A Doctor of Optometry (OD) specializes in:

  • Performing vision tests to check for sight problems, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Checking for eye diseases, such as glaucoma
  • Prescribing eyeglasses, contact lenses and medications
  • Providing other treatments, such as vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation
  • Providing pre- and postoperative care to patients undergoing eye surgery
  • Evaluating patients for the presence of diseases such as diabetes and refer them to other healthcare providers as needed
  • Promoting eye health by counseling patients
icon of a human eye

Degree Program

You must earn a Doctor of Optometry (OD) from a college that meets accreditation standards set by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). Most schools of optometry require that students complete a bachelor's degree before pursuing their OD.


Course Prerequisites

Prerequisites for admission vary by school. The Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS), maintains a list of school and college prerequisites. Typical prerequisite courses include:

  • Biology 1 & 2 (BISC 1111, BISC 1112)
  • Chemistry 1 & 2 (CHEM 1111, CHEM 1112)
  • Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 (CHEM 2151/2153, CHEM 2152/2154)
  • Physics 1 & 2 (PHYS 1011 and PHYS 1012 or PHYS 1021 and PHYS 1022 or PHYS 1025 and PHYS 1026)
  • Microbiology (BISC 2336/2337)
  • English (UW1020 and WID requirements)
  • Mathematics and/or Statistics

Application Requirements



In addition to satisfying pre-optometry course requirements, applicants must submit test scores from the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). The OAT includes four sections: Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning.

GPA and Extracurricular Experience

In the 2018-19 application cycle, the average cumulative GPA for matriculating students was 3.44. Additional data on applicants and program cohorts, including average OAT scores, is available from ASCO.

Competitive applicants should also have experience working with an optometrist, whether through shadowing, volunteering or paid employment.


Application Process

All schools and colleges of optometry participate in OptomCAS. Applicants who apply through OptomCAS submit a completed web-based application comprised of biographical data, colleges and universities attended, academic course history, letters of recommendation, work experience, extracurricular activities, honors and a personal essay.


Apply Early

OptomCAS typically opens in late June/early July. Application deadlines vary, and it is your responsibility to know the deadlines for each schools to which you apply. Apply well in advance to have the best chance of admission.


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