Vision is one of our most valuable senses. As an optometrist, you will make a profound and lasting impact on the lives of your patients. Doctors of optometry do more than care for a person’s eyes—they improve a person’s quality of life.
What Optometrists Do
Optometrists play a vital role in eye care. They are health care professionals licensed by the state to:
- Serve as an integral part of the interdisciplinary primary health care team
- Perform comprehensive eye exams
- Detect and manage eye diseases and disorders of the visual system
- Prescribe vision therapy and rehabilitation for conditions affecting the eye, such as eye-movement or eye-tracking problems
- Prescribe and provide glasses and contact lenses
- And much more…
Our alumni report that helping people see better — whether it is by detecting and successfully treating serious eye diseases or correcting vision with glasses or contacts — is among the most rewarding experience of their lives. The flexibility to work either full-time or part-time allows optometrists to achieve a work-life balance that is rarely matched in other professional careers.
Optometrists have a variety of career paths. Many choose to join an established practice, or start their own. There are also opportunities to join hospitals, the military, VA medical centers and other health care providers. Some get involved with research—exploring new treatments and cures for eye diseases and other ailments. Others join the faculty at optometry schools; training the next generation of optometrists.
Demand for Optometrists
Demand for optometrists is high and continues to grow. According to the United States Department of Labor, there are currently 40,200 optometry jobs in the U.S., with demand projected to grow 18% over the next eight years.
Optometrists earn competitive salaries. The information in the graph below represents average salaries for three different types of optometry jobs: 1) Private practice owners; 2) ODs working in corporate settings (Costco, Lenscrafters, etc.); and 3) ODs working as employees in a private practice.