Nature of Work: Optometrists examine people's eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases. They treat vision problems and, in most states, they also treat some eye diseases such as conjunctivitis or corneal infections. Optometrists use instruments and observation to examine eye health and to test patients' visual acuity, depth and color perceptions, and their ability to focus and coordinate their eyes. They analyze test results and develop a treatment plan. Optometrists prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, vision therapy, and low vision aids (for visually impaired patients). All optometrists provide general eye and vision care–some through general practice, and others through more specialized practice such as contact lenses, geriatrics, low vision services, pediatrics, sports vision, and vision therapy. Other optometrists may choose to enter optometric education and perform scientific research.
Professional Training: Doctors of Optometry must successfully complete a four-year accredited degree program at one of the schools of optometry. Most students who are accepted by a school or college of optometry have completed their undergraduate degree, even though the minimum entrance requirement is often only two years of undergraduate course work. Each institution has its own undergraduate prerequisites, so applicants should contact the school or college of their choice for specific requirements.