Optometrists play an important role in helping people maintain good eye health and prevent vision problems. Responsibilities are more than just fitting glasses. We examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions. For many people being able to see clearly is essential for their daily lives and Optometrists can make a real difference in improving their quality of life. New technologies have helped the profession to expand both the scope and efficiency of practice. Hence Optometry is a growing field and the demand for Optometrists is expected to increase in the coming years.
Optometrists work in a variety of different settings inc. private practices, hospitals and clinics. You can also specialise in different areas e.g., paediatrics, low vision, contact lenses to name a few. Salaries are dependent on clinical setting and experience.
A career in Optometry can be brilliant if you’re an ambitious individual who loves to help others whilst developing yourself and honing your skills. It can be highly challenging yet very rewarding. Due to the public nature of Optometry, you’ll be interacting with and advising an array of different people, from the young to the elderly. You’ll be able to alert patients about potentially life-threatening issues whilst using your knowledge to improve eye care and health.
If you are interested in becoming an Optometrist, you need to apply for an Optometry degree which is usually a 3 year course. There are some universities that are incorporating the masters into the degree making it a four year course. The entry requirements for university tend to be AAB, with 2 of the subjects being science based. After the completion of the approved course you need a further 12 months of training, this is called the pre-registration year. This is a year of assessed clinical training in practice. Once you pass the final assessments you become fully qualified and can register as an Optometrist with the General Optical Council. The learning doesn’t stop there though! To maintain your professional status you need to continue with continued professional development approved by the General Optical Council. There are also higher qualifications so that you can work in specialised areas.