opthamology or optometry?

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology: Eye Physicians & Surgeons' started by rose13, Sep 21, 2002.

  1. rose13

    rose13 Member
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    I am interested in eye care. I am planning to go into optometry because I do not want to perform surgery (under any circumstances) and I have a limited tolerance for some of the things that are seen in the hospital. However, I can not help but wonder how competitive it is between optometry and ophthamology. (The lack of the MD/DO title does not bother me.) My main concern is whether or not optometry will be overtaken by ophthamology and the job search after graduation will be difficult. I would appreciate any insights from ophthamolgists and future ophthamologists on this topic. :)
     
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  2. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    Optometrists will definitely not be overtaken by Ophthalmologists. They are quite different professions each with their own purpose and need. However, the job prospects for optometrists may not be completely rosy depending on what area you would like to practice. Certain parts of the country are drowning in optometrists...others areas are lacking. Competition from other optometrists should worry you more than competition from ophthalmologists.
     
  3. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    I agree, with mpp. Most OMD's don't do what OD's do. They mainly focus on surgery. The primary care is left to the OD. Most, if not all OMD's hire OD's to do that stuff for them. Optometry is also suppose to "grow faster than the average" job in terms of opertunity and over all market. I'm not trying to start a OD vs. OMD thing, but if anyone has to worry about be overtaken it is the OMD's by the OD's. They are getting more and more medical rights all the time.

    All you have to worry about is the damn chain stores! Could they be any more offensive to medicine?
     
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  4. MrGreed

    MrGreed Member
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    I agree...the optometry profession as a whole can be compared to a *****...they'll do anything for more money...even if this means buying politicians to pass legislation to increase the scope of their practice instead of by going to medical school and then doing an ophthalmology residency...I'm all for free enterprise and capitalism...however, I still believe in playing fair to get there
     
  5. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    hold up! Lets not bash optometry here. It is great profession that many times just tries to get clearence to do procedures that everyone knows they can do. Like I said I was not trying to start a OD vs OMD thing. Lets just drop it because there is no way anyone of us will convince the other of anything. All we will do is piss eachother off.
     
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  6. rose13

    rose13 Member
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    Thanks for the input. Everything I learned about optometry, I learned from OD's and my own research. Since OMD's/ODO's are cabable of performing the same services, I am just trying to make sure that I am truly making an informed decision. While I do desire to become an OD, I agree that commercialization of any medical profession is bad (I do not plan to work in the commercial area). As I noted in my previous post, I decided not to pursue the OMD/ODO route because of my aversion to surgery and fear that I will have to perform surgery because OD's do all of the primary care. I do think that OD's are competent enough to perform primary eye care services within their scope of practice.

    Do OMD's/ODO's do primary care solely? During their residency, do they get the same amount of primary occular training that OD's get in 4 years (no surgery)? Keep in mind that I am not looking for an "easy" way out; I just want to be able to provide maximum eye care to patients within my comfort range. Do you think I should consider the OMD/ODO route instead?

    You input is greatly appreciated. :)
     
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  7. rose13

    rose13 Member
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    Please all, let's not reduce this to a "what profession is better" match; I would just like unbiased (i.e., trends you observed) input on OMD/ODO education and practice.

    Thanks! :)
     
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  8. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    There are some OMD/ODO's that do practice primary care, but it is very rare. When an OMD/ODO does this it is a waste of time and surgical skill. The two professions complement each other. The OD is a generalist and the OMD/ODO as a specialist. OMD/ODO can of course refract and do everything an OD can but why would one do this? They are there to take over where the OD's training stops. There is nothing an OMD/ODO learns about PRIMARY care that an OD does not. As far as exposure to primary eyecare. I would argue that an OD is exposed to more of it than an OMD/ODO. OMD/ODO are exposed more to (of course) the surgical aspect along with some primary care.

    As far as someone doing the OMD/ODO route and then just practicing full-scope optometry...it is a waste of great surgical skill.
     
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  9. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    I agree with rpames. If you're not interested in surgery, then OD is the best route for primary eye care. Here at Iowa, the ODs and MDs work closely together to form an effective health care unit.

