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Advice on whether to pursuit Optometry school

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by Perplexed123, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. Perplexed123

    2+ Year Member

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    I am still in college and am on the pre-med track. I am ambiguous about whether I should go for a MD in primary care/internal medicine or just go for optometry school. What is holding me back from medical school is that I am unsure if I am physically and mentally strong enough to endure the many years of sleep deprivation during medical school and residency.
    Now, I am in a top 20 liberal arts college and sometimes feel that my course load is overwhelming and I stand in the top quarter of my class. I know that if I am determined, I would most likely get through medical school but it will cost a good extent of my mental and physical well being as I often get sick from colds during the school year (~3 times; my immune system is kind of weak) and I often experience anxiety (managebale level) and get tired more easily than my friends though I am athletic and enjoy playing many sports. I more interested in pursuing a MD because I am genuinely interested in learning about medicine and I like to practice a variety of medicine with a depth. I enjoy being valued when I consult patients and encourage them.

    Since I have an innate ability for bussiness, when I get my MD, I would like to have my own clinic, settle down and work from 9-5. If I were to have a DO degree, I would like to practice indepently and maybe own a glasses store.

    Questions
    Will optometrists still be desired in the next ten years or that all these big retail stores will drain the profession dry in the future?

    To what extent do you have to sacrifice your health during med school and during residency? i.e. How do your health compared?

    Any other constructive advice to jelp shed some light on my current situation would also be highly appreciated!
     
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  3. hello07

    10+ Year Member

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    I can not answer your question whether you should go to medical or optometry school. That is up to you to decide within yourself.
    Internal medicine is a different ball game than optometry and after your "9-5 "job as a primary care physician, you'll have plenty of paper work and follow up calls to your patients to do. It's not 9 to 5 in internal medicine but more like 5 am to 3 -4 pm and then some.
    Optometry is a wonderful profession and a caring field. You practice the way you want to practice according to your highest level of skill and state legislature (varies) across the country.
    I don't know what your financial background is but if you are coming out with over 200K in student loans as an optometrist you'll be facing years of hardship and uphill battle paying that back. If money is not an issue then optometry provides you with a comfortable living (paying your bills, taking your vacations, etc......)and even more so if you are your own boss and are successful at a private or retail practice.

    Medicine is a different ball game. You get what is called commensurate reward. In Optometry, this does not apply.
    The field of optometry in my opinion, is overly saturated in the East and West Coast where salaries have remained stagnant and opportunities for full time are not available. New optometry schools have opened up since the original 16 and many graduate each year with huge class sizes. More than in the past. If you are willing to settle somewhere the majority do not choose, you might do well.

    What made you decide you want internal medicine or optometry between the two fields?

    Good Luck with either pathway you choose.

    Best Wishes!
     
  4. eye love lamp

    eye love lamp Membership Revoked
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    I think you may be a little lost in your career path. You're very early in your career (freshman?) so that's ok, but you need to put more thought into the decisions you're making.

    What kind of career do you want? Do you want to treat chronic systemic diseases (eg internal medicine) or do you want to specialize in the eye? Saying that your dream is to be a primary care doc but that you want to "settle" on a profession that deals only with eyes makes no sense. Why not nurse practitioner? Physician assistant?

    Also, as a side note, you can't say you want to go into optometry "only because an MD is too much work." That's unfair to the profession. Optometry isn't the dumping grounds for lazy/failed aspiring MDs. Optometrists are people who were highly motivated and wanted a career in optometry.

    You have the rest of your life to work. Don't choose a career you'd be unhappy with because you want to save 3 years of training. In 20 years you're not going to care what you were doing at 25 if you're miserable with your career choice. You have some of the most ridiculous excuses (a cold 3x/year? what?) for not pursuing medical school. I can tell you that I am at the end of the training road and it was absolutely worth it. You will make sacrifices during your training but it won't kill you. Do some shadowing, find a career you'd be excited about, and go for it. Don't sell yourself short.

    FYI:
    MD = Doctor of Medicine
    DO = Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (same scope as MD)
    OD = Doctor of Optometry (eyes)
     
  5. Perplexed123

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    Thank you for your thoughtful advice, hello07. I am economically disadvantaged so I would have some burden taking out loans. But if I got to a state school, the tuition is about 35000 a year, I guess it would still amount to 200k in the end. Do you know if there are still prospects for opening up your own private pratice in the East coast ? How much does it generally cost if you just open up a decent one? Again I want to go into either family medicine or optometry because I am interested in learning about the huamn body, having decent income, and not too much but a decent amount of responsibility, and consulting people to help them treat chronic illnesses. But to be honest, I don't feel comfortable dealing with really sick people; not sure if I would have to do that if I were a doctor for general family or internal medicine. From what you are saying, it seems that O.D's have less paper work to deal with, is that the case when you are practicing privately?
     
  6. Snakedoctor1

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    I think this is telling. Like eye love lamp said, Optometry does not need people who simply fall into it because they didn't think they could make it through med school. Optometry needs people who are genuinely interested in the field, and in helping it move forward. I'm not saying you aren't, but just remember that the most important thing is that you are happy with your choice. If you feel you would enjoy one more, don't just automatically go to plan B because you have doubts about being able to make it.
     
    Meeehai likes this.
  7. hello07

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    My recommendation is to concentrate and do the best you can on your studies in undergrad. Go shadow an optometrist. See what the work day is like in a private practice, retail office or other mode. Go shadow a physician, primary care or internal medicine and see what his day is like. See what you like and dislike among the two profession.
     
    Perplexed123 likes this.
  8. DoctorJedi

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    So... you'll have to deal with really sick people in medical school and at least the first year of residency regardless of what you do specialty-wise, and especially if you do internal medicine (many months of critical care even if you end up outpatient). ICU is a major part of IM, and even family medicine residency spends time there. It may not be for you, but you also may surprise yourself. I'd spend some time shadowing and get a better idea of what you like and don't like about IM, optometry, and probably some other fields within medicine and healthcare since it sounds like you are still deciding.
     
  9. phenobb

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    There's an obvious answer for you.

    Go to DENTAL school.

    The end.
     
  10. Snakedoctor1

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    Dentistry will face the same problems as everyone else. It's only a matter of time.
     
  11. hannah_hoac

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    Hey, don't push him/her over to dentistry :poke:. We're saturated and competing with corporate dentistry as well. The debt is even worse $400,000+ without interest (hopefully this will scare the OP). But seriously, do something you enjoy so you don't ruin the field and your life.
     
  12. gwarm01

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    Besides, everyone knows the aspiring MD who can't hack it due to the common cold should be applying to pharmacy school.
     
  13. GypsyHummus

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    Is dentistry really getting bad? I have heard horrible things about optometry and pharmacy saturation, but nothing about dental or medicine.
     
  14. Snakedoctor1

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    Dentist saturation is real, and although they are not as far down the corporate road as Pharmacy or Optometry, they are on their way.
     
    hannah_hoac likes this.

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