The decision of whether or not to attend optometry school is not an easy one to make. On the one hand, optometrists can make in excess of $100,000 a year, but on the other hand, it takes years of dedicated training and hard work to become a successful optometrist capable of making anywhere close to $100,000 a year.
Ultimately though, if you compare optometry with a lot of other career choices, optometry comes out ahead. Optometrists have the opportunity to work with people each day, and they work in jobs that are mostly recession proof. After all, even during financial recessions people need to use corrective lenses.
If you decide to attend optometry school, it is best to start preparing early. Optometrists need to perform well as undergraduates and earn high grades in challenging math and science courses if they want to have a reasonable shot at being accepted to a U.S. optometry school.
There are only 21 optometry schools in the United States, and one of those is located in Puerto Rico, so prospective optometry school applicants do not have a lot of options as far as studying optometry goes.
As far as content is concerned, most optometry schools heavily emphasize studying the anatomy of the human eye, and becoming very familiar with the various pathologies that can afflict human eyes. There are a number of diseases that affect eyes, and it takes a number of years to learn their names and potential consequences.
After eye anatomy, optometry schools place strong emphasis on working with patients. Working well with patients is a learned skill, and one that a lot of people in the medical field find difficult.
However, with training it is possible to learn how to work well with people, and the cultivation of people skills is an important element of any good optometry school program.
Besides eye anatomy and people skills, optometry schools typically have their students study the latest research on treatments for eye conditions. There is a difference between studying diseases and treatments, and in recognition of this fact, most optometry schools have students learn about most eye diseases before they even broach the subject of treatments.
The information on treatments that is typically taught at optometry schools covers mostly refractive surgery treatments. LASIK surgery is a popular topic at most optometry schools, and as more and more eye treatment methods are developed, this part of the curriculum continues to grow.
Most optometry students also spend some time learning about implanted contact lenses, a relatively modern invention with the potential to revolutionize the practice of optometry.
Of course, it needs to be said that most optometry students are not fully prepared to be optometrists right after optometry school. Most optometry schools require that their graduates participate in post-schooling residency programs in order to better prepare them for the rigors of working in the real world.
Residency training is intended to shore up any optometry related gaps an optometry graduate might have, and to help all optometry students become more comfortable in the role of practicing optometrists.