Optometrists provide full-scope primary optometric care. Patient interaction can include performing routine visual exams, removing a foreign body from the cornea, evaluating a child who is not performing well in school, fitting a contact lens patient, prescribing medication for glaucoma, providing follow-up care after refractive surgery, and/or fitting a patient who is legally blind with a magnifying device that enables the patient to read.

Typical Responsibilities

  • Examine eyes, using observation, instruments and pharmaceutical agents, to determine visual acuity and perception, focus and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities such as glaucoma or color blindness

  • Prescribe medications to treat eye diseases if state laws permit and prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses and other vision aids
  • Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan
  • Educate and counsel patients on contact lens care, visual hygiene, lighting arrangements and safety factors
  • Remove foreign bodies from the eye
  • Prescribe therapeutic procedures to correct or conserve vision and vision therapy and low vision rehabilitation

Preparing for Admission

  • Resources for researching schools: A complete list of all Optometry schools can be found on the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) website
  • Prerequisite Coursework: The requirements for admission to the schools and colleges of optometry vary, but a complete list of prerequisite courses is available for each institution on the ASCO website.
  • Standardized test(s): All schools and colleges of optometry require the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). For further information, please go to the OAT website.
  • Experience/Exposure: Most schools consider an applicant’s exposure to optometry to be of vital importance. Each applicant should become acquainted with at least one optometrist and if possible gain some firsthand experience to see what optometrists do on a daily basis.
  • Letters of Recommendation: This also varies by program but a detailed list of required LOR’s by program can be found on the OptomCAS website.

The Admissions Cycle

  • There is a Centralized Application Process (OptomCAS) that all 23 optometry schools participate in.
  • Application opens / application can be submitted: Late June / early July 2016
  • Deadlines: Submission deadlines are between December and first of June depending on the program; deadlines are available at on the OptomCAS website.
  • Fees: The application fee is $170 for one institution and $70 for each additional institution.
  • Fee Waivers: OptomCAS does not offer fee waivers.
  • Additional information about the application process can be found online.