Knowledge and Use of Eye Care Services by College and Health Professional Students: Implications for the Profession

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A questionnaire survey of 1277 students in colleges of liberal arts, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, and podiatry was undertaken in an effort to determine their knowledge and use of vision care services. Students were asked to define the differences among optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians. Utilization, type of practitioner used, and site of examination are reported. About 56% had had an examination within the past year. Optometrists provided at least 40% of the examinations, but the confusion in the minds of the students is revealed by the fact that some said they were examined by opticians, some by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and some by a person they were not able to identify. Clearly, optometry and the related disciplines have a responsibility to clarify the public confusion.

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