What is Optometry?

   Optometry is a profession specializing in the protection and improvement of vision. The optometrist is one who practices the art and science of vision care. He is trained and licensed to make tests to determine the person's visual skills, especially in relation to his specific needs. When visual errors are found, he prescribes and provides any corrective lenses or visual training needed for adequate and comfortable sight.
   The roots of the profession of optometry lie in the development of research in physics, mathematics, and optics, as well as in physiology and psychology. Modern optometry, however, really dates from the 19th century, when such men as Thomas Young, Herman von Helmholtz, Eduard Jaeger, and others, were busily engaged in Europe in measuring the eye and inventing instruments for testing sight. The results of their research are found in the applications used today. Development in the field of refraction led to the refractive testing of the eye, or optometry, as it is now known.
   The word "optometry," in the sense of "diagnosis of refractive error" first appeared in 1870, and in the next thirty years optometry slowly evolved as a specialized vocation.