The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) defines an optometrist, Doctor of optometry, as "an independent primary health care provider who specializes in the examination, diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of disease and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as the diagnosis of ocular manifestations of systemic conditions".
As primary eye care providers, an optometrist's main responsibilities are:
The need for regular eye examinations has been recognized for many years. Vision and ocular health conditions are not always accompanied by recognizable symptoms, and there is often an increased risk to the patient if timely treatment is not initiated.
After initial examination, your optometrist will schedule regular checkups for you at a frequency that meets YOUR particular eye care needs.
Many factors will influence the frequency of your eye examination, and the optometrist will weigh these factors in deciding when you should be seen again. However, general guidelines have been established which can assist you in determining the need for follow-up examination.
Patients in each age group may be classified as being at low risk or high risk for ocular or vision problems. The minimum recommended frequency of examination for those at low risk is as follows:
The frequency of examination for those at high risk will be determined by the examining optometrist on the basis of one's health and visual status at the preliminary examination. Some of the factors which may indicate high risk are as follows: