Optometrists and Orthoptists perform eye examinations and vision tests, prescribe lenses, other optical aids and therapy, and diagnose and manage eye movement disorders and associated sensory problems.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing may be required.

Tasks

  • examining patients' eyes and setting tests to determine the nature and extent of vision problems and abnormalities
  • assessing ocular health and visual function by measuring visual acuity and refractive error, and testing the function of visual pathways, visual fields, eye movements, freedom of vision and intraocular pressure, and performing other tests using special eye test equipment
  • detecting, diagnosing and managing eye disease, referring patients to, and receiving referrals from other health providers, and prescribing medications for the treatment of eye disease
  • diagnosing eye movement disorders and defects of binocular function
  • prescribing lenses, contact lenses and low vision aids, and checking suitability and comfort
  • prescribing exercises to coordinate movement and focusing of eyes
  • managing programs for eye movement disorders, and instructing and counselling patients in the use of corrective techniques and eye exercises
  • advising on visual health matters such as contact lens care, vision care for the elderly, optics, visual ergonomics, and occupational and industrial eye safety
  • conducting preventative screening programs
  • conducting rehabilitation programs for the visually impaired

Job Titles

  • Optometrist
  • Orthoptist
  • Optometrist

    Performs eye examinations and vision tests to determine the presence of visual, ocular and other abnormalities, ocular diseases and systemic diseases with ocular manifestations, and prescribes lenses, other optical aids, therapy and medication to correct and manage vision problems and eye diseases. Registration or licensing is required.

    Specialisations: Occupational Hygienist, Workplace Rehabilitation Officer

  • Orthoptist

    Diagnoses and manages eye movement disorders and associated sensory deficiencies. Registration or licensing may be required.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    Unavailable
  • Future Growth

    strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    6800
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    52.9%
  • Female Share

    47.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    61.4%

Find Vacancies

This is a small occupation employing 6800 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create up to 5,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Optometrists and Orthoptists work in most parts of Australia.
  • They nearly all work in Health Care and Social Assistance.
  • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 34.6 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • The average age is 41 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 5 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

In 2016, employers in some locations found it hard to fill vacancies for Optometrists. To find out more, view the Department of Employment's latest skill shortage research opens in a new window.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
20053600
20065400
20073400
20086300
20092200
20103500
20115100
20124400
20134400
20145300
20156800
20207500

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryOptometrists and OrthoptistsAll Jobs Average
Full-time61.468.4
Part-time38.631.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)34.640

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Health Care and Social Assistance97.9
Education and Training2.1

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateOptometrists and OrthoptistsAll Jobs Average
NSW35.631.8
VIC25.325.5
QLD27.119.8
SA5.56.8
WA211.2
TAS4.72
NT01.1
ACT01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketOptometrists and OrthoptistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190-5.45.4
20-244.8-9.99.9
25-3434.9-23.423.4
35-4423.5-21.721.7
45-5415-21.121.1
55-5910.6-8.78.7
60-642-5.95.9
65 and Over9.2-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryOptometrists and OrthoptistsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males52.9Males53.6
Females47.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is usually needed to work in this job. Registration or licensing may be required.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Optometrists and Orthoptists who are caring and empathetic and can work well in a team, with the ability to communicate with a diverse range of people.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Medicine and Dentistry

    95% Important

    Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

  2. Customer and Personal Service

    90% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  3. Biology

    86% Important

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

  4. Psychology

    77% Important

    Human behaviour and performance; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

  5. English Language

    76% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Occupational Information Network Optometrists Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Getting Information

    94% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  2. Documenting/Recording Information

    92% Important

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  3. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

    91% Important

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  4. Assisting and Caring for Others

    90% Important

    Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support to people such as co-workers, customers, or patients.

  5. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

    86% Important

    Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

Occupational Information Network Optometrists Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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