Buffalo Business First’s 2023 Excellence in Healthcare Award

Dr. Simmons standing outside of Low Vision Clinic. VIA: Visually Impaired Advancement would like to congratulate our very own low-vision optometrist, Dr. James Simmons (Certified Low-Vision Specialist), on receiving Buffalo Business First‘s 2023 Excellence in Healthcare Award. A panel selected 25 winners, a group of healthcare professionals, non-profit workers, and other integral positions within the field. These individuals are recognized for their hard work and dedication to their craft.

Amanda Cleesattel, VP of Rehabilitation Services at VIA, originally nominated Dr. Simmons for the award. Cleesattel has worked with Dr. Simmons for 2.5 years and attests to his connection and commitment to his patients. Cleesattel even states, “Every patient leaves their visit satisfied, if not smiling and relieved they have found Dr. Simmons.”

When informed he was one of the award recipients, Dr. Simmons said, “I appreciate Amanda and the team at VIA for recognizing the work that we do, but we ultimately do this to help our patients.” Simmons said, “A vision change can affect every part of a person’s life, from getting up in the morning to the time they go to bed at night. At VIA, our job is to find solutions to the problems people are starting to experience. I am lucky to be a part of a great team that cares about all aspects of a patient’s vision.”

Dr. Simmons visiting with a patient.Dedicated to his Craft

Dr. James Simmons, a native of Western New York, graduated from Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, PA, in 1993. There he earned his Doctorate of Optometry and Master of Science in Vision Rehabilitation. Before that, he attended LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY, earning his Bachelor of Science in Biology. Dr. Simmons has been our Certified Low Vision Optometrist with VIA’s Vision Rehabilitation Department for over 20 years.

Suffering from low vision/vision loss can severely hinder someone’s life and well-being. When patients and their loved ones come to see Dr. Simmons, they are met with his dedication and compassion each time. During these visits, he assesses the person’s vision and offers practical advice, tips, and equipment to serve the patient best. He listens to their concerns and focuses on the path to independence.

Quality of Life

Quality of life is of high value to Dr. Simmons; he takes no shortcuts to help his clients adapt to life with low vision/vision loss. Specifically, people are overcome with joy when they realize that adjusting lighting or the correct magnifier can allow them to read, cook, etc. 

In addition to the quality of life, seeing functionally helps people stay safe. Examples include seeing stairs, reading medication labels, reading expiration dates on food products, etc.

Learning to live with diminished vision is probably something you’ve never thought about until you’ve had to. We’re the area’s leading center for the visually impaired and are here to help you with every step of your vision journey. 

To learn more about our services and Dr. Simmon’s work, visit 


Share This Post: