At our annual meeting each year, a distinguished Fellow of COVD is recognized with the Skeffington Award. This award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to optometric literature in the areas of vision therapy and vision development. The award in named after A.M. Skeffington, an optometrist who is considered by many to be the “father of behavioral optometry.” Skeffington described vision as a process involving the entire person. His model depicts vision as emerging from the interaction and integration of four circles: antigravity, identification, centering and speech-auditory. This expands the concept of vision way beyond the retina and challenges the clinician to consider output and actions that are part of human behavior such as movement, navigation, language, and comprehension. From the 1930s through the 60s, Skeffington traveled across the country to meet with optometrists and leaders of other disciplines in search of questions as well as answers. He was committed to making optometry better by looking at the world from many different perspectives and sharing his ideas in many different formats, including his writings. It is this spirit of moving the profession forward to enhance patient care that is honored with the Skeffington Award.
Virtually all of the writings of these great optometric thinkers still resonate today. As a clinician and an optometric educator, hardly a week goes by when I do not run across one of their publications. I have decided to assign myself the task of revisiting their writings and sharing my educational journey with the readers of this blog. I hope many of you will expand on my writings on these writers. In fact, I may ask some of you to help me consider what we have to learn from these 39 great optometrists.
A list of the recipients can be found in this article in the latest issue of Optometry and Vision Development.