Practicing optometry in the heart of the Navajo Nation is fulfilling. There is a unique combination of ocular disease, trauma, and high refractive disorders in patients of all ages. Our optometrists have close-working relationships with multidisciplinary staff and have extensive therapeutic privileges. Opportunity to practice full scope optometry…while serving an indigenous population in a beautiful remote location. This professional experience provides an opportunity to learn about the beautiful culture of the Navajo people and results in a great sense of purpose.
The Chinle Service Unit consists of the Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility (CCHCF) and its satellite clinics which include the Pinon Health Center (PHC) and Tsaile Health Center (THC). The CCHCF is a 60 bed inpatient hospital and outpatient clinic operated by the Indian Health Service, a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The hospital provides multidisciplinary, safe, high quality and community guided health care services to approximately 37,000 Native Americans. Pinon Health Center is about 50 miles southwest of the hospital in Chinle, AZ. Tsaile Health Center is located just 25 miles northeast of the hospital in Chinle, AZ.
The Navajo whom we serve are a very pleasant, easygoing people that are a joy to work with. Most of the elderly patients still speak only Navajo, living according to traditional Navajo religious and cultural practices. Due to the rural setting, some of our patients may travel up to one hundred miles for primary health care services. Many of our patients do not have electricity or running water in their homes. Unfortunately, there is a high incidence of diabetes mellitus in the Navajo population and a significant number of patients have hypertension, autoimmune disease and other systemic maladies. Frequently encountered eye problems include glaucoma, uveitis, cataracts, diabetic and other vascular retinopathies, cranial nerve palsies, infectious conjunctivitis and vernal conjunctivitis, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, pterygia, amblyopia, high refractive errors, foreign bodies, and ocular trauma from domestic violence and motor vehicle accidents.
The CSU eye clinics are fully equipped with modern ophthalmic instruments and are staffed by experienced technicians. Each facility has a library of ophthalmic texts and access to internet based references. Inexpensive housing is provided in the hospital housing compound.
We are located in one of the most scenic areas of the country, and offer almost unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. We are within a half a day drive of more than a dozen national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon, Arches, Glen Canyon, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. The beautiful Canyon de Chelly National Monument is only minutes away.