Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Optometrists are primary care practitioners for vision and ocular health concerns. They are trained to diagnose, manage, and treat a multitude of visual and ocular health-related concerns, including, but not limited to, fitting and prescribing spectacles and contact lenses, treating minor ocular injuries, diagnosing and treating diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. In some states in the United States, optometrists perform eye surgery including laser and other refractive surgery.
The three "O"s in eyecare are: opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists. The word optometrist comes from the Greek roots, optos, meaning seen or visible and metria, meaning measurement. An optometrist means "one who measures vision."
In the United States, ophthalmologist and optometrist are specific terms referring to specific state licensing and courses of professional study. Optometrists receive the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, and some go on to complete residencies. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MD) who have completed a residency in ophthalmology and received board certification. Some ophthalmologists perform an additional fellowship in a specific subspecialty of ophthalmology. The American Optometric Association characterizes optometrists as "primary eye care providers." Ophthalmogists may perform surgery, and optometrists generally do not. More recently with changes in state laws in the U.S., there is also much overlap in the capabilities of the two professions in treating eye disease and the ability to use both diagnostic and therapeutic pharmacological agents.
Oculist is an old word for eye doctor, and can refer to either kind of practitioner.
Schools of Optometry
There are 17 educational institutions across North America that offer doctorate level programs in optometry. The programs generally have an undergraduate degree as a prerequisite, and then run four years addressing academic and clinical topics.
- Illinois College of Optometry
- Indiana University
- Inter American University of Puerto Rico
- Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
- New England College of Optometry
- Northeastern State University
- Nova Southeastern University
- The Ohio State University
- Pacific University
- Pennsylvania College of Optometry
- Sourther California College of Optometry
- Southern College of Optometry
- State University of New York
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Missouri, St. Louis
- University of Houston
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