Who’s Who: William Feinbloom
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Who’s Who: William Feinbloom

William FeinbloomDr. William Feinbloom, one of the world’s most renowned optometric scientists, was a true innovator in the field of low vision, vision rehabilitation and contact lens development. In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Dr. Feinbloom dedicated his life to helping the visually impaired and his longstanding legacy continues today at The Eye Institute (TEI) of Salus University through the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center.

The son of a self-educated optometrist, Dr. Feinbloom was introduced to the world of vision care at a young age. As a high school student, he worked every afternoon in his father’s optometry practice. Eventually following in his father’s footsteps, Dr. Feinbloom earned his optometry degree in 1922 from Columbia University.

Upon finishing optometry school, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from the College of the City of New York, a master’s and PhD in biophysics and visual psychology from Columbia University.

In 1932, while working in a medical clinic, Dr. Feinbloom encountered an elderly patient with severe vision loss and for whom there was no viable treatment. Disappointed by the limitations of visual science at the time, Dr. Feinbloom was inspired to make a difference and soon helping the visually-impaired became his life’s work.

William Feinbloom and PatientUsing an astronomer’s powerful telescope as a model, he began experimenting to develop a high powered telescopic lens small enough to mount on a pair of regular eyeglasses. After fashioning several prototypes, Dr. Feinbloom developed a spectacle mounted telescope lens that restored his patient’s functional vision. 

In addition to his telescopic spectacles and head-mounted expanded-field telescopes, Dr. Feinbloom designed and patented an array of specialized optical devices that included a series of low vision microscopes, visual aids and lenses - including the first of its kind contact lens made from glass and plastic.

With the success of his innovations, Dr. Feinbloom traveled across the country and the world, giving lectures and demonstrations and training young clinicians in the treatment of low vision patients. Along with starting his own low vision practice, he also created low vision clinics in Israel and many African nations. 

Upon donating his low vision practice to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1978, he founded the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center, now housed in TEI’s Oak Lane campus. The Feinbloom Center provides specialized vision and rehabilitative services to patients who have been diagnosed with legal blindness and low vision – building upon the legacy of a man whose inventions have improved the quality of life for thousands.

William Feinbloom Center 2017