DETROIT — Henry Ford Health System has signed a merger agreement with the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, which will now be recognized as a division of Henry Ford’s Department of Ophthalmology, as its research education arm.

“Bringing our organizations together will give us greater ability to impact visual science through research,” says Paul Edwards, M.D., chair of Ophthalmology at Henry Ford. “It also means we’ll be able to expand DIO support services for the visually impaired and blind, in collaboration with the Henry Ford Center for Visual Rehabilitation and Research.”

One of the largest ophthalmology practices in the U.S., the Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology treats more than 55,000 patients annually at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. The Henry Ford Center for Vision Rehabilitation & Research, located in Grosse Pointe Park and Livonia, provides comprehensive rehabilitation to help people with macular degeneration and other low-vision conditions make the most of their available eyesight. The program can also provide rehabilitation for patients with stroke-related vision loss.

The mission of the DIO is to assist the visually impaired in maintaining their independence.  It also strives to lead in international collaboration in vision-related research.

“Integration of our programs and events into the Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology assures our volunteers, our donors, and our staff, of a healthy and wise succession,” said Philip Hessburg, M.D., director of the DIO.

The institute hosts two biennial world research congresses. The Eye and The Chip brings internationally renowned scientists to Detroit to discuss ophthalmology’s pursuit of advancements in artificial vision. The Eye and The Auto, produced in alternate years, addresses issues related to vision and safe driving.

The collaboration created at these congresses helps to advance research at a faster pace, Hessburg said

The DIO is well-known for its EyesOn Design events, including design awards presented at the North American International Auto Show, and the EyesOn Design Car Show held on Father’s Day at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.

These events are sustained by numerous global automotive companies, who are an important source of support for the DIO’s mission. Although Ford Motor Company and Henry Ford Health System were both founded by the legendary automaker, they are not affiliated.

The institute provides support services for the visually impaired and blind. Information on vision loss is shared with physician offices, local libraries and at community events.  The organization also offers a computer training lab for the visually impaired.

In addition to public education, DIO provides seminars for emergency medicine physicians and hosts lectures for Henry Ford Ophthalmology residents.

Over its 40-year history, DIO has stayed true to its mission to provide opportunities for ophthalmic medical education, research, and support services for the visually impaired. Currently, with help from its volunteer arm, the Friends of Vision, DIO manages several of the largest support groups in the United States serving visually impaired seniors from Wayne and Macomb counties.

The not-for-profit DIO was founded in 1972 by ophthalmologists and the business community to provide support and tools to enhance independence for the visually impaired and blind; develop career opportunities in allied health; train ophthalmic technicians; and seek solutions to improve vision through research.

The DIO is located at 15415 E. Jefferson in Grosse Pointe Park, next to Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology – Grosse Pointe. Combining these two campuses will broaden and enhance the clinical care provided throughout the Henry Ford Health System, and insure the continuation of DIO’s service-related programs.

For more information on Henry Ford Health System, visit  For more information on the DIO, visit


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