Consumer Information

Public Guide to Optometry

The profession of Optometry is an exciting and dynamic profession that has grown consistently with great care over the past 115 years.  Patient safety and quality care are the hallmarks of the profession.  Since receiving diagnostic and therapeutic authority many years ago, Wisconsin optometrists have secured one of the most impressive safety records of all health professions in Wisconsin and the nation.

With their doctorial level education, strict state licensing standards, and continuing education requirements, Wisconsin doctors of optometry are assured to provide patients with the consistent, quality care they deserve.  In addition to quality care, optometrists offer convenience and real cost savings to patients.

Quality, Convenience and Value

These are the primary reasons that 70 percent of all Americans choose optometrists for their eye care, even when they are paying for the care themselves*.

Over the last several decades, formal education and state laws have increased the scope of practice for optometrists to include diagnosis, treatment and management of eye injuries and eye diseases including glaucoma.  Wisconsin citizens can receive non-routine, medical eye care from the same doctor they see for regularly scheduled eye exams, glasses and contact lenses.  They don't have to develop a relationship with a new provider and in most cases they receive the care for lower fees than they would from a general physician, an eye surgeon or if they were seen in emergency room.  Because doctors of optometry provide care in 71 of the state's 72 counties, Wisconsin citizens receive high quality, cost effective eye care close to their homes and their jobs.

Optometrists provide many of the exact same services as an ophthalmologist and other health care providers.  They report those services on the same claim forms using exactly the same code numbers.  Yet, survey data seems to indicate that an optometrist's fees are often less than other providers' fees for the same service.  

Health Plans can save on eye care costs when services traditionally provided by eye surgeons, physicians or emergency rooms are provided by optometrists.  Any service not within the optometrist's scope of practice will of course be referred to an appropriate medical specialist for care.

The nation’s health care system would realize significant savings if more citizens, covered employees and plan participants were able to receive eye care services from optometrists. 

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