about Zak is that by combining eyewear and eye care, we can be a one-stop shop for your optical needs. 


To start, you’ll get a full comprehensive eye exam with me. Our exams include a standard vision test but we also look holistically at optical risks like glaucoma and underlying issues like high blood pressure or diabetes. These diseases are often asymptomatic, but we can catch them using our state of the art equipment. We can also take care of all of your needs from a medical standpoint—including foreign object removal and eye infections.


After the exam, our team can assist you with getting contact lenses, glasses, or a pair of Zak frames.


What sets Zak apart in their approach to eye health?

We believe eye health starts with comprehensive care. Unfortunately, not all eye exams are created equally. Many people don’t understand what an exam should entail and assume it is just a pit stop on the way to getting a prescription. 


Yes, we love helping you find the perfect frames, but at the end of the day, we’re an eye health first brand, and we want to help you treat your eyes well. 


Can you talk more about how you see your practice as connected to holistic preventive care?

As I mentioned, within that comprehensive eye exam we are checking for ocular and other systemic diseases. If we see something within our exam, we can get ahead of it and prevent things from getting worse by referring out to the practitioners at HealthQuarters to ensure that every patient gets a well-rounded quality of care.


Your eye exam is about your health—it's not just about the number you see on a chart. It’s as important a part of your normal health routine as your annual physical or teeth cleaning. That’s why we go above and beyond to make the experience as technologically savvy and immersive as possible so that patients can feel encouraged to be a part of this holistic process.


What excites you most about practicing within HealthQuarters?

I love that it’s a collaborative ecosystem where we can work off each other and refer to the right practitioner when appropriate. As part of a health-first brand, it’s an incredible opportunity to be in conversation with neighboring providers about how to provide the best care for our patients.


Finally, can you tell us a bit about your life outside of optometry? What do you like to do with your time? Any passions or hobbies?

I run a blog called The Monocle Muse, so that takes up quite a bit of my time! In addition to talking about eye trends and eye wear, I enjoy photography and traveling—and am looking forward to traveling more frequently again when the world reopens.


Sophia Visanji, OD is a licensed Optometrist committed to providing holistic care to individuals of all ages, and is the East Coast Director of Clinical Care at Zak. Eyes. You can make an appointment with Sophia at Zak. Eyes inside HealthQuarters here.

Transforming eye care and eyewear from an obligation to a new way to be well.

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