Home>News Report> 2017> First National Optometrist Examination to Take Place
First national optometrist examination to take place
 
By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter
 
Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation founder Chou Chin-hua, left, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Chien-kuo, second left, and the wife of Wang Man-tang, center, Wang's daughter, Wang Wen-ching, second right, hold a news conference yesterday at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to commemorate Wang, the “father” of optometry in Taiwan.May 23, 2017
 
The first national exam for optometrists is to be held next month, a critical step to ensure the quality of eyeglass technicians outside of medical institutions, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) said yesterday.
The proportion of short-sighted Taiwanese is the highest in the world, but a professional institution for optometrists has not been established, Liu said.
The national exam would enable licensed optometrists to work with eye doctors, reducing the number of myopia cases and the overall cost of health insurance, he said.
The junior and senior exams for optometrists, scheduled to take place next month and in July respectively, have attracted 15,498 applicants, Ministry of Examination’s statistics showed.
Liu credited the exam and last year’s Optometry Act (驗光人員法) to Wang Man-tang (王滿堂), the “father” of ophthalmological education in Taiwan.
After earning a master’s degree in healthcare from the University of Iowa, Wang worked in the Taipei Veterans’ General Hospital and taught at Chung Shan Medical University in Kaohsiung.
Despite being diagnosed with cancer in 2000, he continued to promote optometric institutionalization until his death in 2006.
He wrote 11 monographs about optometry and optical physiology.
The Optometry Act was essentially drafted by Wang, who “finely integrated the merits of foreign institutions and domestic customs in the bill,” former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) said, recalling her first time seeing the draft optometry act in 2005 after it was introduced by the Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation.
During the decade-long legalization process, Lei said she had encountered opposition from eye doctors who were afraid that their prescriptive authority might be dampened once optometrists become available in eyeglass stores.
Lei said she also faced resistance from lawmakers on the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee who had connections with doctors.
Reviews of the bill lasted from 2012 to 2015, but it was Liu Chien-kuo who pushed for its final legalization last year, she said.
The act stipulates that people without an optometrist’s certificate cannot conduct eyesight tests and make eyeglasses, with violators liable to fines of NT$30,000 to NT$150,000.