Filling a Need
The Illinois College of Optometry is proud to announce the founding of the Alfred and Sarah Rosenbloom Center on Vision and Aging, a unique new resource devoted to the vision care needs of the aging population.
The Center within the Illinois Eye Institute honors an ICO icon, Dr. Alfred Rosenbloom, and his wife, Sarah. Dr. Rosenbloom, a 1948 graduate, served as dean of ICO from 1955 to 1972, president from 1972 to 1982, and remains a distinguished professor emeritus. He was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2010, and continues to be a leader in the optometric profession. In addition to his leadership roles at the College, Dr. Rosenbloom has been a pioneer in low-vision rehabilitation. In 1957, he was one of the founders of the first low-vision service at the Chicago Lighthouse. This organization has become one of the most comprehensive social service agencies in the United States. Dr. Rosenbloom was recently honored by being appointed to the prestigious Donald Krumrey Chair in Low Vision at the Chicago Lighthouse.
“The over-8o population is growing four times faster than any other segment of the population,” Dr. Rosenbloom says. “ICO’s reputation in terms of current and future education offers the opportunity to elevate standards and raise awareness for providing professional vision care to this age group. This may lead in time to the development of a Geriatric Care Patient Service Model, including care for many underserved individuals in assisted living facilities and in nursing homes.”
The Rosenbloom Center was announced during the ICO and Illinois Optometric Association Open House on June 29. The phased implementation begins immediately and will ultimately have four essential functions:
• Promote increased knowledge and understanding of the inter-relatedness of aging and vision care for optometry students and practitioners
• Develop programs that reach out to underserved and minority communities, and older adults in and around Chicago, by providing vision care, counseling and support services
• Develop ongoing relationships with selected geriatric care facilities (assisted living and nursing home facilities) in the Chicago area for education and patient care services
• Sponsor vision-related geriatric research
“ICO is unique in having the faculty and the resources to establish what I would consider a model Center on vision and aging,” Dr. Rosenbloom says. “As far as I know, there is no other vision care agency or facility that can establish a Center like this with experienced faculty to administer the important goals of the Center.”
The Center’s reach will stretch far beyond the Chicago area, he says. ICO students will have the opportunity to work with aging patients through the Center, and then take that unique knowledge wherever they establish a practice after graduation.
ICO President Arol Augsburger, OD, says the Center is an exciting addition to ICO.
“To have a prominent ICO alumnus and his wife – and a former president of ICO – make such a significant leadership gift to ICO is transforming for the institution,” he says. “ICO will soon be the only optometric institution with a Center on Vision and Aging. This will emphasize and highlight our leadership position in optometry.”
Read more about the Rosenbloom Center's new service chief, Eric Bass OD, FAAO, by clicking here.