Healthcare & Medical

Optometrist

Optometrists examine patients' eyes and vision, diagnose and treat issues and diseases of the eye, and prescribe glasses and contact lenses.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an Optometrist do?

Optometrists examine patients' eyes and vision, diagnose and treat issues and diseases of the eye, and prescribe glasses and contact lenses.

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Work activities

As an optometrist you would:

  • use charts and specialist instruments to check clients' vision
  • take a medical history
  • test for eye diseases, hereditary issues or vision defects
  • be aware of signs and symptoms of other general health conditions, such as diabetes
  • advise and reassure patients about visions issues
  • prescribe and fit contact lenses and glasses
  • prescribe medications to treat infections or other eye diseases
  • show clients how to put in and remove contact lenses
  • offering help and advice for patients choosing glasses frames
  • refer patients to medical practitioners when necessary.
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Key skills and interests

To become an optometrist, you would need:

  • an interest in science and anatomy
  • good concentration
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to use complex equipment
  • good communication and customer service skills
  • a calm demeanour
  • able to put patients at ease
  • practical skills and manual dexterity.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As an optometrist you would work a standard number of hours per week, which may include evenings or weekends work. Part-time work is also available.

Conditions

You would be based in a consulting room, either in private practice, in a retail store, hospital or healthcare facility. You may be required to travel to clients in places such as aged care facilities or local community clinics.

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How to become an Optometrist?

Entry Level Education

To become an optometrist you usually need to complete a Bachelor's degree in optometry or vision science. It is also possible to complete a combined degree in vision science with a major in optometry.

To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

You can also become an optometrist by completing a relevant undergraduate degree such as biomedicine or science, followed by a post-graduate qualification in optometry.

To practise as an optometrist, you must meet the requirements for registration with the Optometry Board of Australia.

www.optometryboard.gov.au

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of optometrists is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.

Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, an ageing population will lead to greater employment opportunities for optometrists. The frequent use of computers and hand-held technology devices is also leading to more vision problems in younger people.

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