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Vision Care

Optometrist

Career data updated last on 10/15/2014
Optometrist Optometrists, also known as doctors of optometry, or ODs, provide most primary vision care. They examine people’s eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases, and they test patients’ visual acuity, depth and color perception, and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses and provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation. Optometrists analyze test results and develop a treatment plan. They administer drugs to patients to aid in the diagnosis of vision problems and prescribe drugs to treat some eye diseases. Optometrists often provide preoperative and postoperative care to cataract patients, as well as patients who have had laser vision correction or other eye surgery. They also diagnose conditions due to systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, referring patients to other health practitioners as needed.
Salary $42.89/hr - $89,210 annually
Significant Points Admission to optometry school is competitive. Licensed optometrists must earn a Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited optometry school and pass a written and a clinical State board examination.
Specializations
Work Environment Most full-time optometrists work about 40 hours a week. Many work weekends and evenings to suit the needs of patients. Emergency calls, once uncommon, have increased with the passage of therapeutic-drug laws expanding optometrists’ ability to prescribe medications. Salaried jobs for optometrists are primarily in offices of other health practitioners, including optometrists; offices of physicians, including ophthalmologists; or health and personal care stores, including optical goods stores. A small number of salaried jobs for optometrists are in hospitals; the Federal government; or outpatient care centers, including health maintenance organizations. Almost a third of optometrists are self-employed.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including one biological science, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements

All states and the District of Columbia require that optometrists be licensed. Applicants for a license must have a Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited optometry school and pass both a written and a clinical State board examination. In many States, applicants can substitute the examinations of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry, usually taken during the student’s academic career, for part or all of the written examination. Licenses are renewed every 1 to 3 years, and, in all States, continuing education credits are needed for renewal.

The Doctor of Optometry degree requires the completion of a 4-year program at an accredited optometry school, preceded by at least 3 years of preoptometric study at an accredited college or university. Most optometry students hold a bachelor’s or higher degree. Seventeen U.S. schools and colleges of optometry hold an accredited status with the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association.

Schools/Organizations

There are currently no schools in Colorado that offer training or a degree. We suggest you look in the Organization listing, often the associated professional organization list schools where a degree or training can be found.

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