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Optometrists specialise in disorders of vision – long and short sight – and diseases and infections occurring in or affecting the eyes, such as cataracts and diabetes. They work with patients of all ages and usually practice from both private and NHS clinics or hospitals.
They are trained to examine patients’ eyes and prescribe and fit contact lenses and glasses. In appropriate cases, they will refer patients to other healthcare professionals such as general practitioners, diabetologists or ophthalmologists.
Optometrists who focus on specific areas of the eye or particular disorders sometimes go on to work in academic settings, either teaching, researching or both.
Those who run their own practices will often be responsible for administration and day to day operations, such as ordering stock and managing the retail aspects of a practice, maintaining premises and training staff.