n South African Ophthalmology Journal - There is more to optometry than meets the eye - Clive's corner

Volume 14 Number 4
  • ISSN : 2218-8304


Many years ago, South African optometrists were up in arms about a statement made by one of the country’s leading ophthalmologists. Prof Hennie Meyer claimed that he could teach a school leaver to refract in five days and there was no need for the three-year course at a technical college to train to be an optician. ‘Optician’ is the old word for optometrist. Optometrists do not like being called opticians because it is associated with the untrained refractionists of the earlier part of the last century with their box of lenses and frames. In the USA, most people don’t even know what an optician is. In the UK, the word is still used in some quarters, especially for those who dispense spectacles calling themselves ‘dispensing opticians’. Most optometrists agreed that doing a simple straightforward refraction could be taught in a few days but strongly disagreed that you could train to be a fully qualified optometrist with anything less than a threeor four-year course. This is because there is a major difference between refracting and prescribing and there is more to optometry than meets the eye!

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