Your Doctor of Optometry
Your doctor of optometry (optometrist) completes a Bachelor of Science degree or higher, followed by a four year Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited university. They perform approximately 80 per cent of all primary vision and eye health examinations in Canada, and are a primary source for all your vision, eye health and eyewear needs. They are trained to evaluate, diagnose, and prescribe treatment.
You do not need a referral to see a doctor of optometry; however, doctors of optometry routinely work with other health care professions when appropriate, such as family doctors and eye surgeons/ophthalmologists.
Good vision depends on good eye health and overall health. Regular eye exams can ensure that your doctor of optometry detects signs of eye disease and early warning signs of diabetes, high blood pressure and tumours at the earliest stages. Prevention is your best health insurance policy.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in the study, diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. A patient who requires care from an ophthalmologist (ex: for cataract surgery) generally requires the referral of a doctor of optometry or family doctor.
Opticians are trained to fabricate and fit vision aids. Some are licensed to provide sight-tests, but they do not assess, diagnose, or treat eye conditions. A prescription should always be obtained as a result of a complete eye examination from a doctor of optometry to ensure the accuracy of your prescription and that your overall eye health has been assessed.