Blog Hero

Can an Optometrist Prescribe Medication in BC? in

Book Appointment
Optometrist administering prescription eye drops to a female patient.

When most people think of optometrists, they usually picture eye exams and prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses. But there’s so much more they can do. 

In BC, many optometrists have the ability to prescribe medication for a variety of eye-related issues. This means they can be your first line of defence against vision problems, eye diseases, and injuries.

The Importance of Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPAs)

One of the key tools at an optometrist’s disposal is the ability to prescribe therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (TPAs). These are medications specifically designed to treat eye conditions. We can recommend the right medication for the particular eye problem you may be experiencing.

Why This Matters to British Columbians

For BC residents, visiting an optometrist who can prescribe medication can mean receiving quicker and more convenient treatment for eye issues. Instead of attending multiple appointments with different healthcare providers or spending time waiting at a drop-in clinic, you can visit your optometrist for personal recommendations about your eye health. We can diagnose and help treat many conditions right in our office.

Conditions Treated by Optometrists

Bacterial & Viral Eye Infections

One common reason people visit an optometrist is eye infections. Whether bacterial or viral, an infection can cause significant discomfort and may affect vision. Optometrists in BC can prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat these infections effectively.

Eyelid Infections & Inflammation

Conditions like blepharitis and styes are not only uncomfortable but can also be recurring. Optometrists can prescribe medications to manage these conditions, offering relief and reducing the chances of recurrence.

Inflammation of the Eye

Inflammation inside the eye, such as anterior uveitis, can be particularly painful and may lead to more severe complications if not treated promptly. Optometrists can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to manage these conditions, helping to relieve pain and prevent further issues.

Dry Eye Discomfort

Dry eye is more than just a minor inconvenience; it can cause significant discomfort and pain. Optometrists can recommend treatments ranging from over-the-counter artificial tears to prescription medications that increase tear production.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

If you suffer from allergies, you know how it can affect your eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis can make your eyes red, uncomfortable, and watery. The good news is that optometrists can prescribe antihistamines and other medications to manage these symptoms effectively.

Superficial Corneal Foreign Bodies

Ever had something stuck in your eye? It’s not just annoying; it can be dangerous if not properly removed. Optometrists can handle these situations, providing both immediate relief and necessary medication to prevent infection.

Serious Eye Conditions


Glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to blindness if untreated. Optometrists in BC can prescribe medications to manage intraocular pressure, a critical factor in controlling glaucoma. Early detection and treatment are key to preserving your vision.

Irritated Eyes Due to Contact Lens Wear

If you wear contact lenses, you might have experienced red, sore, or irritated eyes. Optometrists can prescribe medications to treat these symptoms, helping you wear your lenses comfortably.

Pre- and Post-Operative Care

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a common procedure, but it requires careful pre- and post-operative care. Optometrists can prescribe medications to prepare your eyes for surgery and to aid in healing afterward.

Refractive Surgery

Similar to cataract surgery, refractive surgery like LASIK also involves specific medication needs before and after the procedure. Your optometrist can guide you through this process, helping your eyes recover.

How to Make the Most of Your Optometrist Visits

Regular Checkups

Regular visits to your optometrist can detect problems before they become serious. Routine eye exams allow your optometrist to monitor your eye health and intervene early if needed.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your appointment. Whether it’s about medications, treatment options, or preventive measures, your optometrist is there to help you understand and manage your eye health.

Follow Treatment Plans

It’s imperative to follow the treatment plans prescribed by your optometrist. Taking medications as directed and attending follow-up appointments can significantly improve the effectiveness of your treatment.

Up close image of a person applying prescription ointment to their lower eyelid.

Benefits of Optometrists Prescribing Medication


Visiting your optometrist may be quicker and more convenient than waiting at a clinic or urgent care centre. You can visit us directly to get help with eye conditions, and we can provide personal recommendations right in our office—as well as prescriptions for the medication necessary to treat eye conditions. 

Eye Care Expertise

Optometrists have particular expertise in eye care, meaning they have a deep understanding of eye health and conditions. Their expertise can help ensure you receive the best possible treatment for your specific needs.

Common Myths About Optometrists

Myth 1: Optometrists Only Prescribe Glasses

While optometrists are experts in vision correction, their role extends far beyond prescribing glasses or contact lenses. They are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of eye conditions.

Myth 2: Optometrists Can’t Prescribe Strong Medications

Many people believe that only ophthalmologists can prescribe strong medications. However, in BC, optometrists are authorized to prescribe various medications, including those for serious eye conditions.

It’s best to speak directly with an optometrist about how they can help you manage eye conditions and the medications they recommend. 

Myth 3: You Need a Referral to See an Optometrist

In most cases, you can book an appointment with an optometrist directly without needing a referral from another healthcare provider. This can make accessing eye care simpler and faster for many people.

The Future of Optometry in BC

Advancements in Technology

The field of optometry is continually evolving. Advances in technology are making it easier for optometrists to diagnose and treat eye conditions more effectively.

Expanded Roles

There is ongoing discussion about expanding the roles of optometrists even further. This could include allowing them to perform minor surgical procedures, further increasing their ability to provide comprehensive eye care.

Collaboration with Other Healthcare Providers

Optometrists are increasingly collaborating with other healthcare providers, such as general practitioners and ophthalmologists, to offer more integrated and holistic care for patients.

Eye Care is Essential to BC Health Care

In BC, optometrists are more than just vision correctors—we are essential healthcare providers who can diagnose and treat a wide range of eye conditions.

If you experience eye discomfort or want to ensure your eyes are in good health, don’t hesitate to book an appointment. Our expertise and ability to prescribe medication could make all the difference in maintaining your eye health.For personalized advice and comprehensive eye care, book an appointment with Cowichan Eyecare today. Your eyes deserve the best care possible. See well, live well.

Written by Dr. Anita Voisin, OD

More Articles By Dr. Anita Voisin, OD

Visit Our Locations


& Area

Find us at the corner of Langford Parkway and Jacklin Road. We’re across the parking lot from the White Spot.

  • 2968 Jacklin Rd
  • Langford, BC V9B 0A3

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.


& Area

We’re located next to Thrifty Foods just off Beverly Street. If you have any trouble finding us, please give us a call.

  • 2755 Beverly Street, Unit 2
  • Duncan, BC V9L 6X2

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.


& Area

We look forward to helping you achieve your vision goals at our Chemainus location. Find us just off of Maple Lane and Croft Street.

  • 9844 Croft Street, Unit 106
  • Chemainus, BC V0R 1K0

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.

Cobble Hill

& Area

Our Cobble Hill location is just off Cowichan Bay Road on the upper level of Valleyview Centre. If you have any trouble finding us, please give us a call.

  • 1400 Cowichan Bay Rd, Unit 56
  • Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L3

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.

Lake Cowichan

& Area

We are conveniently located in the plaza off of Stanley Road and Cowichan Lake Road. Find us across from Central Park.

  • 44 Stanley Road
  • Lake Cowichan, BC V0R 2G0

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.

Our Google Reviews

instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax