A Bangor-based eye care company soon will buy the practice of Kenneth Nuzzo, a family optometrist who’s retiring after seeing patients at his Hallowell and Winthrop offices for the last 40 years.

The company, Vision Care of Maine, offers a gamut of eye care services across Penobscot, Piscataquis and Aroostook counties, but this will be its first major foray into the southern half of the state.

Nuzzo’s patients will be transferred automatically to the new practice, along with their medical records, said Eileen Nuzzo, who has run the business with her husband, but patients may make arrangements to see another optometrist if they choose.

As the Nuzzos prepared for retirement, they closed their Winthrop office and have been working in Hallowell. Their Winthrop location will reopen in the fall under the new owners, they said during an interview.

“It’s a win-win for the patients,” Eileen said. “We wanted them to have a place to go, and (Vision Care of Maine) will provide so much more than we do.”

The Nuzzos’ three employees will continue to work for the business under its new owners. They will be joined by a handful of new employees, as well as providers who already work for Vision Care of Maine and will travel to the Kennebec County locations.

Vision Care of Maine employs about 100 people, including doctors, nurses, technicians and assistants who can perform everything from routine checkups to specialized operations such as corneal surgery or laser-assisted surgery.

“Our message to Dr. Nuzzo’s patients is, they’re going to get the same kind of compassionate, excellent care that they’ve had in the past, plus they’re going to get access to a wide range of eye care services from highly trained doctors,” said Donald Cushing, the chief executive officer of Vision Care of Maine. “We are very pleased to be able to deliver what we do in the Augusta area, to offer patients more choice and options.”

The Nuzzos said they’ve always tried to offer a welcoming atmosphere in their offices and trust that will continue under the new owners, and Cushing echoed that point.

“We really think of ourselves as delivering high-tech, personal eye care,” Cushing said. “It was a good fit from that perspective.”

Cushing also said the new ownership will provide “a one-stop shop” for many of the patients who saw Nuzzo and, under his optometry care, might have had to travel to different locations for different services.

Under Vision Care of Maine, patients might have to travel to Bangor for surgery, Cushing said, but nearly all of their other care will be provided by optometrists and ophthalmologists in their current locations.

Kenneth Nuzzo will continue to see patients until the end of April, then may work part time for the new owners for a couple months during the transition. He originally was planning to retire in March, but he said the proposed sale to Vision Care of Maine has required him and Eileen to stay on longer.

A national chain of eye care practices expressed interest in taking over Nuzzo’s business, he said, but he’s happy that it will continue to operate as a Maine company. He praised the background of the president and medical director of Vision Care of Maine, Presque Isle native Curt Tyler Young.

In mid-May, the Nuzzos plan to hold a meet-and-greet event in Hallowell for their patients and the business’s new owners.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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