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Mayor, UH College of Optometry Bring Vision Care to Community

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Houstonians opened their hearts and homes to the thousands of evacuees in need of the most basic care. Two years later, the University of Houston is taking what it learned from its response to the Katrina victims and is putting it to use for all Houstonians.

The Mobile Eye Institute (MEI), a medical specialty bus equipped with the latest in ophthalmic technology, will roll out into the greater Houston area Sept. 14 to begin providing basic and comprehensive eye care to Houstonians and disaster victims in need of optometric care. The initiative is a partnership of the University of Houston’s College of Optometry (UHCO) and the city of Houston.

The community outreach effort began when the UHCO faculty, staff and students rushed to provide basic services, such as eye exams, prescriptions and medication, to more than 2,800 patients at the Astrodome/Reliant Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“So many people lost their glasses during the chaos following Katrina, they weren’t able to function very well,” said Dr. Lloyd Pate, a UHCO clinical associate professor. “They couldn’t read the postings on the missing person’s board.”

The University’s Eye Institute and UHCO continued follow-up coverage with evacuees, leading to a partnership with the city of Houston in 2006 to provide vision care to underserved Houstonians on a regular basis and to disaster victims during a crisis. “We are excited,” said Mayor Bill White. “This is a great opportunity for us to partner with UH's second-to-none eye care program and increase access in the community for people, like our senior citizens and children, who need it the most.”

White and UH interim president John M. Rudley will be on hand at Cornelius Elementary School on Friday, Sept. 14 to introduce the MEI to the community.

“The Mobile Eye Institute is a tremendous addition to the vision care services provided by the university for more than 50 years,” Rudley said. “We are extremely grateful for our city and community partners who make it possible for people of all ages to obtain this most important medical care they otherwise might not receive.”

For more information about the MEI, please call 713-743-2659.

WHAT: Share the Vision, Mobile Eye Institute
WHEN: 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 14
WHERE: Cornelius Elementary School
7475 Westover
Houston, TX 77087

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