Incarnate Word breaks ground for Eye Care, Health Institute

The University of the Incarnate Word broke ground Tuesday morning on an Eye Care and Health Institute designed to serve low-income people on the east side of town.

The $8 million institute, 2527 E. Commerce, will be a 30,000-square-foot, public health care facility near St. Philip’s College. In addition to UIW funding, the City of San Antonio also invested in the project.  Through the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #11 (TIRZ 11), $1.2 million has been allocated for this project and $1.6 million has been allocated through the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Section 108 Funds.

Patients will be served by licensed eye care doctors from UIW’s Rosenberg School of Optometry, said Dr. Andrew Buzzelli, dean of Rosenberg. The institute will focus on access to eye care for vulnerable populations, particularly children, the elderly, and the uninsured. Patients will be accepted regardless of their ability — or inability — to pay.

Officials said the need for this facility is critical as there is only one private optometry office on the east side of town where 143,500 residents live. In addition, diseases that can destroy vision, such as diabetes and glaucoma, are overrepresented in low-income communities.

“The uniqueness of this futuristic Eye Institute is that it will be founded on the same values that serve as the foundation for all University of the Incarnate Word projects,” Buzzelli said. “It will be a community partnership committed to excellence in patient care and education within a context of faith, human dignity and social justice.”

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