Clinical Experience

UIWRSO students are trained to the highest level of care

The UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIWRSO) offers diverse patient encounters across a broad range of optometric services to prepare our students to be successful Optometrists. We are proud to offer a clinical network that includes multiple sites spanning from San Antonio to Dallas Fort Worth. We partner with many medical organizations across the United States and abroad to support access to healthcare for vulnerable patient populations. The UIWRSO is dedicated to providing eye and vision care to those in need regardless of their financial abilities.

Clinical Curriculum Design and Delivery

The curriculum is strategically designed to provide the student with a stepwise, clinical educational experience throughout the four years of the professional program. Each year academics and clinicals skills are integrated through problem-based and experiential learning opportunities.

The didactic and clinical laboratory instruction begins in the first semester of the first professional year and continues throughout all four years. All courses, including basic science courses, integrate and emphasize clinical applications and scenarios. Important connections are made and reinforced by learning about clinical optometric care in the classroom, practicing skills in the clinical lab and then integrating this information by observing these clinical scenarios live within the RSO clinical network.

The Second Year builds on the first as students continue to learn in the classroom environment, expand their clinical skills in the labs and observe in our clinics. Clinical observations now take on a patient management approach where students are expected to observe and discuss the patient encounter in detail.

As the next big step forward in the student's clinical development, at the beginning of the second professional year, students participate in supervised community vision and disease screening activities. A great example of these community clinical experiences includes our partnership with the Northside Independent School District (NISD) and Essilor. Through these strong relationships, UIWRSO Second Years go out to elementary schools around the district to provide on-site vision screenings. This is a great learning opportunity with pediatric patients for our Second Year students and an important service to the San Antonio community. For those elementary students who fail the vision screening, they are offered a sponsored eye exam at no charge, as well as spectacles if needed. This important partnership culminates with UIWRSO providing 800 comprehensive eye examinations and spectacles annually.

Additional highlights of the Second Year clinical experience includes integrated clinical problem-based learning, where they gain experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients. The student's experience and clinical preparation are enhanced by the integration of the Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope (BIO) Simulation System - Eyesi. The series of clinical case analysis courses will continue in the summer semester of the third professional year, as well as in the fourth professional year while the students are assigned to the UIWRSO clinical network.

Starting in Third Year, interns will spend approximately 12 hours per week participating in direct supervised clinical experiences in the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of patients at the UIW Eye Institute (UIWEI), Bowden Eye Care and Health Center, the CommuniCare West UIW Eye Clinic and the Sports Vision Service. The assignments for Third Year interns will include rotations in Adult Primary Care, Sports Vision and Optical Services. Given the patient populations we serve, Third Years see a diverse and challenging array of presenting chief complaints complicated by co-morbidities.

Another unique opportunity in Third Year is the Sports Vision and Enhancement Service. As the only Optometry School that manages a sports vision service for Division I athletes, UIWRSO Third Years work with student athletes on enhancing their visual needs by identifying visual demands specific to their various sports and positions. The service was designed based on the U.S. Air Force Academy Human Performance Lab to ensure we are offering both our student interns and our cardinal athletes the highest quality preparation and care.

During the Fourth Year, the primary goal is continued clinical development. Interns are assigned to clinical externship training sites for two semesters and the UIWRSO clinical network for one semester, focusing the majority of their days on direct patient care.

The Externship Program is a very important part of the student's clinical development and is designed to broaden and enhance the student’s diagnostic, treatment and management experience of ocular and visual conditions. Externship sites are located across the United States and internationally. You can learn more about our Externship program.

The Fourth Year rotations within the UIWRSO clinic network include direct supervised patient care in:

  • Adult Care
  • Cornea and Contact Lens
  • Dry Eye
  • Pediatrics
  • Vision Therapy
  • Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation
  • Ocular Disease and Retina Health
  • Low Vision and Rehabilitation
  • Visual Neurophysiology
  • Peri-Operative

Clinical Progression and Rotations