An optometrist is an eye specialist who is trained in performing eye examinations and detecting defects in the eye such as infections, vision problems, injury and general health. Those students wishing to become an optometrist will need to undertake an optometry degree.
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Studying OptometryAn optometry degree is awarded as a Bachelor of Science (BSc Hons) degree and takes three years of full time undergraduate study to complete. To become a fully qualified optometrist, students must also undertake a postgraduate degree in optometry. This is sometimes incorporated into an undergraduate degree as part of a four year course.
During the first year of study, students will study a range of modules including ocular anatomy, physiology, visual optics, dispensing, geometrical optics and body systems. In the second year of study, modules can include pharmacology, binocular vision, colour vision, contact lenses, pathology and ocular disease. The final year of study will require students to study modules which will help them to develop skills needed to work in the professional world of optometry. This also requires students to undertake practical clinical sessions. In the third year of study students are normally also required to write a dissertation.
Entry requirements to an optometry degree will vary depending on the institution you are applying to and there are a limited amount of institutions that offer this degree. To gain entrance to one of these degree programs, students must have gained three A Level grades AAA – AAB with at least two of the grades being in science related subjects (biology, physics, chemistry or mathematics).
You are advised to contact the institution you are applying to for a full breakdown of entry requirements as each university will be different.
After graduating from an optometry degree, students are expected to gain roles as optometrists, working in various places within the community. Common workplaces include high street practices, independent clinics, specialist clinics, hospitals, and research and academia.
To become a fully qualified optometrist students must complete a further qualification/period of supervised practice, so that they can register with the UK’s General Optic Council and go on to work within the industry.