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Hays eye practice becomes 'Taylor'-made fit

By KALEY CONNER

kconner@dailynews.net

Joining Dr. Michael Hattan's Hays optometry practice in August was a homecoming for Dr. Anthony Taylor.

The Ellis High School graduate returned to his native northwest Kansas, and to the clinic that inspired him to choose a career in eye care.

"It's been nice for me to get started, and I had a good mentor with Dr. Hattan," Taylor said.

Taylor worked at Family Eye Care Optometry, 1517 E. 27th, for a few years as an optometric technician while pursuing an undergraduate degree from Fort Hays State University. At the time, he was trying to decide whether to become a dentist or eye doctor.

He also spent time working at a dental clinic and a hospital.

It was his time with Hattan and Dr. Jerry Akers, who retired from the practice approximately three years ago, that inspired him to pursue optometry.

"I enjoyed it more than I did at any of the other health care professions I worked in," Taylor said.

He began seeing patients Aug. 1 and has been keeping busy since.

After graduating from FHSU in 2007, he attended optometry school at Oklahoma College of Optometry, graduating in May.

He kept in contact with Hattan through the years and knew he had the option of coming to Hays.

Hattan and his staff were happy to welcome Taylor to the office. Things had been increasingly busy following Akers' retirement, Hattan said.

"We could handle it, but it was pretty busy," he said. "We had one guy trying to do a practice for two people, and so we'd get behind a lot."

Hattan said it also has been a benefit Taylor has ties to the area and fresh perspectives as a recent optometry school graduate.

"He's brought some newer techniques and ideas and some different aspects in that way," Hattan said. "That's been real nice."

Taylor always knew he wanted to work in health care and has a particular interest in emergency work and ocular disease. He said he enjoys the variety of cases found in a small-town practice.

"I see 1-year-olds to 100-year-olds," he said. "Definitely different types of examinations."

And the work is always rewarding, Taylor said.

"I like providing clear vision for people, especially children who don't know what they're not seeing until they get their first pair of glasses," he said.