We undertook a retrospective study of the referral patterns of optometrists. During the study period 13,107 patients had been seen, of whom 2.86% had been referred. Of the referred patients, 66.67% were referred to an ophthalmologist via the general practitioner, 25.87% to their general practitioner alone, and 7.47% directly to an ophthalmologist. The conditions for which patients were referred are given along with information on any supplementary tests used. The effect of practitioner age and seasonal variations on referrals was also determined. The role of the optometrist in screening for ocular disease is discussed.