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Career profile Optometrist

Also known as Doctor of Optometry (OD); Optometrist; Optometrist, Owner; Optometrist, President/Practice Owner; Optometrist/Practice Owner


Also known as Doctor of Optometry (OD); Optometrist; Optometrist, Owner; Optometrist, President/Practice Owner; Optometrist/Practice Owner

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Social
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$60,750 - $195,810 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Biology
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Examine eyes, using observation, instruments, and pharmaceutical agents, to determine visual acuity and perception, focus, and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities, such as glaucoma or color blindness.
  • Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan.
  • Prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision aids.
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What does an Optometrist do?

Optometrists diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system.

In addition, Optometrists

  • examine eyes and visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment,
  • may prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.

What kind of tasks does an Optometrist perform regularly?

Optometrists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Examine eyes, using observation, instruments, and pharmaceutical agents, to determine visual acuity and perception, focus, and coordination and to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities, such as glaucoma or color blindness.
  • Analyze test results and develop a treatment plan.
  • Prescribe, supply, fit and adjust eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other vision aids.
  • Prescribe medications to treat eye diseases if state laws permit.
  • Educate and counsel patients on contact lens care, visual hygiene, lighting arrangements, and safety factors.
  • Remove foreign bodies from the eye.
  • Provide patients undergoing eye surgeries, such as cataract and laser vision correction, with pre- and post-operative care.
  • Consult with and refer patients to ophthalmologist or other health care practitioner if additional medical treatment is determined necessary.
  • Prescribe therapeutic procedures to correct or conserve vision.
  • Provide vision therapy and low-vision rehabilitation.

The above responsibilities are specific to Optometrists. More generally, Optometrists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is an Optometrist salary?

The median salary for an Optometrist is $118,050, and the average salary is $125,440. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Optometrist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Optometrists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Optometrists earn less than $60,750 per year, 25% earn less than $91,180, 75% earn less than $145,720, and 90% earn less than $195,810.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Optometrists is expected to change by 9.0%, and there should be roughly 1,700 open positions for Optometrists every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$60,750 - $195,810
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Optometrists?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Optometrist are usually higher in their Investigative, Social, and Realistic interests.

Optometrists typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Optometrists typically have strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Optometrists typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Optometrist tend to value Working Conditions, Achievement, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Optometrists very strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Second, Optometrists very strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Optometrists very strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Optometrists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, concern for others, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Optometrists, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

What education and training do Optometrists need?

Many Optometrists have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Optometrists may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Optometrists

  • 3.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 96.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Optometrists

Optometrists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as medicine and dentistry, biology, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Optometrists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

Important Abilities needed by Optometrists

Optometrists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Optometrists need abilities such as oral expression, problem sensitivity, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Optometrists, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Optometrists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Optometrists frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Optometrists, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.