Optometric Education

The Journal of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Optometric Education: Volume 48 Number 1 (Fall 2022)

Publication Guidelines


Publication Guidelines for Optometric Education


Optometric Education, ISSN 1933-8880, a peer-reviewed, national and international publication of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), is published online three times during the academic year. Its circulation includes all of the accredited optometric education institutions in the United States, as well as students, practitioners, government leaders and others in the health sciences and education. It is indexed in Visionet, Vision Cite, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) 1979-2003, and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Its readership also extends to numerous optometry schools outside the United States. Established in 1975 as the Journal of Optometric Education, it is the forum for communication and exchange of information pertinent to optometric education. It is the only publication devoted entirely to optometric education.

Aim & Scope

The goal of the journal is to embrace and support scholarly achievements for the advancement of optometric education and the profession. The scope of the journal supports a broad interpretation of scholarship based on the scholarship of discovery, integration, application and teaching.1


  • Discovery — original research
  • Integration — novel insights, interpreting themes in discoveries, identifying connections between discoveries, e.g., literature synthesis, conceptual framework
  • Application — building bridges between theory and practice, e.g., teaching case reports
  • Teaching — communicating one’s knowledge, facilitating students’ learning, enhancing self-directed learning, e.g., comparison of teaching methodologies, development of new pedagogy


There are no article processing charges (APCs), submission charges, page charges, color charges or any instance where money is required to complete the publication process.

Open Access & License

This is an open access journal, which means all content is freely available without charge to the user or the user’s institution. A limited license to use Optometric Education for personal, educational or other non-commercial use is provided to ASCO members and the general public. Users can distribute copy or use the material in a presentation or make derivative works with proper attribution (citation). No part of this journal may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means for any commercial purpose without permission in writing from ASCO.


© Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. All rights reserved. This journal and the individual contributions contained therein are protected under copyright by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, and the following terms and conditions apply to their use: consideration for publication is based on assurance the manuscript is not being considered by any other publication nor been previously published. Authors must sign a statement transferring copyright to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry. All materials contained on the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (“ASCO”) website are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASCO, or in the case of third-party materials, the owner of that content. The ASCO website and materials are provided solely for individual, educational and non-commercial purposes.


Manuscripts are considered for publication with the understanding that they are original contributions and have not been submitted for publication or accepted for publication elsewhere. All pages should be numbered consecutively, beginning with the title page. The title page should include the manuscript’s title, the author’s (authors’) name(s) and a brief bio (1-3 sentences) of each author. A cover letter should accompany all manuscripts and the letter should identify the corresponding author. The cover letter should also contain a statement that the manuscript has been approved by all of the authors of a multi-authored paper. Copies of letters of permission and other pertinent information should be included.

A blinded copy of the manuscript that omits your name and any reference to your institution must also be submitted with the intact manuscript. Make sure that track changes and all other identifying information are removed from the “blind” version.

Submit the cover letter, intact and blind copies of the manuscript with original figures electronically to submissions@opted.org.

Conflict of Interest

Authors must disclose (on submission) existence of any financial arrangement with a company or any competitor company whose products figure prominently in the manuscript. For articles in which frequent references are made to name brand devices, medications or products – whether any author has such an affiliation or not – a disclaimer should be submitted for clarification (to be published at the end of the article).

Peer-Review Process

All research, teaching case reports and communication manuscripts submitted for publication are reviewed by two or more members of the journal’s editorial review board or, in some cases, two or more independent referees who are experts in the subject area of the manuscript. Reviewers’ identities are kept confidential as are authors’ identities. The reviews are usually completed within 4 weeks of article submission. Revisions and re-reviews are to be expected. Every effort is made to publish manuscripts within 12 months from initial submission.

The reviewers make a recommendation to the editor (Appendix A). Authors will be advised of the status of the manuscript and receive appropriate feedback.

If revisions to the manuscript are needed, authors must submit to the managing editor, difft@opted.org, both an intact and “blind” copy of the revised manuscript, as well as the review forms containing the reviewers’ comments listing how each of the comments or suggestions was addressed. Do not send track changes.

Some contributions to the journal are not peer-reviewed. Non-peer-reviewed contributions include Guest Editorials, Letters to the Editor, The Think Tank, My Best Day in Optometric Education, Educator’s Podium, Educator’s Toolkit and Special Reports.


