Optometrist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Optometrist, or Eye Doctor, is responsible for providing comprehensive vision care to patients so they can care for their eyes and access tools to support their eyesight. Their duties include conducting eye inspections, identifying signs of disease or injury and prescribing corrective lenses.

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Optometrist duties and responsibilities

Optometrists complete a variety of duties throughout the workday. A list of Optometrist duties may include:

  • Conduct routine eye exams for clients.
  • Maintain patient records.
  • Prescribe medications to treat ocular diseases and disorders.
  • Perform pre- and post-operation checks.
  • Check patients for signs of diseases and refer them to other specialists when needed.
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Optometrist Job Description Examples

What does an Optometrist do?

Optometrists can work at independent optometry offices, medical clinics and health stores to provide accessible diagnosis, treatment and referrals for vision-related issues. Their role is to inspect a patient’s eyes and perform a series of tests to identify issues with depth perception and clarity. They can provide basic treatments and vision therapy or refer patients to a medical doctor who specializes in eye care. Optometrists analyze test results to determine what kinds of corrective lenses, visual aids or other treatment measures will help their patient with issues like blurriness or headaches associated with sight issues.

Optometrist skills and qualifications

In order to complete the many duties required in an Optometrist position, an applicant should have many related skills. For an optometrist, you may want them to have skills and qualifications such as:

  • Proficiency with modern eye care techniques and equipment
  • Strong communication skills, including the ability to explain scientific information to patients
  • Ability to perform repetitive tasks while maintaining focus
  • Listening skills
  • Attention to detail

Optometrist salary expectations

An Optometrist makes an average of $124,473 per year. Exact may vary depending on factors like the applicant’s education, experience level and geographic location. The average amount of time an Optometrist stays in their position is one to three years. 

Optometrist education and training requirements

Generally, Optometrists should have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and a doctorate in optometry. They also must be licensed through the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and sometimes through the state, depending on where the Optometrist will be practicing. They need to complete continuing education to maintain their Optometrist’s license. Some Optometrists can take an exam with the American Board of Optometry to prove an in-depth understanding of their field and become board certified.

Optometrist experience requirements

The amount of experience required from a good applicant depends on the business or organization. If the position requires more knowledge and understanding of optometry, applicants could need a higher level of experience. You may ask that a qualified applicant will have undergone a residency program for a year before they are considered for the position. You might ask that they have a certain number of years’ experience on the job before applying to your business or organization. If the Optometrist will be in a supervisory position, you may want them to have experience leading a team.

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Frequently asked questions about Historians


What is the difference between an Optometrist and an Ophthalmologist?

Optometrists and Ophthalmologists both work with the care and treatment of the eyes, but Optometrists have a Doctor of Optometry while Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who attend medical school and specialize in eye care. Optometrists are often the first person someone sees to address eye issues, and they mostly work with basic vision and comfort issues. They are the primary care provider and have regular appointments to track the patient’s vision and monitor abnormalities. Ophthalmologists have more training and perform more in-depth procedures, including performing eye surgeries, but they can also prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contacts.


What are the daily duties of an Optometrist?

Optometrists begin appointments by asking the patient questions about their eyesight and any symptoms they experience. They ask about any pain, blurriness, itchiness or other vision issues before beginning the examination. Optometrists coach patients on where to look and when to open their eyes so that they can dilate their eyes and perform a retinal exam. They ask patients to interpret letters, numbers and images without an aid and then using different types of lenses. Optometrists diagnose eye conditions and consult on custom contacts for people with astigmatism or other abnormalities that impact the eye’s shape.


What are the characteristics of a good Optometrist?

Because they employ a series of tests to assess the correct prescription for their patients, Good Optometrists are logical and strategic. They use deductive reasoning to determine if a patient is nearsighted, farsighted or suffering from a disease or condition. Good Optometrists are great at solving problems and analyzing the possible causes of a patient’s discomfort or vision issues. They are friendly and communicate clearly with patients of all ages and needs, including children who are getting their first pair of glasses, people with severe vision loss and customers interested in custom lenses, prescription sunglasses, transition lenses or color contacts.


Who reports to an Optometrist?

Optometrists can oversee multiple people within an optometry practice, including Receptionists and Opticians. After an Optometrist determines the appropriate prescription, they direct the Optician to help customers find a pair of eyeglasses that fit. They process the prescriptions that the Optometrist writes and ensures that customers have the correct visual aids. They adjust eyeglass frames to comfortably fit each person’s head and apply lens treatments like anti-scratch or anti-reflective coatings. Opticians report any issues or defects to the Optometrist so they can run further tests or make adjustments to the prescription when necessary.

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