The Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), also known as an Optometrist, provides most primary vision care. They examine people’s eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases, and they test patients’ visual acuity, depth and color perception, and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses and provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation. 

Optometrists analyze test results and develop a treatment plan. They administer drugs to patients to aid in the diagnosis of vision problems and prescribe drugs to treat some eye diseases. Optometrists often provide preoperative and postoperative care to cataract patients, as well as patients who have had laser vision correction or other eye surgery. They also diagnose conditions due to systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, referring patients to other health practitioners as needed. (Optometrists should not be confused with ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists are physicians who perform eye surgery and diagnose and treat eye diseases and injuries).

Students apply to optometry school using the Optometry Centralized Application Service.

This health profession description is from the U.S. Department of Labor occupational outlook handbook

Optometry school candidates require the completion of a four-year degree from an accredited college or university and must take the following prerequisite courses:

  • English or Writing -2 semesters
  • Biology with lab - 2 semesters
  • Chemistry with lab -3 semesters
  • Biochemistry - 1 semester
  • Physics with lab -2 semesters
  • Statistics - 2 semesters (depending on the individual school)

Some schools may require additional or recommended courses such as physiology and microbiology. Students are strongly encouraged to refer to the individual programs they wish to apply to for specific admission requirements. Refer to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO).

Professional Organizations

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO)-

American Academy of Optometry (AAO)-

American Optometric Association (AOA)-

Application Portals


School Directory

ASCO Member Schools and Colleges – ASCO (

Standardize Test

Optometry Admission Test (OAT)-

All optometry schools will accept the OAT; however, some programs may also accept the following exams as part of the application process: MCAT, GRE, PCAT. For more information, please refer to the specific program admissions requirements.