Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

If you're curious about a career in healthcare, a job as an optometrist might be perfect for you! Optometrists specialize in assessing and treating vision problems, like near- and farsightedness or astigmatism. Their primary responsibility is to perform comprehensive eye exams to evaluate their patients' vision health and prescribe corrective lenses or other treatments as needed. 

Optometrists work with a wide range of patients, from young children to older adults, so it's important that they have excellent communication skills and can explain diagnoses and treatment plans clearly. They also often work closely with ophthalmologists and other healthcare professionals to manage more complex cases.

To become an optometrist, you'll need to earn a doctoral degree in optometry and obtain a license to practice in your state. If you enjoy helping people and have an interest in vision health, consider pursuing a career as an optometrist!

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Diagnose and treat vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
  • Conduct comprehensive eye exams to detect and manage eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration
  • Prescribe corrective lenses or medication as needed
  • Offer recommendations for eye care and healthy vision practices to patients
  • Interact and communicate effectively with patients to ensure proper understanding of diagnoses and treatments
  • Stay up-to-date with advancements in eye care technology and treatments
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals such as ophthalmologists and primary care physicians to ensure comprehensive patient care
  • Maintain accurate and detailed patient records in accordance with legal and ethical standards 
  • Educate patients on how lifestyle choices and health conditions can affect their vision and eye health

Experience and Education Requirements

To become an Optometrist in the healthcare industry, you need to get a degree in optometry from a recognized institution. This typically requires four years of study and practical experience, during which you'll learn everything about eye health, vision correction, and the diagnosis and treatment of various eye problems. After completing your optometry degree, you'll need to pass a licensing exam to become a certified optometrist. The exam usually tests your knowledge and skills in areas such as eye anatomy, visual perception, and eye diseases. To keep your license valid, you must also participate in continuing education programs and stay updated on the latest advancements in optometry.

Salary Range

Optometrists are vital members of the healthcare industry responsible for diagnosing and treating issues related to vision and eye health. In the United States, the expected salary range for optometrists is between $98,000 to $184,000 per year. The salary range may vary depending on factors such as level of experience, location, and type of employer. For example, an entry-level optometrist in New York City can earn about $114,000 per year, while a mid-career optometrist in Los Angeles can make an average of $126,000 per year. In Canada, the expected salary range for optometrists is between CAD 77,000 to CAD 156,000 per year.


  • Salary.com for U.S. data
  • PayScale for U.S. and Canada data

Career Outlook

Optometrists are healthcare experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating vision-related issues. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for optometrists is promising, with a projected job growth rate of 4% from 2019 to 2029. As the population ages, there is increasing demand for comprehensive eye care services. Thus, the industry is expected to see a surge in the demand for optometrists.

Additionally, Optometrists are also playing a critical role in identifying and treating eye problems that might be linked with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hence highlighting their significance in the healthcare industry. With demand for preventative health care increasing, optometrists are in demand to help people identify issues before they become serious health concerns.

In conclusion, the career outlook for Optometrists looks positive, with a growing demand in the healthcare industry. This is supported by the anticipated growth of 4% from 2019 to 2029, coupled with the consistent need for vision care in an aging population.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is an Optometrist?

A: An Optometrist is a healthcare professional who specializes in examining eyes for vision problems and prescribing corrective lenses.

Q: What does an Optometrist do?

A: An Optometrist performs comprehensive eye exams, diagnoses and treats eye diseases, prescribes glasses or contact lenses, and provides referrals to ophthalmologists for surgery or further medical treatment.

Q: Do I need a referral to see an Optometrist?

A: No, you don't typically need a referral to see an Optometrist. You can schedule an appointment directly with the Optometrist.

Q: What education and training is required to become an Optometrist?

A: To become an Optometrist, you need a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from an accredited school of optometry. You also need to pass a national exam to obtain a license to practice optometry.

Q: What skills are important for an Optometrist to possess?

A: An Optometrist should have good clinical skills, excellent communication skills, and be able to make patients feel comfortable during an eye exam. Attention to detail and the ability to diagnose and manage eye diseases are also important skills.

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