In 1949, when Dr. Eugene I. Cohen graduated from Northern Illinois College of Optometry, the WWII veteran who was attending school courtesy of the GI Bill did not know he was about to begin a family legacy. Fast forward more than 30 years later, his son, Dr. Roy B. Cohen ’83, graduated from the SUNY College of Optometry and followed his father’s example.
“The technology we use today has vastly improved patient care, but I learned from my dad that it is how well you treat your patients that builds a practice,” says Dr. Cohen. After finishing at the College, he joined Town Optical, the private practice in midtown Manhattan that his father opened in 1961. He still operates it to this day.
In addition to the practice, Dr. Cohen is an expert in contact lens care, with an emphasis on custom and specialty fits. He is an industry consultant for lens manufacturers and has published in Review of Optometry and Optometric Management. “Contact lens practice became my specialty early on when I saw the impact contact lenses have—not having to wear thick eyeglasses for sports or social occasions really changes people’s lives,” he says. “This grew into custom contact lens care for people with keratoconus and other corneal problems.”
This dedication to contact lenses began during his time as a student at the College. “I learned something early on at SUNY Optometry that has stuck with me my whole career. Even if you have saved a person from going blind, if the glasses your office just made them are wrong, you will be judged harshly,” says Dr. Cohen, who chose the school because of its location and excellent reputation. “I always make sure my eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions are right!”
When Dr. Cohen is not working, he does not stray far from the College community. “I still meet regularly with a circle of friends from the Class of 1983,” he says. “Our children have also become friends and it was great to see them grow up together.”