Doctors of Optometry (OD) are primary eye and healthcare providers who examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders of the eye and visual system, as well as identify any ocular manifestations of systemic diseases. As a result, Doctors of Optometry are important members of the healthcare team. Optometrists make up the largest eyecare profession in the country.
Doctors of Optometry provide the following:
- Examine, diagnose and manage the eye for various refractive conditions including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia
- Examine, diagnose and manage eye movement, eye coordination and focusing problems
- Examine, diagnose and manage the eye for various ocular diseases such as glaucoma, retinal disease, ocular infections and cataracts
- Diagnose ocular manifestations of systemic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension
- Prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Provide vision therapy
- Treat and manage eye diseases
- Provide low vision and vision rehabilitation services
- Perform minor surgical eye procedures
- Provide pre- and post-operative eyecare
- Coordinate care with other healthcare providers
Doctors of Optometry provide care to patients of all ages and practice in a variety of settings. These settings include private practices, multidisciplinary practices, hospitals, teaching institutions, community healthcare centers and the ophthalmic industry. As primary eyecare providers, optometrists provide general eyecare, but some practitioners emphasize care in the certain areas. These areas may include:
- Primary Eyecare
- Contact Lenses
- Low Vision
- Vision Therapy
- Ocular Disease
- Refractive Surgery
- Geriatric Optometry
A growing number of optometrists continue on to an additional year of clinical training in a residency program after completing the 4-year professional program. Some optometrists may become involved in research or in the area of public health.
Optometry is a growing profession with continued need for its services. Doctors of Optometry are healthcare professionals who offer important eye and health services to the population.