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About Optometry

Optometry Is a Rewarding Career, and the Future Looks Bright.

Optometry was described by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten leading professions of this decade. SCO accepts applicants from across the country, and alumni successfully practice optometry in every state, as well as several foreign countries.

Take some 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 connection at the same time.

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 connection at the same time.

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


What to Expect from a Career in 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.

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.

Examples of the types of treatments optometrists use are:

  • Prescription Glasses
  • Contact Lenses
  • Vision Therapy
  • Low Vision Aids
  • Pharmaceutical Agents for the Treatment of Ocular Disease


The Important Impact of Optometrists

Vision constantly changes throughout a person's lifetime and—as it does—vision care needs to 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 can help everyone from a child whose school work is hindered by visual problems, to a working adult whose vision problem causes safety hazards on the job, to an elderly patient who may have needlessly given up reading.

Optometrists in the U.S.

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

Where Optometrists Work

While private solo practice is still the predominant mode of practice, more optometrists are entering into partnerships or group practices with other optometrists or health care providers every day. 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 in a variety of settings.

Average Optometry Salary

Data from the American Optometric Association’s 2021 Survey of Optometric Practice shows the average net income for all optometrists to be $185,453, while the owner optometrists in private practice reported an average net income of $226,581.


Ready to Explore a Career in Optometry?

Optometry is a rewarding career and field of study. Learn more about why our students choose to pursue their optometry education here at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN by visiting our Why SCO? page.

Here are some reasons why SCO attracts so many exceptional students:

  • 99.2% Ultimate Board Passage Rate

  • 32 Residency Programs

  • 3,540 Patient Encounters Before Graduation

Schedule a tour today, apply online or request more information on the optometry program at SCO to help you make your decision.

Schedule a Tour.       Request More Info.         Apply Online