Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Day of Optometry School


No matter how much you prepare for the start of your four years in optometry school, there will no doubt be some things you end up learning as you go. To help you avoid learning “the hard way,” as they say, we found four students nearing the end of first year who were willing to share what they eventually realized about situating themselves for success. Here’s what these members of the class of 2021 had to say.

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Patients Benefiting from Interprofessional Education


The buzzword throughout health care and especially throughout optometry is interprofessional communication and care.

While sounding simple on paper, interprofessional education (IPE) presents a series of challenges, but that does not mean that we should not endeavor to reach this destination, especially as the health care model continues to shift in this general direction.

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The Important Role of Optometrists in Today’s Dynamic Market


I’m often asked by students for advice as they begin their career. My answer is simple and consistent—never lose sight of why you chose to be an Optometrist.

I remember, early on in my career, I was taking care of a patient who had just returned from the war in Iraq. He was only 20 years old and had recently lost all his limbs following an IED explosion. Despite needing visual correction, with the physical limitations he was experiencing, he craved the freedom of not needing to continually ensure spectacles remained on. My desire was to give this young soldier, who gave us all so much through his sacrifice, the gift of sight.

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CooperVision’s Student Ambassador Experience


Each year, a third or fourth year student at each college of optometry has the opportunity to serve as a CooperVision student ambassador. The program is designed to give a student with an interest in the contact lens industry an opportunity to partner with CooperVision and to facilitate sponsorship and other opportunities at their school. The Student Ambassador acts as a liaison between the optometry school and CooperVision and receives a $500 educational grant for their time and effort.

Company Description: CooperVision’s dedication to prescription contact lens design, materials and manufacturing excellence enhances the wearing experience of contact lens patients the world over. CooperVision concentrates on all day wearing comfort in the widest variety of lens designs, materials and wearing options.

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Retina Focus: How Do You Know if Treatment is Working?


Determining the effectiveness of treatment in a patient with suspected retinal pathology can be challenging. While visual acuity can serve as a benchmark, vision gains do not necessarily correlate with improvement in structure or global function. Despite the array of diagnostic modalities available to the eye care expert, very few of them deliver actionable information that is helpful in deciding if treatment is working, when to change course, or perhaps even when to cease treatment because risks outweigh the potential benefits.

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A Visit to Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University – Education Strengthens our Ability to Serve our Customers


The vision care field is continually evolving, with new technology and techniques being pioneered at a fantastic pace. Continuing education is required of optometrists to keep up with these innovations; why shouldn’t we as industry partners engage in ongoing training in order to serve our ODs better?

Volk has a comprehensive in-house training program for employees. With slit lamps, BIOs, lenses and model eyes, we can get a really great understanding of basic eye anatomy. However, static model eyes, 2D textbooks and videos just can’t effectively simulate the tremendous variety of real patients our ODs see in their practices. In an effort to see what our customers actually see, we were fortunate to partner with Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University.

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Top 10 FAQs for Opening a New Optometry Practice


Along with the excitement of going into business for yourself, there’s often a bit of apprehension. Sound guidance and tips from someone who’s already successfully traveled the journey of business start-up and ownership can be an invaluable resource. In this brief article, I share my own experience to answer some of the most common questions asked by doctors just starting out in practice. I hope you find this information helpful and I wish you the best in your new endeavor!

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Optometrists: Changing Lives on the Daily – Part II


Interest in a health professions career such as optometry can spring from a variety of motivations, but a desire to help people is a common inspiration. Sight is such a precious human sense, the care optometrists provide is of immense value to the patients they serve. As shown in the international Barometer of Global Eye […]

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Doctors of Optometry: Changing Lives on the Daily – Part 1


Interest in a health professions career such as optometry can spring from a variety of motivations, but a desire to help people is a common inspiration. Sight is such a precious human sense, the care optometrists provide is of immense value to the patients they serve. As shown in the international Barometer of Global Eye […]

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Starting from the Ground UP – A Guide to Opening a New Optometry Practice


Opening a practice cold or buying a practice is a very challenging, yet rewarding adventure. There are many ways to go about this business opportunity, however you must have two key elements to succeed: a good mentor and an excellent support system. With these two things, along with the proper research and drive, you WILL succeed.

