Senior Connections Senior Connections Jan 2019

Connecting Seniors Through News, Information, and Advertising January 2019 VOLUME 1 | NO. 6 Senior Connections HJ.COM GRAB ONE - FREE! Cokato optometrist looks back at long career GENEVIEVE FULTZ Correspondent The Cokato Eye Center and residents of Cokato bid a fond farewell to Dr. Paul Eklof O.D. when he retired Dec. 28 after 43 years of service to the community. Eklof has been a resident of the Cokato area dur- ing his entire career, and plans to stay in the town he made his home. His childhood hometown of Slayton in the south- western part of the state is similar in many ways to Cokato. As a child, Eklof seemed to know exactly what he wanted to be, and even remembers writing a paper in middle school about becoming an optom- etrist. “It’s unusual, but I had it in mind apparently for quite a while,” He said. “I think I was lucky to always know.” He attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD for two years before moving to the Illinois Col- lege of Optometry in Chicago, IL, where he gradu- ated June 3, 1973. The newly accredited optometrist returned to Minnesota to start his practice and opened his fi rst offi ce Oct. 1, 1973 at 370 South Broadway in Co- kato. Eklof transferred his practice to the Cokato Eye Center in summer 1997. He has been the primary optometrist at that location until recently when Dr. Katie Tanacbel and other staff have come on in preparation for his retirement. When looking back on his career in Cokato, Eklof spoke of the community and the pleasure of working and living close to his patients in a small town. “It’s enjoyable ... to see generational changes. To see a patient, and know their parents and grand- parents.” When describing the most rewarding aspects of his profession, Eklof relayed the feelings of satis- faction in helping patients who benefi t almost im- mediately from his analysis. That would certainly include those who see him on an emergency basis for removal of de- bris where, Eklof jokes, he gets “the best hand- shakes” from relieved patients. He also men- tions instances of help- ing children see the writ- ing board in class, where he stated that “the grad- ual degradation of sight might not even be noticed until it’s been addressed and once corrected, can have an incredible ef- fect on the child.” He has also enjoyed helping the elderly citizens of Co- kato maintain their inde- pendence by fi nding cor- rective measures so they can see well enough to keep drivers’ licenses. During the course of his long career, Eklof has Dr. Paul Eklof has been serving the Cokato community since 1973. seen many changes in PHOTO BY GENEVIEVE FULTZ the science and method As changes to technology in all scientifi c fi elds of practicing optometry. Among the most notable continue to move quickly, one of the biggest chal- technological changes, he mentioned the increased lenges Eklof has noticed is the diffi culty in simply sensitivity of diagnostic equipment and the benefi ts keeping up with new equipment and procedures. to patient care. He clarifi ed that “this is primarily Another major shift in the fi eld of optometry is for eye health issues, fi nding swelling on the optic the ability to prescribe medications directly to pa- nerve relating to brain tumors, and other melano- tients. ma of the eye,” and not for an examination testing “Optometry has probably changed more than for visual acuity, a test which hasn’t changed much any [medical] profession,” Eklof stated. “In 1973, over the years. optometry was not licensed to use any diagnostic This diagnostic equipment can catch signifi cant and possibly life-threatening problems early on and More OPTOMETRIST on Pg 5 provide time to assess and fi nd options. Senior Connections is distributed to: Annandale | Buffalo | Cokato | Darwin | Dassel | Delano | Glencoe | Howard Lake | Hutchinson | Kimball | Lester Prairie Litchfi eld | Loretto | Maple Lake | Maple Plain | Mayer | Montrose | Mound | New Germany | Norwood Young America Rockford | Silver Lake | South Haven | St. Bonifacius | Waconia | Watertown | Waverly | Winsted