After almost 50 years in the same location, Pasco Vision Clinic is moving to a building with better visibility.
The business will remain in Pasco but will transition to 2715 W. Court St. around the first of the year, once the inside of a former furniture store is remodeled.
Dr. Cory Manley is excited for the change. But he won’t use the new equipment or be there to show patients around the new clinic.
Manley, 57, who has been with Pasco Vision Clinic since 1989, has been phasing out of the business for the past three years, and this December he’ll see local patients for the last time.
“I’ve had a fantastic, amazing career. I got to meet amazing people,” said Manley, who scaled back to two days a week over the last year. “Retirement is a little different to wrap your mind around, but doing some volunteer work will help fill that void a bit.”
His last day is Dec. 18.
Manley has plans for philanthropic vision care work with one of his former colleagues, Dr. Gerald Wodtli, who retired several years after Manley joined the business.
Next month, the doctors will travel to Ecuador with a group of optometrists to treat patients with a variety of vision problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts.
“We’ll take between 5,000 and 7,000 pairs of glasses with us and find folks who are basically disabled because they don’t have corrective glasses to function,” Manley said. “The last mission we did, there was a gentleman led in by his granddaughter and he’d never seen her. And once we put the glasses on him — oh boy, that was something. Their eyes open wide when they put on glasses, and they’ll look around and they’ll start crying. Then we’ll start crying. It warms your heart.”
Manley met Wodtli at the clinic after graduating from Pacific University and immediately connected with the company’s mission to focus on vision therapy to help people function better.
“A lot of people hear eye doctors and think of glasses or contacts, but there’s so much to visual processing and it has a huge impact on how people learn and their athletics. It excites me to get in and help turn a kid’s life around,” he said of his decision to go into optometry.
Vision work was not his first career choice, however. Manley grew up on a farm in Grandview and from an early age, gravitated toward taking care of animals.
“Through middle school and high school, I thought I was going to be a vet,” he said. “Thankfully, we had a local vet who would come when we had issues with animals. I got to work with him and job shadow, and I just remember at one point I told him I was going to vet school, and the way he responded made me pause. And so I said, ‘What would you recommend?’ And he said, ‘If you want to help take care of living things, maybe you’d like a career where patients don’t step on you, poop on you or bite you.’ ”
Manley followed his advice and worked as an emergency medical technician. But dealing with trauma and the job’s irregular schedule made him reconsider.
So he explored other options and visited his hometown eye doctor, Dr. Long. It opened his eyes to the profession.
When Manley joined Pasco Vision Clinic at the 1906 N. 20th Ave. office, the doctors decided to expand. They bought out the adjacent buildings and grew from 3,000 square feet to more than 9,000 square feet.
Then about eight years ago, the clinic brought in Dr. J.C. Sullivan and Dr. Adam Good so Wodtli could retire.
When Manley started almost three decades ago, there were two doctors and four staff. Today, there are four doctors and 20 staff.
The practice has seen an annual production range of $2 million to $3 million for several years, Manley said. It won the Mid-Columbia Small Business Award in 2008.
While he’s proud to have been a part of the clinic’s success and growth, he’s also ready for a new chapter in life. When he started phasing out a few years ago, Sullivan’s brother, Dr. Bill Sullivan, joined the clinic as its newest optometrist.
“When I first started going part time, I built a couple of retaining walls at the house and planted some trees and took out some bushes. After a couple of months, I told my wife that I was thinking about going back to work full time because it was a lot easier,” he said with a laugh.
Joking aside, Manley said the optometry field is a good one to go into because of the stress people put on their eyes now.
“Especially because of the phones with small screens,” he said. “It requires a vision demand and is causing problems. The National Eye Health Institute put out a study that the change in nearsightedness in America has changed 60 percent in 40 years. That’s a huge change in a short period of time.
“You see infants playing with cell phones and tablets. Everyone’s in front of a screen, and it’s causing problems,” he said. “And blue light emissions on screens change brain wave patterns. It’s scary. It’s linked with poor sleep patterns and not being able to get into deep REM sleep.”
In addition to Manley’s vision care missions, he also plans some leisure travel with his wife Audrey.
“We’re going to Costa Rica,” Manley said. “And we’ll do some wine traveling this next fall.”
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