The Miracles of Sight and Sound

These medical professionals are here to assist you with hearing and sight challenges.

Aging is a natural part of life, yet it’s common to feel unprepared when facing health challenges in our later years. Many families work together to carefully select what’s best for their loved ones, but it’s not something most are eager to discuss or even think about.

The task of picking a health care specialist can oftentimes seem daunting. And yet, our eyesight and hearing are not something to take for granted.

Our quality of life is vastly superior when our eyes and ears are in good condition.

The likelihood of severe eye problems increases significantly with age, particularly after age 65. While many conditions develop naturally, many can be prevented or detected early enough for effective treatment.

What’s more, new technologies and methods are improving the comfort and quality of eye care. Luckily, some of our region’s medical experts are on the cutting edge of technological and procedural advancements. From medications and simple injections to minimally invasive laser and surgical treatments, eye care has never been more painless and successful.

Hearing loss can also be a difficult issue to acknowledge. Hearing aids are expensive, and with little to no insurance coverage, it can be easy to just accept the problem. But, the joy that hearing brings is not something to ignore.

With an emphasis on ethical business practices and compassion for those with hearing loss, some of the region’s top hearing aid professionals strive to do better for their patients. For these companies, it’s health care first, sales second.

This guide will assist you and your loved ones in navigating the many options available in our region when it comes to caring for your eyes and ears. Our area’s experts have solutions to the most common challenges in addition to highly advanced complications.

If you or someone in your family is looking for medical advice or treatment, our NWQ Guide to Sight and Sound is here to help.

Northern Illinois Retina

1235 N. Mulford Road (Cornerstone Building) Suite 100, Rockford, 815.226.4990 | niretina.com

Dr. Susan Fowell is an ophthalmologist who specializes in the diagnosis and surgery of diseases of the vitreous and the retina. Fowell graduated college from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., with summa cum laude honors and was elected into Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She then graduated from Northwestern University’s McGaw Medical School in Chicago and was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. She completed an internship in internal medicine, a residency in ophthalmology and a fellowship in vitreoretinal disease – all at Northwestern University in Chicago. She began her practice in Rockford in 1990.

She is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmolgy and is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Society of Retinal Surgeons (ASRS). She has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals, attends two major CME meetings per year, and offers state-of-the-art university-level care on a full-time basis to Rockford and surrounding communities.

Practice at Northern Illinois Retina is limited to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the back portion of the eye, the retina, macula and vitreous. These include but are not limited to macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, ocular trauma, retinal detachment, macular hole, epiretinal membrane and uveitis. Diagnostic procedures performed in the office include Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), OCT angiography and fluorescein angiography. In-office surgical treatment includes laser photocoagulation, cryopexy of retinal tears and pneumatic retinopexy for retinal detachment, and intravitreal injections of Avastin, Lucentis 0.3 and 0.5, Eylea, Ozurdex and Iluvien. Intraocular surgeries are performed in the hospital and include scleral buckling surgery, pars plana vitrectomy and membrane peeling.

Patients are usually referred by other ophthalmic and optometric colleagues, but if you have concerns or questions, visit niretina.net and click on the education tab to learn more about specific eye conditions affecting the retina and their treatment.

Lloyd Hearing Center

4435 Manchester Dr., Rockford, (800) 323-4212, lloydhearingaid.com

Your sight and hearing are the two senses that connect you to the world. If you suffer from hearing loss, this can greatly affect your enjoyment of life and your relations with others.

For more than 50 years, Lloyd Hearing Center has helped people from all over the Midwest to enjoy a better quality of life by solving their hearing problems.

Hearing aids work with the remaining hearing function of a person’s ears. Studies have shown that if a person’s hearing problem goes untreated, his or her hearing capacity deteriorates substantially, compared with a person who has been using hearing aids. It’s the “use it or lose it” syndrome.

Lloyd Hearing Center provides hearing aids in a wide variety of styles, and at affordable prices. The clinic remains committed to providing patients the best value for their dollar. It’s one of the only hearing clinics in northern Illinois working with all of the major hearing aid manufacturers. The center isn’t tied to just one franchise brand or supplier, like many local offices.

A team of professionals is ready to help find the right hearing aid for your individual hearing needs. They look forward to helping you regain and enjoy the sounds of life once again.

Miller Eye Center

2995 Eastrock Dr., Rockford, (815) 226-1500, MillerEyeCenter.com

Dr. Richard Miller, founder and medical director of Miller Eye Center, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship-trained corneal specialist. He is the former director of the cataract division at the University of Chicago.

He utilizes state-of-the-art technology by offering a revolutionary advancement in the treatment of cataracts: PanOptix. The goal of PanOptix is to restore your vision and give you the best chance to see without the use of glasses.

Also on staff is Dr. Ahmet Ozkok, a fellowship-trained physician who specializes in retina diseases including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. His unique set of surgical specialties includes retinal detachment, epiretinal membranes and eye trauma.

Dr. Peter Gunther, a board-certified optometrist, brings a broad range of optometry skills and experience to Miller Eye Center. A retired Navy doctor, Dr. Gunther offers particular expertise with ocular diseases.
Miller Eye Center’s conveniently located clinic offers many eye-related services, including corneal implant treatment, floater laser treatment, macular degeneration, refractive surgery, diabetic eye care, dry eye, cosmetic procedures and a full optical dispensary for all of your vision needs.

