Medical

Optometrist

Optometrists test vision, identify eye health problems, prescribe glasses and fit contact lenses.

Annual Salary

£31,365 to £62,001

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

36 to 38 a week

You could work: evenings; on shifts

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

As part of your day-to-day duties, you could:

  • use a range of precision instruments
  • use vision measuring and testing tools
  • diagnose and give advice
  • prescribe, fit and supply glasses or contact lenses
  • discuss the suitability and shape of glasses frames
  • refer clients to specialists or ophthalmologists (eye surgeons)

Working environment

You could work at a store, in an NHS or private hospital, at a GP practice or in a laboratory.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
University

You'll need to get a degree in optometry, approved by the [General Optical Council | https://www.optical.org/en/Education/What_to_study_and_where/index.cfm] (GOC).

You'll also complete a one-year pre-registration paid and supervised work placement, with a registered optometrist, and pass the GOC final assessment to qualify.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science
For more information
Work

If you're working as a dispensing optician, you could retrain in optometry.

You'll need to complete an approved optometry degree and pre-registration year.

Volunteering and work experience

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in a healthcare setting before you apply for a course.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about working in optometry from:The College of Optometrists; General Optical Council; Health Careers

You could specialise in an area like paediatrics (working with children), contact lenses, sports vision or low vision.

You could study for an MSc in optometry or train further in contact lens practice, therapeutics (prescribing drugs for certain eye problems) or specific conditions like diabetes and glaucoma.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of biology
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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