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Ophthalmic Manufacturing Facility to Break Ground in Philadelphia’s Tioga Neighborhood

Eye Designs Group is among the supporters of the black-owned enterprise, which aims to address healthcare disparities.




Ophthalmic Manufacturing Facility to Break Ground in Philadelphia’s Tioga Neighborhood
Construction on the Tioga Diabetic Optical Laboratories and Dispensary will begin in September 2023 in the Tioga Neighborhood in North Philadelphia.

Dr. Chelise Firmin, O.D. had a vision to open an ophthalmic manufacturing facility in her hometown of Philadelphia.

Between her hard work and strong partnerships, Dr. Firmin’s vision will soon be a reality.

Ophthalmic Manufacturing Facility to Break Ground in Philadelphia’s Tioga Neighborhood

Dr. Chelise Firmin, O.D.

The Tioga Diabetic Optical Laboratories and Dispensary will break ground in September in the distressed North Philadelphia neighborhood of Tioga near the Temple University Health System Campus. In addition to fully automated ophthalmic goods manufacturing, once constructed, the five-story, 18,639-square-foot facility will feature community health centers and clinics, and an outpatient facility. The development includes the creation of 34 livable wage jobs for local residents, individuals with low and/or moderate income, and women who were formerly incarcerated.

The project was made possible, in part, by a $3.8 million investment from the development firm TPP Capital Holdings. It also is being supported by Eye Designs, LLC and three other optical industry companies: Satisloh North America, DAC Technologies, and Norwood Device & Diagnostics.

In a press release, Eye Designs said it “is proud to take part in enhancing the local community by supporting Tioga Diabetic Laboratories’ effort to enrich the lives of their community, and especially those in need.”


The goal of the new center is to help “address healthcare disparities within black and brown populations in underserved communities across Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.”

The State of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia have combined to provide $1.25M in funding. Another $3 million in private equity funding currently is being raised to help outfit the facility.

“It just shows the support that the state and city have for entrepreneurship, black owned businesses, manufacturing and to see us succeed in serving our target population and create in-demand livable wage jobs,” said Dr. Firmin, in a press release.

Dr. Firmin is a New England College of Optometry graduate and the proprietor of Tioga Diabetic Optical Laboratories. Her company produces protective eyewear and specialized eyeglass lenses for the pre-diabetic and diabetic population.




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