Southern College of Optometry

Coordinates: 35°08′15″N 90°01′14″W / 35.1376°N 90.0205°W / 35.1376; -90.0205
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35°08′15″N 90°01′14″W / 35.1376°N 90.0205°W / 35.1376; -90.0205

Southern College of Optometry
Motto"Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth)"
TypePrivate college of optometry
PresidentLewis N. Reich
Academic staff
53 Full-time (Spring 2022)[1]
Students538 (Spring 2022) [2]
Location, ,
United States

The Southern College of Optometry is a privately owned educational institution located in Memphis, Tennessee. It specializes in optometry and offers a comprehensive program in this field.


The Southern College of Optometry (SCO) is a private, non-profit educational institution that was established in 1932 by J.J. Horton, an ophthalmologist. It has a long history of providing optometry education and has graduated numerous optometrists from various states and countries. In 1953, a new clinical facility was opened at its current location, which has since undergone expansions to accommodate administrative offices, classrooms, and a library.

In 1970, SCO moved to its present structure, which includes multimedia classrooms, laboratories, faculty and administrative offices, a library, a student center, a computer learning resource center, and an outpatient clinic called the Eye Institute. The Eye Center at SCO, established in 2002, is a large, free-standing facility spanning 46,000 square feet (4,300 m2). It serves a significant number of patients annually and is recognized as one of the largest eye and vision centers in the United States. The center is equipped with advanced examination rooms, technology-based testing spaces, retinal laser and digital angiography centers, an optical shop, and on-site ophthalmology services.

In 2013, the college completed a multimillion-dollar expansion program, which included the addition of state-of-the-art classrooms, study areas, and laboratories. In January 2016, Lewis N. Reich became the seventh president of SCO and was officially installed in May 2016.


The Eye Center at the Southern College of Optometry provides comprehensive care for over 60,000 patients annually, catering to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of eye diseases as well as chronic eye health and visual disorders. It offers a wide range of services, including thorough eye examinations for patients of all ages. As one of the largest facilities of its kind in the United States, it houses 70 fully equipped examination rooms, 14 individual spaces for advanced technology-based testing, a retinal laser center, a digital angiography center, a full-service optical shop, and on-site ophthalmology services.

Functioning similarly to a teaching hospital, The Eye Center serves as a primary healthcare facility, attending to patients primarily from Memphis/Shelby County, West Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The center is led by James E. Venable, Vice President for Clinical Programs, and Christopher Lievens, Chief of Staff.

Health care services[edit]

The Eye Center, being a teaching facility, is organized into various service areas, which include:

  1. Adult Primary Care Service
  2. Pediatric Primary Care Service
  3. Cornea and Contact Lens Service
  4. Advanced Care Ocular Disease Service
  5. Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation Service
  6. The Technology Center
  7. The Eye Center Optical

These distinct service areas within the Eye Center cater to different aspects of eye care, providing specialized services to meet the diverse needs of patients.

The Hayes Center for Practice Excellence[edit]

In 2005, Jerry Hayes and his wife, Cris, provided the funding to establish the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence at SCO. The Hayes Center's objective is to serve as the leading source for practice management education within the optometric profession. To support this mission, an endowment was created with matching funds from SCO's Board of Trustees. The Hayes Center is dedicated to providing valuable resources and education to enhance the practice management skills of optometrists.[3]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "College Navigator - Southern College of Optometry".
  2. ^ "College Navigator - Southern College of Optometry".
  3. ^ Hayes Center for Practice Excellence

External links[edit]