How long did it take you to pay off your loans?

This forum made possible through the generous support of
SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

Grateful and Blessed

New Member
2+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2016
Reaction score
How long have you been an optometrist? How much debt do you have now? How much will you have paid when you pay it off? How many years will that take it in total? Is the financial cost worth the career or would you have done something different?

Members don't see this ad.
17 years as an OD, and paid off my student loans in 2019, and paid off roughly $115k. It was the last loan I paid off on our debt free (Dave Ramsey) journey since the interest was around 2.25% for most of the loan. At age 44 now I still enjoy what I do but hate dealing with insurance. The whole vision vs medical insurance debate on who to bill the exam to has been beaten to death on ODwire.

Financially would I recommend my kids to go Optometry school today? No since the ROI is not worth the gamble anymore. Debt today for an OD degree is maybe $200k+, and new grads can correct me if I'm wrong.

When I was an OD student in 2002 and did billing for an OD at Target Eyemed would reimburse $40-$48 for an Eye exam. Davis Vision was $48, and Superior Vision was $50. In year 2023 those reimbursements are still the same. VSP has moved a little bit but not much. Medicare keeps cutting reimbursements as well the past few years.

If I had to do it over being a military, VA, or rural optometrist would be my top choices. Rural being a population of around 25,000 and about an hour for a major metro area.

Best of luck
Thank you for your input! Unfortunately today the debt is +400k for a school like Salus at 45k a year + living expenses and interest. So $2000 a month for 20 years? Maybe my math is off, but it seems crazy. Maybe it doesn't seem like much with a high monthly salary. I don't know?