New eye clinic opens in Wilsonville


In the field of healthcare, the latest addition to the city’s growing number of providers is the Lenza Eye Center, an independent clinic opened barely a month ago by ophthalmologist Dr. Oday Alsheikh. He is partnering with Dr. Bernadette Silva and Dr. Lyndsay Stewart, both optometrists, to create a health care start-up that combines the two distinct eye-care fields into a single, integrated clinic.


“I wanted to create an institution that respects both fields and focuses more on the patient’s needs,” said Alsheikh, who currently helps run a similar clinic in San Antonio, Texas. “I think customers and patients do want a more integrated model, and we are building the infrastructure to do that.”


An optometrist normally is a person’s primary source of help for normal vision problems and basic preventative care. An optometrist sees you when you need to strengthen your prescription lenses or are experiencing nearsightedness. An ophthalmologist, on the other hand, can perform those functions but is more highly specialized and trained. An ophthalmologist can treat complex eye issues, including injuries, and perform surgery.


At the Lenza Eye Center, a person can receive care from either side of that equation in one setting. As Alsheikh explained, this is not how eye care has traditionally been provided.


“Ophthalmology serves basically 1 to 2 percent of the population,” he said. “There’s more demand for optometry, where you’re serving 50 percent of the population. But the goal is still an integrated model.”


“We initially tried to enter the Portland market but it was just very, very tough with the business climate and funding from banks,” he said. “It is a business in evolution; we are not there yet — we’re more geared toward optometry with some ophthalmology — but as time goes on we’ll see the shift into a more free-flowing health care model.”


The reason for combining the two fields is simple, he said. Far more disease diagnoses and other eye ailments requiring an ophthalmologist are uncovered through optometry than any other means.


Alsheikh chose Wilsonville as the location for his new clinic for several reasons. His wife and family is from the Portland area. But it’s also because he did his residency following medical school at the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health and Science University.