Name change reflects national association

HOT SPRINGS – After 10 years of being a part of the “Vision Source” network of private practice optometrists, Hot Springs’ local eye clinic – formerly Advanced Eyecare – is now known solely as Vision Source.

Owner Dr. Dallas Wilkinson said the change in name was done to better reflect his clinic’s association with the organization which has more than 2,400 offices across the U.S. and Canada.

There are currently five “Vision Source” clinics in the Black Hills area, but according to Dr. Wilkinson, in 2002, his clinics became the first to join the association in South Dakota.

“At that time I owned the Custer and Hot Spring offices,” he said. “It is an interesting group to be part of because you are brought in by invitation only. As a member of this network of nearly 5,000 independent doctors, we are able to offer our patients significant benefits, including the latest advances in eye health care, cutting-edge vision care technology, and a high level of personal care.”

Wilkinson said the name change will mean that no matter where his patients travel, there is a Vision Source office close by.

“The same service and expertise they expect here, they can expect there,” he said. “We are part of a very large extended family of eyecare practitioners who are experts in their field. We are not bound by the decisions of a large chain for product and services we can offer. We have every technology at our finger tips if we wish.”

To be eligible to join the Vision Source group, Wilkinson said his practice was identified as being “progressive-minded” and able to “bring something of value to the group.”

“The goal is to build a strong group that can share ideas and improve one another,” he said. “Our Black Hills group meets quarterly; the state group meets twice a year and the national group once a year. The amount of knowledge I have gained is invaluable. These meetings do not, and are not meant to, fulfill our continued education credits, so we still have to get those formal classes in each year. However, the free exchange of information is far more valuable. In the last 10 years nearly every president of the AOA (American Optometric Association) has been a Vision Source member.”

Dr. Wilkinson was born and raised in Custer and has owned and operated the eye clinic in Hot Springs since purchasing the practice from Dr. Jarding in January of 2001.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve been back for more than 11 years,” he added. “It’s very good to be home.”

Recently, he purchased land across the road from Lynn’s Dakotamart and has plans to eventually build a new clinic and move the location of his practice.

However, he said the recent developments and questions surrounding the future of the Hot Springs VA have put those plans on hold.

“Right now we need to see what happens with the VAMC,” he said. “Either way we will likely build but that outcome may alter the time line. I also have two daughters to get through college over the next 5 years. That’s slowing me down a bit, too.”

But in the meantime, Dr. Wilkinson said he and his staff will continue to provide quality hometown eye care in their current location at the bottom of the viaduct in downtown Hot Springs, but just under a new name.

“In the end, we’ve been Vision Source all along. The name just didn’t reflect that. Offering the best patient care possible has always been, and will continue to be, our top priority,” Wilkinson added.

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