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Military optometry as a practice option: Do inaccurate perceptions create a barrier to recruitment?

1 April 1991


The number of optometry students choosing military optometry as a practice option has declined in recent years. This fact, coupled with low retention of military optometrists, has resulted in an optometric manpower crisis within the armed services. It is possible that many students do not consider the military as a practice option because of inaccurate perceptions of military optometry. Using questionnaires, perceptions of military optometry among 420 fourth year optometry students (Class of 1991) were determined and compared with the perceptions of 343 optometrists currently serving in the military. Although statistically significant differences were found utilizing the Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test, few were judged to be meaningful differences. The results show that student perceptions of military optometry appear to be accurate. Factors which discourage students from considering military optometry as a practice option include bureaucracy, non-clinical military duties, and the initial obligation associated with military service.


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