SAN ANTONIO -- One of the newest optometry schools in the country is in San Antonio. Now, city residents can use its high-tech, low-cost clinic for their eye care.

The University of the Incarnate Word launched the Rosenberg School of Optometry several years ago. UIW has opened an adjacent clinic to train the next generation of eye doctors.

Anyone who has ever had an eye exam knows how it goes. At the UIW Eye and Vision Care Clinic, patients get a little something extra: supervision by professors training new optometrists.

We want to graduate them with the skills to be an optometrist, said Dr. Andrew Buzzelli, dean of the optometry school. That is very different than graduating a doctor.

Part of the four-year program includes classroom work, of course. The student here need of lots of hands on experience, though.

That s where equipment like Optical Coherence Tomography comes in. The sophisticated diagnostic tool for the back of the eye isn t available at every optometry office. But students here will master it while they are interns.

Here they have just about every instrument, commented third year student Jose Correa. And that allows us to become acquainted with those instruments and we re prepared whenever we go out and practice.

For the patients who use the expertise and technology here, the service is affordable.

We are non-profit, Buzzelli explained. So we have a complete sliding scale. So we can take care of individuals who have no insurance to individuals who are working who might not be able to afford insurance.

With 20 full time faculty and 68 students, UIW has a vision for its future community outreach, including a clinic in east San Antonio.

And the city may win some new recruits.

I like San Antonio, Correa said. So I might just stay in San Antonio.

The UIW Eye and Vision Care Clinic is located at 9725 Datapoint, near the Medical Center. Anyone can use its services.

There are 22 optometry schools in America. The Rosenberg School of Optometry says it is by far the most diverse one in the country.

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