Training to Become an Optometrist


Following a career path that leads to a life of fulfillment and stability is the best thing all human beings would want for themselves. There are several different specializations in the field of medicine and being an optometrist is one of them. Life as an optometrist can be very rewarding because today a large number of people wear some form of corrective lenses or facing a number of eye problems and need a specialist to help them correct their eyesight and treat their eye problems. Optometrists provide professional vision care to people with vision problems and in turn get attractive financial rewards. Here is what you should know if you are training to become an optometrist.

Education Requirements

If you are aspiring to be an optometrist, you need to pursue an education in the field and acquire a Bachelor’s Degree, which takes four years. The four-year degree is often in biology, physiology, or any other field related to optometry. With a Bachelor’s Degree, you are eligible to enroll for an optometry program. The first degree allows you to apply for admission, which may be accepted or rejected depending on whether you have met the requirements stipulated by the school or learning institution. In fact, many optometry programs in the country can be very selective when it comes to selecting and accepting applicants. Therefore, it is very important to earn exemplary grades in your undergraduate program so that you can increase your chances of getting selected to pursue optometry.

State Licensing Requirements

To practice optometry, you have to join a professional optometry board within your state. Each state entrusts a given optometry board within the state with the work of licensing all of its professional optometrists. However, all these state boards from different states fall under the national umbrella board, the “National Board of Examiners in Optometry”. You will have to pass a comprehensive examination that comprises of three parts as required by your state. Candidates are graded and awarded a pass or a fail. These examinations have additional parts that may differ depending on the state. These exams may be oral, written, or practical. Optometrists have to undergo extensive testing sessions before they are licensed to practice. However, the requirements often differ and you should check with your state before proceeding accordingly. In addition, license renewals are required from time to time and may differ from one state to another. If you fail to meet some of these minimum requirements to allow you to practice as an optometrist may lead to revocation of your license.

Potential Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that an optometrist earns an average salary of about $114, 260 per year. Therefore, it seems to be a lucrative career for someone looking for a rewarding career with handsome rewards. This means that on average an optometrist makes about $55 dollars an hour. However, these figures may vary from state to state, although optometrists earn a steady 2.5% increase annually to support their career growth.

Doctors of optometry or optometrists are majorly defined by what they do, which is ideally diagnosing and treating eye diseases, including eyeglass prescription. They provide highly specialized vision care, including eye examinations, prescribing corrective lenses, and treating simple eye diseases. However, complex eye diseases that require complex treatments and surgeries are often treated by ophthalmologists. If you are training to become an optometrist, you should be aware of what it takes to become a licensed optometrist. Also, do check with your state to ensure you meet the minimum requirements.

Eye drops: What type is appropriate for your eye condition?

Eye drops contain saline and administered via the ocular route. These eye drops may contain steroids, sympathomimetics, parasympathomimetics, prostaglandins, antibiotics, topical, antihistamines, beta receptor blockers, parasympatholytics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or antifungal substances, depending on the symptoms or condition of the eyes.

Some types of eye drops do not contain medication; these types function as tear-replacing and lubricating solutions. Eye drops only have minor side effects or risks compared to oral medications. However, if significant side effects are present, applying mild pressure on the inner corner of the eyes will help minimize these effects. You can also use eye drops for redness and itchiness.

Types and uses of eye drops

Eye drops are classified (depending on the active substances it contains) into different pharmacological classes and used by different patients with varying conditions. Some of the most common eye drops and their functions are listed below.

  1. Eye drops for dry eyes or artificial tears are used as tear-replacing and lubricating solutions. This type is widely available and can provide instant relief from dryness and irritation. Artificial tears can also minimize irritation, particularly in allergic conjunctivitis.
  2. Glaucoma eye drops are used for glaucoma management. It can drain eye fluid and decrease its production; it also lowers eye pressure. This type of eye drops is classified based on the active ingredients they contain. Examples of these active ingredients are carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, beta blockers, prostaglandin analogs, and alpha agonists. If you require multiple medications, you might want to consider drugs that work well in combination.
  3. Antibiotic and steroid eye drops are effective against eye infections. These have prophylactic properties and are commonly used after eye surgery. Pink eye antibiotic drops are prescribed if the patient has conjunctivitis due to bacteria. A doctor’s prescription must be followed accordingly without any interruption. Completing the prescribed course of antibiotics is essential. You may experience relapses if you discontinue the medication before the prescribed duration of treatment.
  4. Allergy eye drops contain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or histamine antagonists that suppress the responses of the optical mast cell. Mast cells are critical players in allergic reactions. Allergens such as aerosolized dust particles can activate these mast cells which leads to allergic reaction symptoms, including red and watery eyes, as well as itchiness.
  5. Mydriatic eye drops help widen the pupils of the eyes (dilation of the pupils), thereby allowing the optometrist to have the best internal view of the eyes, most especially behind the iris. During sunny weather, mydriatic may cause photophobia.

Side effects

Prostaglandin analogs in eye drops can cause changes in the eyelid skin and iris color. Stinging, eye redness, blurred vision, burning, and itching may also develop as side effects. Beta-blockers can cause a reduction in pulse rate, decreased blood pressure, fatigue, depression, shortness of breath, and reduced libido. You must see a physician immediately if you experience side effects.

Eye drops come in various forms and can be used for different eye conditions. You must consult with your doctor before you start using any kind of eye drops.