What is Optometry?

According to the American Optometric Association:

Doctors of Optometry (O.D.s/optometrists) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye.  Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.

  • Doctors of Optometry prescribe medications, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses, and perform certain surgical procedures.
  • Optometrists counsel their patients regarding surgical and non-surgical options that meet their visual needs related to their occupations, avocations, and lifestyle.
  • An optometrist has completed pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of professional education at a college of optometry, leading to the doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree. Some optometrists complete an optional residency in a specific area of practice.
  • Optometrists are eye health care professionals state-licensed to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system.

There are 23 schools/colleges of optometry. It takes four years to complete the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.


The Preparing for a Medical, Dental, Veterinary, and Optometry Career guidebook covers all aspects of being a pre-optometry student at Wheaton.




Optometry Dual

Degree Program

Wheaton offers a dual degree program in optometry with the New England College of Optometry (NECO).  Meet with Professor of Biology Robert Morris your first semester at Wheaton.

Program description »