Who we are


About us

The Institute for Research and Studies in Optics and Optometry (IRSOO) in Vinci (Florence) is an operating unit of the Agency for the development of Empoli and Valdelsa region S.p.A. (ASEV), a regional agency dedicated to educating a next generation of professionals in technical and scientific fields. IRSOO offers training and professional continuing education in healthcare, optics, ophthalmology and vision sciences. In the same fields, IRSOO also carries out experimental research.


Our history

The school originates directly from the National Institute of Optics in Arcetri, on the hills of Florence, where professional certification courses in optics began in 1929. During the academic year 1969-1970, the school moved from Arcetri to Vinci, where a course in optometry was also introduced.

The institute underwent major cultural growth and development in the ‘70s, when, for the first time in Italy, a two-year optics and optometry high-level course allowed students to obtain a socially useful and legally recognized profession. At the end of the ’70s and during the first half of the ’80s, IRSOO became the best Italian institute for optical and optometric studies and many of the students who trained here in those years are now recognized optometry teachers in best Italian schools and universities.

The institute was renowned then, as it is today, for its high standard of education, effective organization, reliability, well-equipped laboratories and for the high-professional level of its staff of teachers and external co-workers.

Since 2006, courses for the Degree in Optics and Optometry of the University of Florence are also held at IRSOO and run in collaboration with the National Institute of Optics of the National Research Council (CNR).

Experimental research at IRSOO began in 2010, complementing and enhancing the Institute’s education plans and offering a continuing training program for operators already working in the optical and optometric field.


Our mission

IRSOO aims at maintaining excellence in research, education, training and professional development of tomorrow’s workforce in the fields of optometry, optics and visual science.

It also aims at retraining workers and accompanying their professional development, granting continuing competence, extended knowledge and skills in an ever-changing labour market.

Training is complemented by significant experimental research. Students take active part in the research activity and their results are integrated into the training and teaching process, so that students and teachers share cultural, scientific and professional growth.

This intense and fruitful work aims at facilitating the transformation of students into competent professionals, maintaining IRSOO as a centre of excellence in teaching and research of optics and optometry, attracting the best staff who will, in turn, enhance the institute’s standing.




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