Wisconsin Scope of Practice

Practicing Optometry in Wisconsin

A snowy night in downtown Madison, Wisconsin

While Wisconsin may have a reputation for good cheese and cold winters,  it has more to offer than that. In addition to miles of farmland, Milwaukee and Madison are the state’s major cities, and many smaller cities have University of Wisconsin branches.

Life in America’s Dairyland

Beyond the lively night life, brewery, and music scene, Milwaukee has a ten-day music festival called Summerfest which boasts multiple headliners a night on more than ten stages. The Summerfest grounds, located right on Lake Michigan, are used for other festivals such as Irish Fest and Greek Fest in the summer months when the music festival isn’t in full swing.

Venturing beyond the city, Wisconsin has many other gems to explore. Door County is a popular tourist destination for those who like to relax in nature, and Devil’s Lake has many great hiking options. For the adventurous optometrist, The Wisconsin Dells have one of the greatest concentration of water parks in the world, and many Wisconsinites have cabins ‘up north’ where they can get away from it all.

Beyond all of the outdoor living and city experiences, the people of Wisconsin are known for their A population full of Midwestern kindness makes for a friendly patient base for any optometrist who chooses to practice in the state. 

Optometry Schools Near Wisconsin

The nearest optometry schools for Wisconsin residents are Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and Midwestern University in the suburbs of Chicago.  In Madison, the capital city and home of Wisconsin’s flagship university, there is one residency program. This program at Davis Duehr Dean that specializes in anterior segment and contact lens.

For those interested in ocular disease or brain injury rehabilitation, there is a residency program at the Gundersen Health System in the university town of La Crosse. Those interested in pursuing either of these programs or otherwise practicing in Wisconsin may want to consider these opportunities. 

Wisconsin Scope of PracticeOptometrist and woman at eye examination with phoropter

The Wisconsin Optometric Association is an active group that is continually working to promote optometry and protect the scope of practice so that optometrists may best serve the residents of Wisconsin. 

In Wisconsin, optometrists CAN: 

  • Prescribe Schedules II (hydrocodone-combination products) through V medications
  • Co-manage post-op care 
  • Diagnose and treat  glaucoma with topical drugs 
  • Perform in office procedures such as foreign body removal, insertion of punctal plugs, or dilation and irrigation of the lacrimal system
  • Administer epinephrine by injection to individuals in emergency situations to counteract anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock
  • Diagnose and treat glaucoma with topical or oral medications
  • Co-manage post-operative care
  • Perform non-invasive procedures (any procedure which does not involve cutting or infiltrating human tissue by mechanical means) including foreign body removal, dilation and irrigation, punctal occlusion, and eyelash epilation
  • Prescribe and dispense glasses and contact lenses
  • Provide and aid in care of ocular prosthetics
  • Order laboratory tests required for the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of a disease or condition related to the human eye
  • Prescribe or administer orthoptic therapy (vision therapy)

In Wisconsin, optometrists CANNOT: 

  • Perform  laser procedures for refractive or other purposes 
  • Perform intraocular, subcutaneous, submuscular, or other injections 
  • Prescribe oral steroids 
  • Perform surgery
  • Treat glaucoma or acute intraocular pressure spikes with oral medications 
  • Administer laser or non-laser injections into the posterior chamber of the eye
  • Administer IV injections and medications
  • Administer general anesthesia


Scroll to Top