By Lisa Mockel – When Dr. Andrea Kropf was setting up her Somers optometry practice six years ago, she went back to her South Brunswick, N.J., roots.
Looking for pointers on how to set up her office’s billing system and other behind the scenes necessities, she reached out to her childhood optometrist and his staff. For Kropf, it made perfect sense to contact Dr. Edward Niemczyk, the person she credits with sparking an early interest in the optometry field.
“I got glasses in the 7th grade,” the Mount Kisco resident recalled. “I played basketball and I remember my eye doctor saying, ‘You’re going to love this because you’re going to be able to see the basket better.’”
For Kropf, a commonplace event became a defining moment, as corrective lenses and a love of sports would continue to play an important role in her life.
Contact lenses in 8th grade (which she’s worn since) and an appearance by Niemczyk at Kropf’s middle school career day reinforced her fascination with vision and eye care.
“Ever since then, I wanted to be an eye doctor,” she said.
After earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Indiana University- Bloomington in 1998, Kropf, an avid Hoosiers basketball fan to this day, went on to graduate from SUNY College of Optometry in 2002. While there, she completed internships in primary care optometry, pediatric optometry and vision therapy. She completed her residency training in family practice optometry at Segundo Ruiz Belvis Diagnostic and Treatment Center in the Bronx in 2003 before spending eight years as the sole staff optometrist in a pediatric ophthalmology practice in Northern Westchester.
In Somers, Kropf currently sees about 50 patients a week at her 1,100-square-foot office, located in the Mill Pond Offices on Route 100. There she provides comprehensive eye exams for adults and children, contact lens fittings and vision therapy, or orthoptics, a program of activities or eye exercises designed to improve visual effectiveness.
Kropf has also served as a professional affairs consultant for Johnson & Johnson for the past five years. Because of her strong background in pediatric optometry, she was asked to join a group of roughly 30 medical professionals who give presentations to other doctors throughout the country on new vision products. She’s currently excited about and has recently begun talking to her own patients about a new contact lens that’s believed to slow down the progression of nearsightedness.
Because of her affinity for working with children (“In general, kids like me,” she said with a laugh) Kropf initially intended to focus solely on pediatric eye care but broadened her practice to provide complete eye care for the entire family.
“It truly has become families,” she said. “I see the kids, I see the parents and an occasional grandparent. I like the idea that (my practice) is small and I really get to know all my patients. I like to treat people like they’re family.”
That’s because family is important to the affable and down-to-earth eye doctor. Kropf, who has lived in Mount Kisco for the last 13 years, is mom to Danny, 10, and Lauren, 6, both students at West Patent Elementary School in Bedford Hills. Her husband, Scott Spolansky, coaches little league baseball in town.
“I love the community feel,” she said. “I like the diversity that Mount Kisco offers. I’ve made great friends here and my kids have made great friends. There’s a close-knit community feel and I really like that.”
Most weekends are spent shuttling her kids to various activities including basketball, baseball, flag football, soccer and tennis.
“My kids are heavily involved in sports. I take my kids from activity to activity like most moms. We spend a lot of time outside on fields,” she said with a laugh. “We’re huge sports fans. Our entire lives revolve around sports.”
Other favorite family activities include taking in an Indiana basketball game when her beloved Hoosiers are playing locally or spending an afternoon cheering for the Mets at Citi Field during baseball season.
Kropf makes it a point to give back by supporting several local organizations and events. She’s a sponsor for Mount Kisco Little League, Somers football and West Patent Elementary School’s annual pancake breakfast among others because she prefers to spend money earmarked for traditional advertising on activities that directly benefit her neighbors and patients.
A few other interesting facts about Kropf: she’d love to write a book including the funny things kids say while in her exam chair, she has an 11-year-old West Highland white terrier named Lashes, who she jokingly refers to as her “favorite child” and she has a particularly strong aversion to wiggly teeth.
“People think you’re in the medical field so you can take anything,” she laughed. “Oh no–I’m terrified of the dentist.”
For more information visit www.andreakropfod.com or call 914-302-6877.