A Place for Firsts
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A Place for Firsts


The history of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry is the history of modern optometry. Since 1919, the College and now Salus University has been a leader in education, in research, and in new approaches to health science delivery.

1919   First non-profit, independent college of optometry

1923   First to confer the Doctor of Optometry degree

1935   First to require four-year optometric educational program

1949   First contact lens course for practitioners, currently known as continuing education

1954   First independent health profession institution to receive regional accreditation

1955   First college of optometry to establish the six-year total educational program

1961   First independent college of optometry to receive state aid

1975   First school or college of optometry to develop a comprehensive, off-campus Externship Program

1978   First to develop a comprehensive interdisciplinary clinical facility, The Eye Institute, for education and patient care

1983   First to develop graduate programs in vision rehabilitation

1988 First independent college of optometry to affiliate with a medical school, Hahnemann University School of Medicine

1990   First school or college of optometry to conduct research and training using an excimer laser

1994   First optometric institution to serve as a clinical trial site for a disease-oriented study from the National Eye Institute

1995 First optometry college to graduate a Master of Science in Clinical Optometry composed solely of international practitioners. Today, nearly 1,000 international practitioners are alumni

2000 First professional school to establish a Doctor of Audiology degree program

2008 First independent school of optometry to start a University

2014 First in the nation to launch an accelerated Doctor of Optometry degree program

2015 First optometry school to launch a two-year neuro-ophthalmic disease residency program