“We provide personalized, compassionate care, which improves the quality of life of our patients in a comfortable, [unhurried] environment,” Dr. Stephen Spellman of Hampton Roads Eye Associates (HREA)-Hidenwood says. “Every day here, we make a difference.”
With a great-grandmother as the first female optometrist in the country, a grandfather and an uncle who were optometrists, Spellman was destined to be an ophthalmologist.
“My breakthrough moment came when I watched my first eye surgery in medical school,” he says of choosing his career in ophthalmology. “I was excited by the [surgeon’s] elegant technique and the wow moment as he removed a cataract.”
Spellman earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from University of Wisconsin and his Doctorate of Medicine degree from State University of New York in 1982. He completed his ophthalmology residency at Nassau County Medical Center, where he served as chief resident.
HREA-Hidenwood began on Main Street as Eye Physicians and Surgeons in the 60s. The practice moved to Hidenwood in 1983. Dr. Spellman joined his mentor, Dr. Eugene Heatwole, there in 1986. They merged with three other groups, creating the oldest and largest ophthalmology practice on the Peninsula. Spellman and wife, Marianne, have two grown daughters.
“Ophthalmology is very gratifying,” Dr. Nadia Shockley, who joined the practice in 2015, explains. “It’s a mixture of surgery and working in the clinic.”
Shockley attended the University of Pennsylvania on an Air Force scholarship and completed her residency at Emory University. After an active-duty tour in Germany, 12 years of private practice in Phoenix and five years on active duty at Langley Air Force Base, she came to work at HREA-Hidenwood. She is married to Keith, a retired Navy Intelligence officer and has a 16-year-old daughter.
“This office—the front staff, doctors, clinical team and optical shop—really cares about our patients, not just in the specialty care we offer but in the person as a whole,” Lori Leonard, lead office assistant, says. “Danette Barker, clinical coordinator, has been in this office 26 years, and this place would not be the same without her.”
“We see many patients each day, but it’s not a factory,” Spellman says. “I’m interested in my patients’ eyes, as well as their day-to-day life.”
HREA-Hidenwood employs high-tech glaucoma lasers, lasers for cataract surgery and approximately 20 diagnostic tools to finesse its work. Dr. Matthew Reed is the practice’s retina specialist, performing high-end treatments in diabetic retinopathy, diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration and retinal detachment.
Spellman performs cataract surgeries at the ambulatory surgery center, saving patients the time and expense of an OR visit. He specializes in medical/laser treatments for glaucoma, cataracts and corneal disease.
“I do many procedures in our minor treatment room,” he says. “In addition to minor plastics procedures, Botox and Juvederm, I do eyelid tucks and repair eyelid malpositions.”
Dr. Shockley performs in-office plastic surgery as well as laser, Botox and Juvederm treatments.
“Half of our day consists of routine eye exams,” Spellman says. “My friends laugh and say, ‘So basically all you do all day is ‘Which looks better, one or two?’”
HREA-Hidenwood’s patients never have to go to urgent care. “We see them either that day or the next, depending on their problem,” Shockley says.
Professional opticians staff HREA-Hidenwood’s optical shop. Robert Nochimson, onsite optometrist, performs general eye exams and prescribes contact lenses. He joined HREA-Hidenwood in 2011 after more than 40 years of practice.
“Optometry has been a great profession,” Nochimson says. “If I fit a patient with glasses or give teenagers contacts so they don’t have to be obstructed by glasses, they’re happy. That’s what keeps me going all these years.”
“They have the best quality lenses so people have high-definition, clear vision,” Shockley explains. “And they know what frame is going to fit.”
The doctors at HREA-Hidenwood uncover a lot of general disease, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“The eye is the window to the rest of the body,” Spellman says. “It’s the only part of the body where you can actually see blood flow in action on the retina.”
“There is so much in people’s eyes that relates to their general care,” Shockley says.
Former Delegate Glenn Oder, who was referred to an ophthalmologist after a melanoma diagnosis, says, “I was terrified by what the doctors might find, but Dr. Spellman was professional, compassionate and reassuring. Now, I look forward to my annual exam, seeking confidence that my eyes are healthy.”
Drs. Spellman, Shockley and Reed make patients a partner in their eye care by explaining what they should do.
Shockley volunteers at Lackey Free Clinic monthly, reviewing diabetic patients’ retina photos to determine their need to see an ophthalmologist.
Spellman has served on the boards of Virginia Living Museum, Hampton Roads Academy, the Rotary Club of Oyster Point and Riverside Medical Group.
“One of the cool things we do here is stop and show you what you have going on,” Spellman says of the computer displays in each treatment room. “Everybody is interested in what is needed to preserve their vision as they get older,” Shockley says.
“It’s a quick-fix specialty,” Spellman says. “Whether you come in for a pair of glasses or can’t see because of some pathology. It’s rare that we can’t make
an improvement. I’m not dealing with patients who are getting worse and worse each time I see them,” Spellman says. “Instead of treading water with people, we’re actually getting them in good shape.”
TO THE POINT
Hampton Roads Eye Associates–Hidenwood
Address: 12420 Warwick Blvd., Ste 1-D, Newport News, VA 23606