For UC Davis Students
A Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) is a primary health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems and other abnormalities of the eye. Optometrists can prescribe optometric treatment such as corrective lenses, contact lenses or vision therapy to provide patients with clear and efficient vision. Optometrists are different from (1) ophthalmologists, who are physicians specializing in eye surgery and the treatment of eye diseases, and (2) opticians, who fill lens prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists.
The minimum educational requirement for optometrists is 135 quarter units of pre-optometry study and 4 years of optometry school, after which the Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) is awarded. The majority of successful applicants, however, have completed a bachelor’s degree before entering optometry school.
It is highly recommended that applicants obtain experience in the field of optometry before applying in order to obtain a realistic idea of what an optometrist does on a day-to-day basis. One way to gain experience is through an internship with an optometrist. The quality of the clinical experience will be much more important than the quantity of the experiences. Other people-oriented and health-oriented experiences are also helpful.
For additional information, refer to the Optometry School Preparation at UC Davis handout.
Health Sciences Advising has advising staff who are eager to answer any questions you may have in your preparation for optometry school.