Doctors of Optometry (OD) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists 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. They also conduct research that advances visual aid devices, vision enhancement procedures, and our understanding of ocular health.
(source: Explore Health Careers - Optometrist)
- Join the Pre-Health Professions Program and request to be added to the Pre-Optometry Email List
- Meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor each semester to make a professional and academic development plan and review your progress
- Choose a college major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about optometry; common majors include biology, chemistry, and medical science, but all majors will be considered if a student completes the prerequisite courses and other admissions standards established by individual optometry programs
- Carefully check admission requirements at optometry schools of most interest and take the required coursework; see the list of accredited optometry schools in the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) program directory
- It is also highly recommended that you research each school’s prerequisite courses and learn whether or not they accept AP credit and/or online coursework. Here is suggested U of I coursework for students interested in Optometry.
- Get significant shadowing and clinical experience and maintain a formal log (Professional Development Activities Log); be sure to meet clinical experience requirements of your preferred schools
- Develop strong relationships with faculty mentors, optometry professionals, and others who will be writing letters of reference
- Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities
- Attend Pre-Health Professions Program workshops and networking events
The application process consists of taking the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), applying through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS), submitting college transcripts and letters of reference, and participating in invited interviews.
Your Pre-Health Advisor can assist you with preparing these materials and conducting mock interviews prior to meeting with admissions personnel.