Janet P. Szlyk, PhD

President & CEO
Dr. Janet Szlyk


Dr. Janet Szlyk is President & CEO of The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired.

A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Szlyk previously served as Professor and Director of the Low Vision Research Laboratory in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at UIC since 1992.  She won acclaim there for building the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences’ Low Vision Laboratory into an internationally recognized facility with a mission to develop and assess methods, devices and treatments to optimize remaining vision in patients with eye disease.

Her relationships with many local service organizations, has included Blind Services, as well as The Chicago Lighthouse.  Her prior involvement with the Lighthouse included membership in the Professional Partners Group, referring patients to the Low Vision Clinic, and providing lectures to various professional groups hosted by the Lighthouse.

She has strong working relationships with key members of the Chicagoland vision community including a large number of ophthalmologists and optometrists.  She has also reached out to some important vision patient populations including seniors, veterans, and children.  Szlyk’s service and advocacy for those with visual impairment also includes her involvement with the Small Business Innovative Research Program grant review committee of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.  Her role on the committee as the vision representative is to evaluate applications for funding that propose new technologies for those with visual disabilities.  Szlyk’s role on this committee ensured that the needs of the blind and visually impaired are not overlooked.

Szlyk has a  Ph.D. and M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Fordham University, and B.A. in Human Biology & Psychology from Brown University.  Prior to her many years of experience at UIC, Szlyk served as Rehabilitation Research Career Scientist at US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Rehabilitation Research & Development Service and with Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.