Optometrist

Ophthalmic optician

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Optometrists test vision, identify eye health problems, prescribe glasses and fit contact lenses.

Salary range: £26,000 to £61,000

How to become an optometrist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role

University

You’ll need to get a degree in optometry, approved by the General Optical Council (GOC).

You’ll also complete a one-year pre-registration paid and supervised work placement, with a registered optometrist, and pass the GOC final assessment to qualify.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science

More information

Work

If you’re working as a dispensing optician, you could retrain in optometry.

You’ll need to complete an approved optometry degree and pre-registration year.

Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting before you apply for a course.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

More information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about working in optometry from:

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of biology
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • using a range of precision instruments
  • using vision measuring and testing tools
  • diagnosing and giving advice
  • prescribing, fitting and supplying glasses or contact lenses
  • discuss the suitability and shape of glasses frames
  • referring clients to specialists or ophthalmologists (eye surgeons)

Working environment

You could work at a store, in an NHS or private hospital, at a GP practice or in a laboratory.

Career path and progression

You could specialise in an area like paediatrics (working with children), contact lenses, sports vision or low vision.

You could study for an MSc in optometry or train further in contact lens practice, therapeutics (prescribing drugs for certain eye problems) or specific conditions like diabetes and glaucoma.

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