The Beginning

Eye Care for Animals (ECFA) was founded in 1981 by Reuben E. Merideth, DVM, DACVO, the same year he received his Diplomate status. ECFAs first practice was in Tucson, AZ. Dr. Merideth immediately saw the need for veterinary ophthalmology services in other markets which resulted in the opening of two more practices in Mesa, AZ and Overland Park, KS.

In 1982, Dr. Merideth began training veterinary ophthalmology residents. Today ECFA is the largest non-university ophthalmology residency program in the world.


In 1995, Dr. Merideth partnered with Paul Barrett, DVM, DACVO, who was practicing with Nicole MacLaren, DVM, DACVO, in Salt Lake City, UT with a satellite clinic in Sunset, UT. Dr. MacLaren maintained her partnership in the Utah practices and continued to contribute to the growth of ECFA. Simultaneously ECFA acquired the practice of Ron Sigler, DVM, DACVO, in Phoenix, AZ. Over the next few years expansion continued with additional locations in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, AZ.

The late 1990’s continued to be a time of expansion for ECFA. During this period, Dr. Julius Brinkis, DVM, DACVO, , completed his residency and partnered with Dr. Merideth and Dr. Barrett, resulting in the first California ECFA facility which is now known as the Tustin practice.

During the first half of 2002, ECFA opened practices in Albuquerque, NM and Santa Teresa, NM/El Paso, TX. In September of 2002, Drs. Merideth, Barrett and Brinkis partnered with Randall Scagliotti, DVM, MS, DACVO. The addition of Dr. Scagliotti enabled ECFA to continue its expansion, only this time they headed east to the Chicagoland area opening a practice in Wheeling, IL.

The year 2003 was a pivotal year for ECFA, the focus of growth shifted to California resulting in new practices in the cities of Santa Rosa, Corte Madera and Pasadena.

The Leader in Veterinary Ophthalmology

In 2004/2005 ECFA emerged as a leader in the greater Los Angeles market with the addition of practices in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, including Culver City, CA. At the same time, it became evident that the greater Chicagoland area was in need of ECFA services.

The success of new diplomates from ECFAs residency program gave them the resources to expand further to Las Vegas, NV, and locations in the Chicagoland area – downtown Chicago and St. Charles, IL.

In April 2006, Dr. Nicole MacLaren became the fifth owner and member of the Board of Directors. ECFA would further expand into the Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin markets.

ECFAs phenomenal growth was made possible through the success of their world-class residency program. This unique program provides ECFA with a pool of brilliant ophthalmologists that continue to support the growth and expansion of ECFA.

Administrative Support Services

The decision to move to an Administrative Support Services model was made in 2003.  The office would be located in Scottsdale, AZ and administrative services would be run out of this office, allowing practices to focus on customer service and client care.  Shawn McVey would become ECFAs first CEO and Susan Perkins would become the first CFO.  In 2006, ECFA hired Karen Webster as the first COO.  Karen Webster would become CEO in 2008.  Under Karen Webster’s leadership, ECFA more than quadrupled in size – from 13 practices in 7 states to 54 practices in 16 states by ECFAs 35th Anniversary in 2016.

On October 2, 2017, ECFA joined Thrive Pet Healthcare to become the Ophthalmology Division of the rapidly growing veterinary practice ownership and management company headquartered in Austin, TX. To learn more, check out thrivepetcare.com.

ECFA currently has representation in 16 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.