Career Exploration: Optometrist

By: Madison Frusha

Career Description

A person in this career is the independent primary health care professional for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures. They also identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye. They can also prescribe medications, perform certain medical procedures and assist patients with contacts and glasses.

Required Skills

Optometry requires plenty of different skills. Optometrists must be good listeners and observers; they must be able to visually identify small details and slight differences. A good memory would be beneficial in this career since optometrists must be able to recall details about many different eye conditions, systemic diseases, and treatments. An ability to analyze data from visual, tactile and auditory means is an important skill. Good communication skills are valuable, since most optometrists spend their days interacting with patients and colleagues. Optometrists need to be lifelong learners, since they are continually learning new techniques, treatments and information about eye conditions.

Education Requirements

In order to be an optometrist, you must complete a 4-year bachelor's program, preferably in a relevant or related field like biology, chemistry, or physiology. You'll need a bachelor's degree to apply for optometry programs, which are quite competitive. Optometry programs typically take an additional four years to complete; upon completion you must meet national and your state's licensing requirements in order to become a practicing optometrist.



Future Outlook

Becoming an optometrist isn't the easiest job in the world because it is a type of doctor and requires much work and dedication. There are about 34,000 jobs and this job doesn’t seem to be one to die out anytime soon. People have and will always have vision problems. So, optometry has a good future outlook.


This career could appeal to someone for reasons such as interest in eyes and vision and helping people with such an important sense.

Why I picked this career to explore...

I personally have terrible vision and I've had pink eye a few times, so I've had my fair share of eye doctor visits. I was interested in what makes everybody’s vision different and how my doctor identified the 2 types of pink eye I had. I think I’d be good at this career because I would be motivated to help people and also I can somewhat understand what they’re going through since I have my own vision problems.

Similar Career Choices

Similar career choices to an optometrist include an optician and an ophthalmologist.

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