Wayne Barton has seen enough of his wife's optometry work to be impressed.
"She can refract our dog," he jokes, referring to a test given as part of a routine eye exam.
Dr. Trishelle Barton's talent comes in handy when she's practicing on another kind of patient – infants – who don't speak. Pediatric optometry is one of her specialties, along with the diagnosis of eye disease and other vision problems.
Barton opened The Eye Studio in northwest Wichita last year, took several months off to have her second child, then re-opened again this summer. The Eye Studio accepts patients of all ages.
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Barton says she has seen vision problems from both sides. She was in college before she was diagnosed with something called "convergence difference," which made it difficult for her to focus on printed words.
She always had been a A student, but only because she worked so hard at being an "auditory learner."
The experience inspired her to change her career path from art history to optometry.
"I've been the patient," she said.
The Bartons both grew up in Colby and have been sweethearts since their freshmen year of high school. Both attended Wichita State University before transferring to the University of Kansas.
Barton went on to earn her optometry degree from Pacific University in Oregon. She was part of group practices in Eugene, Ore., and Fort Collins, Colo., that both offered optometric vision therapy of the kind which helped solve her own vision problem. She also completed specialized externships in pediatric optometry and the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.
Barton doesn't practice optometric vision therapy here, but she does place a special emphasis on thorough eye exams designed to detect disease or any other possible problems as well as measure eyesight. If found, she can refer the patent to a therapist.
“I am very thorough," she said. "Ultimately, I want to make sure that both eyes are working together properly.”
Barton is a "huge proponent" of eye exams for children. She participates in the InfantSEE program, which offers free eye and vision assessments to babies 6 to 12 months old.
"There's a lot of preventive blindness we can check at that age," she said.
She also takes part in the See To Learn program, which offers free vision assessments to 3-year-olds. And she advocates for back-to-school eye exams, saying children's eyes change rapidly as they grow and vision problems can lead to learning problems.
The Bartons moved back to the Kansas after the birth of their first daughter, now 2, to be close to family. Dr. Barton says she misses the camaraderie of a group practice but also appreciates the freedom of a solo one, especially with two young children to take care of.
Wayne Barton, whose background is in construction management, renovated the 2,000-square-foot office and is helping out as needed.
Dr. Barton says she may add optometric vision therapy to her practice in the future but has "too much on my plate right now."
Her husband agrees.
“If she takes on anything else, I'm outta here.”