HANDS-ON…with patients and your practice

My name is Monica Larimore and I was born into optical. Literally.

My parents started Crossroads Optical, one of the first optical stores in Boulder, CO, in 1961. My dad was a master optician from Europe, and I learned all the hands-on, in-your-face basic optics from him. That was before there was any real technology.

I have 45 years of experience in optical and have been with Eagle Vision and Eye Clinic in Longmont, CO, for the past 17 years. I am optical coordinator there and work with five ODs, including two young female ODs who are now the owners, along with a staff of 25, including four other opticians.

I still use all the hands-on skills I learned from my dad. Technology is good for what It’s good for, but there is nothing like being hands-on with your patients.


We’re a very busy practice. We finish, edge, and tint here, too. We want everyone to know what’s going on and to be very hands-on with everything we do.

As optical coordinator, I basically manage the optical. I make the decisions about inventory, etc., but I ALWAYS ask for everyone’s input.


We get all the basic information, then the assistant works the patient up, and the doctor sees the patient through the exam, also while determining if the patient is interested in contacts, glasses, etc.

That way, we have an idea of what they want and can continue the conversation when the doctor passes the patient to us in the dispensing area.

We find out if there were problems previously. “You had glasses before? What did you like, not like?”  We ask about their lifestyle and basically try to find out how we can get the patient where they want to be. We’re stylists, so we want them to feel good and look good.


Patients know they’ll always get the truth from me. It’s all about honesty, integrity, and authenticity.

We start by talking about lenses, plus what they’ve had before. If they wear progressives, I need to make sure they have a functional frame. Sure, it has to look good, but everything has to work together.

Then we move to frames. I love that part of the job. I throw everything at them. I explain it’s like a department store in that clothes look different on you than on the rack. If they are set on something that doesn’t fit, I tell them, “You can have what you want, but you are going to have problems.”

When they’re all done, I repeat back to them everything we talked about, including insurance. That way, we’re clear. They understand what I’m doing, and we make sure they’re ok with everything. If we have to make a change then, that’s fine. They know I’m here for them.


Quality assurance is huge here, and everything has to be great. A job doesn’t leave the office until it’s perfect by our standards.

We verify it more than once.  And, I know where a job is at any given moment.

We try to keep all lines of communication open at all times. Our doctors will call the patient, and fix it if there is a problem. We are, in all aspects, very hands-on. And, I feel like we’re a family.

Erinn Morgan