Optometrist Licensure Board Exam: Application Requirements, Coverage, and Schedule

If you want to learn more about what it takes to complete the Optometrist Licensure Board Exam and want to earn that license, you’ve come to the right place.

From the basic requirements to the schedule, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the board exam in this post. That being said, if you’re intrigued and want to learn more, keep reading.

What is an Optometrist?

Optometrists are medical providers who offer primary eye services, which include everything from vision testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and control of visual improvements. An optometrist is not a doctor of medicine. An optometrist earns a six-year doctor of optometry (OD) degree, followed by three years or more of college. They are qualified to practice optometry, which entails doing eye examinations and vision checks, administering and dispensing correction lenses, identifying eye defects, and prescribing medicines for certain eye disorders.

What are the Optometrist Licensure Exams?

Except for the Philippine bar examination, the Professional Regulation Committee (PRC) is the official government body in charge of all national licensing exams. It is in charge of administering the Optometrist Licensure Examinations regularly.

To take the Optometrist Licensure Tests, candidates must satisfy the criteria specified in the following section.

Qualifying applicants and soon-to-be practitioners must meet these specific application requirements before taking the licensing test to uphold the practice’s integrity.

Requirements for the Optometrist Board Examinations

All aspiring professional Optometrists must be a graduate of the six-year course, Doctor of Optometry. After which, they must present the following requirements upon application:

  • NSO / PSA Birth Certificate
  • Transcript of Records with scanned picture and remarks “For Board Examination Purposes.”
  • NSO / PSA Marriage Contract (for married female applicants)
  • Payment:
  • Php 1,300.00 – complete application fee (written & practical)
  • Php 900.00 – Written Only
  • Php 400.00 – Practical Only

Take note: A REFRESHER course is part of the requirements after three (3) failures of the licensure exam.

The refresher course is an intensive training program consisting of coaching, exercises, and pre-board examinations designed to polish your abilities and boost your confidence before the board test.

Optometrist Licensure Exam Application Process

The PRC LERIS web portal has a simple digital process for each initial application for the license examination, making it very easy for any applicant to arrange an appointment. The PRC strongly advises all graduates to double-check their online applications before sending their documentary requirements to any regional or PRC satellite office.

If you cannot register due to procedural confusion, our step-by-step approach will assist you in completing your registration; however, if you are familiar with the process, go to the PRC LERIS website for immediate registration.

Optometrist Board Exam Coverage

The Board Examination for Optometrists includes both a written and a practical exam as provided and detailed by the Optometry Board. We will cover what you will need to prepare for before taking these exams:

Written examination

General Anatomy and Ocular Anatomy

A. Gross Anatomy

  • Thorax
  • Lungs (lobes; root structures; pleura, broncho-pulmonary segments; bronchial tree)
  • Pulmonary circulation
  • Heart (surfaces; coronary circulation; pericardium, chambers; valves; conduction system)
  • Superior mediastinum (great vessels; trachea; esophagus vagus and phrenic nerves)

B. Abdomen

  • Liver
  • Accessory digestive organs (gall bladder, pancreas)
  • Other internal organs (spleen; kidney; suprarenal gland)

C. Head and Neck

  • Skull (bones; sutures; fossae; foramina; cranial fossae; tempo-mandibular joint)
  • Superficial and deep arteries, veins, and lymphatics
  • Muscles of facila expression and mastication
  • Muscles of the neck (platysma, sternocleidomastoid, trapezius)
  • Peripheral cranial nerve distributions
  • Cervical triangles and their contents; root of the neck
  • Salivary glands
  • Nose (framework; cavities; contents)
  • Para-nasal sinuses and their relations to the orbit and orbital contents
  • Ear (outer ear; the middle ear; walls; muscles; inner ear)
  • Dural Venous sinuses

D. Systems of the Body

  • Endocrine
  • Reproductive
  • Skeletal
  • Respiratory
  • Nervous
  • Muscular
  • Circulatory
  • Excretory
  • Digestive

E. Anatomy of the eye, ocular adnexa, and visual pathway

  • Orbit
  • Extraocular muscles
  • Blood Supply
  • Ocular and Orbital Nerves
  • Eyelid
  • Eyebrow (Structure and Function)
  • Conjunctiva
  • Lacrimal System
  • Cornea
  • Sclera
  • Anterior Chamber and Angle
  • Iris
  • Pupil
  • Posterior Chamber
  • Ciliary Body
  • Lens, Zonule
  • Choroid
  • Vitreous
  • Retina
  • Optic Nerve
  • Visual Pathway
  • Eyelid
  • Lacrimal Apparatus
  • Tears
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Aqueous
  • Lens

