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Optometric education in America 2001: Moving ahead or losing our way? A comparison of prevalent ocular disorders in the population to curricula in U.S. optometry schools

1 May 2002


This project is a survey and comparison of current available epidemiology of ocular conditions within the U.S. population, against the curricula of most optometry schools in the United States. Optometry's role in health care is shifting from primarily functional, lens-based therapies, to fuller scope prescribing privileges and ocular disease management. The endeavor here is to establish whether optometry programs are properly preparing students for careers in optometry, or if the push toward a medical based model is leaving optometrists unprepared to deal with the traditional presentations that bring most patient's to see their optometrist. The comparison of prevalence numbers to correlating emphasis in varying curricula spanned a diverse range, but overall maintained a consistent balance around the population average prevalence numbers. Outlying schools exist at both ends of the spectrum, but balance between the philosophies exists, and the options for students seeking to strengthen their education's toward either a disease model, or toward a functional model, are present throughout the optometric educational system.


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