Optometry is a health care profession that deals with the eye and visual system. Practitioners of optometry are known as optometrists. An optometrist has a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree and is licensed to examine the eye and its structures. They are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage eye diseases and visual disorders. The management of some eye diseases depending on stage may be beyond the scope of optometry practice and so it is managed by an ophthalmologist, an eye surgeon.
Optometrists are also concerned with the overall health and wellbeing of an individual because many chronic and systemic diseases have ocular manifestations, and their proper management leads to better visual health outcomes. Optometrists coordinate patient care with other providers like the primary care provider, neurologist, and occupational therapist when necessary. In America, optometrists are recognized as physicians under Medicare and are at the frontline of eye and vision care as primary eye health care providers.
In the advent of increasing demand for medical eye care services and challenging supply of medical eye care providers, optometry has shifted to include medical eye care in addition to correcting refractive errors. Optometrists are filling gaps leaving ophthalmology to address the increasing volume of surgical intervention that is required for the US aging population.
Medical Optometry/Advanced Ocular Disease
Cornea and External Disease
Primary Eye Care
Family Optometry/Primary Eye Care provides the full scope of eye care services to patients. Primary eye care doctors provide appropriate and affordable care that meets patient needs. This includes comprehensive eye exams and coordinating care with other optometric specialties and/or ophthalmologists if indicated.
Sports Vision is a specialty that focuses on the visual demands of a chosen sport. To maximize an individual's vision so they can reach the peak of their sports performance. Visual skills needed for sports performance include dynamic visual activity, eye tracking, depth perception, and peripheral vision.
Pediatric Optometry focuses on the visual needs of children. The many visual changes that occur in the first 6 years of life call for eye exams. The association between vision and learning further emphasizes the need for pediatric eye exams.
Senior Care Optometry
Senior Care Optometry deals with the diagnosis and management of vision loss associated with aging. This includes and is not limited to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
Public Health Optometry/
Public Health Optometry/ Community Optometry is an intersection of public health and optometry professions to promote and provide eye care on a community level.
Contact Lens is a specialty where optometrists fit these medical devices to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Specialty contact lenses are fit for patients with irregular corneas where glasses are inadequate for clearer and crisper vision.
Vision Therapy is a specialty that encompasses behavioral and developmental vision care as well as neuro-optometric rehabilitation. It involves enhancing visual skills and abilities to improve visual comfort and efficiency.
Low Vision &Vision Rehabilitation
Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation is a specialty that manages patients with vision loss that is uncorrectable and interferes with activities of daily living. They help patients with visual impairment maximize their remaining vision using special devices and functional training.
Neuro - Optometry treats visual deficits caused by physical disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological problems. Neuro-optometrists often coordinate cate with neurologists, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, neuropsychologists, and audiologists.
Aesthetics Optometry deals with cosmetic improvements and wellness treatments to the eye area to improve the appearance of eyes and eyelid skin.