Dr. Michael Lange was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana before leaving to attend the University of Southern Mississippi where he majored in psychology. After completing his undergrad, he attended the Pennsylvania College of Optometry to become a board-certified optometric physician. Following school, Dr. Lange returned to Louisiana to work under Dr. Charles Glaser to receive some real-world experience.
In 1993, Dr. Michael Lange moved to Ocala, Florida to open his own practice which over the years expanded to having 13 locations across the state. In 2016, Dr. Michael Lange sold all his locations except for the Lange Eye Institute where he still works today.
Aside from working as an optometrist, Dr. Lange also owns another company, Fortifeye Vitamins, where he helps to develop new vitamins to slow down and stabilize eye diseases.
1. Why did you decide to create your own business?
I decided to create my own business to help more patients. Everyday, I would see dozens of patients and I wanted to find a way to make them healthier. By starting my own company, I knew that I could help make a better improvement in the community than by working under someone else. As soon as I had three walk-in patients on my first day of opening my practice, I knew that I had made the right choice. Now, over 25 years later, I have never regretted the choice I made.
2. What does a typical day consist of for you?
My typical day starts very early as I see my first patient at 7:30am before the workday starts for a lot of people. However, I aim to go to the gym every day between 11am and 1pm to both stay in shape and have a short break to refresh my mind for my afternoons. I typically run a bit behind on patients as I try to ensure that everyone is happy and as informed as possible so having this break in the middle of the day means that I am never falling too far behind schedule.
3. How has your company grown from its early days to now?
Both of my companies have had large growths from their early days. My optometry office has grown from having only myself working at an office out of Ocala, Florida to having 13 offices across the state. While I have now sold most of these offices off, I am still proud of the success that I have achieved.
With my vitamin company, Fortifeye Vitamins, I have also experienced a large amount of growth as the company has grown to help eye care practitioners around the world to promote proper nutrition for both eyes and overall health. From having just one office in Florida, Fortifeye now has ten research centers within the state.
4. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from my patients and my family. I have been fortunate to be able to build long lasting relationships with my patients and I want to ensure that I always give them my best effort. In addition, my family has been extremely supportive of me and whenever I get the chance, I take the opportunity to show them just how important they are to me. With four kids, there is always a lot going on, but I want to ensure that I am a good role model for them to understand the importance of work ethic and of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
5.Who has been a role model to you and why?
My father and his best friend have been my role models throughout life. My dad has taught me the importance of having a strong work ethic but also being able to spend time with family and I strive to follow in his footsteps with my own children.
My dad’s best friend was an ophthalmologist, a specialist in eye surgery and diseases. It was through him that I became interested in my profession as he would be at our house often and would join us on outings such as fishing. When I was old enough, I would volunteer at his office.
6. What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
I would recommend finding an established practice to work at once you have completed your degree. This will help you get some practical experience as well as learn more about the business side of optometry that you might not be as familiar with.
Once you begin your own company, ensure that you find a way to set yourself apart from others. By having something unique about your office, you have a much greater chance at attracting new patients. However, the most important thing is that you treat all your patients with kindness and respect as it goes a long way in building a long-lasting relationship.
7. What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
One piece of advice that I have never forgotten is the importance of working hard. There are only a couple dozen optometry colleges in America and the only way to get in and then complete the program is through consistent hard work.
8. Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
Outside of work, my I am defined by my two passions: family and racing. Back when I was a teenager, I was a competitive motocross racer until I broke my leg and neck. Now, although I don’t race motocross anymore, I race my SCCA and CASA sanctioned Dodge Vipers at racetracks across America.
My family is the most important part of my life and they are the reason that I have reduced my hours over the past few years to be able to spend more time with them. With my daughter competing internationally for volleyball, our family travels a lot, but it has brought us all close together and they keep me motivated to work hard everyday to help them have the best possible lives.
9. Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
In 2009, I was on the cover of the most prestigious eye care magazine, Optometric Management. While I had been on other magazine and news covers before, to be placed on the most prestigious one is an honor that I will remember for the rest of my life.