Eye Center of the Rockies recently moved to 232 Broadway after four years in Eagle Ranch.
"We didn't have enough room for optical (glasses)," said Dr. Matthew Ehrlich. "We're more full service now that we have this bigger place. We used to refer patients to local optometrists to get their glasses. Now we're a one-stop shop."
Ehrlich is an ophthalmologist, which is different from an optometrist.
"People often don't know the difference - an ophthalmologist is able to treat diseases and do surgery in addition to everything an optometrist does," he said. "Before I came here, patients had to be referred to Denver or Grand Junction for eye surgery. This is really a huge difference for the area."
Ehrlich also has an office at 1607 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs, which has been open three years. He does surgery at Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards and at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood.
"Now that we have our optics area set up, we'll be able to accept VSP insurance by the end of January, when the paper work is finished," Ehrlich said. "Once we're on VSP, we will have an optometrist working in the Eagle office as well so that I can focus on the more serious cases."
Ehrlich said he is able to respond to emergency calls 24/7. Patients can call the regular number and will automatically be transferred to an answering service when the office is closed.
"There are times when it's better to call me directly than go to the emergency room, where you'll end up being referred to me anyway," he said.
He has some colorful stories to illustrate his point.
"Two little boys were throwing a pencil around in class," he said. "One boy ducked and the pencil hit a girl in the eye. Her iris popped out. I sewed it back in and she still has 20/20 vision."
Ehrlich lives in Eagle with two 11-year-old children of his own and has 24 years of experience.
"I worked in Venice, Fla., for 13 years, doing 20 cataract surgeries every morning," he said. "It was great experience but I wanted to move here, and there was a need for an ophthalmologist here."
He clearly enjoys his work.
"I decided to become an eye doctor because it was the only kind of doctor I really went to as a kid, since I was otherwise healthy. He was my hero," Ehrlich said. "I like doing the delicate surgeries, working under a microscope."
His most commonly performed surgeries include "refractive" cataract surgery, refractive lensectomy, LASIK, plug insertion, YAG laser procedure, chalazion removal and pterygium removal.
For more information on Ehrlich and his office, visit www.eyecenterrockies.com or call the Eagle office at 970-926-7773 or the Glenwood Springs office at 970-945-9793.