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Monday, May 2, 2016

Optometrist celebrates 35 years in Clay County

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dr. Gary Nesty checks Ken Michael's eyes at Nesty's office, the World in Focus. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
On Sept. 16, 1973, Dr. Gary Nesty was preparing for the biggest day of his life.

He was about to open his business, The World in Focus, 1515 E. National Ave., Brazil.

"That first day of work was exciting," Dr. Nesty said. "I probably didn't sleep much that night before.

"It was scary. You were anxious to start on your own."

On Wednesday, exactly 35 years later, he and his business are still up and running.

"I just like taking care of people," Dr. Nesty said. "I like taking care of eyes."

Dr. Nesty's passion for eyesight started when he had to wear his first pair of glasses as a sixth-grader at Van Buren Elementary School.

"I was amazed in the improvement (of my eyesight)," he said. "I guess you could say my life improved when I could see."

Dr. Nesty grew up in Harmony. Following graduation from Van Buren High School, he attended pre-optometry school at Indiana State University before finishing his education at Indiana University.

"I was always interested in higher education and learning new things," Dr. Nesty said.

Only months before graduating from IU, construction began on his current office, which has stood in the same location since it was built.

"I had it planned out," Dr. Nesty said. "I thought it was going to work and it did work. It's worked out well."

When he started his business, there were two other optometrists in Brazil.

"I've got people that have come here that I've got 35 years of records on," Dr. Nesty said.

Following graduation from IU, Dr. Nesty developed a love of the outdoors, especially fishing.

In 2001, he was one of 12 representing the state's BASS Federation team, which won the BASS Federation Northern Division.

His love of fishing has become, through the years, great conversation with patients.

"A lot of patients of mine know that I fish," he said. "I like them both the same."

Through his love of fishing, Dr. Nesty started a company on the side. In 1994, he formed Solar Bat Sunglasses.

"Solar Bat has sold sunglasses all over the world," he said.

His daughter, Amanda Shepherd, runs the company.

Through the years, Dr. Nesty has witnessed a lot of change in optometry.

"There has been a lot of new technology in lens design," he said. "Obviously, there have been improvements in lenses and contact lenses."

He added when he first started his practice, optometrists typically had about $10,000 worth of equipment. Now, his office has $250,000-$300,000 in equipment.

The world of optometry shifted as well. Dr. Nesty said optometrists are more focused on eye health care than when he first started.

"The biggest change in eye care is I'm treating all kinds of eye infections," he said. "I think that optometry just grew. We had the right people in the right places. And it's a very good thing for a community like Brazil. It gives people better access."

Even though he's been in the business for 35 years, Dr. Nesty said he has no plans of retiring anytime soon.

"A lot of people have a goal where they want to retire," he said. "I never really had that goal. I want to keep doing this. I still get up every morning and love coming to the office."

When asked if he could go another 35 years, Dr. Nesty chuckled.

"I don't know," he said. "I'd like too. I'd like to go just as long as I can go."

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