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for the Blind

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The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute: Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute: Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center
2318 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 345-2110 (Local)
(415) 345-2196 (Fax)
(415) 345-2290 (TDD/TTY)

Brief Description

The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, a nonprofit independent research institute, is located at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Dedicated to research on human vision, it was founded to encourage a productive collaboration between the medical clinic and the scientific laboratory.

Smith-Kettlewell conducts research on many different topics, but its main interests are:

  • Clinical studies which relate directly to the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and disorders
  • The development of devices and vocational programs to aid the partially sighted, blind and hearing impaired
  • Basic research to understand how the eye and brain work.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 8:45 AM-5:15 PM PCT
Staff description: Researchers
Geographic area served: Unlimited.
Publications: The Smith-Kettlewell Technical File; Compendium of Technology Developed by the Smith-Kettlewell RERC.


John Brabyn, Director,
Deborah Gilden, Associate Director,

Services Offered

Services for Adults

  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Provide speakers to national and international conferences to describe our research on low vision, as well as teach how some people with low vision can access computers without using special software. We also provide speakers on topics such as our research and development projects on vocational aids, computer vision, tactile maps, etc.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Consult on vocational devices and adaptations.
  • Information and Referral
    • Provide information about technology for blind, low vision, and multi-handicapped blind. Refers to other agencies for appropriate services.

Services for Professionals

  • Consultation/Technical Program Assistance
    • Provides consultation on specialized job site adaptations and adaptive devices.
  • Professional Training
    • Summer student internships
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