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Optometrist

   

Optometrists, known as Doctors of Optometry, examine and treat disease and disorders of the visual system and eye in order to improve visual performance and efficiency. They test, diagnose, and treat patients with visual pathology or ocular-related diseases, as well as provide pre- and post-operative care to patients undergoing cataract and other eye surgeries. Optometrists examine each patient’s vision system for proper depth and color perception, analyze their ability to focus and coordinate eye movement, and measure their peripheral vision. They are also able to prescribe and dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses, as well as prescribe medications to treat diseases of the eye and related structures.

Optometrists may specialize in certain areas of eye care such as geriatric optometry, pediatric optometry, and primary care optometry. Some specialize in low-vision rehabilitation in which they help the partially sighted with microscopic or telescopic lenses. Others, however, become specialists by earning master’s or doctoral degrees in such programs as physiological optics, neurophysiology, public health administration, or health education. Optometrists must be able to work well with people and be able to understand a patient’s needs. Individuals interested in this profession should be self-disciplined and motivated, as well as have good vision and coordination.

 
Work Environment:

 

Most Optometrists are self employed in a private practice, and therefore need to understand how to operate a business. Some may work in group practices, hospitals, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), retail stores, universities, or research laboratories.


High School Preparation:

 

Students interested in becoming an optometrist should take high school courses in algebra, chemistry, calculus, geometry, biology, physics, literature, computer skills, English, and health occupations/medical professions education.


College Requirements:

 

Individuals interested in optometry must first complete either 90 semester credits of college, or a bachelor’s degree in a science related field. They must then take the Optometry College Admission Test (OCAT) and apply to a school of optometry. Upon completion of a 4-year program at an accredited optometry school, individuals must pass written and clinical state board examinations to become licensed. Licenses must be renewed every few years by completing continuing education credits.

 

Students interested in optometry should contact schools for information on admission and course of study.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

 

Employment opportunities for optometrists are expected to grow between 10% - 20% over the next decade. This expansion is due to the expanding eye care needs of a growing and aging population. As the baby boom generation becomes older, they will be more likely to visit optometrists and ophthalmologists because of vision problems that start occurring around middle age. Employment will also grow due to the increasing importance that is being placed on proper vision care. New advancements in surgical procedures using lasers will also create a demand for newly trained optometrists.
 

 

Salary:

 

Average Annual Salary

$86,400

 

Salary Range

$73,800-$108,400

 

Professional Organizations:

 

American Optometric Association

243 N. Lindberg Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63141

Phone: (314) 991-4100

Fax: (314) 991-4101

www.aoanet.org

 

Association of Schools and Colleges

of Optometry

6110 Executive Blvd., Suite 510

Rockville, MD

20852-3903

Phone: (301) 770-1828

Fax: (301) 770-1828

www.opted.org

 

Mississippi Optometric Association

5420 I-55 North,

Suite D&E

Jackson, MS 39211

Phone: (601) 956-7412

Fax: (601) 956-7468

www.msoptom.org

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