DENTON (UNT), Texas – Dr. Toan Tran, head optometrist at University of North Texas’s College Optical Express, knew 10 years ago when he took over the optometry office on UNT’s campus that he was offering a rare service.
College Optical Express is one of the first optometrist offices in the nation to be opened on a college campus. The idea is still unusual as very few universities have on-site eye care for students.
Currently, College Optical Express at UNT sees around 2,000 patients per year, largely made up of students, faculty, staff and alumni.
“We’ve had several universities contact us and try to find the same solution for their campus and do the same thing,” Tran said. “Universities are realizing how much need there is for students to have access to optometrists and full-service optical centers.”
Most patients come to Tran for regular eye exams, glasses and contacts. The biggest medical issue on campus, though, is eye infections. Tran said many infections are related to using contacts for longer than prescribed because students don’t realize they can get refills without leaving campus.
Tran also is seeing more and more accommodative eye spasms, a condition in which the muscles of the eye remain contracted without relaxing, and he expects the number to keep rising. The spasms have been linked to heavy amounts of screen time and long periods of time spent reading.
“Even if you don’t feel like you need to wear glasses or contacts, you should get a routine check once a year, just to make sure that things are working the way they should,” he said.