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Gerald Lowther
School of Optometry

Elisabeth Andrews
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, July 27, 2006

IU School of Optometry clinic receives $1 million facility from Mexican government

Guanajuato optometry facility image

The new Guanajuato Eye Care Center.

Print-Quality Photo

July 27, 2006

EDITORS: A Spanish version of this news release can be found at

GUANAJUATO, Mexico -- The Indiana University School of Optometry's Centro de Rehabilitación Visual, located between Silao and Guanajuato in Mexico, moved this month into a new, $1 million facility designated for its use by Mexican state officials.

The clinic, known in Indiana as the Guanajuato Eye Care Center, operates in conjunction with the state of Guanajuato's Department of Infants and Family (DIF). Since 2000, it has served the indigent population by providing vision care and services at little or no cost to patients.

The new facility includes expanded exam areas, an eyewear center, an edging laboratory, an ophthalmology office and a surgical suite.

"We were seeing a lot of patients, and the president of DIF was so pleased with us that they raised the money to build this new facility," said Gerald Lowther, dean of the IU School of Optometry. "Our previous clinic was just four exam rooms and a reception area, so the new facility will give us a much better opportunity to care for the patients."

The staff at the center includes director and optometry professor Jennifer Page and four optometry students who serve 12-week rotations. The IU team will work with a local ophthalmologist and staff whose positions are funded through DIF.

"We are hoping to actually double the daily patient load from 50 to 100 or more," Page said. "The new facility will have a significant impact on the greater Guanajuato state because the new location and combination of optometry and ophthalmology will lead DIF to transport more economically challenged patients to our clinic for eye care."

Future plans for the center include offering more cataract surgery as well as other specialized eye operations. Page said she hopes to expand collaborations with other optometry and ophthalmology schools around the world.

Guanajuato optometry facility image

Reception area in the new optometry facility in Guanajuato.

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The Centro de Rehabilitación Visual is also the site of an annual week-long student trip as part of Volunteer Optometrists for Service to Humanity (VOSH), during which more than 3,000 patients receive vision examinations.

"This clinic provides the students with a unique clinical experience, and as importantly, a great cultural experience," Lowther said. "Following the rotation the students have a better understanding of the culture and are able to perform vision examinations in Spanish."

The new facility was dedicated in a ceremony held on July 4 in Guanajuato.

For more information, contact Lowther at 812-855-4440 or Background information on the clinic is also available at