Font Size

Eye Care Providers (cont.)


Optometrists are eye-care providers who have attended college and completed four years of training at an optometry school but have not attended a medical school. In optometry school, they receive education primarily about the eyes and do not receive a comprehensive education regarding the rest of the body and systemic disease processes. Optometrists receive a doctor of optometry (OD) degree.

Optometrists are licensed by the state to practice optometry. They can perform an eye examination and can determine the presence of vision-related problems. They can also prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. Depending on the state in which you live, optometrists may be allowed to treat less complicated eye diseases and prescribe eyedrops for various conditions, but they are not trained or licensed to perform surgery.

Optometrists often work closely with ophthalmologists to provide integrated eye care for their mutual patients. Some optometrists work in the same practice as ophthalmologists, providing refractive (glasses and contact lenses) services, surgical screening, analysis of technical measurements prior to surgery, post-surgical care, emergency care, and other medical services. Other optometrists may work in an independent practice or in conjunction with a national eye-care chain. In many of these optometric practices, frequent referrals to ophthalmologists for surgical or medical care of serious illnesses may occur. Conversely, some ophthalmologists may refer patients to optometrists for primary eye care, refractions, contact lenses, glasses, lens prescriptions, and glasses fittings.

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Eye Care Providers

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma
Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma Acute angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a rapid or sudden increase in pressure inside the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP). The condition requires treat...learn more >>
Adult Glaucoma Suspect
Adult Glaucoma Suspect Glaucoma is usually high pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve and can result in permanent vision loss. Not all 3 criteria (that is, high pressur...learn more >>
Angle Recession Glaucoma
Angle Recession Glaucoma Traumatic glaucoma refers to a group of ocular disorders that occur after the eye undergoes trauma. Following this trauma, different mechanisms can cause an abn...learn more >>

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Volunteer Eye Care »

The foremost reason people organize an eye project is for the joy of helping others see again (see Media file 1).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary