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Ranking of Optometry Schools

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by jb4teen, Dec 7, 2004.

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  1. jb4teen

    jb4teen Member

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    Hi, I was just wondering if there is a website or magazine that ranks the optometry schools in the United States? This may help in the decsion of where to pursue. Thanx
  2. rpames

    rpames Optometrist

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    There is no such ranking but there are several threads here that have addressed this issue in the past.
  3. jb4teen

    jb4teen Member

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    Alright thanx.
  4. chester

    chester Member

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    I asked an experienced optometrist (who I work for), this same question. His response was something like: SUNY, New England are right there at the top. And SCCO is very good, and despite UC Berkeley's great reputation, their optometry students are soo damn smart/nerdy that they lack people/communcation skills.

    This isn't my opinion, so I hope nobody is offended. I am also curious to other people's opinions on school rankings.
  5. jb4teen

    jb4teen Member

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    I hear Waterloo is up there too. But, I think it is unfair to compare it to any of the US schools. It is the only school in Canada (unless you can speak French), therefore everyone talks about it and the "hype" may give its reputation a little boost than it actually deserves.


    Just a thought.
  6. Rosanna

    Rosanna Not rejected by the CIA

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    :laugh:

    Actually, this isn't the first time I've heard this. Sadly, I've noticed that people tend me be harder on UCBSO students and there are certainly more negative rumors about the school circulating around (i.e., we are a research school).

    Everyone has their own ideas of what makes a school better than others, so I would say take everything with a grain of salt and form your own opinions. Definitely consider where the source is coming from when getting information like that (Where did that person go to school? How much experience did they have with graduates from that school to generalize the entire graduating class as “damn smart/nerdy”? Were they rejected from the school? Denied a teaching/research position?).

    My experience with optometrists and ophthalmologists is that their general opinion is all optometry schools have relatively equal clinical experience and it’s the student who makes the most out of those resources that does exceptionally well.

    I can say how much I love Berkeley and everything else about the school but it comes down to that I'm biased because I go to school here. I still think the other schools have great programs but hey, there is some school pride in me. :)

    You need a certain amount of book smarts to get in any optometry school, but I think the bar is a little raised for Berkeley since they can be a little pickier with the small class size. Sadly, I can name a handful of students that I know that have the absolute worst communication skills in the world here, but I can also name a bunch more that are the most sociable people I've ever met.

    - Rosanna
  7. Richard_Hom

    Richard_Hom Senior Member

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    Dear Optoemtry Forum,

    The notion of ranking may not necessarily provide the appropriate answer for the poster. The poster's own requirements as what is important is necessary.

    For instance, different institutions have different biases. Some are better at preparing "scientific" optometrists. Some may do better with clinical skills because of the "sheer number" of patients that the pre-doctoral students will see either "on campus" or "off campus"

    Regardless, here are some questions:
    1. Do I take the same pre-doctoral, pre-clinical courses as my medical and dental peers?

    2. Do I have a good foundation in systemic biochemistry, anatomy, physiology?

    3. In my clinical rotation years, how many patients will I see. I would imagine that this is crucial. I'd like to see the optometrist see about 500-750 patients before they graduate.

    4. Will I get a varied patient population. Optometrists, of course, have traditionally seen the "well eye" patient of 5-75. As the national population "greys" it is vital to see as many "senior citizens" as possible in order to be absolutely comfortable in this environment.

    5. Will I get a varied and critical analysis of my skills every bit along the way. In the current environment of "everything is ok", I believe that students are not critically appraised sufficiently. Some newer optometrists are offended by any criticism.

    6. In my opinion, optometric education is still "uneven". Residency programs aside, this is unfortunate. In other words, to become competent much self-study is needed. An unstructured approach to your education may catapult you ahead if you put your mind to it.

    IMHO of course,
    Richard
  8. chester

    chester Member

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    Rosanna, I am pursuing SCCO, UCBSO, and Pacific. What is the exam schedule like at UCB? For example, I know that SCCO has their first year studnents take exams from 8am-9am, monday and wednesdays (if i remember correctly from my interview), which is a quick-paced exam, leaving no room for mistakes.