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Pursuing Optometry? Health Professions Scholarship Fund Can Help!


Just little over a year ago I realized becoming a part of the U.S. Navy could be my reality. This reality was never fathomed or appreciated before I learned of the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).

Even when I first learned of this scholarship, it seemed too good to be true, and so I discounted the application process as I simply did not see myself in the military. Well, I was obviously wrong and thank goodness.

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Is .edu For You?


If this isn’t your first time reading ASCO’s Eye on Optometry blog, you know about the variety and versatility a career in optometry has to offer. The list of potential positions and practice settings is quite long. In just one of the possible settings, academia, which is the focus of this post, a future optometrist […]

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Pre-Optometry Clubs with Brighter Visions: Helping their Campus & Community One Day at a Time


Pre-Optometry Clubs are an excellent way for prospective optometry students to learn more about the optometry field and develop their interests. Pre-Optometry clubs can help undergraduate students in their application processes as well as help them gain mentors who share their same passions. Often, Pre-Optometry clubs can provide opportunities for students to make lasting impacts […]

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A Short Conversation with Dr. David Damari, ASCO President


Each July, ASCO swears in a new President to serve for the year. This year’s President, Dr. David Damari, sat down with ASCO’s Intern, Amanda Howarth, and Director of Communications, Kimberly O’Sullivan to talk about the next twelve months. Dr. David A. Damari is the Dean at Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry. Prior to […]

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My Internship at ASCO


Written By:  Amanda Howarth, ASCO Intern Four months ago I joined the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry as an intern, and I could not be happier with my decision. In my short time here, I cannot believe how many new skills I’ve gained and how much I’ve learned about the field of optometry. […]

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Four Schaeffers Come to One Conclusion: Optometry is a Great Career


Dr. Jack L. Schaeffer, OD, FAAO, has such a remarkable passion for optometry as a career that his enthusiasm has proven to be contagious. The success of the 18-location (and still growing!) full-scope eye care practice he founded in Alabama is built upon his love for the profession, an unwavering commitment to his patients, and […]

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Social Life in Optometry School: What’s it Like?


Compared to undergraduate school, a health professions education such as a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree program involves a heavier course load, more challenging material and a more serious commitment. Students really invest themselves and work hard to eventually experience the stability, flexibility, desirable income and personal satisfaction of an optometric career. But that doesn’t […]

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Can You Take a Gap Year Before Optometry School?


In 2016, when President Obama’s daughter Malia decided to take a “gap year” between high school and college, it was widely reported and drew a lot of attention to the concept. College graduates, too, can consider taking a gap year before moving on to graduate or professional school, including optometry school. This is something optometry […]

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An Optometrist Saved My Vision!


A marketing professional who has been collaborating with the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) for the past several years recently shared the following story with ASCO staff. She would like everyone to know how invaluable the accessibility, compassion and expertise of an optometrist were to her recently when she experienced a retinal […]

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Have You Considered an Optometry Residency?


As graduation from optometry school neared, Valerie Lam OD, FAAO, knew she wanted pediatrics and vision therapy to be her career focus, so she wanted to further sharpen her VT skills and add to the experience she gained in her fourth-year rotations. She and a classmate had discussed the possibility of opening their own practice, so […]

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15 Tips for Applying to Optometry School


Anyone familiar with the optometry school admissions process would say it’s more like a marathon than a sprint. One of the mileposts, by the way, is actually submitting the application to one or more schools through the online Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS), which opened for the 2016-2017 cycle on June 29. But there’s more to […]

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Is Your Son or Daughter Interested in Optometry School?


