Lighthouse Guild and Columbia Ophthalmology: Working Together to Improve the Lives of People with Vision Loss

For almost two decades, Lighthouse Guild and Columbia University’s Department of Ophthalmology have worked together to improve the quality of vision rehabilitation, advance knowledge of the field and better train practitioners.

Columbia ophthalmology residents receive low vision rehabilitation training at Lighthouse Guild, where they participate in clinical sessions and a vision rehabilitation lecture series at Columbia provided by Lighthouse Guild staff for residents and attending physicians.

Columbia Ophthalmology’s clinic at Lighthouse Guild’s 250 West 64th Street facility offers general ophthalmology and sub-specialty care, including adult and pediatric ophthalmology as well as the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, corneal and retinal disease.

“By joining Lighthouse Guild’s continuum of services with Columbia Ophthalmology’s clinical excellence, together we have a terrific opportunity to significantly impact the vision health of New Yorkers,” said Lighthouse Guild’s President & CEO Alan R. Morse, JD, PhD. “We look forward to continuing to work together to find new and effective ways to deliver the highest quality vision care and services.”

“Our location in the Lighthouse Guild facility offers a full spectrum of eye care including the most complex diagnostic and therapeutic interventions,” said George A. (Jack) Cioffi, MD, the Edward S. Harkness Professor of Ophthalmology and Ophthalmologist-in-Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “Our goal is to provide world-class ophthalmology care right in the community.”

Helping Students

This collaboration is appreciated by Linda Gerra, EdD, Director of Children’s Vision Programs at Lighthouse Guild. “All of the students in our Heilbrunn School have vision loss diagnoses, as well as other medical problems. Having the experience of the Columbia Ophthalmology specialists will greatly benefit our students and their families.”

Supporting Families

The parents of the children attending Columbia Ophthalmology’s pediatric services will be encouraged to take advantage of Lighthouse Guild’s clinical offerings, such as the family support offered by Lighthouse Guild’s Behavioral Health Services.

“Losing vision or having a child with vision loss is a significant life stressor,” says Goldie Dersh, PhD, Vice President, Behavioral Health Services. “Talking about these issues to another person, or with another family facing the same challenges may be very helpful. We hope that Columbia Ophthalmology will let their patients know that we can help, through individual, family or group therapy.”

Benefitting Patients

Cecil Lowden, Director of the Lighthouse Guild Health Center, said “Columbia Ophthalmology and our vision and health clinics are collocated on the same floor of our new facility. This benefits patients referred to the clinics from Columbia Ophthalmology, allowing them to have all their needs attended to on the same day. In addition, Columbia Ophthalmology patients with prescriptions for an optician can walk across the hall and have them filled immediately at our dispensary. It’s all a part of the continuum of services that will make life easier for all of our patients.”