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Life As an Optometrist

Career Description Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. Examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. May prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.

Life As an Optometrist

  • Prescribe medications to treat eye diseases if state laws permit.
  • Provide patients undergoing eye surgeries, such as cataract and laser vision correction, with pre- and post-operative care.
  • Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan.
  • Provide vision therapy and low vision rehabilitation.
  • Consult with and refer patients to ophthalmologist or other health care practitioner if additional medical treatment is determined necessary.
  • Remove foreign bodies from the eye.

What Every Optometrist Should Know

These are the skills Optometrists say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Types of Optometrist Jobs

  • Chief, Optometry Service
  • Optometrist/Practice Owner
  • Eye Clinic Manager
  • Optometrist, President/Practice Owner
  • Optometrist

Job Demand for Optometrists

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 40,200 jobs in the United States for Optometrist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 17.9% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 7,200 new jobs for Optometrist by 2026. There will be an estimated 2,000 positions for Optometrist per year.


The states with the most job growth for Optometrist are Utah, Colorado, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, Rhode Island, or Mississippi. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Optometrists Make A Lot Of Money?

The typical yearly salary for Optometrists is somewhere between $57,480 and $188,160.


Optometrists who work in North Dakota, Vermont, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Optometrists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $114,070
Alaska $165,640
Arizona $124,920
Arkansas $95,500
California $117,180
Colorado $132,030
Connecticut $138,140
Delaware $116,210
District of Columbia $90,140
Florida $102,060
Georgia $104,970
Hawaii $117,310
Idaho $96,070
Illinois $121,610
Indiana $113,880
Iowa $130,160
Kansas $117,840
Kentucky $114,550
Louisiana $104,360
Maine $136,510
Maryland $129,000
Massachusetts $141,890
Michigan $112,440
Minnesota $134,270
Mississippi $133,370
Missouri $114,110
Montana $110,370
Nebraska $104,010
Nevada $127,940
New Hampshire $131,180
New Jersey $114,630
New Mexico $86,870
New York $124,820
North Carolina $136,260
North Dakota $175,090
Ohio $132,400
Oklahoma $109,300
Oregon $99,560
Pennsylvania $119,820
Rhode Island $104,320
South Carolina $142,290
South Dakota $96,540
Tennessee $115,960
Texas $123,930
Utah $74,490
Vermont $170,550
Virginia $129,010
Washington $119,860
West Virginia $118,270
Wisconsin $122,310
Wyoming $135,220

What Tools & Technology do Optometrists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Optometrists:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Scheduling software
  • First Insight MaximEyes
  • HealthLine Systems Eyecom
  • Insight Software My Vision Express
  • OfficeMate Software Solutions OfficeMate

How to Become an Optometrist

What education or degrees do I need to become an Optometrist?


What work experience do I need to become an Optometrist?


Where do Optometrists Work?


Optometrists work in the following industries:


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming an Optometrist might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: via Creative Commons CC0

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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