Low Vision Clinic at Washington State School for the Blind Receives $5,000 Grant

Pacific University College of Optometry's Low Vision Clinic at the Washington State School for the Blind received a $5,000 grant from the Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight and Hearing/SightLife.

The Pacific University College of Optometry has operated the Low Vision Clinic at the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) since the mid-1970s with significant support from the Lions organization. Currently providing services two days per week, the clinic provides experiential learning for eight interns per year. For many of these students, this is their only opportunity to examine and care for low-vision patients.

Over its history, the clinic at WSSB has served thousands of patients, from toddlers to seniors, who are stricken with a variety of vision compromising conditions.

"This collaboration between Pacific, Northwest Lions for Sight and Hearing and the WSSB is a unique partnership" says Dr. Christi Closson, director of the Lions Low Vision Clinic. "The College's faculty and students provide the care to a patient population that would otherwise be unable to afford it, the WSSB provides the space and administrative support for the clinic, and the Lions organization has provided a significant amount of funding to offset the costs associated with running the clinic."

Last year the clinic operated on a two-day-per-week basis and served more than 100 special needs patients with conditions including retinopathy of prematurity, trauma, retinitis pigmentosa, albinism, diabetic retinopathy, congenital glaucoma, macular degeneration and other blinding anomalies.


Since Helen Keller's address in 1925, Lions Clubs have been committed to serving as "Knights of the Blind." Lions in Washington and Northern Idaho expanded that mission in 1969, by starting the Northwest Lions Eye Bank (now SightLife), establishing a center of excellence for cornea donation in the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to SightLife's world class eye bank, the Northwest Lions Foundation supports Lions Clubs as they serve their communities, offering prevention and detection services such as the Lions Health Screening Unit and financial support for sight care through Patient Care Grants and Project Support Grants.

At Pacific University, the path to a doctorate in optometry starts with a family-like environment and ends with hands-on clinical work serving diverse populations. In the College of Optometry, success comes first. Faculty members lecture and publish worldwide, while putting teaching at the center of their practice. Our curriculum connects the classroom to the clinic, and provides a hands-on learning experience.

Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012