Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Optometrists, "Optometric Physicians" and surgeries..

Recommended Posts



I'm not sure if this should be in the Optometry section, but I have looked into the recent advances in the Optometric field, particularly in the US.


They have renamed their title in many states to "Optometric Physicians". They have been allowed to essentially do most of medical Ophthalmology, and are allowed to do some surgical procedures that are done only by Ophthalmologists.


I'm very confused by their intentions - First of all, why have they pushed for a name change? From my understanding, a physician refers to an M.D. Furthermore, what is the role for increasing access to medical Ophthalmology, and surgery?


If this was their true intent, then why did they not apply to medical school and Ophthalmology for residency?


In Canada, the training for Optometry is four years of Optometry school. A four undergraduate degree is required prior as well as an OAT. 8 years post high school.


Ophthalmology requires four years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, and 5 years of residency. Given the job situation, most Ophthalmologists do 1-2 years of fellowships as well. ~14-15 years. However, that is ONLY if an applicant was able to get into medical school after the first try which is becoming harder and harder. Most are now getting in with a masters/PhD, etc(1-3+). ... so potentially up to up to 20 years.


Not to generalize but Optometry is much easier to get into. The MCAT and OAT are also completly different in level of intelligence. Finally, Ophthalmology is one of the hardest residency programs to enter into.


So why all this blurring betwene the two professions? If you are passionate about medical Ophthalmology and surgery, go into Ophthalmology. If you want to be called a physician, go into medicine. Giving these titles to Optometrists seems unjust and is confusing patients and the public.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These big associations have lots of power... and the government also loves to save money on costs. I'd assume it's much cheaper to get an optometrist to do some simple procedures than to pay an ophthalmologist to do the same ones. From what I know optometrists have been lobbying the government for more responsibility for many years and perhaps the government sees this as a quick fix to the rapidly aging Canadian population. The same thing already happened with nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists, and Canada's huge nursing association is continuously fighting to basically act as family drs. As well, the new roles in plan for pharmacists in Ontario include vaccinations and management of chronic diseases, which once again cuts into MDs' realm of practice

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...