Doctors of Hearing Healthcare

Rockford: 435 N. Mulford Road, Ste. 10 | Belvidere: 205 Cadillac Court, Ste. 2
(815) 209-0404, doctorsofhearinghealthcare.com

Doctors of Hearing Healthcare’s compassionate, dedicated team has two goals: To help their patients re-connect with their families and friends through better hearing and second, to support cognitive health.

“Hearing care is critical to maintain the best cognition and balance as we age,” says Dr. Leigh Ann Tackaberry. “Untreated hearing loss causes isolation… the feeling that you are alone while surrounded by family and friends. Research shows that socialization, improved hearing, maintaining your health with regular physician’s visits and exercise are key to maximizing your cognition ability.”

Audiologists Dr. Tackaberry and Dr. Aami Molloy have more than 50 years of combined experience. They support their patients’ cognitive health by treating hearing loss and tinnitus with the use of hearing aids. They begin the hearing evaluation by listening intently to their patients and help them to develop hearing goals. After completing the diagnostic tests, they discuss the results and develop a personalized solution.
The doctors work with all five of the leading hearing aid manufacturers and choose the technology that is best for each patient’s needs, goals and lifestyle.

Dr. Tackaberry and Dr. Molloy program hearing aids and treat their patients using American Doctors of Audiology best practices.

The doctors are Cognivue certified and include this objective cognitive screening as part of their hearing evaluations. They repeat the screening two months after the hearing aid fitting date. This enables them to demonstrate improved cognition after consistent hearing aid use.

Baseline audiograms are recommended starting at 35 to 40 years of age.

Center for Sight & Hearing

8038 MacIntosh Lane, Rockford, (815) 332-6800, cshni.org

Losing your vision or hearing can feel scary and bring many unknowns.

At Rockford’s Center for Sight & Hearing, it’s a central mission to eliminate those unknowns.

“We try to remove as many barriers for people to getting vision and hearing care,” says audiologist Dr. David Powell, vice president of professional services. “We work with all insurances and all age groups, and we meet people with the needs they might not get elsewhere. That includes cochlear implants, which nobody else is doing in this area. Basically, we try to identify ways that we can make sure hearing and vision loss are not the reason you can’t succeed.”

The nonprofit center has many resources and services to help patients of any age, from infant to over 100. The general public is invited, and most every type of insurance is accepted, including Medicare Advantage and Medicaid.

Powell is one of two audiologists on staff. Together, he and Dr. Sarah Filer can help with hearing exams, earwax removal, and assistance with auditory devices such as hearing aids and amplified phones. Unique to the area, they also handle specialty services such as central auditory processing disorder testing and cochlear implant mapping. Filer also specializes in pediatric services.

For many, the experience is life changing.

“I remember working with a five-year-old girl whose grandmother brought her in,” says Powell. “She said the girl didn’t have any friends at preschool, and she wasn’t connecting with others. We fit her with hearing aids, and they came back two weeks later to tell us the girl was making friends and playing with toys. It’s so rewarding to hear that.”

Dr. Amber Naqvi is an optometrist and low vision specialist at Center for Sight & Hearing, and she handles a wide range of vision needs. In addition to performing primary eye exams and fitting patients with glasses, Naqvi can help those whose vision is permanently reduced due to injury or disease.

She’s joined by two vision rehab therapists who help patients fully use the vision they have. A training kitchen and other spaces on site teach patients to handle everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and crossing the street.
“Our therapists can train them to use other senses to walk across the street or perform other tasks in their own spaces,” says Naqvi. “That’s a pretty cool service that I don’t think a lot of other places can offer.”

Those with low vision often need special devices to help them see, and because the cost of those devices can be high, Center for Sight & Hearing has grant funding to supply them at little to no cost.

The Center also has access to numerous other resources and providers, including government agencies, service dog organizations and nonprofit groups like Lions Club and RAMP. Sign language classes and social/support groups are also available.

Because it’s a nonprofit organization, Center for Sight & Hearing always welcomes donations and memorials to help support its services.

“The number of patients we’ve had who come in and start crying because they can finally do things again – that’s just a rewarding moment,” Naqvi says. “It’s not tears of sadness. It’s tears of relief. It’s a beautiful moment for us.”

Luxetone Hearing Studio

1656 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 269-6662, luxetone.com

Luxetone Hearing Studio is a local, family-owned, independent hearing aid studio that offers the latest equipment, tools and technology available. Its warm and inviting home-like office helps to make you feel comfortable and at ease during your visit.

Luxetone has hearing aids to fit everyone’s budget, lifestyle and hearing loss. It offers many options for hearing aids, including discreet, rechargeable, Bluetooth, smartphone-controlled and remote-assisted. These hearing devices can help you enjoy the loving, calm and soothing sounds that you’ve been missing. They’ll also help you improve daily function, and you’ll be able to seamlessly interact and have conversations with loved ones.

Luxetone works with plenty of the top hearing aid brands, including Signia, Phonak, ReSound, Widex, Oticon, Starkey, Unitron and Rexton.

It also offers at-home care, which allows trained experts to work with you on a personal level. Whether you receive services at home, work or a retirement home, Luxetone’s concierge audiology services allow its professional staff to help you where you’re most comfortable. This is extremely useful for someone who’s not as mobile or who resides in an assisted living facility.

Luxetone’s services come with a 100-day and night, no-obligation trial period with a 100 percent money-back guarantee on all products.

If you have concerns about your hearing, schedule a free consultation. You’ll learn what hearing loss is, how it affects your quality of life and what services Luxetone can provide.