Industry Sponsored Project: Gailey Eye Clinic

Author: Yerlan Turekeshov & Ethan Dove

Gailey Eye Clinic is a multi-physician vision care practice with 14 locations in Central Illinois. Dr. Watson Gailey opened his eye clinic in 1941 promoting excellence in Ophthalmology and quality surgery. He was a renowned


specialist in his field and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at the University of Illinois. The legacy of Dr. Gailey is exhibited at every Gailey Eye Clinic location with the commitment to being leaders in eye care using the latest technologies and procedures. As an overall practice, it is their goal to provide comprehensive vision care ranging from cataract and lens replacement surgeries, to LASIK, and treatment for common eye conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. The skilled physicians and staff strive to provide patients with the highest quality of care.

ESTEEM students Yerlan Turekeshov and Ethan Dove are working with the main office which is located in Bloomington, Illinois. As their thesis project is based in the optical side of Gailey Eye Clinics business, it is important to note that each location has a complete optical department. Yerlan and Ethan were provided the opportunity to spend a day in the Bloomington office, which gave great insight into how to best address their optical department pain points and get the project started. Along with Dr. Gailey’s theme of excellence in the eye care industry, the Bloomington location opened a state-of-the-art LASIK center.


Tom Restivo, the chief executive officer, and Dr. Robert Lee presented Yerlan and Ethan with the idea of the virtual optical suite. The idea was in response to a decreased capture rate at Gailey Eye Clinics locations. Gailey Eye Clinic gave Yerlan and Ethan a framework for the project, but Yerlan and Ethan have been able to make numerous adjustments and pivots to the initial vision of the virtual optical suite. The intent for the virtual optical suite is to bridge the gap between the eye care providers and patients, because Gailey Eye Clinic was seeing a high volume of patients leaving to purchase eyeglasses elsewhere. With this broad focus, Yerlan and Ethan have completed due diligence on 3-dimensional virtual try on technologies -- a leading innovation in the eyewear industry.

The Capstone thesis project is an ESTEEM student’s largest contribution, and Yerlan and Ethan have the honor of working with Gailey Eye Clinics to implement a project for the eye care industry. Through the project Yerlan and Ethan have learned a lot and improved some of their business skills, such as market analysis, customer validation, building financial models, and many others. From the beginning of the project, Yerlan and Ethan have been in touch with Tom. Tom's two-way communication helped Yerlan and Ethan succeed with objectives of the project. Currently, Yerlan and Ethan are focusing on a pricing model and the business value of the product, which are validated through interviews with other eye clinics and optical retailers.

Yerlan Turekesh expresses his insights on the project:


"The first time I heard about the ESTEEM program, I was amazed by its uniqueness and values gained. Especially, entrepreneurial skills that can help you commercialize and bring to market a technology you are developing. That was always something I really wanted to experience. Finally, as a computer scientist, I am very excited about this project. The project helps me explore new fields in Computer Science and improve my technical skills."

Thomas P. Restivo, MBA expresses his thoughts on the project: “Yerlan and Ethan have done an excellent job sifting through details and investigating this project from every angle. It has been a pleasure working with them as they provide structural support and a focused plan for a project that less than a year ago was merely an idea.”

Robert M. Lee, MD speaks about Yerlan and Ethan's contributions: “It's great to have Ethan and Yerlan working on this project. There is no way that we could get the technical components or customer research done without them. They have been a tremendous resource to get the project started."