Optometrists – Helping people see better
Are you thinking of becoming an eye specialist? An optometrist tests people’s eyes for issues with their vision as well as for diseases. While these professionals need to know how to carry out an eye test, they are also responsible for referring people to an ophthalmologist for the treatment of abnormal eye conditions. Read our blog post to discover everything that you need to know about the exciting profession of optometry.
Job description and duties
An optometrist is responsible for conducting eye tests to assess people’s vision. This includes checking their depth perception as well as their colour perception. These professionals assess whether or not a person’s eyes can focus properly. They also determine whether or not they have good eye-coordination.
An eye specialist is able to prescribe glasses to optimise people’s vision and they are required to fit the glasses and adjust them according to the requirements of individual clients. They advise clients on the appropriate eye exercise to do according to the results of the eye test. If they detect that their client has an eye disease, they refer them to an ophthalmologist.
An optometrist may collaborate with teachers to promote healthy eye care in schools. These professionals encourage healthy eye care and high levels of eye safety. This includes educating people on the best reading and lighting strategies. Optometrists in larger practices may decide to specialise in a certain type of eye care according to their preferences and capabilities.
They may choose to work mainly with children or to concentrate on patients who experience low vision. Optometrists who are self-employed can expect to be involved in a diverse range of duties, including hiring and training employees as well as ordering supplies. They’re also required to market their services.
Qualifications and requirements
A Bachelor’s Degree in Optometry is required for this career. This four-year qualification can be completed at the University of Johannesburg or the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The minimum requirements to be eligible for this qualification are English and Mathematics. Life Science or Physical Science is also required. It’s recommended that you take Chemistry or Biology at school if you want to pursue this career. Once you’ve qualified, you’ll need to register with the Health Professions Council to practice as an optometrist in South Africa.
To succeed as an optometrist, you’ll need to have outstanding interpersonal capabilities and an interest in helping others is essential to this role. Basic business skills, as well as outstanding communication capabilities, are also required. To complete the tasks that are associated with this position you’ll need excellent hand-eye coordination and superior manual skills. A friendly and professional attitude is required to work with clients. Suitable candidates for this role are detail orientated with good organisational skills. Accuracy is another
attribute that is beneficial if you want to become an eye specialist. Basic record keeping and booking capabilities are also advantageous.
Salary expectation and work environment
Once you’ve qualified as an optometrist, you will be able to set up your own private practice. Another option is to find a government position or to work for a research institute. You can also find employment opportunities in another optometrist’s practice if they want to expand their business. You can find vacancies in retail stores as well as in outpatient’s clinics. This career typically requires full-time work, however, part-time positions may be available. Optometrists can expect to work some evenings and weekends to accommodate clients who are unable to have an eye test during regular work hours.
Now that you know what it takes to become an optometrist, you can decide whether it’s the right career for you or not. With a wide range of vacancies on JobMail, it’s easy to find positions that match your requirements.