One of the roles of the journal editor is to ensure that the journal publishes high-quality education articles. In addition to the peer-review process, the editor may review and evaluate articles for publication. All manuscripts must receive an acceptable rating before publication.

Manuscript Submission

All manuscripts should be submitted with elements in this order: Title page, Abstract, Manuscript, Acknowledgments, References, Footnotes, Tables and Figures and Appendices.

Title Page

The title page should include the manuscript’s title, the author’s (authors’) name(s) and a brief bio (1-3 sentences) of each author. In a multi-authored manuscript, the person who has made the most significant intellectual contribution to the work should be listed first, regardless of academic rank or professional status. Only those who have made a substantial contribution to the design and execution of the work and the writing of the manuscript should be included as authors. Title page should also list contact information for the corresponding author, including phone number, fax and email address.


Abstracts should be typed on a separate sheet of paper in one paragraph, and should not exceed 100 words. Abstracts should be as informative as possible. Authors should select approximately five key words that reflect the primary subject matter of the paper. The purpose of key words is to assist reference librarians and others in retrieval and cross-indexing. For a research article, the abstract should describe the problem or topic addressed, how the study was prepared/conducted, the most important results, and what can be concluded from the results.


Only those who have made a substantial contribution to the study should be acknowledged. Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission from those acknowledged by name because readers may infer that acknowledged persons have endorsed the methods and conclusions of the manuscript. Many contributions justify acknowledgement, but not authorship. Such contributions might include technical help, financial support, sources of materials, and persons who have contributed intellectually to the development of the manuscript.


A list of references is placed at the end of the manuscript following the acknowledgments, if acknowledgments are included. References should be listed in sequential order as they are cited in the text by superscript numbers. Accuracy of citations is of major importance because it makes each specific reference retrievable by the reader. Authors should make every attempt to cite references that are relevant, original and current and only references actually consulted. Authors should avoid citing a secondary source, i.e., a source referenced within another source. Authors should always read and cite the original work (the primary source). If it is not possible to obtain the original work, authors should indicate this in the text of the manuscript by noting the names of the authors of both the primary and secondary source. For example: (Jones, 1985, as cited in Smith, 1987). In the reference list of the paper, the citation for the secondary source (the source the author read) should be provided. In this example, the citation for Smith. References to personal communication, unpublished information and papers either “in preparation” or “submitted for publication” are discouraged. Manuscripts that have been submitted for consideration for publication, but have not been accepted, should not be referenced.

Most optometric journals have adopted the style of references used by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Basic examples of the correct form of referencing are listed below.

Book citation:

Cervero RM. Effective continuing education for professionals. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.; 1988.

Journal article citation:

Smith RD. The application of information technology in the teaching of veterinary epidemiology and public health. J Vet Med Educ. 2003;30(4):344-50.

Standard citation of an Internet page:

Complementary/Integrative Medicine [Internet]. Houston: University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; c2007 [cited 2007 Feb 21]. Available from: https://www.mdanderson.org/departments/CIMER/.

Complete NLM reference guidelines can be found at:



Footnotes may be used to designate a non-retrievable citation or a personal communication. A footnote can also be used to identify sources of equipment or instruments. Footnotes should be identified with small superscript lower case letters in alphabetical order in the text, and referred to at the end of the text of the manuscript under a listing “Footnotes.”

Tables and Figures

The use of too many tables, figures or other illustrations in relation to the length of the text may produce page layout difficulties. In general, Optometric Education publishes one illustration for every 1,000 words of text. Authors should consult the Council of Biology Editors (CBE) style manual for further information on preparation of tables, figures and other illustrative material.4


Occasionally it is necessary for the author(s) to supply subordinate information that is relevant to the study but that might distract the reader or be cumbersome because of excessive detail, e.g., computer programs, mathematical formulas, address lists, surveys or other data. Such information can be presented in an Appendix rather than in the main body of the manuscript. Appendices should be labeled Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C, etc. Each should have a short, descriptive title.

These instructions are in accordance with the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (Uniform Requirements).2,3

Institutional Review Board

All research studies must be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board or equivalent ethical board. The outcome of the review process must be stated in the manuscript. This includes studies that are considered exempt.

