Doctors of optometry 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.
Types of Optometrists
A health care practitioner trained to diagnose signs of ocular, neurological and systemic health problems and treat vision disorders.
An optometrist who may also treat eye diseases and injuries, prescribe medicine and perform other procedures such as eye foreign body removal.
Optometric Glaucoma Specialist:
A therapeutic optometrist who is also licensed to treat glaucoma as authorized by the Texas Optometry Act and prescribe oral prescription drugs listed in the Optometry Act.
All optometrists may prescribe glasses and contact lenses. All optometrists are licensed to perform low vision diagnosis and treatment and vision therapy and training.
Types of Eye Care Providers
A health care practitioner trained to diagnose signs of ocular, neurological and systemic health problems and treat vision disorders. A therapeutic optometrist may also treat eye diseases and injuries, prescribe medicine and perform other procedures such as eye foreign body removal. An optometric glaucoma specialist may also treat glaucoma as authorized by the Texas Optometry Act and prescribe oral prescription drugs listed in the Optometry Act.
A physician trained in eye surgery and eye disease. Ophthalmologists may prescribe glasses, contact lenses, and medicine and perform major eye surgery such as cataract surgery and laser vision correction surgery. The Texas Medical Board licenses ophthalmologists.
An eyewear provider who selects, manufactures and dispenses spectacles and sells or delivers contact lenses upon a prescription written by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. An optician is not licensed as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Education and Licensing
The academic credentials of students entering a college of optometry are the same as those entering other health professions. The optometry college curriculum is a minimum of four years. A high percentage of applicants to optometry school have completed their college degree.
Colleges of Optometry:
Texas has two optometry schools: the University of Houston College of Optometry at the main campus of the University of Houston, and the University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry in San Antonio.
To receive a Texas Optometry license, applicants must take and pass a four part national examination (NBEO) and a state jurisprudence examination. These exams test the applicant on the science of the eye structures, abnormality and disease, treatment and management of disease, and clinical skills.
Optometrists, by law, must complete 16 hours of continuing education each year. Six of those hours must be in diagnostic and therapeutic education and techniques and one hour in professional responsibility.
Proof of completion of the required hours of continuing education is required before a license is renewed each year.
Optometrists are required by law to perform certain testing procedures to determine whether the eyes are functioning visually and free from disease or other disorder. These tests include testing for glaucoma, visual acuity, refraction of the eye, muscle function, and any other procedures the optometrist may feel necessary to assess the condition of the eyes. The Texas Optometry Act and a Federal Trade Commission Rule require optometrists to furnish a copy of the spectacle prescription upon completion of the comprehensive eye examination. The Contact Lens Prescription Act and a Federal Trade Commission Rule require optometrists to furnish a copy of the contact lens prescription upon completion of the eye examination, which may include an additional visit to verify the proper fitting of the contact lens. There are exceptions in the law which must be fully explained to the patient and documented in the patient’s file.