We've compiled plenty of resources to help you discover all you can about the field of optometry. The intro, below, will get you started; next, check out our resources page.
The modern profession of optometry is relatively new. In fact, the first school for the study of optometry did not open until 1872 - the Illinois College of Optometry is the oldest continuously operating school for optometry in the country. Work to improve eyesight, however, has been occurring for centuries.
The first "vision aid" was invented in 1000 AD and called a reading stone. It was made of solid glass and closely resembled magnifying glasses used today. Around 1285, Italian craftsmen developed the first eyeglasses, using glass set into frames of bone, leather, or metal that balanced across the bridge of the nose.
Contact lenses are a very new development, although the idea has been around since 1508 when Leonardo da Vinci sketched his ideas for contact lenses. It wasn't until 1887, however, that the first wearable glass contact lens was developed. In 1936, plastic contact lenses were developed, and during the 1950s and 1960s, hard contact lenses became more popular. In 1971, Bausch and Lomb offered the first commercially-available soft contact lenses.
Today, eye glasses are made of plastic and metal rather than bones, and rest comfortably on ears rather than balance precariously across one's nose. Contact lenses are more popular than ever, and advances in lasers and other developments are giving people better vision than ever thought possible. More than 32,000 worked as optometrists in 2002, earning a median salary of $86,090. In 2002, there were 17 optometry schools accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education. OptometrySchools.com can help one sort through the plethora of information available about this highly skilled profession.