National vision experts converge for research symposium

February 19, 2003

HOUSTON, Feb. 19, 2003 - The eyes of the vision science research world will be focused on the University of Houston March 1-3 during a symposium that celebrates the College of Optometry's 50th anniversary.

The event, "Critical Issues in Optometry and Vision Science," will feature experts from around the country discussing a variety of topics in vision research and clinical care.

"Our faculty at the University of Houston are leaders in many fields of vision science, and they were instrumental in bringing together a stellar lineup of national and international experts to discuss important developments in basic research and promising new treatment options," said Dr. Earl Smith, UH professor of optometry.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Paul Sieving, director of the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health. His talk will focus on the genetic basis of macular degeneration, a condition in which light-sensitive photoreceptor cells of the retina degenerate, leading to progressive loss of vision. In 1990, Sieving established the Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration at the University of Michigan while he was a faculty member there.

Dr. Jerald Strickland, dean of the UH College of Optometry, said: "This symposium will address matters of great importance to practitioners and vision scientists alike. The speakers are top scientists and clinicians in the field and the breadth of the program provides state-of-the-art information and a glimpse into the future."

Issues to be discussed during the meeting include:The event will be held at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel. For information about attending the symposium, including registration fees and hotel accommodations, call 713-743-1900.

Established in 1952 with the direct support of the Texas Optometric Association, the UH College of Optometry serves Texas and the surrounding states as the leader in optometric education, vision research and patient services. It is one of 17 optometry schools and colleges in the United States and the only one in the Southwest. The more than 3,000 graduates of the college practice in 49 states and hail from 48 countries.

Faculty members of the college include optometrists, vision scientists, basic biomedical scientists, physicians and public health specialists, drawing more than $3 million dollars in research grants and training contracts annually. The faculty comprises more optometrists with Ph.D.'s than any other institution in the world.

The college also is home to the University Eye Institute, a full-service clinic serving more than 30,000 patients each year. The institute provides UH's optometry students and residents with comprehensive in-house clinical training, as well as diverse clinical experience during externships in some of the 95 affiliated hospitals and health centers in Houston, the nation and abroad. The program has educational affiliations with optometric education programs in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, England, Ghana, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, People's Republic of China, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania and Venezuela.
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About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 34,400 students.

For more information about UH visit the university's Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom

University of Houston

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