Education and science communication in optometry

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1*Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Eye- and Vision Center Optometrie Cagnolati GmbH

Worldwide optometrists are generally trained at universities. The development of university optometry training is well demonstrated by the example of the USA. The first private optometry schools were founded there around 1872. In 1910, the first two-year university course in optometry started at Columbia University in New York. In 1915 Ohio State University extended the optometry education to four years; for the first time in the USA, graduates were awarded a Bachelor of Science degree.
The Pennsylvania State College of Optometry was the first college in the USA to award the degree Doctor of Optometry (OD) in 1923. The University of California Berkeley also introduced an optometry curriculum in 1923; graduates earned a bachelor's degree in physics and a certificate in optometry. From 1953 to 1954, Indiana University established the first three-year optometry degree programmes; in 1956, the first Master of Optometry degrees were awarded.
Depending on the university, American optometrists graduated until 1968 as Bachelor of Science (BS), Master of Optometry or Doctor of Optometry (OD). In 1968, the University of California, Berkley, was the last university in the U.S. with an optometry program at that time to be granted the right to award the degree of Doctor of Optometry (OD). 1,2,3,4
Today, optometrists in Europe are also generally educated at university level. As a result of the "Bologna Declaration" adopted in 1999 by the Secretaries of Science from 44 European countries, the "Bachelor of Science" degree in optometry (BSc) is now the primary professional qualification for optometrists. The first academic degree in ophthalmic optics in Germany was awarded around 1927 by the Jena University of Applied Sciences with the title "Diplomoptiker". In the meantime, five universities in Germany offer academic training in optometry. It is also interesting to look at the development of the journals relevant to optometry, which is excellently described by David A. Goss in "HINDSIGHT: Journal of Optometry History" in 2018.5 In this publication, the relationship between the biomedical knowledge explosion and the content orientation of the journals is well demonstrated.
Evidence-based clinical and scientific education is a new paradigm in university education today. This applies equally to optometry and ophthalmology. Scientific journals such as Optometry & Contact Lenses (OCL) must be orientated to this.6 This is achieved for publications in OCL, similar to other scientific journals, by reviewing the submitted manuscripts by two independent experts.7
With four publications on the topic of scleral lenses, the current OCL again offers excellent papers for both optometrists and ophthalmologists.
I wish all readers, once again, many new insights when studying the OCL.

Literature References

[1] Gregg, J. R. (1965). The Story of Optometry”, The Ronald Press Company, New York.

[2] Woodruff, C. E. (2001). The evolution of optometric education in America. Optometry, 72, 12, 779-785.

[3] Cagnolati, W. (2008). Die deutsche Augenoptik und Optometrie im internationalen Vergleich. DOZ, 2, 14-21.

[4] Fiorillo, J. (2010). Berkeley Optomerty: A History. Published by the University of Optometry, School of Optometry.

[5] Goss, D. A. (2018). A history of some optometric periodicals, part 3, HINDSIGHT: Journal of Optometry History, 49, 3, 52-56.

[6] Adams, A. A. (2007). The role of research, evidence and education in optometry: a perspective. Clin. Exp. Optom., 90: 4: 232-237.

[7] Jonuscheit, S., Cagnolati, W., Bärtschi, M., +Pult, H. (2022). Peer Review: Zweck, Anwendung und Relevanz für die Optometrie und Wissenschaftskommunikation. Optom. Contact Lens, 225-228.