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Licensing Doctors of Optometry and Regulating the Practice of Optometry


General Information on Optometry
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
     
Types of Eye Care Providers

Education and Licensing
     
Continuing Education

Eye Examination
     
Links

     


Types of Optometrists
Optometrist:


A health care practitioner trained to diagnose signs of ocular, neurological and systemic health problems and treat vision disorders.
Therapeutic Optometrist:


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
Optometrist:






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.
Ophthalmologist:



An eye surgeon 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.
Optician:





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. Voluntary registration does exist through the Texas Department of State Health Services, Optician's Registry. A permit is required to dispense contact lenses.


Education and Licensing
Education:






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. The University of Houston College of Optometry only accepts college graduates.
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 School of Optometry in San Antonio (classes started Fall 2009). There are 18 other accredited schools located in the United States and Canada.
Exam Requirements:



To receive a license, applicants must take and pass a four part national examination (NBEO) and a state law examination. These exams test the applicant on the science of the eye structures, abnormality and disease, treatment and management of disease, and clinical skills.


Continuing Education
Requirement:



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.
Verification:


Proof of completion of the required hours of continuing education is required before a license is renewed each year.


Eye Examination
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.


Links
These links are provided as a service to the public. The Texas Optometry Board is not responsible for the content on websites maintained by other agencies or organizations.

Purchasing Contact Lenses

Frequently Asked Questions

Health Professions Council. Links to homepages of the licensing agencies of Texas health professions.

Contact Lens Dispensing Permit Program Homepage

Registered Dispensing Opticians Homepage

State of Texas Home Page The official website of Texas State Government

Texas Medical Board The Medical Board licenses and regulates ophthalmologists.


Notice
The Board and the State of Texas make no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability or fitness for a particular use of the information on this web site. The user assumes all liability and waives any and all claims or causes of action against the Board and the State of Texas for all uses of, and any reliance on, this information. This paragraph shall accompany all distributions of this information and is incorporated into this information for all purposes.
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Last Updated: 07/20/10
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