Optometrist Job Description

One of the eye care professions is an optometrist, who manages vision problems and other issues related to the eyes.

white eye testing machine

Optometrists are not just prescription eyeglasses dispensers. They provide general eye examinations for adults and children looking to optimize their vision. After personally assessing a patient's eyes and making recommendations, optometrists can also make or adjust eyeglasses to ensure they fit properly.


The main job of an optometrist is to examine patients' eyes and then prescribe corrective lenses for them to wear. Optometrists are trained professionals who have gone through a rigorous educational program, which takes at least five years to complete after obtaining a four-year undergraduate degree. Once they receive their license from the state in which they are practicing, optometrists can perform vision screening tests on children and adults, detect eye problems, and prescribe corrective lenses or medication to help treat the patients.


Optometrists work in a number of different settings, including hospitals, doctors' offices, retailers and schools. In addition to the education requirements for licensure as an optometrist, most states require a certain amount of on-the-job training. Optometrists can choose to specialize in areas such as contact lenses, geriatrics or pediatrics.


Optometrists use a variety of instruments and tools to conduct the exam. These may include a retinoscope, slit lamp, lensmeter or keratometer. The patients' eyes will be examined for abnormalities like scratches, tumors, inflammation or foreign bodies. A comprehensive eye exam includes several different tests and measurements as well as dilation of the pupils.


Optometrists have a duty to examine newborns before they leave hospital. Specialized examination equipment is used in this process, such as an ophthalmoscope and retinoscope. Using their training and expertise, the optometrist can check that the baby's eyes are healthy and detect any problems with refracting light and focusing.

Statistics on Optometrists


  • In 2010, it was estimated that India needs 115,000 optometrists; whereas India has approximately 9,000 optometrists (4-year trained) and 40,000 optometric assistants/vision technicians (2-year trained). (en.wikipedia.org)
  • Employment of optometrists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. (bls.gov)
  • The largest employers of optometrists were as follows: Offices of optometrists 51% Offices of physicians 15%. (bls.gov)
  • The lowest 10 percent earned less than $60,750, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $195,810. (bls.gov)

Articles On Optometrists


Eye Doctors: Optometrists and Ophthalmologists

WebMD provides an overview of eye care professionals - ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians. (webmd.com)


Difference between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist and Optician - American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (aapos.org)


Optometry - Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)


Optometrists: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Optometrists diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and other disorders of the eyes. (bls.gov)



Optometrists meet with patients and perform different tests to determine common eyesight issues, such as near- or farsightedness, for... (money.usnews.com)


Optometrists (onetonline.org)


What Is the Difference Between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?

Learn the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist, the conditions they treat, their specialties, and how to choose the right doctor. (verywellhealth.com)


Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: Choosing Your Eye Care Provider 

Optometrist vs. ophthalmologist: Either can help with your eye health. We help clarify which eye care provider you need. (healthline.com)



Doctors of Optometry (ODs), commonly known as optometrists, are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye. (explorehealthcareers.org)


Optometrists at My Next Move (mynextmove.org)


The American Optometric Association 

The American Optometric Association (AOA) is the leading professional organization for doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric staff, offering advocacy, professional development and practice management tools. (aoa.org)

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