    In private practice, physicians are more effective when they divide the work. This means ODs see and diagnose ocular diseases and the MDs can spend more time with surgical interventions. If there is a problem the OD is not sure about, referal to an MD with speciality training is usually done. The best eye practices are ones that can meld the talents of the ODs with the MDs. It's not an issue of which one is better, but rather which job fits you better.
     
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  10. I agree with Optho and rpames. I'm a primary care girl myself, and optometry is definetly for me. I wouldn't want to spend all day doing surgery---that's what the OMD's are for.
     
  11. evans267

    evans267 Junior Member

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    sorry to join this late, i only found this website a couple of days ago.

    being an optometrist who went to med school, i think i can speak with some knowledge about both. i think optometry is a wonderful profession; one gets to be a primary care physician in a sense, people are generally happy with what you do for them, the eye is fascinating, it isn't too strenuous. i have been very happy practicing as an optometrist. if these are the things you want, then i think it is a great field to go into. i think the job market can be somewhat limiting - in the big cities especially. commercial jobs abound, but then your practice is limited to fitting glasses and contact lenses. most commercial doctors don't participate in the management of ocular disease. they are perfectly happy with this.

    there are also jobs in the va hospitals, or working with ophthalmologists. these are harder to come by. however, i do think optometrists in these settings get to practice to the full scope that their training allows. they get to participate in pre and post op care as well as disease management. i agree with ophtho mudphud's statement that the most successfull ophthalmology practices have utilized optometrists. personally, i find that type of practice situation much more gratifying, and had i not gone to med school i would have certainly gone that route.

    i left optometry for medicine because i wanted more. i wanted to learn more and i wanted to help patients to the best of my abilities, not being limited by the scope of my practice. i have chosen ophthamology, because i do love what i do, and i want to be able to expand upon that.

    neither career is a bad decision, it just depends on what you want, ant what you will be satisfied with.
     
  12. Tyra

    Tyra Member
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    First of all, I am ecstatic that I found this site! Sorry to give my input so late, but I just found out about this site today. I had this very same question and actually discussed it with my microbiology professor Monday. I've wanted to be an optometrist for a very long time, but I had children and they have kept me busy. Now that my youngest is in all day Kindergarten, I'm determined to be an optometrist. The only thing is, I love surgery, pathologies, etc. and my micro professor wonders if I will be "satisfied" with being an optometrist. I visited the Illinois College of Optometry, and was disappointed to find that I won't even get to work on cadevers. Yet, since i'm starting so late, I'll be 36 when I graduate from professional school! If I try to go for ophthalmology, I would still have a year of specialty training and 3 years of residency after the 4 yrs of med school--so I'd be about 40? I don't know- I'm so confused.
     
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  13. rose13

    rose13 Member
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    Hi Tyra,

    As you can see from the responses, everyone's contribution provided some insight on the "optometry or ophthamology" question. I definitely do not want to operate on anyone. This makes me a better candidate for optometry than ophthamology.

    However, you're interested in performing surgeries and pathologies; I'm not sure if you'll be content with optometry, especially since surgery is the realm of ophthamology. Yes medical school then an ophthamology residency is longer, but this route will provide you with the unlimited scope you want.

    Good luck with which ever path you decide to take. Both are great career choices. :)
     
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  14. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    You'll either be an optometrist at 36 or an ophthalmologist at 40. Four years is nothing! You must do what you love, so if it's surgery that you want to do, then be an ophthalmologist. I will be 34 when I finish and likely 36 after I complete fellowship. In the end, we're all old!
     
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  15. evans267

    evans267 Junior Member

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    i couldn't agree more with andrew's statement. even though i could be out practicing full time now with a nice lifestyle and a good salary, i have never regretted my decision one minute to go to med school. if you're not happy with your career, then it will affect you in all aspects of your life. four years really is nothing.
     
  16. christie

    christie Senior Member
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    I love Ophtho_MudPhud's avatar. On the same note, i just ordered my panoptic from WA. It will be great for practicals, since it provides 5x the magnification. However, I heard that even the most experienced clinicians can not find the macula with it.

