Optometrist Kaimātai Whatu

Optometrists examine clients' eyes to diagnose and provide solutions for vision problems. They also diagnose, monitor and manage eye diseases such as cataracts.  

Optometrists need to be registered with the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board, and hold an Annual Practising Certificate.

Optometrists may do some or all of the following:

  • examine eyes to diagnose vision problems and eye diseases
  • provide solutions to vision problems, including prescribing glasses and contact lenses
  • monitor or manage eye diseases, such as allergies, cataracts and glaucoma
  • prescribe medicines to treat eye diseases
  • prescribe and fit glasses, contact lenses and other visual aids
  • advise clients on eyewear products, such as frames
  • advise on computer set-up and lighting in workplaces
  • run their own business.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for optometrists includes:

  • work in the health sector
  • work as an assistant to an optometrist
  • business management experience
  • scientific or medical research.

Personal Qualities

Optometrists need to be:

  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • patient and understanding
  • able to work with a wide range of clients
  • good communicators and listeners.

Skills

Optometrists need to have knowledge of:

  • the structure of the eye and how vision works
  • eye problems and diseases
  • lenses, contact lenses and frames for glasses
  • eye examination equipment.

Those running their own practice will need business management skills.

Conditions

Optometrists:

  • usually work regular business hours
  • work in clinical rooms, retail optical chains, private practices, hospitals and educational institutes.

Optometrists can earn around $60K-$80K per year.

Pay for optometrists varies depending on experience and where they work.

  • Optometrists with one to two years' experience usually earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.
  • Optometrists with three to five years' experience can earn from $80,000 to $120,000.

Optometrists who run their own optometry practice can earn more than this.

Source: NZ Association of Optometrists, 2017.

Optometrists may progress into management positions or set up their own practices. They may also take up academic positions in teaching or research, or work in the optical industry as suppliers of optical equipment.

Optometrists can specialise in a range of areas including contact lenses, diabetic management, geriatric and low vision, binocular vision, and children's eye care.

Years Of Training

5 years of training required.

To become an optometrist you must:

  • complete the five-year Bachelor of Optometry (BOptom) at the University of Auckland
  • be registered with the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board
  • hold a current Annual Practising Certificate.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Optometrist