Optometrist Job Profile and Description

Also known as doctors of optometry or ODs, Optometrists are the main vision care specialists. Not to be confused with Ophthalmologists who are medical doctors specializing similarly but can perform eye surgery, Optometrists can diagnose eye disorders but not licensed to perform medical treatment beyond correcting visual problems.  They gauge people’s visual acuity to diagnose refractive eye disorders, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. While most Optometrists work in a general primary care practice, some optometrists specialize in a particular field, such as geriatrics, pediatrics, or vision therapy while others specialize in occupational vision to protect workers or sportsmen’s eyes from work strain or injury.

Optometrist Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct test to determine if a patient is far sighted or nearsighted and prescribe corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses,
  • Conduct test to determine depth and color perception, ability to focus and coordinate the eyes.
  • Test for glaucoma and other eye diseases and diagnose conditions caused by systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, referring patients to an Ophthalmologist as needed.
  • Prescribe corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses or recommend other treatment options like low-vision rehabilitation or vision therapy in helping blind people.
  • Provide preoperative and postoperative care to cataract patients, as well as to patients who have had corrective laser surgery.
  • Encourage preventative measures by promoting correct reading habits, nutrition and hygiene

Optometrist Skills and Specifications

  • Must have through skill and knowledge in the use of diagnostic devices
  • Must have excellent communication skills
  • Must have excellent interpersonal and people management skills


Optometrist Education and Qualification

  • A 4-year college degree in Optometry from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association with one-year postgraduate residency is basic
  • Must pass the state’s licensing and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry

Optometrist Salary

The median annual salary of an Optometrist was $96,400 in 2008 with the mid 50% earning between $70,200 and $125,500. Salaried Optometrists in government service earned a median of $92,700 while those in private practice earned an average of $175,400 in 2007.