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What's it like being an Optometrist?

I'm in college and I'm not sure what I want to major in. I think I'd like to major in Biology and go to medical school to become an optometrist, but first I'd like to know the benefits and cons of being one. From an outsiders perspective, it seems like a good paying job with low stress and normal hours. Am I wrong? Please feel free to add anything to your responses including better jobs and a the major to take to get there.

4 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have a good friend who is an optometrist. He has been one for about 15 years, and he is now chief of the department at a large hospital (it has optometry department). The pay is good.

    This is what he has told me all these years.

    The only reason he became one was because he was taking over his father's practice but he didn't want to stay in the small town because he was starting a family.

    if you want to set up your own clinic, it costs a lot of money just like starting any business. The only profits you will make will be from the frames. You cannot charge that much for a visit – for example at local Costco, an independent optometrist charges $59 for a visit. It pays for his office (rent / lease), his two staffs, and all his bills. He also does retina photos but he charge $35 extra, and most patients do not want one done because they have to pay extra money for that.

    If you work for medical group, for example for Kaiser Permanente, you will be seeing up to 30 patients per day. 15 in the morning, and 15 in the afternoon. You have 20 minutes for each appointment. There are no breaks. You will get lunch break, but that is all. The clinic is very very busy.

    At my other job which I am a school nurse, we have to optometrists working full-time. (It is a very large University) – and they work very hard. They are exhausted by the end of the day. They really do love their job, but don't think it is low stress.

    When an optometrist see a patient who has diabetes, he has to do a very thorough examination to make sure there are no retina damages. (It is called retinopathy), see ) So the patient doesn't only come in to get a new prescription for his glasses – you really need to talk to him about what he eats, if he uses his medications, or if he follows his primary care physician's instructions about exercise and everything else. This is very time-consuming. Oftentimes 20 minutes is not enough. And between patients you have to document everything. Nowadays you can use voice dictation program, which I am using right now to answer this question. (I hate to type.)

    The money actually is not bad – but you are not making the level of the income of a physician. An optometrist really does go technically to a medical school – and it is not easy at all. However, too many schools are flooding the market so this is what you need to do – go to website and enter your ZIP Code and enter the job title as optometrists, and see how many job openings there are in your hometown.

    Here is an example. In the entire city of Los Angeles within 25 miles, there are only so many listings.

    As you can tell, if you have 40 brand-new optometrists right out of school, where will they go?

    Best wishes

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Being An Optometrist

  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Numerology Life Paths
  • ?
    Lv 5
    7 years ago you know the difference between an optometrist ( who goes into OPTOMETRY SCHOOL and specializes in fitting glasses and contacts ) and an ophthalmologist ( A medical doctor who specializes in the eyes. )

    Optometrists don't really make a whole lot of money for the education they need ( they make as much as an engineer but require twice as schooling ) ophthalmologist make great cash with good hours...but unless you're a super star among already extremely smart medical students, you can't count on getting the residency.

    Honestly, you have dentist written all over you. As a GENERAL dentist who owns his own practice, you can make about as much as a ophthalmologist (per hour) AND have supreme control over your hours and own your own business. If you decide to practice in a rural area, you make even MORE money. If you manage to specialize, you just compound the benefits even further. It's low stress in the sense that you'll practically never have to worry about killing someone. The ADA restricts dental school accreditation to keep the job market favorable, but this also makes dental school as competitive as medical school.


    1. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon 336/36 = $179.5/hr

    2. Endodontist 303.9/36 = $162.4/hr

    3. Pedodontiac Dentist 294.4/36 = $157.1/hr

    4. Orthodontist 279.4/36 = $149.0/hr

    5. Orthopedic Surgeon 335.8/54.1 = $119.4/hr

    6. Periodontist 216.4/36 = $115.4/hr

    7. Pathologist 246.5/41.6 = $114.0/hr

    8. Rad (Diag)/Rad Onc 327.7/58.5 = $107.7/hr

    9. Prosthodontist 190.9/36 = $102.0/hr

    10. Opthalomologist 229.2/43.7 = $100.9/hr

    11. Dermatologist 219.5/42 = $100.5/hr

    12. EM 220/45 = $94.0/hr

    13. General Dentist 173.1/36 = $92.4/hr

    14. Neurosurgery / Plastic Surgery 275.2/59.6 = $88.8/hr

    15. Urologist 264.5/57.4 = $88.6/hr

    16. Surgeon (gen) 263.7/58.2 = $87.1/hr

    17. Anesthesiologist 244.7/58.7 = $80.2/hr

    18. ENT 214.5/52.1 = $79.2/hr

    19. OB/GYN 227/55.7 = $78.4/hr

    20. Neurologist 183.1/53.7 = $65.6/hr

    21. Psychiatrist 145.7/44 = $63.7/hr

    22. IM 164.1/55.6 = $56.8/hr

    23. FP 146.5/50.7 = $55.6/hr

    24. Pediatrician 137.8/49.4 = $53.6/hr

    Survey of Dental Practice. c. 2003 Edition, American Dental Association

    Physician Socioeconomic Statistics. c. 2003 Edition, American Medical Association

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