Some people are picky eaters, I am a picky patient. I don’t like going to doctors and am especially apprehensive about eye doctors. I was happy when I stumbled onto Schultz Eye Center at 735 Northfield Avenue, West Orange. Everyone was pleasant, patient and welcoming. That’s not what won me over, though, it was Western Pennsylvania native Dr. Scott Schultz himself.
He knows how to make you feel OK.
As you listen to him talk, you begin to understand he not only knows what he is doing, but also has a great love for his profession. He has an amazing ability to explain what he is doing in whatever detail you need so you can feel at ease, all without talking down to you or without making you feel odd for asking a question in the first place. Maybe that’s because he always wore glasses and grew up on the other side of the lens.
"I have to say, even from my childhood eye exams, I could tell I would enjoy the patient interaction and the pace of an optometry practice. I used to say 'hey, I could do this and actually enjoy it,'" Schultz said.
Schultz became an optometrist 15 years ago and opened his practice in West Orange in 2000. What made West Orange his home away from home, I wondered. “I know it sounds corny, but the hills of the South Mountain were a starting point,” said Schultz. “The scenery here is very reminiscent of my homeland in Western Pennsylvania. When we first opened in 2000, we looked for locations in Florham Park, Chatham and Madison, as well, but liked the variety of the patient base in West Orange. Diversity is a word that gets overused at times, but West Orange truly is the 'melting pot' of New Jersey. When my wife and I saw the location on Northfield Avenue, we realized that though it was small, the neighboring office buildings provided a fall back if we ever wanted to expand.”
Expansion came, too. Schultz Eye Center began on the other side of Northfield Avenue. Last year, they moved to their current location at 735 Northfield Avenue. When it was time to grow, it was a “no-brainer” he would stay in West Orange. Half the practice consists of West Orange residents, with large groups from Livingston, South Orange and other surrounding towns.
“I enjoy practicing here more than any of the other locations I have substituted in or worked part-time,” said Schultz. “We were starting to outgrow our first location and at the same time the 735 Northfield site became available. We were able to move less than a quarter mile, which was extremely important to us. It made it easy for our patients to follow us.”
The mission of Schultz Eye Center is to be trusted enough to be recommended with a goal to provide personalized and state-of-the-art eye care, eye health education and products. The staff is ready and able to navigate your health and vision insurance or help you create a payment plan that works. Something must be working, too, because Schultz has been able to expand in this economic environment due to a healthy, growing practice. He does see some differences in purchase patterns, but patients are coming for their scheduled visits and for emergencies.
“I joke to my patients that I am an optometrist because of the toys we get to use,” said Schultz. “The design of some instruments we use has not changed much in over 50 years, but we also utilize newer automated equipment like a digital fundus camera that takes pictures of the back inside surface of the eye or an auto-refractor, which gives a preliminary reading of a patient's glasses prescription.”
Whatever he uses, it works.
The Schultz Eye Center is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m -1 p.m.