Illinois College of Optometry Establishes Alfred and Sarah Rosenbloom Center on Vision and Aging

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CHICAGO—The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) has established the Alfred and Sarah Rosenbloom Center on Vision and Aging, a new resource devoted to the unique vision care needs of the aging population. With an estimated 6.5 million Americans older than 65 having a severe visual impairment and the first wave of the 78 million baby boomers turning 65 last year, ICO established the center to meet a growing need.

The phased implementation of the Rosenbloom Center began last month. It will serve four essential functions: 1) Promote increased knowledge and understanding of the interrelatedness of aging and vision care for optometry students and practitioners; 2) Develop programs that reach out to underserved and minority communities and older adults in and around Chicago by providing vision care, counselling and support services; 3) Develop ongoing relationships with selected geriatric care facilities (assisted living and nursing home facilities) in the Chicago area for education and patient care services; and 4) Sponsor vision-related geriatric research.

The Center honors ICO icon Alfred A. Rosenbloom, MA, OD, DOS, and his wife, Sarah. A 1948 graduate of ICO, Rosenbloom served as dean from 1955 to 1972, as president from 1972 to 1982, and he remains a distinguished professor emeritus. A pioneer in low vision rehabilitation, he was one of the founders of the first low vision service centers at the Chicago Lighthouse, where he was recently appointed to the Donald Krumrey Chair in Low Vision. He was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame in 2010.

“The over-80 population is growing four times faster than any other segment of the population,” Rosenbloom said. “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 to the development of a geriatric care patient service model, including care for many underserved individuals in assisted living facilities and in nursing homes.”