LYCEUM of the Philippines – St. Cabrini’s School of Health Sciences, Inc. and the Asian Eye Institute have partnered to improve the school’s optometry program, the institute said in a statement.

The tie-up aims to develop graduates that have more clinical experience in response to the needs of modern optical practice, it said.

“We at Asian Eye Institute believe that we can provide the technical assistance to build a program that will develop optometry graduates with skills that will be valuable in their clinical practice,” President Joaquin E. Quintos IV said in the statement.

The eye center and research institute welcomes clinical interns from different schools to hone their expertise and interpersonal skills through rotations within its clinical network.

This partnership aligns with Lyceum’s commitment to provide globally competitive learners to industries, according to Brigido L. Carandang, Jr., the school’s chief academic officer.

“This collaboration has innovated the optometry program, providing future optometrists with more practice-focused and hands-on learning,” he said in the same statement.

Vision impairment and blindness rank among the major concerns in the Philippines, with a prevalence rate of 1.98%, according to the Health department, citing a 2018 study by the National Institute for Health’s Philippine Eye Research Institute.

This represents 1.11 million Filipinos with cataract, 400,000 with uncorrected error of refraction, about 300,000 with glaucoma and 200,000 with maculopathy. There are more than 4 million Filipinos living with undiagnosed eye problems, it said.

An optometrist is the primary healthcare provider for routine eye care. Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, are medical doctors who specialize in surgical eye procedures.

Asian Eye aims to implement an optometry program that allows students to become job-ready at every stage of their education, the institute said.

The program has 41 students, with the inaugural batch in their fifth year. It will produce its first set of graduates in 2025.

Lyceum opened its College of Optometry and College of Medicine in 2018. — Patricia B. Mirasol