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Optometrist Careers

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Optometrist CareersWhat an Optometrist does:
Optometry is a health care profession concerned with the eyes and vision. Optometry is one of the fastest growing healthcare sectors. Optometry Professionals known as Optometrists provide vision care to people of all ages.

Optometrists or Doctors of Optometry (OD) do much more than prescribing and fitting contact lenses and glasses, they can diagnose conditions such as glaucoma and can detect diseases that affect many other organs such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Optometrists also provide care to patients before and after laser eye surgery.

Optometrists can work in a variety of settings from private practice to large retail chains. Others choose to work in public clinics. Some optometrists specialize to work with certain eye sight conditions or certain groups of patients e.g. the elderly or children.

The main duties of an Optometrist include:

  • Examining people’s eyes 
  • Diagnosing vision problems i.e. nearsightedness and farsightedness
  • Testing the patients depth and color perception, and their ability to focus 
  • Prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Providing treatments i.e. vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation
  • Testing for glaucoma and other eye diseases
  • Diagnosing systemic diseases i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure
  • Referring patients to other health care professionals
  • Providing pre and postoperative care to patients who had cataracts removed or undergone laser eye surgery

Education & Qualifications:
To become an Optometrist, you will need to obtain a Doctor of Optometry degree. Degree programs are 4 years in length. Admission to Optometry school is competitive. Having a bachelor’s degree in Science (BS) is the minimum entry requirement for many Optometry Schools.

Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) of the American Optometric Association (AOA). Applicants must also take the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT).

Salary & Job Prospects:
The job outlook for Optometry jobs is favorable, as it is predicted that there will be a growth in the number of people requiring vision correction. The increasing number of senior citizens with age related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy and macular degeneration will also require optometry services.

Working conditions for Optometry Professionals are optimum, with regular hours and a minimum of emergency calls. Also due to the number of job openings, Optometrists have a choice of locations to live and work in, unlike other healthcare specialists.

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Links to Types of Allied Health Careers

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Reflexologist »
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Speech Pathologist / Therapist »
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Ultrasound Technician / Sonographer »

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