An optometry student using a slit lamp to exam a patient's eye

Why Optometry?

Learn more about this amazing profession!

$180,253
2021 average income for an optometrist

 

Earning Power

Review of Optometry reports that the average income for optometrists in 2021 was $180,253.

Career Satisfaction

Optometrists report high rates of job satisfaction and enjoy the sense of purpose that comes with helping others.

Bright Future – We Need You!

Does the U.S. need more optometrists? We strongly believe so.

Ohio State University Emeritus Professor of Clinical Optometry Dr. Robert Newcomb took a public health approach to predicting the need for optometrists in the U.S. He presented his findings during the Henry B. Peters Memorial Lecture at the 2018 American Academy of Optometry meeting.

Dr. Newcomb's data revealed the nation needs more optometrists based upon current population demographics and recommended frequencies for comprehensive eye examinations by age categories. Assuming 1,700 new optometry graduates and a 4% retirement rate of existing practitioners per year, he concluded the current number of licensed ODs in the U.S. were inadequate to meet the need for primary eye care services.   

U.S. Population / Eye Exam Frequency

U.S. Population

Age Range

Eye Exam Frequency

10.5 million infants

0 - 2 years 

one eye exam at 6 months of age

12.9 million pre-school children

3 - 5 years

one eye exam at age 3 and another at age 5

45 million school children

 6 - 18 years

every year

179 million adults 

19 - 59 years 

every two years

79 million seniors

60+ years

every year

44,000
current optometrists in United States

There are currently about 44,000 licensed optometrists in the U.S., each performing an average of 2,500 comprehensive eye examinations per year. But Dr. Newcomb's data predicted the need for 93,000 optometrists to adequately care for the U.S. population.


93,000
total optometrists needed to care for population

First-hand accounts of why our alumni chose to attend optometry school

"A career in medicine" -  Dr. Katie Greiner

“I always found eyes fascinating and I knew that I wanted a career in medicine but wasn’t too keen on blood and needles. I liked math and science and wanted a career that would challenge me in these areas. I was a patient of Dr. Dru Grant and Dr. Elizabeth Muckley (OD’97) when I got my first glasses and contact lenses and thought they were pretty impressive women with great confidence. My mom encouraged me greatly that I could be like them and from then on I wanted nothing more than to be an optometrist!”
Katie Greiner (OD/MS'09)


To help people" -  Dr. Khristopher Ballard

“I chose a career in optometry because I wanted to be involved in the healthcare field in order to help people. A bout of microbial keratitis during my senior year of undergrad led me to look into optometry as a profession. I always knew about glasses and contact lenses but not about ocular disease. I also knew I wanted a family and did not want to put that on hold for a three- to five-year residency. Optometry fit all of the criteria for an education and career path.” 
Khristopher Ballard (OD’11)


"It just clicked" -  Dr. Doug Bosner

“I knew that I always wanted a career that would help people, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I would achieve that goal. Early in my junior year at Marquette University, I went to a program put on by the College of Health Science ‘Intro to Medical NON-MD Careers.’ An Optometrist spoke and what she said just clicked … and the rest is history.” 
Doug Bosner (OD'02)


"An instant impact on someone’s life" -  Dr. Elizabeth Cockerill

Elizabeth Cockerill (OD'09)“When I was a junior in high school, my optometrists, Dr. Leah McConnaughey (OD’00) and Dr. Ralph Williams (BS’65)  asked me what I’d be doing after high school. I was always interested in math and science, and wanted to do something in the medical field (but not go to medical school) so they suggested I shadow them one day. They were kind enough to hire me to work there the summer before college; I liked how they formed long lasting relationships with their patients and could make an instant impact on someone’s life. I decided that summer that it was the right career for me.” 
Elizabeth Cockerill (OD'09)


"My father" -  Dr. Ashley Tuan

“My father has Bietti crystalline dystrophy, and there wasn’t much for the doctors to do for him. I wanted to understand the eyes and contribute to the profession of vision care.” 
Ashley Tuan (OD/MS’94)

 

 

"Optometry Gives Me Life"

courtesy of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO)