An optometrist is an independent health care provider who examines, diagnoses, treats, and manages diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures. Optometrists may prescribe glasses and contact lenses, participate in the rehabilitation of the visually impaired, and diagnose and treat ocular diseases.
The pre-optometry curriculum is designed to prepare students for admission to the professional schools of optometry. Generally, schools of optometry require at least 90 semester hours of pre-optometry coursework and students are highly encouraged to obtain the Bachelor’s degree. The student is free to major in any area of interest. Admission to a school of optometry is based upon such qualities as academic preparation, scores on the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), and general character and fitness for the field of optometry. Students must apply directly to the individual schools of optometry. Students must apply through OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application Service).
The Pre-Optometry coursework expectations vary somewhat by individual schools of optometry, and students should contact the schools of interest. In general, schools of optometry will require coursework (usually one year each) in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and mathematics; these should be courses that the major would take rather than survey courses intended for non-majors. In addition, some schools of optometry may require additional coursework in psychology/social sciences, biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, and statistics. A pre-optometry student at USD should use the suggested curriculum for the pre-medicine program as a guide in completing optometry prerequisites.
For more information about optometry contact: Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (www.opted.org), Academic & Career Planning Center, 677-5381; Health Professions Advisors, 605-658-6326 or 658-6334, or by visiting the following web site: http://www.usd.edu/admissions.