What is Optometry? | Southern College of Optometry
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Optometry is a rewarding career that allows you the opportunity to provide important healthcare services to your patients while making a meaningful, personal one-on-one contact at the same time.


Optometry was recently described by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten leading professions of this decade. Optometry students who choose to attend SCO come from all 50 states, and SCO's alumni successfully practice optometry in every state and several foreign countries.

Take time to watch and listen to some of SCO's students and alumni on video clips found throughout our website. You will hear a consistent theme – optometry is a rewarding career that allows you the opportunity to provide important healthcare services to your patients while making a meaningful, personal one-on-one contact at the same time.

Optometry will allow you to succeed by building relationships with patients, whether in small towns or large. Your expertise will impact the lives of your patients as you provide 21st century eye and vision health.

About Optometry:

Doctors of Optometry are independent primary health care providers who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures, as well as the diagnosis of related systemic conditions.

Among the types of treatment optometrists use are:
 
  • prescription glasses
  • contact lenses
  • vision therapy
  • low vision aids
  • pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of ocular disease

During an examination, the Doctor of Optometry also assesses general health conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and arteriosclerosis are often detected during a vision examination. The diagnosis of systemic manifestations of ocular disease is necessary to preserve and enhance the patient's quality of life. When appropriate, the optometrist refers patients to other health care professionals and frequently works with them in co-managing the patient's condition.

Vision constantly changes throughout a person's lifetime and, as it does, vision care needs change as well. Doctors of Optometry provide optometric examinations and treatment which may prevent a patient's vision problem from developing into a serious vision impairment.

Those who choose optometry enjoy challenging and rewarding careers. An optometrist may help a child whose school work is hindered by visual problems, a worker whose vision problem causes safety hazards on the job, or an elderly patient who may have needlessly given up reading.

Doctors of Optometry are the major providers of primary eye care in America, with approximately 40,000 optometrists practicing in over 6,000 communities nationwide. In many of these communities, optometrists are the only primary vision care providers.

The type of practice setting which the optometrist may enter is also expanding. While private solo practice is still the predominant mode of practice, more optometrists are entering into partnerships or group practices with other optometrists or other health care providers. Health maintenance organizations, the military, Veterans' Administration Medical Centers and hospitals offer optometrists unique opportunities to be an integral part of the health care delivery team.
 

The Doctor of Optometry enjoys the benefits of financial security, independence, and prominent status in the community. The 2013 American Optometric Association Economic Survey reported that the average net income for optometrists is $141,557.