Dr. Abhishek Mandal, Ph.D.

Senior Business Adviser, Vision Science Academy, London, U.K.



Vision Science Academy Exclusive


The ophthalmic and physiological optics is nearly a 100-year-old profession. A timeline of many important points and research have been published regarding the history of optometry. In the present era, there has been a rapid boom in the field of optometry. It was not always like this as people living in the Stone Age used hand-held reading stones as a magnifier. After several centuries of endless efforts, human race is finally capable of developing the technology to see through the eye (Smith, 1978).

The Contribution of Greeks

The Greeks worked on the laws of reflection. They worked on developing the mirrors but were not able to fully understand those principles owing to limitation of their resources. They certainly knew about the crystalline lens of the eye but had no knowledge about the anatomy and function of retina. They had a leading misconception that light rays were derived from eyes; this myth was eventually disproven by Leonardo da Vinci who utilized the knowledge of optical physics, and established a definite role for human retina (Darrigol, 2012).

The Contribution of Muslims

A great number of Muslim scholars and scientists worked towards developing the principles of optometry at a time when they were unfamiliar to the scientific community. These scientists include Al-Razi, Ibn-ul-Haisam, Ibn-e-Sena, Ibn-e-Zuhr, Ibn-ur-Rushd, and Ibn-e-Nafis. The famous “Kitab-ul-Manazir” was written by Ibn-ul-Haisam who also invented the pioneer instrument to capture pictures which is now termed as the pinhole camera. Ibn-ul-Haisam is now considered as the Father of Modern Optics. A total of fourteen of his 200 books are pertinent to optics (Gorini, 2003).

First Optical Instrument

Telescopes are considered as the preliminary optical instruments first invented by Galileo in 1609 AD. A telescope allows an observer to magnify the size of an object. The Galilean telescope gave rise to the concept of microscopy to observe the tiny objects that are hard to seen by naked eye. An outstanding improvement has been made in these instruments through the past few centuries as their resolution has increased manifold, thereby allowing us to have a much clear look of an object (Brown, 1985).

Modern Optometry

In the 20th century, optometry started growing rapidly, and today, it has tremendous career opportunities for everyone who aims to join the profession. The American Optometric Association has revised its 2020 statement, stating that the emerging field is constantly adopting all the new advancements and technology to prevent the pathological conditions related to eye such as to measure the intraocular pressure, a tonometer is used and similarly, fundus photography equipment is utilized to view the interior of the eyeball.

In short, modern optometry is a continuously evolving field that has all the advanced optometric tools to provide a quality service to the people suffering from eye diseases. If all the measurements and parameters are strictly followed to push the optometry to its limits then undoubtedly, it can cross all the barriers to achieve an infinite amount of success.



Brown, H. I. (1985). Galileo on the Telescope and the Eye. Journal of the History of Ideas, 487-501.

Darrigol, O. (2012). A history of optics from Greek antiquity to the nineteenth century: Oxford University Press.

Gorini, R. (2003). Al-Haytham the man of experience. First steps in the science of vision.

Smith, D. P. (1978). Evolution of Optometry: Prospects for accelerated advancement in the Asian Pacific region. 61(10), 348-356. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1444-0938.1978.tb01455.x