Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Optometrist – O.D.s

What Doctors of Optometry Do

Everyone has either seen or will see an optometrist in their lifetime, since these eye specialists are considered the primary health care professionals that people see for eye related issues. Eye related issues range from changes in vision to some eye diseases. Optometrists are eye care professionals that people seek, ranging from children to the elderly, when their vision has changed due to conditions like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia, and other causes as well. They use their skills and instruments to diagnose vision problems or changes, as well as prescribe eye glasses, contact lenses, low vision tools and other products to correct any errors. An optometrist also checks patients for visual acuity, color perception, peripheral vision, eye coordination, and a range of other areas to determine if corrective measures are needed. For example, the peripheral vision test that the optometrist’s assistant administers is done by the patient pressing a button when they see they flashing spots on the screen in different areas.

Optometrists do not only check patients for vision changes but also diagnose certain eye conditions and diseases such as glaucoma, ocular pressure, and cataracts. For anyone who has had an appointment with an optometrist, the glaucoma test that shoots a puff of air into the eye to measure ocular pressure, is a common one in most offices. They can also take other steps to measure, test, or alleviate conditions through the use of eye drops, special screening techniques, and therapeutic medication. Plus, they can detect systemic diseases and refer patients to doctors who are better suited for the treatment of these issues like an ophthalmologist. These eye specialists also handle post-surgical care and issues for patients, and help children’s visual development. Only optometrists with licenses or certifications for Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPA) and Diagnostic Pharmaceutical Agent (DPA) can administer, prescribe, and dispense medications or use certain diagnostic drugs. The duties of an optometrist can range in so many ways involving every age from infants to seniors, and they help with minor vision changes all the way to detecting major vision changes such as detecting blindness, which is why they are referred to as Doctors of Optometry.

What Optometrist Don’t Do

People tend to confuse the role of optometrist and physician and what each profession can handle in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Although optometrists are knowledgeable and have a variety of skill sets and instruments to diagnose and correct many eye related problems, they are not physicians. They can detect eye problems related to a condition such as diabetes, but any further treatment or help needs to be referred to a physician or an ophthalmologist. An optometrist can help patients remove debris from the eye or other minor problems, but can’t perform surgical procedures like Lasik or cataract removal. The major point is that optometrists are the starting block for eye related issues and anything requiring major surgery or affecting other parts of the body are not in their realm of expertise.

Optometry Schools and Licensing

To become an optometrist, candidates must first obtain a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education to then become licensed. There are 19 accredited colleges and universities in the US, 1 in Puerto Rico, and 2 in Canada that are very competitive in their selection process. Each optometry school has its own requirements for admission but generally require undergraduate work of at least 3 years, with the majority requiring an undergraduate degree, and a good score on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). All states require optometrists to be licensed which usually involves passing written and practical exams by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry, plus they may also require a state written and practical exams. Maintaining an optometry license requires a fee and continuing education credits, however each state may have other standards. Check out the optometry school and optometry license sections for more detailed information.

Optometrist Salary and Work Area

Optometrists have a variety of settings to work in and specials areas that they can focus on, but the majority are self-employed with their own office that can also be a retail store for eye wear products. Others can work for ophthalmologists, hospitals, surgical offices, HMOs, and other facilities as well. Some continue their studies to become teachers, professors, and researchers in a multitude of topics relating to optometry. Optometrist salaries will vary due to these factors, as well as experience and location. According to the BLS the average salary for optometrists in 2008 was $105,200, with the top 10% making over $166,000. Read the Optometrist Salary section for more detailed information including individual states numbers.

Optometric Associations

The American Academy of Optometry - AAO
6110 Executive Blvd. Suite 506
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 301-984-1441
Fax: 301-984-4737

American Optometric Association - AOA
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141
Phone: 800-365-2219

The Armed Forces Optometric Society - AFOS
904 Vista Grande St
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Phone: 805-226-8292
Contact: Dr Dave Simpson, Executive Director

Great Western Council of Optometry
36 South Last Chance Gulch, Suite A
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: 406-443-1160
Fax: 406-443-4614
Contact: Marti L. Wangen, Executive Director

Mountain West Council of Optometrists
Phone: 888-376-6926
Fax: 503-436-0612
Contact: Tracy Abel, Executive Director

North Central States Optometric Council (NCSOC)
1633 Normandy Court, Suite A
Lincoln, NE, 68152
Phone: 402-476-3852
Fax: 402-467-6547
Contact: David McBride, Executive Director

Alabama Optometric Association - ALOA
1043 Ambassador Court
Montgomery, AL 36117
Phone: 334-273-7895 or 800-933-9602
Fax: 334-273-9681
Contact: Amanda Buttenshaw, Executive Director

