Since 1952, the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) has trained optometrists to provide the highest quality vision and eye care. Through its graduate and residency programs, UHCO has also trained faculty who are leaders in the education of optometrists around the world and are renowned researchers in vision and related scientists. One of only 20 optometry schools in the United States, UHCO offers a variety of degree programs including Doctor of Optometry (OD), a combined Doctor of Optometry / Doctor of Philosophy (O.D./Ph.D), Master of Science (M.S.) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) UHCO also offers residency training in the various patient care services it provides in the University Eye Institute (UEI) and offers an extensive selection of continuing education courses for its alumni.
In addition to offering an outstanding educational experience and critical preparation for their professional or academic optometric career, UHCO is committed to providing quality vision care to the greater Houston community. The UEI operates an outpatient care facility featuring the following Services:
Beyond providing comprehensive vision examinations and treatment, the Essilor Optical Service also carries an extensive array of prescription lenses, designer frames in several price ranges, eyewear accessories and sports vision goggles. Whether you receive your prescription at UHCO or from another vision provider, the UEI can help you with your frame or contact lens needs.
As part of UHCOs commitment to the community, clinical faculty members and students provide vision care at three neighborhood clinics: The San Jose Clinic, Case de Amigos and the Good Neighbor Clinic. UHCO also has relationships with dozens of clinics, hospitals and military institutions around the country as part of the college's student externship program. To further complement UHCOs focus on the community, the Mobile Eye Institute (MEI) provides much-needed vision care to individuals whose access to vision care is limited or non-existent. In times of crisis, the MEI can be utilized to provide emergency optometric care.
UHCO is recognized for its vision scientists and their research. As the field of vision science has grown and evolved, UHCO's research has expanded to include basic, clinical and translational investigations that cover a broad range of important biological and more clinically defined aspects of vision. The diverse group of researchers at UHCO study normal and abnormal visual processes, diseases and disorders of the eye and visual pathways and they work on ways to prevent loss of vision using a variety of approaches ranging from cellular and molecular, to behavioral or optical. The UEI also serves as a site for large scale clinical investigations. The research efforts at UHCO are funded externally by the National Eye Institute, other federal agencies, private foundations and industry.
UHCO houses two research centers: The Texas Eye Research and Technology Center (TERTC) and the Visual Optics Institute (VOI). TERTC carries out research on contact lens wear and various aspects of ocular health and pathology, including studies on the effects of refractive surgery and the environment on ocular tissues. In the VOI, vision scientists, students and clinicians work to improve our understanding and function of the optics of the eye as well as the instrumentation associated with the diagnosis and treatment of various eye diseases. UHCO's world-renowned vision research is regularly presented at national and international conferences and appears frequently in high-profile refereed journals and other scholarly texts.
Although UHCO already ranks among the very best optometric institutions in the world, our productivity is currently limited by space constraints. To overcome that obstacle, UHCO is undergoing a capital campaign to build a 50,000 square foot facility to be located within the new UH Health and Biomedical Sciences Building. By investing in the future of the profession, this planned expansion will provide novel educational opportunities for the students and innovative facilities for research, including an ambulatory surgery center and laser refractive center on the ground floor and classroom space, a learning center and clinical research labs on the second floor. The heart of the Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute will be the state-of-the art ambulatory surgery center, the first of its kind within an optometry school and encompassing 16,000 square feet. It will provide new clinical services for patients, interprofessional educational experiences for students and postgraduate training opportunities for practicing optometrists. The new facility also will include well-equipped laboratories for patient-based research, as well as technically advanced classrooms and a large student commons area for interactive learning. UHCO is grateful to the individuals and organizations that have already pledged and given their financial support to this project and we look forward to an official building dedication ceremony in early 2013.