Optometry is one of the top professions to have today. Being a cell and molecular biology major, I have the option of pursuing optometry as my future career. Many questions can be asked pertaining to the career, such as:
v What is a Doctor of Optometry and what do they do?
v Where do Doctors of Optometry work and what are the working conditions?
v What schooling/training do Doctors of Optometry need?
v Is there a demand for Doctors of Optometry?
In this paper, I will focus on these questions while exploring the expanding career of optometry. However, since I am an undergraduate, a majority of this paper will focus on the schooling/training aspect of optometry.
Of all Americans, the percent of people ages 18-29 that wear glasses or contacts is around 54%. Of Americans ages 49 and higher, 90% wear glasses or contacts. (Holladay 1) Who diagnoses and treats these patients? Optometrists. According to the American Optometric Association (2002), optometrists are doctors who "are independent, primary health care providers who examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. (p. 1)
Optometrists can prescribe glasses or contact lenses for general vision impairment as well as diagnose various eye diseases such as glaucoma. They can also prescribe medicine for the treatment of such diseases. Optometrists do not perform surgery, so they can refer patients to an ophthalmologist, who does this type of work. Usually, an optometrist will see the patients who must undergo surgery both before and after the surgery; they just cannot perform the surgery itself. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2002-03), optometrists also "use instruments and observation to examine eye health and to test patients' visual acuity, depth and color perception, and ability to focus and coordinate the eyes. (p. 1)