Accredited Education

The Role of Optometrists

Optometry is a part of the health care field that involves a few different types of professionals in the field. Optometrists are doctors that are concerned with providing care for vision and the eyes. They examine clients eyes by performing various tests to diagnose vision issues and treat eye diseases. Optometrist occupations are expected to grow much faster than the average job, with an expected growth increase of 24% in the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment projections estimate that 8,500 new optometrist jobs will be available by 2018, in addition to those that will be available due to the large number of optometrists that will be retiring in the new several years.

Optometrists test and diagnose vision problems as well as test patients’ depth and color perception, and test the coordination and focus abilities in the eyes. They diagnose vision problems such as near and farsightedness, and vision diseases and infections such as glaucoma and cataracts. They also offer treatment in their eye diagnosis, in which they may prescribe the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses, or other vision therapy treatments or medications. Optometrists also encourage preventative measures and stress the importance of how to avoid eye diseases and vision problems.

Most optometrists work in general practice, while some specialize in certain fields of optometry such as contact lenses, geriatrics or pediatrics. As a result, many optometrists are combining their practices into a large practice that can cater to a variety of needs. Additionally, most optometrists work in private practices, and often with a small staff that assists in scheduling patients, preparing patients, updating medical records, ordering supplies, and performing administrative duties.

Optometrists require bachelor degrees, as well as the completion of a 4 year program from an accredited optometry school, followed by a 3 year study. In addition, all states require that optometrists be licensed, after passing both a written and clinical optometry examination. Optometrists earned median annual wages of $96,320 in 2008, according to the latest statistics available by the bureau.

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