Governor Cuomo Announces Nearly $2 Million in NYSUNY 2020 Awards for SUNY College of Optometry

October 20, 2016

New Expanded Clinical Care Facility and Virtual Reality Simulation Lab Will Support State-of-the-Art Clinical Education and Enhanced Patient Care

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced nearly $2 million in NYSUNY 2020 awards for SUNY College of Optometry. The awards will fund an expanded clinical care facility and a virtual reality simulation laboratory to provide state-of-the-art clinical education for high quality patient care. SUNY College of Optometry graduates 60 percent of all optometrists in New York State, and the funding will help meet the increasing demand for highly trained eye care professionals.

"We must ensure that health care professionals have the best skills and training for a stronger, healthier New York," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will equip SUNY Optometry with state-of-the-art facilities with cutting-edge technology to support exceptional patient care and meet the needs of New Yorkers."

"The SUNY College of Optometry is a leader in education, research and patient care, evidenced by the thousands of optometrists who got their start here," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "By strategically expanding and modernizing its clinical Care facility and adding a virtual reality simulation lab, New York State is assured to be a leader in optometry for years to come."

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, "SUNY Optometry is truly a center of excellence in this specialized field of medicine, and these improvement will only lift its national reputation for academic excellence. Congratulations to President Heath and the entire SUNY Optometry campus on receiving these awards, which are certain to provide students with a clinically-rich education in state-of-the-art facilities."

SUNY Optometry President David A. Heath said, "Taken together, these two projects will support our 30 percent increase in enrollment while enhancing our educational, patient care, and research programs. They will ultimately advance eye care for the evolving needs of the citizens of New York State. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for supporting our students, faculty, patients and staff with these NYSUNY 2020 awards."

The new and expanded facilities at SUNY Optometry will promote care coordination, applied learning, inter-professional education and holistic care.

Expanded Clinical Care Facility - $1.5 million

An expanded clinical care facility will provide a template for the future integration of contemporary health professions education at the college with the emergent health care delivery system. While increasing capacity to accommodate a 30 percent increase in enrollment, the project will also provide a state-of-the art educational environment that incorporates clinical research and evidence-based practice to train future eye care professionals for New York State.

Virtual Reality Simulation Lab - $367,000

A new virtual reality simulation laboratory will include 14 pre-clinical training simulators that use an integrated, augmented reality technology to provide a three-dimensional experience for ocular examinations. The development of the simulation laboratory and the use of virtual reality technology serves as an effective bridge, preparing students for the applied learning experience of the patient care setting. The laboratory will efficiently enhance their technical abilities, knowledge and critical thinking skills.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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