What is an O.D.

What is an O.D?

Optometric Physicians are independent primary health care providers who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions.

Following an undergraduate degree and four-year doctorate program and National Board exams, the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners in Optometry licenses optometric physicians in Oklahoma. They are required to complete minimum 18 hours of continuing medical education and a certified CPR course yearly.

Optometric physicians examine the internal and external structure of the eyes to diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders; complications of systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes; and vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Optometric physicians test to determine the patient's ability to focus and coordinate the eyes, and to judge depth and see colors accurately.

They prescribe eyewear, contact lenses, low vision aids, vision therapy and medicines to treat eye diseases as well as perform certain surgical procedures.

As primary eye care providers, optometric physicians are an integral part of the health care team and an entry point into the health care system. They are skilled in the co-management of care that affects the eye health and vision of their patients and an excellent source of referral to other health care professionals.

*Optometric Physicians are also referred to as Doctors of Optometry and Optometrists.


Optometry Scope of Practice

  • Optometric physicians detect, diagnose and treat eye diseases. These diseases include infections (viral and bacterial), ocular allergies and ocular inflammations. They manage and treat diseases of the eye and eyelids. They also manage cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

  • Optometric physicians treat eye diseases with any indicated systemic and/or topical medications and prescribe supportive pain medications schedule III, IV & V to improve overall health and vision capabilities

  • Optometric physicians treat eye injuries including foreign objects in the eye and eyelid. They routinely treat cysts, chalazia, trichiasis, disorders of the lacrimal system and dry eye.

  • In Oklahoma, optometric physicians utilize laser technology to treat eye conditions with capsulotomies and iridotomies. They provide pre-operative and post-operative treatment for many eye surgeries in coordination with ophthalmologists.

  • Optometric physicians specialize in comprehensive eye examinations with dilation to improve visual disorders through prescriptions for corrective spectacle lenses and contact lenses, this also includes rehabilitative therapy for ocular motor dysfunction (amblyopia, eye coordination & strabismus). Optometric physicians are trained in prescribing specialized adaptive vision aids for subnormal vision, or loss of vision from diseases such as macular degeneration and stroke.

  • Developing and maintaining professional referral relationships with family practitioners, internists, endocrinologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists and other physician specialties to ensure that eye health is maintained in concert with overall physical health and wellness.

The "Scope of Practice" is derived from this definition. It is of particular concern to the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians that very few people actually understand how extensive the optometrist's role is in eye health care.