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Is Optometry School For Me?

What do Optometrists do?

"Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are the primary health care professionals for the eyes. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye” (American Optometric Association [AOA]). They should not be confused with ophthalmologists or dispensing opticians. Ophthalmologists are physicians who diagnose and treating eye conditions and perform eye surgery. Dispensing opticians fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions written by ophthalmologists or optometrists.

Here are some ways you can find out what optometrists do:

  1. Research online resources through the Career Center’s Career Exploration Optometry pages.
  2. Speak with optometrists, optometry students, optometry faculty and optometry school representatives. UC Berkeley School of Optometry conducts advising for potential students.

Top 10 Tips for a Career in Optometry

  1. Major in the field which interests you the most, while showing strong academic ability in science.
  2. Explore the field of optometry; be sure you know the positive and negative aspects of being an optometrist and the future of the optometry profession.
  3. Pursue extra-curricular activities which interest you. Begin to develop a unique self that will make you attractive to the optometry admissions committee. Leadership and communication skills are most important, particularly the ability to work with others of diverse interests and backgrounds.
  4. Keep your grades as high as possible. An upward trend in grade performance will be noted, especially when you are trying to overcome a less than spectacular year.
  5. Be sure to start looking for people who can write you letters of recommendation. Choose those individuals who know you and your work well and who you have close relationships with, e.g. those with shared interest in academic and /or professional matters.
  6. Develop your ability to read, write and think professionally. Only part of optometry is science.
  7. Pursue an academic interest in depth, e.g., scientific research. Keep in mind that research need not be in a laboratory.
  8. Make the most of your experience at Berkeley. Make friends, get involved and stay active, and keep alert of opportunities.
  9. There are many paths to optometry school. People of different backgrounds, experiences and ages, etc. all get there.
  10. Lastly, be sure to talk to as many as people as possible about the optometry profession (optometrists, optometry students, and optometry school representatives) and keep current on optometry issues from researching the optometry profession.


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