what is an optometrist?

An optometrist is a healthcare professional who specialises in diagnosing and treating issues and conditions related to the human eye. In this role, you are trained to examine your customers' eyes and vision, as well as to diagnose and manage conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

You may choose to become certified in a subspecialty of optometry, such as paediatrics, low vision, or contact lenses. Regardless of whether you specialise, your duties include performing comprehensive eye examinations, prescribing contact and corrective lenses, and diagnosing various eye conditions. You also occasionally collaborate with other healthcare professionals if it is in the patient's best interests. These professionals include ophthalmologists who specialise in diagnosis.

As an optometrist, you work in various settings, from private practices to clinics, and even retail optician chains. In addition to your specialist training, you use excellent interpersonal and communication skills to ensure your customers' comfort and ease. Strong attention to detail is necessary for this line of work, as the health and well-being of your customers can otherwise be put at risk.

Would working as an optometrist suit your compassionate nature and attention to detail? Keep reading to find out what qualifications and competencies you need to find success in this career.

optometrist roles available

average salary of an optometrist

According to Payscale, the average annual salary of an optometrist in India is around ₹312,054 per year. This figure includes factors like commission, bonuses, and profit-sharing. The full range of salaries for this role starts at around ₹146,000 for entry-level positions and goes up to roughly ₹624,000 for the highest earners in the field. Optical shops in India are run like regular businesses, so the potential to own or part-own your own business is there.

factors that affect optometrist's pay

As an optometrist, your salary can depend on many factors. As you might expect, your level of experience will play a role, with more experience often leading to a higher salary. Qualifications can also affect earnings, but not as much as other jobs. Most optometrists in India have completed a bachelor's degree in Optometry. After that, additional qualifications provide a diminishing return in terms of salary.

An exception to that rule is specialities. If you decide to specialise in a particular area of optometry—which requires additional education and training—you put yourself in a position to earn a higher salary. Clinical experience can also help you command higher pay, as optometrists with experience have hands-on training in the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions

why is there a labor shortage
why is there a labor shortage

types of optometrists

Optometrists can specialise in a range of areas. Doing so can increase the demand for your skills as you excel in your part of the field. Some of the most common types of optometrists are:

  • contact lens optometrist: in this role, you specialise in the fitting and management of contact lenses. Customers come to you for comprehensive eye exams and, if necessary, prescriptions for contact lenses and information about the proper use and care of contact lenses.
  • clinical optometrist: as a clinical optometrist, you provide eye exams and, where appropriate, diagnoses and treatments for eye conditions, as well as prescriptions for lenses.
  • vision therapy optometrist: in this role, you specialise in treating various visual problems. You will use a variety of techniques and recommend various exercises to help your patients improve their visual skills.
  • low vision optometrist: this type of optometrist works specifically with patients who have low vision, which is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by lenses.
  • ocular disease optometrist: in this role, you specialise in diagnosing and managing diseases related to the eye. That involves carrying out eye exams, diagnosing and treating disease, and coordinating with other healthcare professionals to get your patients the best care possible.

working as an optometrist

Are you wondering what a optometrist does daily? Read on to find out a optometrist's work routine and duties.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for optometrists include:

  • 12-science: your first step to becoming an optometrist is to get your 12-science, preferably (but not necessarily) in biology. This is essential for anyone interested in pursuing this profession.
  • bachelor's degree: getting a bachelor's degree in optometry is a minimum requirement in India. You may consider a diploma in ophthalmic assistance technology instead, but that alone will not enable you to become an optometrist, whereas a bachelor's degree often does.
  • master's degree: though not essential to becoming an optometrist, a master's degree can improve your chance of being hired in the first place and increase your potential salary. If you opted to study for a diploma in ophthalmic assistance technology instead of a bachelor's degree, your next step would be a postgraduate diploma in optometry.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of an optometrist include:

  • attention to detail: problems and conditions related to the human eye can be subtle and easy to miss. Good attention to detail helps you avoid making mistakes that could adversely affect someone's health.
  • communication and interpersonal skills: during the course of an average day as an optometrist, you might see dozens of patients. Strong communication and interpersonal skills help you learn everything you need from your patient, as well as adequately convey any information you need them to have.
  • compassion: part of your role involves giving people unpleasant news. In these situations, being able to show compassion for the individual will be a crucial aspect of your job.
  • computer proficiency: much of your work involves using computers in various capacities, from standard administrative software to specialist optometry software.
labor shortage
labor shortage

FAQs about working as an optometrist

Here are some common questions about working as a optometrist:

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