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Optometrist Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

An Optometrist, or Doctor of Optometry, is a primary care provider for their patients’ eye health. Their duties include conducting eye examinations and testing to determine the health of their patients’ eyes and prescribing treatment to maintain, improve, and correct vision issues and eye disorders.

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Optometrist duties and responsibilities

As a primary care provider for eye health, an Optometrist has many varied duties and responsibilities. Some of these may include:

  • Prescribing and fitting eyeglasses and contact lenses for the treatment of vision correction
  • Prescribing treatment for ocular disorders and provide follow up care
  • Prescribing from a list of approved medications to assist in the treatment of ocular disorders and diseases, such as inflammation, allergies, or irritation
  • Counselling patients on visual hygiene and preventative ocular care
  • Referring patients to ophthalmologists or other medical specialists as necessary
  • Providing ongoing maintenance care before and after cataract or refractive surgery
  • Monitoring of glaucoma, macular degeneration or other systemic issues in conjunction with medical physicians
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Optometrist Job Description Examples:

What does an Optometrist do?

An Optometrist is an integral part of overall patient care specializing in eye health. They will typically examine and test a patient’s eyes to look for vision issues and ocular disorders or diseases.

Usually, an Optometrist will work within private practice, a clinic, or a community healthcare center. Their duties and responsibilities may change in each work environment. For example, working within a clinic may require an Optometrist to conduct post-surgical follow up and care for a patient who received cataract removal.

In addition to their typical duties, they may also specialize in a particular area. For example, an Optometrist may specialize in fitting visual aids for patients who are vision impaired. They may specialize in contact lens fitting. Or they may specialize in correcting unique vision problems with children.

Optometrist skills and qualifications

A successful Optometrist needs to have diverse skills as they work directly with diverse patients. Keeping up to date on the latest advances in ocular care and disease prevention allows an Optometrist to excel within their role. Some other skills and qualifications include:

  • Skilled at using specialized instruments to gather diagnostic information
  • Ability to maintain detailed patient records
  • Strong communication skills, active listening, asking questions, and observation
  • Professionalism towards colleagues, patients, and other healthcare providers
  • Ability to remain respectful and empathetic towards a diverse population
  • Ability to maintain integrity and confidentiality within their practice

Optometrist experience requirements

Experience requirements for an Optometrist may vary depending on the work environment. However, all Optometrists should have a solid working knowledge of examination and testing process to determine eye health. As well, understanding the latest advances in treatment for various ocular diseases and disorders is vital. Experience working with a broad demographic and having empathy and a desire to help others is essential.

Optometrist education and training requirements

An Optometrist in Canada requires seven to eight years of post-secondary education. They must have three years of university undergraduate training in mathematics and science, followed by a four-year university program in optometry. Provincial and territorial licensing is also required to practice within each province or territory after completing the necessary education.

Optometrist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an Optometrist in Canada is $97,010 per year, depending on factors including experience, education, location and company.

Job description samples for similar positions

If an Optometrist is not quite what you’re looking for, more job description samples that may fit your needs include:

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Optometrist job description FAQs

What is the difference between an Optometrist, an Optician, and an Ophthalmologist?

Each of these professions provides eye care, but with varying degrees of specialization and care. The role and responsibilities of an Optometrist are detailed above.

An Optician will help a patient by selecting eyewear and then grinding or cutting the lenses required to correct their vision, based on the prescription written by an Optometrist. An Optician can also advise a patient on the care and usage of contact lenses and other visual aids.

An Ophthalmologist in Canada is considered a specialist medical doctor who requires a university medical degree and four to six years of specialty residency training. They can provide treatment and surgical options for eye-specific diseases and disorders.

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