Feb 26, 2012
111
4
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Status
Pre-Optometry
So I was thinking about this recently. I dunno which degree should I chose, OD (Optometry) or MD (Medicine). I personally like to diagnose and treat eye and visual problems, but I hate surgery. I also have a general interest in the human body, and wouldn't like to focus my practice on only one part of the body (except when it comes to eyes). I also like to have a general knowledge of the human anatomophysiopathology. This should probably lead me to optometry. However, as an MD, you earn more, you and your education are more respected, you can help people more with physical (but not ocular) problems, you don't need to beg the board of an other profession each time a new procedure comes, you can do all what your competences allow you to do, you can help some people who need to renew their prescription when they can't see their MD, and your profession is not saturated (atleast for FM). However, MD's biggest con for me is that if I want to deal with eyes, I will have to do ophthalmology, which requires me to do surgeries. FPs can't do much with eyes.



What do you think?

PS: I am in Canada, so the OD market here is different.
 

allantois

5+ Year Member
Jan 27, 2013
3,816
4,079
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Have you been to an optometrist?

All they do is write prescriptions for glasses/contacts. Any doctor knows how to check a person's vision and primary care physicians can treat an eye infection such as conjunctivitis. Other than that, there is very little you can do for the eye unless you are an ophthalmologist. ODs make a fraction of what ophthalmologists can make and OD is not very competitive to get into while ophthalmology is one of the most competitive fields within medicine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BePerfect

Polkadotfan

5+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2014
256
228
Status
Pre-Dental
Shadow an OD. That's the best/easiest way to find out more about their profession.
I shadowed a DPM once and he explained to me what he could and couldn't do. He also full explained why he recommended I not become a DPM, but also why it was a good lifestyle profession.
 

Mad Jack

Critically Caring
5+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2013
35,550
65,164
4th Dimension
You've got a thing for eyes, don't you?

Filling scripts for contacts and glasses may sound great right now, but doing it day in and day out for 40 years will probably lead to it becoming boring. Medicine has alternative practice environments and a lot more room to move around. Optometry, not so much.
 
OP
R
Feb 26, 2012
111
4
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Status
Pre-Optometry
Shadow an OD. That's the best/easiest way to find out more about their profession.
I shadowed a DPM once and he explained to me what he could and couldn't do. He also full explained why he recommended I not become a DPM, but also why it was a good lifestyle profession.
Good luck shadowing a health professional in Canada.
 

oldbearprofessor

Staff member
Administrator
15+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2002
6,010
878
Status
Attending Physician
Any doctor knows how to check a person's vision
Oh really? Every doctor knows how to use a modern retinoscope, check for glaucoma, etc? I must have missed this in my last visit to my doctor or my kid's doctors. I sure slept through it in my residency training and I can't seem to find it in my ACGME handbook of pediatric resident training requirements.

We get it that you don't think much of optometry, but, like many fields, physicians don't do this stuff with the exception of some ophthalmologists.
 

DermViser

10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2009
17,559
12,907
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Have you been to an optometrist?

All they do is write prescriptions for glasses/contacts. Any doctor knows how to check a person's vision and primary care physicians can treat an eye infection such as conjunctivitis. Other than that, there is very little you can do for the eye unless you are an ophthalmologist. ODs make a fraction of what ophthalmologists can make and OD is not very competitive to get into while ophthalmology is one of the most competitive fields within medicine.
Um, no. Not with the equipment ODs use. At least be factual. Opthalmalogy is one of the competitive specialties in mediicne, which OP has no assurance of getting. Also Optometrists are lobbying well at the state level to expand their scope of practice.
 
OP
R
Feb 26, 2012
111
4
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Status
Pre-Optometry
Have you been to an optometrist?

