COVID-19 Guidelines for Patients

Our office is only taking patients in office on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. during this unprecedented time. If you have any eye problems, please call our office for Dr. Ben’s contact information. He will be happy to speak with you at any time!

If you have an appointment with us, we are asking that you please wait in your car and call us when you arrive. We will ask you to come in when we are ready for you. No guests can accompany patients into our office unless medically necessary.

If you are picking up glasses and/or contact lenses, please call us when you arrive. We can provide curbside service. Any unpaid balance can be paid over the telephone. Eyeglass repairs can be dropped off and we will contact you when they are completed. We will ship your items to you upon request.

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we implement these extra precautionary measures for the safety of you and our staff! Please check this website frequently for updates.

Benjamin Gootee, O.D.

Born and raised in Indiana, Dr. Ben fondly remembers time spent hiking and camping in Brown County as a child. He attended Purdue University for his undergraduate degree and earned his Doctor of Optometry degree in 2016 from Indiana University School of Optometry.

He practiced in a large medical optometry practice in Tennessee after graduation, giving him valuable experience managing glaucoma, macular degeneration, and dry eye disease. When he decided he wanted to move home to Indiana, he was fortunate to find Dr. Pickel’s practice. He is grateful for the opportunity to continue Dr. Pickel’s legacy of care, compassion, and service.

Dr. Ben enjoys spending time hiking with his wife, Kelsey, son, Lucas, and dog, Forrest, and playing guitar. His favorite day of the week is Friday, when he gets to wear Hawaiian shirts to the office.

Merle K. Pickel, O.D.

11-100701-001Dr. Merle K. Pickel began his private practice of optometry in Nashville, IN, in 1979.  He earned his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1970 from the Indiana University School of Optometry in Bloomington, IN.

Dr. Pickel holds professional membership in the American Optometric Association, Indiana Optometric Association and the Stonebelt Optometric Society. He served two terms on the Indiana Optometry Board.

He has been involved with various civic and volunteer organizations, including Lions International, and was recipient of the Lions’ Melvin Jones Fellow award in 1993.

Additionally, Dr. Pickel is a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force.