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Do not study optometry it is a terrible/bad career (long) watch

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    My Background: I graduated in 2008 and qualified as anOptometrist in 2009, I have been qualified 7 years. Since then I have worked asa resident for all large chain providers (Specsavers, vision express, opticalexpress, boots, Tesco). I have also locummed in over 20 practises. I did myresearch before choosing Optometry including work experience and reading up but after 7 years I have concluded: Optometry in the UK Is terrible career choice.Period. There are many reasons for this which I set out below:

    #1 You will not be seen as a “eye specialist” Optometryis presented very misleadingly by UK universities: They present it as though willbe some kind of “eye specialist who treats eye conditions and checks vision”.Believe me, you will not. 90+% of Optometrists work in a RETAIL setting whereyou will be expected purely to sell glasses or contact lenses. The generalpublic do not even think about going to YOU as an optometrist for eyeproblems/disease. They go to their GP or Hospital A and E and to be fair whyshould they go to you as an Optometrist?? All YOU can do as an Optometrist iseither refer them To their GP or hospital so why shouldn’t they just go straightthere? You have no power to given them a prescription of any type of eyemedication apart from Chloramphenicol which they could easily just buy from aPharmacist without you****unless you study independent prescribing for 2 years postgraduate – which less the 5% of Optometrist do as it is a lot of hard work andresponsibility and will get NO extra pay for doing it compared to a normalOptometrist, so why would most people bother? – They don’t. These days evenpatients have caught on to the fact that you are just a “glasses salesmen/women”as they often call us.


    #2 You will have extreme sales pressure As I said,90% of Optometry graduates will work in retail, and you will have incrediblystrong sales pressure thrust upon you by often unqualified managers who have no optical training themselves. Also it is worth adding that even qualifiedmanagers or Optometrist practice owners themselves encourage this terriblepractise. I have been qualified 7 years and it was basically the same everywhere I went, you will have targets like forexample you need to get 70-80% of patients to buy glasses per day. AnyOptometrist out there will tell you this is incredibly hard to do most of thetime. For example if you see an old pensioner who tells you they can’t affordglasses (which they often do) are you really going to FORCE them to buy glasses when they don’t need them/ or maybe already have glasses in good condition. This is what you WILL be expected to do. And if you do not you will be berated by sales managers. In some places it’s so bad the sales managers come and talk to the Optometrist after every patient they see to ask/berate why they didn’t “convert” the patient (get them to buy glasses). If you say to the sales manager things like “they didn’t need them” or “they couldn’t afford them” they berate you and tell you “YOU SHOULD OF DONE BETTER” In almost all practices having high sales figures is the ONLY way to get a pay rise, In every Interview I have had the first question you are asked is “what is your conversion rate for glasses sales” or “what your current sales targets are”


    #3 You will not be not respected by other Optometrists orthe public: I can’t tell you the amount of times someone in thepublic/patient has asked me “Do you need a degree to do this job?” These days patients have caught on to the fact that you are mostly just a “glasses salesmen” as they often call us. The general public just do not recognise this isprofessional job which requires you to complete a tough and challenging degree. Furthermore the lack of unity if the profession is a joke, Optometrists do not respect each other in the slightest, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard one Optometrist bad mouth another in front of patients!!! You don’t really see Doctors bad mouthing each other in front of patients since they have that mutual respect but it does not exist in Optometry – no one cares.


