New England College of Optometry 2014-2015 Catalog
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Doctor of Optometry

Four Year OD Program

This program prepares you for a career as a clinician, researcher or educator. Our unique elective program provides you with the opportunity for advanced education in an area of personal interest with options for pursuing a postgraduate education.

The curriculum of the four-year program is organized and delivered through four departments: Vision Sciences, Biomedical Sciences and Disease, Primary Care, and Specialty and Advanced Care. Each course is developed as one step in a sequence designed to facilitate each student’s mastery of the knowledge and skills required of an optometric professional capable of managing conditions of the human eye and visual system.

The Department of Vision Sciences provides course material leading to an understanding of the theory and application of optics as well as the structure and function of the normal and abnormal visual system. To that end, the content of the vision science curriculum is presented within four general areas: optics, vision testing, binocular vision and visual neuroscience.

The Department of Biomedical Sciences and Disease courses provide the student with an understanding of the normal and abnormal structure and function of the human organism. A background is provided in the following areas:  fundamental anatomical and biochemical mechanisms; physiological, immunological, and pathological processes; the diagnosis, treatment, and management of ocular disease.

The Department of Primary Care provides classroom education, technical workshops, and clinical training to help students develop their patient care skills and to understand the role of optometric care within the greater health care delivery system. Emphasis is placed on balancing scientific knowledge, technical expertise, problem-solving ability and personal interactions to stimulate doctors-in-training to become competent, compassionate, eye care professionals. Clinical assignments are selected based upon their offering diverse patient populations, exposure to state of the art instrumentation, and supervisory faculty who are committed to both patient care and education.

The Department of Specialty and Advanced Care offers courses and clinical programs that encompass the specific background, skills, clinical insights, and patient-management capabilities required of optometrists within the specialized clinical realm of contact lenses, low vision, and pediatric optometry and binocular vision. The curriculum provides a foundation that integrates basic science with clinical science and is directly related to the provision of clinical care of patients within these specialized subject areas.

Clinical experiences enable students to become competent optometric professionals who can integrate scientific knowledge with clinical insights to diagnose, treat, and manage visual and ocular problems and co-manage related systemic conditions. The preceptor-ship method is used throughout the program. It calls for close initial supervision by licensed faculty, with the students assuming more responsibility over time. The role of the preceptor slowly changes from supervisor to consultant. The students’ final year is entirely clinical with assignments to an array of diverse practice settings.