The professional program leading to the Doctor of Optometry (OD) at the SUNY College of Optometry is four years in duration. The curriculum integrates the basic biological and vision sciences that form the foundation of clinical practice, teaches the fundamentals of optometry and develops critical thinking for problem oriented clinical care and case decision making. Patient care begins early and continues throughout all four years of the program with increasing responsibilities under the supervision of our clinical faculty at the University Eye Center (UEC) as well as through a minimum of two quarters during the fourth year at externship sites around the country.
The first two years of the program concentrate on students integrating basic biological and visual sciences with clinical practice, while developing an understanding of the theory and fundamentals of ocular examination and evidence-based treatments. Students begin working in the UEC in the first year and continue with greater responsibilities in subsequent years. Direct patient contact begins in the spring of the second year. The third year integrates didactic and clinical teaching further and students work directly with patients in the primary care clinic and gain additional exposure in various speciality clinics.
Students, working as interns with patient care responsibilities, are assigned to multiple rotations through various clinics in the UEC and at least two externship sites at various hospitals and other health care facilities as part of our externship program. Opportunities for rotations through one of the College's international clinical affiliates also exist. After the successful completion of the fourth year, the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree is awarded. Once state licensing exams are passed, the graduate is qualified to begin practice.