A hospital optometrist essentially performs the same duties as a traditional optometrist, but in a medical facility setting. These individuals work to optimize the vision of patients in a hospital who are unable to visit an optometrist's practice. Due to the specialized nature of this career, an individual is usually required to have a master's or doctorate degree in optometry. Some primary duties of a hospital optometrist include consulting with patients, performing vision tests, evaluating test results, recommending vision aids and maintaining patient records.
Consulting with patients is something a hospital optometrist will typically do on a daily basis. It's his job to meet with the patient and discuss vision difficulties or any other issues relating to the eyes. For example, a patient who wears glasses might be experiencing increased difficulty with seeing and inquire about higher prescription strength glasses. Due to the large degree of interaction, this career requires someone with solid interpersonal skills.
After an initial consultation, a hospital optometrist will usually perform some vision tests on a patient. For example, he might have a patient look into an optical refractor to determine the ideal glasses or contacts prescription. In addition, he will often check on a patient's overall eye health and make sure the patient doesn't have any eye diseases. Unlike at a normal optometry practice, he may be required to bring testing equipment to a patient's room.
Upon completing the testing, the optometrist will evaluate the patient's vision. This typically involves determining if all parts of the eye are healthy and if vision aids are necessary. If vision aids are necessary, a hospital optometrist will decide which prescription of glasses or contact lenses is best.
In the case of an eye disease, he will explain the details of the situation and recommend a corrective procedure. When a patient simply needs vision aids, a hospital optometrist will provide insight into different possibilities. For example, he may recommend using contact lenses and explain the different types of contacts available. Sometimes he might also recommend laser surgery to permanently fix the patient's vision. If this is the case, he will describe how the procedure works, what costs are involved and any other important factors.
Additionally, it's necessary for a hospital optometrist to maintain accurate patient records. This will usually include information like a patient's name, previous eye problems, test results and the prescription of glasses or contacts. Many times, a hospital optometrist will enter this information into a database for easy reference later on.