Optometrists provide most of the vision care needed by those who wear glasses or contact lenses. They examine people’s eyes to detect vision problems and eye diseases, and test for such things as proper depth, color perception, and the ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. Most optometrists work in general practice, but some special in the elderly or children. Others work with partially-sighted persons who use microscopic or telescopic lenses. Still others concern themselves with the visual safety of individual workers or concentrate on contact lenses or vision therapy. Optometrists teach, do research, consult, and serve on health advisory committees of various kinds.

Educational Qualifications

Licensed optometrists must have a Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited optometric college/university and pass the state board examination. This degree required a minimum of 6 to 7 years of higher education consisting of a 31/2-year professional degree program preceded by 4 years of pre-optometric study at La Sierra University. Those wishing to advance in a specialized field may study for a masters or Ph.D. degree in visual science, physiological optics, neurophysiology, public health, health administration, health information and communication, or health education. Career officers in the Armed Forces may work toward advances degrees and do vision research.

Job Outlook

Employment for optometrists is expected to grow faster than average through 2014.

Career information adapted from:

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh