Optometrist

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Optometrists perform eye examinations to determine the presence of vision problems and other eye conditions and diseases. They treat or manage these problems by prescribing glasses, Future Growth Strong contact lenses, optical aids, therapy or medication.

Optometrists examine and test clients' vision, diagnose problems with visual and optical problems, and prescribe spectacles, contact lenses and other optical aids. They perform vision tests to determine the necessity for glasses or spectacles and examine eyes for the presence of glaucoma, diabetes or high blood pressure. They test ocular health and visual function by assessing visual pathways, visual fields, eye movements, freedom of vision and intraocular pressure. They also advise patients on caring for their spectacles and contact lenses, visual ergonomics and provide vision care for the elderly.


ANZSCO description: Performs eye examinations and vision tests to determine the presence of visual, ocular and other abnormalities, ocular diseases and systemic diseases with ocular manifestations, and prescribes lenses, other optical aids, therapy and medication to correct and manage vision problems and eye diseases. Registration or licensing is required.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

An optometrist needs:

  • a desire to help people
  • a caring and compassionate nature
  • an understanding and comprehension of biology and physiology
  • strong communication skills
  • the technical skill to operate a variety of optometry equipment
  • the ability to perform detailed and precise work

Duties and Tasks

Optometrists may perform the following tasks: Optometrist examing patient

  • work out the nature and extent of vision problems and abnormalities by examining patients' eyes using specialised instruments, techniques and tests
  • correct vision defects by prescribing and dispensing glasses or contact lenses, special optical aids or vision therapy
  • examine patients for signs of eye and systemic conditions, including glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis, and work with medical practitioners to co-manage patients when required
  • manage some eye conditions by prescribing therapeutic drugs
  • monitor patients' vision and ocular health with the use of digital photography and computerised vision tests
  • conduct eye screenings for the purposes of determining occupational fitness or fitness to drive
  • undertake managerial, retail and administrative tasks.

Working conditions

Optometrists work predominantly in public or private clinics, consulting rooms or in private businesses. They require a clean, well-lit environment, but may do some of their work in darkened conditions. They require a sterile work environment to prevent the incidence or spread of infection. Some optometrists may work across several different branches, whilst others may visit workplaces to carry out industrial vision screening. Optometrists usually work in towns and cities but may also work in remote locations, when required, in regional areas of Western Australia.

Tools and technologies

Optometrists work mainly with equipment designed to test and examine vision and the general health of the eyes. They use diagnostic equipment such as ophthalmoscopes, retinoscopes and transilluminators. They may also use optical refractors and testing devices such as the Snellen chart, which is used for visual acuity testing.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified optometrist, you need to complete a degree in optometry or vision science, followed by a related master's degree.

Graduates must be registered with the Optometry Board of Australia to practice in any state or territory in Australia.




Did You Know?

When choosing a career, people often consider the cost and duration of the training, whether it will involve personal sacrifice such as living away from family and friends, and future job prospects.

They rarely think about vision as being a major factor in career choice, yet it can be critical.

Optometrists play an important part in helping people meet minimum occupational vision requirements. Optometrists examine all aspects of your vision to determine whether you would pass a qualifying test.

For safety reasons, occupational visual standards are required for a host of jobs such as crane operators, public transport drivers, state and federal police forces, fire brigades, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, ambulance services, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Marine Boards of each state and territory.

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Colour vision deficiency - the inability to accurately distinguish colours - may also rule out some careers. Matching colours could be a problem for painters, printers and graphic designers. Choosing complementary shades could be tricky for a fashion designer or florist.

Ishihara Test
Ishihara Test for Colour Blindness

Colour vision standards are also essential for safety reasons for aircraft and ship's pilots and air traffic controllers. Even sales assistants may need good colour vision in clothing, furnishing or cosmetics stores. A colour deficient chef could prepare a most unappetising meal if s/he was unable to distinguish red from green.

Fire departments Australia-wide will not permit spectacles to be worn in conjunction with the breathing apparatus they use, so spectacle wearers cannot take an active fire-fighting role, although other duties are available. Contact lenses are not acceptable in any position in fire departments as they react adversely to smoke and gas and can cause damage to the eye.

Even if you are shortsighted or longsighted, there is still a place for you in Australia's defence forces, but you may not qualify for some jobs. People who do not have perfect eyesight can enter most professions, but there are a few exceptions.

We can correct most minor vision impairment with spectacles or contact lenses.

Reproduced with the permission of Optometrists Association Australia

When choosing a career, people often consider the cost and duration of the training, whether it will involve personal sacrifice such as living away from family and friends, and future job prospects.

They rarely think about vision as being a major factor in career choice, yet it can be critical.

Optometrists play an important part in helping people meet minimum occupational vision requirements. Optometrists examine all aspects of your vision to determine whether you would pass a qualifying test.

For safety reasons, occupational visual standards are required for a host of jobs such as crane operators, public transport drivers, state and federal police forces, fire brigades, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, ambulance services, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Marine Boards of each state and territory.

Colour vision deficiency - the inability to accurately distinguish colours - may also rule out some careers. Matching colours could be a problem for painters, printers and graphic designers. Choosing complementary shades could be tricky for a fashion designer or florist.

Colour vision standards are also essential for safety reasons for aircraft and ship's pilots and air traffic controllers. Even sales assistants may need good colour vision in clothing, furnishing or cosmetics stores. A colour deficient chef could prepare a most unappetising meal if s/he was unable to distinguish red from green.

Fire departments Australia-wide will not permit spectacles to be worn in conjunction with the breathing apparatus they use, so spectacle wearers cannot take an active fire-fighting role, although other duties are available. Contact lenses are not acceptable in any position in fire departments as they react adversely to smoke and gas and can cause damage to the eye.

Even if you are shortsighted or longsighted, there is still a place for you in Australia's defence forces, but you may not qualify for some jobs. People who do not have perfect eyesight can enter most professions, but there are a few exceptions.

We can correct most minor vision impairment with spectacles or contact lenses.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Optometrists Association Australia from "All about Eyes", Number 15


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Vet

Firefighter

Garbage Collector

Midwife

Paramedic

Teacher

Dentist

physio

Optometrist

Chaplain

Nurse

Child Care Worker

Social Worker

Real Estate Agent

Special Care Worker

Chiropractor

Medical Practitioner

Ophthalmologist

Audiologist

Podiatrist

Medical Imaging TechnologistSpeech Pathologist

Occupational Therapist

Natural Therapist

Prosthetist

SES Officer

Art Therapist

Dermatologist

Psychiatrist

Plastic or Reconstructive Surgeon

acupuncturist

Osteopath

Paediatrician

Neurologist

Indigenous Community Worker

Oncologist