Reichert Ophthalmic Instruments has donated a complete set of diagnostic ophthalmic instruments to the College of Optometry at Western University of Health Sciences. The high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment will be housed at Casa Colina Rehabilitation Center in Pomona, Calif., as part of a new neuro-optometric rehabilitation clinic.

The Reichert instrument suite consists of an exam chair, instrument stand, counterbalanced third arm, stools, slit lamp biomicroscope, tonometer, phoropter, keratometer, and a visual acuity system.

Gary Wattnem, Sales Manager for the Americas, who has been with the company for 30 years, is interested in helping the new College of Optometry establish itself in the community.

“”I was very impressed with the interprofessional health care curriculum WesternU uses,”” said Wattnem. “”I think involving the students in the different disciplines will surely make them better optometrists when they get into the eye care profession. It will give the patient well-rounded health care.””

The College of Optometry emphasizes neuro-optometry, which includes caring for individuals with learning disabilities, brain injuries, developmental disabilities and visual impairments. The college is collaborating with Casa Colina to develop the Neuro-Optometric Clinic, which will care for patients with functional visual deficits resulting from brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions.

“”WesternU fulfills part of its mission to deliver care,”” said College of Optometry Founding Dean Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, MPH, DrPH. “”It’s a great opportunity to partner with Casa Colina and to emphasize our educational commitment to neuro-optometric rehabilitation.””

Casa Colina is well known for its Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program and its Wounded Warrior Program. The center treats and rehabilitates returning soldiers and veterans needing care as the result of injuries sustained while on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Providing services to returning veterans is nothing new to Wattnem. He maintains an active role serving veterans in his home state of Iowa, following his own 35-year career as both an active duty member of the armed forces and time spent in the Army Reserves.

WesternU clinical faculty member and clerkship preceptor Eric Ikeda, OD, FCOVD, DPNAP, will be Clinical Director of Neuro-Optometry at Casa Colina Hospital, operating the clinic and seeing patients until WesternU students and faculty are folded into the mix. WesternU faculty and students will provide care to patients beginning in January 2010.

For more information about vision problems related to brain injuries, visit the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, International (NORA) Web site http://www.nora.cc/.