    4# You will have to work weekends and bank holidays Youwill be expected to work either Saturday or Sunday or sometimes both!. Thiswill likely cause havoc in your personal life as most people (whichprofessional jobs) work Monday to Friday, so forget about ever going out onFriday nights. You could say “so what doctors work weekends?” That’s right they do but their pay reflects that and is higher on weekends, whereas you as aresident Optometrist will not receive any higher pay for weekends, you willjust be expected to as that is the norm. Also Doctors/Police etc who work weekends are emergency services which we need - selling someone glasses is not an emergency service (see point #1)


    5# You will not be wealthy or have a comfortable lifestyle:Pay in Optometry is terrible, it is now common for newly qualifiedOptometrist in/around London to start on 27k or lower, and there is no yearlyincrease like you get in other jobs. I know Optometrists who haven’t had a payincrease in 5 years or even longer and the only way to get pay increases inmost places is by having high sales figures, which apart from beingimmoral/unethical is extremely difficult to do. On average after 5 years qualifiedyou will be on about 40-43k which is of course higher than the UK average butyou will need to work very hard for it. This includes severe sales pressure(point #2) never having weekends off (point #3). On the other hand had I havefriends who didn’t even go University and work in fields like recruitment whoalready earn more than that. The reason = pay is so low is two things: 1. too many Optometry graduates for what was always a niche field. 2. Large multiples like Specsavers pushing down salaries



    6# You will have repetitive job What you do will be EXACTLY the same from the day you qualify to the day you retire. I have put this point last as to be fair, having a repetitive job isn’t the worst thing loads of jobs are repetitive but it is INCREDIBLY BORING if you’re the kind of person to get bored quickly.


    My experiences relates to retail Optometry where I have 7 years experiance (this is where 90% of optometrists will go), my friends who are loccuming also tell me the situation is getting worse locum rates going lower and lower (there is actually a recent petition about this – I have no experience of working hospital Optometry where tiny minority will go but from what I understand pay is often lower then retail optometry. Also most hospital posts are part time so you would need to string together a hospital job and maybe a part time retail one to make a decent living.


    CONCLUSION: THINK VERY VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE CHOOSIING TOSTUDY/BECOME AN OPTOMETRIST THERE ARE A LOT OF CONS/DISADVANTAGES. MOST QUALIFIED OPTOMETRISTS I HAVE MET BADLY REGRET THEIR CHOICE BUT ARE TRAPPED (LIKE I AM)
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    what is the point in this?
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    (Original post by theBranicAc)
    what is the point in this?
    The point is to help people not make the same mistakes I did, Optometry is presented very misleadingly by universities. Me and the MAJORITY of my qualified collegues regret doing it.

    This might help someone as it is COLD HARD INFORMATION, which no university of lecturer in going to tell you, the intention is to help.

    If you dont believe me, print this off and show it to any qualified Optometrist who you know well and will be honest with you. Its very unlikely they wouldn't agree with the majority
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    I highly agree with this post. I was about to do Optometry but decided against it because of the work environment. Staying stuck in a boxed room and checking vision all day repeatedly after achieving AABBB (what glasgow require) is just ridiculous + all the sales pressure. I chose Radiography instead - taking in patients after a fatal car accident can be stressful. Working in A&E can be stressful. Its busy all the time and I would be constantly moving around. There is a lot of scope for progression i.e you can specialise into a variety of fields depending on what you want to do. Its definitely more demanding and stressful.

    I do feel sorry for you and thank you for making this post to warn how you and I feel. Although some people may like this type of work environment, its just not for me. Good luck to all the Optometry students.
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    (Original post by sameehaiqbal)
    I highly agree with this post. I was about to do Optometry but decided against it because of the work environment. Staying stuck in a boxed room and checking vision all day repeatedly after achieving AABBB (what glasgow require) is just ridiculous + all the sales pressure. I chose Radiography instead - taking in patients after a fatal car accident can be stressful. Working in A&E can be stressful. Its busy all the time and I'm constantly moving around. Theres a lot of scope for progression i.e you can specialise into a variety of fields depending on what you want to do. Its definitely more demanding and stressful.

    I do feel sorry for you and thank you for making this post to warn how you and I feel. Although some people may like this type of work environment, its just not for me. Good luck to all the Optometry students.

