OD Student 2018

2+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2015
9
1
California
Status
Optometry Student
Hi everyone!!

Just a quick background....I am currently a 3rd year Optometry student with a Biology degree earned in 2013 (undergrad GPA 3.40). After starting clinic full time I realized that I would actually like to treat everything instead of referring anything optometrists can't treat to an ophthalmologist, I want to now become an ophthalmologist and I am really excited about it!! I know I should have thought about it earlier or done better research, but I have made peace with that and can happily finish my OD degree and then go to medical school, I love eyes and the more I study the more knowledgeable I'll be in my field and hopefully a better doctor! I'm also 24 now, so I think I'm still considered "young".

My question is, as a non-traditional student, would I have to shadow all over again even though I've been seeing patients for the past 2 years and I have done clerkships with ophthalmologists and know 2 of them (not really know them personally but acquainted and chat when I see them in our clinic)?

What classes would medical school look at more, my undergrad or grad (optometry) classes and grades?
When is the best time to take the MCAT if I plan on enrolling right after I graduate (hopefully :) May 2018?
What do you think my chances are of getting accepted into med school and getting into an ophthalmology residency?
I 100% understand just because I'll be an OD doesn't mean I will for sure get in, I believe I have to work and study hard for it but just your opinions would at least give me an idea or thoughts :)

ANY help or advice would be appreciated because I have not met any optometrists who have switched to ophthalmology in my area and you guys are my go to. I have been following the forum for a long time and I love it!!

Thank you in advance everyone!
 

Darth Doc

5+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2013
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No, you would not have to do additional shadowing. Doing clerkships with ophthalmologists plus clinical experience as an optometrist (which you probably will have by the time you apply to medical school) will count.

Medical schools look more at your undergrad grades, because they are comparing you to all of the other medical school students with the same classes. However, they will also look at your graduate level grades to make sure your scores still show a pattern of success.

Ophthalmology residency is one of the most competitive to get into. You'll have a head start as an optometrist, but you will still need to score well on your Step 1 and Step 2 exams, do research, etc.
 
OP
O

OD Student 2018

2+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2015
9
1
California
Status
Optometry Student
Thank you for the response, I'm nervous in the sense that I mess up and don't get accepted into the first place. Also, is there a difference between being an MD or DO?
I prefer MD but I honestly am not aware of the difference between the two.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,610
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Somewhere west of St. Louis
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Non-Student
A) Get into med school first, and then worry about a specialty.
B) Ophthalmology is one of the most competitive specialties there is. Have you even shadowed an ophthalmologist???
C) For DO vs MD, google is your friend. Even better, go shadow one of each, and then see if there's a difference.

Thank you for the response, I'm nervous in the sense that I mess up and don't get accepted into the first place. Also, is there a difference between being an MD or DO?
I prefer MD but I honestly am not aware of the difference between the two.
I've never interviewed an optometry student, so can't help you there.

What classes would medical school look at more, my undergrad or grad (optometry) classes and grades?

You take it when you're 100% ready for it, and only then.
When is the best time to take the MCAT if I plan on enrolling right after I graduate (hopefully :) May 2018?

This is impossible to determine now. Come back with all of your GPAs and an MCAT score. And you'll also need to explain why you're running TO Medicine and why away from Optometry. Proving to an Adcom that you won't bail on Medicine like you did on optemtry is one of your tasks to fulfill when applying.
What do you think my chances are of getting accepted into med school and getting into an ophthalmology residency?
 
OP
O

OD Student 2018

2+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2015
9
1
California
Status
Optometry Student
A) Get into med school first, and then worry about a specialty.
B) Ophthalmology is one of the most competitive specialties there is. Have you even shadowed an ophthalmologist???
C) For DO vs MD, google is your friend. Even better, go shadow one of each, and then see if there's a difference.



I've never interviewed an optometry student, so can't help you there.

What classes would medical school look at more, my undergrad or grad (optometry) classes and grades?

You take it when you're 100% ready for it, and only then.
When is the best time to take the MCAT if I plan on enrolling right after I graduate (hopefully :) May 2018?

