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A degree in optometry prepares individuals for a career in eye care. A program in optometry will educate individuals in multiple sciences, and teach them to use those sciences to identify problems within the eye and assist in their remedy. Individuals must obtain a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) in order to function as an optometrist. Entry into an O.D. program requires a decent score on the Optometry Admissions Examination (O.A.T.) and at least three years of post-secondary education. Most students will complete a bachelor's degree prior to applying to an optometry school. Obtaining a doctor of optometry typically requires four years of study.
A curriculum in Optometry may include:
- Ocular Biology
- Clinical Science
- Ocular Disease
- Ocular Pharmacology
A career in optometry requires individuals to gauge the strength of their patients' vision, provide care, and check for ocular diseases that may occur. For some, a career can result in specialization, providing eye care for a particular group, such as patients with low vision, post-operative care, or children. Optometrists may also pursue careers in research and development. Most optometrists own their own practice, while others may find employment with large businesses or in treatment centers.
All states require optometrists to be licensed, which involves passing marks on the National Boards in Optometry and a doctor of optometry degree. Some states may issue an additional examination, and many states will require continuing education courses in order to maintain their license.
Job growth in optometry is expected to increase very rapidly compared to other jobs, but will have only a small number of new jobs due to the low number of optometrists in general. The demand for optometrists is expected to increase due to an aging population of baby boomers. The average salary for optometrists is approximately $95,000 per year.
Individuals interested in optometry may also wish to consider ophthalmology technician or dispensing optician.