What Does an Optometrist Do?
When you go to see a doctor about your eyes, you have choices. If you are specifically looking to get your eyes checked and need a new pair of glasses or contact lenses, the doctor you want to see is an optometrist. The role of this type of doctor is often misunderstood and confused with that of an ophthalmologist.When you go to see a doctor about your eyes, you have choices. If you are specifically looking to get your eyes checked and need a new pair of glasses or contact lenses, the doctor you want to see is an optometrist. The role of this type of doctor is often misunderstood and confused with that of an ophthalmologist.
What Does This Type of Doctor Do?
Optometrists are frequently also referred to simply as “eye doctors.” They perform specific duties related to the care of the eye and have concentrated specialties of study. An eye doctor does the following:
- Specializes in examining the eyes, making diagnoses of eye conditions and treats, manages and prevents eye diseases and disorders.
- Diagnoses various ocular manifestations of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as complications of the eye such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Prescribes medication for the treatment of specific eye diseases.
- Prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses.
- Provides vision therapy and rehabilitation for individuals with low vision.
- Works with healthcare providers to deliver high-quality care.
- Educates patients on eye health so they can make better decisions regarding their vision.
What Kind of Environment Do Optometrists Work In?
Eye doctors practice in a variety of different settings, including private practices, hospitals, clinics and even in teaching positions. It also isn’t unusual to find an optometrist working at a store that sells and specializes in eyeglasses and other vision needs.
No matter what the environment, optometrists must have a setting that is well-lit, clean and comfortable for patients. They work standard business hours and sometimes in evenings and on weekends to meet the needs of their patients. Although emergency calls to optometrists were previously uncommon, it has become more standard for patients to contact their eye doctor in emergency situations, especially as they have the ability to prescribe medications for a number of eye conditions and disorders.
Education and Training Requirements
In order for someone to practice optometry in Canada, a Bachelor of Science or higher degree is required. The individual must also earn a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree.
After a person has completed their studies and earned their optometry degree, they must go on to earn a license, which is awarded by the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO).
These types of doctors often study courses in pharmacology, biochemistry and systemic diseases. Some optometrists specialize in specific areas of practice that requires a one-year postgraduate clinical residency program. Doctors who wish to specialize in family practices, geriatric optometry, pediatric optometry and ocular diseases, for example, require this course of study.
Generally, optometrists must have their licenses renewed every one to three years. They must also enroll in continuing education courses to renew their licenses.