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Ira G. Ross Eye Institute Celebrates Grand Opening

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The University at Buffalo's Department of Ophthalmology has a new home. The Ira G. Ross Eye Institute opened Thursday at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Department Chair Dr. James Reynolds proudly showed off the new state-of-the-art institute that will provide "cradle to grave" vision care. The Ophthalmology Department is partnering with the Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted Center for the Visually Impaired in this new venture. Reynolds says this collaboration between a medical school department and social service agency is rare. He says they'll be able to offer an holistic approach to eye disease.

The first floor has 12 exam rooms, plus suites for laser and other surgeries. The second floor has a specially-designed pediatrics center complete with a video game station. Reynolds says five percent of all children suffer from some form of eye disease.

Ironically, the institute's chief benefactor, Dr. Elizabeth Pierce Olmsted Ross, died in September. An ophthalmologist who was a nationally renowned champion for the blind and visually impaired, Olmsted Ross donated $4 million in challenge grants to create the institute. It's named after her late husband, Ira Ross, who was a local scientist and engineer. The John R. Oishei Foundation provided $1.2 million -- the state $1 million.

Reynolds says Olmsted Ross wanted the Institute downtown because she felt such a location would be most accessible to patients.