By Cathy Wharton
For Hometown News
It's not every day an internationally known ophthalmologist, a top-notch optician and an avant-garde eyewear boutique join under one roof.
But Millennium Optical is just such a place. This highly specialized eye care facility is actually comprised of two separate practices: Surgical and optical.
On West Hand Avenue in Ormond Beach, this new state-of-the-art eye care center is owned and operated by Dr. Mark Rubin, a long-time local ophthalmologist and director of International Eye Associates. His wife, Patrizia, owns the optical part of the business. Opened in 2009, Millennium Optical offers the finest in comprehensive eye care.
It all began in 1974, when Mark Rubin received his medical degree from the University of Bologna, Italy. In 1980, he was appointed as Chief of Ophthalmology at the U.S. Army hospital in Augsburg, Germany. Later he became a Consultant Surgeon in Ophthalmology in Modena, Italy, as well as a Consultant in Ophthalmology to the U.S. Air Force in Aviano, Italy.
In 1988, Dr. Rubin became Chief of Ophthalmology for Florida Health Care in Daytona Beach. In the same year, he opened his own ophthalmologic practice.
But his interest in ocular health did not stop at the local level. In 1994, Dr. Rubin's work took him to a remote jungle in central Honduras. Despite the difficult conditions, he was able to open a small eye clinic. He made it his personal mission to continue building upon what he had started. For the next 10 years, he made annual visits to the area. Eventually the clinic became so successful he was able to turn it over to the Honduran people, and to those who had learned critical eye-saving procedures. .
When Dr. Rubin decided to expand his practice to include an "eyewear store," he also became involved in how the facility would be built. A laudable feature of Millennium Optical is the strict environmental standards that were built into the structure, including a solar-paneled roof, and moisture/humidity-proof windows. "Super insulation," as Dr. Rubin put it. Millennium Optical has been recognized for its green technology and contest-winning design. "We came in first in the entire country, first prize, for design of a new eye store," he said.
Probably the most obvious aspect of the facility, however, is the eye boutique, or "eye store." Clients enter the store from a spacious waiting room through an archway of original bricks gleaned from the old Ormond Hotel (circa 1888). When the hotel was razed in 1992, Dr. Rubin acquired a large number of the bricks, including an entire archway. Today they stand as part of Millennium Optical's design - and as a proud and present reminder of Ormond Beach history.
The store itself includes artful arrangements of hard-to-find frames, plus a montage of eye-enhancing extras. Most of the frames are European-made, and none are ordered in bulk. At the ready is a distinctive selection by Georgio Armani, Prada, Versace, Cinzia, Cote D'azur, Liz Claiborne, and many others. Also on hand is a top-of-the-line collection from Paris - "Gold and Wood" - which incorporates 24-carat gold and/or inlaid natural wood into the intriguing one-of-a-kind designs. When it comes to sunglasses, Millennium carries only the best Ray Ban has to offer.
"We can't stock everything," Patrizia Rubin said, "but whatever people look for, we can get for them. We travel to find the most exclusive frames and fashion."
In order to stay on top of the business and keep their products up to date, Dr. and Mrs. Rubin regularly attend optical shows in New York, Las Vegas and Paris. The shows are held at different times of the year, and all provide the latest in fashion and quality. But the world's biggest optical show is held each spring in Milan, Italy, where the latest in optics, optometry and ophthalmology converge in a single exhibition; and where the most exclusive eyewear on the globe can be found.
The major function of Millennium's eye store is, of course, to fit the patient with the right type of lenses. Mrs. Rubin handles personalized fitting, including contacts, but the more specialized function of finding the appropriate glasses for the patient is the job of Michelle Mattera, eye store manager and board-certified optician.
"Everything is personalized for the patient," Ms. Mattera said. "It's custom-styled. We also consider face shape and skin color," she said. Once a decision has been made, the completed order is sent to a specialty lab in Arizona. "They do great quality of work - then it's over-nighted back." As an add-on, the patient's initials can be laser-etched on the side of the frames.
A little known function of the eye store is it sub-specializes in aviation-specific eyewear for pilots. Dr. Rubin is certified by both the Joint Aviation Authority and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority to perform aviation eye exams. There are only three facilities in the United States that are authorized to perform this type of exam. Millennium Optical is one of them, and the only one on the east coast.
Having an experienced and dedicated staff, comfortable surroundings, and personal, unhurried attention to patients' needs, makes it clear that Millennium Optical is one of the best eye care facilities around.
Millennium Optical is at 1545 Hand Avenue, Suite B-4, Ormond Beach. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. Phone: (386) 677-2100. Website: www.MilleniumOptical.com.