At a Glance
Years in School (after high school graduation):
$51.92-$* (Mean $86.93)
*Indicates wage exceeds $100 or no data available
One-page Description (PDF):
Optometrists are independent, primary health care providers who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. Optometrists are an integral part of the health care team and refer to, and co-manage with, other ophthalmic and systemic health care disciplines when necessary to benefit the patient.
Optometrists assess a patient’s eye health and visual system. The visual system can be treated by prescribing contact lenses, eye glasses, optical aids, or vision therapy. The goal of treatment is to preserve vision or restore decreased vision to the maximum ability possible. The practitioner spends 50% or more of his/her time assessing the external and internal health of the eyes and prescribing pharmaceutical agents when necessary to control disease. In addition, they routinely treat eye diseases and perform minor surgical procedures.
The professional opportunities within the optometric field across the country are numerous. They include private practice, educators, researchers, and employees. Most optometrists have general practices that are set up independently or in partnership with other optometric physicians or ophthalmologists. Some specialize in areas such as pediatrics (children), geriatrics (elderly), contact lenses, care of people with extremely low vision, strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), glaucoma, corneal disease, dry eye, conjunctival disease, and lid disorders. In rural Alaska, most employment opportunities are located in the regional hospitals or clinics, although optometric physicians do a great deal of fieldwork in the villages.
- Graduation from high school with coursework in math, science, and English.
- A minimum of four years of college, preferably with a strong academic record in biology, chemistry, and math. The curriculum is a pre-med major.
- Completion of four years of optometry school, receipt of the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, and passing scores on the National Board of Examiners Test in Optometry and the state examination.
There are no Optometry schools in Alaska. For contact information and links to optometry schools in the United States, visit the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry’s web site: http://www.opted.org/
American Optometric Association
243 North Lindbergh Blvd., First Floor
St. Louis, MO 63141
Toll free: (800) 365-2219
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