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Grad Program: Optometry

Basic Information

An optometrist takes care of all aspects of the eye–-excluding surgery–-helping people save and protect one of our most important senses (if you’re interested in surgery, that’s ophthalmology, which is a medical degree). In optometry, after prerequisite science classes are out of the way, your focus (no pun intended) is primarily on the eye: diagnosing and correcting vision problems and eye diseases (and prescribing drugs to help treat them), spotting symptoms of diseases whose early symptoms exhibit themselves in the eye, prescribing corrective lenses, and providing pre- and post-operative care for eye-surgery patients.

Remember those old eye charts where you covered one eye with one hand and read the letters? Those old charts are becoming a thing of the past; one aspect of optometry is to understand and manipulate equipment used to diagnose eye problems and correct vision. You may also evaluate a patient’s home and/or work life to determine how vision may be the source of a problem and adapt accordingly.

Types of specialties you may choose within optometry include cornea and contact lenses, binocular vision, pediatrics, vision rehabilitation, or family practice.

Degree Information

You may choose to earn a Master of Science in Optometry or a Doctorate in Vision Science. This will include about 90 credit hours post-master’s and a dissertation. Some schools offer a four-year, full-time program which results in a doctorate.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Is this degree accredited?
  • If you want to specialize in pediatric optometry (or some other specialty), will this school accommodate your interests?
  • What kind of fieldwork is required?
  • Does this school accept a non-science undergraduate major?

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