According to admissions officials at several of the schools and colleges of optometry, parents of prospective students often have similar questions about the admissions process and optometry school in general. Their questions tend to center around the costs of tuition and housing, availability of financial aid and the safety of the area where their sons […]

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Educational Research


Educational research should be at the forefront for all faculty, independent of subject taught, degree or level of education. Educational research can provide information on how our students learn and how we can be more effective teachers. Best practices for teaching methodology, delivery and assessment arekey to our success in the academic environment. Outcomes assessment […]

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Best Things about Optometry School


Eye on Optometry recently asked students and graduates to tell us what they consider to be the Best Things about Optometry School. And while the answers convey a lot about optometry school, they say just as much about the students and graduates themselves. For starters, their enthusiasm for all things optometry school — and optometry in general […]

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Part II: Where and How Will You Practice Optometry? Four ODs Talk About the Settings They’re Currently In


One of the many appealing elements of a career in optometry is the variety of settings in which doctors of optometry can work. We asked ODs from several different practice types to answer some questions, including what they find most challenging and most rewarding about their job, to give you a glimpse into the possibilities. Part II of this blog will cover the following settings:  large group private optometry practice, private practice (two owners), corporate optical adjacent and the opththalmic industry.

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Part I: Where and How Will You Practice Optometry? Four ODs Talk About the Settings They’re Currently In


One of the many appealing elements of a career in optometry is the variety of settings in which doctors of optometry can work. We asked ODs from several different practice types to answer some questions to give you a glimpse into the possibilities. Part I of this blog will cover the following settings: academic practice, solo private practice, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and corporate. Other practice settings will be covered in Part II.

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Too Cool for School? Nope. The Schools and Colleges of Optometry are Exactly Where You’ll Find the Latest, Quite Amazing, Diagnostic Technologies


Technology is an integral part of practicing medicine today, and optometry is no exception. Diagnostic technologies in particular have advanced rapidly. As the latest instruments make their way into clinical practice, they also become part of optometric education. The schools and colleges of optometry are committed to ensuring their students graduate with a full understanding […]

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Optometry and the Future of Health Care: Schools and Colleges Embrace Interprofessional Education


The curriculum for any student entering optometry school today will in some way include interprofessional education (IPE). IPE is a hot topic throughout medicine and an area of much activity in optometry. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) is a leader in working to ensure optometry students are prepared to participate in interprofessional care (IPC) when they graduate.

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Optometry: Good Work, Good Life


When it comes to being a great career choice, optometry always makes the list. Literally. A variety of outlets, including the Washington Post, Kiplinger and CNNMoney, routinely rank optometry with other vocations they deem, for example, “top industries for women entrepreneurs” or “best careers.”

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Optometry: An Inspired Career Choice


Three ODs discuss what led them to the profession and what keeps them loving it. Do you have an interest in science, medicine or health care but don’t quite know how to turn it into a career choice? Need some inspiration? If you consider optometry as a career, inspiration is not hard to find. Take […]

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Inside OptomCAS Part II: Your Personal Statement for Applying to Optometry School


In the previous post, we zoomed in on the Letters of Evaluation (LOEs) section of the application for optometry school, clarifying requirements and providing some pearls for effectively fulfilling them. This time we turn our attention to another crucial part of the application: the personal statement, a.k.a., the essay. The LOEs and the personal statement [both […]

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Are You an Optometry Student Who Feels the Need to Lead?


There are many reasons optometry is an outstanding career choice. To name just a few, it offers job security based on demand for services, personal satisfaction through helping people to improve their lives, and an enviable work/life balance. But we’d be remiss to not recognize that the current state of optometry as a career didn’t […]

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Why You Should Join, or Start, a Pre-Optometry Club


Even though you may have already decided that you want to be an optometrist — an exciting, in-demand, well-paying career — it doesn’t mean you couldn’t benefit from some help along the way. Joining a pre-optometry club is a great way to learn things you need to know about academic requirements, the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) and OptomCAS for […]

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The Importance of Shadowing in Pursuing an Optometry Career


One of the most important items on the How to Get into Optometry School Checklist is shadowing. Shadowing is when you spend time observing an optometrist as he or she works through a typical day. All health professions schools strongly recommend, require really, applicants to shadow. The point is threefold: to gain a real-world understanding of what people in the profession actually do, to ensure it’s what you want to do, and to help you prepare for the admissions interview, during which you’ll definitely be asked to explain why you want a career in the field.

