Better known as PIWI, Dr Rafael has been a friend for 18 years. My ex wife Maribel, who suffered from severe vision problems, introduced us. I realized, from the beginning of my relationship with PIWI, that he is a good and caring person. He was enormously generous in treating Maribel. Providing lenses at his cost, or at no charge, knowing that her income limited treatment options.
Dr. Rafael, a native of Ensenada, has practiced Optometry here for 35 years. This “Ask the Doctor” column is committed to introducing our readers to the best treatment professionals in Baja. A must criteria for featuring a professional is board certification and membership in their respective professional academy or association. This assures our readers that the care giver is current in “state of the art” practices and technology. Rafael, in addition to being a respected member of the National Academy of Optometrists, was chosen to represent Mexico in the Optometry Congress of Latin America.
Another criteria for our recommending a professional for treatment is the ability to communicate in English and testimonials from English speaking patients. Not only does Dr. Rafael speak fluent English, he has a great sense of humor. I always leave an encounter with PIWI with a smile on my face and a laugh in my heart. I especially like “getting him started” on the subject of Mexican politicians. The man is hysterical. I asked him why he was best known for his nickname Piwi. He said that as a kid he was shorter and fatter than the rest and was given that name. Instead of resenting the name he adopted it as his own. This speaks volumes to me about the character of the man who still wears a 1960’s Beatles style haircut and has the heart to laugh at himself.
In addition to having a good time in his office, the service is always excellent. Since PIWI has his own lab, your lenses can be ready in the time it takes to have a good lunch in one of Ensenada’s great restaurants, a short walk from his office on First Street (Lopez Mateos). We emphasize in this space, the importance of advanced equipment technology when selecting a medical professional. Ask Dr. Piwi about his equipment and he will proudly show you his computerized glaucoma analyzer and complete array of diagnostic equipment- all state of the art. Another “optics” advantage for Ensenada, that no other city in Mexico can boast, is The Augen Optical Company. Respected as one of the world’s finest optical companies, Augen is headquartered in Ensenada. The three minute proximity, of Dr. Piwi’s office to the Augen plant, is a definite advantage in providing exotic lens requirements quickly and inexpensively.
In these tough economic times, an important criteria for selecting an Optometrist is price. Like all medical related products, eye glass frame suppliers use a two tiered pricing system. One for Mexico and a higher tier for U.S. professionals. Whether hip replacement prosthesis, prescription medicines or eye glass frames, manufacturers charge Mexican professionals substantially less for the same product. That price differential is reflected in the designer frames offered by PIWI at 30% less that the same frame purchased from a U.S. Optometrist.
Frame choices, in Dr. Rafael’s office, provides the most complete array you will find anywhere on either side of the border: Fendi, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren – whatever your fashion choice, PIWI can supply it. He has a 1500 eye glass frame inventory, including an Ensenada exclusive for the new micromega .09 gram frames. Available in either titanium or gold . If you already have a lens prescription, PIWI will provide traditional eye ware or contacts at a substantial savings. You will be leaving his office in Beverly Hills style at Wal Mart prices.