Monday, April 21, 2014

Precision Eyecare brings adventuresome optometrist to Placerville


DR. MORRILL, center, with opticians Candi Davenport, left, and Tasha Hall, right, pose at the new office on Main Street in Placerville. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

From page MP12 | September 16, 2013 | Leave Comment

Precision Eyecare on Main Street in Placerville wasn’t always the neat, beige, two-story structure across from the Coldwell, Banker building. For years it was a gas station, one of a quintet of gasoline retailers clustered around the Canal off-ramp on Highway 50.

So in 2008 when Daniel J. Morrill, OD, wanted to establish an eye care practice in Placerville, he saw opportunity there. The structure had already been developed into an optometry office by a former owner, who removed the underground gas tanks. Now it needed modernization and a second floor. Morrill got to work and soon enough Precision Eye Care had 1,200 square feet of eye-catching displays and modern testing facilities on the first floor.

The eye doctor hired and mentored two local opticians, Tasha Hall and Candy Davenport, and Precision Eye Care was successfully reincarnated.

Dr. Morrill had started an optometry practice before. In 1988 he opened a store in Folsom, just a year after receiving the Doctorate of Optometry from Berkeley. His enterprise, Folsom Optometry Center, served its market well over the next 10 years, and the young eye doctor built a robust practice.

But the adventuresome optometrist had another plan in the back of his mind. Alaskan Native Americans needed eye care services too, and despite efforts of the Indian Health program, there wasn’t a reliable program of eye health in place for the indigenous people. Enter Dr. Daniel Morrill again. He sold the Folsom Center and began making monthly treks to remote villages in Alaska, while continuing to live in Folsom.

“It was wild and wooly sometimes,” he said. “Travelled by light plane, ferry and dog sled. The waiting lists at the villages were often 80 names long, out of a total population of perhaps 240 people.”

After the tragedy of 9/11, travel and baggage management became difficult, and more expensive. But he persevered for nearly a decade, until the effort ran out of viability.

In 2008, Dr. Morrill decided to return to a small town practice in the foothills. Placerville was more authentic than other towns he had known, and he found himself eyeballing the converted gas station on Main Street.

“We really care about our patients and customers, and like to spend as much face-to-face time as possible,” he said. “We keep a slower pace, don’t rush anyone through. Tests typically run an hour or more. We believe in doing things right.”

Dr. Morrill’s wife Ellen is also an optometrist, practicing with the Kaiser Health network.

Precision Eyecare promotes all eye comfort products and services including multi-focal contact lenses, as well as anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings.

It is located at 180 Main Street next to Walt Gray Shoe Repair. For more information, contact 530-622-8300.


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