|$ OAT Exam: $505||$ $ ACMO Exam: $780||$ $ $ Optometry School: $25K - $50K|
One of our most important senses is sight.
The eyes are complex and fragile organs that generally don’t get the same attention as other parts of our bodies.
However, it is essential to have regular check-ups and exams in order to maintain our eyes and vision in the best possible condition.
There are mainly two professionals that specialize in the care of our vision, Ophthalmologists, and Optometrists.
In the next few sections, we’ll focus on Optometrists, becoming one, and the cost of Optometry School.
Table of Contents
What Is Optometry?
Optometry is a healthcare specialization concerned with the examination of the eyes to detect any diseases or defects as well as with the prescription of correctional lenses.
Optometrists are the professionals that specialize in this field.
What Does an Optometrist Do?
Optometrists examine the eyes in order to diagnose and treat injuries, diseases, and any other problems present in the eyes.
The most common responsibilities and duties of an Optometrist are: to examine a patient’s vision by employing different tests, diagnose diseases or injuries that could be affecting a person’s sight, create and provide specific treatments, prescribe glasses and contact lenses, and advise patients on how to maintain good habits that promote eye health.
What Is the Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?
These two professions can create confusion since they both concentrate on the vision and the eyes.
But there is a fundamental difference between these professions.
An Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that can diagnose a wider range of diseases and problems in the eyes, and can also perform surgeries and prescribe medication.
On the contrary, Optometrists are able to diagnose and treat a certain range of visual health problems and in most cases, they are not allowed to prescribe medication to patients or perform major eye surgeries.
The difference between professionals from both areas of knowledge is the educational background they possess.
To become an Ophthalmologist is mandatory to go to medical school, something that Optometrists are not required to do.
How Do I Become an Optometrist?
There are different steps you must take to become an Optometrist.
Even though medical school is not required, it is still considered a highly specialized area, thus theoretical knowledge and practice are key elements in Optometry.
You must first obtain a Bachelor’s degree, which could be in any field.
Yet some courses must be taken before applying to Optometry School, such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English, among others.
The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) is an exam provided by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO).
This test is for people who aspire to enter Optometry School since it measures the knowledge of certain subjects associated with the profession.
Depending on the school you choose, the requested score might change.
This is where you must go if you want to become a Doctor of Optometry (DO).
Most of these programs are taught in colleges and universities.
The first two years are usually dedicated to theoretical classes and the next two years, are a combination of classes and clinical instruction.
After completing classes and graduating, you could start a residency for a minimum of 12 months, although it might not be mandatory.
The Advanced Competence in Medical Optometry (ACMO) exam is recommended to all graduating Doctors of Optometry, since the American Board of Certification in Medical Optometry (ABCMO) uses the passing of this exam in their certification process.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Optometrist?
Optometry School lasts four years to complete, studying full-time.
If you include the four years to obtain the undergraduate degree and the residency program, in total, it would be 9 years to become an Optometrist.
How Much Does Optometry School Cost?
The cost of Optometry School is going to vary according to the city where you aspire to study, the institution you choose, and the type of program.
On average, you could spend from $25,000 to $50,000 per year.
The OAT exam costs $505.
The ACMO exam is $780.