CHICAGO, Feb. 12, 2013 –The Illinois College of Optometry and Chicago Public Schools have received a $249,000 grant in support of their school-based eye clinic, the Illinois Eye Institute at Princeton, which has served more than 11,000 students since it opened two years ago. The grant was awarded by the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, an organization committed to improving the health of all children across the state.
“The mission of the foundation is to create opportunities for and lead in the development of initiatives that improve the health of all children,” said ILCHF Senior Program Officer Bob Egan. “By partnering with ICO and CPS, children will have the opportunity to succeed in school and be ready to learn by receiving the proper eye care they need to grow up healthy.”
“We are very pleased the ILCHF has awarded us this significant grant and recognizes the essential services our school-based eye clinic provides,” said ICO President Dr. Arol Augsburger. “This grant will go a long way in supporting our efforts to address the unmet need of vision care for children within the city of Chicago.”
In partnership with CPS, ICO established the nation’s largest school-based clinic—the Illinois Eye Institute at Princeton—to provide primary and advanced eye care services year-round to underserved youth. For some, this clinic has provided access to needed corrective eyewear for the first time. The award from the ILCHF will be used to increase clinic capacity and invest in equipment that will provide advanced diagnostic testing onsite. The grant will also provide critical support for an additional staff person to champion the program within the CPS system.
“Since the clinic has been opened, more than 11,000 students have received eye exams and 75 percent have received eyeglasses,” said CPS Chief Health Officer Dr. Stephanie A. Whyte. “Without a doubt, we know those children have an increased opportunity to perform better in school. We value our partnership with ICO and are grateful to the ILCHF for supporting our efforts to expand vision services for CPS students.”
The clinic is outfitted with 13 eye exam lanes and is open Monday to Friday, with mornings reserved to accommodate CPS schools and afternoons structured to see walk-ins and provide necessary follow-up care. ICO students provide much of the clinical care under the supervision of optometrists who are also ICO faculty members. Youth in need of advanced or immediate care are referred to the Illinois Eye Institute for further testing.