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Can American Optometrists Practice Abroad?

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An American doctor practices optometry in a clinic abroad

Healthy eyes and clear vision begin with comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist. Beyond eye exams, your optometrist provides specialty eye care services such as dry eye and myopia control. 

But can American optometrists practice abroad? Let’s explore the different qualifications and how optometry works worldwide. 

Going Down the Optometry Path

Optometry is a fascinating and vital practice. Vision care is essential, and optometrists are the ones who can help us get the treatment and care we need when it comes to various eye or vision issues. 

Becoming an optometrist in America is no simple task. You’ll go through years of dedicated education and training, including: 

  • Performing well on optometry admission tests
  • Shadowing other optometrists 
  • Getting accepted into an accredited optometry school
  • Receiving your optometry degree
  • Passing the National Board of Examiners in Optometry test

You’ll also have to find out if your particular state requires further exams and get a license to practice optometry in your region. American optometrists usually focus on comprehensive eye care and can opt to participate in further licensing for eye surgery.

What Your Optometrist Can do

Your optometrist is in your corner for all things related to your eyes and vision. 

Starting with comprehensive eye exams and ranging from laser eye surgery consultations to eye disease diagnosis and management, your optometrist does it all. 

Your optometrist provides the following services

  • Diagnosis of eye conditions
  • Annual or routine eye exams and eye health education
  • Prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Post-surgical eye care

A comprehensive eye exam allows your optometrist to familiarize themselves with your eyes and provide crucial consistent vision care. Your eyes are unique, and they deserve personalized care. 

Basically, your optometrist is in your corner for your daily visual needs and to help manage your vision concerns.  

an american optometrist gives a child an eye exam in a different country

Practicing Optometry Abroad

Practicing optometry abroad can be a complicated process. Every country is different and can require different qualifications to ensure American optometrists are up-to-date on all qualifications. 

In the United States, optometry is a legislative profession, and American ODs have the opportunity to specialize in different subspecialties. 

In many places worldwide, an optometrist from America must follow the guidelines and processes in the specific areas they wish to practice optometry. For example, if you wish to practice in the United Kingdom, you must first register with the General Optical Council before being qualified to practice. 

In 2005, the World Council of Optometry (WCO) introduced the Global Competency-Based Model of Scope of Practice in Optometry

This historic document provided a framework for addressing the challenges of optometry worldwide. This document made it possible to put the public health needs of society first and make optometry more accessible worldwide. 

Depending on the country you choose to practice in, that particular place may have its own set of legal requirements within the system. Every place is different, and getting licensed is the first step for American optometrists practicing abroad. 

Experiencing Optometry Worldwide

Optometry is a worldwide practice. Everyone deserves access to good vision care, and practicing abroad is about going through the licensing process to ensure you can practice legally. American optometrists can practice abroad with the right qualifications. Contact an eye care expert at Total Vision to learn more about vision care and stay on top of your eye health.

Written by Total Vision

At Total Vision, we pride ourselves on ensuring healthy eyes for the whole family and work hard to help all our patients look, feel, and see better. With many locations throughout California, we continue to set new industry standards for professionalism and quality. We empower all our partners to offer leading-edge testing, treatment, and eyewear. With the support of our entire network behind each care provider, patients all over the state can enjoy consistent quality and incredible value.
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