Eye center focuses on Kingman

Stockton Hill Road home of Nationwide Vision's 61st state location

John Ripley, O.D. (left) and Al Bernstein, president and COO, at the new Nationwide Vision office Friday in Kingman.<br>
JC AMBERLYN/Miner

John Ripley, O.D. (left) and Al Bernstein, president and COO, at the new Nationwide Vision office Friday in Kingman.<br> JC AMBERLYN/Miner

KINGMAN - Arizona's biggest name in glasses, contact lenses and laser surgery has opened its eyes to Kingman.

Nationwide Vision Laser & Eye Center celebrated the grand opening of its newest location at 3505 Stockton Hill Road Friday morning. The new Kingman location is the eyeglass retailer's 61st statewide and comes just four days before the company's 23rd anniversary.

Based in Chandler, Nationwide Vision provides the full gamut of optical services ranging from comprehensive eye exams to eyeglass and contact lens sales to corrective surgery. Confined entirely to Arizona, the doctor-owned and operated facilities are the single largest employer of optometrists in the state, and comprise the 16th largest optical company in the country.

Al Bernstein is the company's president and a former top executive at Pearle Vision, another large optical retailer. Having joined Nationwide in 1998, Bernstein has played an instrumental role in the company's expansion, overseeing more than 40 new location openings in just 10 years.

"We've designed Nationwide Vision to provide total vision services for the whole family," Bernstein said. "From the youngest child needing his or her first pair of glasses to the special vision challenges facing seniors, Nationwide Vision is committed to providing the highest standard of eye care."

The Kingman location is the company's sixth foray outside its primary markets in Phoenix and Tucson. While the company still manufactures all of its lenses at its headquarters in Chandler - more than 1,000 each day - Bernstein said the local store provides next-day delivery for all contact lens orders and two-day delivery for glasses.

"If you come in on a Monday for example, your glasses would be back in Kingman by Wednesday morning," Bernstein said.

Nationwide offers a wide variety of designer frames and sunglasses: Vendi, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Versace, Ray Ban, and Maui Jim's, to name a few.

"We also have great pricing for our regular products as well," Bernstein said. "Lots of name brands at the best prices."

Kingman resident John Ripley will be the fulltime optometrist at the new location. Dr. Ripley has spent the last two years traveling to help Nationwide Vision patients at outlying locations throughout the state.

"Dr. Ripley is a phenomenal guy," Bernstein said. "He's traveled for us out of Kingman to everywhere we have offices. He's a wonderful doctor, super nice guy."

In addition to conducting comprehensive eye exams, Dr. Ripley is also capable of treating minor cases of foreign body removal, allergy, glaucoma, dry eye and cataracts, though patients requiring more extensive medical treatment will be referred to Nationwide's Medical Eye Center in Mesa.

Ripley will also handle all pre- and post-op care for laser surgery patients, with the surgery itself performed at the company's Phoenix Laser Center, the largest of its kind in Arizona.

Bernstein said Nationwide accepts "virtually every insurance plan," including ASBAIT, Health Choice, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Medicare, Eyemed, Davis Vision and Avesis. Additionally, the Kingman location will be providing free vision screenings to anyone ages 55 and up from 9 to 11 a.m. each weekday throughout the month of August.

"It's a two to three minute screening process," Bernstein said. "Vision screening is preventative at best, but at least the patient will know if they need a comprehensive eye exam."

Bernstein said most people don't realize just how much eye exams can reveal about a person's overall health. Even when a person's vision is normal, the eye exam can still reveal serious underlying problems, such as internal tumors. Bernstein noted that one of the earliest indicators for diabetes is found in the eye.

"We tell patients many times, 'Is your diabetes under control?' and they say, 'What are you talking about?'" Bernstein said. "We've had patients that go from our office to a doctor to an operating table."

Nationwide Vision is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information on products or services, call (928) 757-7670.