Types of Submissions

1. Research Articles

The goal of scientific writing is effective communication. More specifically, its goal is to communicate abstract propositions, logical arguments, empirical observations and experimental results, including their inter-relationships and interactions. Authors should use the active voice (“this study shows” rather than “it is shown by this study”) and the first person (“I did” rather than “the author did”). The past tense is appropriate for describing what was done in an experiment; the present tense is suitable for referring to data in tables and figures. Manuscripts should be organized within the framework of a format outline. The standard outline for reporting of studies, experiments or other research projects is as follows:


The background has several functions. It acquaints the reader with other relevant work performed in the subject area. Only contributions that bear on the interpretation of the results should be referenced. The background also presents the general nature of the problem to be addressed, the specific aspect of the problem that was studied, and the hypothesis and the manner in which it was tested.


The methods should be described in enough detail so others could replicate them. However, if portions of the methods have been described elsewhere, a summary with appropriate citations is sufficient. It is essential to describe how case and control subjects were selected for a study. It is important to describe any commercially available apparatus used in the study by identifying the manufacturer’s name and address. Brief descriptions of methods that have been published but may not be universally understood should be presented. In addition, limitations of the methods employed should be presented, and new or modified methods should be described in detail. It is important to identify precisely all contact lenses, chemicals, drugs or ophthalmic lenses, including generic names, dosages, and administration where appropriate. It is inappropriate to publish names of subjects or patients, their initials or other personal identification. Also, it is inappropriate to use ethnic terms when they serve only to perpetuate unnecessary, unscientific or derogatory connotations.


The results should be presented in a logical order, emphasizing only important findings of the study without elaboration. Limitations of the results and any implications should be stated. The statistical analysis, if any, should be clear and relevant.


The discussion should elaborate on the data, noting the inter-relationships among the results and relating them to the original question asked in the study. Acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis should be stated. In addition, the discussion should emphasize any unique or new aspects of the study, and discuss the relevancy of the results. It is important to draw those conclusions that can be supported by the results. Implications for basic and applied issues should be stated wherever possible.


Inferences, future research implications and the uses of findings in practical decision-making are summarized. Strengths and weaknesses of the study may be summarized as well as potential impact of the study.

2. Teaching Case Reports

Teaching case reports should be drawn from an actual patient encounter. They should not be a composite of cases or fictionalized descriptions. They are meant to serve as a teaching and learning experience. Therefore, the teaching case report must contain education elements that represent how to teach and assess the material. Teaching case reports should include: abstract, background, case description, education guidelines (including learning objectives, key concepts, discussion questions, teaching methodology and assessment), discussion, conclusion, references, acknowledgments and disclosures. The abstract, references, disclosures and acknowledgments should follow the same criteria as outlined for a scholarly communication or research article. The teaching case reports published in Optometric Education represent a collection of cases that are researched, organized and peer-reviewed.

Background: The background is a brief introduction to the case, including intended audience (e.g., first-year students, residents, third-year students, etc.), relevance of the case (“so what” and “who cares”) along with background information on the ocular condition/disease presented in the case. The intended audience may be identified for the entire case or may differ for different aspects of the case. How the case can be used for different cohorts of participants and the knowledge base needed to participate in the case should be identified.

Case description: The case description includes the presentation of the case. The author should hold all discussion points until the discussion section. This allows educators to extrapolate data from the case without having to dissect out discussion comments. Tables, graphs, diagrams and pictures can be helpful. Inclusion of original test results, e.g., visual fields, optical coherence tomography, etc., is encouraged. Follow-up visits can be presented individually or summarized for conciseness. Patients should be described as a person and not a case, and patient confidentiality should be respected at all times.

Education guidelines: This section must include the information needed to facilitate a discussion of the case. This includes: learning objectives, key concepts, discussion questions, teaching methodology and assessment.

Learning objectives: The information/knowledge base/skills that should be learned by the end of the case.

Key concepts: The fundamental concepts related to the case. These are concepts that will help to illuminate the case and aid in the understanding of the case. This may involve pathophysiology, communication, critical thinking, etc.


  • A teaching case report on dry eye may report key concepts of: tear film stabilization, hyperosmolarity, inflammatory response, and nerve stimulation
  • A teaching case report involving a missed or incorrect diagnosis may include as key concepts: confirmation bias or anchoring bias
  • A teaching case report about ocular manifestations of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) may have key concepts of: cell death and the impact of dopamine deficiency, the eyecare provider’s role in improving the patient’s quality of life, and changes in retinal thickness and eye tracking as potential biomarkers for early detection of PD

Discussion questions: Relevant or key questions to facilitate discussion of the case.

