Degree Programs

Certificate in Optometric Technology/Opticianry

The Indiana University School of Optometry is no longer accepting applications for this program.

Everything about Indiana University School of Optometry’s Optician/Technician Program leading to a Certificate in Optometric Technology/Opticianry is unique. It is the only optometric technician or optician program located at a school or college of optometry. Our programs share equipment, facilities, faculty, staff, and clinics, and courses are taught by many different faculty members who are experts in their fields.

You will have the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art clinical facilities, gaining experience afforded by a broad patient base. We are a small program, so you can make close friendships and receive lots of individual attention. But you will also enjoy the many opportunities and benefits of a large university.

Specialized training

The School of Optometry program has a complete on-site optical laboratory that does surfacing and finishing of lens prescriptions for our optometry clinics. Our opt tech students have the opportunity to learn how to fabricate and fill spectacle lens prescriptions that will be worn by our own patients. No other program has such a facility, enabling us to provide our students with an increased depth of understanding and expanded career opportunities.

As would be expected, course work and clinic experience prepare a student to work with eye care professionals. Our associate degree students work alongside Doctor of Optometry students, performing vision and eye tests, selecting and dispensing eyewear, and being active in contact lens care.

Career placement

The need for trained personnel in the ophthalmic field and eye care industry is very high. It is anticipated that the job opportunities and placement rate will be excellent for students completing either track of the program. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), states the job outlook as growing through 2020.

Degree requirements

You will have the option to complete a two-semester certificate in optometric technology/opticianry or build on this same certificate core curriculum (29 credits) to earn a two-year associate of science degree (60 credits). The certificate will enable you to learn marketable skills and enter the workforce more quickly than in the past.

Students may earn an Associate of Science degree in Optometric Technology/Opticianry by completing general education requirements in addition to the certificate.

For students wanting a four-year degree, some IU Bloomington schools and departments accept optician/technician program credits toward a bachelor’s degree.

“Student Consumer Information” Disclosure

Certificate course descriptions

The number of credit hours given a course is indicated in parentheses following the course title. The abbreviation "P" refers to the course prerequisite(s). Unless otherwise noted, the prerequisites for all courses include enrollment in the School of Optometry and permission of the instructor.

  • TOPT-V 111 Optical Concepts & Properties  (3cr.) Study of optics of the eye and lenses used to correct the eye for basic refractive errors of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
  • TOPT-V 121 Ophthalmic Lens Laboratory Procedures  (3cr.) P: TOPT-V111 or VSCI-V250 or permission of the instructor. 

    Lecture and laboratory instruction in the finishing of ophthalmic lenses, including lens selection, decentration, orientation, and mounting. At the conclusion of the course students will be able to produce a spectacle lens prescription that is both visually pleasing and optically sound.

  • TOPT-V 131 Ophthalmic Optics (3cr.) P: TOPT-V111. Optical characteristics and design of standard ophthalmic, single vision, multifocal, absorptive, coated, occupational, low vision and sport vision lenses, prescription verification; prismatic effects; and lens decentration.
  • TOPT-V 151 Ophthalmic Procedures 1 (4cr.) Techniques and theory used in optometric practice including case history, visual acuity, refractive errors, auto-refraction, keratometry, pupillary reflexes, visual pathway and visual fields testing, color vision, binocular vision; including eye movements, accommodation, convergence and divergence, visual axis deviation and strabismus. Topics also cover working with different types of patients; such as the unhappy patient, the elderly, children and the mentally or physically challenged.
  • TOPT-V 153 Ophthalmic Dispensing (3cr.) Areas of study will include frame types and parts, facial measurements for fitting, functional and cosmetic aspects of frame and lens selection, frame alignment, adjusting, repair, and eyewear prescription ordering.
  • TOPT-V 155 Introduction to Clinic (1cr.) P: or C: TOPT-V121, TOPT-V131 and TOPT-V153 

    Clinical experience in patient reception, front office duties, payments, frame selection, dispensing, adjustment, verification and repair of eyewear.

  • TOPT-V 174 Office Procedures (3cr.) 

    Office procedures including appointment systems, recalls, telephone procedures, bookkeeping, accounts receivables, banking procedures, third-party insurance plans, payroll records, ethics, HIPAA compliance, professionalism, resume creation, interviewing skills, professional letter writing, computer systems using Microsoft Office programs and optometric software.

  • TOPT-V 201 Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye (3cr.) 

    This course provides an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the human visual system, with particular emphasis on the anatomy of the eye and visual pathway. Comparative anatomy of eyes will be used to identify common evolutionary pressures, and special cases of convergent evolution provide insight into the unique demands of a sensory organ designed to image the external world.  The structural relationships between the eye and its associated anatomy (bony orbit, extraocular muscles, afferent neural pathway, and both neural and vascular input) will also be examined to reveal the integrated structure-function relationships for the visual system.  The focus of this course is to employ a careful examination of ocular anatomy to reveal the precise functional roles of each component and the integrated visual system.  Extensive laboratory work emphasizes microscopic study of the monkey eye, dissection of a mammalian eye, examination of the human skull and brain, and direct examination of the human eye.  The laboratories will teach students the careful observational skills required for anatomical investigations and also the process by which function is inferred from structure.  There is no prerequisite for this course.  It is designed as an introduction to anatomical methods and an introduction to the human eye.  The course is targeted at freshmen or sophomore students who have a general interest in biology, anatomy, and those who might be considering specializing in the ocular health care field.

