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Dr. Leslie Weil, MD, is an old-fashioned eye doctor, in the best sense of the word. She’s the type of doctor who calls her patients after a procedure to check in with them personally to make sure they’re okay. And she always goes the extra mile to provide people with the care they need, just as she’s done since she opened Weil Eye Care Medical Center in San Carlos 17 years ago.

The idea of closing her practice is unfathomable to Dr. Weil, an ophthalmologist who’s been working in health care since 1982. But when the Covid-19 pandemic forced her to lock the doors of her medical practice and furlough her staff, things looked bleak. Revenue dropped by over 90%, and assistance from the Small Business Administration wasn’t enough to cover expenses for very long.

“I’m grateful for the safety net Hebrew Free Loan provided, so I can continue being of service to my patients and my community. I might not have been able to make it without this support.”

Hebrew Free Loan provided an interest-free Covid relief loan that’s making it possible for Dr. Weil to keep her staff on payroll and pay the rent on her office, until operations are more like they used to be. Asking for help wasn’t easy for Dr. Weil, who’s been a guarantor in the past and is usually the one donating to others in the community. But first and foremost is her desire to keep her practice afloat so she can continue serving patients.

While the practice reopened in early May, returning to normal — or the new normal of pandemic times — has been a gradual process, as people slowly start to feel comfortable coming in. Safety is a top priority at Weil Eye Care, and patient visits are spaced out to maintain social distancing, although it means that fewer patients can be seen. Even the optical boutique associated with the medical center now requires appointments, to smooth out flow and prevent unnecessary interactions between clients. Dr. Weil has outfitted her team with full personal protective equipment, to keep them and their patients safe.

Dr. Weil places a high value on educating people about how to protect themselves during the pandemic. She encourages those whose profession brings them into close contact with others, like teachers or healthcare providers, to consider Ziena glasses. These have a magnetic silicone insert that protects the eyes from Coronavirus, and they fog much less than other glasses, making it easier to wear a mask. While the pandemic has changed so much, one thing hasn’t changed: Dr. Weil’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art medical eye care in a safe and welcoming environment.