Global Engagement

The Rosenberg School of Optometry prepares professionals capable of practicing in multi-cultural settings, who are able to lead and advance the profession by embracing change and collaborate with other health care professionals.

One extraordinary aspect of life at the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry is our program-wide commitment to serving populations in need. This dedication is displayed by the students, faculty and staff that live the Mission of the program and the university.


Mission Trips

Inspired by the University of the Incarnate Word Mission, the Rosenberg School of Optometry seeks to produce optometry professionals capable of practicing in multi-lingual and multi-cultural settings, and able to lead and advance the profession by embracing change, collaborating with other health care professionals, and continuing to learn throughout their lives.

Rosenberg School of Optometry offers students opportunities to travel and volunteer abroad — both direct and through organizations such as Student Volunteers in Optometry Service to Humanity (SVOSH) and Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO).

Past Mission Trips

  • Guatemala
  • Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Chimbote, Peru
  • Panama
  • Sierra Leone

Global Insights:

  • 75% of the world’s blindness is preventable.
  • 90% of avoidable blindness occurs in the developing world.
  • 89% of vision impaired people live in low and middle-income countries.
  • Approximately 80% of what a child learns is processed through the visual system.
  • Millions of children around the world are vision impaired simply because they can’t access an eye examination and appropriate glasses.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss.
  • Globally, an estimated 39 million people are considered blind.
  • Of these, 123 million (43%) have uncorrected distance refractive errors.
  • Globally, the leading causes of blindness are cataract, macular degeneration, glaucoma, corneal opacity and uncorrected refractive error.
  • The leading causes of vision impairment are uncorrected refractive errors and cataract.
  • 517 million people have near vision impairment due to uncorrected presbyopia.
  • The WHO Global Action Plan set a target of 25% reduction in avoidable blindness and visual impairment by 2019.
  • In China, around 50% of population has myopia which translates into more than 600 million people.
  • Africa, with 10% of the world’s population, has 19% of the world’s blindness and 51% of the world’s poor.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the third-leading cause of blindness globally (8.7%) and is the leading cause in developed countries (more than 50%).
  • It is projected that by 2020, 196 million people will have macular degeneration, rising to 288 million in 2040