What Does an Optometrist Do?
An optometrist is a person who gives a service related to vision or the eyes. It’s any health care worker involved with vision care, from a doctor with little to no post-secondary education to trained practitioners with a PhD level of vision care education. Optometrists help people understand their vision and how that vision can affect their lives. Many optometrists also practice general medicine as well. This kind of work requires a broad range of skills and is often seen in the emergency room, or for surgeries that require extensive surgery to repair damage to the eye or structure.
You can become an optometrist in less than three years, as long as you have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree and pass the Certified optometrist (C.O.) exam. The exam is a two-hour round of written questions and consists of one section of written knowledge and one section of patient skills. It takes about three years to complete the program, and requires that you’ve attended and passed a full year of optometry school, have passed the board exam, and have three years of experience in a similar role. You can find out if you meet these requirements through an online C.O.B.A. page.
When you examine patients for problems related to their vision, an optometrist uses tools like a visual field examination, refraction, and examination of the cornea. These tools can be used to diagnose vision problems and provide treatments. To provide primary eye care, an optometrist might order tests to determine if eye diseases or conditions are present and determine treatments. Primary care is similar to general primary care, but instead involves diagnosing and treating eye conditions and diseases before they have a chance to progress and cause more serious damage.