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Career Profile: Optometrists

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 43,300 people employed as optometrists in the United States. The median annual salary is $118,100. Entry level employees earn approximately $60,750 per year and senior employees earn approximately $195,810 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Examine eyes, using observation, instruments, and pharmaceutical agents, to determine visual acuity and perception, focus, and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities, such as glaucoma or color blindness.
  • Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan.
  • Prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision aids.
  • Prescribe medications to treat eye diseases if state laws permit.
  • Educate and counsel patients on contact lens care, visual hygiene, lighting arrangements, and safety factors.
  • Remove foreign bodies from the eye.
  • Provide patients undergoing eye surgeries, such as cataract and laser vision correction, with pre- and post-operative care.
  • Consult with and refer patients to ophthalmologist or other health care practitioner if additional medical treatment is determined necessary.
  • Prescribe therapeutic procedures to correct or conserve vision.
  • Provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
43,300
Annual Openings:
1,700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
9%
Annual Salary Range:
$60,750 - $195,810
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher