Optometrists Job Description video

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Optometrists help people see better. They examine eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases, and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optometrists are not physicians, but they do have extensive training. All states and the District of Columbia license optometrists, who are required to have a doctor of optometry degree from an accredited optometry school—which usually means a four year program after three years of undergraduate work. Then, the optometrist must pass a written and clinical state board examination. Optometrists can work in outpatient clinics, retail optical stores, or have their own practice. They use instruments and observation to determine eye health, and test visual acuity, depth and color perception, and the ability to focus and coordinate eyes. Then, they analyze these test results and develop a treatment plan. That plan can then be given to a dispensing optician to fit and adjust eyeglasses or contact lenses. Or, the optometrist might refer the patient to an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who can perform surgery. As there are ongoing developments in eye care, optometrist licenses must be renewed every one to three years—and continuing education credits are required. Though some optometrists do research, the majority work with patients—so communication skills and a pleasant manner are also part of the prescription for a healthy career.

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