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Optometrist Ophthalmic optician

Optometrists test vision, identify eye health problems, prescribe glasses and fit contact lenses.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £26,000 to £82,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need:

  • a degree in optometry
  • 1 year's paid, supervised work experience with a registered optometrist
  • registration with the General Optical Council (GOC)

If you're already working as a dispensing optician, you'll need to complete an optometry degree and pre-registration year.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • maths and scientific skills
  • organisational and administration skills

3. What you'll do

You'll use your knowledge of eye diseases to detect abnormalities.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • using a range of precision instruments
  • using vision measuring and testing tools
  • diagnosing and giving advice
  • prescribing, fitting and supplying glasses or contact lenses
  • discuss the suitability and shape of glasses frames
  • referring clients to specialists or ophthalmologists (eye surgeons)

4. Salary

Starter: around £26,000

Experienced: £31,500 to £41,500

Highly Experienced: £60,000 to £82,500

These figures are a guide. Salaries may vary depending on whether you work in the NHS or private practice.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll work 35 to 40 hours a week. This may include some evening shifts.

You'll usually work in a treatment room or hospital laboratory. You may also travel to local health centres and community clinics.

6. Career path and progression

You could specialise in an area like paediatrics (working with children), contact lenses, sports vision or low vision

You could study for an MSc in optometry or train further in contact lens practice, therapeutics (prescribing drugs for certain eye problems) or specific conditions like diabetes and glaucoma.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017