Last updated December 31, 2014

If you’re like most sighted people, you take your vision for granted. But optometrists don’t. They’re fascinated by the eyes -- both how they work and how they fail.

Prescribing eyeglasses, diagnosing eye conditions and their causes, referring patients to specialists for eye surgery -- it’s all in a day’s work for optometrists. Though their activities vary, their mission is always to help people see as well as possible.

Optometrists examine eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases. They determine a course of treatment or refer patients to ophthalmologists and other specialists.

Did You Know?

Some optometrists specialize in the vision problems of the elderly, children, or partially sighted persons. Others may specialize in problems related to working conditions.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Test depth and color perception
  • Test for near- and farsightedness
  • Keep up with advances in your field
  • Work in private practice, research, or industry (developing eye-related products)
  • Work night and weekend hours to suit patient schedules and to build a successful practice

It Helps To Be...

A tactful communicator who is able to work precisely with your hands. In addition to being able to relate to patients, you will need good business sense -- especially if, like many optometrists, you run your own practice.

Make High School Count

  • Take plenty of math and science classes, including courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus.
  • Build communication skills in English, drama, and speech classes.
  • Learn a foreign language so you can communicate with patients in diverse communities.
  • Sign up for business and accounting classes.
  • Master the computer.
  • Volunteer to work at an optometrist’s office and try to learn some business skills as well as optometry.

Did You Know?

To get into optometry school, you’ll need to take the Optometry Admission Test and demonstrate your academic ability and scientific understanding.