A Doctor of Optometry is a primary health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems and other abnormalities. All optometrists provide general eye and vision care. With favorable working conditions, regular hours, and a minimum of emergency calls, optometry offers many career options and great freedom in choosing a location to live and practice. Optometrists can prescribe optometric treatment such as corrective lenses, contact lenses or vision therapy that may be required to provide the patient with clear and efficient vision.
Most optometrists are in general practice, while others are involved in specialty practice such as cornea and contact lenses, geriatrics, low vision services, environmental and occupational vision, pediatrics, sports vision, vision therapy, and ocular disease and special testing. Still others choose to enter optometric education and/or perform scientific research. Optometrists practice in rural communities, suburban areas, and large metropolitan cities. Some practice alone while others are in group practices. Some optometrists practice with other health care professionals in multidisciplinary settings. Other optometrists choose a career in the military, public health, or other government service. Opportunities also exist to practice in hospitals, clinics, teaching institutions, community health centers, the ophthalmic industry, HMOs and retail optical settings.
Optometrists are different from ophthalmologists, who are physicians specializing in eye surgery and the treatment of eye diseases, and opticians, who fill lens prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists.