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November 17, 2008

SUNY Optometry Receives Grant for New Center in China

The SUNY State College of Optometry has received a three-year $430,700 grant from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind to establish a Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation in Wenzhou, China.  This the first such center of excellence of its kind in the region.

In partnership with Wenzhou Medical College Eye Hospital, the expertise of SUNY faculty and its affiliates will be utilized to:

  • Provide upgraded and expanded vision care services for growing numbers of low vision patients;
  • Increase the number of qualified low vision practitioners and paraprofessionals by implementing a train-the-trainer educational model; and
  • Develop replicable models of care delivery for the visually impaired and blind throughout China.

An estimated 17 million individuals in China have low vision (vision loss not correctable with eye glasses, medication or surgery).  With a dearth of eye and vision care professionals in the region providing quality care for the visually impaired, a Center of Excellence in Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation will have a significant impact.

"The generosity of the Lavelle Fund will make a difference in the quality of care for thousands of low vision patients throughout China" said Dr. David Heath, President of the SUNY College of Optometry.  "Creating a Center of Excellence will increase the capacity to provide direct services, as well as expand the educational experience in low vision care for optometry students, professionals and paraprofessionals."  

"We are delighted to partner with the SUNY College of Optometry to bring services, support and professional education to China for the benefit of low vision patients" said Andrew Fisher, Executive Director of the Lavelle Fund for the Blind.

The SUNY College of Optometry excels, innovates and leads in Optometry and Vision Science by: developing outstanding optometrists and vision scientists; making new discoveries that advance vision science and patient care; improving patients' lives by providing exceptional general and specialized optometric care; and enhancing public health through education and service to a broad range of communities.

The Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc., is dedicated to supporting programs that promote the spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical development of blind and low-vision people of all ages, together with programs that help people avoid vision loss.