Eye Care Careers: Opticians, Optometrists, and Ophthalmologists
The medical field is one of the most exciting, fastest growing fields in the United States. A career in the medical field can be very rewarding; people interested in this field have a variety of options from which to choose. In the specialty of vision care, a medical professional could choose to become and optician, an optometrist, or an ophthalmologist. These positions all have slightly different duties and require a varying level of education.
An optician may also be known as a dispensing optician, and with good reason. A large part of an optician’s job involves dispensing glasses and contact lenses. Most opticians work as support staff an optometrists or ophthalmologists practice. After an optometrist or an ophthalmologist has examined the patient, the optician helps them choose their frames. The optician will then measure the patients face to fit the glasses properly. The optician is also responsible for writing the work order for the ophthalmic lab, which includes the prescription and information on the size and fit of the glasses. When the glasses arrive, the optician makes any final adjustments to ensure proper fit for the patient. Some opticians also fit the patient for contact lenses, although they are required to have special training to perform this duty.
Most opticians obtain at least some post high school education. Although some employers may train their opticians through an apprenticeship program, most opticians have an associate’s degree in Opticianry from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Optometry Accreditation. There are also several certifications available for opticians: certification through the American Board of Optometry or the National Contact Lens Examiners. Also, twenty-two states require opticians to be licensed. The salary for an optician is similar to that of other medical professionals with the same education level: the medial hourly rate for an optician is $16.73 and the mean annual salary is $34,000.
- American Board of Opticianry
- Commission on Opticianry Accreditation
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Description of the Optician Job
- Middlesex Community College, CT Optician Program
- Hillsborough Community College, FL Optician Program
- Ogeechee Technical College, GA Optician Program
- Eerie Community College, NY Optician Program
- College of Southern Nevada Optician Program
- Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, NM Optician Program
- Tyler Junior College, TX Optician Program
- J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College ,VA Optician Program
- Technical Career Institutes NY Optician Program
- New York City College of Technology Optician Program
- Cuyahoga Community College, OH Optician Program
- Roane State Community College, TN Optician Program
An optometrist has more education and responsibilities than an optician. Many optometrists have their own practices, although some may work in an eye care chain store. An optometrist’s main duty is to examine the patient’s eyes. After the examination, they will then diagnose and treat any conditions they discover. This may involve writing a prescription for glasses, contact lenses, or medicine. Optometrists also perform tests to measure depth perception, ability to focus, and screen for diseases. Although they do not perform surgery, they can and do perform pre-operative and post-operative care. They may also refer patients to other medical professionals for problems they discover that are out of their scope of practice.
An optometrist pursues both post high school and postgraduate education. Usually an optometrist first obtains a Bachelors degree and goes on to a four year program to obtain a D.O, or Doctor of Optometry. Some optometrists also choose to get a PhD in their field, but it is not required to practice. However, optometrists are required to have a license to practice in every state. After their education and training are complete, most optometrists make a median salary of $96, 320.
- American Optometric Association
- Illinois College of Optometry
- Indiana University School of Optometry
- Michigan College of Optometry
- The New England College of Optometry
- Northeastern State University, OK College of Optometry
- Ohio State University College of Optometry
- College of Optometry at Pacific University Oregon
- Salus University, PA Optometry Program
- State University of New York College of Optometry
- University of Alabama, Birmingham Optometry
- University of California, Berkeley Optometry
- University of Missouri, St Louis College of Optometry
- University of Houston Optometry
An ophthalmologist, also sometimes called an Eye M.D, has many of the same duties as an optometrist with a slightly expanded scope of practice. They may have their own practice, work in an eye care chain, or work in a hospital. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor with special training in the field of ophthalmology. Therefore, they can perform exams, write prescriptions, but also perform surgeries. They may also treat some eye problems that are due to other conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some ophthalmologists are also involved in medical research.
Ophthalmologists normally obtain attend four years of college as well as four years of medical school. They earn a bachelors of science as well as an M.D. Their training also includes a year of internship directly after medical school and then three years of residency in ophthalmology. Some ophthalmologists also opt for do another two years of training in a specialty. Ophthalmologists must be licensed medical doctors and most also choose to become board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmologists. Median annual salary for these professionals is $186, 044.
- American Board of Ophthalmology
- University of California, San Fransisco Residency Program
- Bayor College of Medicine Residency Program
- Boston University School of Medicine Residency Program
- University of Cincinnati Department of Ophthalmology
- Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia University
- University of Colorado Department of Ophthalmology
- Cornell University Ophthalmology
- Duke University Ophthalmology
- Emory Eye Center Educational Programs
- George Washington University Department of Ophthalmology
- Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology
- Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins
- Louisiana University Department of Ophthalmology
- University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology
- University of Louisville Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences