Before the regulation of optometry in North Carolina, the practice took place in a number of surprising settings. E.E. Hight, of Henderson, practiced optometry alongside jewelry and watchmaking. Dr. G.W. Raby, of Blowing Rock, was an optician and a druggist. See these ads in the May 23, 1907 issue of the Henderson Gold Leaf and the January 7, 1904 issue of the Watauga Democrat.
Minnesota passed the first state optometry laws in 1901, and in 1909, legislators in North Carolina approved regulations governing optometry. North Carolina’s laws called for the creation of a board of examiners and required an examination for all new practitioners. Existing practitioners could register with the board in lieu of taking the examination.
In the March 14, 1918 issue of the Watauga Democrat, Dr. Alfred W. Dula advertises that he “voluntarily took the full examination before the State Board” and proclaims himself “licensed and pronounced competent to test eyes and fit glasses by three State Boards, N.C., S.C. and Tennessee.”