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Helping you find a career in the Optometry industry

Optometry is the medical science of eyesight. The industry specialises in the health of people’s eyes, and determining what can be done to correct problems with vision. Often this involves helping people get the glasses they need, but it can include more intricate work in cases of diseases of the eye.

As optometry requires scientific understanding about eyesight, most roles will require a degree that’s been approved by the General Optical Council (GOC). However, some positions, like dispensing opticians, will require less specific degrees. Plus, dispensing opticians are the ones who get to help people decide what style of glasses to get, so it’s great if you’ve got a sense of style, too.

The optometry industry incorporates high street opticians, hospitals and eye clinics, so there are lots of opportunities with different work patterns. A high-street optician may require regular 9am-5pm hours, while hospital work will be done in shifts. This means you can choose a place in the industry with work hours that most appeal to you.

The work will be very similar across these different areas of the industry. You’ll usually be meeting patients, conducting eye tests and prescribing the right treatment or glasses prescription.


How to get Optometry internships, work experience or placements
You’re going to need to study hard. There is little work experience for optometrists before they complete their degree, so you’ll need the right grades to get into your university of choice. If you’ve got strong results, you’ll have a great head start in the industry. You’ll need three strong A-levels with at least two science-based subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths – maths is often a must).

Your degree should give you the valuable experience you need for the industry. You’ll be all prepared for the world of optometry!

Postgraduate degrees can also help you get ahead in the industry. Consider applying for a Master’s of Science or a doctorate.

There may be work experience available in a supporting capacity at an optician’s clinic, though you will likely need to apply to individual clinics in your local area to try to secure some work experience.
Skills & interests you'll need
A passion for science is a must for those interested in beginning their career in optometry. Obviously, it’s a very scientifically-driven practice, so you’ll need to be comfortable learning and using a lot of scientific concepts. Your training will provide these concepts for you, but as science is always developing and discovering new treatments and knowledge about the eye, you’ll need to keep up with new research as it comes out.

It can also be a very intimate environment. You’ll often be working alone with patients so it’s important you have a personable manner. Some patients find having their eyes tested nerve-racking, so you’ll need to be reassuring and sympathetic.

Optometry clinics are often very busy, so you’ll need to be an organised person who can work quickly and keep to appointment times.
- Attention to detail
- Clinical Research
- Customer Service
- Life Sciences
- Organisation
- Patience
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