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Optometry

What is it??

Optometrists are health professionals that work in the area of vision. They treat vision problems, screen for different conditions or diseases of the eye and prescribe glasses or contact lenses.

Difference between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists?

Optometrists are not medical doctors unlike Ophthalmologists who, after four years of medical school, complete a minimum of four years of training in ophthalmology and become surgeons. Optometrists cannot perform surgery. They are excellent in checking visual acuity, prescribe glasses and contact lenses, screen for eye diseases and prescribe certain types of medications required for the treatment of different eye diseases.

How does one become an optometrist?

Most D.O applicants have completed a four year bachelors or even Masters degree in an area in science although the minimum requirement that the D. O schools require is three years of undergraduate education. The D.O curriculum consists of pharmacology, optics, visual sciences and practicum courses. D. O colleges are unique in that most Health Sciences Faculties in large Universities do not offer the D.O. program. These programs are only offered by a limited number of colleges and Universities in North America. The costs of D.O. education in Canada is estimated to be around $60,000-$70,000 where as the costs are higher in the US in the range of $150,000-$200,000.

Where do D.Os work?

Most optometrists work in private practice. Some also own optical stores have their offices set up in or at a close proximity to the stores. The average salary for an optometrist is in the range of $80,000-150,000. The job prospects for optometrists look very good.

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