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How to become an Optometrist

optometrist careers

What does a Optometrist do?

Optometrists, also known as ophthalmic opticians, carry out detailed eye examinations to test vision and identify any problems or defects. They make a diagnosis and when necessary prescribe, fit and supply spectacles and other optical appliances, often advising patients on suitable frames.

Vision defects are measured using sophisticated instruments which make assessments based on the way light bounces off the retina. The strength of a lens is evaluated through the use of reading charts and other tests.

Optometrists must also be aware of eye diseases - these are treated by doctors or ophthalmologists (eye surgeons). Some optometrists specialise in hospital work.

What's the working environment like working as a Optometrist?

Optometrists work 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Saturday. Part-time work is possible.

Optometrists work in treatment rooms where they test patients’ eyes. In hospitals they may be involved in laboratory work.

What does it take to become a Optometrist?

To work as an optometrist you should:

  • be able to understand and apply scientific principles and methods
  • have numerical understanding for handling mathematical information
  • pay great attention to detail as the work is very intricate
  • be able to keep up with scientific advances and learn to use new techniques and instruments
  • have patience to do repetitive tasks
  • have a genuine interest in working with people, and the ability to put anxious patients at ease
  • be able to get on with children, who may find the ideas and instructions difficult to follow
  • have organisational and administrative skills
  • have an interest in style and fashion, which is useful for selling frames.

Optometrist Career Opportunities

The majority of optometrists enter private practice as employees. They may become partners or self-employed later on. Most of the remainder work in the NHS, while others are involved in teaching in universities, or research work with commercial glass and lens manufacturers.

Mobility may be necessary to secure a first post after training.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Optometrist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

College of Optometrists
42 Craven Street
Tel: 020 7839 6000

General Optical Council
41 Harley Street
Tel: 020 7580 3898

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

Facts and Stats:

  • The biggest blood transfusion was carried out in 1970 and totalled 1,080 litres.
  • The record number of surviving multiple births is seven, recorded in both Illinois, USA and Saudi Arabia.
  • The thumb has a special section, separate from the area that controls the fingers, reserved for it in the brain.

Courses to help you become a Optometrist