An optometrist is a health professional who takes care of your eyes. They can measure your vision using instruments and drugs to help make a diagnosis, to make sure that your eyes are healthy, and your vision is good. An optometrist must have finished three years of a university science program. After that they can begin their studies in a recognized four-year optometry program to become a Doctor of Optometry (OD). They complete national exams to test their ability, and a criminal record check. Then they can apply to become registered with the College of Optometrists of BC.

In B.C. only registered optometrists can use the title “optometrist” and “doctor”.

What does an optometrist do?

Optometrists can check and take care of your eyes and your vision. They can treat, manage or maintain different eye or vision problems and diseases. An optometrist can also dispense or provide things to make your vision better, like eyeglasses.

How do optometrists keep their skills up to date?

Optometrists must renew their registration every year. Each year optometrists must complete ongoing education to remain up to date in their profession. Optometrists must also be assessed or tested from time to time to ensure that they are up to date.

What happens when I first visit an optometrist?

When you first visit an optometrist you will be asked questions about your health. You will be asked if you have any concerns about your eyes or vision. Then you will have different tests so that the optometrist can watch how your eyes move and how well you can see. The optometrist will spend time looking at your eyes to find out how healthy your eyes are. Once these tests are done the optometrist will tell you what was found and how or if you need any treatment.

How can I find an optometrist?

You can make an appointment on your own. You do not need to be referred to see an optometrist. Optometrists usually work in their own office and can see patients of all ages. The College of Optometrists of BC has a place on their website where you can find the name and contact information for any optometrist who is registered to work in B.C.

How do I pay for an optometrist?

MSP pays a benefit for anyone under the age of 19 and over 64 years of age. Benefits are also available if you are between the ages of 19 and 64 and have certain medical conditions. Benefits may also be available if you have premium insurance assistance, First Nations or Veterans status.

What if I have concerns about the care I received from an optometrist?

As a patient you have the right to expect a professional standard of care from your optometrist. If you think that has not happened, please contact:

College of Optometrists of BC
604.623.3464 or toll free at 1.866.910.3464

Where can I find more information about an optometrist?



Doctor checking woman's blood pressure in exam room smiling

Group of doctors talking about a patient's care. Patient is in the foreground.

nursing home