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Optometrist

Optometrists provide public health services in vision care. They examine eyes to diagnose vision problems and ocular disease (pertaining to the eye). They prescribe and fit eyeglasses and contact lenses and recommend treatment such as exercises to correct vision problems or ocular disorders.

Optometrists should not be confused with Ophthalmologists or dispensing opticians. Ophthalmologists are physicians who diagnose eye disease and injuries and treat problems with surgery or drugs. Like an Optometrist, they also examine eyes and can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. Dispensing Opticians fit and adjust eyeglasses and may fit contact lenses according to prescriptions written by an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist.

Tasks

  • Examine patient's eye, conduct tests and use a variety of equipment, such as ophthalmoscopes, bio-microscopes and other specialized instrument, to determine visual efficiency;
  • Prescribe corrective eyewear treatment (excluding drugs or surgery) to conserve, improve and correct vision and other ocular disorders;
  • Refer patients to Ophthalmologists or other physicians and surgeons when ocular or other diseases are found;

Basic Educational Requirement

Holders of a degree in Doctor of Optometry and passers of the licensesure exam for Optometrist conducted by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) can qualify for the job of Optometrist.

Skills and Competency Requirements

  • Knowledge in optics, eyes and vision;
  • Analytical Skills;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Ability to make sound decisions based on professional standards and personal judgment;
  • Ability to give clear verbal and written directions;
  • Excellent inter-personal relationships with patients;
  • Ability to communicate information and ideas verbally so others will understand.

Physical Attributes and Characteristics

  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - the ability to keep hands steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • 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 there is a problem.
  • Near Vision - the ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Salary/Compensation

A licensed Optometrist working in the government service has a salary grade of 11(P10,535) and 15 (P13,250) (Optometrist 1 and 2, respectively), while those in private practice can earn as much as P25,000 to P 40,000 depending on their qualification and experience. 
In the US, the median salary of a licensed Optometrist is $88,300 (P4,503,300) a year or $7,358 (P375,252) a month.

Prospects for Career Advancement

To become an Ophthalmologist is the next level for an Optometrist's career advancement. This requires further study and specialization on eye surgery.

Employment Opportunities

Industry sources suggest that the demand for optometric services is likely to continue into the foreseeable future primarily in response to an aging population. Most optometrists work in healthcare and social assistance, others have their own clinics.

Cost of Education *

Completion of a degree in Optometry may cost approximately P450,000.

* Based on tuition fee rates for school year 2007-2008

 
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