What they do
Optometrists examine and test clients' vision, diagnose problems with visual and optical problems, and prescribe spectacles, contact lenses and other optical aids. They perform vision tests to determine the necessity for glasses or spectacles and examine eyes for the presence of glaucoma, diabetes or high blood pressure. They test ocular health and visual function by assessing visual pathways, visual fields, eye movements, freedom of vision and intraocular pressure. They also advise patients on caring for their spectacles and contact lenses, visual ergonomics and provide vision care for the elderly.
Optometrists work predominantly in public or private clinics, consulting rooms or in private businesses. They require a clean, well-lit environment, but may do some of their work in darkened conditions. They require a sterile work environment to prevent the incidence or spread of infection. Some optometrists may work across several different branches, whilst others may visit workplaces to carry out industrial vision screening. Optometrists usually work in towns and cities but may also work in remote locations, when required, in regional areas of Western Australia.
Tools and technologies
Optometrists work mainly with equipment designed to test and examine vision and the general health of the eyes. They use diagnostic equipment such as ophthalmoscopes, retinoscopes and transilluminators. They may also use optical refractors and testing devices such as the Snellen chart, which is used for visual acuity testing.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become an optometrist, you usually need to study an approved degree in vision science, followed by a postgraduate qualification in optometry.
The University of Western Australia (UWA) offers a three-year program for a postgraduate Doctor of Optometry at their Crawley Campus in Perth, which includes on-campus teaching and clinical placements. Curtin University offers a Bachelor of Science (Human Biology Preclinical) that includes an optometry pathway to the Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science) at Flinders University, in South Australia. Students study their first year of the optometry stream at Curtin University and complete their final two years at Flinders University.
You can also complete degree courses in vision science and optometry at universities interstate. Contact the interstate universities you are interested in for more information.
Required registration and licensing
To work as an optometrist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from Optometry Board of Australia.