    Well done on your choice and good thinking! You really dodged a bullet by not going with Optometry.
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    Your thread links in excellently with this one

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=3930485

    Pharmacists face similar problems! And i thought Optometry was the better option for me for the same pay. Clearly not!*
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    'you will not be wealthy or have a comfortable lifestyle'

    Then you go on to say that after only 5 years you could be on £40k? Were you hoping to be sailing on your own yacht or something? Thats more than comfortable for a 9 to 5, laid back easy job.
    Sounds to me that you're just bad at your job and resent everyone else.
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    Someone should do one for Pharmacy. It's comparable to the bulshit of Optometry.
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    (Original post by ALittleLost25)
    'you will not be wealthy or have a comfortable lifestyle'

    Then you go on to say that after only 5 years you could be on £40k? Were you hoping to be sailing on your own yacht or something? Thats more than comfortable for a 9 to 5, laid back easy job.
    Sounds to me that you're just bad at your job and resent everyone else.


    Its not a 9-5 job. Most optometrists work 9-6 or often 10-7 or even 12-8 including unsociable hours like saturdays or sundays every week. You also have to work bank holidays in most places with no extra pay. Not exactly a typical 9-5 job isit?? In most jobs ive had you also dont get a lunch break if you are running behind (which will 100% happen as companies cram in as many appointments possible for profit)

    Coupled with extreme targets sales pressure and stress in most places. Id rather have a typical "9-5 job" as you describe and be on less

    Yeah you might be on 40k (which in todays money isnt much at all) but you will work extremely hard for it, with sales press, no proper weekends, it will affect your social life etc. And its not a laid back job there is every increasing threat of litigation from patients and many of my colleges have first hand experience of this. The problem is on the one hand you are supposed to be a clinician and on the other hand businesses want you to be salesman, IT IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST this happens in all companies and the GOC (general optical council regulatory body) are powerless to stop it - in fact most of the GOC directors are practice owners themselves who encourage it.


    Im probably the only qualified (7 years) Optometrist in the whole forum - I tell it like it is - COLD HARD FACTS - which I wish someone would of told me. Ask any qualified Optometrist you know well about what I have written (not someone you dont know very well who will sugarcoat it for you). Again ask the same Optometrist if they would ever recommend the career to anyone?
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    (Original post by optometrist123)
    Its not a 9-5 job. Most optometrists work 9-6 or often 10-7 or even 12-8 including unsociable hours like saturdays or sundays every week. You also have to work bank holidays in most places with no extra pay. Not exactly a typical 9-5 job isit?? In most jobs ive had you also dont get a lunch break if you are running behind (which will 100% happen as companies cram in as many appointments possible for profit)

    Coupled with extreme targets sales pressure and stress in most places. Id rather have a typical "9-5 job" as you describe and be on less

    Yeah you might be on 40k (which in todays money isnt much at all) but you will work extremely hard for it, with sales press, no proper weekends, it will affect your social life etc. And its not a laid back job there is every increasing threat of litigation from patients and many of my colleges have first hand experience of this. The problem is on the one hand you are supposed to be a clinician and on the other hand businesses want you to be salesman, IT IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST this happens in all companies and the GOC (general optical council regulatory body) are powerless to stop it - in fact most of the GOC directors are practice owners themselves who encourage it.


    Im probably the only qualified (7 years) Optometrist in the whole forum - I tell it like it is - COLD HARD FACTS - which I wish someone would of told me. Ask any qualified Optometrist you know well about what I have written (not someone you dont know very well who will sugarcoat it for you). Again ask the same Optometrist if they would ever recommend the career to anyone?
    So whats your plan now then since you hate it so much?
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    (Original post by ALittleLost25)
    So whats your plan now then since you hate it so much?
    Well for one thing to warn prospective students about the true state of the profession. To anyone considering it please carefully read what I have said and go out and do your own research on it. Ask an Optometrist you know well who will be honest with you - not someone you dont know who might sugar coat it.

    Im not really sure what my plan is now with tuition fees at their current levels going back to study is basically impossible since you cant get a 2nd student loan.