    Yes, I have heard the "research school" rumor from several optometrists. What kind of research work is required by students, if any? (just wondering how this rumor is backed up).
    I have also been told that UCBSO's contact lens department is very good. Do you have any information on this?
    thank you!
  9. Rosanna

    Rosanna Not rejected by the CIA

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    Hello:

    The exam schedule is different for every class since it's up to the professor. There is no set quiz date every week such as what happens at SCCO or at ICO (which I heard does the same thing). The professors usually are quite flexible with exam schedules and will work with the class to make sure you aren't taking one exam after the other. The problem I faced was that it was quite easy to fall behind. I was use to a quarter system and going to a semester system meant that there was lot more opportunity for me to slack off and then having to cram around 15 weeks of material when finals came along (compared to 10 weeks in a normal quarter). I had one class whose grade depended on only a midterm and final.

    No in-depth scientific research is required. You will need to complete an O.D. thesis before graduation, but then that can be as simple as doing a survey. There are many research opportunities on campus especially the NEI summer program which several of my classmates completed last year, so there is a possibility of researching if you are interested.

    We have about 7 different exam areas in the clinic. Mod A and B are for regular exams. Mod C is our Medical Mod and where you work with several ophthalmologists. Mod E is for Contact Lenses. Mod F is Low Vision. We also have an Infant-Toddler exam area that is one entire floor downstairs from the clinic. You will have the opportunity to rotate through all these mods, the Eyewear Center, and the Laser Vision correction center.

    You will begin seeing patients the summer after your 2nd year completes. So in June, you will be completing regular exams all by yourself under the direction of a clinical instructor. Most schools start students doing regular exams with a group of classmates, but you actually start here all by yourself. There are usually 2-4 clinic professors available in your area for you to have your work checked off. Before that, pre-clinic instruction starts the first week of 1st year so you'll be fairly prepared when you need to make that transition to the clinic. I just learned that our clinic director is trying to see if he can schedule 2nd year students to start seeing patients in the clinic spring semester one day/week. I'm not sure if that will be happening though.

    For contact lens exams, you will actual shadow a 4th year student first during the summer before doing the exam by yourself. The CL department is run by a professor that you will meet during the first semester of school here (he teaches the "Optometry" class). I think the CL department is good (as are the other departments) and I've been a CL patient several times there and have had good experiences.

    As Dr. Hom mentioned, you should really ask the optometry school you are interested in about how many patients you will expect to see before you graduate. At Berkeley, you will see at least 2000 individual patients (that is directly from the Dean of Academic Affairs).

    I hoped I answered all your questions.

    Best wishes,

    Rosanna
  10. Richard_Hom

    Richard_Hom Senior Member

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    Rosanna,

    Where is the interaction with primary care physicians? Pediatricians? certified diabetic educators? Any "on call" routines?

    I believe that realizing the depth of responsibility and 'one's boundaries aren't reached until you've done "on call" for an ER. Unless I'm mistaken, I don't see many of the clinical rotations at any of the schools including this. Let me say it is invaluable experience.

    Richard
  11. christie

    christie Senior Member

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    At PCO, we have an emergency department, where we see walk-in emergency patients..starting late 2nd year. Then when we come back 4th year to do our peds rotation, we have a choice to do peds and low vision or peds/emergency/primary care.

    Dr. Hom is right, emergency experience is invaluable and I learned a lot seeing emergency patients :)
  12. Rosanna

    Rosanna Not rejected by the CIA

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    Hi Dr. Hom,

    The clinic is open 7 days/week so student clinicians do see emergency patients if they can come in during the regular office hours. I worked in the clinic during the summer and we would schedule emergency patients to any clinician (3rd or 4th year student) that had an opening in their schedule. However, when the office is closed, the students are not "on-call" and I believe it's mainly the residents who take on that responsibility. I believe it’s during your rotations when you start taking on-call emergencies.

    I believe the interaction with primary care physicians, pediatricians, and a certified diabetic educator is very minimal. However, I'm only basing my information on what I saw as an employee for the clinic.

