A pair of wire-frame glasses rests on an eye chart.

Thinking About Becoming an Optometrist?

Optometry is the field involving virtually everything that has to do with eyes and vision, including examination, diagnosis and treatment of the eyes and surrounding structures, and the treatment of vision problems. Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are independent primary health care professionals for the eyes. This field requires a four-year, doctoral-level degree.

Preparation and Requirements

Generally, colleges of optometry admit students who have demonstrated strong academic commitment and who exhibit the potential to excel in deductive reasoning, interpersonal communication, and empathy. Potential optometry students may be evaluated on the basis of GPA, performance on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), extracurricular and community activities, personal interview, professional potential, etc. Optometry schools are looking for “well-rounded” candidates who have achieved not only in the classroom but also in other areas. Leadership ability, compassion, and a work ethic characterized by dedication and persistence are just a few of the qualities of successful applicants and optometrists. Each institution has its own criteria; therefore, you should contact the school(s) or college(s) of your choice for specific application guidelines.

Application Process

There are many steps and requirements to apply to optometry, including admissions exam, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Pay close attention to the instruction manual for OPTOMCAS, the centralized application service and requirements for individual programs. Meet with a Health Professions advisor to make sure you’re on track.

Application Timeline

The application cycle can take up to one year to complete. Think about your ideal timeline: when do you plan to start optometry school? We recommend you meet with a pre-health advisor to assess your readiness to apply.