General Pathology

A. Inflammation and Repair

  • Vascular and cellular changes in acute inflammation
  • Causes of histological changes in chronic inflammation
  • Causes and features of granulomatous inflammation
  • Resolution of acute and chronic inflammation
  • Events and local factors affecting wound healing and repair
  • Systemic factors affecting the rate of wound healing

B. Host defenses and responses to infection

  • PMN, macrophage, and eosinophil function
  • Chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and bactericidal activities of these cells
  • Role of antibody in phagocytosis, and destruction of microorganisms

C. Cellular Disease

  • Cell injury
  • Morphologic changes associated with cell injury or death

D. Neoplasia

  • Classification of neoplasms
  • Cause of neoplasms (viral, chemical, radiation)
  • Differences between benign and malignant tumors

E. The hematopoietic and lymphoid system

  • Disorders of RBC, WBC (non-neoplastic)
  • Neoplastic disorders of WBC-leukemias
  • Non-neoplastic disorders of lymph nodes
  • Neoplastic disorders of lymph nodes

F. Respiratory system

  • Pulmonary diseases secondary to heart failure
  • Infectious diseases of the lung
  • Neoplastic diseases of the lung

G. Gastrointestinal System

  • Disorders of the stomach (gastritis, ulcers)
  • Disorders of the intestines and colon (enteritis, colitis)
  • Neoplastic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract

H. Cardiovascular hemodynamic disorders

  • Congestion, edema (cause, characteristics)
  • Shock (classification, causes, complications)
  • Thromboembolism (classification, causes, complications)
  • Systemic hypertension (causes, complications)
  • Atherosclerosis (causes, development, complications)
  • Aneurysms (classification, development, complications)

I. Heart Disease

  • Coronary artery disease (causes, complications)
  • Hypertensive heart disease (causes, complications)
  • Rheumatic heart disease (causes, clinical features, pathological features)
  • Infectious endocarditis (causes, clinical features, pathological features)
  • Cardiomyopathies (causes, clinical features, pathological features)

J. Endocrine Disease

  • Diabetes (classification, pathology, clinical manifestations)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Goiter, Graves disease
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Hyperpituitarism
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Hypercorticism (Cushing’s disease)
  • Hypocorticism (Addison’s disease)
  • Disorders of the adrenal medulla

K. Nervous System Disease

  • Cerebrovascular disease, stroke
  • Headaches
  • Infectious diseases of the central nervous system
  • Nervous system neoplasms
  • Muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy
  • Demyelinating diseases
  • Leukodystrophies, gangliosidoses

L. Nutritional Disorders

  • Malabsorption
  • Alcoholism

Ocular Pathology

A. Eyelids

  • Congenital anomalies
  • The disease of the lid margin, glands, skin, cilia
  • Tumors
  • Trauma

B. Orbit

  • Congenital anomalies; displacement of the eyeball
  • Inflammations
  • Tumors
  • Endopthalmos and Exophthalmos

C. Lacrimal Apparatus

  • Diseases of the lacrimal gland and ducts

D. Conjunctiva

  • Pinguecula, concretions, subconjunctival hemorrhage, anomalies of circulation
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Pterygium
  • Tumors
  • Trauma

E. Cornea

  • Congenital anomalies
  • Degenerative processes, dystrophies
  • Keratitis and keratopathies
  • Trauma
  • General pathologic considerations (vascularization, edema)

F. Sclera

  • Pigmentation
  • Ectasia and staphyloma
  • Scleritis, episcleritis

G. Iris, Ciliary Body, and Pupil

  • Congenital anomalies
  • Autoimmune reactions of iris and ciliary body
  • Primary and secondary diseases of iris and ciliary body
  • Tumors
  • Anomalies of pupillary reactions
  • Trauma

H. Lens and Vitreous Body

  • Congenital anomalies
  • Cataract: Symptoms, differential; diagnoses, secondary involvements
  • Luxation and subluxation
  • Anomalies of the vitreous body; fluidity, foreign bodies, muscae volitantes, hemorrhages

I. Choroid

  • Congenital anomalies of the choroid
  • Inflammations of the choroid
  • Tumors

J. Retina

  • Congenital anomalies
  • Diseases: dystrophic, infectious, tumors, etc.
  • Retrolental fibroplasia and related entities
  • Circulatory disturbances
  • Detachment

