Why study optometry at a medical college?
Optometry is the area of medicine concerned with the heath of the eyes, visual systems and vision information processing.
Optometrists are trained to recognise diseases of the eye such as glaucoma and cataracts, alongside symptoms of other diseases such as diabetes.
A career in optometry will allow you to set up your own business as an optician if you wish, giving you a greater deal of autonomy and the chance to be your own boss. Alternatively, other optometrists choose to work in healthcare practices or hospitals alongside other medical professionals, offering treatment to more complex problems.
What will I study on an optometry program?
Most countries and medical schools will offer undergraduate programs in optometry, with honours programs taking three to four years to complete. You will study the basics of optometry such as optics and visual optics, anatomy, physiology and clinical procedures.
These themes will be developed throughout your optometry program at a medical college, with your final year largely spent working with patients in clinics.
Some medical colleges offer postgraduate optometry programs to graduates with previous medical experience.
It’s important to note that all optometrists must continue education and training throughout their careers. Indeed, this is compulsory to become a registered optometrist in some countries.
Length and structure
The length of an optometry course depends on the mode of study and the medical college you choose to study at. As a guide, most undergraduate optometry programs will take between three to four years to complete, with postgraduate courses taking between one and two years to finish.
Most optometry courses start with a period of intense classroom based study, before moving onto practice work with patients.
How can an optometry program help my career?
Optometry is a specialist subject that requires specialist knowledge, ongoing training and above all, experience. While optometrists tend to stay in the same career and industry for their whole working careers, the industry is relatively diverse and allows graduates to move between different job roles.
Most optometrists will start off working for other opticians or businesses to gain experience, before moving into their own practices or fields of study.
Alternatively, roles are available in hospitals, specialist eye departments and academia.
Different countries will have different entry requirements for students wanting to become optometrists. However, most medical colleges will ask for related qualifications in medical or science-based subjects. You may have to demonstrate the following:
- Minimum level of school education
- High level of numeracy and literacy
What to do next
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