Struggling to find a career path during my first year of college was scary. I heard stories from my peers saying, “You’ll know when something is right for you. It’s a feeling no one can experience but yourself.” I didn’t believe it at first, but sitting at that optometry school open house in 2015, listening to all the optometrists and students speak so passionately about the profession, brought tears to my eyes. For the first time in my life, I felt an emotional and mental connection with a career: optometry.
As a youth, I always enjoyed visiting my optometrist. It was always such a positive environment and everyone always seemed genuinely happy. This brought me to explore the profession further and I fell in love. I began shadowing and was intrigued by the number of specialties within the field. From low vision, vision therapy, ocular disease, head trauma, contact lenses, and many more, I learned that optometrists do so much more than just prescribe contact lenses and glasses.
While working as an optometric technician, I’ve learned how important a routine eye exam can be for one’s overall health. It is so interesting to see how different systemic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes affect our vision. Eyes are the only organ in the body where we can see our veins and arteries without attempting any invasive procedures. There are numerous conditions in the human body that we may be asymptomatic for, thus preventative care is extremely important to ensure that these conditions do not reach advanced stages.
I recall an 8-year-old patient who came in for her first routine eye exam with no vision complaints. We found that she had arteriovenous malformation and reduced vision in her left eye. An annual routine eye exam could have detected her condition early on and she could have received the treatment she needed.
My favourite aspect of the profession is being able to control your life. I hope to start a family one day and didn’t want to be in a career where I would work long hours and would not be able to balance my personal and professional life. As an optometrist, I can be both be a healthcare professional and an entrepreneur.
It is important to keep myself motivated and develop the skills necessary for success because in the near future we will be treating actual patients. My mother was diagnosed with both glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and received excellent care by her optometrist and ophthalmologist. One day, I will be treating my own patients and would want them to receive the same care my mother received. In order to execute the procedures needed to successfully treat patients in the future, I need to develop the skills now and absorb as much knowledge as possible. After completing my first semester, I am confident that I will receive the best education and clinical experience needed to thrive as a future optometric physician.
Can you see yourself as an optometrist?
Optometrists can make a big difference to people’s lives. Their skills and knowledge helps to improve vision and diagnose and manage a range of eye conditions. They can also alert patients to life changing and life threatening illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure or a brain tumour.
There are all sorts of opportunities and roles within optometry – you could be working with the general public and carrying out eye examinations in a high street optometrists, treating specific eye conditions in a hospital or clinic or carrying out essential research in a university or laboratory. You could also be working with people with low vision or developing and fitting cutting-edge contact lenses for all kinds of eye conditions. If you have the right skills, you could work all over the world and one day you could be running your own business or department.
Why Choose Optometry?
Optometry is a rewarding career that offers high job satisfaction, a rewarding career, and many career options through different modes of practice.
Changing Lives Daily
A visit to the optometrist has the potential to change someone’s life dramatically. As optometrists perform a comprehensive eye exam, they assess an individual’s vision and provide prescriptions for glasses and contacts; diagnose, treat, and manage eye injuries; detect disease in the eye; and provide services to rehabilitate some eye conditions through low vision rehabilitation and vision therapy.
Why become an optometrist?
Optometry is a rewarding career that provides excellent career opportunities, presents different modes of practice, provides great job satisfaction, and offers a good quality of life.