Before becoming an ophthalmologist and the owner and medical director at Access Eye Centers in Fredericksburg, Arash Mansouri first had a few mountains to climb.
Born in Abadan, Iran, Mansouri was raised in Tehran, the country's capital, during a time of transition and political unrest.
“I grew up amidst a dynamic, educated and adventurous crowd. Everything was great until 1979 when I was in fourth grade and the Iranian Revolution happened. Then, we saw the gradual decline of the once promising country,” said Mansouri. “I lived through the Iran and Iraq war, shortages, air raids and the hostage situation at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.”
During that time, citizens who were 14 years or older were prohibited from leaving the country, and after the age of 18, they had to either attend the university or go to war. But Mansouri had other plans.
Alone, at the young age of 17, Mansouri hiked over the Zagros Mountains to Turkey to escape the war. He remained there for eight months before seeking refuge in Germany until he immigrated to the United States at the age of 19.
Shortly after coming to the U.S., Mansouri enrolled at George Mason University where he received his bachelor of science in biology after just two-and-a-half years.
He then attended medical school at the now Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and later interned at the VCU Medical Center where he earned a number of awards, including Best Intern of the Year. He then went on to Duke University for his ophthalmology residency.
“I entered medical school wanting a hands-on specialty and one with a high-tech flavor. Ophthalmology was a perfect fit,” added Mansouri.
After his residency, he served on faculty at John Hopkins University in Baltimore before he came to Access Eye Centers of Fredericksburg in 1999.
At the time, the practice was owned by Dr. Robert Caine, who was interested in selling his practice.
“Robert Caine was looking to sell to someone with enough business acumen to make him comfortable in the long term survival of the practice,” said Mansouri. “Once he saw that in me, he made it very easy for me to buy his practice.”
Mansouri purchased Access Eye Centers in 2001. Today, his practice has grown to consist of five locations, including a dedicated laser center.
Mansouri lives in Fredericksburg with his wife, Michele, and their four children – Gage, 21, Ava, 19, Ky, 15 and Bijan, 14.