She’s had a pretty impressive professional career thus far, but now, Rebecca Sparks is ready for the next step as she begins a new practice in Andover.

She previously had her own practice for years in Derby. She’s a member of the Kansas Optometric Association (KOA) and the American Optometric Association. She’s previously served as the President of the Wichita Optometric Society, which is affiliated with the KOA. In 2013, she was asked by the governor to serve on the Kansas State Board of Examiners in Optometry, for which she is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the Board.

On top of all that, Sparks now has opened her new optometry office called Sparks Eye Care, LLC, located at 307 W. Highway 54, Suite 100 in Andover. Sparks and her staff had a ribbon-cutting ceremony this past Thursday as they opened for business.

For Sparks, this was a process that began last summer as she was looking for a location after finalizing negotiations from her previous practice.

“From a planning perspective, I was blessed with wonderful people who joined in to help,” Sparks said. “While our relationships are certainly business in origin, I consider a great many of them friends as well. Obtaining medical and office equipment, re-establishing relationships with frame representatives and laboratories, and the all-important financing of the practice could not have happened without their help.”

Those people included Drs. Chris Meyer and Jason Hampl in the Flint Hills Medical Clinic, who allowed her to sublease two exam rooms while her building space was being finished.

“…As a result, I was able to start seeing patients after only seven weeks after I left my previous office. We moved into our ‘home’ in the building in late February 2017,” Sparks said.

There certainly are some challenges that come along with her new practice, though.

“By far, the most challenging portion of this endeavor has been re-establishing myself as a provider on different insurance plans. Literally, some of these processes were not completed until after the first of the year.  When it comes to working with insurance, patience is a virtue I do not have,” Sparks said with a smile. “However, here again, I was blessed with numerous people who helped me in so many ways to navigate these waters.

“As a result of this process, I have been able to share my experiences with other doctors who are similarly starting new practices, and to help them on their path,” she added.

Sparks Eye Care offers a variety of services, including wellness (routine) eye examinations both for glasses and contact lenses as well as examinations for conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and chronic eye, as well as whole-body conditions that affect the eyes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and neurological conditions. Pre- and post-operative eye health care and urgent after-hours care are available, as well.There’s also a huge selection of spectacles, including prescription and non-prescription sunwear, and contact lenses.

Sparks has a full staff ready to give support. Anne McCarthy is the patient coordinator who has had eight years of experience caring for patients as an optician with the Dole VAMC in Wichita.

Donna McGee maintain her certification as an Ophthalmic Technician who has two decades’ worth of experience at both optometric and ophthalmological practices.

“Donna makes our patients feel completely at ease from the first moment she meets them,” Sparks said. “I was told once many years ago by an optometrist that I admire: ‘Your best technician knows the diagnosis before you do.’ I find great truth in that statement, and enjoy working with Donna as she also enjoys the unending opportunity to learn from each other and our patients.”

Jennifer Cook is an optician who started at Sparks’ previous practice with no optometric experience before working her way to the optical and officer manager. Cook is certified as a CPOA and with the American Board of Opticianry (ABO).

“Jennifer has worked with me for twelve years, and I honestly do not know what I would have done without her….” Sparks said.

“Jennifer is driven to provide not only the highest quality in eyewear, but even more importantly, the best customer experience to our patients.  The day Jennifer approached me about the opportunity to join my new office and team was truly one of the best days of my life.  She’s not only a gifted optician, but a dear friend,” she added.

Sparks was born in Minnesota and moved several times as a “military brat” until her family settled in Wichita when she was 8 years old. She graduated from Rose Hill High School in 1988, then attended Kansas State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1992. She received her Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) from the University of Missouri at St. Louis in 1996.

Sparks is married to Stuart Dougherty, also a Rose Hill graduate. She predominantly practice in Derby, from November of 1997 until October of 2016.

She has two children. Katie will be a junior at Rose Hill this coming school year, and Douglas will start 8th grade.