Doctor of Optometry (OD)
What is A Doctor of Optometry (OD) Degree?
Optometry involves diagnosing and treating various eye diseases and disorders and prescribing glasses and contact lenses. The field does not involve surgery—that’s the main difference between what an Optometrist does and what is done by an M.D. Ophthalmologist. Optometrists, holding an O.D. degree, prescribe drugs and lenses for eye problems and are usually in private practice. Many are located in stores that can fill the doctor’s prescriptions by creating the corrective glasses and lenses on the spot.
Optometrists do not go to medical school but to a professional college of optometry for four years after getting a Bachelor’s degree in some pre-professional program. A residency in optometry will probably be optional, but some optometrists opt for one. Most geographical areas have a Board of Optometry which spells out the requirements for licensure. In addition to the O.D. degree, most areas require qualifying scores on a rigorous exam. The outlook for the field is really good for the next 10 years or more, because of our aging population.