Alaska Optometric Association - AKOA
1689 C Street, Ste 222
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-770-3777 or 877-693-2562
Fax: 907-272-7532
Contact: Tracy Oman, Executive Director

Arizona Optometric Association - AZOA
1702 East Highland Avenue Suite 213
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Phone: 602-279-0055 or 800-346-2020
Fax: 602-264-6356
Contact: Sara Polansky, Executive Director

Arkansas Optometric Association - AROA
411 South Victory, Suite 206
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone: 501-661-7675
Fax: 501-372-0233
Contact: Vicki Farmer, Executive Director

California Optometric Association - COA
2415 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
Mailing Address
PO Box 2591
Sacramento, CA 95812-2591
Phone: 916-441-3990 or 800-877-5738
Fax: 916-448-1423
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Brutvan, Executive Director

Colorado Optometric Association
730 Seventeenth St., Suite 350
Denver, CO 80202-3515
Phone: 303-863-9778 or 877-691-2095
Fax: 303-863-9775
Contact: Gwenne Hume, Executive Director

Connecticut Association of Optometrists - CAO
35 Cold Spring Road Suite 211
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Phone: 860-529-1900
Fax: 860-529-4411
Contact: Lynn Sedlak, Executive Director

Delaware Optometric Association
195 Masters Lane
Magnolia, DE 19962-1186
Phone: 302-734-5861

Optometric Society of the District of Columbia
7414 Colshire Dr., #8
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 301-229-4990

Florida Optometric Association - FOA
401 Office Plaza Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Phone: 850-877-4697 or 800-399-2334
Fax: 850-878-0933
Contact: Kenneth L. Franklin, Executive Director

Georgia Optometric Association - GOA
1000 Corporate Ctr. Drive, Suite 240
Morrow, GA 30260
Phone: 770-961-9866 or 800-949-0060
Fax: 770-961-9965
Contact: Bryan Markowitz, Executive Director

Hawaii Optometric Association
220 South King Street, Suite 801
Honolulu, HI 96813-4526
Phone: 808-537-5678
Fax: 808-537-1509
Contact: Charlotte Nekota, Executive Director

Idaho Optometric Physicians
1216 Torrey Lane
Nampa, ID 83686-5664
Phone: 208-461-0001
Fax: 208-461-5708
Contact: Larry Benton, Executive Director

Illinois Optometric Association
304 W. Washington Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: 217-525-8012 or 800-933-7289 (Illinois residents only)
Fax: 217-525-8018
Contact: Michael G. Horstman, Executive Director

Indiana Optometric Association - IOA
251 N. Illinois St., Suite 980
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-237-3560
Fax: 317-237-3564
Contact: Barbara Marvel McNutt, Executive Director

Iowa Optometric Association
1454 30th Street, Suite 204
West Des Moines, IA 50266-1312
Phone: 515-222-5679
Fax: 515-222-9073
Contact: Gary Ellis, Executive Director

Kansas Optometric Association
1266 S.W. Topeka Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66612
Phone: 785-232-0225
Fax: 785-232-6151
Contact: Gary L. Robbins, CAE, Executive Director

Kentucky Optometric Association
P. O. Box 572
Frankfort, KY 40602
Phone: 502-875-3516
Fax: 502-875-3782
Contact: Darlene Eakin, CAE, Executive Director

Optometry Association of Louisiana - OAL
115 B North 13th Street
Oakdale, LA 71463
Phone: 318-335-0675 or 888-388-0675
Fax: 318-335-0677
Contact: Dr. James Sandefur, Executive Director

Maine Optometric Association - MOA
72 Western Avenue, Suite 1
Augusta, ME 04330
Phone: 207-626-9920
Fax: 207-626-9935
Contact: Joann M. Gagne, Administrative Executive

Maryland Optometric Association
720 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: 410-727-7800
Fax: 410-752-8295
Contact: Jennifer Thornton, Executive Director

Massachusetts Society of Optometrists
1071 Worcester Road, #12
Framingham, MA 01701-5298
Phone: 508-875-7900
Fax: 508-875-0010
Contact: Richard T. Lawless, Executive Director

Michigan Optometric Association
530 West Ionia St., Suite A
Lansing, MI 48933-1062
Phone: 517.482.0616
Fax: 517.482.1611
Contact: Cindy Schnetzler, Executive Director

Minnesota Optometric Association
3601 Minnesota Drive, Suite 800
Minneapolis, MN 55435
Phone: 952-841-1122 or 800-678-8232
Fax: 952-921-5801

Mississippi Optometric Association
141 Executive Drive, Suite 5
Madison, MS 39110
Phone: 601-853-4407
Fax: 601-853-4408
Contact: Linda Ross Aldy, Executive Director

Missouri Optometric Association
100 East High Street, Suite 301
Jefferson City, MO 65101-2960
Phone: 573-635-6151
Fax: 573-635-7989
Contact: LeeAnn Barrett, O.D., Executive Director

