Tap to Read ➤

Optometrist Job Description

Tulika Nair
Are you seriously contemplating a job as an optometrist? If yes, then you need to know what the job profile is. This story will tell you all you need to know about a day in the life of an optometrist.
Vision care is one of the most salient features of an optometrist's job. They are responsible for examining people's eyes and treating problems related to vision. They generally do that by prescribing glasses or contact lenses to correct vision.
In case a patient does not need to use spectacles, then they also prescribe medicines to treat the problem the patient is suffering from. They check patients' eyes for signs of injury, disease, etc.
They also test if generally the patient is healthy so as to ensure that the eye defect or disease is not a cumulative result of another health issue. Optometrists may also need to write notices referring patients to doctors. This story will detail out their various duties, educational requirements and the salary one can expect to be paid.

Educational Requirements

In order to become an optometrist, one needs to pursue a Doctor of Optometry degree which needs you to complete a 4-year program at a school of optometry that is accredited. There are about 19 schools of optometry that are accredited in the US. One needs to have studied science in order to opt for a career in this field.
Most applicants tend to do a course in biology or chemistry. If one does not study science at the undergraduate level, one can take science courses that offer lab experience. The admission process is extremely competitive with a rate of acceptance that averages around one in three.
Study in optometry includes programs in health science and treating and diagnosing eye diseases. Some students opt to take up postgraduate courses or residency programs in order to advance in a specialty. These programs may be in subjects like visual science, physiological optics, neurophysiology, etc.
In order to be able to practice, an optometrist should have a valid license. In order to obtain this license they need to pass the National Board examination and a clinical examination at the national, regional or state level.
There may also be state examinations depending on the laws of the particular state. Renewal of licenses takes place every three years on an average. As an optometrist, one needs to be able to perform detailed and minute work with patience and ensure proper eye care.

Job Description

Optometrists examine patients for the disease they are suffering from and conduct proper diagnosis. They test patients' eyes for perception issues and to check if they are suffering from a condition that does not enable them to correctly analyze depth. They are responsible for prescription of corrective glasses and contact lenses.
Since optometrists are trained to diagnose generic, common diseases, if need be, they can refer patients to doctors who can treat cases relevant to their specialty in case the patient suffers from diseases like diabetes.
They also have the added responsibility of developing an effective treatment plan and provide care to patients before and after eye surgery. They can have almost 10 - 25 patients a day depending on varied features.


As per statistics of the year 2019, there were as many as 42,000 jobs held by optometrists. This number is expected to grow in the coming years. The salary range depends largely on where his practice is situated, what his specialty is, and also how much experience he has.
Last year, optometrists earned on an average as much as USD 112,000 annually. This was just a median salary number as there were many optometrists who earned a lot more than the number mentioned. This was due to group practice and multiple jobs.
Optometrists who worked in groups that had more than six members had an approximate average annual salary of almost USD 190,000.
While self-employed professionals are not eligible for any benefits other than those provided themselves, most profiles ensure that the groups they are associated with provides them benefits like sick leave, paid holidays, health insurance, etc.
Now that you are aware of what features make up the main constituents of an optometrist's job, if you are someone who has been thinking of taking it up as a career, you know what you need to study and what you should expect from such a job.