What is your favorite thing about being an optometrist?

Being able to educate my patients on their eye conditions and improving their vision

What are your hobbies?

Fishing, playing cards, avid sports fan (Packers, Brewers, and IU basketball)

What is your favorite holiday and why?

Thanksgiving, there’s always a lot of football to watch on TV

Where would you love to travel to?

Europe (Greece, Italy, France, and Germany)

What has been your favorite thing about working at VEA so far?

The people. Everyone who works at VEA is wonderful and they all have made my transition from student to doctor quite enjoyable and easy.

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Vince Lombardi

Last month, doctors and staff members got together on a Saturday for Valley Eye Associates’ 2021 Staff Retreat. They met at Dave and Buster’s in Green Bay for morning training and team building. A guest speaker presented on patient service and the patient experience. They also participated in a scavenger hunt throughout Dave and Buster’s arcade. All together, the VEA team consists of four ophthalmologists, 16 optometrists, 70+ staff members, and five clinic locations, so when the whole team gets together, it’s a special treat!

Why are staff retreats beneficial?

Kara Plante, the manager of our Business Office, answered, “Our staff retreats allow Valley Eye Associates to become a stronger team as a whole by focusing on practice culture and team-building exercises. They help us build relationships and make sure we are providing the best patient care possible.”

After the morning training session, doctors and staff members met at Sunset Park in Kimberly for some fun in the sun. The after party included food trucks, a kickball tournament, and a charity dunk tank. $186.00 was raised for Feeding America – Eastern Wisconsin. We are grateful for our wonderful team!

Each day, the team at Valley Eye Associates uses the best technology available to give our patients the best vision possible.

While it’s exciting to learn and implement the latest advancements, that isn’t what makes our team look forward to their work. It’s you, our patients. We deeply appreciate the trust you put in us to improve your vision and the way you share your life during your appointments. Your stories about kids and grandkids, the shenanigans of your pets, or the insider tips from the latest trip you took brighten our days!

Because of the bonds we form during your visits, we’re especially honored when you vote us “Best of the Valley” and “Best of Winnebago County” in the LASIK Surgery Center category. You’ve allowed us to share our expertise and for that, we’re sincerely thankful.

Valley Eye Associates has won the Best of the Best contest — sponsored by the Appleton Post Crescent and Oshkosh Northwestern — for 15 consecutive years in the Valley and for five consecutive years in Winnebago County. We plan to work hard to ensure we continue to earn this honor from the communities we serve.

All Valley Eye Associates’ locations are open and ready to serve you. Please call ahead for an appointment. In addition, all Park Place Optical locations are open to take care of your glasses and contact lens needs. No appointment is necessary at Park Place Optical.

Below are a few frequently asked questions to help you prepare for your appointment:

What measures has Valley Eye Associates taken to protect patients and visitors?

Valley Eye Associates has been and always will be committed to providing the best care possible for our patients and visitors. To prevent asymptomatic spread, every patient and staff member in our offices is required to wear a mask at all times. Masks are provided by VEA. We have also increased our extensive sanitation procedures by cleaning each exam room after each visit.

We are also striving to reduce how much time patients must spend in our office by supplementing our in-office diagnostics and evaluation with information sharing via telehealth.

Are there any measures that I as the patient need to take before coming to my appointment?

We have taken many measures on your behalf, including rigorous screening to create the safest possible environment. We do ask that, if you are not feeling well or have been in close contact with someone who is sick, please call to reschedule your appointment. We will be here to care for you and your vision when you are feeling better.

Is it safe to have eye surgery during the pandemic?

Yes, we believe it is. There have been no known cases of COVID-19 (SARSCOV-2) transmission from eye surgery. All staff and patients will wear protective equipment including masks. Additionally, we have rigorous screening criteria to create the safest possible environment.

Can I get COVID-19 by having surgery?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread from person to person. While there have been no known cases of COVID-19 transmission from eye surgery, it is always important to practice pre-surgery precautions like social distancing and diligent hand washing leading up to and following your surgery.

How does VEA respect social distancing?

We are taking several measures to respect social distancing. We have greatly limited traffic in our lobby areas by spacing out chairs.

May I bring a driver with me to my appointment?

