LETTER: optometrists’ use of the ‘Dr’ title
In the US, optometrists regular refer to themselves as ‘Dr’, though this is currently being challenged in some states

LETTER: optometrists’ use of the ‘Dr’ title

February 26, 2024 Kristine Hammond and Elmarie Stander

The Optometrist and Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB) is the authority responsible for regulating the optometrists and dispensing opticians in Aotearoa New Zealand. The board noted the article ‘Salaries – when aspiration should be reality’, published in NZ Optics’ October 2023 edition, which advocated for optometrists to use the title ‘doctor’.


Since the above article was published, the board has issued guidance for practitioners on the use of the title ‘doctor’ (December 2023). While it is not for the board to authorise practitioners to use this title, the board has expressed its view that there are potential risks to the use of the title of ‘Dr’ or ‘Doctor’, when used as a ‘courtesy title’ by practitioners who are neither medical practitioners nor hold an appropriate university doctorate degree.


Practitioners are encouraged to read our guidance and are welcome to contact the ODOB office for more information (enquiries@odob.health.nz).


Kristine Hammond is chair of the ODOB and Elmarie Stander is chief executive and registrar. For more from the ODOB, visit: www.odob.health.nz.



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