    This course satisfies the Breadth of Inquiry: Natural and Mathematical Sciences (N&M) requirement in the IUB General Education Common Ground curriculum.

  • TOPT-V 210 Fabrication Practicum I (3cr.) P: A grade of C- or above in TOPT-V121 and TOPT-V131. 

    Students are offered practical experience in the operation of a prescription optical laboratory. Theory in ophthalmic prescription work is combined with the development of skills necessary to assure that finished eyewear will be both optically correct and aesthetically pleasing.

    Note: A grade of C- or above in TOPT-V121 is a prerequisite for this course, but is not required for graduation.

  • TOPT-V 211 Fabrication Practicum II (3cr.) P: TOPT-V210. 

    Students are offered additional practical experience in the operation of a prescription optical laboratory. Theory in ophthalmic prescription work is combined with the development of skills necessary to assure that finished eyewear will be both optically correct and aesthetically pleasing.

  • VSCI-V 232 Contact Lens and Ocular Refractive Corrections  (3cr.) P: TOPT-V201 or VSCI-V250. 

    This course provides the student with an understanding of the basic concepts of contact lenses and refractive ocular corrections used to treat refractive error or diseases of the human eye. Emphasis is placed on the refractive structures of the eye, the cornea and crystalline lens, which are routinely manipulated by the application of contact lenses or ocular surgery to correct distance and near vision. Students will learn the normal anatomy, physiology and optical properties of these ocular structures, as well as the changes which require treatment with contact lenses and surgery. Extensive laboratory work emphasizes direct examination of the human eye using clinical procedures and the application and care of soft and gas permeable contact lenses. The laboratories will teach students the careful observational skills required for assessing the eye and contact lenses, as well as provide the student with the opportunity to gain important interpersonal communication skills. This course is designed as an introduction to the human eye and an introduction to contact lens methods and procedures, refractive surgery, and intraocular lens implants for the correction of distance and near vision. The course is targeted at freshmen or sophomore students who have a general interest in biology, anatomy, and those who might be considering specializing in the ocular health care field. TOPT-V201 Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye or VSCI-V250 Miracle of Sight are recommended for registration of this course or permission of the instructor.

  • TOPT-V 251 Ophthalmic Procedures 2 (3cr.) P: C- or above in TOPT-V151. Further principles and techniques used in ophthalmic practice, including glaucoma and tonometry, hypertension and measurement of blood pressure, automated perimetry, ocular imaging, significant systemic diseases affecting the eye, ocular pathology, ocular pharmacology, biomicroscopy, development of vision in children and the infant eye exam, the aging eye, blindness and partial sight, low-vision aids, ocular emergencies and urgent cases, and maintaining and calibrating ophthalmic equipment.
  • TOPT-V 254 Clinic Practicum 1 (4cr.) P: a grade of C- or above in TOPT-V153 and TOPT-V151 and P or C: TOPT-V121 and TOPT-V131.  

    Clinical experience in frame selection, dispensing, adjustment, verification and repair of eyewear.  Other practical skills may include the application of clinical skills assisting clinicians and instructors in the optometry clinics.

  • TOPT-V 255 Clinic Practicum 2 (3cr.) P: TOPT-V121 and a grade of C- or above in TOPT-V131, TOPT-V151, TOPT-V153, and TOPT-V251 

    Practical application of technical and managerial skills learned in courses and laboratories by assisting clinicians and instructors in the optometry clinics.

  • TOPT-V 256 Clinic Practicum 3  (3cr.) P: TOPT-V255 

    Additional clinical experience using technical and managerial skills learned in courses and laboratories by assisting clinicians and instructors in the optometry clinics.

  • TOPT-V 269 Selected Studies (3cr.) The student selects a clinical area of interest for further study.
  • TOPT-V 275 Topical Seminar (1cr.) Selected topics of interest.
Optician certification

Graduates of the Optician/Technician Program may become certified by the American Board of Opticianry. Candidates must pass a written certifying examination given at various locations throughout the United States. Certification may be required by the state in which the optician plans to locate. Some states require licensing for opticians and many of these states use the ABO certification exam as part of their licensing process.

For more information, contact:

ABO/NCLE
6506 Loisdale Road., Suite #209
Springfield, VA 22150
Phone: 703-719-5800 or 800-296-1379
Fax: 703-719-9144

Paraoptometric technician certification

The Certified Paraoptometric Technician Examination is prepared and administered by the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (CPC) with the assistance of Professional Testing Corporation. The purpose of this examination is to assure a level of knowledge to perform the function of a Certified Paraoptometric Technician (CPOT). Those who successfully complete the examination will be certified with the Commission on Paraoptometric Certification as a Certified Paraoptometric Technician.

For more information, contact:

American Optometric Association
243 N. Lindbergh Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63141-7881
Phone: 314-991-4100 or 800-365-2219 ext. 4210 or ext. 4135
Email: cpc@aoa.org