Are optometrists called doctors in Canada?

Are optometrists called doctors in Canada?

The distinction between an optometrist and an eye doctor is still debatable. On the other hand, this article will dispel any worries you may have about the significance of an optometrist. We shall first consider whether an optometrist is referred to as a doctor in Canada. Furthermore, if you are interested in studying optometry in Canada, we will supply you with essential information.

Who is an Optometrist?


Let us first clarify our minds on optometry before we explore it further. Optometry is a profession that examines and measures people’s eyesight acuity. What about optometrists? Optometrists are specialists who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage visual system abnormalities, illnesses, and accidents.


Previously, optometrists were known as ophthalmic opticians. Except for surgery, they performed all of the tasks that ophthalmologists did. However, this is no longer true; there is a distinct distinction between an eye doctor and an optometrist.


Many people assume that an optometrist’s primary function is to prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to their patients. However, this is not the case. They are experts at determining a person’s refractive error and recommending the best course of action.


Then, if further therapy or eye surgery is required, they may recommend you to an ophthalmologist, a medical specialist who specializes in vision care.

Optometrist Vs. Ophthalmologist


Both ophthalmologists and optometrists play vital roles in eye care, yet their training and skills are vastly different. A medical practitioner who specializes in eye and vision treatment is known as an ophthalmologist. An optometrist, on the other hand, is not a medical doctor. They are authorized to practice optometry, mostly performing eye exams and vision tests.


It is possible for an optometrist to become an ophthalmologist, although it is a lengthy process. An optometrist must complete an MD or Ph.D. program and a three-year residency, and a one-year internship to become an ophthalmologist.


If you are unsure who to contact in the event of an eye problem, we will make it simple for you. You should see an optometrist if you have any mild concerns. However, if you have a significant problem, you should consult an ophthalmologist. However, an optometrist will automatically send you to an ophthalmologist in such instances.

What does an Optometrist do?


  • Examine your eyes regularly.
  • Give patients tips on how to improve their vision.
  • Handle any minor issues with your eyes.
  • In the context of eye care, prescribe any topical or oral Schedule 1 medicine.
  • Recommend vision therapy eye exercises to individuals who complain about visual adverse effects.
  • Sell and fit prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses, and other services given by an optician.
  • Oversee trainee optometrists, dispensing opticians, and/or medical students throughout their training.

Optometrists in Canada


First and foremost, Canada has a debate concerning whether optometrists should be referred to as doctors. The quick explanation is that optometrists are not often trained in medical or surgical foundations or surgical methods. So, while an optometrist is not a medical doctor, they specialize in eye disorders.


Optometrists can work in either private practice or the public healthcare system in Canada. On the other hand, the optometry profession is a comparatively short route compared to many other healthcare and medical careers. Let us also look at how to become an optometrist in Canada.

How long does it take to become a Canadian optometrist?


To become an optometrist, you will need to complete 8-9 years of study and practicum. This involves three or four years of undergraduate study, four years of doctoral study, and a year of residency.

How to become an Optometrist in Canada?


Optometrists must complete seven to eight years of post-secondary study to achieve their professional qualifications. Let us go through all of the steps now.

Requirements and Prerequisites


  • Those wishing to practice as optometrists in Canada must have completed at least three years of undergraduate education in mathematics or sciences at a university level.
  • An undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree requires a minimum overall average of 75% or a B across the three years of study.
  • You must get your Doctor of Optometry (OD) from an Accreditation Council on Optometric Education-accredited program.
  • A license is also essential if you want the designation of the “optometrist”.However, this is not possible unless you are not registered or licensed.

Educational Standards


After four years of study, optometrists graduate from optometry school with a doctor of optometry (OD) degree. Some optometrists receive extra clinical training or complete a specialty fellowship following optometry school. So, to begin your career as an optometrist, follow the procedures outlined below.


  1. In your senior year of high school, apply to a Bachelor of Science (in a Faculty of Science) degree program at a Canadian institution.


  1. Enroll in and finish all necessary undergraduate courses for the OD program application.


  1. You must take the OAT within two years of applying to the OD program.


  1. Begin the application procedure for the OD program at least 14 months before the program’s commencement date.


  1. By the deadline for the OD program application, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Furthermore, you will receive an email from the University of Canada when you have submitted your application.


  1. After all of this, you will need another four years to finish your OD program and earn your degree. Following that, you must apply for and get a practice license from the optometry association in the province or territory where you desire to practice.



Optometry is a demanding career in Canada; therefore, familiarising yourself with the basics is necessary. You should also understand the distinction between an optometrist and an eye doctor.


We hope that this post has answered all of your questions about optometrists. So, while an optometrist is not a medical doctor, it is a well-paid career. Also, if you wish to pursue optometry, you may look through all of the above topics to acquire a general concept of how the process works.