    So im stuck basically
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    (Original post by optometrist123)
    Its not a 9-5 job. Most optometrists work 9-6 or often 10-7 or even 12-8 including unsociable hours like saturdays or sundays every week. You also have to work bank holidays in most places with no extra pay. Not exactly a typical 9-5 job isit?? In most jobs ive had you also dont get a lunch break if you are running behind (which will 100% happen as companies cram in as many appointments possible for profit)

    Coupled with extreme targets sales pressure and stress in most places. Id rather have a typical "9-5 job" as you describe and be on less

    Yeah you might be on 40k (which in todays money isnt much at all) but you will work extremely hard for it, with sales press, no proper weekends, it will affect your social life etc. And its not a laid back job there is every increasing threat of litigation from patients and many of my colleges have first hand experience of this. The problem is on the one hand you are supposed to be a clinician and on the other hand businesses want you to be salesman, IT IS A CONFLICT OF INTEREST this happens in all companies and the GOC (general optical council regulatory body) are powerless to stop it - in fact most of the GOC directors are practice owners themselves who encourage it.


    Im probably the only qualified (7 years) Optometrist in the whole forum - I tell it like it is - COLD HARD FACTS - which I wish someone would of told me. Ask any qualified Optometrist you know well about what I have written (not someone you dont know very well who will sugarcoat it for you). Again ask the same Optometrist if they would ever recommend the career to anyone?
    You should try Pharmacy, it's even worse....we are always understaffed standing for 8-9 hours at a time. Customers are relentless, prescription after the other, I've even found myself sweating at times. I go to work to work, not for a gym session.

    This has lead to a lot of our staff walking out, so we are left with new untrained staff who leave after a few months after they realise how much bulshit is going on.

    Imagine having to serve customers, process prescriptions on the computer, date check, pop pills for a tray, fax all at the same time. It's pretty bad.
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    (Original post by fg45344)
    You should try Pharmacy, it's even worse....we are always understaffed standing for 8-9 hours at a time. Customers are relentless, prescription after the other, I've even found myself sweating at times. I go to work to work, not for a gym session.

    This has lead to a lot of our staff walking out, so we are left with new untrained staff who leave after a few months after they realise how much bulshit is going on.

    Imagine having to serve customers, process prescriptions on the computer, date check, pop pills for a tray, fax all at the same time. It's pretty bad.
    you probs should have looked at the career forecast before doing it at uni. Sounds like hell tbh
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    Retail in general is a tough environment....Community Pharmacy and Optometry should be classed as retail. You are on your feet the whole day serving customers.

    With retail you need to be well staffed, when you are understaffed, the amount of customers coming through the door is relentless. A lot of them don't care you have been standing for say 6 hours serving customer after customer, walking back and forth like a machine.

    If you work an office job, try out retail for a day and you will quickly realise the difference between standing for 10 minutes serving a customer and standing for 9 hours doing the same thing.
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    (Original post by fg45344)
    You should try Pharmacy, it's even worse....we are always understaffed standing for 8-9 hours at a time. Customers are relentless, prescription after the other, I've even found myself sweating at times. I go to work to work, not for a gym session.

    This has lead to a lot of our staff walking out, so we are left with new untrained staff who leave after a few months after they realise how much bulshit is going on.

    Imagine having to serve customers, process prescriptions on the computer, date check, pop pills for a tray, fax all at the same time. It's pretty bad.

    Wow that sounds really stressful too, a lot of my Pharmacist friends say similar things about it and I can see how there are many similar concerns.

    I cant help but feel sorry for us - we have both been screwed by the universities who make prospects seem great after graduating, and by our regulatory bodies who are completely powerless/toothless to help. As I have said a lot of regulatory bodies members/directors have their own practices and actually WANT things to continue as they are .

    Neither Pharmacy or Optometry (which has always been a niche field) control graduate number, because they are both so saturated this drives salaries down. Think about it theirs basically a pharmacist and optician on practically every road near enough.

