Focus and Scope

The journal publishes articles, essays, reviews, letters and other works elucidate the role of optometry in the humanities, social and health sciences. Examples of material regularly featured in the journal include:

  • Editorial essays,  announcements, news and commentary
  • Letters to the editor (about material published in the journal)
  • Articles featuring original research on relevant historical topics
  • Historiographies
  • Critical essays on current or previous historical research and thought
  • Interviews, oral histories and memoirs
  • Biographical sketches
  • Book, article or exhibit reviews

Examples of topics suitable for submission and publication include:

  • history and evolution of optometric clinical practice, including diagnostic and treatment tools, techniques, procedures and methods
  • history of the development of optometry as a profession, including organization, jurisdiction and scope of practice, regulation and legislation, educational and licensing standards, and ethics
  • history of the role optometry has played in larger social, cultural, and scientific contexts
  • history of the role that other disciplines, movements and phenomena have played in the development of modern optometry
  • history of technological developments and material culture affecting or resulting from optometry and vision care, including those used in diagnostic and therapeutic or corrective instruments and devices,  and innovation in optics, physics and medicine as related to vision
  • history of trades, professions, and other disciplines related to or affecting the development of optometry, such as the optical industry, opticianry, ophthalmology, public health and education
  • history of specific subdivisions in optometry and vision care, such as vision therapy, low vision care, and other modalities
  • history of persons, places, objects, entities, or concepts of significance to optometry history

Peer Review Process

The Editor is responsible for the overall content of the journal and for making final decisions on acceptance or rejection of items submitted for publication. For research and scholarship that contributes new knowledge and is the result of research in several sources, the Editor submits the article for single-blind review to one or more independent experts within fields of optometry, history, or related disciplines as appropriate. The review process applies to both solicited and unsolicited submissions. 

Conflict of Interest

The author is responsible for clearly disclosing any financial relationships that may exist that could influence the content of the paper. This should include disclosure of funding as well as a statement describing the sponsor’s role in any aspect of the research for, and the writing of, the paper. In the case of multi-author papers, the corresponding author is responsible for disclosing this information for all co-authors. Failure to fully disclose conflicts of interest is cause for rejection.

Publication Frequency

Hindsight: Journal of Optometry History has published one volume and four issues per year since its beginning as the Newsletter of the Optometric Historical Society. Open access is provided here to content from volume 1 up to the present. Print copies of individual issues can be purchased on the American Optometric Association Marketplace website.


The Optometric Historical Society (OHS) is part of the Heritage Services division of Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Optometric Association. The OHS Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors of Optometry Cares and guides the activities and management of the Society.

Journal History

In 1969, American Optometric Association Librarian Maria Dablemont and American Optometric Association past-president and Indiana University School of Optometry Henry Hofstetter plotted the formation of the Optometric Historical Society.  In August of that year, Hofstetter sent a letter to ten persons of his “acquaintance who have been concerned very actively and obviously with optometric history as a subject of avid interest.”1  In that letter were the by-laws for the OHS that Hofstetter and Dablemont had drafted and a request to indicate willingness to serve on the Executive Board to help organize the society.  The initial OHS Executive Board consisted of Hofstetter (president), John Levene (vice-president), Dablemont (secretary-treasurer), Arthur Hoare, and Sol Tannebaum.  In October, 1969, a press release was sent to various optometric periodicals inviting membership in OHS by remitting a dues payment of $5.  By January 1, 1970, there were 33 founding members who had paid their dues.

Among the purposes of OHS outlined in its initial by-laws were “to encourage the collection and preservation of materials relating to the history of optometry” and “to assist in securing and documenting the recollections of those who have participated in the development of optometry.”2 The quarterly publication of the OHS has been attempting to support those purposes ever since the first issue of the Newsletter of the Optometric Historical Society was mailed to members in January, 1970.

The name of the OHS quarterly publication was changed to Hindsight: Newsletter of the Optometric Historical Society starting with volume 23 in 1992 and to Hindsight: Journal of Optometry History starting with volume 38 in 2007.  In 2013, back issues of the OHS publications were made available on the Indiana University digital repository IUScholarWorks.  Current issues of Hindsight are among the journals found on IUScholarWorks

Through 2020 (51 volumes), Hindsight and its predecessor newsletter accumulated 3,574 pages, not counting indexes. This represents a significant compendium of optometry history.  In 1996, Hofstetter noted that Hindsight had helped to “document optometry’s centuries-long existence and emergence from a prestigious and sophisticated handicraft to its present academic stature, a truly proud history which includes many prominent and accomplished personalities.”3  Indexes to the Newsletter and Hindsight were published in 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010, for volumes 1-10, 11-20, 21-30, and 31-40, respectively.  Those four indexes take up 177 pages.

The editor for most of the first 25 years of the publication from 1970 to 1995 was Henry Hofstetter, and he wrote most of the content over that period of time.  Taking over for Hofstetter for brief intervals from 1970 to 1995 while he was on sabbatical or had other obligations were John Levene and Douglas Penisten.  David Goss has been editor since 1995.  Contributing editors have included Jay Enoch, Doug Penisten, Irving Bennett, Kirsten Hébert, and John Amos.

Hindsight is held at libraries and museums in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, including several optometry school libraries and the National Library of Medicine.  Many of the articles from the past ten years have been indexed in PubMed and will be indexed in EBSCOhost's MEDLINE ULTIMATE beginning in June 2020.


1. Hofstetter HW. How and when we began. Newsletter Optom Hist Soc 1977;8:55-57.

2. By-laws of the Optometric Historical Society. Newsletter Optom Hist Soc 1970;1:2-5.

3. Hofstetter HW. The OHS mission.  Hindsight 1996;27:17-18.