School of Optometry
In 1951, the General Assembly of the State of Indiana established a program in optometry at Indiana University. The first year of preoptometry courses was offered beginning in the fall semester of 1951-52, the first professional courses were offered in 1953-54, and the first Master of Optometry (M.Opt.) degrees were awarded in 1956. In recognition of the vital role of vision research, the graduate degree programs in physiological optics were early priorities (M.S., 1953; Ph.D., 1955).
The program in optometry operated as a division of the university, with its degrees granted by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School, until the 1975-76 school year, at which time it became a degree-granting school of the university.
A continuous fund was created to support the establishment of the optometry program by adding a special fee to the annual license renewal fee of each practicing optometrist in Indiana. Additional funds and gifts, including a substantial collection of library books, were contributed through the auspices of the Indiana Optometric Association. As a permanent endowment program, the Optometry School Trust Fund was created as a division of the Indiana University Foundation for the general purpose of receiving and accepting gifts, bequests, pledges of money, etc., for the benefit of the optometric work to be carried on at Indiana University.
The building for the Division of Optometry and the Program in Physiological Optics was completed in 1967. This six-story, limestone-faced building is located on East Atwater Avenue and provides space for classrooms, a library, clinics, laboratories, offices, and supporting research and development activities. In addition to the main Atwater Eye Care Center (AECC), the school operates the Community Eye Care Center (CECC) on the west side of Bloomington. In 1992, the School of Optometry opened the Indianapolis Eye Care Center (IECC) in a newly constructed building at 501 Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis. Offering an expanded scope of patient care services, the IECC is located near the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Fourth-year optometry students receive additional clinical training through external rotations at locations such as Veterans Administration facilities, Indian Health Service clinics, military hospitals, referral centers, and the school's eye care center in Guanajuato, Mexico.
In 1971, in cooperation with the then-existing Division of General and Technical Studies of Indiana University, the School of Optometry established a two-year program for the preparation of optometric technicians. In 1980, the Indiana University School of Optometry established a two-year program for the training of opticians. In 1987, the School of Optometry combined the optician and technician programs into one.
In 1995, a portion of the clinic in the Optometry Building was dedicated as the Borish Center for Ophthalmic Research. The center's mission is to abet and develop clinical and applied research support and to facilitate investigations in visual disorders, ocular pathologies, and systemic diseases that affect the eye and its adnexa. The Borish Center provides an arena for the development of clinical researchers in vision and for the training of graduate students, residents, and fellows.
Mission, Vision, and Goals
The mission of the School of Optometry is to protect, advance, and promote the vision, eyecare, and health of people worldwide by preparing individuals for careers in optometry, the ophthalmic industry, and vision science and by advancing knowledge through teaching, research, and service. This will be accomplished through the Doctor of Optometry, Optician/Technician, Residency, and Graduate Programs.
The vision of the School of Optometry is to be at the leading edge of vision care for the people of the world.
The goals of the School of Optometry focus on six areas:
- Teaching. To be recognized for excellence and leadership in teaching.
- Patient care. To supply students with sufficient numbers, diversity, and quality of patient experiences that will provide them with the clinical education to become efficient in performing patient care. At the same time, the goal is to provide timely, appropriate, and quality care to the patients.
- Research. To increase the research activity of our faculty and students, to improve the research profile of the faculty and school, and to be a recognized leader in vision science and vision health research.
- Service. To increase the service activity of our faculty, staff, and students; to be recognized nationally/internationally as a leader in service to the profession and vision science; and to have a level of service within the university and community to be recognized as outstanding citizens.
- Facilities. To have state-of-the-art physical facilities and equipment that create an integrative approach to education, research, training, and service delivery.
- Finances. To maintain funding that allows for sufficient faculty and staff, continued growth, up-to-date facilities, and the ability to take advantage of opportunities that arise.
The following are major purposes of the optometry program:
Membership and Accreditation
- to qualify men and women for the practice of optometry;
- to instill in the graduate a scientific and professional attitude;
- to provide a background for the graduate's contribution to the civic and social welfare of the community;
- to encourage and facilitate graduate and postgraduate study in optometry and vision science;
- to encourage and facilitate research in the clinical aspects of optometry and in the fundamental sciences germane to optometry;
- to contribute to the scientific and professional literature;
- to train men and women as optometric technicians and/or opticians.