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Pre-Optometry? Here are Six Questions You’re Eventually Going to Ask


We’ve been in the optometry biz for a long time, and because we’re the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), we know a lot about, well, the schools and colleges of optometry. We’ve also learned a thing or two about the students who aspire to a career in optometry and what they typically […]

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Take Charge of Your Financial Wellness in Optometry School and Beyond


The majority of optometry students utilize financial aid, including loans. You’ll likely be doing the same, so you’ll want to plan ahead of time how to finance your optometry education responsibly. As you probably know, the costs to complete a program in any of the health professions, which include not only tuition but also living and other expenses, have been on the rise.

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Which Optometry School is Right for You?


You can get a great education at plenty of schools and colleges of optometry, but to really make the most of it, you’ll need to look beyond the brochures. Ask yourself what you need to succeed in the career you are envisioning for yourself and what factors are most important to you when you think […]

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The Optometry School Admissions Interview: Be Ready if You Get the Call


All roads to optometry school lead through the admissions interview. This is the campus visit and sit-down with school or college representatives that you’ll be invited to attend if they think you would be a good fit after reviewing your OptomCAS application materials. If you get “the call” — these days it is usually “the e-mail” — […]

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Diversity Awareness and Cultural Competence in Optometry


Diversity Awareness and Cultural Competence in Optometry We use this blog space most often to provide information to folks who are considering pursuing a career in optometry. This time, we visit a topic that pertains to everyone in the field, now and in the future. Technically, it’s two topics — diversity and cultural competence — […]

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Optometrists Make a Difference in Daily Lives


By the time Ryan Corte, OD, graduated from optometry school, he had a clear picture in his mind of how he wanted to practice. He planned to provide full-scope care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to diagnosing and managing eye diseases and the ocular complications of systemic conditions.

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A Day in the Life of an Optometry Student


Whenever we move forward to a new phase in life, it’s reassuring to have at least some idea of what to expect. To give you some food for thought as you look ahead to attending optometry school, we asked two current students, one first-year and one third-year, what their typical day is like. They’re working […]

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Are You Ready for the OAT?


As you probably already know, all of the schools and colleges of optometry require applicants to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). In addition to having the right prerequisites and a good GPA, the OAT is another important checkpoint you’ll have to clear on your road to a career in optometry. Each school ranks the […]

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What Makes a Competitive Applicant to Optometry School?


For the 2013-2014 academic year, 6,676 students were enrolled in the 21 schools and colleges of optometry in the United States and Puerto Rico. If you’re aiming to join them in a future class, you’ll need — to steal a phrase from the famous book and movie about the dawn of America’s space program — […]

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A Day in the Life of an Optometrist


If you’re considering pursuing a career in optometry, you’ve probably already started researching how to apply to optometry school. That’s a great place to begin, but it’s never too soon to start thinking even further ahead. A key question to ask yourself is what exactly you picture yourself doing once you have your OD degree in hand. We called on two well-established and highly respected doctors of optometry to help you get your wheels turning in that direction. They shared with us what they do during a typical day.

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Introducing a New Blog: Eye on Optometry


Welcome to Eye on Optometry, a new blog from the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO)! The main goal of the blog is to provide timely and useful information to anyone who is interested in applying to optometry school. It’s all part of one of ASCO’s many strategic objectives, which is to help the schools and colleges of optometry develop a large, diverse and highly qualified national applicant pool while getting the word out about the attractiveness of a career in the profession.

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