For the past several decades there has been a significant increase in Commercial/Retail Optometry. Some lament Optometry’s returning to its mercantile roots.
Paradoxically, during the same period, there has been extensive expansion of the scope of practice. This has strengthened optometry’s position as a medical eye care provider, and as a valued healthcare profession.
The implications to optometric education of the paradoxical evolution of the profession of optometry are profound:
- Is the current 8 years of education unnecessarily long for Retail Practice? See: Optometric Education in Crisis, Slide 15, Enhance Appeal for Careers in Commercial, Office Practice and Medical Eye Care.
- Does the current curriculum adequately prepare graduates for expanded scope practice? See: Three Critical Elements for Expanded Scope of Optometric Practice.
- There has not been an increase in the optometry student applicant pool in a decade. See: An Analysis of the Optometric Applicant Pool Relative to Matriculants.
The above fundamental issues present a significant challenge to the optometric educational enterprise.