Lifetime Eyehealth Associates      
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  (530) 592-4991
Joseph Laya, O.D.
Joseph Laya, O.D.

As any parent will likely tell you, the need for space grows exponentially with each child. Luckily for Dr. Joseph Laya's parents, they started their six-child family in Sheridan, Wyoming, where there's space as far as the eye can see. As the third largest city in Wyoming, Sheridan was home to a whopping 12,000 people, with plenty of space for each to call their own. A rambunctious child, Dr. Laya was patiently raised by parents who were both in the medical field themselves. He grew up in a time when you didn't have to worry about leaving your doors locked and taking off to go exploring some far-off fishing hole without notice was as expected as being home for supper.

When it came to college, Dr. Laya approached the opportunity with the same level of curiosity that he embodied throughout his childhood. After graduating from Southern California's College of Optometry in 1984, he began working for Dr. Ira Latto, a corneal specialist in ophthalmology. He spent six years at the practice in Panorama City, learning everything he possibly could before looking north. He found the perfect fit with Dr. Tom Flynn, an optometrist in Red Bluff. Over the years that followed, he learned the ins and outs of the optometry business model, eventually taking over an optical practice at the Sears department store in nearby Redding.
"I gained so much while I worked at Sears." Dr. Laya said, "I had employees working for me which required learning management skills. I also learned about managing cash flow, proper organization, and, of course, customer service. During my time there I saw just about everything you could imagine in eye care. It really was an incredible experience and opened the door to open my own business elsewhere."

In 2001, Dr. Laya opened his own optometry business in Redding, and it wasn't long before he found himself needing to expand. He built a 3,100-square-foot commercial building to house his budding optometry practice at 1771 Hartnell Avenue in 2006 to do just that. The location provided comprehensive optometry services along with an optical department and finishing lab which allowed for patients to have their glasses made while they waited. "It was a lot more management." Dr. Laya noted, "I liked the freedom of coming and going as I pleased, but I didn't care for the management at all. We had six employees working at any one time and saw approximately thirty patients a day. It was incredibly busy. Though it became more efficient as time went on, I still yearned for the days when I could just be a doctor."

An opportunity to return to doing what he was passionate about came in the form of an offer from Doctors Isaac Barthelow and Anthony Rudick of North Valley Eye Care and Ridge Eye Care. As they were looking to open an eye care clinic of their own in the Redding area, they offered to purchase Dr. Laya's practice and have him continue on as the lead optometrist. "We went to dinner and just hit it off." Dr. Laya remembered, "It felt like the right fit then, and it's continued to feel that way ever since. I sold the building and the practice in January 2020, we renamed it Cascade Eye Care, and I couldn't be more happy about the experience. It allowed me to be a doctor again without having to be an IT specialist, bookkeeper, accountant, manager, and so many other things. Doctors Barthelow and Rudick are both incredibly passionate about patient care and making sure everyone is treated with respect and dignity. I knew it from the moment I met them, and it's how I've always ensured to treat my own patients. It really was the perfect partnership." The partnership opened new services to the practice as well, with Dr. Gajda of Ridge Eye Institute rotating through Cascade Eye Care each week, the clinic is now able to provide ophthalmologic care alongside optometric. "My level of satisfaction in the practice has increased considerably." Dr. Laya enthused, "I've increased the number of patients I'm able to care for, and I can focus more thoroughly on each of their needs, which leads to better diagnoses and outcomes for their issues. North Valley Eye Care is the most compassionate group of professionals I've ever been blessed to be associated with. I've seen them treat many people who have no money while expecting no money; they've provided eye care and eyewear, even cataract surgery for free because it's the right thing to do." Dr. Laya has been an optometrist for 37 years and currently leads the team at Cascade Eye Care in Redding.

Ridge Eye Care, Inc.
2470 Beacon St.
Ste 120
Chico, CA 95928
(530) 592-4991
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Ridge Eye Care, Inc. 2470 Beacon St. Ste 120 Chico, CA 95928 Phone: (530) 592-4991 Fax: (530) 895-1531

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