Optometry is the profession of examining the eyes for defects and faults of refraction, and prescribing corrective lenses or exercises.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky sponsors a program that enables 15 qualified pre optometry students who are Kentucky residents to gain admission each year to the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee and the optometry schools of Indiana University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Eight entering spaces are reserved at Southern, four at Indiana University, and three at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Students must complete one year of biology with labs, one year of advanced biology (Human Anatomy and Physiology are suggested), Microbiology with lab, one year of general chemistry, one or two semesters of Organic Chemistry with lab (varies by school), Biochemistry, Calculus I, one year of physics with lab, psychology, and statistics. Biochemistry is recommended but not required.

Suggested pre-optometry courses in addition to the University’s Liberal Studies requirements include:

  • BIO 111   Principles of Biology
  • BIO 210   General Zoology
  • BIO 301   Human Anatomy
  • BIO 302   General Microbiology
  • BIO 303   Human Physiology
  • CHE 101/110   General Chemistry I/Lab
  • CHE 102/120   General Chemistry II/Lab
  • CHE 301/310   Organic Chemistry I/Lab
  • CHE 302/320   Organic Chemistry II/Lab (required at many but not all schools)
  • CHE 315   Biochemistry (highly recommended)
  • MAT 131   Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
  • PHY 207   Physics in Biological Sciences I
  • PHY 208   Physics in Biological Sciences I
  • PSY 200   General Psychology
  • SOC/POS/PSY 300  Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences

Each applicant is required to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), which is designed to measure general academic ability and scientific knowledge. Many schools also require a minimum number of hours in observation of a practicing optometrist. Students will apply through a special website, OptomCAS (Optometry College Application Service), one year before they desire admission.