Video Interview Dr. Jerry Rapp – Incorporating Genetic Testing into Optometry

“It’s not a matter of if genetic testing will become a standard in testing for ocular disease, but WHEN it will become the standard.” – Dr. Jerry Rapp

This month I sat down with Dr. Jerry Rapp, Professor of Biological Sciences at SUNY Optometry College and long time advocate for Optometry. In our interview, Dr. Rapp calls attention to the long overdue issue of “The Genetic Model” in optometry and the steps that need to be taken to make genetic testing part and parcel of optometric care. We covered everything from the benefits of performing a genetic analysis on patients with potential ocular disease and also why optometry has yet to embrace this type of clinical care when we are more than capable.

Dr. Rapp has one warning and that is “…it’s not a matter of if genetic testing will become a standard in testing for ocular disease but, WHEN it will become the standard. With other health care physicians currently doing a genetic analysis on their patients, it is optometry’s turn to embrace this care. If we decide to address this issue 5 years from now, you can guarantee it will be a costly uphill battle once we realize we were late to the party. Dr. Rapp believes that we should take control today and avoid a future painstaking fight to incorporate genetic testing into optometry.

Here is the caveat; if the STUDENTS do not come together and stand united this will not happen. We are the seeds that create the fruit we know as optometry and that means that bringing genetic testing to Optometry starts with us, not the O.D’s already in practice. If we make our voices heard, schools and organizations will listen and implement courses in our curriculum that will help us to master this area of care. Once we are armed with the knowledge, we are just steps away from practicing the genetic model in optometry.

So who is with us? Support the cause here at and lets make this a grassroots movement!

Even if genetic testing and ocular disease is not in your personal future as an optometrist it is still VERY important to support the positive growth of your profession. So please support this cause so we can show optometry schools and organizations that students care about the growth of optometry. We will keep all participants updated as this movement becomes a reality.


Support the cause here at

Matthew Geller
Founder & Senior Editor;
SUNY College of Optometry 2013

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