Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine “Finding Napa or Napa Finding Me” October 2007.
Finding Napa or Napa Finding Me – Dr. Tanya Mahaphon
By JoAnn Busenbark
Did you know that the American Optometry Association offers free visual assessment to infants thru the age of one year? The exam can show pre-existing conditions that may result in blindness or other conditions as the child develops.
This leads me to the story of how Dr. Tanya Mahaphon, OD, found her way to Napa (or if Napa found her).
Tanya knew at an early age she wanted to do something with her life that would somehow make a difference. Growing up in the Los Angeles area, she collected ideas on the direction she might want to go. Part of her life experience included being taught to give back to her community. This has been and continues to be a driving force in her life.
When Tanya entered college she explored medicine, psychology and education (teaching). As a young girl she had an optometrist who practiced vision therapy. As part of her experience she heard and knew of a boy who had vision therapy that said his ability to learn was so enhanced that it was a life changing experience. His self-esteem was also greatly improved. Tanya remembered this boy’s story and it became an inspiration for her. She now had her direction and began her serious study in the field of optometry.
She has a B.S. degree from the University of California, San Diego, in Neuroscience, a Doctorate of Optometry from the Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon and is finishing an M Ed in visual function and learning. Tanya has done training at the SUNY State College of Optometry and taught there during her vision therapy residency. Board certified in Vision Therapy, Tanya taught at NOVA Southeastern University, College of Optometry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she was Chief of Binocular Vision Service.
Tanya has always done volunteer work and has participated in many activities wherever she was living. She was a founding member of South Florida’s P.A.V.E (Parents Active for Vision Education), she is a volunteer for AOA (American Optometry Association), SEE program (free eye exams for infants), conducted visual screenings for Head Start in Florida, as well as eye screening for Special Olympics participants in Florida.
From Florida to Napa is a journey. Many people go in reverse, Napa to warm Florida, but usually those are headed for retirement. Tanya is young and was eager to move to the next step in her career.
While Tanya was teaching, she patiently searched for her perfect opportunity. She saw an advertisement for Dr. Randall Cummings’ sale of his optometry practice in Napa. He was interested in someone trained in Vision Therapy. Tanya researched the area, knowing Northern California was her first choice for relocation from Florida. A final visit told her Napa was a great place for her practice. The month of July celebrated her first full year in Napa. In her words, “The city of Napa has the small town friendly atmosphere and environmental awareness of the Pacific Northwest with the rich culture of the city close by in San Francisco.”
As a new member of the Chamber of Commerce, Tanya is starting her commitment to being involved in her community. She and her fiancé Kevin will soon marry and begin “couples” life in Napa. “It was a dream come true,” Tanya says, to finally be the president of her own corporation, Eye Spy Vision Care Optometry. She had an image for this company since optometry school and reserved her website name http://www.eyespyvision.com years ago.
Finding the city of Napa completed the missing piece in her business plan. Finally, after 7 years, it came together. She is a Napan.
“Which really is the whole truth,” says Tanya. “I’ve been searching since optometry school for a place for my business, since I knew it would be a lifetime commitment to the community.”
Tanya’s work helping adults and children see and perform better with glasses or contact lenses, to saving people’s vision by diagnosing eye diseases, to helping children transform into confident and bright students in school through vision therapy satisfies her desire to be of service during her life. Vision therapy provides knowledge and training to children who have learning-related vision problems and are not doing well in school. The way vision tracks words across the printed page has tremendous affect on the ability to read.
In Tanya’s words, “I am thankful to be able to help people everyday see better, think better, and feel better.”
Thanks Tanya for finding Napa, and we hope you and Kevin will be long time residents of the Valley.