All they do is write prescriptions for glasses/contacts. Any doctor knows how to check a person's vision and primary care physicians can treat an eye infection such as conjunctivitis. Other than that, there is very little you can do for the eye unless you are an ophthalmologist. ODs make a fraction of what ophthalmologists can make and OD is not very competitive to get into while ophthalmology is one of the most competitive fields within medicine.
What do you know about OD's scope of practice?
MDs for banned from selling glasses in my province.
When I needed documentation and visual aid for my visual troubles, I went to an OMD and he said he can do nothing. I went to ODs to get these services.
As I said, I don't want to do surgery, so if I get into med school, I will most likely do FM, and FPs can't do much with the eye.
 

yocharlie

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
250
72
Status
Pre-Medical
I worked as an optician for 3 years and what I noticed was lifestyle differences and a lot of optometry too is running a business, unless you work for Costco or lens crafter etc. The practice I worked for was a private one owned by two optometrist. Starting a business was tough financially but right now after some time, they are doing really really well, have a great lifestyle, 10am-6pm more or less with their own hours and now are running a couple of practices. A lot of OD work is really preventative care in respect to the eye and they do get some interesting cases. Though with most of these cases, they do refer patients to specialist, which is similar to PCP in that respect. I think it is an interesting field, they are always growing, but overall it is a different lifestyle and level of responsibility. You also have a different client-base. Most are generally healthy patients and depending on where you work, you can be working with snobby rich people who will spend thousands on one pair or classes or with people who are shocked and excited after they put on their first pair of glasses cause they can finally see clearer. It's a different field in health with many factors but I respect it and enjoyed it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Robin des Bois
OP
R
Feb 26, 2012
111
4
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Status
Pre-Optometry
I worked as an optician for 3 years and what I noticed was lifestyle differences and a lot of optometry too is running a business, unless you work for Costco or lens crafter etc. The practice I worked for was a private one owned by two optometrist. Starting a business was tough financially but right now after some time, they are doing really really well, have a great lifestyle, 10am-6pm more or less with their own hours and now are running a couple of practices. A lot of OD work is really preventative care in respect to the eye and they do get some interesting cases. Though with most of these cases, they do refer patients to specialist, which is similar to PCP in that respect. I think it is an interesting field, they are always growing, but overall it is a different lifestyle and level of responsibility. You also have a different client-base. Most are generally healthy patients and depending on where you work, you can be working with snobby rich people who will spend thousands on one pair or classes or with people who are shocked and excited after they put on their first pair of glasses cause they can finally see clearer. It's a different field in health with many factors but I respect it and enjoyed it.
May I ask why are you now a pre-med?
 

yocharlie

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
250
72
Status
Pre-Medical
May I ask why are you now a pre-med?
I wanted to work with preventative care in a field that didn't just focus on the eye in short and am really interested how the different parts of the body functions with each other. The other reason is a lot of the revenue that is generated comes from retail sales. I do really like the business aspect of it but to me was a lot of consumerism and the patients I worked with were very affluent and very materialistic that I didn't enjoy too much, but thats cause of where I worked. But "ideally" the optometrist shouldn't be worrying about this part since the optician's job is to sell the glasses and the optometrist does the medical side and glasses prescription side.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Robin des Bois

mehc012

Big Damn Hero
7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2012
9,323
8,340
The Black
Status
Medical Student
Oh really? Every doctor knows how to use a modern retinoscope, check for glaucoma, etc? I must have missed this in my last visit to my doctor or my kid's doctors. I sure slept through it in my residency training and I can't seem to find it in my ACGME handbook of pediatric resident training requirements.

We get it that you don't think much of optometry, but, like many fields, physicians don't do this stuff with the exception of some ophthalmologists.
I mean, the basics...TonoPen, etc. You're not going to have a retinoscope in your peds office but they pop up in the nurseries, often with a tech to attend to the details and the physician to look over the results.
 

immolard

7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2011
99
51
Status
Pre-Medical
Have you been to an optometrist?