This is impossible to determine now. Come back with all of your GPAs and an MCAT score. And you'll also need to explain why you're running TO Medicine and why away from Optometry. Proving to an Adcom that you won't bail on Medicine like you did on optemtry is one of your tasks to fulfill when applying.
What do you think my chances are of getting accepted into med school and getting into an ophthalmology residency?


Thank you for your response. As I have mentioned I did clerkship with an Ophthalmologist twice, each session was 8 weeks long and 4 hours a week, so I've actually shadowed + participated in case discussions for a total of 64 hours.

As to why I'm turning away from optometry? Again, as I mentioned in my post above, I want to treat everything and only refer when there is a more knowledgeable on a particular condition and referring to them would first and foremost BENEFIT THE PATIENT more. 2nd only if I am unable to determine the cause of the disease then I will refer, but not due to restriction in my practicing ability as an optometrist.

Thank you for your response, I am not "bailing" on optometry because I dislike it or the profession, I want to further myself more, and I am also not going from one subject into another, I want to stay with ocular, which is why from optometry to ophthalmology.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,610
78,838
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Just beware that this particular path is a very steep climb.


Thank you for your response. As I have mentioned I did clerkship with an Ophthalmologist twice, each session was 8 weeks long and 4 hours a week, so I've actually shadowed + participated in case discussions for a total of 64 hours.

As to why I'm turning away from optometry? Again, as I mentioned in my post above, I want to treat everything and only refer when there is a more knowledgeable on a particular condition and referring to them would first and foremost BENEFIT THE PATIENT more. 2nd only if I am unable to determine the cause of the disease then I will refer, but not due to restriction in my practicing ability as an optometrist.

Thank you for your response, I am not "bailing" on optometry because I dislike it or the profession, I want to further myself more, and I am also not going from one subject into another, I want to stay with ocular, which is why from optometry to ophthalmology.
 
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Gibbward

2+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2015
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Medical Student
It is great that you found something you're very passionate about and that you're willing to work hard to reach that! But as others have said, it'll be a difficult process. You've got to think about getting into a medical school first and then think about residency. Volunteer in various clinical settings and non-clinical settings to learn about different people and patients you might be working with one day.

You also have to be open to the possibility that you might not end up becoming an ophthalmologist, because it is a very steep climb. I know one person who was dead set on becoming a neurosurgeon and had a heated argument with his med school interviewers because they told him to be open to other specialties (he was rejected obviously). It's good that you can point to a particular experience for why you want to become a doctor and it's fine that you're leaning towards one field over others. But if you get to a point down the road and ophthalmology might not be an option for you, would you still be happy with being a physician?
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
4,541
2,363
Texas
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Just know that ophthalmology is a very competitive specialty. The doctor who did my lasik surgery actually did not get into Ophth the first time around and ended up doing an internal medicine residency. Worked as locums for about 5 years, saved his money and got into ophtho after that. Just know that like the other's are telling you, there is no guarantee that you will match into that residency. You can't go into medical school with your heart set on it.
 

gyngyn

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Although your shadowing hours are already more than sufficient, your application would benefit from experience in longitudinal care. Medical schools are not looking for pre-ophthalmologists, we are looking for people who will get a strong education that will prepare them for many potential residency choices.
We do not relish the prospect of a student who is fixed on a particular surgical sub-specialty. They become disgruntled and listless when their goals cannot be met.
 
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OP
O

OD Student 2018

2+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2015
9
1
California
Status
Optometry Student
Although your shadowing hours are already more than sufficient, your application would benefit from experience in longitudinal care. Medical schools are not looking for pre-ophthalmologists, we are looking for people who will get a strong education that will prepare them for many potential residency choices.
We do not relish the prospect of a student who is fixed on a particular surgical sub-specialty. They become disgruntled and listless when their goals cannot be met.
I understand! That actually did not occur to me and you may have helped me avoid a terrible mistake or hiccup! I will shadow internal medicine and possibly neurologists because I also love that field, would that be sufficient enough, ophthalomolgost shadowing, internal medicine shadowing, and neurologist shadowing? Oh I also love pediatrics working with kids is really fun so I think I will also attempt to shadow some pediatricians.
 
