Welcome to University of Maryland's Pre-Optometry Society website!  Pre-Optometry Society is dedicated to students who are interested in learning more about Optometry as a career and the process to applying to Optometry schools.

Optometrists vs. Ophthalmologists vs. Opticians

Optometry is the health care profession that focuses on the health of the eye and vision.  This includes visual processing and structures that relate to the eyes.  Optometrists are concerned with primary vision care and vision management.  They typically prescribe corrective lenses to patients, can diagnose eye diseases and disorders, and can prescribe certain medication.  Optometrists receive a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree after about four years of optometry school.

Ophthalmologists receive an Eye Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree after graduating from medical school.  They are medical doctors who focus in eye and vision care and are trained in medicine and surgery.  Ophthalmologists treat eye diseases and can also prescribe corrective lenses.

Opticians are technicians.  They do not perform eye examinations or prescribe corrective lenses, but they fit lens and frames that have been prescribed to correct eyesight.

Specializations of Optometry

Currently there are 21 schools that offer an O.D. degree in the United States:

  • Alabama: University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Arizona: Arizona College of Optometry
  • California: University of California at Berkeley
  • California: Southern California College of Optometry
  • California: Western University of Health Sciences
  • Florida: Nova Southeastern University
  • Illinois: Illinois College of Optometry
  • Indiana: Indiana University
  • Massachusetts: New England College of Optometry
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences School of Optometry
  • Michigan: Michigan College of Optometry
  • Missouri: University of Missouri at St. Louis
  • New York: State University of New York
  • Ohio: The Ohio State University
  • Oklahoma: Northeastern State University
  • Oregon: Pacific University
  • Puerto Rico: Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, School of Optometry
  • Tennessee: Southern College of Optometry
  • Texas: University of Houston
  • Texas: University of the Incarnate Word


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