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Dean: Earl L. Smith III, O.D., Ph.D., University of Houston
Associate Dean for Professional Studies: Roger L. Boltz, O.D., Ph.D., University of Houston
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research (Interim): Laura J. Frishman, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions: Lanny Shulman, O.D., Ph.D., University of Houston
Director of Learning Resources: Suzanne Ferimer, M.L.S., University of Kentucky
The College of Optometry offers the Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree and the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in physiological optics.
Each year 100 students are admitted to the four-year professional program leading to the Doctor of Optometry degree. All applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation into the Doctor of Optometry program.
This section provides an overview of the profession and information on undergraduate preparation for admission to the professional (O.D.) program. The Graduate and Professional Studies catalog contains detailed information concerning the college’s graduate and professional degree programs. The program of graduate study in physiological optics is designed for students who wish to pursue an academic career in teaching and vision research.
Doctors of Optometry are independent primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions.
Graduates may enter private practice or serve in multidisciplinary primary care clinics. Graduates also find careers in public health, teaching and research, and health administration. Residencies/fellowships are available in pediatrics, primary care, contact lenses, rehabilitative optometry, hospital-based optometry, cornea and ocular disease, and neuro-ophthalmology. Special services for children, the elderly, and the partially-sighted can each be exclusively practiced. Helping to care for vision, our most treasured sense, makes optometry a rewarding profession for students interested in a health career.
Doctor of Optometry Program
The educational missions of the University of Houston College of Optometry are to educate and train sufficient optometrists to serve the needs of Texas primarily, but also to provide education and training for residents of other states and nations; to educate and train qualified teachers and researchers in optometry and vision sciences; to provide post-doctoral education in advanced clinical areas (residencies); and to provide training for practitioners in new developments and the medical sciences. Our research mission is to add to the body of knowledge identified as vision science and to its effective application, and to extend the scope of practice and improve the quality of optometric care. The service missions of the College are to provide counsel and support to the profession in its quest to improve optometric services; to help provide appropriate health education to the public; to help extend care to those segments of society which are underserved; and to provide advice and counsel to the international optometric sector.
The College of Optometry’s major responsibility is to educate and to train students who, upon graduation, are able to provide all of the diagnostic and treatment services that characterize the general practice of optometry. Educational objectives have been established for each course in the professional curriculum which support this broad purpose. The institutional objectives are to ensure that each student:
- acquires a sound foundation in basic and clinical sciences essential for the practice of optometry
- learns the technical, communicative, and interpersonal skills required to apply that knowledge
- develops an understanding of the forces–legislative, legal, ethical, technical and socioeconomic–which influence health care
- acquires ethical insights and moral attitudes required to insure that the best interests of the patients are served
- becomes involved in discovery, transmittal, and application of knowledge through participation in, or appreciation of, scientific inquiry
- develops self-confidence in decision-making, acceptance of responsibility and characteristics of a professional person
- becomes committed to keeping abreast of new knowledge and technology and their applications as a continuing obligation to patients.
The College of Optometry, established at the University of Houston in 1952, has resided since 1976 in one of the most modern facilities designed for optometric education and vision science research in the country. The teaching and research activities of the college are facilitated by the year-round operation of an outpatient clinic, The University Eye Institute, up-to-date re-search laboratories, an extensive library collection, a computer center, and instructional services.