NEW YORK—EssilorLuxottica has announced an investment in the future of optometry with an $11 million pledge over the next two years. The funding will go towards scholarship programs to third- and fourth-year optometry students through the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), loan reimbursement to recent graduates and to fund equipment installation in optometry schools, the company said. Through its retail optical brands in North America, including LensCrafters, Target Optical and Pearle Vision, EssilorLuxottica’s commitment will include several programs. The first is the availability of $3 million for loan repayments for recent graduates seeking employment within LensCrafters, Target Optical and Pearle Vision. This allows new doctors the chance to start their careers and build their practice without the added burden of paying off loans. Interested applicants can click here to receive additional information.

LensCrafters president Alfonso Cerullo commented, “With the shortage of optometrists in the market and an increase in student loans and debt, this provides an opportunity to collaborate with the schools and colleges and support educational opportunities for the best and brightest entering the field of optometry and eyecare.”
Gunjan Kumar, president of North America Retail Licensed Brands and Pearle Vision, added, “As a leader in eyecare, it’s important for EssilorLuxottica to invest in the future of the profession in a holistic way. I am excited about the commitment we have made to ASCO. These programs will shape the next generation of optometrists.”
EssilorLuxottica has also committed to investing $2.5 million in the installation of equipment and remote access capabilities to all interested schools and colleges of optometry. This program allows future generations of doctors to gain real-world knowledge, utilizing real clinical cases and practicing on the newest technologies featured in the Retail Optical brands.
Senior vice president of EssilorLuxottica Eye Care Carl Spear, OD, MBA, FAAO, added, “The proprietary “Connect” practice management solution, that integrates appointment scheduling, Electronic Health Records (EHR) system and instrumentation will ensure that optometry students have hands-on experience with emerging technologies prior to graduation. This is a game-changer for these students to have unprecedented access to advanced technologies related to providing quality patient care.”
Finally, EssilorLuxottica has pledged $5 million over the next two years to ASCO and the schools and colleges of optometry for student scholarships. The application process is being determined and will be launched in the Spring of 2023.
This new commitment builds on the longstanding partnership programs developed through EssilorLuxottica’s wholesale business with individual schools and colleges of optometry, the company said, noting, "Those programs will continue to grow in support of independent eyecare providers."
As part of EssilorLuxottica’s growing support, all optometry students will receive access to the innovative online, on-demand, educational platform Leonardo, where they can view thousands of hours of content in the areas of product development, lens technology and practice management in 15 different languages.
“These programs and commitments showcase the many advantages of working with EssilorLuxottica post-graduation, and the ways in which we invest in our doctors, their practices and more importantly, the work life/balance future generations of optometrist are seeking. As we look to cultivate a culture of innovation in the industry, this investment is proof of that commitment,” Cerullo said.