Born and raised in Avon, Dr. Elizabeth Allspaw loved everything about Hendricks County. After graduating from Avon High School, she got her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, and received her Doctor of Optometry degree at Indiana University in Bloomington. Each step along her educational journey led her back to her hometown so that she could fulfill her dream of opening her own optometry practice right here in Avon.
“The town has changed a lot, but I still really enjoy this community and all of the positive things about living here,” Allspaw says.
In October of 2019 she opened Bright View Family Vision, where she treats patients of all ages.
“I don’t consider myself solely a pediatric optometrist, but I do see quite a few kiddos,” Allspaw says. “It’s fun to see the kids grow.”
She invested heavily in technology in order to help diagnose and manage a number of eye conditions such as dry eye, macular degeneration and glaucoma. She also has optomap ultra-widefield retinal imaging, so she can get a good look at the back of the eye without having to dilate.
For many patients, Allspaw is their first point of contact with the health-care system. Hence, she not only screens for eye diseases and conditions, but often also discovers other potential health issues as well by examining the eyes.
“When we’re doing a full health check of the eyes, especially an exam of the retina, it’s one of the only places in the body where we can get a good look at blood vessels directly,” says Allspaw, noting that she can see signs in the eyes of common conditions like complications with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clotting disorders and some cancers.
“The eye really is a peek into your overall body health,” she says.
It’s not unusual for a patient to come in seeking a prescription for a new pair of glasses, and for Allspaw to detect something and catch it before it can cause vision issues.
“Those are opportune times to get on top of it so it doesn’t lead to a vision issue down the line,” she says. Frequently a patient may come in with a complaint and Allspaw may find, for instance, cataracts, a condition that requires surgery.
Allspaw also uses her exams to educate her patients. For instance, she encourages patients to wear sunglasses for UV protection and not to smoke, as there is a link between smoking and macular degeneration. Prevention is paramount given that in most cases macular degeneration is irreversible.
“Sometimes the complications it causes, however, can be treated to help make the patient’s visual outcome better,” Allspaw says.
Her favorite part of her practice is when the treatment she provides improves the quality of life for a patient. She treated a woman who had a traumatic brain injury from a car accident, and as a result suffered from migraines and dizziness, which prevented her from driving or being in direct sunlight. Allspaw used a combination of specially colored, filtered lenses and modifications to her prescription. When the woman put her new glasses on, she cried tears of joy.
“The next time I saw her, she was all smiles as she had been out shopping and even started to drive a bit,” Allspaw says. “You could tell what a difference [the glasses] had made for her.”
Bright View Family Vision is located at 8111 East U.S. Highway 36 in Avon, IN. For more information, call 317-707-6165 or visit them online at brightviewfamilyvision.com.