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A Look Back – 40 Years of Carlin Vision

When Dr. Richard Carlin opened his door for patients for the first time in 1977, the entire practice was two people: Richard and the receptionist, Linda. Forty years later, the Carlin Vision practice employs about 60 people, including seven doctors, and there is a surgery center as well as an impressive free-standing office building.

CarlinVision Doctors, Michael A. DeRosa MD, Melanie Bennett-Sims MD, David Carlin MD, Richard Carlin MD, Blake Thornhill OD, Allison R Tyler MD, and Michael Willman DO.

Even from day one, Richard Carlin wanted something different inside his walls—he had a vision—Carlin’s vision— and used that intentional pun when choosing a name for his practice. 

The early years, Dr Richard Carlin with his young son David. The early years, Dr Richard Carlin with his young son David.Even with such a noble concept, surely Richard Carlin himself would have had trouble predicting 40 years ago that one day he would offer lens replacement surgery or the Lasik procedure. Richard first came to Gwinnett from up north on a misconception. He stayed, despite not knowing anyone besides his wife, and opened his practice in an area that had no eye care facility anywhere close. In fact, in 1977 there was not much of anything in the city limits of Snellville. In his first week of operation, Richard saw 39 patients. In between patient appointments, he would change out of his tie and lab coat and wallpaper the bathroom himself. From that first week until today, Richard has confronted every step with the same plan: 1) give the patient a better, personal experience; and 2) just do whatever needs to be done to make #1 happen. 

David Carlin MD with his father and founder Richard Carlin MD of Carlin VisionDavid Carlin MD with his father and founder Richard Carlin MD of Carlin VisionCarlin Vision now has seven doctors to serve their patients. One of them is Dr. Richard Carlin’s son, Dr. David Carlin, who joined the practice in 2004. The mutual love and respect between father and son, even in this professional setting, is just as refreshing and comforting as the coffee and chairs in the office waiting area. David says of his decision to follow his dad’s profession and business, “My dad is my best friend and my hero. I always knew I wanted to be a physician but tried to keep an open mind for which direction I would take. When it was finally time to decide on a specialty in med school, I knew that I would never find a better mentor than my dad. I knew that working with my best friend and hero every day would be my best decision.” The respect is entirely mutual. Hearing them talk to and about each other was like a big, verbal group hug. It was heart-warming and was evidence that their feelings about their work were inseparable from their feelings for each other. Their drive to respect and care for their patients grows from the kind of respect and care they will always give each other.

Dr. Richard Carlin in the 1990sDr. Richard Carlin in the 1990sWe have been conditioned to accept the norm for doctor visits of any kind to look like this: sign in, sit down, wait, talk through glass to fill out forms, sit down, wait, get called back, get evaluated by a disenchanted nurse who seems to inevitably add that extra 3 pounds on the scale for her own pleasure, get ushered to the exam room, answer the same questions that you just wrote down on the forms, wait, wait, wait some more while you hear the doctor talk about lunch plans for 5 minutes, feel your blood pressure double, wait some more, finally see the doctor for a rushed 8 minutes, spend the whole drive home trying to shake off the herded cattle feeling and try to remember if the doctor actually suggested anything that would make you feel better. Sound familiar? Maybe parts? Maybe the entire thing?

Dr. Carlin’s Vision for his practice is for his patients never to feel shuffled through the system while under his care. Their motto, “Advanced eye care with a hometown touch” is a litmus test for every decision they make. Every detail of the patient experience is to help every individual feel cared-for. When asked about challenges in the past or hurdles they may face in the future, the answer was the same—they figure out how to keep their quality consistently better than expected. It does not matter what headaches insurance companies may conjure in the future, a patient at Carlin Vision will not feel any decline in their experience.

CarlinVision is located on Lenora Church Rd in Snellville.CarlinVision is located on Lenora Church Rd in Snellville.Beyond the full Optical Boutique and Contact Lens Department to cover all of your lens needs, Carlin also has a Lasik Surgery department and cataract department for laser cataract surgery and even lens replacement. Carlin Vision also has a Cosmetic Department and offers cosmetic and prescription Botox and Latisse. Cosmetic or medically necessary eyelid surgery is also available. There is also a separate building just next door dedicated entirely to surgery and servicing the patient and loved ones at all stages of the process. If it involves your eyes in any way, Carlin Vision can take care of any possible medical or cosmetic needs. If there is a procedure you need and have been dreading, go to Carlin Vision and feel the difference of care they can offer you. If there is a voluntary service you have been considering, have a consultation with one of the experts at Carlin Vision. Their philosophy and service will earn your trust to work toward your best eye health and beauty.

Both Dr. David and Richard Carlin lead their whole practice in better healthcare. Better patient experience is paramount and the first question to answer in every detail. They also want your eye health to begin before you even walk through the doors. When asked what they as doctors want you as patients to know and do for your eye health, the answer was “Eat healthy (lots of green leafy vegetables), exercise, lower stress, and don’t smoke.” If we all implement those healthy habits, our entire body and mind, not just our eyes, will benefit and flourish.

For more details about any of the products and services offered at Carlin Vision, visit or call 770-979-2020.