I care about my eyes.  We all use them and we all, given a moment to think about what I have just said, would rank them as one of our grandest possessions, but do you take your vision for granted?  I do not.  I use my eyes, no, rely on my eyes and my vision everyday.  I make my living by observation and there is no greater tool than sight to accomplish this.

While this is an art column, we all are bombarded by stressful things to our eyes.  Your artistic endeavors aside, driving, sitting in front of computer screens large and small, bright sunlight, night time headlights and a plethora of signs, all at different focal points, are a visual juggling act.  Add in many wearing glasses or contacts, with different prescriptions of strength, plus changing seasons, dryness and tear reduction with age, well, the old eye balls take a beating.

Years ago my wife Linda and I started scheduling regular eye examinations. It was important to me to make sure my most useful tool was 100% part of my artistic team.  Yes, team!  In order to do what I, and most artists do for a living, there is a team.  It includes our mind, hands, our sense of inspiration and certainly vision, both inward and outward.  Listen, in short, quality vision is a must and where that is concerned, I have trusted my vision to only one person, Middleburg’s top visionary, Dr. Charles “Chip” Stine of Middleburg Eye Center.

Okay, so as much as this might sound like a personal endorsement, you betcha it is!  Practicing in a quaint 1700’s log cabin at #4 Pendleton Street in Middleburg since 1989, Chip Stine has offered the highest quality of eye care and so fortunately for us, to a small town population. Imagine that, one of an artist’s best resources available right here?  Think about it. You can’t get your art supplies here, but you can have your eye sight monitored in trusting hands, and friends, you cannot mail order that!

I recently had my annual examine with Dr. Stine and this I’d love to share. Dr. Stine doesn’t know unhappy. One of Chip’s greatest assets is the most genuine smile on the planet.  This is backed up by being so authentically small town hospitable, that sitting in his chair brings a feeling of honesty and trust.  You never feel like Middleburg Eye Center is some satellite location to a big conglomerate.

There’s an education to be had in a visit with Dr. Stine as well.  Safe focal distances and eye care are important messages, but your eye doctor can see things in your eyes that other doctors can not, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and more.  Yours eyes are a unique window into you.  What I like about Dr. Stine’s approach too is he’s not an over prescriber and since he doesn’t sell glasses, there’s no conflict of interest in his prescribing or not prescribing a prescription for them.

You know your eyes are important to you and especially as a visual artist they can be everything.  If you haven’t had your eyes checked or if it’s been years since your last check up, an eye exam is a great gift to give yourself this year and hey, you could also meet one of Middleburg’s finest people in the process!

Live An Artful Life, Tom