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Oct 23, 2020
25
2
Dear current optometrists,

I have been considering pursuing optometry for a year now but I am still very much on the fence. I was fortunate to have done very well in university so I have the potential to choose any career I’d like. I would greatly appreciate any advice you may have regarding optometry. I have listed the pros and cons of optometry as I see them. Please let me know if you feel that I am misguided. In short, I am interested in optometry since it seems to be a meaningful science-based career that would provide me with financial stability and a good work/life balance.

PROS
I am drawn to optometry because it seems relatively low stress, very meaningful, has good hours, and is “clean.” I also like how I wouldn’t be confined to a hospital setting and I would not necessarily be dealing with patients who are in critical conditions (life or death). I have also been working as an intern at a local optometry practice and I have enjoyed it there and I believe I would like doing the tasks I see the optometrist doing. Many optometrists I have spoken with seem very happy with their chosen profession as well (unlike medical doctors and pharmacists I have spoken with).

CONS
Some hesitations I have about pursuing optometry is that I have heard that it can be very difficult to find a full time job in a desirable area once graduating optometry school. Also, the number of specialties you can go into is relatively limited when compared to medicine or pharmacy. I also have concerns that since I would only be examining one organ for the rest of my life, it may become very repetitive and monotonous. In addition, the salary is far below several other health-related professions.

QUESTIONS
1) What would you do if you were in my position, knowing what you know now?
2) What alternative careers would you suggest that also have many of the pros I listed for optometry?
3) I would like to join a private practice but I’m not necessarily interested in owning my own practice. Would you still recommend this field to me?
4) Are there any other factors that you think I should consider?


Thank you SO MUCH for any advice you can share.
 

Optogal

10+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2010
427
61
Status (Visible)
  1. Optometrist
The average person won't get rich doing optometry. Medicine is a better pick financially, but if you can't see yourself shackled to a hospital throughout your training, then no use considering it.

Once you're on your feet and established, optometry is a nice gig. It may take some time to get there, but some people apparently never do as well.
 
Oct 23, 2020
25
2
Thank you for your response! In your opinion, would you say optometry will allow you to live comfortably and support a family? I’m not as concerned with becoming rich as I am about not having to constantly worry about finances.
 
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Snakedoctor1

5+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2014
288
186
Status (Visible)
  1. Optometrist
Dear current optometrists,

I have been considering pursuing optometry for a year now but I am still very much on the fence. I was fortunate to have done very well in university so I have the potential to choose any career I’d like. I would greatly appreciate any advice you may have regarding optometry. I have listed the pros and cons of optometry as I see them. Please let me know if you feel that I am misguided. In short, I am interested in optometry since it seems to be a meaningful science-based career that would provide me with financial stability and a good work/life balance.

PROS
I am drawn to optometry because it seems relatively low stress, very meaningful, has good hours, and is “clean.” I also like how I wouldn’t be confined to a hospital setting and I would not necessarily be dealing with patients who are in critical conditions (life or death). I have also been working as an intern at a local optometry practice and I have enjoyed it there and I believe I would like doing the tasks I see the optometrist doing. Many optometrists I have spoken with seem very happy with their chosen profession as well (unlike medical doctors and pharmacists I have spoken with).

CONS
Some hesitations I have about pursuing optometry is that I have heard that it can be very difficult to find a full time job in a desirable area once graduating optometry school. Also, the number of specialties you can go into is relatively limited when compared to medicine or pharmacy. I also have concerns that since I would only be examining one organ for the rest of my life, it may become very repetitive and monotonous. In addition, the salary is far below several other health-related professions.

QUESTIONS
1) What would you do if you were in my position, knowing what you know now?
2) What alternative careers would you suggest that also have many of the pros I listed for optometry?
3) I would like to join a private practice but I’m not necessarily interested in owning my own practice. Would you still recommend this field to me?
4) Are there any other factors that you think I should consider?


Thank you SO MUCH for any advice you can share.

Optometry jobs vary intensely based on your specialty and practice modality. There is a world of difference between refracting a patient every 10 minutes at America's Best, co-managing glaucoma patients with ophthalmology, and working with kids all day in pediatrics/vision therapy. I found early on that although I find ocular disease fascinating, I prefer solving binocular vision puzzles. So I opened a vision therapy practice, and now I work about 30 hours a week doing something I enjoy. It's anything but monotonous. When I worked at a commercial location right out of school, that was monotonous. However, I gained valuable experience.

