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Doctors of optometry are independent primary healthcare providers who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. They examine the internal and external structure of the eyes to diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders; systemic diseases like hypertension and diabetes; and vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Optometrists also do testing to determine the patient's ability to focus and coordinate the eyes, and to judge depth and see colors accurately. They prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, low vision aids, vision therapy and medicines to treat eye diseases. As primary eye care providers, optometrists are an integral part of the healthcare team and an entry point into the healthcare system. They are skilled in the comanagement of care that affects the eye health and vision of their patients and an excellent source of referral to other healthcare professionals. A biology degree provides an excellent science background for optometry school. Biology majors who wish to attend optometry school will need to pursue the Medical Careers Science tract in the biology department. Useful information about Optometry can be found at the Association of Schools of Optometry webpage.
Optometry schools do not require a particular major although they have science requirements in biology, chemistry and physics. At Southern College of Optometry over half the students are biology majors. Chemistry, physics and psychology are also common majors for optometry students.
Each optometry school has their own requirement and that may vary from school to school. Check the requirements of the optometry school that you are interested in. The Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN has the following math and science requirements (other requirements will be satisfied by the Mississippi College core curriculum):
There are 4 sections on the exam: Natural Science (Biology and Chemistry); Reading Comprehension; Physics; and Quantitative Reasoning. It is given twice a year in February and October. Registration deadline is usually about 6 weeks prior to test date. For more information visit the OCAT website.
Write or Call:
Optometry Admission Testing Program
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
Southern College of Optometry starts accepting applications the August of the year prior to entrance into optometry school. The deadline is March 1. They interview between October and April.
Optometry school has two parts. The first two years you take science courses. The third and fourth years are clinical courses.
At the Southern College of Optometry you will take the following courses:
Third year & Fourth year: all clinical course work
You will be taking 2 board exams called the National Board of Examiners in Optometry Part 1 and II. Part I is given the August before your third year and covers the basic science covered the first two years optometry school. Part II is a clinical board and is taken the December of your fourth year. You are not allowed to graduate until you pass all board exams.
It is very important that you get experience in a clinical setting. This can be accomplished by spending time observing an optometrist.
An Optometrist has a doctorate degree in Optometry (O.D.). In addition to fitting patients with glasses and contact lenses, they also treat diseases of the eye and they can write drug prescriptions. An Ophthalmologist has an MD degree from medical school and has had an additional 4 years of Ophthalmology training in a residency program beyond medical school. An Ophthalmologist is an eye surgeon.
Optometry school is 4 years. Upon completion of Optometry school you can start practicing optometry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median pay of optometrists was $97,820 in 2012.
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Mississippi College's physical address is 200 S. Capitol Street, Clinton, MS 39056.