We’ve added a new member to the Laser Eye Institute team recently, Dr. Jeffrey Rautio, OD. To celebrate, I sat down with Dr. Rautio over a cup of coffee, and asked him a few questions about his unique perspective on optometry, and to talk about his contributions to the team. Dr. Rautio attended Ferris State University and the Michigan College of Optometry in Big Rapids, MI. His Doctor of Optometry degree was awarded in 1986. So he’s actually been in practice a bit longer than even Dr. Haddad.
First thing’s first, I think that one thing that tells a lot about a person is how they take their coffee. Are you a cream and sugar person?
I am a Starbucks “Doppio Machiatto” kind of guy. Straight espresso with a dollop of foam!”
So, Dr. Rautio, where did you work before this?
“I started at Midwestern Vision Center in Dearborn, Michigan in 1986. After that, I spent 14 years at Henry Ford Hospital – West Bloomfield in the Department of Ophthalmology. It was during my time there that I was hired as the Team Optometrist for the Detroit Lions, where I spent 9 years on the sideline for all games and while also managing the players, coaching, and other staff eye care.
“After Leaving Henry Ford Hospital, I helped open two LASIK centers before landing at the Beitman Laser Eye Institute as the Director or Optometry in 2000. I was responsible for pre- and post-operative care for all the LASIK and cataract patients. I then looked to purchasing my own practice and opened my own office in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2010. While building up my practice, I spent 5 years at the Yaldo Eye Center, again providing LASIK and cataract pre-/post-operative care. I spent 6 years in Ann Arbor before selling my practice to another optometric group in September 2016.
“After a brief stint at LensCrafters, I am thrilled to have found a home at the Laser Eye Institute with Dr. Dan Haddad, a world-renowned LASIK and cataract surgeon in Troy, Michigan. I hope to contribute my knowledge and expertise to continuing to grow the practice and provide exceptional care to each and every patient.”
Having worked with other laser vision centers in the past, what is your opinion of Laser Eye Institute?
“After having spent 28 years of my career working in Ophthalmology and specifically 15 years working in refractive surgery, I have been extremely impressed with Dr. Haddad and his team’s level of caring and expertise. He is an incredibly gifted surgeon who provides his patients with great outcomes utilizing the three best Lasers in the world today… and all under the same roof! That is truly state-of-the-art, personalized refractive eye care!”
What’s one of your most interesting career highlights?
“In addition to working with the Detroit Lions for 9 years, I was also President of two companies. I started a company in 1995 called World-Wide Tee Time with the intention of booking tee times online. We were a few years ahead of our time so we sold our interests in 1997. I then was elected to the Board of Directors of the golf franchising company “Pro Golf” with 160 franchises nation-wide. I also was President of a company called Enercorp, Inc. which was a Business Development Company under the BDC Act of 1940. I had the distinct privilege of working with Mr. James C. Sargent, who was appointed the SEC Commissioner by President Dwight T. Eisenhower in 1956 -1960. He was a fascinating person who also taught law at the University of Virginia for over 50 years, and, as a side note, Teddy Kennedy was one of his students.”
One thing I’ve really been wondering, is how has the field of optometry changed over the past 30 years?
“There has been significant changes in optometric eye care over the past 30 years. When I started practice, we weren’t yet legally able to even dilate eyes. All 50 states now allow not only dilation, but most allow us to provide full-service eye care utilizing any and all non-surgical means to manage the ocular health of our patients. A few states allow properly credentialed optometrists to perform minor surgical ocular procedures.”
What are some of the unique challenges that optometrists face in today’s ever-changing healthcare landscape, and how can patients be better informed to make good choices about eye health?
“The biggest challenge in today’s healthcare environment is expansion of services, and subsequent reimbursement has been a priority of our profession for many years.
“Social media provides a huge benefit to patients today. Outcome analysis, as well as certified reviews provide a level of transparency to our services and outcomes on a real-time basis. There is a tremendous amount of information instantly available to each and every patient.”
After all that shop talk, I’d love to learn a little about you. Have you always lived close by? What are your favorite hobbies?
“I grew up in Garden City, Michigan and have lived in Livonia for most of my married life. I play golf, love to travel and work on cars.”
And your family—I haven’t had a chance to meet them yet. Who lives in your house? Don’t forget your pets!
“I have a wonderful wife, Nanette, who has been a Flight Attendant for 26 years. We just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary in October! We have 23 yr. old identical twin daughters, Denise and Diana, who both graduated from Michigan State University! Go Green! Our son, Mitchell, is a Junior in High School! Last but not least, my bestest buddy is Teddy, a 6 yr. old Shih Tsu/Maltese.”