UPMC Tower to House Clinicians Pushing Boundaries in Vision and Rehabilitation Care

By: Courtney Caprara

UPMC recently broke ground on the new Vision and Rehabilitation Tower at UPMC Mercy, the first of three new facilities to be constructed as part of UPMC’s $2 billion investment in specialty care.

Projected to open in late 2022, the tower will position UPMC at the global forefront of rehabilitation and ophthalmic research and care. When finished, the 410,000-square-foot building will house nine stories of collaborative space for clinicians, researchers, educators and industry partners.

“When the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower is complete, it will be so much more than just a building. Patients will take their first steps here after relearning to walk,” said Dr. Gwendolyn Sowa, director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. “Working together in multi-disciplinary teams, we will leverage existing technology to maximize each patient’s potential, while we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible through our innovations in regenerative medicine, rehabilitation engineering, and neurologic recovery.”


Dr. Gwendolyn Sowa


Linked by a bridge to the existing UPMC Mercy building, the new tower is designed to accommodate the specific needs of patients with limited mobility and those who have diseases of the eye or vision impairment.

“When I agreed to move from Paris to Pittsburgh, one of my first priorities was to establish a world-class vision research institute right here in this city – one that will work to develop the next generation of therapies to treat diseases of the eye and to restore sight – for people in this community and around the world,” said Dr. José-Alain Sahel, director of the UPMC Eye Center. “At the center of all our work will be our patients. They are, and will continue to be, the ultimate beneficiaries of what our clinicians and researchers do every day.”

The tower will be home to a mocked-up apartment, street lab and rehabilitation garden, where patients can learn critical life skills. State-of-the-art vision therapies and brain computer interface research will be the focus in specialized treatment rooms and research labs.

For more information, visit the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower website.