MCPHS Alumnae Join Family Business as Fourth-Generation Optometrists

Abby and Paige return to Caribou to operate their family's practice as the fourth-generation in a family of optometrists.

MCPHS Alumnae Join Family Business as Fourth-Generation Optometrists

Photo credit Nina Mahaleris, Staff Writer at the Fiddlehead Focus. Read the full story on

After four years of studying and hard work, sisters Abby and Paige Small graduated from the Doctor of Optometry program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) — but their interest in protecting patients' vision began long before they stepped onto the university's Worcester campus.

A family legacy, a century in the making

In 1921, Abby and Paige's great grandfather opened Family Eye Care and Mavor Optical in Caribou, Maine. Over 100 years later, the practice continues to be owned and operated by the Smalls.

As Abby and Paige grew up watching their parents provide care to the Aroostook County community, they knew that one day they wanted to do the same. The sisters decided to pursue their Doctor of Optometry at MCPHS, which offered the advanced training and experiential learning opportunities they had been looking for.

The four-year program included a two-year professional period in which the sisters participated in hands-on, patient-facing clinical rotations, which they say helped shape them as doctors.

Supporting patients drives the whole Small family

"It's kind of a big part of why we wanted to get into the healthcare field in general. Patient education is a huge part in actually providing for a patient, and sometimes patients don't realize the extent of what's going on with their body because it isn't communicated as well as it could be," said Abby.

Now, Abby and Paige will return to Caribou to operate their family's practice as fourth-generation of optometrists. They'll use their MCPHS education to deliver high-level, compassionate healthcare to their local community.

"We felt that it was really important to come back to the community that essentially helped to raise us ... What's really unique about Aroostook County is that it has that 'small-town' feel, and the people that influenced us, we really appreciate, so we wanted to come back to this community to serve them," said Abby.

Explore programs in Optometry at MCPHS

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