Doctor of Optometry

Earn a Doctor of Optometry degree

The four-year professional Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree program includes all the clinical and practical facets of optometry, as well as the theoretical and fundamental aspects of vision science.

From day one, our students are working on clinical cases that bring together topics in vision science, optics, biology, disease, genetics, and physiology-pharmacology.

During the summer after your first year, you can participate in research with our faculty members in a broad range of topics, including optical imaging, early diabetes detection, color vision, and disease.

Just 20 months after entering the IU School of Optometry, you will be ready to examine patients. Clinical practice continues into the third year and culminates with four 12-week externships during the fourth year.

A male customer tries on a pair of black rimmed glasses at the Atwater Eye Care Center. He is looking in the mirror while being helped by a female staff member.
A woman stares into an Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset and position tracking system.

Two eye care clinics—and patients of all kinds

Our students see patients of all backgrounds and ages in our two clinics: the Indianapolis Eye Care Center, located in the heart of the city, or the Atwater Eye Care Center in the diverse college town of Bloomington.

As an O.D. student at IU, you’ll learn how to perform an eye exam your first semester. Soon, you’ll start examining patients yourself, working alongside top doctors in primary care and specialty services, and addressing the full spectrum of conditions, from cataracts to diabetes.

The tools to grow your vision

An optometry student performs an eye exam

Externship opportunities

The IU School of Optometry is affiliated with more than 40 externship sites across the United States, so you will be able to complete your additional clinical rotations with recognized leaders in a number of specialty areas in any part of the country.

A male optometry student in shirt and tie holds up a binder of colored dot designs. The patient, a six-year-old boy, points to the page.

A residency just for you

Postgraduate residencies are a great way to sharpen clinical skills and get experience. More than 40 percent of our O.D. students complete residencies, and we have consistently ranked #1 or #2 nationally in residency matches over the past five years.

Three male students in a classroom setting

Problem-based learning

Through our Integrative Optometry course, you will solve problems in clinical cases that relate to courses taught in optics, biomedical, and ocular biology modules. Students meet in small groups to discuss the problems, guided by a faculty member.

Two optometry students perform an eye exam on a female patient.

Practice team-based care

Through Interprofessional Education, you will strive to improve the standards of patient care and foster the highest quality of collaborative practice. The skills you learn will enable you to be a practice-ready healthcare professional.

How our students performed on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam (2016–17)

85%of students passed Part 1 on the first try (compared to national average of 72.9%)

97.1%of students passed Part 2 on the first try (compared to national average of 87.6%)

99%of students passed Part 3 by graduation

96%of students passed all three exams by graduation