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Optometrist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Optometrist, or Ophthalmic Optician tests patients’ eyes to identify injuries, vision problems or diseases. They perform eye inspections, diagnose eye defects and prescribe glasses or contact lenses.

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Optometrist duties and responsibilities

An Optometrist works to improve their patients’ vision through examinations, diagnostic tools and tailored prescriptions. Their daily duties and responsibilities often include: 

  • Collecting information about their patients’ medical history and current symptoms
  • Performing detailed eye examinations to detect vision defects and eye abnormalities, injuries or diseases
  • Monitor and manage patients’ eye and vision issues during and after a visit
  • Offering patients advice about their eyes or vision-related challenges
  • Assessing and identifying symptoms of general health conditions, such as liver failure or diabetes
  • Supervising the retail aspects of vision care products, including the selling of eye-care products
  • Working with other Optometrists and healthcare professionals for coordinated patient care
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Optometrist Job Description Examples:

What does an Optometrist do?

The primary role of an Optometrist is to provide quality eye and vision care to patients. Optometrists perform comprehensive eye and vision tests and diagnose eye defects, such as glaucoma, cataracts, impaired vision and other issues. They prescribe medications, appointments and followups. Optometrists can educate their patients on general eye care procedures and how to improve their vision. Typically, Optometrists are employed by GP practices, laboratories, NHS facilities, hospitals and retail stores.

Optometrist skills and qualifications

A successful Optometrist candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications needed to perform their duties effectively. These include:

  • Knowledge of how to use eye examination tools and vision testing equipment such as retinoscopes and tonometers
  • Ability to provide practical diagnoses of eye and vision defects and discover conditions like cataracts or glaucoma
  • Accuracy and manual dexterity in performing delicate eye surgeries
  • Sales aptitude in recommending or selling vision care products that meet the needs of their patients
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to explain concepts to patients
  • Interpersonal skills to build positive relationships with patients, colleagues and vendors

Optometrist experience requirements

Optometrist candidates must be experienced in both the healthcare and retail side of a vision care practice. In practices that focus on the medical side of optometry, Optometrists must have experience in standard optometric procedures, including surgery. Some organisations require candidates to have managerial or sales experience in the optometric industry. In organisations that perform advanced optometric surgeries, requiring lasers and robotics, Optometrists need several years of experience with their employer’s core services.

Optometrist education and training requirements

Optometrist candidates must have degrees that are accredited by the General Optical Council. This includes a one-year preregistration of paid and supervised work placement. Optometric practices may also employ a Dispensing Optician with the relevant training in optometry. Some organisations prefer candidates who have volunteered or worked in a healthcare-related organisation such as NHS. In practices that specialise in the retail side of optometry, candidates will need customer service and sales training.

Optometrist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for Optometrist candidates in the UK is £53,669 per year. Individual salaries vary according to the employer, the location, the candidate’s education and experience levels and the specific job duties and responsibilities of the position.

Job description samples for similar positions

Here are job description samples for related positions if you are not looking to employ an Optometrist:

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Optometrist job description FAQs

How can you make your Optometrist job description stand out?

To make an Optometrist job description stand out, it’s important to include the vital information that candidates need to know to apply for the role and whether they qualify. Mention the job duties and responsibilities of the role, and specify whether the practice focuses more on retail or medical optometry. Describe your organisation, its mission and the type of work environment to help enable your candidates to visualise how well they would fit in within your company. It’s also essential to mention specific diagnostic equipment or treatment procedures the Optometrist will use or perform once employed. Describe any unique employment benefits, such as pensions, bonuses and funding for professional training.

What qualities make a good Optometrist?

A successful Optometrist candidate can explain medical concepts in ways their patients understand. They work to restore a patient’s hope and confidence, helping them to manage anxieties and concerns. Effective Optometrists need to be flexible with sales, even if they focus more on the medical aspects of the practice. They also need to be empathetic with strong listening skills. It’s important for them to ensure a prompt diagnosis of a patient’s visual quality. The best Optometrists stay updated with the latest trends in the field.

Job Description Examples

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