Optometrists (OD) “examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye” (ASCO, 2013). Doctors of Optometry perform a critical role in primary health care since they “diagnose, manage, and refer systemic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and others that are often first detected in the eye” (ASCO, 2013).
The OD degree involves four years of additional training beyond a baccalaureate degree. Much like other medical programs, “students in a professional OD program will take courses in human anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology, among others to prepare for their role as primary-care doctors protecting patients’ overall health and wellness” (ASCO, 2001). All OD schools prepare students for practice with clinical rotations that may run concurrently with didactic coursework. Because most optometrists work independently or join private practice, this health profession is suited to those interested in a typical 9 – 5 work schedule.
For more information about becoming an optometrist please visit ASCO.
Program Quick Facts
Education Association: ASCO (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry)
Application Service: OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application Service)
Entrance Exam: OAT (Optometry Admission Test)
Length of program: 4 years
Residency Required: Yes