How to become Optometrist

become optometrists

Basic Job Description of Optometrists

Optometrists, who are also called doctors of optometry or ODS are medical professionals, who provides most primary vision care services. They conduct eye examination, to diagnose vision related problems and eye diseases, test the visual acuity of patients, depth and color perception as well as the ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. These medical practitioners also prescribes eyeglasses as well as contact lenses to patients and also offers low-vision rehabilitation and vision therapy. There are quite a lot of duties that these medical practitioners performs. It is their duty to analyze test results and also formulate a treatment plan for the patient.

As an optometrist, you can administer drugs to your patients, to assist in the diagnosis of vision related problems and also carry out drug prescriptions to treat some eye related diseases as well. They also care for patients who have had some certain eye operations such as cataract, and those who have had laser vision correction or some other eye surgery. As an optometrist, the individual will also be trained on how to detect some health conditions caused by systemic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. In this case, they may refer patients to other medical professionals for further treatment.

Most of these medical professionals are in general practice. Some of them specialize in work that concerns elderly people, children or people that are partially sighted and requires specialized visual devices. Other optometrists work to develop and implement means through which workers whose job may result in some eye-related issues are well protected. Some of the medical personnel also specialize in contact lenses, and sports vision. In most cases, a few of them may also be involved in teaching optometry, and also conducting research.

There are also optometrists who are private practitioners. They handle the business aspect of running an office, which involves developing patient base, hiring staffs, maintaining paper as well as electronic records.

What Degree is required to become an Optometrist

Prospective students, planning to become an optometrist would first and foremost need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Students specifically need to complete courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and biology. To enhance their interest and skills, prospects can also get involved in relevant extracurricular activities while in school, such as pre-medical societies or the optometric organizations, if any exist. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree program, future eye doctors will still need to complete their doctoral program before they can be recognized as doctors of optometry. During this period, students will take courses like anatomy, physiology, as well as biochemistry. They will also be taught specialized instructions about the eye’s physical characteristics, general health as well as treatment of some diseases and ailment relating to the eyes.

Is there any requirement for Certification or License?

All state requires optometrists to be licensed, in order to start working legally. To get a license, prospective optometrist needs to show prove that they have graduated from an accredited optometry school, with a doctor of optometry degree. Students must also need to pass a state as well as a national exam. This examination includes both written and clinical aspects to really prove that they not only know the appropriate information but rather, they can accurately perform procedures. Prospects, after getting their licenses are mandated to obtain credits, by undertaking continuing education courses, for license renewal which occurs every one to three years.

How long does it take to become Optometrist

To become an optometrists, students will need to spend 8 years studying. It also depends on how fast the individual is able to work; students might even graduate sooner than expected if he or she takes an additional credit hours or better still, completes some coursework during summer. It takes 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree.After obtaining the bachelor’s degree, students also need to spend an additional 4 years in an optometry program. This program will result in a Doctor of Optometry degree. 

Optometrist Job Location and Prospects

A small number of optometrists work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, as well as retail stores. A lot of them also work in stand-alone offices of optometry. The world of eyes and vision is amazing. People that are working within it, generally enjoys interesting and rewarding careers. There are numerous opportunities within this profession. If you possess the right skills, you can work all over the world and one day, you could be managing your own business or department.

  • Job Prospects

This medical profession is very promising. Employment of optometrist is expected to grow 24 % from now till the year 2022. It is projected to grow much faster than the average for all other occupation. However, because is just a small occupation, the growth will result in a few thousand new jobs in about 10 years period.  An aging population will need more optometrists due to the fact that vision related problems, tends to occur more frequently later in life as one grows older.As they grow older, they become more susceptible to conditions that impairs vision, like cataracts and macular generation. Optometrist salary is also very promising compared to other healthcare professions.

From statistics, you will discover that the number of persons with chronic diseases, like diabetes, has grown so large in recent years. Diabetes have also been associated with an increase in the rate at which several eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy occurs. This is a condition that is known to affect the blood vessels in the eyes and may lead to vision loss. With this development, there will be need for more optometrists who will monitor, treat and also refer individuals with these chronic conditions.

In addition, the increase in the number of insurance plans, which includes Medicare and Medicaid, offers some insurance coverage for vision or eye care. Also, the number of persons, particularly children who have eye or vision care insurance will definitely appreciate, due to the federal health insurance reform legislation. There would be need for more optometrists, in order to provide services to more patients.