When we talk about changes in optometry, it is important to look beyond just practicing ODs, but look at where a lot of that journey begins and takes place which is in optometry school.
Emilie Seitz discusses the changes in optometry and what optometry school is like now, particularly in regards to the emphasis schools now place in certain areas that might have been a bit different compared to even just a few short years ago.
There is a lot of discussion in the world of optometry around the medical model and a separation between those who practice it and those who do not. In optometry school however, there is no such differentiation. Refractive care and medical care very much are taught as a cohesive thing.
There is an increasing emphasis placed on providing the best care which includes a deep understanding of systemic health, and ocular manifestations of systemic disease, along with specialty care. The scope of education in optometry school has advanced to such a point where optometrists that are graduating are equipped with the skills and knowledge to practice both "routine" and medical care.
Watch more on why optometry students need to exit their comfort zones.
Many optometry schools have gotten on board with leveraging advancements in technology to not only implement in their clinics and provide students an opportunity to experience the latest in diagnostics; however, there have been enhancements in technology that have given optometry students an ability to learn skills and techniques differently than before.
There are virtual reality simulators that students can learn skills like binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy which has made it easier and more efficient when it comes to learning new skills.
There are some optometry schools that have started implementing courses dedicated to business and practice management that will only serve to benefit aspiring practice owners. For many ODs of yesteryear, this was a topic that was sorely under-taught.
Another area that has fueled learning and has in a way offered collaboration between optometry students of various schools is social media. Students are able to share with each other more than ever before including resources, tools, and techniques.
Check what 1,476 optometry students—20% of all U.S. students—had to say about optometry school in the 2021 Optometry Student Report!