Talking Shop with Dr. Greg Leet

Monday, February 14, 2011
Dr. Greg Leet of Leet EyeCare in Cape Girardeau (Kristin Eberts)

Dr. Greg Leet has been examining patients eyes in Cape Girardeau since 1987. Leet Eye- Care is one of Cape Girardeau's fastest-growing small businesses. It has experienced growth of more than 65 percent in the last five years and was named Small Business of the Year at the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Feb. 4.

Question: How did you choose optometry?

Answer: The truth is, I think my mother actually suggested it to me in high school. One of my best friend's dad was an optometrist, and he had the biggest house in town on a hill with a swimming pool. What I didn't know was that he also owned all the land surrounding Flat River and made all of his money in real estate. Too late now! But I really was always interested in the health care profession and also wanted to have time to coach my children' sports teams and things like that. Optometry allowed me to do that.

Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?

A: First of all, I really love knowing about the eye and how it works. I think sight is an amazing blessing and few people would want to do without it. We as doctors take our role seriously, and because no two people have the same visual situation, it never gets boring. Overall, meeting and visiting with patients is the best part.

Q: What attracted you to Cape Girardeau?

A: My wife actually directed me to Cape Girardeau. She was a Southeast Missouri State University graduate and really liked the Cape Girardeau area. We are both from Park Hills, but I did my undergrad and optometry school training in Birmingham, Ala. She convinced me to go north and Dr. Bill Wright happened to be looking for someone to partner with for a couple of years until he retired. He had a progressive practice and was heavily involved in contact lenses, so I really fell into a great situation. Cape Girardeau is a perfect size community for me and my family, and we enjoy the college-town atmosphere. The people, schools and churches are all excellent, so we've never looked back.

Q: How has your business changed and grown over the years?

A: Boy, the eye care industry has really changed a lot! When I started in 1984, the soft contact lens industry was in its infancy. At that time, you were given a pair of contacts and a boiling kit and you tried to make them last a year. Today, we are disposing of contacts on a daily or monthly basis. After Dr. Wright left, I practiced solo with two staff members. Today we have four doctors, two locations and 14 staff members.

In 1984, no one had eye insurance of any kind, Medicare did not allow optometrists to participate and it was illegal for optometrists to dilate eyes. Today, we deal with several insurances and are Medicare providers. We treat eye infections, remove foreign bodies and manage glaucoma and many other eye diseases. The scope of practice and responsibilities has really expanded.

Q: How has technology changed in your industry over the years?

A: Disposable contacts have revolutionized the contact lens industry. We have computers that assist us when we are determining our patient's glasses prescription. We have scanning lasers that map out the retina without the need for dilation.

Optical lens seminars are like going to calculus class, particularly in the no line bifocal technology. There are contact lenses you can wear at night that reshape your eye, so that you don't have to wear contacts or glasses during the day and help slow down the progression of nearsightedness.

Refractive and cataract surgeries have been perfected.

It has been really great for me over the past 27 years to witness these improvements and use them to the benefit of our patients in ways we never thought possible.

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