Graduate Education and Research

Graduate education can lead to satisfying careers in academia and research, as well as in industry, the military, government and private practice. The chart below shows a variety of paths to graduate training. Scroll down to see descriptions of research classifications, funding opportunities, and a list of research by topic that’s going on now at optometric institutions.

For a list of graduate programs at optometry schools and colleges, click here.

For more detailed descriptions of graduate programs and enrollment figures, click here.

To watch a video to learn more about careers in optometric research, click here.

Research Classifications and Descriptions

Research Classifications Descriptions
Basic Scientific research to improve understanding or prediction of phenomena
T0 Basic biomedical research, including preclinical and animal studies, not including interventions with human subjects
T1 Translation to humans, including proof of concept studies, Phase 1 clinical trials, and focus on new methods of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention in highly-controlled settings
T2 Translation to patients, including Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, and controlled studies leading to clinical application and evidence-based guidelines
T3 Translation to practice, including comparative effectiveness research, post-marketing studies, clinical outcomes research, as well as health services, and dissemination & implementation research
T4 Translation to communities, including population level outcomes research, monitoring of morbidity, mortality, benefits, and risks, and impacts of policy and change
Clinical Scientific research on clinical healthcare practices to establish or implement safety and efficacy of devices, medications, or interventions.
Education Scholarly activates related to improving optometric pedagogy


Funding Opportunities for Graduate Study and Research

Organization Opportunity Website
American Academy of Optometry William C. Ezell Fellowship
Joe and Janet Barr Early Career Cornea and Contact Lens Research Award
Jill and George Mertz Fellowship
Travel Grants
National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program
K08 Award
K23 Award
F Awards
Fight for Sight Post-Doctoral Awards
Lions Eye Research Foundation Eye Research Grants
Schools and Colleges of Optometry Many MS and PhD programs have funds to pay for tuition, stipends, and experiments See each school for details.

Other funding resources can be found at ARVO’s funding guide:

Optometric Research Categories (find out where research is being conducted)

Topic Categories Investigator Institution
Anatomy and Physiology
Molecular Biology
Systemic Diseases and the Eye
Contact Lenses Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham
Jeffrey Walline, OD, PhD The Ohio State University
Cornea and Anterior Segment
Dry Eye
Imaging and Instrumentation
Refractive Error Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham
Jeffrey Walline, OD, PhD The Ohio State University
Visual Neuroscience
Retina and Posterior Segment
Optic Nerve
Binocular Vision
Low Vision & Visual Development
Sports Vision
Public Health
Optometric Education
Acquired brain injury
Oculomotor function