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Preparing for a Career in Optometry and Ophthalmology

Optometry is the profession of testing the eyes for defects of vision in order to prescribe corrective glasses. Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine dealing with the anatomy, function, and diseases of the eye. Because Ophthalmology is an area of specialization in medical school, entrance into that field requires you to be admitted to a regular M.D. program. See p. 6 of this Handbook for additional details.

Optometrists provide general eye examinations and recommend lens therapy, visual therapy, and low vision care. They may be employed in clinics, hospitals, community health care systems, and rehabilitation programs.

Admission to optometry school requires appropriate scores on the OAT (Optometry Admissions Test) and a strong academic record with a minimum of two years of college work showing at least a 2.0 GPA (the mean GPA of the entering 1988 class at Pacific University was 3.2). However, most applicants will need at least three years of undergraduate work to complete the course requirements necessary for admission, so the bachelor's degree is desirable. Graduates from optometry school may obtain either a M.S. degree in Clinical Optometry or a Doctor of Optometry (D.O.) degree.

The following preparatory coursework is suggested by Pacific University College of Optometry:

Biological Sciences
Bio 121 or Bio 341
Bio 121 or Bio 321
Bio 331
Chem 150,151
Chem 303
General Physics
Phys 201,202
Math 221
General Psychology
Psych 157
(FCS & SCS, or FCS + a sophomore-level-or-above English course)
Math 201 or Psych 241
Finish out minimum required hours with courses in social sciences and humanities

For further information on Optometry as a career consult the file in 711BH, or write:

Office of Admissions for Professional Programs
Pacific University
Forest Grove, Oregon 97116
(503) 359-2236

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