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Low Vision Rehabilitation and Ocular Disease Residency

Providing Advanced Competency Training in Low Vision Rehabilitation and Ocular Disease through Education, Scholarship and Patient Care

  • Program Site: The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, Spectrios Institute for Low Vision and Illinois Eye Institute
  • Program Coordinator: Kara Crumbliss, OD 
  • Residency Director: Janice Jurkus, OD, MBA
  • Number of Positions Available: 2 (accredited)
  • Duration/Program Dates: The residency is a 53-week program beginning the first Monday in July. This time frame ensures overlap with current residents to provide an orientation period.
  • ORMatch: #15421

Program Description

This post-graduate residency program is offered by the Illinois College of Optometry in conjunction with the Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and the Spectrios Institute for Low Vision. It is the goal of this program to provide advanced clinical training in low vision rehabilitation in an interdisciplinary as well as a private practice clinical setting. Interaction with various programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, including job readiness and placement, a manufacturing facility that employs blind workers, a school for children with visual and other impairments, a program for individuals who are both deaf and blind and an adult living skills program, is an integral part of the residency. In addition to the direct low vision patient care experience at the main Lighthouse facility and the Spectrios Institute for Low Vision, the resident will have the opportunity to examine patients in a variety of satellite facilities and the Illinois Eye Institute.

The program also emphasizes advanced competency in the diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular disease, with a focus on those conditions that frequently result in vision loss. This is accomplished through clinical rotations at the Illinois Eye Institute’s Center for Advanced Ophthalmic Care. Residents will provide patient care in the Center’s Vitreo-retinal, Glaucoma and Urgent Care Services. Rotations in Cornea and External Disease and Comprehensive Ophthalmology are included in the curriculum.

About The Lighthouse

The Chicago Lighthouse was founded in 1906. It is a comprehensive agency with programs for people who are blind or visually impaired. Its low vision clinic was founded in 1956 as a cooperative effort of the Illinois Optometric Association and the Chicago Ophthalmological Society. Today the Chicago Lighthouse is the oldest and largest Low Vision Rehabilitation Clinic in the country. Its interdisciplinary staff includes optometrists who are residency or diplomate certified in low vision, a licensed clinical psychologist, a certified low vision therapist, an occupational therapist, an orientation and mobility specialist, and an ophthalmologist. In addition, the Chicago Lighthouse Low Vision Rehabilitation Service provides care in eight satellite clinics.

The Spectrios Institute For Low Vision

Founded in 1986, the Spectrios Institute for Low Vision’s mission, formerly the Deicke Center for Visual Rehabilitation, is to provide the visually impaired with the tools and training necessary to function independently at home, in the workplace, and in the community at large. Accredited since 1992 by the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Spectrios Institute for Low Vision has helped more than 12,000 people of all ages maximize sight and learn to cope with the challenges of living with low vision. The Spectrios Institute for Low Vision provides patients with comprehensive low vision services including rehabilitation training, counseling, orientation and mobility training, and assistive technology in addition to optometric services. The Spectrios Institute’s staff is experienced in clinical education, serving as a training site for optometry students since 1997.

Program Objectives/Design

To obtain advanced training in:

  • Prescribing low vision devices
  • Prescribing low vision rehabilitation training
  • Interacting with professionals in other disciplines
  • Interacting with state agencies that serve people who are blind or visually impaired
  • Low vision rehabilitation of children, working age adults, and seniors
  • Low vision rehabilitation in various settings
  • Diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular disease, with an emphasis on those conditions that frequently result in vision loss
  • Use and interpretation of advanced diagnostic technologies
  • Clinical and didactic teaching

To accomplish these objectives, the resident participates in the following rotations:

At the Chicago Lighthouse, Spectrios Institute for Low Vision, Illinois Eye Institute and their satellites:

  • Direct low vision patient care: 16 hrs/wk
  • Interaction with other professionals and programs: 4 hrs/wk
  • At the Illinois College of Optometry/Illinois Eye Institute:
  • Glaucoma or Vitreo-retinal Service: 4 hrs/wk
  • Urgent Care Service: 4 hrs/wk
  • Primary Care, Cornea/External Disease or Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service: 4 hrs/wk
  • Electrodiagnostics, low vision laboratory, or other course work: 4 hrs/wk
  • Conference participation/Research/Independent study: 4 hrs/wk

Research Responsibilities

The resident is required to prepare a paper of publishable quality during the course of the residency year. This may be in the format of a literature review, case report, or original research. The resident is encouraged to publish this work or present it at a professional meeting.

Educational Opportunities

The resident attends and participates in weekly conferences at the Illinois College of Optometry. Residents may attend, at no charge, any continuing education courses provided by the Illinois College of Optometry. The resident has full access to any of the material or services provided at the College. This includes the library and media production department. The resident will participate in a seminar at the Illinois College of Optometry provided by an expert in medical education. The goal of this program is to enhance the resident’s clinical precepting skills as well as to aid the resident with development of public speaking skills.

The resident is encouraged to attend professional meetings relevant to the residency program. Five days of educational leave and travel support are provided to facilitate participation.

Residency Supervision/Evaluation

The residency program coordinator is responsible for supervision of the resident, however, the resident will work with a variety of attending optometrists at all sites. The program coordinator reports to the Director of Residencies at the College.

The resident receives three formal evaluations in addition to informal feedback from the residency program coordinator and other faculty. Grand Rounds presentations given three times a year at the College are evaluated by faculty in attendance. The resident is asked to evaluate the program faculty three times a year and their residency experience at mid-year and at the end of the program.

Salary and Benefits

The resident’s stipend is $39,670 pro-rated for 53 weeks. A full professional benefits package including professional liability, health, life, dental, and limited term disability insurance is available. One week vacation per year and compensated professional meeting time are granted.

Criteria for Completion and Completion Acknowledgement

  • Attendance at all clinical assignments
  • Attendance and participation in all scheduled conferences
  • Submission of a paper of publishable quality to a peer-reviewed journal
  • Successful completion of all learning objectives
  • A certificate is presented upon completion of the residency program

For more information:

Kara Crumbliss, OD
Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616