Locals 2020: Optometrist, service club member Dr. Craig Eckroth takes care of the community in more ways than one
A little over 27 years ago, Dr. Craig Eckroth put down roots in Moffat County as an optometrist. Back then — and still to this day — Moffat County felt like his childhood home, which was a small family farm in North Dakota.
Now with those roots deeply planted, Eckroth continues to help the community he loves in more ways than one.
As an optometrist, Eckroth helps ensure those who come to see him remain healthy when it comes to their eyesight, allowing them to continue to see all the beauty that surrounds them in Moffat County.
When he first moved to Moffat County in 1993, Eckroth became a part-owner and associate of Eyecare Specialties under Dr. Ron Danner. Roughly five years ago though, Eckroth became the sole owner of the long-standing practice when Danner retired.
Since then, he’s seen quite a few changes to the profession, largely centered around technology, that has allowed him to serve his community in a more preventative fashion.
“Within the practice, technology that’s available now has been the biggest change,” Eckroth said. “To be able to be more proactive and preventative as far as how we are addressing patients’ needs, that’s huge. Being able to try to prevent eye health problems, rather than simply treating them as they pop up is what we’re working towards right now.
“That’s the main thing right now,” Eckroth added. “The advancements in preventative eyecare, it’s become a real passion for me. Managing patients with dry eyes or ocular surface disease — we live in a very dry climate, so it’s common — can be really difficult and uncomfortable. It’s truly become my passion here lately to help prevent that.”
Aside from working hard to prevent eye health problems, Eckroth and his practice continues to do infancy examinations for newborns ages 6-12 months, doing a no-charge eye assessment on the newborns to make sure that their eyes are on track to developing properly.
When not wearing his optometrist’s jacket, Eckroth has played a prominent role in the community from a community service standpoint.
Eckroth is active within the community. He joined the Kiwanis Club 10 years ago, has volunteered as a youth baseball coach over the years and lends a helping hand with 4-H in the large animals class, which his son is currently involved in.
Giving back to the community as a member of the Kiwanis Club has been a rewarding experience for Eckroth.
“I just wanted to be involved with a service club or a service organization,” Eckroth said. “I knew a lot of the members, and interestingly enough, somebody asked me, my schedule allowed for it and I jumped in.
“The best part about the club is just the member camaraderie; everybody gets along really well, everybody flies under the radar,” Eckroth said. “We do things for this community to make it better and we don’t expect recognition for it.”
Being so involved in his community is something Eckroth finds very important, especially during tough times. Whether that’s donating to the high school for after-school programs or events, or donating to the Yampa Valley Golf Course, Eckroth and his practice are here for the long haul and want to see Moffat County thrive.
“You just kind of do and don’t expect recognition,” Eckroth said. “We don’t do it to say ‘look at us’ or anything like that. We want to support the community and hope that they realize that I’m here for the long haul.”