From Classmates to Business Owners to Spouses A 25-Year Journey
Dr. Claudia Gonzalez and Dr. Michael Higgins met during their first year of optometry school. Her last name started with a “G” and his with an “H.” Fatefully, they were in the same class and sat in alphabetical order. Claudia was drawn to Michael’s sense of humor and teased him about his drawings. Michael enjoyed how Claudia seemed to be full of life. Plus, the fact that she was pretty didn’t hurt, either. The duo began dating and both graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1992. For Michael, it was a lifelong goal realized. Since he was in eighth grade, he had a dream of becoming an optometrist. Claudia, meanwhile, always knew she wanted to go into the medical field, but the specific area of expertise eluded her until she began her higher education. After graduation, Michael was set to open a practice in Butler with another optometrist who happened to be from the area. Engaged and interested in perfecting their craft, Michael and Claudia moved to Butler — where they knew no one — and began working part-time jobs as the practice started up. Soon, the other optometrist backed out, and Michael turned to the partner he had chosen for life: Claudia. When we opened Stirling Eyecare 25 years ago, we were flying by the seat of our pants. Fresh out of optometry school and just one month shy of marrying, we were naive, but passionate, about what we were doing. More than two decades, one marriage, another optometrist, and two sons later, we feel pretty confident in our choice to practice in Butler. We opened our practice together in November of 1993, and one month later, we married on Dec. 4. We really took each day as it came to us as new Butler residents and young, first-time business owners. We were just happy to be fitting people for glasses and contacts — the stuff we had trained for so long to do. Since then, we’ve grown to understand the need for holistic patient care, and we’ve focused on what’s best for our patients. We’ve seen the industry grow in its technology, testing, and treatments, and we’re excited to continue offering the best for our patients. But we couldn’t have done this without our fantastic staff and the community we’ve come to love. Our staff helped us grow; they took on our mission of patient-centered care and ran with it. And the community has welcomed us with open arms. When we first moved here, we
became active in a local church, St. Fidelis, and Claudia joined a women’s group to meet new friends. Our landlord was a well-known businessman who helped us tremendously in those early years, as well. Sometimes we look back on the last two decades with amazement. We’ve had two sons, Justin and Nathan, and we have continued to plant roots here in Butler. Our business has taken on another optometrist, as Dr. Amanda Frye joined us one year ago. Ironically, she’s also married to an optometrist, Brett, who knew from a young age that he wanted to be an eye doctor. Talk about a small world. (You can read more about Dr. Frye on Page 2 of this newsletter!) We’re excited to keep growing and expanding as we continue our passion of serving you and your families. Who knows where we’d be right now without your support — well, that and alphabetical seating.
–Dr. Claudia Gonzalez and Dr. Michael Higgins
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Is Love at First Sight Real? What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love
The idea of love at first sight is wonderfully romantic. Two strangers see each other across a crowded room. There’s an instant, magnetic attraction, and suddenly they’ve found their match for all of eternity. In a world in which dating often requires a lot of work — work that comes with disappointment, rejection, and uncertainty — falling in love at first sight has strong appeal. But can it actually happen? Can your eyes tell you anything about love? The connection between the eyes and love has been described in poet- ry and prose since time immemorial — it’s the stuff of heroic epics and fanciful fairy tales. And evidence has increasingly shown that the human brain is hard-wired to both display and notice visual cues when gazing at a potential love interest. Enlarged pupils are one such cue. When you survey a person or object you are interested in, your brain releases a surge of dopamine — a chemical that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers — which causes your pupils to dilate. In this sense, beauty really is “in the eye of the beholder.”
In the last decade, researchers have determined that from a romantic and reproductive standpoint, both men and women are attracted to partners with bigger pupils. Studies demonstrate that when women are at their peak fertility, they might subconsciously be more attracted to a person with sizable pupils because it could indicate a partner’s attrac- tion to them. Likewise, researchers have reported that men seek out women with dilated pupils due to the association of larger pupils with youth and longevity. The connection between the eyes and enthrallment has inspired some of Shakespeare’s most iconic sonnets, and the science behind our eyes validates some of the Bard’s romantic claims. But does this connection between larger pupils and attraction corroborate the idea of love at first sight? If you believe that attraction equates to true love, then absolutely. But if your definition of love requires a little more depth, then you may have to toss aside the idea of love at first sight and instead view your partner’s eyes as mere “windows” to their soul.
Meet Dr. Amanda Frye! Our Dedicated Optometrist and Mom-to-Be
Dr. Frye has been practicing optometry and eye care since 2012. She and her husband, Brett, met in optometry school and worked for Brett’s parents at their optometry clinic in North Carolina before moving back to
Eye care is something that also runs in Dr. Frye’s family, as her younger sister followed her lead and became an optometrist. This wouldn’t be the last time Dr.
Frye and her sister would be in sync; they are both expecting their first child! Their parents will go from being parents to grandparents of three babies in 2019, as their sister-in-law is also pregnant. Dr. Frye and her husband are
Pennsylvania to be near Dr. Frye’s family. Much like Dr. Higgins and Dr. Gonzalez, Dr. Frye enjoys sharing a profession with her spouse. “It’s nice,” Dr. Frye says. “We love working together, so hopefully we can work together again. We share the same highs and the same lows. It’s easy. You don’t have to try to explain it to them because they already know.” Dr. Frye joined Stirling in November of 2017, and she is passionate about helping kids. She is also inspired by patients she fits for specialty scleral contact lenses. These contact lenses help patients who are not aided by normal prescriptions, and often, patients’ reactions are pure and fulfilling for Dr. Frye.
excited about welcoming their new baby, and we can’t wait for a new addition to our Stirling family.
