Are you having any problem with your eyes? If the answer is yes, you have to see an optometrist. Optometrists provide treatment to the diseases of the eyes such as cataract and glaucoma. They are trained to operate special equipment used in diagnosing and treating these eye diseases. A good number of optometrists are working independently; only a few are working in salaried posts for various eye clinics and healthcare establishments.

Optometrist Job Description

Optometrists are very important parts of the healthcare team just as the eyes are very important parts of the body. They are trained to examine the eyes, diagnose eye diseases, test the patient’s sight, give prescriptions for the treatment of the diseases, give sound advice to patients with visual problems and fit spectacles on patients that have needs for them. They can carry out the following responsibility:

  • examine the eyes in order to diagnose eyes diseases, vision defects, abnormality and injuries
  • educate the patients on the best practices to enhance the health of their eyes
  • give prescriptions for contact lenses and spectacles
  • fit eyeglasses on the patients
  • collaborate with medical professionals in health matters
  • check the patients for the presence of other health conditions such as diabetes

How to Become an Optometrist

Admission into accredited programs for optometrists is highly competitive because only 20 programs for Doctor of Optometry are accredited nationwide. Candidates seeking for admission into any of these programs should meet the requirements which include:

    • passing the optometry admission test
    • completing at least three years of postsecondary education
    • taking courses in pure science subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, math and English

Any person that gains admission for Doctor of Optometry in any of the accredited program including the one in Puerto Rica requires 4 years to complete the program. At the completion of the programs, students are awarded Doctor of Optometry. Students looking to obtain advanced clinical education should enroll in the one-year postgraduate clinical residence programs.

Optometrist Training

During the training, the students are equipped with the necessary theoretical and practical knowledge required in the field. The theoretical aspects of their studies are done in the classroom while the required practical experience is acquired during the clinical training. In the classroom, they are also taught courses in pharmacology, vision science, optics, systemic diseases and biochemistry.

Optometrist Certification

Although, optometrists are required to obtain license in all the states before they can practice, obtaining certification is completely voluntary. There are different boards that provide certification. Any optometrist that wants to be certified should take the certification exam of any of the boards. Some of the boards that provide certification include:

Optometrist Salary

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Optometrist Job Description Summary

Here is a short recap of the optometrist job description:
  • Examine, diagnose and treat eye problems
  • 4 years of education minimum
  • Must be licensed to practice
  • 24% employment growth by 2022