It's called the "Harvard of Optometry Schools" and it is right here in the Mid-South. The Southern College of Optometry offers some of the most advanced technology available to patients. It's also a place where infants can get free screenings and adults with low vision problems can get help to read again.
"It can absolutely change someone's life. They can read things for themselves now," says Dr. Cynthia Heard.
For people with low vision, this CCTV allows them to see clearly but the cost will keep most in the dark. It costs about $2500 and is not available through insurance.
The good news? The Southern College of Optometry can cover the cost of this and other devices like the Ruby A handheld version of CCTV, or the glasses they call Max-TV that allows some legally blind people to see a TV or movie screen.
Christine Weinreich says, "We're able to give devices to help people who are legally blind (not completely) through devices and therapy."
The college is also the only place in the Mid-South offering free infant eye exams. "I would recommend everyone bring their babies because so many of the signs and symptoms are not really evident in this age that's why so many get labeled developmentally delayed."
After infancy, The Southern College of Optometry operates like a traditional office where students work with doctors to get training. They take more than two-hundred kinds of insurance or set up payment plans.
It certainly doesn't look like a busy optometry school but there are more than 70 exam rooms and they see more than 300 patients a day.
Diane Higginbottom says, "They go a step beyond."
The college also partners with Mid-South schools where optometry students give free eye exams. Sherita Mann's son was referred here. "He had a, from what they said, he had a stigmatism that makes his...vision blurry. When I asked him to get something and it could be right there and he wouldn't see it, now since they sent that I figure he can't see," says Mann.
Helping families like the Manns is just one of the many ways the students and staff at the college help people in the Mid-South.
"It was really a blessing because you want to catch it now," says Mann.
Infant eye exams call: (901) 722-3250
For more information on The Southern College of Optometry call: (901) 722-3216
If you fear your child has an un-diagnosed vision problem, call your school counselor or administrator for a referral.
Click here for more info: http://www.sco.edu/communityoutreach
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