Students should take advantage of the University Eye Institute

Many students are unaware of the health care services provided on campus. The University Eye Institute provides many benefits, and students should take advantage of them. | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/user: Capoch

As students, we spend our time looking at screens, absorbing blue light and exhausting our eyes with long study sessions exacerbated from a lack of sleep. Luckily, we have access to comprehensive eye exams right on campus, and students should take advantage of the low-cost eye services.

The University of Houston is home to the University Eye Institute, part of the College of Optometry, which is one of the highest ranked visionary eye care centers in the country. The UEI has globally-recognized optometrists that provide customized treatment and an on-site surgery center, which offers medical and corrective services for retina, cataracts, LASIK and cross linking.

UH students can go in for eye exams at a discounted rate of $35, and they can purchase lenses and contacts at a discounted rate. Not only are students saving some money, but they are helping fellow students studying optometry gain professional experience supervised by clinical faculty.

Students who go to the UEI for an eye exam are poised to gain all the good benefits. They can be part of a peer’s learning experience, learn more about their specific eye problems and find solutions to those problems, all at a relatively discounted price.

Julianne Knowles, OD FAAO Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Family Practice Service and OPT II Co-Coursemaster, oversees the daily running of the Family Practice Service at UEI. She works with second-, third- and fourth-year students and treats patients at the optometry clinic.

Having more students come in to the UEI is a wonderful learning experience for optometry students as well as students who come in for an exam, Knowles said.

“I love the synergistic energy created when students come to see our students — the coming together of smart minds and sharing of their ideas and professions. I find our students benefit academically and professionally by walking a fellow student through the exam process and sharing the information,” Knowles said.

Although it is convenient for students on campus, not many know they have access to this service. As a result, it has remained relatively obscure with few students taking advantage of the UEI.

“I think our greatest challenge is that students just don’t know we are here,” said Director of Marketing at the UEI Diane Burkett. “Additionally, when we think about marketing tactics to get the word out, we always come back to the challenge of students being over-inundated with messages, so it’s tough.”

Students have a high list of priorities from a number of tests and presentations, a hectic social life and work, relegating health issues to the bottom of the list. It is tempting to ignore blurry eyesight or dry eyes after a long study session, but that should not be the case when we have access to the UEI.

“Most students don’t realize that we can help, whether it be providing them with a new digital design pair of glasses with computer blue-blocking technology for screen time or treating their dry eye from those long hours of studying with little rest,” Knowles said.

As UH students, we have access to resources that will help our mind and body function at optimal conditions. It would be a shame to waste this opportunity due to lack of knowledge. Why would we not use the resources that are at our fingertips?

The UEI has plenty of resources to meet the eye health needs of every unique student. We should take advantage of the resources offered on campus to keep our bodies and minds in top-notch condition, especially if it is Cougars helping Cougars.

The UEI is located right next to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Calhoun Rd.   Students may schedule an appointment by calling them at 713-743-2020, requesting an appointment via their online appointment form or just by walking in.

Opinion columnist Janet Miranda is a marketing junior and can be reached at [email protected].

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