IMPORTANT RESEARCH IN NATIONAL OPTOMETRISTS' JOURNAL OUTLINES GROWING CONCERNS
Review of Optometry published the article “How the Diploma Deluge is Reshaping Optometry“ in its Feb. 15, 2018 edition.
The piece reports on a study the publication conducted looking into whether the growing number of optometry schools has caused rigorous standards for optometry to be lowered.
To read the article in full:
“You’ve heard the knock on optometric education: there are too many optometry colleges, pumping out too many new grads and coaxing them through the curriculum instead of holding them to appropriately rigorous standards. Though it may be a caricature, some elements ring true, say experts within and outside academia. ‘If you want to get into optometry school, you can,’ laments one educator.”
… Growth itself isn’t inherently bad… But while the number of seats has gone up, applicant volume hasn’t, explains David Damari, OD, dean of Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University and president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). In fact, recent years have even seen declines. “That’s going to make for some difficult choices,” he says. Some schools “may have to fill classes with applicants who are seriously at risk of not completing the program or passing national boards.” … It’s a sort of domino theory of admissions standards, and educators are starting to worry that it’s diluting the pool of qualified candidates.
Another concern: will new grads find productive roles in regions most in need of eye doctors, or merely bloat the ranks of well-served cities and towns? … Putting these ODs where they can best serve the public remains a challenge.