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Optometrists specialize in the examination, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the eyes and visual system. Besides prescribing corrective lenses, optometrists often identify broader health concerns that are visible in the eye. A bachelor's degree is required (though some students are accepted after 2 to 3 years of undergraduate work) followed by a four-year optometry program.


  • 2 semesters General Biology with labs
  • Anatomy & Physiology with labs
  • 1 semester Microbiology
  • 2 semesters General Chemistry with labs
  • 1 semester Organic Chemistry with labs (some schools require 2 semesters)
  • 1 semester Biochemistry
  • 2 semesters Physics with labs
  • 2 semesters English
  • 1 semester General Psychology
  • 1 semester Calculus
  • 1 semester Statistics

Generally, a grade below a C is not acceptable for prerequisite courses

Career Guide with Pre-Opt Course Options at Purdue

Becoming an Optometrist

Optometry school is a four-year program culminating in a Doctor of Optometry (OD) title. Optometrists perform annual examinations to treat any vision problems, check for abnormalities, treat eye injuries, diseases and visual skill problems, and dispense glasses and corrective lenses. While some students are admitted with only 90 hours of college credit, the vast majority of students have a completed college degree when entering optometry school. A licensure exam is required to practice in the field. Since many optometrists are involved in running a business, taking accounting and other business courses is advised.

Aptitude Test and Application

Optometry schools require applicants to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). Plan to take the test the summer before you apply. The OAT consists of four sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry), reading comprehension, physics and quantitative reasoning. Application is made through a centralized service called OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application Service).

Links and Additional Optometry Information

Programs in Region