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What is Optometry?

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Optometry is a career field filled with possibilities. Optometry offers flexibility, variety, gratification, good income, and freedom in choosing a location to practice - all while doing meaningful work. Learn more about optometry as a profession.

What is a Doctor of Optometry?  

A Doctor of Optometry (also called an OD or optometrist) is a primary health care provider that specializes in eye care and visual health. The American Optometric Association explains that optometrists “examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures and their related systemic conditions.”   

(Video courtesy of ASCO: Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry)

What does a Doctor of Optometry do?

Optometrists examine the internal and external structure of the eyes to diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders; systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes; and vision conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. During an examination, optometrists conduct and assess:

  • Vision assessments/refraction
    Optometrists determine the clarity or blur that patients have and use tailored techniques to find a prescription for the patients best possible vision. 
  • Binocular vision
    Optometrists determine the patient’s ability to properly focus and coordinate the eyes, and assess depth perception. 
  • Eye disease
    Optometrists diagnose and treat some eye diseases with pharmaceutical agents. They also identify systemic diseases with ocular manifestations such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid conditions, cancer, and HIV. 
  • Pre/post-op care
    Optometrists provide both pre-operative and post-operative care for cataract surgery, refractive surgery (LASIK), and retinal surgery. 

What is the difference between an Optometrist, an Ophthalmologist, and an Optician?


  • An optometrist is a primary eye care provider that specializes in eye care and visual health.


  • An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specializing in eye disease who may perform ocular surgery. 


  • An optician is a professional who fits and grinds lenses and dispenses glasses. 


What are some eye & vision problems optometrists encounter?

Eye Problems

As an optometrist, you have the opportunity to assess an individual's vision and diagnose issues relating to vision and eye health.

Learn more about common eye and vision problems such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, presbyopia, cataracts, color blindness, strabismus, glaucoma, and macular generation through this Eye & Vision Health Problems interactive from VisionDirect in the UK.

You can utilize their interactive Human Eye Tool to learn more about how how we see.


How can you learn more about Optometry?

To learn more about what a Doctor of Optometry does, visit the following websites:

Why Choose Optometry?Learn more about the benefits of the profession.