Looking at optometry

OPTHOMOLOGY, Pharapeter, Keratometry. If you have never heard of any of these terms it’s probably because you have never considered a career in optometry.
Peter Simson, optometrist at Peter Simson Optometry in Korsten, said an optometry degree takes dedication and hard work.
Graduating in 1984 from what was then the Witwatersrand Technikon, Simson admits qualifying in what was then a three year course was no easy task.
“You need to excel in maths, biology and science at school because very few people are actually selected for the four year degree course now offered at the universities of Johannesburg, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.
“There are not a lot of bursaries. It is a very expensive degree to pursue,” he said.

Emil Nel from the Department of Optometry at the University of Johannesburg took the time to explain some of the requirements needed to pursue a career in optometry.
What subjects and marks are required to study optometry?
The general minimum admission point score (APS) is 31 points.
Language of Teaching and Learning 60% (5 points)
Other additional language 50% (4 points)
Life Orientation 50 – 59% (2 points) 60 – 69% (4 points)
Mathematics Core minimum of 60% (5 points)
Physical Sciences minimum of 60% (50 points)
Life Sciences minimum of 60% (50 points)
Any additional subject of your choice 60 % (5 points)
How many years does the degree take to complete and what do those years entail?
It is a four year degree which encompasses:
1st year is a basic first year BsC.
2nd – 4th year full optometry subjects.
Students do organised three week compulsory community work on the Phelophepha eyecare train, a community project with Transnet in the rural areas.
How much is the course ?
About R26000 per year and in second year students have to buy instruments which can cost them about R18000 to R20000. They will use these instruments for the rest of their careers.

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