    Best wishes,

    Rosanna
  13. jb4teen

    jb4teen Member

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    For anyone thats goes to NOVA. How is Ft. Lauderdale? Is it a good town to live in? I from what I can see its a smaller center which I think would be nice. There must be lots to do with the ocean being right there. Any info would be helpful. Thanx.
  14. Richard_Hom

    Richard_Hom Senior Member

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    Emergency room experience isn't emergency room of an optometry school but of a general medical hospital or clinic. You've self-selected patients that you might be able to handle.

    Do a clinical rotation where you have decide what you can and cannot handle and you'll soon realize what I'm talking about. It will also be a growth experience for sure.

    The type of problems that you will see will be quite different than from an emergency room experience overall. That is why I feel that most newly graduated or newly minted residents aren't equipped to handle what comes from a 'general' emergency room.

    IMHO of course,
    Richard
  15. rpames

    rpames Optometrist

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    I'm probably just misssing something, but I don't think any of us are taught how to handle an ER rotation. As ODs we are not in the position to evaluate that type of situation. I understand how a high stress enviroment will force you to get your butt in gear, but how often will an OD need to utilize that in their private careers?
  16. christie

    christie Senior Member

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    rpames,

    I agree with you.
  17. Richard_Hom

    Richard_Hom Senior Member

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    Rather than a ER rotation, it should be called "on call" from a "general ER". Even if it was an ER rotation, one student rotating through the ER will see about 25--30% eye complaints only. Our ER in a humble 100-bed hospital sees 2 or more serious corneal infections a day, about 1-2 acute bacterial conjunctivitis, about 2-4 blunt trauma to the face or eye.

    You won't get that kind of emergency eye medicine sitting at an "urgent care" optometry clinic.

    Why? Because if you want to someday practice in a broader scope, you'll need it. With the present state of optometry education, ophthalmologists need not fear optometrists from significantly intruding upon their space because of the present state of interest at the predoctoral level. You see, the attitude I'm trying to instill on this forum should not wait till after you graduate but before.

    IMHO of course,
    Richard
  18. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member

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    I think what Dr. Hom suggest above is very reasonable, and would be beneficial to a profession that sees its self as the provider of primary eye-care in North America. Although I cannot attest to the volume of patients seen by optometry students in Canada or the USA, it seems that if even a small ER sees this many patients with concerns that can be dealt with at the primary level then there is a place for optometry students/residents in that ER. While again I don't know how many emergency cases students will see in their respective college clinic, I can certainly see how emergency patients would not think to visit such a clinic (unless it had an obvious name, like PCO's "Eye Clinic," and had a know presence in the community) and head directlly to their local ER. Some ER experience sounds like it would certainly help to fortify the optometrist skill in the managment of ocular conditions whose treatment falls within the scope of practice. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as though all but the most serious instances of such infections could be managed by the optometrist where legislation permits the prescription of pharmacological agents by OD's.

    Are optometrist trained and qualified to treat blunt trauma?

    While the ER may not be the most efficient place to treat these patients, I believe that if this is a place where a student can improve their proficiency and competence then the profession should seek a role providing primary eye-care in the ER or at least find a way to use the setting to improve their clinical education.
  19. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member

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    Dr. Hom,

    Since your are employed within a hospital, could you please tell us what your role, as an optometrist, is? The reason I am not very familiar with the duties of in-hospital OD's is that I live in Ontario, Canada and OD's are still working under a a very old and limited scope of practice in this province. Optometrist here and in a few remaining provinces are not yet permitted to prescribe drugs or perform any of the simple procedures that you are probably doing right now (punctal plugs?). As such, there are very few working in the type of enviroment you are in.

    While these limitations really annoy optometrist here, I think it also introduces a great deal of ineffieciency into our public health insurance plan. I give one example, a friend of mine (and fellow Pre-Opt student) had a corneal staph infection that year. First, he visited a physician, the physician told him to go to the university school of optometry because he didn't know anything about the infection. There he was examined by a senior professor of optometry, former President of the AAO and World Optometrist of the Year 199?. This OD suggested two presciptions. My friend returned to the physician, suggested treatment in hand. The MD then only prescibed the antibiotic because he wasn't aware of the implication of the other (I think it was a steriod). Anyways, a patient who could have been directly treated by the optometrist in one visit for less than $50, had three visits and cost the system more than $100....

