The problem with the ABO's philosophy of providing a dumber and dumber test over time to match the market skill level cannot be understated for its over all impact on the industry. First, psychologically they are sending the message that Opticians now need to know less than they once did, and that is OK. As a standards based test by lowering the testing requirements they are effectively lowering the standards for the entire industry. Although we think the test should be based on standards, the ABO's impact is so large the exam actually SETS the standard.
2nd is that many people (yea, me included) only studied enough to pass the test. A harder test would mean some people (not all) would take it more seriously, study and prepare more. We would simply leave the testing cycle better educated.
There was a time about 50 years ago where the Bar Exam was not impossibly difficult (remember the movie "Catch me if You Can" where Frank just took the Bar and passed? its a true story) and many attorneys apprenticed as clerks and paralegals, took the test and were lawyers. As the TEST increased in difficulty, more future attorneys studied formally to meet the requirements. The difficulty of the test actually created a market for education. Now 99.9% of lawyers have JD degree, and spend another $20K after school for Bar exam test prep courses. The increase in just the test difficulty changed the entire market.
The same holds true for optical, as the test gets easier it diminishes the need for education, formal or not.