Brandon Marlatt brings advanced tech to his new optometry practice in Fonthill. DON RICKERS

A new optometry practice has opened in Fonthill, located at 155 Hwy 20 West, inside the Log Cabin and next to Boggio Pharmacy.

“It’s been said that the eye is the window to the soul, and for me, it’s something that I’ve had a passion for my entire life,” said Dr. Brandon Marlatt, who has been practicing optometry in Niagara for a decade, but only recently cast his gaze upon Pelham.

With a primary practice already established in his hometown of Ridgeway, Marlatt’s focus is on advanced technology and patient-centred care, which extends beyond simply fitting prescription lenses.

He is 36 years old, but has been working in the vision industry for two decades. Marlatt started on his career path at age 16, working part-time with a Fort Erie-based optometrist while he was in high school.

Marlatt’s undergraduate studies in science at the University of Guelph were followed up with medical school at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. He interned at the Veteran Affairs Hospital in South Carolina, and worked with Indigenous peoples at a reservation in Wyoming. Marlatt has co-managed patients undergoing refractive surgery for the last eight years, and is happy to discuss LASIK and PRK options with those who prefer to avoid eyeglasses or contact lenses.

“In terms of my general experience, I’ve seen pretty much everything in the industry, from making the glasses to post-operative management,” said Marlatt. “We are bringing in like-minded doctors to up-level the care. It won’t be just about eyeglasses. We will focus on ocular health and proper management, especially for those who have significant health issues, like glaucoma and diabetes. My goal is to change the way people perceive eye care. I’m not preoccupied with the name on the side of the glasses.”

Marlatt has seven employees between his two clinics, with a minimum of three staff to accommodate each patient, currently by appointment only. He prefers a collaborative and inter-disciplinary approach to vision health.

“Having the pharmacy in the same building, and family physicians in the adjacent units, just makes for a better team approach,” he said. “My vision of healthcare in the future is a one-stop shop.”

My vision of healthcare in the future is a one-stop shop

One component of the new technology is optical coherence tomography, which measures the density of tissue, and detects early signs of disease, making treatment more manageable. Marlatt said that he can pick up macular degeneration five years before it typically shows up on a standard retinal photo.

“In our industry, if you require high-tech equipment, that’s where the ophthalmologist usually has to take over,” said Marlatt. “But we will be able to manage and detect most issues in primary care, thus decreasing the workload for the ophthalmologist. And if we send you to a surgeon, it’s for a procedure, and we can manage post-surgical r ecovery thereafter. We have a great collaboration with all ophthalmologists in the region.”

Marlatt said that his clinics have hundreds of frames available, starting at about $90. He offers only the highest-quality lenses made by Zeiss, complete with a two-year warranty. All OHIP patients are accepted.

He and his wife, Jennie, have four children, and they reside on a 44-acre hobby farm outside of Ridgeway, working towards a sustainable homestead as their ultimate goal.

“Conservation is very important to my family,” said Marlatt. “We’re part of the Bert Miller Nature Club out of Fort Erie, and are very enthusiastic about nature and the outdoors. We have goats and ducks on our farm, and do some beekeeping as well. We have a greenhouse that’s fully irrigated, and a seven-acre wetland developed with Ducks Unlimited. My plan is to take half of the acreage and convert it into conservation and trails.”

Dr. Marlatt’s Fonthill clinic may be reached at (905) 993-1234.