Optometry is a health care specialism that focuses on eye care and visual health.
There’s a good chance you’ve experienced the work of an optometry graduate at some point in your life. You’ve probably had a routine eye test in a high street optician, or maybe a more complex investigation into an injury or defect in your eye.
Optometry, like any healthcare profession, is challenging but endlessly rewarding. You can make huge differences to the lives of patients on a daily basis, and as a career, you’ll always have new avenues to explore.
After completing your undergraduate degree, most roles in optometry require you to also complete a one-year pre-registration placement programme. You will also need to be registered with the General Optical Council (GOC).
Read on to find out about four potential career options for a qualified and GOC-registered graduate of BSc (Hons) Optometry at Bradford.
If you enjoy working with the public in a busy setting, this could be the role for you. Community optometrists are responsible for carrying out eye examinations, prescribing glasses and contact lenses, and generally providing good vision advice and care to patients.
On an average day you’ll examine a range of people, each with different conditions and needs. Your work will be varied. You’ll have opportunities to develop and use new skills, and gain a wealth of experience.
You could work in a large national chain or as part of a smaller local business. You could even set up your own practice if you have the experience, managerial flair and business skills.
With an optometry education and experience under your belt, you may want to share your knowledge with the next generation of optometrists.
Teaching is a rewarding profession and can take many forms. Options could include:
- teaching at a college or university
- teaching in a clinical setting such as a hospital
- training and developing staff in a specialist optometry business
- supervising pre-registration students as they train to become qualified optometrists
As well as several years of experience, you’ll usually need further qualifications to become a teacher or trainer.
Like all healthcare professions, optometry is always moving forward. Researchers are constantly looking for new ways to enhance the eye health of patients around the world.
From learning more about the prevention and treatment of conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration to improving contact lens hygiene, optometry research is an ongoing mission to better people’s lives.
As a researcher, you could commit to a PhD project full-time, or study part-time alongside your job.
After, or instead of, a PhD, you could conduct research within a practice or clinical setting. Your findings could be the key to changing somebody’s eye health for the better.
As a hospital optometrist you are likely to find yourself working in a varied role, maybe as part of a multi-disciplinary team with ophthalmologists (doctors who specialise in eye care) and other healthcare professionals.
Rather than carrying out routine examinations of your patients, you may be involved in caring for patients who require further assessment and treatment for a particular condition, injury or illness.
Hospital optometrists have the opportunity to develop new skills and progress into more responsible or specialist roles within the organisation.