Are you interested in the medical field? Do you see a future in eye care? According to the American Optometric Association [AOA], "Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the primary health care professionals for the eye. 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."
Today, the profession of optometry involves much more than just prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses. ODs are trained to evaluate any patient’s visual condition and to determine the best treatment for that condition. ODs are viewed increasingly as primary care providers for patients seeking ocular or visual care.
Luther offers pre-professional training for the study of optometry. Typically, pre-optometry students are biology majors and follow a course plan similar to that of the pre-medical student. Emphasis is placed on courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Students spend four years of professional study at an accredited optometry school or college. Students are prepared to enter any of the professional schools in North America.
Admission requirements to optometry school vary with the institution. All schools and colleges of optometry require you to complete one year of undergraduate biology, chemistry, physics, English, and mathematics before applying.
Applicants are evaluated on the basis of grade point average, performance on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), extra-curricular and community activities, and a personal interview. You need to obtain a catalog from the optometry school which interests you to learn specific requirements.
All optometry school applicants take the Optometry Admission Test before applying. The OAT measures general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. It includes tests on quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, physics, biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. The OAT is a computerized exam, and is generally taken after completion of biology courses, organic chemistry and physics.
Students may apply to optometry school after their junior year. If you fulfill graduation requirements and are accepted after your junior year, Luther will accept the first year of optometry school in place of your senior year and will grant you a biology major. Most pre-optometry students complete four years of undergraduate work with a major in biology before entering a college of optometry.
(Courses are to be completed in addition to the classes for a major during three or four years at Luther.)
Internships are primarily observational, and they provide a very practical introduction to the many health-care professions. Students may arrange internship experiences during the three-week January term as well as during the regular semester. Placements are available in large medical complexes, county hospitals, medical laboratories, public health programs, and private practices. These programs vary to allow advisors the freedom to match specific internships with the career goals of the student. Luther grants academic credit for health-career internships (Biology 380B).
See how a Luther education gave Jen Gipp '04 the experience she needed for a career in Optometry. Read Jen's story...
If you fulfill graduation requirements and are accepted after your junior year, Luther will accept the first year of optometry school in place of your senior year and will grant you a biology major.