I had a dream
California, November 1988
We are in California, kingdom of behavioral Optometry to bring to an american man the gratefulness of European Optometry in general, and that of European Society of Optometry in particular.
To some of you I had already said how every thing began.
Let me resume for others.
20 years ago in Europe, we were hoping in a free optometric profession and we worked towards such a goal.
Everybody known that such an engagement, in any field, has at least
The political one and not less important , the cultural.
The former was easiest than the
The need was for optometric books and teachers.
As said, it was the beginning: we listened about
american optometry but our information were vagues.
Even if vagues there were only hope. In few months we got from american universities, from all states associa-tions, from
American Optometric Association, from American Academy of Optometry, from the Optometric Extension Program, any possible information to allow us to start, in parallel with the political, a teaching program.
We are still grateful to our americans colleagues for this help.
all of the books and suggestion we got, there was a little, very little, black book.
A curious book indeed !
At firs approach it looked quite complicated. Some explications an quite a lot of numbers each one with a strange sign in front of it.
The booklet was put apart but, in spite
of its apparence, it stimulated our curiosity.
Little by little we discovered firstly that the strange sign (#) was the american way to represent what we, in Europe, write with an
N whit a little circle on upper right side (°) the grapic for “number”.
We may laugh now, but at the time it was a problem.
Going on with the booklet, we discovered that it WAS something more than a simple “refraction” manual.
But it was .....so little
! ! !
We understood that it must have been a resumee of some more and we have to go deeper in the matter.
only way was to come here and speak, listen and learn.
It was the firs impact with behavioral optometry: in Santa Monica were I had the pleasure and the honor to met Drs. Homer Hendrickson
gave me a box, a bigbox, full of books: all the material published since by OEP and said:
...you can traslate it, print it, free, no royalties to pay.
At the moment I have been astonisched by this open mind firstly and by the quantity secondly.
Later on, the traslation work, I appreciate more
and more the gift received.
It was all Skeffigton’s, Getman, Ranshaw, and many other’s work on behavioral optometry.
So we got the theory of behavioral optometry.
But in Optometry theory, as everybody knows, it’s not enough !.
We need to raise urgently the profession niveau with a teaching program, again with two facets: school for young people and to brush up the knowledge of professional already in activity.
More important appeared, and its was in fact, this second facet because how to teach to young people if there weren’t teachers ?.
consider that in Europe we speak at least six or more different lamguages.
Try please to think how big the problem was, ad still is, to transate the printed material and teach it
in different lenguages ! At that time the easiest common language in Europe and among the profession, was french. So, just after Santa Monica, we take a fly to Montreal, the french speaking canadian area.
At the school of Optometry of the University of Montreal, we found some open mind men willingly to help us.
The first of those men to come in Europe we will never
forget we met in Milano, in a wonderful day of september.
It was his birthday: before to speak on how to set up our first course, he said how he was happy to have had his wife at
phone from Canada for wishing him an happy birthday.
And, let’s me consider that day as the birthday of optometry in Europe.
We agreed he would have spoken in franch with an interpreter to traslate into italian. There were 25 people ot this firs course. More than one half coming from outside of Milano, some from more than 100 km.
He began with words that sounded chinese to us: habitual an induced phorias. #5, #14B etc. He created a big crisis to the interpreter than among one hour resigned and get out frustrated.
We had to change interpreter.
The course was so agreat success
(after Milano he went to Brussels and Madrid) that 5 mounth later we asked him to come back and hold it again. This time we had 75 people but the interest was so big that just after the summer he was again in Europe.
More than 320 people attend his course: we have been obliged to set up a closed circuit television system to allow everybody listening and learning.
Since then, that man has come many times in Europe and gave to us all his professional culture but also and may be more with his personality.
man, with a deep european cultural root.
He has to be proud of to be considered the father of european optometry.
He his a man of great spirit and fine humor: he allow us to call him the “Goodfather” of european optometry.
Jokes apart, we have in Europe a mode of great respect
that express better our feeling.
We do not call “professor” a great man. We prefer to address him as
And it to this Monsieur that in name of European Optometry
in behalf of European Society of Optometry , in behalf of Europe as a big raising nation, that I have the honour to grant the
SOE AWARD 1988 HONORIS CAUSA
I will read to him the decision of European Society Optometry General Council’s in french language.
We know he like his european roots:
“L’optomètrie Behaviorale est née au sein de l’Optometric Extension Program et c’est vous, Monsieur, avec la passion que l’on vous connait,
qui l’avez portée en Europe.
C’est a travers vous que les collègues europèens ont approché, rencontré, découvert,
approfondi l’Optomètrie behaviorale. C’est a travers la Societè d’Optometrie d’Europe qu’ils ont eu le privilege de recevoir votre enseignement, moteur qui a fait d’eux ce qu’ils sont aujourd’hui:
des profes-sionelles a part entière. Il ne pouvait ètre meilleur lieu que le berceau de l’optometrie behaviorale pour exprimer notre reconoissance a notre Maitre et notre démarche ici revét donc une signification particuliere”
Using the word of Martin Luther King, let’s me say: “ I had a dream”
A dream that many other men
will give what he gave to Optometry and I’m greatly proud to grant the
SOE AWARD 1988 HONORIS CAUSA
Monsieur Armand Bastien.
Ugo Frescura, FAAO