You don't need to be an owner to make good money, although owners will certainly top the list. In my opinion, group practice is where it's at. If you are willing to go where the opportunities are, you can live a very balanced and fulfilling life.

The biggest negative for optometry across the board is student loan debt. School is far too expensive, and it's only going up. Think about that long and hard before you commit.
 
Oct 23, 2020
25
2
Optometry jobs vary intensely based on your specialty and practice modality. There is a world of difference between refracting a patient every 10 minutes at America's Best, co-managing glaucoma patients with ophthalmology, and working with kids all day in pediatrics/vision therapy. I found early on that although I find ocular disease fascinating, I prefer solving binocular vision puzzles. So I opened a vision therapy practice, and now I work about 30 hours a week doing something I enjoy. It's anything but monotonous. When I worked at a commercial location right out of school, that was monotonous. However, I gained valuable experience.

You don't need to be an owner to make good money, although owners will certainly top the list. In my opinion, group practice is where it's at. If you are willing to go where the opportunities are, you can live a very balanced and fulfilling life.

The biggest negative for optometry across the board is student loan debt. School is far too expensive, and it's only going up. Think about that long and hard before you commit.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s extremely helpful!
 
Jan 18, 2021
24
4
Dear current optometrists,

I have been considering pursuing optometry for a year now but I am still very much on the fence. I was fortunate to have done very well in university so I have the potential to choose any career I’d like. I would greatly appreciate any advice you may have regarding optometry. I have listed the pros and cons of optometry as I see them. Please let me know if you feel that I am misguided. In short, I am interested in optometry since it seems to be a meaningful science-based career that would provide me with financial stability and a good work/life balance.

PROS
I am drawn to optometry because it seems relatively low stress, very meaningful, has good hours, and is “clean.” I also like how I wouldn’t be confined to a hospital setting and I would not necessarily be dealing with patients who are in critical conditions (life or death). I have also been working as an intern at a local optometry practice and I have enjoyed it there and I believe I would like doing the tasks I see the optometrist doing. Many optometrists I have spoken with seem very happy with their chosen profession as well (unlike medical doctors and pharmacists I have spoken with).

CONS
Some hesitations I have about pursuing optometry is that I have heard that it can be very difficult to find a full time job in a desirable area once graduating optometry school. Also, the number of specialties you can go into is relatively limited when compared to medicine or pharmacy. I also have concerns that since I would only be examining one organ for the rest of my life, it may become very repetitive and monotonous. In addition, the salary is far below several other health-related professions.

QUESTIONS
1) What would you do if you were in my position, knowing what you know now?
2) What alternative careers would you suggest that also have many of the pros I listed for optometry?
3) I would like to join a private practice but I’m not necessarily interested in owning my own practice. Would you still recommend this field to me?
4) Are there any other factors that you think I should consider?


Thank you SO MUCH for any advice you can share.
I’d go into medicine or dental.
 

Optogal

10+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2010
427
61
Status (Visible)
  1. Optometrist
Financially, I know those make more sense. But I don’t know if I could ever like those jobs. I would hate to spend all of that time and money to end up in a job I don’t even like.
Having worked and seen people I know work, I can say this.

Our society puts a lot of emphasis on things like "self-fulfillment" and "self-actualization". You know, the fairy tale of find the person you love and get married to them, do the thing you love, etc. The thing is, all these things (medicine, optometry, dentistry) are jobs. Jobs are work. A "good" job is one you don't want to go to 2 days a week, that you tolerate 2 days a week and that you are happy to go to 1 day a week.

My point is I never considered dentistry because I didn't like the thought of looking into mouths. Now, I think it's a good job. If you are willing to do the work, you get paid well and you're well respected. Does it really matter that you have to look into mouths, if you can get paid 1.5 or 2x more to do that, compared to looking at eyes? Is your "love" of optometry that important that you'd rather work until 65 doing optometry rather than retiring at 50 as a dentist? These arguments are figure-of-speech, but I hope you get what I'm trying to say. Pay is a big factor in job satisfaction and I'm pretty sure in many cases, dentistry >> optometry.
 
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percyeye

7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2011
265
326
Status (Visible)
  1. Optometrist
It doesn't matter what profession you go into when looking for a job in a desirable area. They are all oversaturated from medicine, dentistry, optometry etc because everyone wants to live there. So just pick something you'd actually like doing for the rest of your life.
 
Jan 18, 2021
24
4
I think you will make more money in dentistry or medicine. Also, both professions are much more challenging.
 
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