While their iconic testing device— known as a phoropter— and the rows of ever-shrinking letters on a vision test… may look like something out of Victorian times… in reality, optometrists use state-of-the-art science and technology to examine patients’ vision. In addition to diagnosing sight problems, optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision, and they may perform minor surgeries. They also diagnose and treat eye diseases or injuries and manage other eye disorders. Optometrists rely on interpersonal skills to help patients feel at ease and respond effectively to vision testing. At vision check-ups, they counsel patients on how broader health care affects eyesight, and promote good eye health practices. The accuracy of their prescription relies both on their technical skills and a clear understanding between doctor and patient. Most optometrists work in offices of optometry. Others work in doctors’ offices, optical goods stores, or are self-employed. Optometrists work full time, and may work weekends or evenings to accommodate their patients’ needs. Optometrists must complete a 4-year Doctor of Optometry program and be licensed to practice in a particular state. They must also pass the National Board of Examiners in Optometry exam. Doctoral program applicants must have completed at least 3 years of college that include courses in biology, chemistry, physics, English and math.
What they do:
Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.
On the job, you would:
Examine eyes, using observation, instruments and pharmaceutical agents, to determine visual acuity and perception, focus and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities such as glaucoma or color blindness.
Prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses and other vision aids.
Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan.
medicine and dentistry
therapy and counseling
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
understanding people's reactions
looking for ways to help people
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
Hand and Finger Use
put together small parts with your fingers
keep your arm or hand steady
see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
First Insight MaximEyes
HealthLine Systems Eyecom
Data base user interface and query software
Microsoft SQL Server
doctoral degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.