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Valley native joins Fort Kent optometry practice

FORT KENT, Maine — A Madawaska High School graduate who spent 8 years away studying to become an optometrist has returned to the St. John Valley and joined the practice of Dr. Timothy Rioux.

Dr. Brent Stoliker, 26, joined the practice in July after graduating from the New England College of Optometry in Boston. Prior to that, he graduated from the University of Maine Orono with a degree in biology.

Rioux said hiring Stoliker was an easy decision, because he was familiar with the quality of service Stoliker provides patients.

“He worked with me a few summers while going to undergraduate and graduate school, so I had him working with me as an assistant and that gave me an opportunity to see him in action so to speak in the field. How he communicated and his rapport with patients was all very positive as are his ability to grasp new concepts and grasp changes in the field,” Rioux said.

“Patients were all very positive in regards to their experiences with him so I knew he would be well received. That allowed me the opportunity to make that decision with ease.”  

Rioux added that patients also will benefit in a more practical aspect by having two optometrists at the practice.

“It’s a huge benefit to the patients of the community because I had a six month wait list for people to try to get in and we’ve been able to cut that down. People are able to get in within the week. It’s a huge benefit,” he said.  

Stoliker said he is thrilled to be working as a practicing optometrist.

“I love the field of eyes and how they are related to the body as a whole and how you can diagnose different systemic diseases just by looking at eyes. Being able to care for patients and help patients directly is icing on the cake,” he said.

He added that he is especially happy to be practicing in the St. John Valley, which he missed while away for so long.

“I missed the people, the attitude, the quiet atmosphere,” he said. “It was a big reality check to kind of be submersed in a population of people who go about their daily lives without looking at you straight in the face. Every time I would come home I would have someone wave to me from the sidewalk as I drove down the street. That sense of community is something that I missed a lot.”

Stoliker met his wife, the former Amelia Stevens, while the couple was still in high school.  

Amelia works as a speech language pathologist for Maine School Administrative District 27.

“I think it’s nice that we have someone who is from the area who knows the area, who grew up here, whose wife is from this area and grew up here. They know what they’re getting into. They know how cold the winters are. They also know what this area has to offer in raising a young family,” Rioux said. “It gives confidence to me as well as to patients that he’s here for the long term. Patients don’t like this revolving door so I think he’s gonna be a great addition to the eye care provided to the St. John Valley.”

Stoliker is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment or for more information call 834-3333.

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