    Wel, i am off to study for my Ophthalmic optics exam :)
     
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  17. TPMOH

    TPMOH Senior Member
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    This is a refreshing discussion on OD vs OMD that doesn't include one side bashing the other. Both professions complement each other well, and my first choice in practice options when I'm done with OD school would be to be hired by an ophthalmologist. I think that it would be a perfect fit- my strengths in optics and vision would be a great complement to the OMD's disease and surgical skills. I know that I would learn alot from the OMD and would make me a better primary eye care provider. Good luck to all in which profession you choose- both would be great.

    OSU College of Optometry Class 2006
     
  18. Future OD

    Future OD Junior Member
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    Do what's in your Heart, but continue to search around. Come to the UAB School of Optometry, we dissect cadavers, full body. I actually wish we did Not dissect, because I'm no fan of this type of thing....
     
  19. Tyra

    Tyra Member
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    You get to dissect cadevers? Not a bad school- that is sooo cool.....
     
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  20. Eyegirl2k7

    Eyegirl2k7 Bridget Jones here
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    Just providing some friendly info:
    ICO does use mostly models, but there are prosected cadavers available so you can do some wetwork if you want. Personally I've had enough anatomy already that models don't bother me.

    Eyegirl
     
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  21. OD or Not

    OD or Not Junior Member
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    just reading the posts make me want to cry. no wonder most people here are still students. just wait until the real world, you will find it's really OD vs OMD out there. it all boils down to you know what.

    organized ophthalmology vs. organized optometry.

    Read the archive of review of optometry and review of ophthalmology, you will find many battle fields throughout the years. The war is still on.

    OD can't get on lots of insurance panel for treating patients with eye problems.
    OMD blames OD for cheap eye exam fees.
    you guys need to see more real life stuff not just your atlas with eyeballs.

    btw, it's not worth the time and money to become OD. I wish I went to med school. but that's just me.

    Happpy holiday.
     
  22. Caffeinated

    Caffeinated Army Strong
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    April, is that you???
     
  23. evans267

    evans267 Junior Member

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    yes it is. for a minute i was a little spooked about someone on this website figuring out who i am. if my guess is right, you are aaron (i read your other posts) i'm eagerly awaiting my christmas card! i hope all is well. just about done with interviews (thank goodness). call or e-mail me.:)
     
  24. Caffeinated

    Caffeinated Army Strong
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    Yes, it's me! Sorry if I freaked you out! I must say I was surprised seeing you on the board. I hope you got the card, and have a nice holiday!

    Aaron
     
  25. GenMed

    GenMed Member
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    Hi,

    Speaking as a med student with no interest in the eye business, I've got a question though: why on earth is it necessary for an optometrist to study anatomy??!! I had no idea optometry school required this. Anatomy of the eye, orbit, yeah, but everything else?

    Not trying to start a stupid fight here, just asking.
     
  26. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    Yeah, what's up with that? Why on earth would an OD need to know all the bones in the foot or what cord level innervates the psoas (?)

    I have a friend here that did a year of podiatry school before starting med school - he had to learn all the layers of the retina, etc. It just doens't make any sense to me.
     
  27. TomOD

    TomOD Senior Member
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    Come to think of it, why would an Ophthalmologist or Psychiatrist or Cardiologist need to know the bones of the foot? Dentists also study gross anatomy.

    I guess for the same reason we all have to take classes like statistics and literature in college. I suppose in the vain attempt to make us all more well-rounded;).

    The eye IS (usually) connected to a body and mind (unfortuately sometimes). :laugh:

    P.S. I like your Marine Corp quote. I was a grunt in the Marine Corp with "Howlin Mad Smith's grandson during Desert Storm.
     
  28. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    Who were you with during Desert Storm? I was a 1371 (engineer) attached to Bravo Co., 2nd LAI Btln -- we sat on ship the whole time -- 8 mos 23 days. I spent most of my time at CamLej -- 4 years with 2MarDiv, 2 years with 2d FSSG.

    What years were you in? Hell, we may have been at Lejeune together. Small world.