Teaching methodology: How the case should be taught. This can include elements of methodology as well as teaching philosophy. This section must include some theory on teaching/learning such as adult learning theory, use of repetition, use of gaming, etc. Other elements such as large group setting, small group, virtual setting, clinical setting, etc., may be included. Additionally, a description of the format: lecture, Socratic method, problem-based learning, case analysis, etc., must be included.

Assessment. The education guidelines must also include an explanation of how the learning objectives will be assessed. If appropriate, sample assessment tools or questions are welcomed.

Discussion: The discussion section should be used as a vehicle for teaching the case. It should reflect clinical as well as education elements. Teaching methodology and discussion questions should drive the discussion. The discussion section should include a summary and interpretation of key findings, comparison to known findings in the literature, how and why decisions were made and, if applicable, what lessons are to be learned from this experience. When applicable, standard of care for treatment and diagnosis should be supported by professional guidelines, landmark studies or systematic review. This enhances the learning experience.

Conclusion: A conclusion should summarize the case and learning experience.

3. Scholarly Communications

This type of manuscript generally communicates in a scholarly manner an idea, concept or information that is relevant to health professions educators. This type of manuscript supports the scholarship of integration, application and/or teaching. Therefore, communication manuscripts must contain scholarly elements, such as novel insights, interpreting themes in discoveries, identifying connections between discoveries, links between theory and practice, comparisons or analysis of teaching methodologies, etc. All types of scholarship should contain a clear understanding of the current literature and links to past scholarly work. Manuscripts that are only descriptive of a course, program, pedagogy, teaching activity, etc., cannot be considered a scholarly communication. Manuscripts on course material, curriculum or programs may be considered communication pieces if the manuscript is written in a scholarly manner with scholarly components.

Scholarly communications can also review a body of literature on a specific subject for the purpose of providing health professions educators with guidelines or recommendations regarding the subject matter. Headings for a communications paper do not usually follow the standard format for a research paper, but the author should use headings and subheadings that promote understanding of the topic.

4. Educator’s Podium

The Educator’s Podium is a forum that provides an opportunity for optometric educators to share, think and question any area related to the education process or improving patient care. It is an opinion-based, non-peer-reviewed forum. These submissions should be descriptive or pose a challenging education dilemma or problem.

Submit all contributions to journal editor Dr. Aurora Denial. The journal editor will review the submission and determine if it is appropriate for this forum. The submission may be returned for minor revisions or comments. Submissions should be a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 1,500 words.


  1. Boyer EL. Scholarship reconsidered: priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; 1990.
  2. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. N Engl J Med. 1997 Jan 23;336(4):309-15.
  3. Excerpted and modified from Ophthalmology – Instructions for Authors, revised July 2001.
  4. Style Manual Committee, Council of Biology Editors. Scientific style and format: the CBE manual for authors, editors and publishers, 6th ed. Bethesda, MD: Council of Biology Editors; 1994.

 Appendix A: Reviewer’s Recommendation to Editor:

Status Description Comment Re-review needed Indicate category that applies
Accept No further revisions by the author are needed. The paper is acceptable to be published. Minor grammatical or language changes may be done by the managing editor. This category should be reserved for an exceptional paper that needs only minor grammatical changes. No
Reconsider after minor revisions The author(s) needs to make minor revisions. Papers in this category may need minor grammatical changes or minor changes in clarity/depth of info. Yes, re-review by reviewer
Reconsider after moderate revisions The paper has moderate flaws but most likely is fixable by the author(s). Revisions to the existing paper are needed. Yes, re-review by reviewer
Reject; Not suitable for publication in its present form The paper has major, significant flaws. The quality of the paper necessitates a complete rewrite. This may be secondary to significant grammatical / language problems, not appropriately following scientific format, lack of scholarly components as described in the publication guidelines or other significant problems. This category indicates that the study/paper may be salvageable but needs to be completely reevaluated and re written by the author(s). Resubmission is needed; the paper may be sent back to the original reviewers or reassigned.
Reject The topic is not suitable for the readership or major flaws in the study methodology, science, data collection, logic or other significant problems that cannot be corrected. This category indicates that the study/paper is not salvageable.

Publication Guidelines revised May 2022

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