Vision Care

Students are encouraged to make use of UCSB’s Student Health Eye Care Center, which offers lower rates than many other vision care offices. Registered students who purchase UCSB’s student health insurance have vision coverage included, which may be used either at UCSB or other network providers. More information can be found at or call the Eye Care Center at (805) 893-3170, or the Student Health Insurance Office at (805) 893-2592.

If you are unable to pay for optical care due to financial hardship, you might look into one of the funding sources below or consult the “General Purpose Funding” section of this guide. For financial challenges related to complex, ongoing, or long-term medical situations, you can also meet with a UCSB social worker, who can provide referrals, problem solving assistance, and information on all your options (see below).

AS/EOP Emergency Grants – Optical
These grants are for Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students receiving need-based financial aid who have exhausted other resources. These grants are issued as reimbursement funding for glasses or contact lenses (not both), including the eye exam fee. The purchase needs to have occurred during the time the student was enrolled in classes. Optical care grants are awarded once every other fiscal year. Regular eye exams alone are not covered by A.S. Grant funds. Maximum grant amount: $110 above UCSB’s student health insurance allowance. Turnaround time: usually 1-2 weeks. The deadline for submissions is every Thursday at 2 p.m. for review for the following week. Required documentation: A written statement describing the circumstances and the amount requested, to be addressed to the EOP director; application form (obtained from an EOP counselor); original receipts for items that are being covered; photo ID. How to apply: Schedule an appointment to meet with an EOP counselor to discuss eligibility and details by calling (805) 893-4758. You do not need to have all of your documentation ready at the time of the appointment.

Social Worker Support
If you are navigating challenging medical care, financial, and other situations, you can receive advice at no cost from a UCSB social worker. They can help identify your needs, recommend resources, and work with you on a plan of action. Social workers are available to students for one quarter after they have withdrawn from UCSB, and will assist with the transition to community resources. To schedule an appointment, call (805) 893-3087.

Student Health – Vision Insurance Information
Registered students, recently graduated students, or students on leave of absence, who purchase UCSB’s student health insurance have vision coverage included, which may be used either at UCSB or other network providers. Insurance information can be found at or call the Student Health Insurance Office at (805) 893-2592. You can also send a confidential email to this office through the Student Health website.

Surgical Eye Expeditions International
This organization provides eye care to Santa Barbara County residents who do not have medical insurance. The organization’s Santa Barbara Vision Care program provides vision screening by appointment only. If eye surgery is needed, this is provided through an application process through S.E.E. International. For more information, visit or call (805) 963-3303.

“The Jack Canfield Chicken Soup for the Soul” Student Medical Emergency Relief Fund (SMERF)
This fund provides grants to students with expenses related to medical, dental, psychological, and optical emergencies. For the purposes of this fund, a medical emergency is a condition, injury, or illness that poses a risk to a person’s life, long-term health, or well-being and requires timely intervention. Prescription or medical care costs related to ongoing, non-emergency conditions are therefore not covered. In addition, grants are awarded only for medical bills not yet paid. SMERF is for students who were registered at the time of their medical emergency and have exhausted all other resources. EOP students should check with EOP before applying for SMERF. Maximum grant amount: $3,500. Turnaround time: Once the student meets with the committee, 48 hours for a decision. Required documentation: Online application; unpaid medical bills; additional supporting documents upon request. How to Apply: Fill out an online application at