Optometrists

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Also known as:
Doctor of Optometry, Optometrist

ABOUT OPTOMETRIST CAREERS
Video transcript

Optometrists help people see better. They examine eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optometrists are not physicians, but they do have extensive training. All states and the District of Columbia license optometrists, who are required to have a doctor of optometry degree from an accredited optometry school, generally a 4-year program after at least 3 years of undergraduate work.

Most optometry students hold another bachelor's degree or higher. Then the optometrist must pass a written and clinical board examination. Optometrists can work in outpatient clinics, retail optical stores, or have their own practice.

They use instruments and observation to determine eye health and test visual acuity, depth, and color perception, and the ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. They analyze these test results and develop a treatment plan. That plan can then be given to a dispensing optician to fit and adjust eyeglasses or contact lenses, or the optometrist might refer the patient to an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who can perform surgery.

With ongoing developments in eye care, optometrist licenses must be renewed every one to three years, and continuing education credits are required. Though some optometrists do research, the majority work with patients - so communication skills and a pleasant manner are also part of the prescription for a healthy career.

SNAPSHOT
Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation.

Prescribe medications to treat eye diseases if state laws permit.

Provide patients undergoing eye surgeries, such as cataract and laser vision correction, with pre- and post-operative care.

Educate and counsel patients on contact lens care, visual hygiene, lighting arrangements, and safety factors.

Prescribe therapeutic procedures to correct or conserve vision.

Examine eyes, using observation, instruments, and pharmaceutical agents, to determine visual acuity and perception, focus, and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities, such as glaucoma or color blindness.

Consult with and refer patients to ophthalmologist or other health care practitioner if additional medical treatment is determined necessary.

Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan.

Prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision aids.

Remove foreign bodies from the eye.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
TOP SKILLS
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.