The Chicago Lighthouse Low Vision Clinic Opens New, Cutting Edge Facility

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Preparing to meet the challenge of assisting some 76 million baby boomers who will soon experience vision loss, The Chicago Lighthouse is unveiling its greatly expanded and newly designed Low Vision Clinic on May 11.
The clinic, already widely regarded as the oldest and most prominent in the nation, is doubling its total area to 3,000 square feet and features larger patient rooms with the latest technological innovations, enabling it to conveniently provide a full range of services.

“This new facility offers a comprehensive rehabilitation service found only at 1% of low vision clinics across the country,” said Dr. Janet Szlyk, Lighthouse executive director. “Our patients have access to psycho-social support services, low vision examinations and prescriptive devices, occupational therapy evaluation and training and research in new techniques of rehabilitation, all located in one area of The Chicago Lighthouse building.”

Dr. Kara Crumbliss, director of clinical services, added that the clinic’s professional staff consists of optometrists who specialize in low vision, a psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), occupational therapists and a rehabilitation therapist.

She noted that another prominent feature will be a thriving research component initiated by Dr. Szlyk, which includes staff consisting of a Director, Patricia Grant, who holds a Master of Science in Public Health, and two graduate students from the Bioengineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Along with the added space, the clinic received major equipment improvements. An occupational therapy room with a functioning full kitchen to teach adaptive cooking techniques is available along with windows in every exam room to allow patients real world opportunities to test the usefulness of devices like telescopes and sun filters. Also added is a large optical dispensary (display area) where patients may shop for the latest styles in glasses and sun filters.

The clinic’s unique interior seeks to be aesthetically pleasing while providing the finest in low vision care.

“The entire concept aims to offer the best in care and consideration for the unique needs of our patients,” said Dr. Crumbliss. “Our high contrast paint and lighting, throughout the entire space, serves to demonstrate home modifications helpful to those living with low vision while the circular layout will allow for efficient use of time and access to services while they are here.”

Other new features include a conference room for doctor meetings with a Smart board for high contrast educational presentations and computerized eye charts in every examination room. The clinic intends to emphasize its environmental friendliness and plans on going paperless by 2011.

Educational opportunities are provided through the Low Vision Clinic to optometry students and residents, medical students and ophthalmology residents from five academic institutions.

The Chicago Lighthouse Low Vision Clinic is open on weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Payments can be made in cash, check, and credit. Accepted insurance plans include Medicare, Medicaid/Health and Family Services, Private Insurance PPOs, and HMO with prior approval from Plan Managing Physicians. In addition, payment assistance may be sought through the Department of Human Services and Early Intervention.

For information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact The Chicago Lighthouse Low Vision Clinic at 312/997-3686 or online at http://chicagolighthouse.org/vision-rehabilitation-clinic/vision-reha … ion-center.

Founded in 1906, the Lighthouse is one of the nation’s most comprehensive social service agencies. Housed under its roof are the oldest and most prominent low vision clinic in the U.S.; one of the few remaining clock manufacturing facilities in America; a nationally acclaimed school for children who are blind with multi-disabilities; a VA program serving veterans in all 50 states; and a radio station. For further information, please contact us at (312)666-1331.