Optometrist Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an optometrist. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an optometrist.
Who is an Optometrist?
An optometrist is a well-trained eye-care specialist that diagnoses and treats certain eye disorders and prescribes solutions for optical conditions. In most clinics, they are charged with the task of performing visual testing after which they refer patients to the doctor (ophthalmologist) for advanced treatment. Sometimes, they prescribe corrective lenses when needed.
Most times a person makes an appointment with an eye doctor they get to be accessed by all three types of an eye doctor. Because they have to pass through different stages like the test of the optic nerves, eye sockets, and eyeballs, diagnosis of eye problems, prescription of drugs, eye drops, glasses, or contact lenses.
The three types of eye doctors are ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. These three categories of medical personnel have a different levels of expertise, and thus, provide distinct services.
However, for this article, we will be looking at all the essential information about an optometrist, including a job description. Every optometrist undergoes professional training to acquire the knowledge and expertise required to defeat eye diseases and disorders by prescribing the perfect solution at all times.
An optometrist is entirely different from a medical doctor. They are healthcare professionals that examine the eye to detect disorders and diseases and prescribe contact lenses or medications for the treatment of such.
Their major job specifications include testing and examination of sight and prescription of correctional lenses for the treatment of sight defects or abnormalities. An optometrist acquires a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree after four years of study at the optometry school. They are certified personnel that only carry out eye tests, detect certain eye disorders, and prescribe medications or glasses for eye diseases.
But, an ophthalmologist, for instance, diagnoses and treats all eye disorders and diseases, and even performs surgery when the need arises, while an optician issues contact lenses and fit in the lens prescription into the glass frame as instructed by the ophthalmologist. Interestingly, an optometrist can particularize in research and education.
Optometrist Job Description
Below are the optometrist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. The employer can use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
- Diagnosing and treating simple eye impairments
- Assessing eye conditions and recommending treatments
- Performing vision tests and other thorough regular examinations
- Prescribing corrective lenses, eyeglasses, and medications
- Giving detailed instructions on the use of the medications
- Performing minor eye surgical operations
- Recommending vision therapy and eye exercises
- Providing treatments for low-vision recovery
- Identifying major visual conditions like glaucoma, and referring the patient to the doctor
- Overseeing sales of eyeglasses and other eye-care products
- Interpret test results to the patient’s understanding
- Scheduling patients for appointments
- Providing the necessary check-up on patients before and after their eye surgery
- Evaluating patients for the presence of other health issues such as hypertension, and, refer patients to other healthcare providers as needed
- Counseling patients on general eye care
- Advising patients on the best diet plan to opt for while undergoing recovery
- Reaching a well-informed diagnosis founded on the patient’s medical history and scientific knowledge.
- Keeping up-to-date records of patients’ symptoms and medical episodes
Details of What an Optometrist Does
Eye examination – Apart from the regular sight test, optometrists use automated equipment to test different lenses and measure its effect on the eyesight and vision clarity of the patient. They also assess the patients’ general ocular health.
Diagnosis of ocular disease – Optometrists can diagnose eye conditions as delicate as cataracts and glaucoma, at a very early stage. They even go as far as detecting cancerous tumors of the eye and macular degeneration.
Examination of binocular vision – This medical personnel examines patients’ eyes to determine their depth of vision clarity and how well the brain is receiving signals. This helps to ascertain whether or not the eyes are working together.
Provision of preoperative and postoperative care – Following intense treatments like deep eye surgery, optometrists provide preoperative and postoperative care to the patients to ensure that their recovery process is fast and pain-free.
Prescription of corrective lenses – As well-trained personnel, optometrists offer professional advice on the perfect correctional lenses (whether reading glasses or contact lenses) to use to fit a specific purpose or lifestyle.
Recommendations – Optometrists make recommendations to help speed up a patient’s healing process and make them have a smooth healing process. Some of their recommendations are vision therapy and low vision rehabilitation.
Qualifications and Requirements
At least three years of foundation education and a pass in five A-level subjects, Mathematics and English inclusive
- A Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree with not less than a 2.2
- A pass in the Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
- License from the National Board of Examiner
- A certificate from the General Optical Council (GOC)
- Proven experience as an optometrist
- Excellent understanding of eye examination methodologies
- Broad knowledge of eye conditions and their symptoms
- Excellent knowledge of common eye treatments and their side effects
- Thorough knowledge of legal medical specifications and rules
- Tolerance and respect for patients’ privacy
Essential Skills of an Optometrist
Teamwork – Ability to collaborate with other professionals to work closely and achieve a standard clinic environment.
Interest and attention – Showing undivided attention when testing or diagnosing a patient will ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Also, keen interest will promote easy and reliable execution of administrative tasks.
Detail-oriented – Must ensure that all the information given by the patient is properly recorded. Also, the right prescription and treatment must be administered to the patient based on their diagnosis.
Professional evaluation – This job requires one to make vital decisions, which if not well made could affect a patient’s life. More so, the perfect prescription and treatment must be the right decision reached from the evaluation of the test results.
