Optometry is the science of vision assessment and has as its object the application of corrective lenses (eyeglasses and contact lenses) and eye exercises, in order to restore vision to normal levels. It belongs to primary health care.
Optometry is the set of methods used by the Optometrist to determine the abilities of the eye, refractive abnormalities such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia, in adults and children, to check binocular vision and visual eye health. The Optometrist, after making the objective and subjective evaluation of vision, will select and apply the most appropriate visual means.
According to the World Council of Optometry (W.C.O), member of the World Health Organization (W.H.O) and the Assosiation of European Universities, Schools and Colleges of Optometry (A.U.E.S.C.O), Optometry is an autonomous and independent profession in the field of health, which requires training and is practiced exclusively by graduates of recognized universities and schools with a license to practice the profession.
Optometry as a word was first used in 1865 in the Netherlands by Vershoor, in a dissertation on refraction. Etymologically it comes from the Greek word “optos”, which means visible and from the word “metron”.
Optometry officially began in the late 19th century from the USA and specifically in 1872 with the establishment of the Illinois College of Optometry. It is defined as the science of using the Optometrist (1738), the specialist that determines the power of vision.
1901: Passage of the state’s first law recognizing and regulating the practice of Optometry in Minnesota (all states had laws until 1921).
1910: First university courses in Optometry (Columbia University), a big step towards recognition of the profession.
1919: The American Optical Association (founded 1898) is renamed the American Association of Optometrists.
1923: Pennsylvania College of Optometry awards its first Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree. 1924: The District of Columbia enacts an Optometry law, completing a comprehensive coverage in the U.S. 1940: Charler Sheard introduced the concept of Optometric examination which was later developed into the “case analysis” approach to refractive problems.
In Europe, Great Britain is the first country where Ophthalmic Optics (Optometry) is an independent visual health care profession.
Special Optometrist Tatiana Skoutari is the only Optometrist in Greece, holder of the European Diploma in Optometry since 1998. Tatiana Skoutari is also a Rapporteur and Examiner in the European Union for the European Diploma in Optometry.
World Optometry Day has been designated as March 23rd.
Optometry and Ophthalmology are complementary sciences, with the common goal of ocular health and the proper functioning of the visual system.