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Summary of occupation

Optometrists examine and test clients' vision, diagnose problems with visual and optical problems, and prescribe spectacles, contact lenses and other optical aids. They perform vision tests to determine the necessity for glasses or spectacles and examine eyes for the presence of glaucoma, diabetes or high blood pressure. They test ocular health and visual function by assessing visual pathways, visual fields, eye movements, freedom of vision and intraocular pressure. They also advise patients on caring for their spectacles and contact lenses, visual ergonomics and provide vision care for the elderly.

ANZSCO description: Performs eye examinations and vision tests to determine the presence of visual, ocular and other abnormalities, ocular diseases and systemic diseases with ocular manifestations, and prescribes lenses, other optical aids, therapy and medication to correct and manage vision problems and eye diseases. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An optometrist needs:

  • a desire to help people
  • a caring and compassionate nature
  • an understanding and comprehension of biology and physiology
  • strong communication skills
  • the technical skill to operate a variety of optometry equipment
  • the ability to perform detailed and precise work
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Working conditions

Optometrists work predominantly in public or private clinics, consulting rooms or in private businesses. They require a clean, well-lit environment, but may do some of their work in darkened conditions. They require a sterile work environment to prevent the incidence or spread of infection. Some optometrists may work across several different branches, whilst others may visit workplaces to carry out industrial vision screening. Optometrists usually work in towns and cities but may also work in remote locations, when required, in regional areas of Western Australia.

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Salary details

On average, optometrists can expect to earn between $1,750 and $1,999 per week $(91,000 and $103,999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Optometrists work mainly with equipment designed to test and examine vision and the general health of the eyes. They use diagnostic equipment such as ophthalmoscopes, retinoscopes and transilluminators. They may also use optical refractors and testing devices such as the Snellen chart, which is used for visual acuity testing.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an optometrist, you usually need to study an approved degree in vision science, followed by postgraduate qualification in optometry.

There are currently no courses in optometry or vision science available in Western Australia. Curtin University offers a Bachelor of Science (Human Biology Preclinical) that includes an optometry pathway to the Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science) at Flinders University, in South Australia. Students study their first year of the optometry stream at Curtin University and complete their final two years at Flinders University.

You can also complete degree courses in vision science and optometry at universities interstate. Contact the interstate universities you are interested in for more information. Learn more about your study options.

To work as an optometrist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from Optometry Board of Australia.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Related videos

Optometrist Video Optometrist Occupation

Optometrists examine and test clients' vision, diagnose problems with visual and optical problems, and prescribe spectacles, contact lenses and other optical aids.

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