They definitely prefer working knowledge of the optometric profession to research experience.. unless you're planning on applying to the OD/PhD track. Otherwise you're fine working for or shadowing an OD. Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions about the application process!
I know this is getting a little off-topic, but how important is volunteer experience in an opt school application? How about extra-curriculars? I'm a little weak in both those areas -- reading the pre-allo postings, that sounds like a huge strike against med school applications. Just wondering what it means for opt school apps. (BTW, I'll be volunteering at an eye clinic this summer, so at least I'll have that when I apply this fall...)
I shadowed for 6 hrs/week for one summer, going to the office after summer school classes. As far as volunteer experience, I did about 2 hrs/week during the school year through a student organization for the local Boys and Girls Club, basically just playing with kids after their school let out and helping them with their homework. I think admissions are just looking to see that you are willing to volunteer, not necessarily devoting your life to it.