Even as a high school student, Dr. Angela Gulbranson knew she wanted to work in the medical field. After shadowing some professionals on the job, she began to nurture a love for pediatrics.
More job shadowing brought her to a field of work she truly loved: optometry.
After completing optometry school at Indiana University, Gulbranson moved back to Sioux Falls and opened Visions Eye Care + Therapy Center in 2004 on 69th Street.
In 2018, the company moved down the road and opened the doors on a new facility.
The clinic performs routine primary vision care for all ages, but Gulbranson’s early passion for pediatrics carried over into her practice, and the clinic specializes in pediatric vision care.
“We work with little kiddos that are having trouble reading, to concussion patients or stroke patients,” said Gulbranson.
“Every day is different. We’re always learning and growing, and there’s always new treatments, & new ideas out there that we incorporate in.” -angela Gulbranson
Though Visions was started by Gulbranson, the business is a team effort. Dr. Jennifer Hupke and Dr. Ashley Gentrup share ownership of the company with Gulbranson, and optometrist Dr. Christian DeJongh has recently joined the team.
For the last 20 years, Gulbranson and her partners have been developing a curriculum of care that goes beyond primary vision care: Vision Therapy.
“Vision Therapy is a rehab program to help retrain the brain on how to use the eyes more efficiently,” said Gentrup.
Patients who benefit from Vision Therapy might be those who have learning-related vision issues, uncoordinated vision, developmental delays, or those who have endured a concussion. The process is similar to physical therapy or rehab.
“Therapy students of all ages visit our office weekly to build important visual skills for daily life,” explained Gentrup. “We help with headaches, double vision, loss of place with reading and blurry vision. Vision therapy enhances reading, sports performance, and visual comfort when looking at all distances.” she said.
“There’s an art to measuring up for a bifocal and getting the right adjustments so your glasses work properly.” -jennifer hupke
The Optical Boutique is open to everyone, regardless of whether or not you have an exam.
The clinic works with all kinds of disciplines and developmental delays, like down syndrome and autism. The doctors study the connection between vision and learning, treating patients in ways that will help them succeed.
“Everybody is special, and each program is individualized to what they need,” said Hupke.
In the Vision Therapy process, the patients undergo an evaluation that helps the therapists design their treatment program and work with them on a weekly basis.
“Helping people each day is the most rewarding thing.” -angela gulbranson
“I feel like it’s evolving all the time,” Hupke expressed.
Despite the challenges, Gulbranson expressed that it’s very gratifying to walk with a child through their specific issues and watch the therapy process change their life.
“People’s success stories are why I started doing it,” she stated.
Though the clinic’s staff is small, Hupke says the doctors all share a love for kids and helping others, all while maintaining close working relationships with each other and with the people they serve.
Making sure the patient has a good experience from when they call for the exam, to the follow through on any services they might need, is essential,” she said.
The clinic also has its own in-house shop called the Optical Boutique, which contains specialty lenses, unique frames, and high quality brands.
From exams to therapy programs to the boutique, the doctors prioritize thoroughly caring for their patients.
“Meeting and working with people to make whatever they need better, even if it’s just a pair of glasses or contacts, is what we love to do,” said Gulbranson.”