What Students Learn in the OD Program

By graduation, students in our OD program will have demonstrated knowledge of the programmatic learning objectives, their application to evidence-based clinical optometry, and the professionalism and ethics expected in healthcare professionals. These outcomes are described in each of the areas that follows:  

Demonstrate a command of knowledge on…

  • Systems anatomy and physiology, with special emphasis on the eye and visual system
  • The various pathological processes and causes that lead to dysfunction and disease, and the effect that these processes can have on the body and its major organ systems, with special emphasis on the eye and visual system
  • The cellular, molecular and genetic basis of the development, physiology, and pathology of the body systems and their relationships to diseases of the eye and visual system
  • The structures and processes contributing to the development of refractive errors, binocular vision anomalies, and other optical and perceptual abnormalities of the visual system as they relate to, but not limited to, strabismus, amblyopia, oculomotor function, accommodation and visual perception
  • The optics of the eye and ophthalmic lens systems (including spectacles, contact lenses and low vision devices) used to correct and treat the development of refractive, oculomotor and other vision disorders
  • Mechanisms of action of the various classes of pharmaceutical agents, their interactions and their safe and effective use for the treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the eye and visual system
  • Vision therapy and other rehabilitative methods used for the management of common visual disorders
  • The psychosocial dynamics of the doctor/patient relationship and understanding of the social, psychological and economic forces affecting diverse patient populations
  • Community health care resources and delivery systems to improve care
  • Practice management structures and strategies as they pertain to the various practice settings
  • The role of the optometrist in the health care delivery system and as part of an interprofessional health care delivery team

Demonstrate clinical competence in…

  • All the skills required for the triage, diagnosis, management and/or treatment of common visual conditions, including or resulting from:
    • refractive errors
    • abnormalities of accommodation, monocular or binocular vision, oculomotor and sensory/perceptual dysfunctions
    • ocular disease and trauma
    • ocular surgery and laser treatments
    • systemic disease
    • environmental or occupational conditions
    • congenital or hereditary conditions
  • The ability to understand, evaluate and apply the use of contemporary refractive and imaging technologies in the provision of eye and vision care
  • The critical-thinking skills needed to assess the patient’s visual and physical status and to interpret and process the data to formulate and execute effective management plans using the fundamental principles of evidence based practice
  • The ability to order and interpret frequently needed laboratory and diagnostic procedures as indicated for the delivery of appropriate problem oriented care
  • The ability to prescribe or use ophthalmic materials, contact lenses, vision therapy, low vision devices, pharmaceuticals and certain surgical procedures to treat and manage vision disorders and disease
  • An understanding of nutritional influences and vitamin supplements on ocular physiology and systemic health and disease
  • The ability to recognize and initiate the coordination of patient care for conditions requiring advanced medical, systemic, interprofessional, or specialty care
  • The ability to recognize life-threatening conditions and to initiate immediate intervention
  • Effective interprofessional and personal communication skills, both oral and written, to maximize successful patient care outcomes
  • The ability to use appropriately all supporting healthcare resources available, including the use of electronic health records, ancillary personnel, co-management of intra- and inter-professional collaborations and referrals, to ensure the highest quality patient care
  • The ability to access, accurately interpret, and apply information for evidence based practice in decision making for patient care and health care delivery
  • Cultural competence and the ability to embrace diversity and individual differences that characterize patients, populations and the health care team
  • The ability to work cooperatively with patients, and collaboratively with other healthcare professions and care providers, to provide the effective delivery of healthcare services.

Demonstrate professionalism and ethics through…

  • A commitment to life-long learning and providing the highest standard of care
  • The ability to acquire, analyze and apply new information while making reasonable and informed decisions that are consistent with the interests and needs of the patient and broader community
  • Problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that integrate current knowledge, scientific advances and the human/social dimensions of patient care to assure the highest quality of care for each patient through the principles of evidence based practice
  • The ability to recognize personal limitations regarding optimal patient care and to work with the broader health care community in providing the best care possible
  • An understanding of professional ethics and challenges to the optometric profession posed by conflicts of interest inherent in health care delivery, and the ability to incorporate those principles into decisions affecting patient care, always keeping the patient’s welfare foremost
  • Professionalism, by demonstrating honesty and integrity in all interactions with patients and their families, colleagues and others with whom the optometrist must engage in his/her professional life
  • A respect for the dignity of every patient and a commitment to empathetic and confidential care
  • A commitment to work as an integral member of the larger interprofessional health care team to improve patient care outcomes
  • A commitment to be actively involved in organized optometry and the community

The OD program learning objectives are based on the Attributes of Students Graduating from Schools and Colleges of Optometry, published by the Association for Schools and Colleges of Optometry (2011)