Job Description:

Optometrists test vision, identify eye health problems, prescribe glasses and fit contact lenses.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

Day-to-day tasks
As an optometrist you could:

  • use precision instruments and vision measuring and testing tools
  • diagnose and give advice
  • prescribe, fit and supply glasses or contact lenses
  • discuss the suitability and shape of glasses frames
  • refer clients to specialists or ophthalmologists (eye surgeons)


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and health conditions that can affect sight
  • knowledge of biology
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through a university course or by working towards this role.

To become an optometrist you’ll need to:

  • get a degree in optometry
  • complete a pre-registration work placement which takes 1 year and you’ll be supervised by a registered optometrist
  • pass a final assessment to qualify

If you’re working as a dispensing optician, you could retrain to become an optometrist.

You’ll need to complete an approved optometry degree and pre-registration year.

You’ll find it helpful to get some work experience in healthcare before you apply for a course.

You could also contact high street opticians directly for information on work experience schemes.

School Subjects

Here are the key GCSE subjects that you should consider taking if you’re interested in becoming an Optometrist:

  1. Biology: Biology is a fundamental subject for understanding the structure and function of the human eye, as well as the anatomy of the visual system.
  2. Chemistry: Chemistry is essential for understanding the chemical processes related to vision and eye health.
  3. Physics: Physics helps you comprehend the principles of light and optics, which are critical in understanding how light enters the eye and how lenses work.
  4. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are necessary for performing calculations related to prescriptions and vision assessments.
  5. English: Good language and communication skills are important for interacting with patients, documenting case notes, and working effectively in a healthcare team.
  6. Additional Sciences: While not mandatory, taking additional science subjects, such as Human Biology, can provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of the human body and health.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical working hours consist of 36-38 hours of work each week.

You may work on a shift based system and could be expected to work in the evening.

You could work at a store, in a hospital, at a GP practice or in a laboratory.


Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • specialise in an area like contact lenses, sports vision, low vision or working with children
  • study for a postgraduate master’s degree in optometry
  • train further in prescribing drugs for certain eye problems or working with specific conditions like diabetes or glaucoma