How to become an Optometrist

Optometrists perform eye examinations to determine the presence of vision problems and other eye conditions and disease. They treat or manage these problems by prescribing glasses, contact lenses, optical aids, vision therapy, medication (in the form of eye drops) or referral to an eye surgeon when required.

Personal requirements for an Optometrist

  • Patient and caring manner
  • Able to carry out accurate and precise work
  • Good communication skills
  • Enjoy helping people

Education & Training for an Optometrist

To become an optometrist you usually have to study optometry at university. Alternatively, you can complete a degree in vision science or a relevant area at university, followed by a postgraduate qualification in optometry.To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. You may also be required to sit the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT). Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Additional information

Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of an Optometrist

Optometrists:

  • Determine the nature and extent of vision and eye problems and disease by examining patients' eyes using specialised instruments, techniques and tests
  • Correct vision defects by prescribing and dispensing glasses or contact lenses, special optical aids or vision therapy
  • Examine patients for signs of eye disease and systemic conditions, including glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis, and work with medical practitioners and eye surgeons to co-manage patients when required
  • Manage some eye conditions by prescribing ocular therapeutic drugs
  • Monitor patients' vision and ocular health with the use of imaging techniques such as digital retinal photography and computerised vision tests
  • Conduct eye screening and testing for the purposes of determining occupational fitness or fitness to drive
  • Undertake managerial, retail and administrative tasks.

Tasks

  • Refers patients to, and receives referrals from other health providers, and prescribes medications for the treatment of eye disease..
  • Conducts preventative screening programs..
  • Detects, diagnoses and manages eye disease..
  • Manages programmes for eye movement disorders, and instructs patients in the use of corrective techniques and eye exercises..
  • Conducts rehabilitation programs for the visually impaired..
  • Prescribes exercises to co-ordinate eye movement and focusing..
  • Assesses ocular health and visual function by measuring visual acuity and refractive error, as well as testing the function of visual pathways and fields, eye movements, freedom of vision and intraocular pressure, and performs other tests..
  • Examines patients' eyes and sets tests to determine the nature and extent of vision abnormalities..
  • Diagnoses eye movement disorders and defects of binocular function..
  • Prescribes lenses, contact lenses and low vision aids, and checks suitability..
  • Advises on visual health matters such as contact lens care, vision care for the elderly, optics, visual ergonomics, and occupational and industrial eye safety..

Working conditions for an Optometrist

Most optometrists are in daily contact with members of the public on a one-on-one basis.


Employment Opportunities for an Optometrist

Most graduates enter private practice on completion of their course. Some graduates choose to embark on non-clinical careers that make use of their skills as visual scientists. Most non-clinical positions are in universities and research organisations or with companies involved in the manufacture of optical instruments and lenses.As optometry becomes more diversified, there are increasing opportunities for specialisation in areas such as ocular disease, sports vision, children's vision and industrial vision practices.


Specializations

Optometrist

Optometrists perform eye examinations to determine the presence of vision problems and other eye conditions and disease. They treat or manage these problems by prescribing glasses, contact lenses, optical aids, vision therapy, medication (in the form of eye drops) or referral to an eye surgeon when required.

  • Average age
    Average age
    41 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    53% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    66% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    4,200 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.7%
    NSW: 34.4%
    NT: 0.6%
    QLD: 21.6%
    SA: 5.7%
    TAS: 1.9%
    VIC: 25.6%
    WA: 8.5%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.2%
    20-24: 7.4%
    25-34: 27.9%
    35-44: 24%
    45-54: 21.9%
    55-59: 10.3%
    60-64: 5.6%
    65 and Over: 2.8%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 3.9%
    Bachelor degree: 71.8%
    Certificate III/IV: 0.2%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 22.1%
    Year 10 and below: 0.2%
    Year 11: 0.1%
    Year 12: 1.7%
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