Now that I’ve hit my third year of optometry school and boards are right around the corner, I really wanted to do something for myself as a refresher. Growing up, my family wasn’t able to take trips together outside of the country. Now that I’m outside of the house and I’ve saved up a little, I really wanted to start traveling.
Since ICO is on the quarter system, we have a week “break” in between each quarter. As a third year, you do have clinic during this week, but the size of our class makes it really easy to find people to cover your shifts (something I’m so thankful for!) For Christmas break, I decided to book a trip to England.
My trip involved a week in London. While I was there exploring, I stumbled upon quite a few opticals. This made me wonder, what is eye care like outside of the United States? From what I learned in England, the role of an optometrist is very similar to what you would find in the United States; it is getting there that is quite different.
In America, becoming an optometrist requires a 4-year undergraduate degree and then a 4-year doctoral degree followed by a possible year of residency.
In England, to become an optometrist you essentially have to complete a bachelor’s degree in optometry and then complete 12-15 months of training before taking the College of Optometry boards.
My trip was amazing and I would love to return again. London was beautiful and so full of history. It is really interesting to see how much health care systems vary from nation to nation. As I continue to travel, I hope to continue to learn more about the optometrist field across the world. Next stop- Spain!