The Silverthorne Pulse The Silverthorne Pulse

Community News from the Heart of Summit County

Blue River Vision Opens Doors — and Eyes

Published July 11, 2018

Silverthorne is about to get its first vision care provider, and boy, is she cool. Sure, Jessica Hegewald, OD, has years of experience with family eye care, but she’s also a former wildland firefighter, the Chief of Optometry for the 140th Wing at Buckley Air Force Base in the Colorado Air National Guard, and a skier, hiker and biker.

We sat down with Dr. Hegewald to get a bit more information on her soon-to-open business. And if you see this overachiever walking around town, ask about her worldwide humanitarian missions to destinations including Morocco and Mongolia. You won’t be disappointed.


Can you describe your business and where you are located?

Our business is an optometry practice. We want to be the premier eye care provider in Summit County for family eye care.

Services we provide will include complete, comprehensive eye health exams for children and adults. We have over 700 frames and sunglasses to select from, and we provide soft and hard contact lenses. We grind our own lenses, so we can make a pair of prescription glasses the same day, depending on the prescription. We offer binocular vision assessments and provide vision therapy and sports vision training.

We are located at 358 Blue River Parkway, Ste D, between the Red Buffalo and Mike’s Army Surplus.


Do you have any specialties?

I have worked as a pediatric optometrist and provided family care optometry for the past 10 years. I also hired a vision therapist to help build that piece of the practice.

Eighty percent of learning is done through vision. The refractive condition (whether you are nearsighted or farsighted) is only one piece of vision. How the muscles in the eyes coordinate together and how the brain processes that information is also a piece of the puzzle.

A normal eye exam only measures the refractive condition. Some children have issues with skipping lines, the words moving on the page, or tracking across the page as they read. All of these can be indicative of eye muscle or processing issues that can be improved with vision therapy.


Can you describe your medical background?

I received my doctorate of optometry at Pacific University College of Optometry outside of Portland, Oregon. I have been a practicing optometrist for over 10 years. I have worked in pediatrics and family practice for most of that time in Colorado Springs and the Denver area.


If not a Silverthorne native, what is your hometown?

I grew up in southeastern Idaho in a town called Idaho Falls. I grew up in the outdoors and developed a love for camping, hunting, fishing and hiking.

I graduated during the recession of 2008, and jobs were hard to come by. I moved to Denver, trying to stay near the mountains and outdoors that I loved, but needing an area that was big enough for me to find employment. I found a job with a company that has a mission to serve the under served children and families in the community.


What made you want to open a business in Silverthorne?

I grew up in a state that contains one-third of the population of the City of Denver. I missed a small community, and I missed having all the activities that I love right out our door. As soon as my stepchildren graduated from high school, my husband and I started discussing how we could move my job up to the mountains.

Our move to Silverthorne and our business was a lifestyle choice for us. This community is the lifestyle that we want to have, and we are excited for this wonderful opportunity to integrate into it.


What are the top three things you love about living in Summit County?

The top three things I love about living in Summit County are:

  1. The outdoors are literally right out my back door. I can walk out and jump on the Mesa Cortina trail and go hiking up to lakes, out into the wilderness area or anywhere.
  2. A-Basin. That is hands-down my favorite place to ski. We were fortunate enough to get some runs in the Beavers this year before they put the lifts in. It seemed like we had the best conversations and met the most amazing people on those hikes out.
  3. The bike trails are amazing. It is nice to be able to go for an evening ride around the lake, or up Vail Pass and back, or even down north of Silverthorne, and never have to worry about riding in traffic. Summit County does an amazing job with their rec paths.


What’s your favorite way to spend the day in Silverthorne?

My husband’s and my favorite thing to do is to take our mountain bikes up on the Salt Lick Trail and do a loop or two. We have been finishing up the day at Angry James with an evening drink on their patio. Their stout is my favorite. We often find ourselves sitting there wondering why we didn’t do this sooner. Life doesn’t get much better.


Can you give visitors a must-do tip for their visit?

Most people come up from Denver with something specific that they are looking to do. I would say they should stop by the Red Buffalo for a cup of coffee before they start their day or finish up at Angry James with a Two Tone Footer Stout. The atmosphere and the company in both of those places are pretty hard to beat.


Any other interesting facts you’d like us to know about your organization?

My husband picked the name of the practice and designed the logo. He chose Blue River Vision because the Blue River is the center of the Town of Silverthorne. Our goal is to create a practice that improves the lives of our neighbors and becomes an integral piece of Silverthorne as well. We are excited to be here and hope that that shows in our service and in the care that we provide.

We tried to bring in frame lines people would be interested in like Ray-Ban, Oakley and Coach. We also brought in some independent lines that are from companies with a mission. Jonas Paul is a children’s line that donates a free pair of glasses to a child in need for every pair that is sold. Moto is a company that uses plant-based materials and also donates a free pair for every pair sold. Their other line, Eco, will plant a tree for every pair that is sold. A Boulder company called Zeal makes their frames and lenses from 100% plant-based products. They utilize Maui Jim lenses to get crystal-clear optics. For every pair they sell, they donate a pair. They partner with POW and also a program that donates polarized sunglasses to the Sherpas who climb Everest, to help save their sight. We believe in giving back to the community and want to partner with companies that share the same goals.