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Why did you choose to go to optometry school?

I am currently a pre-optometry student, and was wondering what motivated optometrists to choose the field!

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Rita’s Answer

I have been a practicing optometrist for 20+ years now. The time I've spent in my profession has flown by. I think back to why I chose this profession and it was mainly because I wanted to work in health care, be able to have work-life balance and have relative low stress, and be able to help patients in a meaningful way. I had always had eye exams with optometrists growing up and I admired the doctors who took care of me.

Optometrists get to see the positive work they do on a daily basis. The work is fulfilling and interesting. I have found over the course of my career that there are a variety of ways to practice as a optometrist and your interests will guide the path your career takes. This may be working with a certain demographic of patients (like seniors or children) or in a specialty (like contact lenses, ocular disease, or low vision).

Rita recommends the following next steps:

Definitely shadow an optometrist or two as you prepare for the field. It is a way to see what the career entails and you need to work towards obtaining a recommendation from an optometrist for your optometry school application,
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Dana’s Answer

I'm so glad I choose optometry as a career 40 years ago. It's a rewarding profession where you continuosly learn as well as help patients in multiple specialties, such as contact lenses, ocular disease, or vision therapy. It also gives you a positive work/life balance where you can choose to practice in different settings. I choose to practice in a primary care setting where I specialized in vision therapy, seeing a wide variety of patients with unique issues. Making a positive impact on a patient's life is extremely gratifying.

When I was in high school I wanted to go to medical school. In the summer I volunteered at a local hospital and observed surgery but realized medicine was not a good fit for me. My college professor recommended optometry as a career even though I had very little knowlege about the profession. At that point I shadowed multiple health professionals including pharmacy, PT, dentistry, and optometry. I was instantly drawn to optometry and have been grateful ever since!

Dana recommends the following next steps:

Spend time shadowing an optometrist. The experience will give you more insight into the profession.
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