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A study of optometric practice in the U.S. army: An attempt to identify the barriers that preclude full scope optometric services

1 January 1981


Military optometry was examined through a review of the literature and a survey of optometrists providing clinical care in the United States Army. This was conducted to determine what barriers may exist that preclude the provision of full scope optometric care in the Army. An optometrist to population ratio of 1:23,000 was found that is substantially higher (approximately double) than that of the civilian sector. A lower percentage of career optometrists provided contact lens examinations, low vision examinations, vision therapy examinations and training sessions than did their non-career and undecided counterparts. Career optometrists performed a substantially greater number of eye examinations/ visual analyses per year than did their non-career counterparts. At the same time career optometrists were providing less other than routine care, their perception was that they were providing full scope optometric care. Organizational structure and individual perceptions of full scope care may erect barriers to the provision of comprehensive vision care in the U.S. Army. A series of recommendations are forwarded as steps to be accomplished before it can be expected that comprehensive (full scope) optometric care will be realized in the U.S. Army.


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