Optometrist

Pros


  • You will be helping people to fix what may be wrong with their vision.
  • Optometry is a field that relies a lot on science, especially biology, so those who are interested in that subject should do well.
  • Many optometrists work for themselves.

Cons

  • Along with needing pretty good manual dexterity, optometrists also spend a lot of time on their feet, going from patient to patient.
  • You may have to spend time working hours outside of the normal 9-5 routine in order to accommodate patients.
  • This job requires the ability to be tactful with people.

Overview

An optometrist is an eye doctor. Their job is to provide vision care to their patients. They spend their time performing eye examinations on people, often diagnosing problems that patients have with their vision. This can include nearsightedness, farsightedness or cataracts, among other conditions. When a problem is discovered, an optometrist will usually prescribe corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses. They also will recommend other courses treatment for problems such as surgery.

While optometrists diagnose eye problems and can provide methods to fix them, they don’t perform surgery on patients. That role is relegated to an ophthalmologist. However, optometrists do provide preoperative and postoperative care to their patients. They will also sometimes prescribe drugs to their patients to help them recover from surgery, or to try to correct a vision problem. Some of them also work to provide preventive care to their patients, educating them on how to reduce eye strain in everyday life.

Many optometrists work for themselves. They offer general eye care to their patients as family practitioners. Some of them work in optical franchises. Along with seeing patients, they must hire and manage staff, maintain records and coordinate billing with insurance and customers. Because of this, optometrists are usually good at managing a business. The remainder of optometrists work in a group practice or for an organization such as a hospital or the military.

Education

Becoming an optometrist requires a lot of education, and getting into optometry school is competitive. The majority of students who enter optometry school have completed a bachelor’s degree, although some have only completed three years of undergraduate work. Most undergraduate students planning to go into optometry study a scientific discipline such as chemistry or biology. They must take the Optometry Admissions Test and apply to optometry school. Once in optometry school, students will study in classroom and laboratory environments for three years before graduating. Then, an optometrist must become licensed in the state they wish to practice in.

Job Prospects

Because the population is both growing and aging, the field of optometry is growing at an average rate. Most employers today offer eye insurance and therefore people are able to go see their optometrist once a year for a check-up. Also, people are spending more and more time looking at computer screens and televisions, which can cause eye strain and lead to a visit to the optometrist. These factors plus the fact that there are only a small number of competitive optometry schools that limit the number of people entering the field means there are good job prospects for optometrists.

Advancement Opportunities

Optometry is mainly a career where one would start their own family practice unless they have studied a specialty. While there are salaried positions that pay well for optometrists, it is more lucrative for them to start their own business. However, if one is devoted to a specialization, such as children, they may need to work in a specific work environment, such as a children’s hospital.