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OP
O

OD Student 2018

2+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2015
9
1
California
Status
Optometry Student
Just know that ophthalmology is a very competitive specialty. The doctor who did my lasik surgery actually did not get into Ophth the first time around and ended up doing an internal medicine residency. Worked as locums for about 5 years, saved his money and got into ophtho after that. Just know that like the other's are telling you, there is no guarantee that you will match into that residency. You can't go into medical school with your heart set on it.
Thank you! I am the type of person to work really hard for what I want, but I COMPLETELY understand what you mean and I will have my back up to be possibly pediatrics, because I adore working with kids! But I hope I get into ophthalmology in the end (even better first time around) =)
 
OP
O

OD Student 2018

2+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2015
9
1
California
Status
Optometry Student
It is great that you found something you're very passionate about and that you're willing to work hard to reach that! But as others have said, it'll be a difficult process. You've got to think about getting into a medical school first and then think about residency. Volunteer in various clinical settings and non-clinical settings to learn about different people and patients you might be working with one day.

You also have to be open to the possibility that you might not end up becoming an ophthalmologist, because it is a very steep climb. I know one person who was dead set on becoming a neurosurgeon and had a heated argument with his med school interviewers because they told him to be open to other specialties (he was rejected obviously). It's good that you can point to a particular experience for why you want to become a doctor and it's fine that you're leaning towards one field over others. But if you get to a point down the road and ophthalmology might not be an option for you, would you still be happy with being a physician?
I am going to have a month of mentally prepping myself for the difficulty, I will do lots of volunteer work hopefully during my optometry rotations, I will spend a few hours per weekend, and I'll be in 4 different states so I hope it'll look good on my application and show them I am serious about medicine, because that's what I want to do, I want to treat people in the end, just watch them walk out happy that they have the best treatment. Thank you for your response!! :)
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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I understand! That actually did not occur to me and you may have helped me avoid a terrible mistake or hiccup! I will shadow internal medicine and possibly neurologists because I also love that field, would that be sufficient enough, ophthalomolgost shadowing, internal medicine shadowing, and neurologist shadowing? Oh I also love pediatrics working with kids is really fun so I think I will also attempt to shadow some pediatricians.
This is the right attitude. If you think you can be happy in general medical practice (IM, peds, or FM) or psych, then pursuing medicine is a reasonable thing for you to do. If you are in an "ophtho or bust" mindset, then I would advise you against going to medical school. Not to say that you can't follow your passion and try to become an ophthalmologist, but it may not be realistic if you can't get a residency. Everyone should start med school with the possibility in mind that they're going to end up as a PCP when they finish the process.
 
OP
O

OD Student 2018

2+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2015
9
1
California
Status
Optometry Student
Just beware that this particular path is a very steep climb.
You are correct, I will mentally prep myself, hopefully master meditation before I begin haha thank you for your replies and honest opinions, I hope to message you in the future, thanking you again and (hopefully) telling you I made it :)
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
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Texas
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Thank you! I am the type of person to work really hard for what I want, but I COMPLETELY understand what you mean and I will have my back up to be possibly pediatrics, because I adore working with kids! But I hope I get into ophthalmology in the end (even better first time around) =)
Look at my own path. I was set on general surgery - didn't match. Scrambled into Family Practice. Found I really liked it. Now I work urgent care and do tons of procedures that keep my surgeon side happy.
 
Mar 3, 2018
89
25
Status
Pre-Optometry
I'm about to apply to grad school but I feel torn between med school and optometry school. I have a 3.8 overall gpa and a 3.92 science gpa and a 60% percentile mcat score. I've read alot about how optometry is oversaturated that worries me. Any advice?
 

Magus5454

MS2 C/O 2022
2+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2015
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Arkansas
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I'm about to apply to grad school but I feel torn between med school and optometry school. I have a 3.8 overall gpa and a 3.92 science gpa and a 60% percentile mcat score. I've read alot about how optometry is oversaturated that worries me. Any advice?
Why do people constantly piggyback posts instead of making their own.

Any chance at doing better on the MCAT? Otherwise, likely good for some DOs and maybe at a stretch your state MDs