Basically, optometry is a part of our healthcare services, focusing on the health of our eyes and visual systems, as well as the whole process of seeing as a part of perception. Therefore, people who are health experts in this area are called optometrists and they provide people with sight testing and vision correction if necessary.
Sometimes, the optometrists may need to treat a certain vision disease. This is often done through laser surgery which these health experts can diagnose and take care of. Also, this profession is legally regulated, depending on the country it is found in. This means that people who are practicing optometry need to work in concordance with many different governmental agencies and other health care providers as well as the rest of the community. This way, optometrists get the chance to provide nothing but the best possible care for people with vision problems.
The very term “optometry” was derived from the Greek words which signify “view” and “measuring”. Therefore, this name fits optometrists excellently, due to the fact that these people are there to assist individuals with vision problems and help them find the best vision-improvement lenses or the best possible treatments in cases of any vision problems caused by diseases.In the US, the range of required characteristics and jobs of an optometrist vary from one state to another. Namely, while some health experts of this type may only prescribe lenses and perform eyesight testing, others can get involved in laser eye surgery or prescribe eye medications and administer injections.
Nevertheless, finding the fitting eye lens and diagnosing any eye conditions is the main aspect of an optometrist.
As one might possibly expect, optometry was born once the human race developed visual science and all the areas which are tightly connected to it. Also, the birth of optometry is related to the discovery and development of optics, optical aids and the instruments necessary for the procedures carried out by these health professionals.
Naturally, optometry came to life with the birth of many other, similar parts of eye professions.
It is not hard to imagine the striving of our ancestors, directed towards understanding of the functioning of the eye. Amazingly, the first evidence of the existence of vision lenses was related to several thousand years BC. According to scientific researches carried out by Sir Joseph Needham, the first spectacles are suspected to have been created in ancient China about 1000 years ago.However, some other scientists beg to differ, claiming that, historically, they can find traces of people wearing eyeglasses and other forms of vision correcting items only after the year 1300 AD.
Regardless, the very term “optometrist” came to life in 1886, describing a person who is in charge of fitting the glasses onto another person.Later on, scientists continued discovering various other vision problems and from 1773, until 1829 astigmatism was discovered by George Biddell Airy. This lead to the creation of different forms of glasses, used for specific purposes, such as correcting vision problems by treating certain vision issues.As for the US, the first individual ever to purchase a pair of glasses in this country was John McAllister Sr. from Philadelphia in 1783. Later on, this man and his son started making eyeglasses. The first pair ever made in the US was created in 1811.
All these, and many other advancements in the field of optometry, lead to the creation of the first American Optometric Association in January 11, 1922.
Since 1850, schools for this profession started working and educating people. This resulted in many experts appearing in the world. Thus, by the year 1940, the first contact lenses saw the light of the day, changing people’s lives significantly.
Importance to Society
Today, people who are blind can seek help and support from many non-profit organizations around the world. Namely, most people are aware how difficult life can be once one loses his eyesight and are working around the clock to help these people accommodate to the new type of living gradually and successfully.
Also, many optometrists around the world save people from blindness, being proud of their jobs and the changes they bring in lives of their patients.As it was mentioned above, the recognition and the characteristics of the optometric profession vary from one country to another. Thus, in Argentina, for example, you can perform a job of an optometric, as long as you have a bachelor’s degree and a completed written exam, being registered in the local Ministry of Public Information.
On the other hand, in Canada, in order to be an optometrist, you need to have a Doctor of Optometry degree after finishing one out of two schools for this profession in either Waterloo or Montreal.
All in all, optometry has changed the world for the better, since it is the science and medical practice which helps people identify and treat their vision problems, having adequate eyeglasses prescribed. In different parts of the world, the characteristics of optometry vary, along with the requirements for practicing it. However, one is for sure, this area of medical practice has a long history and an incredible degree of effectiveness.