Optometrist Career - Salary, Duties & Job Information

Optometrists Career Description

Optometrists are specialists in optometry, which is a profession with concentration on the human eyes and vision health care. They are licensed to conduct examination on people’s eyes, give diagnosis to problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness and test patients for vision coordination, eye focus and color perception.

Duties and Responsibilities

They are licensed to conduct examination on people’s eyes. Optometrist duties include giving diagnoses to problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Among the Optometrist duties are to determine conditions causing vision problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. They also test patients for vision coordination, eye focus and depth/color perception, and other diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, among others. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses or special vision devices for industrial purposes, or provide vision therapy to correct low vision problems. They refer patients to other medical practitioners such as ophthalmologists, internal medicine or other medical specialists such as on diabetes and high blood for further treatment of diseases causing eye and vision problems. Administer drugs in aid of diagnosing the vision problem or treat eye diseases. An Optometrist can provide preoperative or postoperative care to cataract patients and can do certain kinds of surgery such as laser treatment (limited to some States only).

Work Environment

Optometrists work usually in a sanitary environment. They work in clinics, laboratory and offices - usually owned by them - which operate in business centers where patients could easily access. They work more than forty hours a week and respond to emergency calls as needed. More hours are spent by solo practitioners as they also take care of administrative matters.

Employment Opportunities

Optometrist opportunities are available in health care and optical centers or stores; offices of optometrists, physicians such as ophthalmologists; hospitals. Many of them can private practice and own their own optical laboratories and stores. Some work as independent contractors or consultants, researcher and teacher.

How much does a Optometrist make - Optometrist Salary and Wages

Optometrists could hold multiple jobs, unless they are restricted by their employers. Beginners in the profession earn as much as $74,410. Those in their first to fourth year earn an average of $81,110. Those in the business for more than twenty years are earning about $100,931.

By the hour, a young Optometrist salary range falls around $40.10, which is just 23% lower than those in the profession for twenty-years or more. The bonus also has an attractive Optometrist salary range. On the first year, they get no less than $4,000 as bonus, which is just 27% lower than those who are in the profession for twenty-year get. As for commissions, they get as much as $5,000 to $13,000 in a span of twenty years.

Since most of them operate their own offices and clinics they seem to have fewer opportunities for vacation. During the first year they could get as much as nine days. Those in the business for twenty years and more could have around three weeks a year.

How to become a Optometrist

Educational and Training

An Optometrist degree is called a Doctor of Optometry, which can be obtained from an accredited optometry school by passing the exams administered by the National Board Examiners in Optometry. In some States they require a candidate to pass the national, regional or State clinical licensure examinations, depending upon requirement of the State Laws. Continuing education is required to earn credits, which are needed for the renewal of licenses done very one to three years.

Common Optometrist courses in college include general biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, general physics, microbiology, calculus, statistics, speech, and general psychology.

Other Qualifications and Skills

The work requires knowledge and Optometrist skills in business administration and customer relations. It also requires self-disciple to be able to work longer hours and attend to details of the job. As a specialist, an optometrist is required to uphold medical ethics to fulfill Optometrist qualifications.


Optometrists could embark on research or post-graduate studies in health administration, visual science, neurophysiology, public health, health information, research, or physicological optics. They may further study Opthalmology.

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