Doctors of optometry (O.D.s/optometrists) provide more than two-thirds of primary eye health care in the U.S. Optometrists are one of three types of eye care providers, alongside ophthalmologists (specialists who focus on more advanced surgical procedures) and opticians (who fit and/or fulfill corrective eye wear at the direction of either an optometrist or ophthalmologists). As health care providers, optometrists are trained to examine, diagnose, treat and manage eye disorders, diseases and injuries that manifest in the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care, they may also play a key role in an individual’s general health and well-being. Optometrists can detect systemic diseases, provide vaccinations and prescribe medications.
The links to the right lead to maps showing a comparison of all states and territories for the following three policy areas:
1) authority to perform ophthalmic procedures
2) injectable authority
3) prescription of controlled substances (shown below)
Choose a tab to explore different options. For more detailed information, please click on a state or territory.
Optometrists can perform ophthalmic procedures that fall within their scope of practice, as determined by the statute or the state board of optometry, during examination, diagnosis and treatment. Examples of more common ophthalmic procedures include contact lens fitting, annual eye exams and foreign body removal.
At the highest level, some states grant optometrists authority to utilize surgical and laser privileges during examination, diagnosis and treatment. Other states grant optometrists authority to remove lumps and bumps, perform additional ophthalmic procedures (e.g., minor surgical procedures that do not require anesthesia, furnishing therapeutic devices, etc.). Some states limit authority to examination, diagnosis and treatment.