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Optometrists are vision experts. They help people with regular eye exams and eye care. They also diagnose and treat such conditions as nearsightedness, farsightedness, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and cataracts. Quite often the treatment is corrective lenses-either glasses or contact lenses. Other times an optometrist may treat eye conditions with prescriptions such as eye drops. Optometrists are doctors of optometry, and do not perform eye surgery, unlike ophthalmologists, who are doctors of medicine. Most optometrists are in general practice, although some specialize and work with children, the elderly, or partially-sighted people with special vision needs.

Salary Range: $52,810 – $192,050+

Salary Notes: Mean annual salary in Vermont is $126,020. Experienced optometrists who have built strong private practices may earn considerably more.

Where you can study:
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences [1], Worcester, MA
New England College of Optometry [2], Boston, MA
SUNY State College of Optometry [3], New York, NY

Where you might work:
– Chain Optical Stores – Clinics – Government Health Agencies – Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) – Hospitals – Optical Manufacturers – Private Practice

Job Outlook: Demand for optometrists should grow much faster than average through 2024, in response to the vision care needs of a growing and aging population. The need for optometrists is moderating somewhat due to advancements in technology that allow a doctor to see more patients.

Education, Licensing and Certification: Optometry candidates should emphasize math, physics, and other sciences in high school and as an under-graduate in college. Most optometry programs take four years to complete. To gain admission into an accredited program, three years of undergraduate work are required, although most optometry students hold a bachelor degree. Vermont also requires optometrists to be licensed.

Professional Organizations:
American Optometric Association [4] 800-365-2219
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry [5] 301-231-5944
Vermont Optometric Association [6] 802-234-9728