New optometry clinic opens doorways

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The College of Optometry opened the doors of its new six-story facility on November 9th. Photo credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo editor

After four years and $ 36 million to build, the College of Optometry has achieved its vision of a new clinic for patients.

The new office building of the Optometry Clinic and the Faculty of Health Sciences opened its doors on November 9th. The six-story facility has 56 exam rooms and multiple eye care services, College of Optometry spokeswoman Sarah Cupples said in an email.

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

“We had to work around the space that was made available to us, which was a bit inefficient and outdated,” said Dr. Gregory Nixon, Assistant Dean of Clinical Services at the College of Optometry. “We took the chance to design our own space for ourselves.”

Ashley Hill, assistant director of clinical operations for the building, said the facility was designed to be easy to navigate for visually impaired patients. The doors of the examination rooms are painted with large numbers and the hallways are well lit.

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

Nixon said the clinic could offer new services as well.

Newly added is the Dry Eye Center, a specialized division of the clinic that focuses on treating dry eye syndrome, a disease in which tears cannot moisten the eyes or function properly, according to the National Eye Institute website.

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

After examining their eyes, a patient can visit a 3,000-frame retail gallery downstairs, Hill said.

The building is located at 1664 Neil Ave. The lower three floors are home to the optometry clinic and the upper three floors are the faculty’s offices.

“I am delighted that we finally have a facility that has the quality and character of the people who live in it,” said Nixon.

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

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