Optometry is a science concerned with the study and therapy of diseases and disorders associated with eyesight, like refractive errors, color blindness, etc. The field of optometry is charismatic, challenging, and offers many opportunities for personal growth. It is an independent and registered profession performed by healthcare persons called optometrists.
Optometry machine vision. Image Credit: Gcafotografia / Shutterstock
History of Optometry
In the early years, there was no separate discipline called optometry; only opticians were available. The job of the optician was primarily related to the analysis and development of optics. The knowledge of both optics and biomedicine evolved into optometry. Immense achievements related to optics in the nineteenth century led to the growth of optometry as a career. The law that recognizes and conducts the practice of optometry was first passed in Minnesota State in 1901. The first university courses on optometry were launched in the city of Columbia in 1910.
“The disciplines of optometry” Act passed in 1921 by the Supreme Court was accepted all over the USA in the same year. In 1931, conflicts between new innovations and inventions in the making of contact lenses began, which justified the significance of optometry. The benefit of optometry was then incorporated under Medicare services. After a few years another law was passed, which allowed the optometrist to start prescribing medications and use pharmaceuticals for diagnosis. Today, optometry plays a vital role in saving people around the world from blindness and other problems related to eyesight.
Some Organizations that Support Optometry
The World Council of Optometry
The main objective of the World Council of Optometry (WCO) is to promote improved access to vision care through education and awareness campaigns. Both WCO and the World Health Organization (WHO) collaboratively aim to enhance eyecare health by universal eye examinations and taking steps to limit increasing cases of deterioration of eyesight and unnecessary blindness to 25% by the year 2019.
Be a Doctor of Optometry
WCO supports an organization called the World Optometry Foundation (WOF), which provides funds for the growth of optometry as a discipline and to check negotiable blindness around the world. The funds are used to enhance education in optometry schools, initiate and conduct health programs for the public, and also help underdeveloped nations by providing clinical and educational materials.
The American Optometry Association
The American Optometry Association (AOA), which is the established leader for worldwide vision care, undertakes the following programs for eyecare health:
- AOA Foundation: The objective of this foundation is to increase awareness of eye health, and promote education and research in vision care for all U.S. citizens to improve these aspects of life.
- AOA supports the low eyesight concept performed by optometrists: Each individual has different types of low eyesight problems, which require different treatment procedures. Here, the optometrist focuses on establishing a therapy plan for each patient based on their specific vision condition, and helps them to improve their poor eyesight.
- Conserving Optometry’s history: Preserves archival and museum collections that include essential sources of documents of the past century and history depicting optical instruments. Sadly, most of these precious articles are in need of conservation. AOA currently stores and converts them to digital format so that they can be utilized by the younger generation.
- AOA to publish news magazine: In 2014, AOA published an advanced news magazine that presented detailed and well-organized material about the changes in healthcare standards.
The Association of Optometrists
- The Association of Optometrists (AOP) encourages universities such as the Manchester University, UK, to enhance the Master’s degree course in Optometry, which can provide increased learning opportunities for graduates.
- Currently, AOP aims at improvement in the profile of optometry and eye health by launching a survey panel that will give optometrists the exclusive opportunity to share their ideas on eye health issues.
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
- The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is working toward the concept of diversification in both educational and professional optometry. The main goal of ASCO in this regard is to provide superior educational experience to students and achieve excellent communication between the patient and provider.
- A blog called “Eye on Optometry” was created by ASCO, with the objective to aid schools and colleges of optometry in developing a distinct and certified national candidate pool of optometrists. The blog also provides information in the field of optometry periodically.
- Stop the freeze campaign by Optometry Australia (OA): A movement called “Stop the Freeze” was launched by the OA against the government in order to execute a generous and equitable Medicare for optometry.
- Rural optometry group: This expert group aims to achieve eye health for all Australians from the rural sectors. OA’s rural optometry group (ROG) provides a team of optometrists for the rural regions of Australia, which ensures standard care eye health to all the people.