    Our professions have been so devalued its unreal most the general public dont even realise you need a degree for our jobs - let alone a masters (pharmacy)
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    (Original post by ALittleLost25)
    you probs should have looked at the career forecast before doing it at uni. Sounds like hell tbh
    Yes it is hell, that's why everyone leaves.

    I'm just a dispenser, it's some side money for me, I only do a day a week.

    I'm actually a PhD economics students, but you need some extra money and nowhere outside retail will let me work for 8 hours a week.

    When your boss has to beg you to come in, something is seriously wrong with the place. They run it so poorly, when we get busy we can't run the place at all, I've witnessed 12 people queuing outside the pharmacy. But I don't care anymore, the management want to run the place to ground to save £8 an hour.
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    (Original post by fg45344)
    Retail in general is a tough environment....Community Pharmacy and Optometry should be classed as retail. You are on your feet the whole day serving customers.

    With retail you need to be well staffed, when you are understaffed, the amount of customers coming through the door is relentless. A lot of them don't care you have been standing for say 6 hours serving customer after customer, walking back and forth like a machine.

    If you work an office job, try out retail for a day and you will quickly realise the difference between standing for 10 minutes serving a customer and standing for 9 hours doing the same thing.

    COMPLETELY agree with this. people who have only worked office jobs wouldnt last a day in RETAIL - which is what community pharmacy and optometry is (and this is where 90% of graduates go)
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    OP why dont you open your own opticians and solve all your problems. A lot of unis say that thats what a lot of grads end up doing. Be your own boss.
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    (Original post by optometrist123)
    Wow that sounds really stressful too, a lot of my Pharmacist friends say similar things about it and I can see how there are many similar concerns.

    I cant help but feel sorry for us - we have both been screwed by the universities who make prospects seem great after graduating, and by our regulatory bodies who are completely powerless/toothless to help. As I have said a lot of regulatory bodies members/directors have their own practices and actually WANT things to continue as they are .

    Neither Pharmacy or Optometry (which has always been a niche field) control graduate number, because they are both so saturated this drives salaries down. Think about it theirs basically a pharmacist and optician on practically every road near enough.

    Our professions have been so devalued its unreal most the general public dont even realise you need a degree for our jobs - let alone a masters (pharmacy)
    Universities want money, so they increase the places on the MPharm and optometry courses. This over saturates the market place. I've seen locums being offered £14 an hour. The standard locum wage in my place is £19 an hour, it used to be £25+ before the financial crash in 2008.

    I always tell people pharmacy is like a factory, you are there to churn out as many items as you can. The more prescription items the better for the management in their AC offices.

    Pharmacists rarely get to use their knowledge, maybe twice an hour at most, most of the job involves churning out prescriptions as a factory or selling addicted people co-codamol. Yes this is another issue with pharmacy!

    I mean the only way to solve these problems is to increase staff numbers and wages so you don't have monkeys working for you. When you pay peanuts, you can expect the finest monkeys working for you. Our pharmacy is always understaffed, we need 3 people at all times (especially when its busy) but we always have 2. I've seen cases where there have been hours where the pharmacist is on his own, because no one wants to die and work the shift.

    So imagine a pharmacist having to serve customers, label prescriptions and check on his own, It's bulshit.

    What's worse is when everyone doesn't pull their weight, so it's all down to you. **** is left for you to do from 2 days ago and no one wants to take responsibility.

    I've told them for a year now, get more fuccing staff, but do they listen, no. Once I get my funding for the remaining years of my PhD I'm pissing off for good.
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    (Original post by fg45344)
    Yes it is hell, that's why everyone leaves.

    I'm just a dispenser, it's some side money for me, I only do a day a week.

    I'm actually a PhD economics students, but you need some extra money and nowhere outside retail will let me work for 8 hours a week.

    When your boss has to beg you to come in, something is seriously wrong with the place. They run it so poorly, when we get busy we can't run the place at all, I've witnessed 12 people queuing outside the pharmacy. But I don't care anymore, the management want to run the place to ground to save £8 an hour.
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