Overview of Field

“Doctors of Optometry are the primary care doctors of the eye and the frontline protectors of vision—our most valued sense. As primary-care providers, doctors of optometry are educated, just as other physicians are, in general health and systemic disease. Optometrists are often the first to detect critical health issues—from diabetes to hypertension, from stroke to cancer—and refer their patients for timely treatment. Optometrists therefore enjoy the dual satisfaction of having the specialized knowledge to manage their patients’ eye health as well as the medical education to protect their overall wellness.” (Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, 2023)

Career Exploration

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry Career Guide, 2020

Applying to Doctor of Optometry (O.D) Programs

Applications are available August through April of senior year of your undergraduate degree. Most programs and schools release applications through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS) beginning in August each year. Please check for individual schools’ timelines and deadlines to be aware of. The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) has additional resources for applicants.

Pre-requisite Completion

The University of Louisville wants to support you with your career goals! Many of your required pre-requisites for your pre-health path can be completed right here at UofL in conjunction with your current academic program plan. Meet with your academic advisor for more information. In addition, consult the specific program you are applying to for pre-requisite requirements.


“Students who are planning to apply to schools of optometry can fulfill the pre-optometry course requirements at the University of Louisville. The only optometry school in the state of Kentucky is Kentucky College of Optometry at the University of Pikeville. Various contract spaces made available by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Since schools of optometry vary somewhat in their course requirements for admission, students interested in making application should select schools to which they have an interest in applying so that they can schedule courses to meet requirements for those schools. In general, students planning to make application to schools of optometry will need a minimum of three years of college coursework including a heavy concentration in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics) as well as courses in social sciences and humanities. Many schools of optometry give preference to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree; all schools require applicants to take the Optometry Admission Test.” (Source: UofL 2023-24 Undergraduate Academic Catalog)

Entrance Exam

Schools of optometry require the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) for admission.

Suggested test preparation resources:

Getting Involved

Check out the National Organizations linked below and UofL’s own Pre-Optometry Club: “An excellent way to either examine possible career options or to strengthen your decision to pursue a career in optometry. Not only are members given the opportunity to interact with outstanding UofL faculty, but they are also surrounded by fellow students who share similar interests, goals, and the same curriculum. Each year many exciting activities are planned for the club. Members may attend informational meetings and social events, as well as participate in community service and fundraising activities!”

These student organizations are active as of Fall 2023. You can find all active student organizations by visiting engage.

National Organizations & Resources