When she isn’t helping people see or preparing for life as a new mom, Dr. Frye is enjoying time with her husband and their two dogs, a west highland terrier named Lily and a Great Dane named Thor. Together, she and Brett enjoy CrossFit workouts, movies, and gaming.
We have loved the added care Dr. Frye has brought to
our practice. Thanks for your dedication, Dr. Frye!
“They’re completely amazed,” she says. “They’re like, ‘Oh my, gosh, I haven’t seen this way in forever.’”
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From Lorgnettes to Cat-Eyes Eyewear Fashion From the Early 20th Century to Today
The options for glasses styles today are endless, as demand for individu- ality and throwbacks to past trends dominate optometry offices. Unfortu- nately for glasses wearers in the early 20th century, this wasn’t the case. Of the few options available, most were tiny, wiry, nose-pinching frames. It wasn’t considered proper for women to wear glasses in public, so they were often forced to squint or hold lorgnettes. These high-class specta- cles were held in front of the face with a gold or carved handle and could be easily tossed to the side lest a beau try to woo them. Thankfully, proper vision became socially acceptable, and women wore similar frames to men in the 1920s through the 1930s. Still, these de- cades weren’t revolutionary for sight fashion, as few styles strayed from the classic, round-shaped wire frames that were available for men and
women to choose from. Notably, Ray-Ban created its classic aviator style in 1937, after pilots began complaining of sickness and headaches from sun glare. A highbrow style was popularized in the ‘40s, and it’s plastic-wire combo is still popular in fashion today. Styles featured bulky plastic on the top half of glasses and wire on the bottom. This bold look was replicated into cat-eye glam of the 1950s, which was popularized by icons like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Jacqueline Kennedy also joined the ranks of femme eyewear icons, popularizing bug-eye frames for over an entire decade in the 1960s and 1970s. Glasses of this time also reflected the period of activism and con- flict. There were the bold, colorful, and high-fashion styles that modeled the sophistication of America’s first lady, while John Lennon’s simplistic, rainbow stylings brought wire back with a fury. Much like other decades, the 1980s were influenced by Hollywood, as Tom Cruise’s “Risky Business” prompted Ray-Ban’s sales to skyrocket. Big and bulky looks became a staple, as colorful patterns and geometric shapes dominated this decade. The ‘80s stand in stark contrast to the 1990s, which was full of sporty and colorful styles that embodied simplicity. This trend was flipped yet again in the early 2000s, when futuristic stylings jumped into frame. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jackie O., a Marilyn, a Lennon, or somewhere in between; Stirling Eyecare has the glasses style you’re looking for. Schedule your appointment by calling (724) 285-2618. Holiday Roast Prime Rib Directions: 1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare. 5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus. www.StirlingEyeCenter.com • 1 • 1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds) • • • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 2 cups red wine 4 cups beef stock • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste • Ingredients:
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A Total Focus on YOU!
166 Point Plaza Butler, PA 16001 (724) 285-2618 www.StirlingEyeCenter.com
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Inside This Issue 1 Dr. Higgins’ and Dr. Gonzalez’s Story
What Your Eyes Can Tell You About Love
Meet Dr. Amanda Frye!
Eyewear Styles Through the Decades
Holiday Roast Prime Rib
Holiday Decoration Tours
Christmas Tours Get Away and Be Festive This Holiday Season
There’s nothing quite like the magical lights of the holiday sea- son, and some destinations in the U.S. have perfected the craft of holiday decoration. If you’re looking to get away this December and still engage in seasonal festivities, add one of these places to your must-visit list.
make for a Western-themed holiday pulled right out of a John Wayne classic. For holiday admirers looking for a unique spin, Jackson has you covered.
Yearly Yuletide in Santa Claus, Indiana
New York City’s Rockefeller Center
This one’s for the Christmas lover. If you can’t make it out to Santa Claus, Indiana, this holiday season, you can still celebrate Christmas in this tiny Midwestern town in January, June, or even October. Embracing its unique name, the town boasts a museum, holiday shopping center, and a Christmas theme park. In a moving tribute, the town’s residents also write responses to children’s letters to Kris Kringle himself. It’s impossible to avoid holiday
New York City is an iconic location for Christmas- time. The scene is like a Hallmark card: Ice-skating lovers whiz past miles of twinkling lights underneath an exceptionally tall and amply decorated tree. The tree is specially selected by Rockefeller Center’s landscap- ing crews, who scout out trees years in advance. It remains lit from November to early January, so you have plenty of time to check it out.
cheer in this town.
Disney World’s Christmas Magic
Ranch Christmas in Jackson, Wyoming
What better place to celebrate the most magical time of the year than in the most magical place on Earth? Walt Disney World’s halls are decked to the max with a parade, gingerbread homes, strings of lights, and festive parties. Plus, costs to visit Disney World can be cheaper during the Christ- mas season, so keep an eye out for a vacation steal.
Jackson, Wyoming, takes its frontier culture to the next level during the Christmas season. All year, the city proudly displays four elk antler arches, but around the holidays, they are lit up with white string lights and flanked by snow. The Christmas decorations and lights surrounding the archway
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