- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—APOLLO BEACH — Cathy Yaeckel started wearing glasses back in the second grade when she couldn’t see the chalkboard during a test. Today she’s a 31-year-old optometrist who prescribes eyeware to others.

Yaeckel recently opened Optical Outfitters — her first private practice — at 242 Harbor Village Lane, in MiraBay Village next to the Winn-Dixie supermarket. For the past four-and-a-half years, she saw patients at JCPenney Optical in Brandon Town Center, where she will continue working part time as her practice in South Shore grows.

Yaeckel said she always wanted to do something in the medical field, possibly in pediatrics. But her thoughts began to change as a student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she shadowed an optometrist for a few weeks. She graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences and decided on optometry as a career. She was attracted to its flexibility and varied specializations, she said.

That meant four more years of college.

Yaeckel enrolled at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, where she trained in the treatment and detection of eye disease and earned a doctor of optometry degree in 2010.

Three years earlier, on her way toward that degree, she had to develop an entire business plan for a practice management class and chose to do a project on opening a practice at the newly opened MiraBay Village.

“At the time, I thought I would really like to open an office there,” Yaeckel said. “And last fall I signed a lease to do that.”

The build-out took about eight months.

At Optical Outfitters, Yaeckel offers comprehensive eye exams, prescribes for contacts, eyeglasses and sunglasses and diagnoses and treats disorders affecting the eyes — conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes. She sees the entire family, enjoys interacting with patients and likes how she can quickly help patients see better.

Her showroom carries a complete line of eyewear to fit her patients’ personalities and personal styles. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. As the practice grows, Yaeckel plans to offer Saturday hours as well.

The optometrist acknowledges there are many options when it comes to eyewear.

“Glasses are like shoes,” she said. “You can buy a size 8 in all brands but each will have a different quality and fit. So it’s important to make sure you buy high quality products to ensure you get the best vision, as prescribed to you.” Yaeckel’s husband, Travis, is a well-known area charter captain, who owns Instinct Fishing and works out of Little Harbor. The couple live in Ruskin are expecting their first daughter in December.

For additional information, visit https://optical-outfitters.com. For an appointment, call Optical Outfitters patient coordinator Bridget Sandrik at (813) 645-2022.

[email protected]

(813) 731-8138


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