Doctor of Optometry
How will an Indiana University School of Optometry O.D. degree set you apart? At the School of Optometry, you get a premier clinical educational experience. Externship supervisors around the country consistently comment that School of Optometry students are the best prepared for their clinical experience. Our graduates are also known to excel on the National Board exams.
A School of Optometry optometric education and the Doctor of Optometry degree will provide you with a variety of career opportunities. Optometrists are recognized as primary vision care providers. Moreover, optometrists provide specialty vision care in contact lenses, ocular disease, pediatrics and binocular vision, sports vision, and visual rehabilitation.
In addition, because of optometrists’ broad knowledge in vision and medical sciences, they are leaders in academia; industries such as optical, computer software, pharmaceutical, and contact lenses; and entrepreneurial start-ups.
The four-year professional optometry curriculum includes instruction in all the clinical and practical phases of optometry as well as in the theoretical and fundamental aspects of vision science. It requires six semesters of professional courses, including a three-week summer assignment prior to the third year and four 12-week rotations to external clinic settings during the fourth year.
School of Optometry Board Exam Ultimate Pass Rate
Graduates of our program have an average ultimate pass rate over the last five years (2009-2013) of over 90%.
Our vision science faculty bring the future of optometry to the classroom. School of Optometry vision scientists are nationally and internationally known as leaders in the profession. You will be exposed to the latest and most significant new developments in optical instrumentation, spectacle and contact lens development, diagnostic equipment, and the basis for diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.
M.S. in Vision Science
Inspired by the experience, some students opt to do research and obtain an M.S. in Vision Science during their four years at the School of Optometry. Regardless of their level of research involvement, students will often have the opportunity to attend national meetings, such as the American Academy of Optometry, to present their work, including clinical case studies, translational research, or other research.
In addition to the customary lecture courses, the School of Optometry has instituted an integrative optometry course series. From day one, our students are working on clinical cases as this course brings together topics in vision science, optics, biology, disease, genetics, and physiology-pharmacology. In Integrative Optometry, students are given clinical cases and perform research to uncover the underlying basic science concepts needed to understand the case. Integrative Optometry is held in small group meetings with a faculty facilitator and uses the problem-based learning approach. This course not only brings the different areas of vision science together, it also provides a clinical real-life link to the basic vision and biomedical sciences. In our Integrative Optometry course, you solve challenging clinical cases by breaking the material down to the underlying basic science. As your education continues, the clinical science courses parallel the basic science courses so that links between the two areas are relevant and apparent. For example, what you learn in anatomy is directly reinforced by learning how to look at the eye in the clinical course.
In the first two years, students can assist in the clinic. Just 20 months after entering the School of Optometry you will be ready to examine patients. This continues into the third year, and culminates with four 12-week externships during the fourth year. In addition to a rotation that takes place in Bloomington or Indianapolis, which assures that you get experience in every specialty clinic—Cornea & Contact Lenses, Ocular Disease, Low Vision and Rehabilitation, and Pediatrics/Binocular Vision—you also can focus on your preferred part of the country, and/or area of expertise.
You will select your other rotations from an extensive list of external sites. A sample from a total of 45 sites across the country includes:
- Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, FL
- Bowersox Vision Center, Shelbyville, KY
- Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat, Charlotte, NC
- Dayton, OH, Veteran Affairs Clinic
- Eye Institute of Utah
- Eye Surgeons of Indiana
- Ft. Knox Optometry Clinic - Ireland Community Hospital, Ft. Knox, KY
- Huntington, WV, Veteran Affairs Clinic
- McDonald Eye Care Associates, Lakeville, MN
- North Suburban Vision Consultants, Deerfield, IL
- Quantico Naval Clinic, Virginia
- University of Nebraska Ophthalmology-Truhlsen Eye Institute
At the School of Optometry, in addition to our premier clinical experience, you will have the opportunity to learn about or take part in research. During the summer after your first year, you can elect to participate in research with our faculty members in the area of your choice thanks to the Dean’s Scholars Program. This program provides summer stipends for School of Optometry students to perform research with our faculty members in the school’s laboratories.
Research at the School of Optometry is very broad. It includes: optical imaging, early diabetes detection, color vision, infant visual development, contact lens optics, ocular surface physiology and dry eye, glaucoma, control of eye movements and sports vision, ocular physiology, and disease. Our faculty has grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, nongovernment foundations, and from the vision care industry.