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Southern Oregon University

Pre-Optometry at Southern Oregon University

SOU offers a special three-year program which awards the Bachelor’s Degree in Biology to a student upon completing a variety of SOU requirements and the successful completion of the first year of the professional optometry program at Pacific University. 

What is an optometrist?

An optometrist or Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) is a health care professional who is specifically educated, trained and state licensed to examine the eyes for the presence or absence of vision problems, eye diseases or other abnormalities. They gather information on the vision system during the optometric examination and diagnose any conditions discovered. They prescribe treatment such as prescription lenses, contact lenses, other optical aids or vision therapy to provide the patient with clear and efficient vision. In some states, optometrists are licensed to use topical drugs for therapeutic purposes. During an examination, optometrists also look for signs of general health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or hardening of the arteries that often can be detected in the eyes. They refer patients with eye or other disease signs to the appropriate health care practitioner and often work with other health professionals in co-managing a patient.(1) Currently, approximately 70% of all eye care is delivered by Doctors of Optometry.

(1) Admissions to schools and colleges of Optometry, American Optometric Association, Fall, 1987.