We celebrate 75 years of Optometry at Pacific University with a look back through the years.
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One of the most prominent names connected with Pacific’s College of Optometry is Carkner, and the connection began before the beginning.
DeAnn Fitzgerald ’81, OD ’84 of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has become well known for her focus on using optometry as a way to manage athletes’ concussions. She has developed protocols for young athletes who suffer head injuries, and her work has been widely shared and emulated around the country.
Within the field of optometry, sports vision has emerged as a fast-moving specialty. And within sports vision, Pacific is a leader.
Sandra (Coutts) Young ‘82, OD ‘84 created a business called Visionary Kitchen, which connects nutrition with eye health. She is the author of Visionary Kitchen: A Cookbook for Eye Health.
When it comes to detecting problems with vision, it pays to start early, before brains are hardwired. In InfantSEE, a public health program in which Pacific participates, the patients may be as young as 6 months old.
Pacific has built on a tradition of taking eye care to the community, where students and faculty provide real-world vision screening and treatment to underserved members of the community. The most visible symbol of this outreach is the Pacific EyeVan, an advanced mobile clinic that sees patients in church parking lots, migrant camps and schools.
The earliest contact lenses were made of glass and could be worn only for a few hours at a time. Today’s contact lenses are engineering marvels, and Pacific’s College of Optometry is at the vanguard of contact lens research and design.
The optometry program launched at Pacific in 1945 as a result of a combination of postwar challenges and unexpected opportunities. The needs of a small, temporarily shuttered optometry college in Northeast Portland helped meet the demands of a university that had limped through the war years. The outcome was the beginning of Pacific’s focus on the health professions.