The Work We Do: Dr. Kenneth Bandolik, Cohen’s Fashion Optical

I’m Dr. Kenneth Bandolik. I’m an optometrist working here at Cohen’s.

I was a biology major in college. I didn’t care what I did, as long as it involved biology. I thought it worse comes to worst, I’d teach it to college kids who loved it like I did.

One of my roommates, out of four guys from Brooklyn going to college in Illinois, knew what he wanted to do. So all four of us became optometrists. I wore glasses since I was eight years old, so I knew about glasses.

I graduated in 1970 and started working in Brooklyn. We were living there then. We bought land and then built a house in Hampton Bays in 1973, and I’ve been here ever since.

For me, it’s all about eye exams. That’s what I love to do. 

I see patients I’ve seen before and new patients. People come in now and ask for me: Is the doctor from Brooklyn here? Is the doctor who tells stories here? I enjoy the fact that they ask for me and they like to come back. 

If they have a problem, I enjoy that even more because it gives me something to work on, play detective and figure out what their problem is.

I’m semi-retired. I only work three days a week.

I’ve been doing this 49 years, and I finally came up with a time that I might retire. But I do admit, when the time comes, I might not retire.

In one year, two things will happen. One, I’ll be doing it 50 years, which is a nice round number. More importantly, in one year, it’ll be the year 2020. When should an eye doctor retire but 2020? My work is done. Everybody’s got good vision. 

I still like solving problems, and providing people with what is best for them. [My patients] tell me I can’t retire next year. So I say OK, let’s do it another 20 years.

This is important that everybody should know.

I learned in optometry school — and I never forgot it — that I do not examine eyes.I examine a person’s eyes. Each person has their own needs and I like solving those problems.

Cohen’s Fashion Optical is located at 755 Old Country Road, Riverhead. 

“The Work We Do” is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers around Riverhead Town. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview