Optometrist Salary Guide

A Look at the Optometrist Salary

An optometrist is commonly known as an eye doctor who works with patients of all ages. He is the one who examines a patient’s eyes to make sure there are no abnormal conditions, diseases or vision problems. He can prescribe cheap contact lenses for comfortable vision, glasses or a drug to deal with an eye disease. An optometrist salary varies according to a variety of factors.

The State He Works In

Although the median salary for an optometrist in the United States is $104,254, his actual salary will depend on what state he is working in. Idaho has the lowest median optometrist salary at a yearly income of just over $70,000. Louisiana, on the other hand, has the highest median income at $145,550.

This simply means that those on the low end of the scale earn less than $50,000 a year. The highest paid optometrists can expect to earn more than $166,000 a year. The other optometrists earn somewhere in between these two salaries.

The City Where He Works

Interestingly, some optometrists working in smaller metropolitan areas earn more than their colleagues who work in large metropolitan cities. This is generally due to the fact that there are fewer optometrists working in a smaller city, and as a result, each one makes more money. Since the general consensus is that more money can be made in the large metropolitan areas, more optometrists go to these areas and generally end up making less money.

Variables that Influence the Optometrist Salary

There are a number of variables that determine the salary that an optometrist will make. One variable that will make the most difference is the amount of experience he has. Those just beginning their career can expect to make less than one who has had several years of experience. If an optometrist has taken the time to specialize in a specific area, he can expect to make even more.

The work environment will play a significant part in the salary. Of the 26,000 plus optometrists who work in the United States, some work for hospitals, outpatient centers, surgical centers, schools, the government or in the offices of other physicians or ophthalmologists. Others who have their own office and are self-employed tend to make considerably more, but there is a lot more work that falls on their shoulders. They do have the advantage that they can set their own hours and work past retirement age if they want to.

Fringe Benefits

The fringe benefits an optometrist receives will depend in a large part on where he is working and how large the organization is. Most employers will give their workers two weeks of paid vacation and a week of sick leave every year. If the employee doesn’t need their sick leave some employers allow them to save it up to be used at a time of crisis. Add to these the opportunity to continue studying, paid holidays and excellent retirement plans and the optometrist salary continues to grow. Just the fringe benefits alone can add up to $10,000 to $20,000

Optometrist Definition

Optometrists, also known as Doctors of Optometry or DOs, are health professionals who provide vision care. They examine a patient’s eyes to diagnose problems, such as farsightedness or nearsightedness. Additionally, optometrists test the patient’s eyes for the perception of color, depth, and ability to coordinate and focus. After the diagnosis, patients may be prescribed with water-gradient contacts for exceptional comfort or eyeglasses, or the optometrist may suggest other treatments, such as low-vision rehabilitation or vision therapy.

As part of the optometrist definition, a DO will test patients who suffer from glaucoma. They are also able to diagnose other diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes and will work with the patients’ primary care physician for treatment when necessary. Not only do optometrists examine and diagnose eye problems, but they also treat diseases of the eye. Some will also provide before and after surgical care for patients with cataracts, and those who have completed corrective laser surgery. Additionally, optometrists encourage their patients to eat healthy foods and practice a hygienic lifestyle to prevent from being infected with eye diseases.

Optometrists may work as a general practitioner, or they can specialize in certain fields, including:

• Pediatrics. In pediatrics, they will examine and treat children’s vision problems. This specialization is popular as children and teenagers have an increased frequency of vision problems. For instance, many children suffer sightedness or myopia, amblyopia, also known as lazy eyes, and squinting or strabismus. These conditions can be corrected through therapy and training conducted by optometrists.

• Geriatrics. They also specialize in treating elderly patients with eye problems due to aging including cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, diabetes, macular degeneration, and hypertensive retinopathy. Geriatric optometrists work closely with an ophthalmologist to provide postsurgical care and to monitor the patient after the treatment process.

Other optometrists will specialize in some areas, such as vision therapy and contact lenses. They often work in group practices where each member practices their own specialty, but at the same time is a full-scope practitioner. For instance, an optometrist who is an expert in low-vision rehabilitation will help a legally blind patient to read by customizing a magnifying device. The other will specialize in sports vision, ocular disease or head trauma, or occupational vision that helps workers to protect their eyes from injury or strain with special protective devices.

Optometrist definition also emphasizes on working in a well lit, clean and comfortable office. Generally, they work as a private practitioner as they handle all the administrative tasks, such as keeping all paper and electronic records, contacting the suppliers to order equipment, and materials. Additionally, they run the office, build their client base, and recruit employees and staff. The stress level in this occupation is moderate as they can be their own boss by opening their own private practice.

In concluding, through the optometrist definition, the future of the profession is bright, and the opportunity for building a career is significant. As the population ages, the number of people who suffer from eye problems also increases. Thus, more optometrists are needed to care and correct their vision problems.