    Semper Fi!
     
  29. TomOD

    TomOD Senior Member
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    1/8, 2nd Mar Div. Alpha Co. 1990/91 (USS John F. Kennedy 1988/89). Desert Storm for 6 months from foxhole to foxhole...ended up in Kuwait City.

    Sorry to bore everyone with the details.....but everyone needs a break from the eyes once in awhile :laugh:
     
  30. GenMed

    GenMed Member
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    With doctors it's different. Before you can become a cardiologist or orthopaedist, you first have to become a doctor. Once you have your basic medical degree, you may decide to specialize and focus on a very small area of medicine - that's up to you. But for the generalist - the family doc, the emerg physician etc- being able to recognize a fracture of the metatarsal is as important as recognizing a ruptured aortic aneurysm. And since you only know (for sure) whether you want to be a generalist or specialist after you've been through medical school, all of us have to learn the core medical disciplines. Plus, knowledge of the core disciplines makes you a better doctor. An internist or ER doc who knows nothing of psychiatry for instance is in deep ****.


    An optometrist or a dentist are never expected to know and treat stuff outside their area of expertise. And you know precisely your area of expertise when you enter into the course. So what gives?
     
  31. TomOD

    TomOD Senior Member
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  32. Future OD

    Future OD Junior Member
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    An Eye Doctor that knows nothing about the heart, lungs, cancer, etc, will not be beneficial to their patients.

    A Problem with the eye is usually a sign of systemic problems, such as Diabetes, Grave's Disease, Brain Tumors (Affect the orbit), Bells' Palsy, Colon Cancer.....hey I can go on and on.:D

    It's really important for any health care professional to know something about the entire human body. The MDs can't do it all alone.

    However, ODs and Dentists, etc, need enough general anatomy knowledge to know when to refer a patient to an MD.
     
  33. Eyegirl2k7

    Eyegirl2k7 Bridget Jones here
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    I really like this thread since it does not involve OD's and OMD's bashing each other. It is good to see such professional attitudes!

    Eyegirl (unofficial den mother).
     
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  34. JPNSU

    JPNSU Member
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    I agree...especially if your co-managing OD is an attractive single female:love:


    Jason Park MS-IV
    NSU-COM
     
  35. J.opt

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    JPNSU, I see you are from Nova, how do you like it? I heard that there is an optometry school there but it doesn?t have a good reputation since it?s pretty young. What are your thoughts about the school as a whole?
     
  36. JPNSU

    JPNSU Member
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    I really couldn't give you an honest opinion about the optometry school. I do remember taking some classes with them during the first year of medical school. I had a couple of aquaintances that were students who seemed pretty happy and satisfied with the education they were receiving. It is a new OD school. However, I have never heard anthing negative about it or its graduates.

    They seem to have a female:male of about 70:30. If I was interested in being an optometrist...I'd go to Nova;)


    Jason Park MS-IV
    NSU-COM
     
  37. Suey

    Suey Member
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    Hi! I just discovered this website. I really want to go into the opt-field, but I'm not sure on optometry or opthamology. I know for optometry, you go to 4 yrs of optometry school, then you can start your own practice. But what's the procedure of opthamology? Do you go to 4 years of regular med school? Then what do you do after that? Do you start specializing in opthamology during your 4 yrs in med school?
     
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  38. JPNSU

    JPNSU Member
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    Well, if you want ophthalmology it goes like this:

    1) 4 years of medical school

    2) 1 year of internship

    3) 3 years of ophthalmology residency
     
  39. Eyegirl2k7

    Eyegirl2k7 Bridget Jones here
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    JPNSU
    Married (sorry) but attractive:laugh: I've done some modeling...:rolleyes:
     
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  40. JPNSU

    JPNSU Member
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    Well, I'd be more than happy to entertain any and all of your model friends...tell Kate Moss I said hi and tell her to eat a burrito or something...she's got iliac crests that could poke somebody's eye out:D
     
  41. alalani3

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    I am also interested in eye care and till now I was sure I wanted to be an optometrist because I do not wish to perform surgeries, but recently, while i was researching the topic and demand of optometry, i read a few places that lasik surgery will eventually not require the need for optometrists anymore. Also i read that places like walmart and stuff will also lessen the need for more optometrists. I really wanted to be an optometrist, but i am worried about going through all that studying and then not get anywhere in the end. Do you think that optometrists will eventually not be needed (not only cuz of competition between other optometrists, but because of lasik, opthamologists, and places like wal mart)?
     
