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Southern College of Optometry is a college of optometry in the United States. It is located in Memphis, Tennessee and is dedicated to the study of optometry, the field of medicine that includes not only the performance of refractive eye examinations and the fitting of necessary corrective lenses or vision therapy, but also the diagnosis and treatment of numerous ocular diseases. After completing a 4-year graduate program, students at SCO receive the degree of Doctor of Optometry (OD).
SCO has often been distinguished for its high National Board passage rates. The college has consistently surpassed the average National Passage Rate, and currently holds passage rates of 92%, 98%, and 99% on Part I, Part II, and Part III respectively of the most recent National Board Examinations.
Southern College of Optometry is a private, non-profit institution founded in 1932, and it is one of only 23 schools of optometry in the United States. J.J. Horton, MD, an ophthalmologist, established SCO in 1932. The class of 1934 was SCO’s first graduation class. Since then, SCO has educated more than 6,000 optometrists from all 50 states and several foreign countries. A new clinical facility was opened in 1953 at its current location, which was later expanded to include a campus of new administrative offices, classrooms and a library.
In 1970, SCO moved into its current structure, which houses multimedia classrooms, laboratories, faculty/administrative offices, the library, a student center, a computer learning resource center and an out-patient clinic known as the Eye Institute. The Eye Center at SCO opened in 2002. The 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2) free-standing eye and vision center now serves up to 60,000 patients a year and is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the United States. There are 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, and on-site ophthalmology services.
In 2013, the college finished construction on a multimillion expansion program which included new state-of-the-art classrooms, study spaces, and new labs. Lewis N. Reich, OD, PhD, was named as SCO’s seventh President in January 2016 and formally installed in the office in May 2016.