Sight is central. From the time you open your eyes in the morning until you close them at night, your eyes process millions of pieces of information and allow you to navigate your world.

Sight’s relationship to overall health, however, is largely overlooked. Vision impairment and eye diseases are major public health problems. Among older people, reduced vision leads to isolation and falls and can lead to premature death. In children, vision loss complicates development and education. Vision changes are common signs of diabetes and high blood pressure. Some eye diseases, like glaucoma, aren’t easily detected without an exam until vision is lost.

At the WVU Eye Institute, we understand sight’s critical role. Our mission as part of the state’s flagship university is to prevent blindness and restore vision for the people of West Virginia. We do this by providing the latest medical and surgical eye care, discovering new treatments, rehabilitating those who have lost vision, and reaching out to the community to identify and treat eye diseases.

Through A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University, we aim to leverage the knowledge created here and put it to work to benefit the people of West Virginia, the country, and the world.

The Trajectory of Success

A nationally recognized center for vision care, research, education, and outreach, the WVU Eye Institute provides the full range of eye care under one roof—from routine exams to subspecialty medical and surgical treatment and laser vision correction. Each year, we treat over 35,000 West Virginians and patients from surrounding states.

The Eye Institute offers patients the most up-to-date care along with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. This, coupled with the passion our team of dedicated teachers, scientists, and staff brings to the task, makes the Eye Institute second to none.

We have a special mission to serve West Virginia’s children. Our pediatric ophthalmologists manage eye health in the first two decades of life and treat vision problems resulting from injuries or disease that could result in childhood blindness.

Our Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Program is a national model for supporting children with low vision and blindness. The program improves education, independence, and quality of life for these children through clinical evaluations, teacher education, parent support, and an optical device lending library.

Through the Appalachian Vision Outreach Program, we provide education about vision health, eye screenings and eye care to the underserved of remote West Virginia. By developing local partnerships we are able to bring vision care to communities in the most rural regions of West Virginia.

Our services are available without regard to patients’ ability to pay; we provide more than $500,000 in charity eye care to adults and children each year.

The Eye Institute’s Vision Research Center is uncovering new treatments and cures. Our researchers are making blind mice see—literally. We’ve had success in curing blindness in mice bred to have Lebers’ Congenital Amaurosis, the same condition that causes blindness in infants. We are improving our results before seeking approval for human trials.

Our well-respected residency program includes three years of training in comprehensive ophthalmology, as well as specialty training in the areas of medical retina, surgical retina, glaucoma, pediatric ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, oculoplastics, uveitis, and cornea. WVU is one of a few ophthalmology training programs offering virtual reality surgical training experience to its ophthalmology residents. We also offer two fellowships, one in ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery and the other in vitreo-retinal surgery.

Priorities for Tomorrow

A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University is a way for us to come together—grateful patients who have benefitted from the Eye Institute’s care and friends who believe in the promise of our work. We ask you to consider investing in the following priorities that will transform lives by preserving sight and promoting vision care.

  • Endowed Faculty Positions
  • Student Support
  • Opportunity Funds
  • Naming the WVU Eye Institute

To learn more about these funding priorities download the Eye Institute campaign brochure or contact Lynne Schwabe at 304-598-4843. To learn more about the WVU Eye Institute visit