STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — While Victoria Rose Nieto, 32, was attending St. Joseph Hill Academy in Grasmere, she worked part-time at Pildes Optical in New Springville.
“I would go after work in my Hill uniform, which the patients really got a kick out of,” she said, noting she also worked there after earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pace University in Manhattan.
“Dr. Anna Marie Fernandez, optometrist at Pildes Optical, and Sam Tarantola, the optician, took the time to explain things to me so that I would learn, and I always watched Sam dealing with patients, giving great customer service,” she added.
But this turned out to be more than part-time job for Nieto. It sparked her interest in becoming an optician. After a brief stint singing professionally, she decided to go back to school to earn an associate’s degree in ophthalmic dispensing.
The result is Visions By Victoria Rose, a Rossville-based full-service optical dispensary offering a full range of eye wear, which opened in September.
“Being an optician requires a lot of training and experience. I like solving problems and figuring out how to help the patient achieve the best visual acuity and comfort in all circumstances. My past patients have helped me to learn so much about what the needs are of my current patients,” said Nieto, who employs an optometrist to perform eye examinations.
Because eyeglasses are a big part of people’s appearance, Nieto said she tries to take as much time with patients as they need to make the right selection.
“I am independent. Independent in the sense that I am not afraid to go out in the world and make something happen.”
“Every time I hear from a patient who has not had a good experience at an optical store I want to help them see and feel that their concerns were heard by me. I always put myself in their shoes, and I know what it is like to not be able to see without my eyeglasses,” added Nieto, who also is the mother of three boys.
EDUCATING THE PUBLIC
Nieto said she has made it her mission to educate the public about proper eye health.
“I will use this venture as a platform to educate the public, especially the young generation, about healthy vision,” she said.
“We value service first simply because it’s someone’s vision — never mind the fancy or flashy frames — without your health you can’t enjoy the luxury things in life.”
MAKING PATIENTS SMILE
In addition to looking good, Nieto makes sure patients get the best optical care so they can achieve 20/20 vision.
“What I love most about my job is seeing patients smile when they try on their new glasses and realize that they will be able to see and be comfortable. Some patients go for a long time accepting less than the best possible vision, not realizing what is available to them,” said Nieto.