Optometry, Is an Optometrist a real doctor?

Is a Sarasota optometrist a medical doctor? The answer is no. However, optometrists are considered healthcare specialists that are licensed and qualified to identify, diagnose, and treat eye disorders and diseases. They used to be called ophthalmic opticians but now they are better known as optometrists. Generally, optometrists share almost all the responsibilities of ophthalmologists except they are not authorized to perform surgical operations. You’ll find them working in teaching institutions, doing research projects, in the ophthalmic industry, clinics, and in hospitals. However, most of their invaluable contributions are done in clinical practice and in hospitals.

 What Is The Role of an Optometrist in Clinical Practice?

The goal of optometrists is to offer solutions addressing eye disorders. You first undergo a general eye examination wherein the optometrist obtains your medical history through a series of questions. This interview will allow the optometrist to gain an understanding of how your eye problem developed. After the eye exam, your eyes will be assessed for refractive errors. You will also be asked to take a visual acuity test to analyze and gauge your eyesight. If necessary, your optometrist may require you to wear contact lenses or spectacles to correct your vision problem.

Aside from testing your vision, optometrists also do the following:

Check your eyes for the presence of eye disease. With the use of an ophthalmoscope, your optometrist can identify eye diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma as well as other diseases that affect eye functions like hypertension and diabetes. If irregularities are found, you will be asked to undergo special tests like an eye pressure test if you are suspected to have glaucoma.

Prescribe medications for certain diseases. Optometrists are also authorized to prescribe topical pharmaceutical drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines, and antibiotics.

Independent prescribing of licensed drugs except for parenteral injectables is also allowed once an optometrist is certified by an independent prescribing qualification.

Handles contact lenses. Optometrists are experts when it comes to handling contact lenses.

What Is The Role of an Optometrist in a Hospital Setting?

The role and responsibilities of optometrists in a hospital setting are extensive. Their functions are almost always identical to those performed in the clinic. Optometrists may also provide outpatient care in eye hospitals.

Offers primary eye care for outpatients. Optometrists perform vision tests to check for sharpness and then prescribe corrective lenses to restore vision. They are also experts in handling various kinds of eye equipment.

Optometrists also handle patients with irreversible eyesight. They also provide low vision care meds to help speed up recovery. Not only do they perform eye tests but they also educate patients about the importance of regular visual exercises as this helps enhance vision.

Optometrists also customize vision therapy for those who have binocular abnormalities.

Aside from education, they also offer to counsel especially to cataract patients who are going through presurgical and post-surgical operations. They also teach them how to properly use their contact lenses.

Optometrists also work collaboratively with other medical specialists like pediatric ophthalmologists.


To become an optometrist you need to complete an optometry program which is a postgraduate program that needs four years to complete. It includes basic and advanced eye exams, case studies, and client case history taking, as well as added courses like pharmacology and natural sciences. This also includes clinical training as a resident during the last two years of the optometry program. The average median salary of optometrists is $111,790 based on the records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Generally, they provide routine eye exams, diagnose eye conditions, prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses, perform post-surgical eye care, and offer treatments for minor surgical procedures.