Laboratory Testing for Optometry

Tracy Doll, OD

COPE #21399-PD

Expires April 1, 2011

3 credits, $59

Section: Systemic Medications


A working knowledge of basic medical laboratory testing can be crucial in the event that a systemic condition or infection is a suspect etiology of an ocular finding. The correct diagnosis and appropriate referral to another health care provider can depend entirely on the results of a laboratory test.  This paper discusses indications for laboratory tests that are most useful for optometry, including hematology, blood chemistry, urinalysis, serology, the PPD, and cytology and how to interpret their results.

Optometrists should always communicate with the patient’s primary health care provider when considering requesting a medical laboratory test.  Primary health care providers may often provide useful information regarding the patient’s health history and can often recommend other useful tests to order.  When in doubt of which medical laboratory test to request, always consult with a primary care physician.


Neovascularization of the retina in diabetes.  Photo Source: Dr. Nada Lingel




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