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An Eye On Business For Over 50 Years

This is a milestone year for Arbital Vision Care. December not only marks the 20th anniversary of the South Oyster Bay Road office in Hicksville (on the boarders of Plainview, Syosset and Woodbury), but also marks the 55th anniversary of Dr. Samuel Arbital, OD, FAAO, opening his innovative home-office practice limited to the fitting of contact lenses in Plainview, the 30th anniversary of daughter Dr. Lori Arbital, OD, joining the practice and the 20th anniversary of Optician son Scott Arbital adding distinctive eyewear to the mix.

During this time, numerous frustrated patients have been referred to them and realized that it was possible to wear contact lenses, see more clearly than they ever imagined — and be so comfortable. The two generations of eye care professionals have been serving the visual needs of the community with extensive experience examining and correcting typical and complex visual problems. Patients have scattered all over the world and continue to return for checkups when they’re back on Long Island. The family has even sent replacement lenses as far away as Israel, Australia and Brazil.

It all began in the mid 1950s when then twentysomething Bernice Kirschner decided to try a new invention called contact lenses. At the New York City office she visited, she noticed a young Dr. Samuel Arbital. Fast forward a year, and the two were married. When they returned from their honeymoon in January 1957, they pooled their resources to buy optometric equipment and opened one of the first optometric practices of its kind, specializing in the fitting of the then new contact lenses.

After graduating from Chicago College of Optometry and completing a year of postgraduate optometric studies at Pacific University in Oregon, Dr. Arbital gained specialized knowledge working for contact lens innovators in New York City. His wife used her business skills to run the new office on Fulton Avenue in Hempstead, which was the premier professional building on Long Island at the time.

Within two years, as the couple began a family, they decided to open a home-office practice in centrally located Plainview. When they moved into their office at the corner of Manetto Hill Road and Country Drive, the model house next door was the only other completed home on the block, and the entire other side of Manetto Hill Road was vacant former potato fields. At the time they settled there toward the end of 1958, Manetto Hill Road was the very last exit on the Long Island Expressway. Behind their house, in the structure that currently houses Fairway Market, was a vacant farmhouse.

Not only was Dr. Arbital a pioneer in his field, but the couple felt a bit like pioneers in the community as well. At their new home-office, the couple began fabricating their own contact lenses, grinding them from long cylinders of plastic on a lathe. To this day, Dr. Samuel and daughter Dr. Lori Arbital continue to custom-finish lenses and adjust prescriptions of rigid contact lenses in their office for an individualized fit.

“Even though we’ve carried hundreds of different types of soft contact lenses over the years, some patients still achieve better visual results with rigid oxygen-permeable contact lenses,” said Dr. Samuel Arbital.

“That’s why we’re always utilizing the latest technology and prescribe the most innovative lenses,” added Dr. Lori. “Each patient’s visual needs are different, and we work with each one until we find the solution that’s perfect.”

In fact, Dr. Samuel Arbital has been an investigator for several contact lens manufacturers over the years, providing feedback about contact lens materials and solutions, in an effort to get the products necessary for his patients. He has even testified before the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) to verify contact lens materials and was a New York State Board of Optometry examiner for more than 20 years.

A 1984 graduate of the New England College of Optometry with an externship in visual development at the Gesell Institute of Child Development at Yale University and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Lori literally grew up in her father’s optometric practice, working as an assistant since age 10.

Introducing eyeglasses to the practice 20 years ago is brother Scott Arbital, who is a 1985 Ophthalmic Dispensing graduate from New York City College of Technology and a 1982 business graduate of Ithaca College. With extensive experience fitting designer eyewear at exclusive New York City boutiques, the optician offers individualized expert help selecting and fitting designer eyewear.

The practice feels like a family and the Arbitals treat their patients with the care you would provide a family member. Every one of them offers compassionate care and makes sure each patient achieves the best visual correction possible. For additional information, call 516-681-6520 or visit