History

Focused on vision – so that others might see.

The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO) was founded in 1972 by Philip Hessburg, M.D., James R. Marshall, M.D., Jack “OJ” Williams and John Dennehy. Since the beginning, the driving force of the DIO has been to lift the burden of those suffering the loss of vision through a range of programs and services for the visually impaired.

Building a home

The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology(DIO), since its founding, has always served as a bridge between the sighted and visually impaired communities. Originally, the DIO was housed in a vacant, donated Chrysler dealership located at the corner of Nottingham and Jefferson in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. Through a collaborative efforts of its members and friends, the DIO secured the initial funding necessary to remodel the dealership as its base of operations.

Very early on the morning of August 10, 1983, the roof of the original building collapsed. Fortunately, no one was in the building at the time, but the structural damage was so extensive that it was necessary to tear it down. The DIO, through the herculean efforts of its Board of Directors, was able to secure its insurance payout, sell the original site, and negotiate the purchase of the land and building at its current location - thereby insuring the continuation of its important work.

A heritage of giving

Just as the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology has worked to give the visually impaired the opportunity to achieve the highest quality of life, the organization has been supported by many others in the community. These include the tireless efforts of the Friends of Vision volunteers, who take part in many DIO programs. Over the years, the DIO and the Friends of Vision have helped coordinate a variety of special events to raise funds for the organization, including theater parties, galas, art auctions, 5K's and marathon participation, and holiday sales. Currently, the DIO participates in and is the beneficiary of two major events, EyesOn Design Automotive Design Car Show, and EyesOn Design Awards at the North American International Auto Show.

A powerful collaboration for the future

In October 2012, bringing its good name, its years of experience in working with the visually impaired, its land and building, and a donation to Henry Ford Health System of approximately $2 Million, the DIO merged with Henry Ford Health System and is now recognized as the research education arm of the Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology. With their shared vision for supporting the visually impaired and the latest vision-related research, Henry Ford and the DIO will help to ensure the continuation of these important programs for years to come.

Helping the visually impaired
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DIO programs and services