Good communication and interpersonal skills – Because this job is more about the patient, you will need to be able to relate well with the patients, understand their concerns and make them feel relaxed during treatment. Also, the ability to answer patients’ questions and explain instructions to them is important.
Precision – The need to be exact about findings when examining and testing a patient’s eye is necessary. Besides, it will influence what visual aid is administered to the patient.
Navigation of specialist equipment – Since different optical tools and instruments will be needed to identify a patient’s problem, the ability to know how to navigate them is important.
Concentration – The ability to focus while carrying out repetitive tasks is needed.
Organization – This job requires one to be well-organized in body and mind at all times during work.
Eye Conditions Optometrists Treat
Myopia: This eye disorder is also known as short-sightedness. This is a condition where viewing distant objects is impaired. Myopia could be treated by the use of contact lenses and glasses as prescribed by the optometrist. However, in extreme cases, an ophthalmologist conducts surgery or laser procedures on the patients.
Cataracts: This eye condition occurs when there are growing dusty patches in the eye that intensely affect vision and could lead to blindness in extreme cases.
In this eye situation, surgery is mostly performed. Hence, an optometrist is charged with the responsibility of performing preoperative and postoperative care on the patient. In mild cases, the optometrist can prescribe the right contact lenses to help reduce the symptoms.
Color blindness: Optometrists diagnose color blindness and prescribe the right contact lenses and eyeglasses to check the condition since there is no cure.
Glaucoma: This eye disorder refers to when the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain is greatly destroyed. An optometrist determines the level of the damage and plans the perfect treatment procedure.
Retinal impairment: Optometrists diagnose retinal disorders like an epiretinal membrane, retinal damage, and diabetic retinopathy. Most times, patients diagnosed with these disorders are referred to an ophthalmologist for advanced treatment.
Systemic diseases: There are some internal body diseases that affect the eye. Some of them include diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and many others. Optometrists diagnose these diseases and counsel the patients on the best way to take care of their health.
How to Become an Optometrist
Potential optometrists must enroll in the school of optometry after completing an undergraduate course and bagging a Bachelor’s degree. Here are the full steps on how to become an optometrist.
Enroll in college, study, and pass all science courses necessary for admission into the school of optometry.
Bag a Bachelor’s degree with good grades and a high GPA.
Register for the Optometry Admission Test, write the exams, and pass with a good score of between 300 – 400.
Intern with at least one optometrist to gain experience and familiarize with what optometrists do.
Get admitted into an accredited optometry school, so your Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree will be guaranteed.
Pass all the optometry courses with good grades throughout the whole four years.
Acquire an optometry degree. This guarantees whether or not you stand a chance of being recruited.
Embark on a clinical residency in a particular area like ocular disorders.
Register for the optometry test by the National Board of Examiners. Passing this test with good grades is what qualifies one for a professional optometry license. However, some states require potential optometrists to write other exams. If this is the case, make sure to write them too.
Pay the required fees and acquire a license to practice optometry. To ensure that you are the best optometrist, continue taking courses. This could be done online, and not necessarily physically.
Consider acquiring a certificate from the American Board of Optometry. This secures your credulity, boosts your expertise and chances of being hired.
Prepare your curriculum vitae and cover letter. Construct it to suit your preferred work environment. Include your certifications and experiences.
Begin the job search. Try both online and physical options.
Where Can an Optometrist Work?
Optometrists work in a variety of places. Some of the places are in:
Personal offices and private clinics
- Optical retail stores
- Academic settings as a consultant
- Doctor’s offices as employees
- Community health centers
- Research facilities
- Military bases
In addition, most optometrists work full time including weekends to attend to patients’ needs. Some offices require optometrists to begin work by 9:30 am and end by 5:30 pm.
Optometrist Salary Scale
The minimum yearly remuneration for optometrists is approximately between $119,000 to $175,000. This salary rate varies among countries. Optometrists’ salary is slightly above that of healthcare providers in other niches because of the bulk of work they have to handle.
Besides, in some start-up clinics, optometrists carry out the duties of a physician. The rate of optometrists employed yearly is around 10%. This increase has simultaneously caused an increase in the number of optometry jobs available. Notably, the sport and security industries have many spots for the services of an optometrist.
An optometrist has the expert knowledge and training to help diagnose and make prescriptions that will correct your eye disorders within a specified period of time. In cases when they cannot offer the needed medical treatment, they refer the patient(s) to a medical doctor (an ophthalmologist) to administer the right treatment and prescriptions.
Most importantly, you have to be able to distinguish between an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, and an optician. In world-class health establishments, their roles are distinct. Though they work together, they have different levels of expertise and administer varied services.
If you’re looking to heal from your eye condition, knowing the roles of these different eyecare professionals will save you greatly. Besides, there’s a quote that says the problem is not the problem, but your attitude towards the problem. For you to ensure you have vision clarity, you need to visit the optometrists for eye check-up often. This will prevent you from developing acute eye disorders. Get set today and visit an optometrist!