An optometrist is a primary eye care provider who is licensed and university educated as a doctor of optometry, to examine the eyes, diagnose defects in vision, signs of injury and ocular diseases or other disorders of the eye and visual system. In doing so, optometrists may prescribe medications, fit and supply corrective lenses or contact lenses, or other therapies and provide referrals to other health providers, when appropriate.
To be licensed to practise optometry in British Columbia, the optometrist must complete his/her education and specialized training at a university based school of optometry, successfully pass a national exam and become registered (“licensed”) with the College of Optometrists of BC. In order to maintain their license to practise, optometrists are required to participate in ongoing continuing education and undergo periodic quality assurance assessments. All this is to ensure the public that they can expect safe, effective and ethical services from licensed optometrists.
As proof of licensure, the College of Optometrists of BC, the regulatory body for optometrists, issues certificates of registration. All licensed optometrists are required to prominently display their certificate of registration wherever they practise.