Montana Optometric Association
36 S Last Chance Gulch, Suite A
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: 406-443-1160
Fax: 406-443-4614
Contact: Sue Weingartner, Executive Director

Nebraska Optometric Association
1633 Normandy Court, Ste. A
Lincoln, NE 68512-1473
Phone: 402-474-7716
Fax: 402-476-6547
Contact: Dave McBride, Executive Director

Nevada Optometric Association
9101 West Sahara Ave., Suite 105, PMB 172
Las Vegas, NV 89117-5799
Phone: 702-220-7444
Fax: 702-974-4446
Contact: Carrie Harvey, Executive Director

New Hampshire Optometric Association
466 Washington Road
Rye, NH 03870
Phone: 603-964-2885
Fax: 603-964-2886
Contact: Brian Klinger, Executive Director

New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians
4 AAA Dr., Suite 204
Hamilton, NJ 08691-1813
Phone: 609-323-4012
Fax: 609-323-4014
Contact: Howard Cooper, Executive Director

New Mexico Optometric Association
1008 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, #241
Taos, NM 87571
Phone: 575-751-7242
Fax: 575-751-7243
Contact: Rich Montoya, Executive Director

New York State Optometric Association - NYSOA
119 Washington Ave., 2nd. Floor
Albany, NY 12210
Phone: 518-449-7300 or 800-342-9836 (NY residents only)
Fax: 518-432-5902
Contact: Mr. Jan Dorman, Executive Director

North Carolina State Optometric Society - NCSOS
P.O. Box 1206
Wilson, NC 27894-1206
Phone: 252-237-6197
Fax: 252-237-9233
Contact: Sue O. Gardner, Executive Director

North Dakota Optometric Association
921 South 9th St., Suite 120
Bismarck, ND 58504
Phone: 701-258-6766 or 877-637-2026
Fax: 701-258-9005
Contact: Nancy Kopp, Executive Director

Ohio Optometric Association - OOA
P.O. Box 6036
Worthington, OH 43085
Phone: 614-781-0708 or 800-874-9111
Fax: 614-781-6521

Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians - OAOP
4850 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite A
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: 405-524-1075
Fax: 405-524-1077
Contact: Saundra Gragg Naifeh, Chief Executive Officer

Oregon Optometric Physicians Association
4404 SE King Road
Milwaukie, OR 97222
Phone: 503-654-5036 or 800-922-2045
Fax: 503-659-4189
Contact: Wayne Schumacher, Executive Director

Pennsylvania Optometric Association - POA
218 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: 717-233-6455
Fax: 717-233-6833
Contact: Charles J. Stuckey, Executive Director

Rhode Island Optometric Association - RIOA
P.O. Box 438
Greenville, RI 02828
Phone: 401-949-0433
Fax: 401-233-6400

South Carolina Optometric Association
P.O. Box 1763
Columbia, SC 29202
Phone: 803-799-6721 or 877-799-6720
Fax: 803-252-0589
Contact: Jackie Rivers, Executive Director

South Dakota Optometric Society - SDOS
P.O. Box 1173
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605-224-8199
Fax: 605-224-6047

Tennessee Optometric Association
2727 Bransford Avenue
Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 615-269-9092 or 800-451-2438
Fax: 615-269-5986

Texas Optometric Association
1104 West Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-707-2020
Fax: 512-326-8504
Contact: BJ Avery, Executive Director

Utah Optometric Association - UOA
230 West 200 South, Suite 2110
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-3409
Phone: 801-364-9103
Fax: 801-364-9613
Contact: Clive E. Watson, Executive Director

Vermont Optometric Association
1290 Hospital Dr.
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
Phone: 802-748-8126
Fax: 802-748-2208

Virginia Optometric Association
118 North Eighth Street
Richmond, VA 23219-2305
Phone: 804-643-0309
Fax: 804-643-0311
Contact: Bruce B. Keeney, Sr, Executive Director

Optometric Physicians of Washington
555 116th Ave NE, #166
Bellevue, WA 98004-5205
Phone: 425-455-0874
Fax: 425-646-9646

West Virginia Optometric Association
2210 Washington St., East
Charleston, WV 25311
Phone: 304-720-8262 or 866-205-5897
Fax: 304-343-4251
Contact: Chad D. Robinson, Association Office

Wisconsin Optometric Association
6510 Grand Teton Plaza, Suite 312
Madison, WI 53719
Phone: 608-824-2200
Fax: 608-824-2205
Contact: Charles B. Brownlow, Associate Director

Wyoming Optometric Association - WOA
716 Randall Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Phone: 307-632-8819 or 866-740-3937
Fax: 307-634-0804
Contact: Dan J. Lex, CAE, Executive Director


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