A Closer Look: The Eye Institute
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A Closer Look: The Eye Institute

The Eye Institute (TEI) of Salus University has been a valuable vision care resource to the Philadelphia region for more than 40 years. TEI serves the dual purpose of being a clinical training facility for students in the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) and providing quality vision care services to the surrounding community.

Inside The Eye Institute during the 1970sTEI was originally constructed in 1978, at a cost of more than $5 million - three-fourths of which was funded by a grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. At the time, TEI was considered an architectural design marvel. Designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, architectural students toured the 55,000-square-foot building to admire its construction and design.

Built with the expectation of managing a high volume of patients, the building was given an “open planning” design - with low partition walls, angled corridors and an open-ceiling concept, exposing pipes, conduits, and wiring. The low walls in the clinical areas did not reach all the way to the top of the ceiling, wall carpets were installed for acoustics, along with subdued lighting in the hallways. The 147-seat auditorium on the ground floor was used regularly as the didactic classroom for the Optometry program while the main patient entrance was on the upper level and clinical care was provided on both floors.

Inside The Eye Institute during the 1970s

With its innovative design, TEI became the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary clinical facility of its kind for both patients and education. It was the first optometric care facility in the nation to employ a multidisciplinary approach using optometrists, ophthalmologists, physicians, low vision rehabilitation specialists, students and other healthcare professionals working together to provide comprehensive vision care.

TEI offers an array of pediatric and adult vision care services including routine eye exams, optical and contact lens services, dry eye management, vision therapy and specialty care for glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, cataracts, neuro-ophthalmology and other eye health disorders.

The main Oak Lane location is also home to the William Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center. The donated practice of optometric pioneer Dr. William Feinbloom provides specialized care and rehabilitative services to patients with blindness and low vision.

As the clinical training facility for PCO students, TEI fosters a quality learning environment and expansive educational experience. Students begin with clinical observations and by the middle of their second year, they are assisting with providing patient care.

The Eye Institute Falls CenterTEI also offers post-graduate residency programs for Doctors of Optometry including advanced clinical competencies in primary care, pediatric/binocular vision, vision rehabilitation, contact lenses, ocular disease and refractive eye care.

In the early 2000s, in an effort to expand patient care in the community, TEI opened two additional facilities in the Mt. Airy and Strawberry Mansion sections of Philadelphia. In 2010, the Strawberry Mansion satellite relocated to East Falls and in 2012, the Mt. Airy satellite moved to a newly renovated space in Chestnut Hill.

During this same time, an $11.2 million, 15,000-square-foot expansion of TEI’s Oak Lane location was finalized. The upgrade consolidated clinical care to the lower level of the building, provided 45 renovated exam rooms, and created a larger optical center. The renovation to the upper level created numerous faculty and resident offices, an 80-seat classroom, two conference rooms, faculty and staff lounges, a small optical lab, billing offices, an appointment center and a small café area.

Eye exam at TEI

In 2017, a $3 million expansion took place of previously unrenovated space at TEI’s main location.  The renovation included the addition of a primary care facility, the incorporation of University clinical research, and an updated optical lab. That same year, in collaboration with Delaware Valley Community Health, Inc. (DVCH), TEI opened a third satellite location in Norristown, Pa. with the innate goal of providing comprehensive vision care to patients in Montgomery County.

Now with four locations, TEI services more than 40,000 patients annually. With many changes over the course of four decades, one thing remains the same: TEI is continually committed to providing excellence in eye care for many years to come.