Health Guide USA
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Optometrists | What Do They Do?

Optometrists typically do the following:

  • Perform vision tests to check for sight problems, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Check for eye diseases, such as glaucoma
  • Prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, and medications
  • Provide other treatments, such as vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation
  • Provide pre- and postoperative care to patients undergoing eye surgery—for example, examining a patient’s eyes the day after surgery
  • Promote eye health by counseling patients, including explaining how to clean and wear contact lenses

Some optometrists spend much of their time providing specialized care, particularly if they are working in a group practice with other optometrists or doctors. For example, some optometrists mostly treat patients with only partial or no sight, a condition known as low vision. Others may focus on pre- or postoperative care if they work in a facility that does many eye surgeries. Optometrists may also teach or do research in optometry colleges or work as consultants in the eye care industry. Those who teach are classified as postsecondary school teachers.

Many optometrists own their practice and may spend more time on general business activities such as hiring employees and ordering supplies. Optometrists should not be confused with ophthalmologists and with dispensing opticians. Ophthalmologists are physicians who perform eye surgery and treat eye disease in addition to examining eyes and prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. Dispensing opticians fit and adjust eyeglasses and in some states fill contact lens prescriptions that an optometrist or ophthalmologist has written. For more information, see the profile on dispensing opticians.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

for State specific information, visit  JOB OUTLOOK BY STATE

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