Clinical and Experimental Optometry is published by Optometry Australia (formerly Optometrists Association Australia). It has been published continuously in various forms since 1911, when the New South Wales Institute of Ophthalmic Opticians (a forerunner of the organisation) began to issue a journal titled Optical News. This publication contained a mixture of clinical and technical information and news.
When the Australian Optometrical Association was formed in 1918 the publication became The Commonwealth Optometrist and its scientific and clinical content was progressively increased. In 1929, the name of the journal was changed to the Australasian Journal of Optometry, then in 1959 to the Australian Journal of Optometry, reflecting realities of the time. A higher emphasis on the validity and originality of research and peer reviewing and a lesser emphasis on news and reports of professional activities accompanied each change.
In 1979, the journal ceased publication of any news or association activities and became a journal devoted solely to scientific matters. The journal's name was changed to Clinical and Experimental Optometry in 1986 to better describe its contents and to recognise that researchers from many countries submitted papers for publication in the journal.