All they do is write prescriptions for glasses/contacts. Any doctor knows how to check a person's vision and primary care physicians can treat an eye infection such as conjunctivitis. Other than that, there is very little you can do for the eye unless you are an ophthalmologist. ODs make a fraction of what ophthalmologists can make and OD is not very competitive to get into while ophthalmology is one of the most competitive fields within medicine.
This is incredibly misinformed.
 

oldbearprofessor

Staff member
Administrator
15+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2002
6,010
878
Status
Attending Physician
I mean, the basics...TonoPen, etc. You're not going to have a retinoscope in your peds office but they pop up in the nurseries, often with a tech to attend to the details and the physician to look over the results.
In your NICU or well-baby nursery there is a tonometer and a pediatrician who operates it and/or interprets the results when done by a "tech"? Okay. Never ever seen that ever, but since the poster said that any doctor can do what an optometrist does, it may be that every doctor can measure IOP where you are and can use a retinoscope. I've just never ever seen a pediatrician who could do those things. YMMV.
 

mehc012

Big Damn Hero
7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2012
9,323
8,340
The Black
Status
Medical Student
In your NICU or well-baby nursery there is a tonometer and a pediatrician who operates it and/or interprets the results when done by a "tech"? Okay. Never ever seen that ever, but since the poster said that every doctor can do what an optometrist does, if may be that every doctor can measure IOP where you are. I've just never ever seen a pediatrician who could do it.
The 'every doctor' comment from the other poster referred specifically to the basic eye exam...I've never seen a pediatrician who couldn't look in the eyes and check PERRL and EOMI. I wouldn't consider retinoscopes or tonometry part of the 'basic eye exam', so I assumed you were branching beyond that, otherwise your comment made no sense.

As for the rest, I'm just pointing out that even these 'obscure' things are not so uncommon that a premed who's only set foot in a small handful of hospitals hasn't seen them multiple times. If OP wants to do general medicine and also run into eye care, that's not really far-fetched. If they want to be able to do a basic eye exam, glaucoma checks, eye infections, small foreign body removal, slit-lamp and fluoroscein exams, but none of the big gun surgical stuff, they can get all of that in the ER, not everyday, but not uncommonly. Find me an ER that doesn't have tonopens. (It was not the nursery...that would be weird.)

The retinoscope, I admit, I only saw in the well-baby nursery. I saw several kiddos having their retinas examined - the images were up on video and the pediatrician was looking at them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: allenlchs

oldbearprofessor

Staff member
Administrator
15+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2002
6,010
878
Status
Attending Physician
IIf OP wants to do general medicine and also run into eye care, that's not really far-fetched. If they want to be able to do a basic eye exam, glaucoma checks.
I yield to your insight. If you believe that every pediatrician is trained to do refractions and glaucoma checks, as the poster indicated "knows how to check" being their wording, then I must be wrong about it, and must be one of the few that was not trained properly.
 

mehc012

Big Damn Hero
7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2012
9,323
8,340
The Black
Status
Medical Student
I yield to your insight. If you believe that every pediatrician is trained to do refractions and glaucoma checks, as the poster indicated, then I must be wrong about it, and must be one of the few that was not trained properly.
I never said that. I straight up did not say that. And neither did the first poster you quoted. You picked one half-sentence out of a full post and pretended I was talking peds.
 

aladdin11

2+ Year Member
Nov 26, 2015
84
118
Status
Medical Student
I honestly think people get the wrong impression of OD's and what they are capable of doing. Most people think they just check your vision and update your glasses prescription, this is only a small fraction of what they can do. You need to keep in mind that optometrists are experts in treating ocular disease and with this they also have great knowledge on other aspects of physiology and medicine. Yes, OD's have the option to work at LensCrafters and play with glasses all day, but they can also choose to treat patients with complex ocular disease in a hospital setting. Their strong lobbying board is also giving them more surgery and practicing rights (even encroaching on what ophthalmologists do).

So I think the field deserves more credit and its definitely something worth pursuing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Eyesontheprizedoc