Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are the primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures. They also identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.

ODs diagnose and treat, prescribe medications, perform certain surgical procedures, provide vision therapy and low vision rehabilitation, and assist patients with spectacle and contact lenses. They counsel patients regarding surgical and non-surgical options to meet their visual needs, and in cases involving surgery they provide both pre-operative and post-operative consultation and care. ODs also diagnose systemic conditions that have eye-related symptoms (i.e., diabetes or high blood pressure) and refer patients to other health practitioners, as needed.

In order to apply for admission to a school of optometry, students are expected to complete successfully at least three years of college work including a set of specified science and math courses and to present acceptable scores on the Optometry Admission Test. Students must receive a bachelor's degree before the optometry degree will be granted. Pre-optometry is not a major toward an undergraduate degree.

Related career titles

Ophthalmic laboratory technician
Optometric assistant

Related pre-optometry links

K-State Pre-optometry website

American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Academy of Optometry

American Board of Ophthalmology

American Optometric Association

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO)


Opticians Association of America

Directory of Optometry Schools and Colleges

Optometry Centralized Application Service