K. Optic nerve

  • Inflammatory changes
  • Tumors
  • Trauma
  • Toxic Amblyopias
  • Optic Atrophy
  • Papilledema

L. Ocular Tension and Glaucoma

  • Intraocular pressure
  • Ocular Manifestations of General Disease

Theoretical Optometry

A. Refraction Conditions

  • Refractive Status (ametropia, hyperopia, myopia, presbyopia astigmatism, and emmetropia)
  • Incidence & Distribution, Definition, Classification, Etiology, and its Management
  • Determination of refractive status both objective (retinoscopy, autorefractors) and subjectively both (monocular and binocular)

B. Accommodative mechanism

  • Definition, Classification
  • Determination of accommodative mechanisms functions objectively and subjectively including dynamic retinoscopy, the amplitude of accommodation, cross-cylinder tests, negative and positive relative accommodation.
  • Identify anomalies of accommodation (including ill sustained accommodation, insufficiency of accommodation spasm of near reflex, the inertia of accommodation), aphakia, anomalies of ACA ratio, and its management.

C. Binocular Vision

  • Definition, Etiology, Symptoms, and Distribution of Binocular Anomalies, which includes: heterophoria, tropia, amblyopia, anisometropia, antimetropia, aniseikonia, suppression, and abnormal retinal correspondence and its management.
  • Determination of the particular muscle involved in the anomalies of binocular vision.
  • Tests to confirm the extent of binocular vision anomaly.
  • Procedures and techniques in analyzing and diagnosing visual disorders include the OEP method, (SOAP) problem-oriented approach, Morgans correlate, Neumullers criterion, Sheard’s criterion, and Percivals criterion.

D. Low Vision

  • Definition, Etiology, Classification, and Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management – visual acuity, special refraction techniques, visual fields, reading skills, effects of illumination, magnification, determination, analysis or interpretation of personal, social, vocational or psychological patient needs and factors, available aids, theory and design, telescope and microscopic systems, projection instruments, pinhole, and other special devices.

E. Significance of Visual Tests

F. Normal Expected Visual Test Findings

Practical Optometry

A. Assessment of Visual Functions

  • Case History

B. External Examination

C. Preliminary Examination

  • Visual Acuity
  • Ocular Motility (versions, vergence, fixation)
  • Pupillary reflexes (direct, indirect, consensual accommodative)
  • Ocular Dominance
  • Interpupillary Distance
  • Negative and Positive Convergence
  • Negative and Positive Accommodation

D. Objective clinical procedures such as ophthalmoscopy, biomicroscopy, ophthalmometry, and retinoscopy

E. Subjective Testing

  • Monocular Subjective Techniques (fogging, determination and refinement of astigmatic correction, determination of spherical component, bichrome test)
  • Binocular Subjective Techniques (Biochrome balancing, Turville Infinity Balance Test, Prism Dissociation Test, Balancing Technique with Polarizing filters)
  • Equalization Techniques

F. All other tests necessary to assess the refractive, accommodative and binocular vision status

G. Photometric Tests

H. Contact Lenses

  • Anterior Eye Anatomy and Physiology
  • Introduction of Contact Lens
  • Examination Procedures and Patient Selection
  • Contact Lens Fitting (PMMA, RGP, SCL, Toric)
  • Ocular Response and Contact Lens related ocular complications to Contact Lens wear
  • Special Contact Lens Fitting

Theoretical Optics

A. Nature and Propagation of Light

  • Definition
  • Theories of Light (wave, electromagnetic, corpuscular, quantum and Fresnels)
  • Sources of Light
  • Photometry, Definitions, and Characteristics
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Diffraction
  • Transmission and Absorption
  • Polarization
  • Interference (negative and positive)
  • Radiation laws
  • Color Temperature
  • Flourescence, Phosphorescence, Electroluminescence
  • Lasers

B. Basic Optics

  • Definition, terminology, laws, and characteristics of reflection and refraction
  • Formation of images (magnification, deviation, and aberrations) on the plane and curved mirrors and refracting media
  • Characteristics of lenses (spherical, spherocyl, and cylindrical)
  • Principles of optical instruments
  • Mirrors
  • Thin Prism

Ophthalmic Optic

A. Physical Characteristics of Ophthalmic Lenses

  • Definitions, Classifications
  • The geometry of the lens surfaces (spherical, cylindrical, toric, and aspheric)
  • Base Curves (a form of lenses) and specifications of lens size and shapes
  • Material (index of refraction, dispersion, and hardness
  • Lens thickness (center and edge thickness, saggita)

