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.

  • Orthoptist

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

Fast Facts

  • Unavailable Weekly Pay
  • 5,500 workers Employment Size
  • Strong Future Growth
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 71.3% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 34.7 hours Average full-time
  • 42 years Average age
  • 65.9% female Gender Share

The number of Optometrists and Orthoptists grew moderately over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
from 5,500 in 2017 to 6,200 by 2022.
There are likely to be around 3,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created (a large number for an occupation of this size).

  • Size: This is a very small occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2017.
  • Location: Optometrists and Orthoptists work in many regions of Australia. Many work in Queensland or New South Wales.
  • Industries: Most work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.
  • Full-time: Many work full-time (71.3%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 34.7 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 42 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 65.9% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

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

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
20074000
20085200
20094200
20102000
20114800
20125400
20133400
20145600
20155900
20165200
20175500
20226200

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Assistance100.0

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 2017, 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
NSW36.731.6
VIC7.026.2
QLD42.719.7
SA4.76.7
WA8.010.8
TAS0.52.0
NT0.41.1
ACT0.01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-190.0-5.25.2
20-245.4-9.99.9
25-3427.0-23.623.6
35-4436.9-21.721.7
45-547.4-20.820.8
55-599.3-8.88.8
60-644.7-6.06.0
65 and Over9.3-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Health Industry VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1041.00 - Optometrists.

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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1041.00 - Optometrists.

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