"But I'd say the biggest change, by far, has been the popularity and advancing technology for contact lenses," Zeff said.
Early contact lenses were created by plastic molds, covered the entire surface of the eyeball, and could only be worn for about three hours at a time.
While the tools enabling the doctor to care for his patients have changed, many of those same patients are still coming to the practice half a century later for their annual eye exams.
"Patients are so loyal to Dr. Zeff," said Dr. Michael Bourgoin, who along with his wife, Dr. Jean Yoo, bought the practice in 2002. "I really enjoy assisting Dr. Zeff's patients. We have a lot of new patients, too, but I really enjoy hearing the stories from a long time ago."
In taking over the practice, the husband-wife team overcame their first hurdle: earning the long-time patients' trust.
The new partners carried on in the same tradition of personal care and individual attention, Bourgoin said.
When the duo decided to relocate the practice to Newport Boulevard in 2007, it was after much thought and planning to ensure continued responsibility to the patients.
"I would have rather stayed and expanded," Bourgoin said. "But it was a small office, and we didn't have that opportunity … We were growing and needed more room."
Bourgoin and Yoo settled into an upscale office in Costa Mesa Courtyards shopping center, close enough to the practice's original location so as to not inconvenience any customers, but with the capacity to fit the needs of the growing business and a changing industry.
"Optometrists have expanded in their abilities," Zeff said. "Legislation has provided them with tools that I didn't have … They have tremendous ability today to treat almost all conditions of the eye."
If You Go
What: 50th anniversary celebration of Custom Eyes Optometry
When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: 1835 Newport Blvd, Suite A111, Costa Mesa