Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eye Clinic: Umsl and Siue Offer Useful Example of Visual Insight

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Eye Clinic: Umsl and Siue Offer Useful Example of Visual Insight

Article excerpt

Payton, 13, of East St. Louis, got his first ever eye exam Thursday. It may open up a whole new world for the youngster, who soon will get his first pair of eyeglasses.

Payton got the exam, thanks to an enthusiastic team of students and teachers of optometry - and to a dream that crossed rivers, political parties and state lines.

The vision of two local universities - the University of Missouri at St. Louis and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville - has resulted in an optometry center for East St. Louis, the city's first in almost a decade.

"He was a good patient, he was very comfortable," said Quang Vu, the fourth-year optometry student from UMSL who examined Payton with optometrist Carol Merritt, clinic director.

The East St. Louis Eye Center, a sparkling-clean mauve and grey office suite, opened last week on the fifth floor of the SIUE East St. Louis Center at 411 East Broadway. Pastel paintings of gardens hang on the walls of the waiting room, and the latest frames in eyeglass fashion - including Nintendo glasses for kids - are available at the dispensary.

The clinic offers primary eye care services for everyone from infants to senior citizens. Faculty and students from the UMSL School of Optometry staff the center.

Merritt, the clinic director, expects to serve as many as 40 patients daily. Six of the eight planned examination rooms will be completed in the next few days.

The clinic examines patients for their total "eye health," which can also provide insights into patients' general health, said Jane Shea, the assistant clinic director, who is also a doctor of optometry.

SIUE renovated the center with the help of $500,000 in Illinois Capital Development Bonds. UMSL will pay for operating costs, using $155,000 from the East St. Louis Community Fund and money from private donations. It also will rely on user fees. …

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