In Summary - Optometrist
The Work - Optometrist
Optometrists (formerly known as ophthalmic opticians) work in three main areas - private practice, hospitals and lens manufacture. By far the largest number work in private practice where they examine patients' eyes by running a series of tests in a logical order. Using observation and questions, the optometrist can learn about the general health of the eyes.
At an early stage, the amount the patient can read with each unaided eye is established. The optometrist then examines the eye tissues from a variety of directions, using instruments that shine light into the patient's eye and magnify various features, such as the cornea and retina. If a serious abnormality or disease is detected, further tests can be done and a full report is sent to the patient's doctor.
At a later stage in the examination, the optometrist places combinations of lenses in front of one or both eyes, to check how well the eye focuses. This will also detect any errors in colour vision and binocular vision. If a vision problem is diagnosed, the optometrist works out a prescription to correct it.
In some practices, particularly small ones, the optometrist will go on to supply and fit spectacles and test the accuracy of the lenses. In larger practices, a dispensing optician will assist the optometrist. Experienced optometrists may specialise in prescribing contact lenses or in correcting the visual problems of young children.
Glass or lens manufacturers employ optometrists to research into lens theory and design, optical instrumentation and optical design. Much of the work is laboratory based and there is little contact with patients.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Examine eyes, using observation, instruments and pharmaceutical agents, to determine visual acuity and perception, focus and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities such as glaucoma or color blindness.
- Prescribe medications to treat eye diseases if state laws permit.
- Prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses and other vision aids.
- Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan.
- Educate and counsel patients on contact lens care, visual hygiene, lighting arrangements and safety factors.
- Remove foreign bodies from the eye.
- Consult with and refer patients to ophthalmologist or other health care practitioner if additional medical treatment is determined necessary.
- Provide patients undergoing eye surgeries, such as cataract and laser vision correction, with pre- and post-operative care.
- Prescribe therapeutic procedures to correct or conserve vision.
- Provide vision therapy and low vision rehabilitation.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Interests - Optometrist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Optometrists need to relate well to patients and have good communication skills. You will need tact, understanding and the ability to inspire confidence in others. Good judgement, accurate powers of observation and a logical, methodical approach to your work are also necessary.
Entry Requirements - Optometrist
To work as an Optometrist in Ireland, you must successfully complete a four-year BSc in Optometry, and pass the professional qualifying exams. There is only one optometry course in Ireland which is in the Dublin Institute of Technology. See DT224
The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) is the professional representative body for the vast majority of practising optometrists in Ireland. Graduates who pass the exams of the AOI, may, if elected to Membership, be awarded the Fellowship of the Association of Optometrists, Ireland (FAOI).
Last Updated: August, 2015
Pay & Salary - Optometrist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 33k - 56k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.