Optometrist Job Description

Optometrist Job Description

Optometrist Job Description: 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 to patients who have had laser vision correction or other eye surgery. As part of the optometrist job description they diagnose conditions caused by systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, referring patients to other health practitioners as needed.

Working Conditions
Optometrists work in places—usually their own offices—that are clean, well lighted, and comfortable. Most full-time optometrists work about 35 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.

Training and Qualifications

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 pre-optometry study at an accredited college or university. Most optometry students hold a bachelor’s or higher degree.
Requirements for admission to schools of optometry include courses in English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. A few schools also require or recommend courses in psychology, history, sociology, speech, or business.

Licensing and Credentialing
All Canadian provinces and territories require that optometrists be licensed. Applicants for a license must have a Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited optometry school and must pass both a written examination and clinical board examination. Many provinces also require applicants to pass an examination on relevant laws. Licenses are renewed every 1 to 3 years and continuing education credits are needed for renewal.

Socialized Medicine
In Canada, Socialized Medicine makes sure that all Canadian citizens are assured medical care for themselves and their family under the Canadian health care system. This health care program provides Canadians preventative, as well as daily medical care from doctors. This ensures all Canadian citizens access to good medical and health care. Nearly all Canadian citizens, regardless of income or medical history qualify for this unique medical care.

Significant Points
Admission to optometry school is competitive.

To be licensed, optometrists must earn a Doctor of Optometry degree from an accredited optometry school and pass a written exam as well as a clinical examination.

An aging population in Canada will have an increased need for optometry services fueling growth in optometry jobs.

In 2004 legislation was passed that discontinued optical coverage and other healthcare not specifically named by the Canada Health Act. This had an impact on the earnings of optometrists. Private or employer health plans provide coverage for this benefit.

Over 75% of all Canadian optometrists are self-employed in private practice. Increases in income come primarily from seeing more clients or raising fees.