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When Dr. Antonio Elmer N. Tan started his ophthalmology practice in Biñan more than twenty years ago, he had a vision – to build one of the most progressive and innovative medical institutions in the country. And from that simple dream rose what the townspeople of Laguna would say is a trailblazer in the eye care field, the Asia-Pacific Eye Center, “the preferred eye center South of Manila.”
A proudly Filipino-owned ophthalmology center, the Asia-Pacific Eye Center (or APEC) is the leading and most trusted eye care clinic in the southern part of Metro Manila, known for providing personalized eye care solutions with superior quality and only the best patient care platform. It started in 1993 with the Tan Eye Clinic, expanding through the years with the help of fellow ophthalmologists driven to render high-quality and world-class service.
“They really saw it – the growth, the progress,” said Dr. Tan, who is APEC’s Chairman and President. “We are really serious in giving our patients world-class eye care, not only in terms of service but also in terms of equipment and facilities.” APEC is currently serviced by more than 15 doctors, and has branches in Alabang, Sta. Rosa, and San Pedro. Last April, the APEC’s new home in Biñan’s One Asia Business Center was launched as its fourth location.
Dr. Tan had everything planned from the beginning, but he couldn’t have done everything by himself. Working with him in the continued expansion of the APEC brand is Dr. Noel S. Cariño, who acts as the center’s Medical Director, and himself a leading ophthalmic surgeon like Dr. Tan. “We were actually competitors, before we bought into each others’ practices,” revealed Dr. Cariño, whose Cariño Eye Clinic merged with the Tan Eye Clinic to give rise to APEC.
Due to the demand in patient care in the south, APEC’s consultation slate requires the utmost knowledge and expertise of its roster of ophthalmologists, who have been certified and trained to provide cutting-edge eye care solutions to patients with such conditions as cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, error of refraction, and ptosis. “We can confidently say that at this point in time, south of Alabang, we are really the innovator, we are the biggest, and we are the busiest,” boasted Dr. Tan, who added that operations such as corneal, refractive, lacrimal, and reconstructive surgeries are held in APEC’s clinics each day.
As part of their thrust to provide the best care for the eye patients that line up in their clinics, the doctors behind APEC also set up the AsPac Eye Laser & Surgicenter as the services and therapeutic arm of the center. Boasting of highly-sophisticated and up-to-date equipment which will help diagnose and treat prevailing eye conditions in patients, the AsPac Eye Laser & Surgicenter was instituted to also attract ophthalmologists from across Laguna who might need its facilities and machines. To do this, AsPac continues to update its line of diagnostic machines, which now include visual field, OCT, biometry, and pachymetry machines.
One of the AsPac’s latest acquisitions, however, is the WaveLight EX500 LASIK machine used for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, giving treated patients definite freedom from eyeglasses and contact lenses. According to Dr. Cariño, “only a handful of eye centers in the country has this powerful a machine,” which completes the suite of equipment needed to throw both APEC and AsPac into the spotlight of refractive surgery.
Realizing the dream of total eye care service means putting the Asia-Pacific Eye Care Center and the AsPac Eye Laser & Surgicenter together under one roof, which is the role of the Asia-Pacific Tower One of the Asia-Pacific Medical and Wellness Center, Inc. (APMWC), located in the Jubilation Loop of the One Asia Business Center. The tower, which houses both AsPac’s extensive line of machines and APEC’s complete array of consultative services, boasts of eight floors which will host, in the future, a polyclinic and an aesthetic center. As Dr. Tan put it, “the most challenging part is to come out with an impressive facility, because if you are good, it is not enough to let the patient know that you are good; you have to look good as well.”
The APEC inside Biñan’s APMWC Tower holds an expansive set of consultation rooms, visual acuity rooms, and refraction rooms, as well as the Daily Care Vision Center for patients’ eyeglass needs. However, one of the clinic’s unique features is the Rizal Lounge, a premium clinic operational side-by-side with APEC’s regular clinic. “We named it after our national hero, who is the most famous Filipino ophthalmologist. It is a separate clinic within a clinic, with a private lounge, and requires no waiting time for patients who avail of its services,” described Dr. Tan.
Now that APEC and AsPac have both made names in the south of Manila, Dr. Tan and Dr. Cariño hope to further expand into Manila’s greater and highly urban cities, coming up with good ways to get the word out that there is a new player in town. “The strategy here is to make the name memorable. It already has a recall from people in the south. If that recall echoes northward, then we can branch in the big cities like Makati and Taguig,” explained both doctors.
While plans are still being drawn, the clamor for eye care from across the south of Manila continues, and Dr. Tan has this to say about why APEC and AsPac are the centers to go to: “I’ve been following this formula since I started – we make sure that doctors are available, that we are affordable, that we are accessible, and that we are accountable. Patients can trust that they can have their eyes taken care of APEC & AsPac group of doctors with confidence, because we have instilled in our doctors’ minds and hearts these virtues.”
In time, we will be seeing more of Asia-Pacific Eye Center and AsPac Eye Laser & Surgicenter in the cities of Metro Manila – literally see more of them.