  42. vaughnvu

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    Hello all, I'd like to thank all for the valuable and professional inputs. I've learned a whole lot from this forum. However, I have one question in mind and have never seen any one in this forum asking nor mentioning of. That is: is it possible for an OD to become an OMD without having to go through all the requirements of 4yrs in med school and residency like a fresh undergrad grad.?:cool:
     
  43. MAYOphtho

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    to my knowledge...no

    in fact, there is a retina surgeon here who was an OD for a number of years, then decided he wanted to be an OMD...so went to med school, residency, then 2 year surgical retina fellowship
     
  44. OMSPlayer05

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    This reply is specifically to Gen Med: Just an answer to a question above about why certain professions such as optometry, podiatry, and dentistry study gross anatomy - I will speak for dentistry in particular. I am currently in my last year of Oral and maxillofacial surgery ( a specialty of dentistry) residency and we have to know our share of gross anatomy. For our reconstructive sugery cases we harvest our own Iliac crest grafts, tibia grafts, in addition to harvesting the sural nerve for nerve grafts. In addition, we perform full scope facial trauma from the clavicle up, so I have to know how to raise a bicoronal flab, perform a transconjuctival incision ect... Atleast in my profession, gross anatomy is absolutely essential. In addition, with these big surgeries comes patient management post-operatively, so you have to know how to read a Chest x-rays, manage labs, ect... Finally, we perform our own anesthesia on the majority of our smaller outpatient cases here in clinic, so a fundamental understanding of physiology and pharmacology is required. Just a little insight on other professions.
     
  45. smiegal

    smiegal Member
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    In order to answer these questions, you need to define "primary eye care" for me. Refractions and contact lens fittings are common in optometry training whereas some ophthalmology residents do this much less often. Both see a reasonable number of "well eye exams" or routine screenings during training. With respect to pathology, outside of surgery, there is a tremendous difference in the amount of eye pathology seen/managed in a typical Ophtho vs. Optom training program. The reason is most patients with sick eyes end up with Ophthalmologists, regardless of whether there is an imminent need for surgery. I would think that most every experienced eye doctor on this board would agree with the above, and it just comes down to your definition of primary eye care.
     
  46. vaughnvu

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    Thank you, MAYOphtho for you input. If that's the true then I think it's such a pity for those who want to be ODs but then later change their mind or want to pursue their interests further into the realm of surgery or specialized areas. Since the two fields are so closely related and for an OD to have to take the MCAT, application, interview, 4yr med school, then residency, and all that "good" stuff just like a fresh undergrad student. That's bull crap!
     
  47. vaughnvu

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    I personally don't think I'm gonna like med school so I'm thinking about OD school and perhaps pursue further into the surgery area some years later but if what you said is true then I'd have to think over and clearly before I make a desicion.
     
  48. jymezg

    jymezg SCO c/o 2013
    2+ Year Member

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    1) Ophthalmologist and Optometrists will agree that Walmart is the Devil

    2) Optometrists will always be needed. Even with patients who've had lasik. Take a look at this article, plenty more on the topic if you google it.

    http://blogs.webmd.com/eye-on-vision/2006/06/myopia-persists-after-lasik.html

    I like the quote "Once a myope always a myope."
     
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  49. jymezg

    jymezg SCO c/o 2013
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  50. Believer128

    2+ Year Member

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    jymezg, looks like someone's scared. You know I'm right ******, you're going to waste all your money, and 4 years of your life, and even after getting an OD, I will guarantee you that you'll likely sweeping floors in a dirty apartment building.

    There will be zero demand for optometrists in 2014. You know it, and I know it. Good luck with your life, punk.
     

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