New optometry clinic opens doors

New optometry clinic opens doors

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an exam room in the optometry clinic with a chair and equipment

The College of Optometry opened the doors of its new six-story facility Nov. 9. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

After four years and $36 million in construction, the College of Optometry has completed its vision of a new clinic to see patients.

The new Optometry Clinic and Health Sciences Faculty Office Building opened its doors Nov. 9. The six-story facility has 56 exam rooms and multiple eyecare services, Sarah Cupples, spokesperson for the College of Optometry, said in an email.

The old optometry clinic was located in Starling Loving Hall, the former university hospital now used as classrooms and offices. The building was built in 1917, according to the Medical Heritage Center, and could no longer accommodate the growing clinic.

“We had to work around the space that we were given, which was somewhat inefficient and outdated,” Dr. Gregory Nixon, associate dean for clinical services at the College of Optometry, said. “We took advantage of the opportunity of being able to design our own space for our own use.”

Ashley Hill, the building’s assistant director for clinical operations, said the facility was designed to be easy to navigate for vision-impaired patients. Large numbers are painted on exam room doors and the halls are well-lit.

The clinic’s exam rooms are bigger than those in the previous building in order to make patients more comfortable and to increase testing capabilities, Hill said.

Nixon said the clinic can provide new services as well. 

One new addition is the Dry Eye Center, a specialized division of the clinic that focuses on treating dry eye syndrome, a disease when tears are not able to lubricate the eyes or work correctly, according to the National Eye Institute website.

Hill said the clinic also has primary vision care, vision therapy, pediatrics and contact lens centers.

After a patient gets their eyes examined, they can visit a retail gallery with 3,000 frames on the ground floor, Hill said.

The building is located at 1664 Neil Ave. The bottom three floors house the Optometry Clinic, and the top three floors are faculty offices.

“I’m just so pleased now that we finally have a facility that has the quality and character of the people who inhabit it,” Nixon said.

Hill said the clinic is already seeing about 100 patients every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 150 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Individuals can book appointments by calling 614-292-2020 or visiting the clinic’s website. Nixon said walk-in appointments are also available.

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