Most optometrists work in private clinics, where they examine patients’ eyes by running a series of tests.
Eye examinations usually last about 20 to 30 minutes. Usually the optometrist begins by asking the patient what the eye exam has been done, if it is just a routine checkup, or if they have experienced a problem. If the patient has come to the consultation for a specific reason, the optometrist will have to determine what symptoms the patient suffers and how long they have had them.
The optometrist then asks questions to obtain information about the patient’s general health, including whether he suffers from headaches, for example, when reading. He asks about any illnesses he may have, such as diabetes, and about a family history of eye problems.
In a first stage, optometrists find out the patient’s ability to read with each eye without glasses or glasses.
The optometrist examines the eye tissues, using instruments that illuminate the patient’s eye and magnify it by various magnifications, to visualize and explore the cornea and retina.
They use specific tools to observe the fundus of the eye. They then perform additional tests, for example to measure intraocular pressure.
In addition to specific eye problems, optometrists can identify certain general health conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, that can show symptoms in the eye.
They can also use specialized instruments to detect and examine any eye injury caused, for example, by a particle of sand or the impact of a ball.
At a later stage of the scan, the optometrist tests lens combinations for one or both eyes to check the eye’s ability to focus.
These tests also detect errors or limitations in visual amplitude and analyze color vision. If the optometrist diagnoses a vision problem, look for a formula to correct it.
In general, optometrists advise patients on how to care for their eyes and treat specific problems.
During the eye examination process, optometrists must review and update patient records.
In some clinics, especially small ones, the optometrist supplies and prescribes glasses and contact lenses, and tests the accuracy of the lenses.
The optometrist must treat each patient as an individual. Each patient has particular and specific needs. For example, optometrists must evaluate each patient’s eyes to make sure they can withstand contact lens placement.
In large clinics, the optometrist works with the help of an optician. Experienced optometrists can train and specialize in prescribing contact lenses or correcting the vision problems of young children.
In hospitals, optometrists often diagnose and advise on the treatment of more serious eye diseases, often caused by accidents or illness.
Some problems require surgical intervention, in which case the optometrist must advise the ophthalmologist or ophthalmic surgeon on the diagnosis.
Hospital optometrists may specialize, for example, in the control and detection of diabetes, the treatment of glaucoma, or the follow-up of patients before and after cataract operations.
Companies that manufacture glasses or contact lenses hire optometrists to research lens theory and design, optical instrumentation, and optical design. Much of this work is done in the laboratory, so these optometrists have little contact with patients.
This work is also developed in some universities and academic research centers.