B. Optical characteristics of the ophthalmic lens

  • Locations of and relationships between the optic axis, optical center, geometric center, and significant reference points)
  • Aberrations of lenses and corrective design
  • Verifications of lens prescriptions
  • Writing and Transposing lens Prescriptions
  • Effect of lens tilt (spheres and sphere cylinder about the principal meridian)
  • Adequate Power (for near and for changes in distances)
  • Spherocylinders equivalence of obliquely crossed cylinder

C. Ophthalmic Prisms and Prismatic effect of Lenses

  • Thickness differences across a prism
  • Prismatic effects of the lens (Spheres, Spherocylinder)
  • Decentration
  • Correction of vertical prism effect

D. Bifocal and multifocal lenses

  • Types (fused, one-piece, progressive, and blended lenses)
  • Methods of altering or generating additional lens power
  • Fitting Techniques for bifocal and multifocal lenses
  • Specifying and Selecting multifocal lenses (height, size, shape, and location of the segment)

E. Absorptive lenses

  • Effects of Infrared, visible, and ultraviolet radiation on the eye
  • Specifications of lens tints and absorptive coatings, including spectral transmission curves
  • Characteristics of Photochromic Lenses
  • Relationship between lens thickness and spectral transmission
  • Special Occupational requirements

F. Impact Resistance

  • Degree of resistance of ophthalmic lens materials
  • Method of verifying impact resistance
  • Specifications of occupational safety lenses

G. Processing of Lens Prescription

  • Preparation and actual grinding of lenses in the different stages
  • Benchwork and actual mounting or insertion of lens into the frame

H. Dispensing Procedures and Techniques

  • Concepts of frame selection including optical, occupational, cosmetic, and psychological factors
  • Frame Adjustments
  • Verification of lens prescription, including the prismatic effect

I. Other characteristics of lens prescription

  • Optical and frame consideration of high-powered lenses (spheric and aspheric)
  • Spectacle Magnification

Physiological Optics

A. Dioptrics of the Eye

  • Definition
  • Processes of Seeing
  • Optic constants of the schematic eye
  • Ocular refracting surfaces
  • Retinal image and Visual angle
  • Depth of focus

B. Accommodation

  • Definition and Classification
  • Scheiner’s Experiment
  • Purkinje-Sanson Images
  • Lenticular changes
  • Theories of accommodation
  • Innervation of Ciliary
  • Cycloplegics
  • Amplitude
  • Points and Ranges of Accommodation
  • Determination of near-point
  • Presbyopia
  • DonderÕs table
  • Accommodation asthenopia

C. Ametropia (Introductory)

  • Definition, Etiology
  • Brachycephalia, Dolichoncephalia
  • Law of Silo

D. Defects of the Eye

  • Sources
  • Aberrations
  • Axes and angles of the eye (e.g. angle alpha, visual axis and etc.)
  • Defects of transparency
  • Entoptic Phenomena

E. Iris

  • Anatomy
  • Pupil (definition, mydriasis, miosis, and appearance)
  • Factors affecting pupil size (for pupil constriction and dilation)
  • Pathways of the photo – pupil reflex (direct)
  • Pupil reflexes 5.6 Value of light reflex
  • The action of chemical compounds
  • Pupillary abnormalities (Argyll-Robertsons pupil, Adie’s pupil, etc.)

F. Retina

  • Layers
  • Visual Cells
  • Scotopic and Photopic vision
  • Duplicity Theory
  • Diurnal and nocturnal animals
  • Neural connections and rods and cones
  • Nyctalopia and Hemeralopia
  • Differentiation between scotopic and photopic vision
  • Retinal Changes
  • Metabolism
  • The seat of retinal stimulation
  • Retinal sensitivity: Visibility
  • Factors influencing the shold
  • Laws (e.g. WeberÕs, Fechners, Muellers and others)

G. Growth and Decay of Visual sensations, including after images

H. Repetitive stimulation: flicker

I. Colors

  • Color Vision
  • Color Mixing
  • Theories
  • Color vision anomalies

J. Basis, associated, and conjugated ocular movements

K. Visual projection and binocular vision

  • Monocular projection
  • Single binocular vision (development, prerequisites, doctrine of corresponding points and advantages)
  • Diplopia and disparate points
  • Binocular projection
  • Horopter
  • Theories of single binocular vision
  • Panums area
  • Fixation disparity

L. Fusion/Retinal Rivalry

  • Definition and Classification
  • Theories
  • Amplitude of fusion
  • Nystagmus