    ...ok, Now I am done ranting. Thanks!
  20. Richard_Hom

    Richard_Hom Senior Member

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    I perform "primary care optometry" and concentrate on the cre of patients with chronic medical problems, most common are diabetes, other endocrine medical problems and moderate medical eye problems.

    This week, I stabilized a neovascular glaucoma from 65 to 30 after 2 hours of intensive oral and topical medical therapy and sent the patient to the retinal surgeons for further PRP. The patient returned to my care for follow up of his IOP elevation.

    I see patients who come in from the ER for a variety of eye infections. It's interesting that studies show that most of the urgent eye problems are red eyes which are of moderate complexity. The hospital is reimbursed by the Medicare and Medicaid for my services.

    I assumed two clinics from a comprehensive ophthalmologist. Except for chalzaion, pterygium removals and laser clinics, I was able to smoothly see their patients. My goals is to have the ophthalmologists treat when they see patients rather than follow up patients. Their time is invaluable and it makes sense to use their skills at the highest level possible (surgery and medical therapy of complex cases).

    All diabetics come through my clinic from primary medicine. From there, I either follow them up or refer them for PRP/Focal or grid laser ). I tend to screen patients carefully for cataract surgery and will refer for surgery where the cataract is visually significant or necessary for further retinal surgery.

    In a nutshell.
    IMHO of course,
    Richard
  21. Mixin Marc

    Mixin Marc "Carmina Burana"

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    i actually have heard the opposite, and think that view is VERY biased towards BOSTON. i've heard how boston is actually way easy, and that there are people who get in with terrible averages!

    saying berkeley students are nerdy is foolish. i bet you people who say that tried to get in, yet, were rejected.

    nothing wrong with berkeley... BOSTON's the place that has many people who enter with very very low GPA's (below 60%). i've heard of two individuals who got in with 55 and 57% averages overall **personal names removed by cpw**
  22. PLPrincess

    PLPrincess Senior Member

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    I don't know if those two people would appreciate you sharing their GPAs with us...

    Also, I don't think that a person's status prior to admission always reflects how they perform in optometry school. I don't think you should undermine the school's reputation based on two applicants, I'm positive they accept studnets withs different GPA's as well.

    Maybe you should look into each school's stats (i.e % passing boards and graduating, as well as what the graduates are doing after finishing school) to really get an unbiased view of the schools.

    I think that if you get accepted to optometry school, you'll learn very quickly that your optometric education is only what you make of it; how much time and effort you put into it, as well as how much passion you have for the profession will make you a good doctor, not your grades.
  23. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!! Moderator Emeritus

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    Just as a general annoucement posting people's personal names without their permission is a HUGE no no on SDN.
  24. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member

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    Agreed. I'm sure that UCB only accepts candidates at at all-around qualified, both academically and personably. It is possible to have both.

    How could such an individual even make it through three years of undergrad without being expelled? My university requires that students maintain at minimum a 65% average to continue in an honours program. Even if they were accepted I really can't imagine these people following through with the OD curiculum... I certainly recognize that a high GPA will not made a good OD on its own, however I should hope that all of the colleges of optometry strive to admit only the students that will be capable of completing the degree in good standing.
  25. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel

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    But I guess we won't know unless we know the WHOLE story right?
    maybe for the first 2 years or so... he/she got extremly low marks.then 3rd and 4rd came back up !!... or perhaps that person got a low GPA in his/her first undergrad, then did another degree and did well, but overall gpa is still low?
    We also have to think about their situation as well, maybe they had some reasons that were giving them a hard time in school, who knows! :rolleyes:

    So........................I think the schools have their own reason for accepting students! =)... no point in doubting them
  26. eyepoker

    eyepoker

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    SUNY optometry students....or any other optometry students, what do you think of SUNY? its class size, reputation, etc...
  27. prettygreeneyes

    prettygreeneyes Moderator Emeritus

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    Wow - this is an old thread to dredge up. :confused:
  28. eyepoker

    eyepoker

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    I am a groundhog....digging....:)
  29. r_salis

    r_salis SDN Supa-Mod Emmetrope Moderator Emeritus

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    Excellent school. Very happy to have graduated from there.

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