Dr. James R. Eakin in Laconia – BEST Family Optometrist (Optician) in Central New Hampshire, Possibly the Whole State
…by Anura Guruge
I have been wearing gas permeable (hard) contact lenses since 1969 (when I was 15). So over those 4 decades I have seen plenty of ‘eye doctors’ in the U.K. (in and around London) and in the U.S. (Maryland, Boston and NH).
Around 1983 they found that the cornea of my right eye was distorted. I thought I was going blind. As it transpired, after I saw a slew of experts, all I needed were specially fitted, rather small ‘Keratoconus‘ contact lenses. I used to call them my bionic lenses because one pair, in 1989, from a famed, crème de la crème hard lens expert on Boylston Street, Boston cost me $3,300!
So, over the years, especially with my need for special ‘Keratoconus’ contact lenses I have seen various optometrist, some of them with the reputation of being the best in their field. When I lived in the U.K. I used to see ‘Keratoconus’ legend in Harley Street — Harley Street synonymous with top quality doctors. Once I settled in New Hampshire in 1986, at the recommendation of an optometrist in Chelmsford, MA I started going to see another legend in Boston. I saw him for nearly 20 years. He was a co-inventor of ‘cantilevered’ contact lenses — lenses that only touch the eyes at the edges and not in the middle. This doctor was amazing. I thank him in my mind every day. He stabilized my eyes, and ensured that even today, approaching 59, with contacts I have 20/20 or close to 20/20 vision! Yes, he is the one who charged me $3,300 for my first set of lenses; but visits to him were 4 to 6 hour appointments with him checking and rechecking the fitting over the course of those lengthy visits.
I met Dr. Eakin when I joined Laconia Rotary in 2001. He was an honored member of long standing. I got to know him, as Rotarians are encouraged to do; he was an avid skier and in those days I too used to ski (a fair amount). My son needed his eyes checked. I took to Dr. Eakin. I was amazed by his diligence, expertise, manner and care. Seeing all the plaques in his office I also realized that he does a huge amount of pro bono work, some of it for the Lions, with kids! I was beyond impressed.
The prescription and fitting of my contact lenses rarely change since my eyes were stabilized, with good, well fitting contacts, in the late 1980s. So, I asked my Boylston ‘god’ whether I could see Dr. Eakin for my yearly eye health exams rather than trekking all the way to Boston for what invariably would be an all day expedition. He readily agreed and even sent all my records to Dr. Eakin with a very nice letter. So, I started seeing Dr. Eakin. He is so thorough. Trust me. I know my eye doctors and Dr. Eakin is as good as they get.
We all go to him now. He is amazing with the kids. This post was motivated because we took our 11 year old to him yesterday for a contact lens for her right eye. She keeps on losing her glasses and we can’t find them anymore. So easier to have her wear a lens. Her right is fine. So she only needs a lens in her left eye. Again, I was struck as to how amazing Dr. Eakin is.
Yes, he does not do my hard lenses. After a joker in Nashua injured my cornea, I now see an up and coming young eye doctor in Manchester. He is very nice. I still haven’t fully made up my mind about him. I think he will mature into a wonderful doctor. But, he is not Dr. Eakin. Hi eye examinations are nowhere near as thorough as those done by Dr. Eakin. Given that he is a part of a very fancy, upscale practice with fish tanks and flat screen TVs he bills my insurance company three times, yes, three times as much as Dr. Eakin! That is something else about Dr. Eakin. I have actually talked to his ‘office’ about that. I don’t think Dr. Eakin has changed his prices in 20 years (in marked contrast the dentist we go to in Winnisquam who ups his price every every six months and has the audacity to joke about thinking that it is funny). To him it is not a business. It is a service.
His office staff is wonderful too; especially Pat.
So trust me on this. If you are looking for an EXCEPTIONAL eye doctor in NH, go to see Dr. Eakin. You will NOT regret it.