What is an Optometrist?

Have you ever wondered how eye doctors are specially trained?  As part of the healthcare team, your eye doctor wants you to feel comfortable in trusting your eye health care to them.

What is an Optometrist?


An optometrist is a doctor who is licensed by the state they practice in to diagnose and treat a wide range of eye health related diseases and disorders.


What Training does an Optometrist Complete?

A 4-year pre-medical undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Most eye doctors hold degrees in sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics.  However, many eye doctors also hold degrees in other areas such as business, religion, etc.

A 4-year doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree from an accredited college of optometry.

A 1-2 year residency and/or fellowship is available for eye doctors. Many choose to complete residencies to expand their clinical knowledge. Eye doctors can specialize in areas such as ocular disease, pediatrics, and low vision.

Licensing by both the American Board of Optometry and the state in which they practice.

Required yearly continuing education to make sure eye doctors are current and up-to-date on the most recent treatments and techniques in eye health care.

What is the Difference between an Optometrist (O.D.) and an Ophthalmologist (M.D. or D.O.)?

Both optometrists and ophthalmologists are integral parts of the eye health care team. They both work to diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye diseases and disorders. Often times optometrists and ophthalmologists work together to maximize their patients’ vision.

Ophthalmologists complete 4 years of general medical school and then begin their eye-related training through a 3 year residency program. They can also choose to specialize in areas such as surgery or retina, which requires additional specialty training.