Optometrist

Healthcare
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would examine people’s eyes to check their vision and decide if they need glasses or contact lenses. You’d also look for defects, injuries and ill health.

You would:

  • Test and measure a person’s vision using instruments and traditional tools like reading charts
  • Make a diagnosis and advise what they should do
  • Prescribe, fit and supply glasses or contact lenses
  • Discuss the suitability and shape of frames for glasses

Using your knowledge of eye diseases, if you detect abnormalities - including conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure - you would refer the person to specialists or ophthalmologists (eye surgeons).

You could specialise in a particular area, such as:

  • Working with children (paediatrics)
  • Contact lenses – to advise people about using contact lenses
  • Sports vision - to help sportspeople improve skills like estimating distances or hand-eye co-ordination
  • Low vision – to show people how to use lighting and other aids so they can live with low vision that can’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses

You’d need to be able to work with precision and understand mathematical and scientific information. It would be important to keep up to date with new techniques and instruments.

Some people may be nervous so you’d need to put them at ease. You may need to carefully and clearly explain the process and instructions, especially with children.

You can see more about this role in the National Health Service on the Optometrist page on the NHSScotland Careers website.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week, which may include some evening shifts. Part-time work is also available.

Environment

Your work would mainly take place in a treatment room. If you are based at a hospital, you may be involved in some laboratory work.

Travel

You may travel to local health centres and community clinics.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Caring for people
  • Accuracy
  • Using computers
  • Solving mathematical problems
  • Planning and organising
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You need an honours degree in optometry (SCQF level 10), a Certificate of Clinical Competency and/or registration with the General Optical Council (GOC).

To enter a optometry degree (SCQF level 9/10) at Glasgow Caledonian University requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of five Highers at AABBB.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by the course)
  • Maths (required by the course)
  • Physics (required by the course)
  • Other science subjects
  • Technologies

You will also need

  • To complete paid pre-registration training for one year with a practice under the guidance of a GOC registered optometrist. You need to hold 2:2 honours degree and a valid Certificate of Clinical Competency (awarded at graduation) to commence the pre-registration training.
  • To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland

Helpful to have

Work experience in a related field is useful.