EyeCare Center

 When Dr. Justin Franks opened EyeCare Center of Saline County in 2011, he operated out of a 4,000 square-foot building with a staff of four, including himself and his wife, Michelle. 

 Since that time, the practice has moved to a state-of-the-art, 17,000 square-foot facility with 8,000 square feet of clinic space and over 20 employees, added another doctor (Dr. Sarah Lunsford), made plans for another eye doctor about to join the care team, and gained a reputation as one of the better optometry practices in Saline County. 

  “We love people and are blessed to be able to really get to know our patients,” Franks said. “Once you are a patient of ours, you become a friend. We truly care and hope to improve vision and ocular health for those who seek our services.” 

  Michelle said a “leap of faith” started the business while she continued to work as a nurse case manager and help grow the practice, which took off in no time. 

  “We could have never imagined that our clinic would grow like it has,” Michelle said. “I think that is a testament to Justin’s ability to connect with people—they feel like he cares because he truly does. He has built some incredible relationships and friendships with people who simply came to get their eyes checked. He has also surrounded himself with a great staff; they are amazing! 

  “I have people stop me in stores and restaurants, really everywhere in town, and tell me how much they appreciate Justin for taking care of them, but more importantly being genuine and taking the time to visit with them about things not related to their eyes. I could not be prouder.” 

  It is that commitment to care and customer service that has brought longtime patients back and drawn new patients. In nine years, the business outgrew its initial location next to the Fred’s retail store on Highway 5 in Bryant. During the summer of 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Franks moved his practice next door to the shuttered business. Less than three years later, that building is expanding.  

  “I doubt there is a nicer clinic in the state, and we are so blessed to be able to call this home,” he said. ”It features fourteen exam rooms, with more expected. We are also adding more parking in the back for staff, more offices, and an area for laser and specialty services.” 

And those services are cutting-edge. 

   “We offer the latest and best in eyecare technology to provide the best possible eyecare to our patients,” Franks said. “Many things we do here save our patients from having to drive elsewhere. We have over 1,000 frames in our Optical, with four Opticians on staff. This provides many choices to our patients, and top-quality service.” 

  The practice, which also features Dr. Sarah Lunsford, can treat any condition and a variety of ages. “Dr. Sarah Lunsford joined our clinic in November of 2016. She is first and foremost a wonderful person, but also a magnificent doctor.  Patients love her and we are blessed she is on our team. She deserves much of the credit for the success of our clinic!” Franks said.   

  “We offer comprehensive eyecare, from routine eye exams for glasses and contacts to ocular trauma to ocular diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma,” Franks said. “Also, pediatrics is a specific niche for us. We love kiddos and see kids from all over the state. Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation is a specialty that we offer. Only a handful of eye clinics in Arkansas offer this service, and we are the only one locally.”  

  In the past, the practice has worked directly with the Bryant School District to care for students, but currently reaches children directly through the main location. 

   “I feel we are able to use our clinic to outreach people daily and help those in need,” he said. “We are providers for the InfantSEE program, which is a public health program that includes infants 6–12 months of age and provides them a no-cost eye and vision assessment to rule out potential vision problems early. We don’t want any child of any age to struggle to see or to have an ocular issue. We will help them regardless of family income or access to insurance coverage.”              

    Meeting the demands of a growing practice isn’t easy, and Franks says sometimes he has difficulty balancing his work week (which normally tops 60 hours) and spending time with his two teenage daughters, nine-year-old son, and wife of 21 years. But the operation is a family affair in itself, as Michelle still manages the daily business affairs of the office and the couple’s daughters work in the Clinic during summer break. After church on Sundays, Franks prepares for the week and his son tags along and stocks the bathrooms, fills the refrigerator with bottled water, and tidies up. 

  “We all work and have put in a lot,” he said. “Dr. Lunsford, our wonderful staff, my wife, our kids. When you love what you do, it is easy. I think hard work and passion are wonderful things. I do wish I balanced better. I know I have missed some things because of the long hours, but hopefully our kids have seen and experienced that dedication and persistence are worth it.”     

  After 17 years living in Saline County and 12 years with his own practice, Franks is thankful he’s been able to make an impact and appreciative of all his patients, with a goal of serving more patients with bigger facilities and more services. 

  “The bottom line is, we are blessed,” he said. “Our clinic is filled with wonderful people—staff and patients. Saline County and the surrounding areas have been wonderful to us, and we owe them a huge ‘thank you.’”