The School of Optometry is a member of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (www.opted.org) and is accredited by the Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association, the official optometric agency recognized by the National Commission on Accrediting, and by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (www.arbo.org). Optometry students and graduates are eligible to take the annual examinations of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (www.optometry.org). Optician/Technician Program graduates are eligible to take the registry examination of the American Optometric Association and may become certified by the American Board of Opticianry.
Geographical Distribution of Students
Students enrolled in the School of Optometry's optometry, vision science, and optician/technician programs represent approximately 30 states and several foreign countries.
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For more information, contact the Office of Student Administration, School of Optometry, Indiana University, 800 E. Atwater Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-3680; (812) 855-1917; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bachelor of Arts in the B.A./O.D. Program (B.A.)
A Bachelor of Arts degree is offered by the College of Arts and Sciences in conjunction with the School of Optometry. It requires fulfillment of the B.A. requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences. A student who is admitted to the School of Optometry after completing 90 credit hours in the College of Arts and Sciences may apply 32 credit hours of courses in optometry as electives toward the B.A. degree, which is received in the initial major. The student must satisfy the college's specified requirements, including a concentration in the department of the college.
Special Bachelor of Science in Biology for Three-Year Preoptometry Students (B.S.)
This program is designed for students admitted to the Indiana University School of Optometry after three years at Indiana University Bloomington. Students who have completed the fundamental skills and distribution requirements for the standard B.S. in Biology and at least 90 credit hours in courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences may apply 8 credit hours of their first-year professional courses toward their major and 24 credit hours of their first-year professional courses as elective credit.
Bachelor of Science in Optometry (B.S.)
A Bachelor of Science degree is offered by the School of Optometry. It is available only to those students who have not completed a bachelor's degree prior to enrollment in the professional (O.D.) degree program. It requires satisfactory completion of all preoptometry courses and of the course work specified in the section of this bulletin entitled "Bachelor of Science in Optometry Degree."
Doctor of Optometry (O.D.)
The Doctor of Optometry degree is offered by the School of Optometry. It requires fulfillment of a bachelor's degree (before or after enrollment), including all preoptometry requirements and satisfactory completion of the four-year professional curriculum. The specific requirements are described in the section of this bulletin entitled "Doctor of Optometry Degree." Holders of this degree are eligible to apply for examinations for licensure by the Indiana Optometry Board or by corresponding agencies in other states.
Associate of Science in Optometric Technology/Opticianry (A.S.)
The School of Optometry offers a two-year Associate of Science degree in Optometric Technology/Opticianry. The Optician/Technician Program that leads to this degree is open to high school graduates as well as those with some college experience. Students completing the program will be qualified to work as optometric technicians and/or opticians, or may choose to pursue related careers as laboratory opticians, optical managers, contact lens technicians, or ophthalmic sales and service representatives.
Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy (M.S., Ph.D.)
Offered by the University Graduate School in conjunction with the School of Optometry, the two degree programs in vision science are designed primarily for those who wish to devote themselves to teaching and research in the field of vision.
Combined Degree Programs
Indiana University's Vision Science Program has a proud tradition of training more than 50 doctoral graduates and nearly 100 master's graduates who have gone on to productive academic or clinical careers. Many have held prestigious leadership positions in academia and national and/or international research organizations. Because of the increasing cost of higher education, it has become difficult for optometry graduates to pursue M.S. or Ph.D. degrees after completing optometry training. The Indiana University School of Optometry has developed combined degree programs in conjunction with the University Graduate School to allow students to work toward an M.S. or Ph.D. simultaneously with the O.D. degree. The two combined degree programs are designed to attract students interested in careers devoted to the creation of new knowledge in clinical and/or academic optometry. A number of financial support mechanisms are available.
Application for Degrees
The School of Optometry awards A.S., B.S., and O.D. degrees in May, June, August, and December. Candidates for these degrees should submit degree applications to the Office of Student Administration of the School of Optometry at least two months in advance of anticipated graduation. Candidates for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees should consult the University Graduate School Bulletin.
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