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Pacific University offers a four-year doctor of optometry program preparing tomorrow's optometrists for licensure and practice.
Our core perspective on optometry education is distinctive. We believe that vision and eye health are foundational to people’s success and enjoyment of life — throughout their lives. Our approach to curriculum and course design, delivery, and sequencing is thoughtful, based on over 75 years of experience fulfilling our mission and supporting our profession.
We're here to help on your way to becoming an optometrist! Learn about the admissions process and contact your admissions counselor.
What is a Doctor of Optometry?
Optometry is a healthcare profession that specializes in the examination, diagnosis, and care of the visual system. The American Optometric Association defines doctors of optometry (ODs/optometrists) as:
- Essential health care providers and are recognized as physicians under Medicare. They examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care, they play a major role in an individual’s overall health and well-being by detecting systemic diseases, and diagnosing, treating and managing ocular manifestations of those diseases, and providing vaccinations.
- Prescribe medications, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses and perform certain surgical procedures.
- Counsel patients regarding surgical and non-surgical options that meet their visual needs related to their occupations, avocations and lifestyle.
- Complete pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of professional education at a college of optometry, leading to the doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree. Many doctors of optometry complete an additional residency in a specific area of practice.
Why Become an Optometrist?
- Optometrists change lives! You will have a real opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by providing vital healthcare services to the community. Imagine helping a child clearly see the world around them, diagnosing and treating a patient’s ocular disease, or providing eye glasses to a population that has no access to eye care. You can make a profound impact on the health and well-being of others.
- Optometry is a rewarding career! You will have excellent career opportunities, with the ability to work in a variety of settings, including private practice, group practice, retail/optical, corporate/industrial, military, VA medical centers, public health/hospitals/interdisciplinary settings, academics, and research.
- Optometry is high in demand! The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that Optometry jobs will grow at a rate of 9 percent from 2022 to 2032.
Optometry At Pacific
The curriculum consists of classroom and laboratory experiences designed to prepare you for clinical care. The fourth year is entirely four full-time rotations. We partner with over 125 sites, including international opportunities in Canada, Germany and Colombia.
Our students start gaining real-world experience right away. During the first semester of the first year, students provide care and receive direct outreach experience with a diverse patient population. By the time they graduate, they will have rotated through multiple clinics, serving a wide range of patients.
Pacific University graduates are fully qualified to practice in any state in the U.S. and province in Canada, because the curriculum meets and exceeds most educational requirements. The curriculum also prepares students for successful completion of the exams administered by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) and Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC). Our students consistently score above the national average on the exams, which reflects the excellent education our students receive here at Pacific University.
In addition to clinical training, Pacific's College of Optometry demonstrates its commitment to quality optometric research by offering all students an opportunity for elective credit in research. The College has a state of the art research facility and encourages faculty and students to attend scientific meetings.
Members and coaches of the Pacific handball team come together with the College of Optometry and the U.S. Handball Association to develop ASTM eye protection standards for the sport.
With eyes on the skies for a pair of solar eclipses, Pacific's Todd Duncan & Karl Citek provide insights into the science behind eclipses and tips for keeping your eyes safe for upcoming events in October and April.