Optometry tends to be the first line of defense in maintaining healthy eyes. The scope of practice for optometrists can vary from state to state but primarily focuses on vision problems.
One of optometrists’ primary responsibilities is to perform eye examinations to detect the presence of vision problems. Many people associate eye examinations with poor vision, but they aren’t only for people who need glasses. Regular eye exams can play an important role in maintaining overall health and helping detect other diseases, including diabetes and hypertension.
Optometrists can also prescribe glasses, contact lenses and sometimes medicated eye drops to correct the problem.
Optometrists often collaborate with ophthalmologists, or eye surgeons, and recommend patients to them who may need specialized care. Sometimes, the optometrist provides pre- or post-operative care for patients undergoing eye surgery with an ophthalmologist.
Optometrists typically provide:
- Vision services, such as eye examinations
- Treatment of conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism
- Eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions and fittings
- Low vision aids and vision therapy
- Diagnoses of eye conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and conjunctivitis
- Medication prescriptions to treat certain eye conditions (in some states)
- Pre- or post-operative care for people who need surgery