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Featured Vermont Business


 Chadwick Optical, Inc.
White River Company Helps the Blind See

Eyeglasses for the blind? No, it's not a joke, Chadwick Optical, Inc. manufactures exactly that: eyeglasses for the legally blind and visually impaired.

Founded in 1980, this small White River Jct., Vermont business operated as a traditional optical laboratory producing regular corrective eyeglasses for local Optometrists and Opticians. In the mid 1980's, strong local competition forced Chadwick to seek out high volume, low margin government contracts as a source of revenue.

In the mid 1990's, the company held the Department of Health and Human Services eyeglass contracts for all three northern New England states.

Several factors influenced a radical change in business strategy, and Chadwick evolved into a specialty laboratory focusing on optics that other much larger labs either will not or cannot produce. Over the past three years, Chadwick has emerged as the only optical laboratory in the United States specializing in eyeglass prescriptions for the legally blind.

They also export to Canada and as far as South Africa and the Pacific Rim, as well as service the majority of the VA Blind Rehab Centers, Schools of Optometry, and many state and local Associations for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

In January 2003, Chadwick was awarded a National Eye Institute grant for nearly a half million dollars over two years through the SBIR program. This is the first known NEI grant to be awarded to an optical laboratory. The grant will be used to develop functional low cost lenses for people suffering from left-side blindness: a condition caused by head trauma, stroke, or brain tumors.

The lenses are based on the design and concept of Dr. Eli Peli and are being developed with the help of Dr. Peli and the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard Medical School.

"We're proud to bring some national recognition to small Vermont business; our products could potentially help millions of people lead healthier, more independent lives", says owner, Karen Keeney who has over thirty years of experience in the optical field.

She was raised by her legally blind grandfather, and over half of Chadwick's employees have an immediate family member afflicted with Low Vision. "We have a great appreciation for the need for affordable and aesthetic products for people who are partially sighted."

Of the approximately 33,000 Optometrists in the United States, only between 1-2% routinely treat Low Vision patients and are familiar with the large scope of vision enhancement products and services that are available for people with Low Vision. Chadwick is a member of the Low Vision Council.

This council maintains a hot-line at 800-455-8006 to aid individuals in finding a Low Vision specialist. Their website, http://www.chadwickoptical.com/, provides links to local and national professionals who specialize in Low Vision.

For more information:

Chadwick Optical, Inc.
PO Box 485
1763 Old River Road
White River Jct., VT 05001
800-410-1618 or 802-295-5933
Fax: 800-468-9301 or 802-295-3875
Email: http://www.thinkvermont.com/features/chadwickoptical@aol.com

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Features Online
 Chadwick Optical, Inc.
 Audiobooks Online, Inc.
 Persons School of Marlboro College
 Small Dog Electronics
 MuseArts, Inc.
 I AM Presentations
 Technical Connection
 Place Creative Company
 Global Resource Options, LLP
 Datamaster Accounting Services, LLC
 Diffraction, Ltd.
 Resource Systems Group
 Advanced Internet Recruitment Strategies
 Burlee
 Infineon Technologies
 Rock of Ages Quarry
 MicroStrain, Inc.
 Green Mountain Coffee
The Capital Building