M. Stereopsis

  • Definition
  • Theories
  • Monocular depth perception
  • Monocular and binocular cues
  • Binocular depth perception

N. Innervational control of ocular movements

  • Innervation
  • Result of neural lesions
  • Nuclear centers
  • Reflex movements of fixation
  • Voluntary movements of fixation
  • Other cortical centers and reflexes

O. Phorias

  • Definition, Classification, and Etiology
  • Tests

P. Visual Efficiency: Perceptual Acuity/Visual Acuity

  • Definition of terms
  • Retinal regions and sensitivity
  • Glare
  • Types of visual acuity
  • Ocular fatigue

Q. Optical illusions

Ethics, Economics, Jurisprudence Hygiene and Sanitation

A. History of Optometry in the Philippines

B. Optometric Jurisprudence (Regulatory Laws and Regulations in Optometry)

  • Optometry Law (R.A. 1998)
  • Code of Ethics
  • Government Regulatory Bodies of Optometry
  • Rights of Optometrist
  • Rights of Patients
  • Liabilities of Optometrist
  • Damages
  • The Optometrist in Court
  • The Proposed Optometry Law

C. The Practice of Optometry

  • Acts that constitute the Practice of Optometry
  • Establishing a Professional Practice
  • Types of Practice
  • Incidental legal requirements in practice (PTR, ITR, getting a TIN, registration of books and receipts to BIR, etc.)

D. Practice Development/Management

  • Employee Relations (qualifications of secretary, labour law, etc.)
  • Public Relations/Patient Relations/ Patient Management (an efficient technique in handling patients, types of patients, referrals, effective communication in Optometric Practice, etc.)
  • Business Methods (bookkeeping, dealing with suppliers, business machines needed, Inventory, etc.)
  • Patient Record Management (organization of patient records, how complete is your Px record)
  • Money Management (opening bank accounts, scheduling payments to suppliers, purchasing equipment, etc.)
  • Perceptual Education (attending COE, postgraduate studies, fellowship, etc. subscription to Journals)
  • Protection/Insurance (equipment, location, and building)
  • Office Location and arrangement (room necessary for an optometric clinic, furniture arrangements, visual privacy, sound privacy, Instrumentation, etc.)

E. Public Health Optometry

  • Epidemiology
  • Definition of Terms in Public Health
  • Government healthcare programs (health planning, health education)
  • Community Health Projects
  • Vision Care Delivery (occupational safety and health acts)

Practical Examination

Objective Examination

The determination of the patient’s refractive status and ocular condition without questioning him. This covers an external ocular examination, motility test, rotation tests, fixation test), ophthalmoscopy (indirect and direct), ophthalmometry, biomicroscopy, autorefraction, and retinoscopy.

Subjective Examination

As a series of tests designed to determine the refractive status power of accommodation and convergence, the relationship of accommodation and convergence, quality of fusion, and stereopsis based on the patient’s responses. This covers case history, visual acuity, dominancy tests, color vision test, projection tests, visual field charting, OEP techniques except for steps nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, fusion tests, stereoscopic tests, analysis, and prescriptions, uses of the trial case, contact lens fitting, and assessment.

Ophthalmic Mechanics

Laboratory exercises in edging, mounting, insertion and glazing, neutralization, surfacing, lens layout, frame adjustments, transportation (optical cross, toric and flat), and filling prescriptions.

Diagnostic Instruments Required

  1. Objective Examination Retinoscope and ophthalmoscope set, penlight, P.D. rule, occluder, trial case (which includes occluder, pinhole disc, red and green filter, stenopaic slit, trial frame)
  2. Subjective Examination Trial case (which includes occluder, pinhole disc, red and green filter, stenopaic slit, trial frame), P.D. rule and penlight, near-point charts (cross grid, 0.62 em target, reduced Snellen), occluder, pinhole, hand towel for contact lens patients, soft and hard contact lens.
  3. Ophthalmic Mechanics Trial case, P.D. rule, one pair finish lens (plastic and glass, cylindrical and spherical), one pair rough lens (glass), one spectacle frame, protractor, long nose pliers, chipping pliers, screwdriver set, lens pattern materials (scissors, cardboard, pens).

Optometrist Licensure Exam Schedule in 2022

Optometrist licensure board examinations are generally conducted at least once a year, according to the Professional Regulation Commission.

This calendar lists the dates for all licensure examinations. This manual outlines when and how applicants for the Optometrist Licensure Exam will be allowed and due for successful completion.