Eye specialists see great things ahead with new facility in Grand Junction
Armed with a new facility, new high-tech equipment and two prominent eye specialists, ICON Eyecare has some lofty goals for its Grand Junction location.
“We’re attempting to do what Steadman does in Vail, but in Grand Junction,” said ICON Chief Executive Officer Ryan Heckman, referring to the Steadman Clinic that is world- renowned for shoulder and knee surgeries.
Steadman is famous for bringing in people from all over the country for surgery, including many famous athletes, and while it might be difficult to match that when dealing with eye care, Heckman and ICON hopes the facility will be a draw to the area.
The company celebrated its new $5 million, 13,000-square-foot facility last week at 1000 Wellington Ave., near the St. Mary’s Medical Center campus and recently bought a new $500,000 laser for LASIK surgery. ICON moved into the new building, which has 15 exam rooms and a remodeled LASIK center, in late November 2016.
ICON dates to 1999 and was formerly ICON LASIK. It came to the Grand Valley in 2004 and is based in Denver with offices in Texas and Arizona.
“I’m very proud that we’re investing in Grand Junction,” Heckman said.
ICON has moved beyond just being known for LASIK surgery, and while that still is part of the business, thanks to doctors James Fox and Michael Waggoner, the center now has the capability of treating conditions such as glaucoma, dry eye and cataracts.
Fox came to Grand Junction two years ago, and Waggoner followed a year later. The two provide the center with doctors that ICON touts as leaders in the field.
ICON works with local optometrists for care and has a network of more than 100 optometrists and primary care providers in western Colorado and eastern Utah to coordinate care. According to Waggoner, the idea is not to compete with local optometrists, but give them a place to refer patients who need extra care.
Fox noted that since his and Waggoner’s arrival, patients no longer need to travel to Salt Lake City or Denver for operations related to glaucoma; the hope now is to get more patients into the Grand Valley.
“It speaks to the need the community had,” Fox said.
ICON Regional President for Colorado Andre Duplessis echoed that sentiment and added that he wants patients to be wowed when visiting the Western Slope center.
“We want to be a destination,” he said. “We don’t want anyone locally to be tempted to or even forced to leave the area.”
Heckman talked about future partnership opportunities such as with Colorado Mesa University to possibly offer a fellowship for students.
The facility is at about 60 percent capacity, according to Heckman, so there is room to expand and possibly bring in more doctors.
CMU President Tim Foster toured the facility last week and spoke highly of its possibilities.
“It’s one more advancement for our community to be running with the big dogs,” he said.
Grand Junction Mayor Rick Taggart said he is excited for the growth of ICON and what it might mean for residents or even medical tourism coming to town.
“It’s very special because it means that not only can we provide outstanding eye care to this community, but with the expertise that is here, there’s a draw to the outside world,” Taggart said. “Eyesight is critical and to have the best of the best in the Grand Valley is great.”