Many times you will be unable to drive following a procedure, so it is recommended that you arrange for a family member or friend to drive you. As of Monday, June 7, all patients may have someone accompany them for appointments.

Where did you go to optometry school?

The Illinois College of Optometry

What is your favorite thing about being an optometrist?

I enjoy helping patients understand their vision solutions and love explaining their ocular health to them.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies include dining out, going on road trips, listening to audiobooks, and shopping for new outfits.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holiday is Christmas because it makes my heart warm when it’s cold and I love the decorations.

Where would you love to travel to?

Bora Bora

Sara Schalk, OD

What is your favorite thing about being an optometrist?

My favorite thing about being an optometrist is the one-on-one interactions with my patients, many of whom we get to know over the years.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies are reading, playing with my kids, and outdoor activities such as camping, skiing, biking, hiking, backpacking, etc.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holidays are Christmas—because we usually get together with the whole family—and the Fourth of July.

Where would you love to travel to?

I want to travel everywhere! I want to go back to Greece, go to Ireland, and see more of the National Parks out West—particularly hiking the Grand Canyon.

What has been your favorite thing about working at VEA?

My favorite thing about working at VEA is our great team! I love the people I work with and knowing that we are helping people every day.

Kimberly Landwehr, OD

We’re celebrating Dr. Kimberly Landwehr’s 17th anniversary at Valley Eye Associates!

What is your favorite thing about being an optometrist?

My favorite thing is my patients! I have met so many people, each with a different story. I look forward to catching up on their family and adventures every visit!

What are your hobbies?

Right now, my hobbies are my three kids! I watch a lot of basketball, baseball, and softball games. I also love going to Brewer games and crafting with my daughter.

What’s your favorite holiday and why?

My favorite holiday is Halloween. My middle child was also born on Halloween!

Where would you love to travel to?

I’d love to travel to Australia!

What has been your favorite thing about working at VEA?

I have the best co-workers! I also love that every appointment is something different, could be an exam, a surgery evaluation, a post-op, foreign body removal, contact lens fitting, the list goes on!

Valley Eye Associates staff and the Best of the Valley and Best of the Winnebago logos

At Valley Eye Associates, we are honored to be voted “Best of the Valley” and “Best of Winnebago” in the LASIK Surgery Center category for 14 years in a row. The Appleton Post Crescent and Oshkosh Northwestern publishers have hosted the contest over the past several years. We are humbled and value the confidence the community has placed in us.

“For the doctors and staff at Valley Eye Associates, it means the world to us to be able to share our expertise with our neighbors and friends who have entrusted us with their eyecare. We take the responsibility seriously. Since 1981, we have proudly served the Fox Valley and beyond with a singular focus on eye care excellence for each of our patients,” says Dr. Michael Vrabec.

We bring together state-of-the-art technology, leading doctors, and a fantastic staff to ensure you receive the best vision care available. Whether you’re interested in routine eye care to help maintain good ocular health, LASIK and other surgical options to help reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses, or advanced cataract treatments, Valley Eye Associates is here to ensure your vision is maintained for a lifetime.

Thank you to everyone who voted for Valley Eye Associates in this year’s “Best of the Valley” and “Best of Winnebago County” contests! We’re extremely grateful for all your support and we will continue to strive to provide the best care possible.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has issued a month-long safer at home order that prohibits all ”non-essential business“ and prohibits all ”non-essential travel“ in the state during the coronavirus outbreak.

The order goes into effect at 8:00 am on Wednesday, March 25 and remains in effect until 8:00 am on Friday, April 24, unless the governor announces otherwise.

Valley Eye Associates is open for emergency care only, which includes the following:

  • Eye pain
  • Chemical in eye(s)
  • Loss of vision
  • Double vision
  • Foreign body
  • Flashes/floaters/cobwebs/curtains

Some post-op and follow-up appointments are still occurring per each individual doctor’s instructions (injections for patients with macular degeneration, for example, or care following corneal transplant surgeries). Patients are being contacted appropriately, whether appointments are still occurring or being rescheduled.

We have a comprehensive team ready to assist and answer questions (ophthalmologist, optometrist, technician, surgery counselor, and more). Of course things are evolving more and more every day, so we will continue to keep everyone up-to-date.