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.
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
www.college-optometrists.org/ General Optical Council
41 Harley Street
Tel: 020 7580 3898
www.optical.org/ NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
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