To the unhappy optometrist. Just offering a bit of perspective not criticism

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KingLhasaApso
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#1
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#1
I understand what you are saying and its good to have someone telling it how it is, but unfortunately you have just described most peoples jobs, its pretty much the same everywhere, there are millions of disgruntled graduates in jobs that don't meet their expectations on crap money without a pay raise in sight. I was a qualified accountant for ten years in the same office as other accountants who hadn't even studied accounts at uni but instead sports and hospitality and they earned more, its the same everywhere, you have compared your career to medicines which we all know is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to respected professions but if you've watched the news recently you'll have seen them striking and doing 70 hour shifts on dogshit money, and how hard do they study?!! Most conscientious students work really hard at their degrees and often have little return in terms of easy shifts, good money, and as for working bank holiday and weekends, nurses are given no extra for working them unless you deem abuse, being covered in sick, blood, faeces and away from their children and families as some sort of payment in kind. I dont want to be critical but I sense you really need to have look at whats really happening in the career market and maybe what your repetitive, warm, clean and not minimum wage job is really offering you. You may not enjoy it but at least you got a job in your chosen profession as many students can't claim the same after years of intensive study. Im not criticising just trying to be objective.


Original post

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
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ALittleLost25
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#2
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#2
No need to bother. Optometrist123 isn't even a real optometrist, just a dispensing one i'm sure of it, so he came here in a bitter attempt to shoot down the profession he never even got.
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mercuryman
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#3
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#3
(Original post by KingLhasaApso)
I understand what you are saying and its good to have someone telling it how it is, but unfortunately you have just described most peoples jobs, its pretty much the same everywhere, there are millions of disgruntled graduates in jobs that don't meet their expectations on crap money without a pay raise in sight. I was a qualified accountant for ten years in the same office as other accountants who hadn't even studied accounts at uni but instead sports and hospitality and they earned more, its the same everywhere, you have compared your career to medicines which we all know is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to respected professions but if you've watched the news recently you'll have seen them striking and doing 70 hour shifts on dogshit money, and how hard do they study?!! Most conscientious students work really hard at their degrees and often have little return in terms of easy shifts, good money, and as for working bank holiday and weekends, nurses are given no extra for working them unless you deem abuse, being covered in sick, blood, faeces and away from their children and families as some sort of payment in kind. I dont want to be critical but I sense you really need to have look at whats really happening in the career market and maybe what your repetitive, warm, clean and not minimum wage job is really offering you. You may not enjoy it but at least you got a job in your chosen profession as many students can't claim the same after years of intensive study. Im not criticising just trying to be objective.


Original post

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
What is your opinion on Mpharm?
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Rajy9
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#4
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#4
I wish I read this before i need to change my life totally..
Tbh I've got 9'years experience as a dispensing optician and lab tech now studying optometry..
Most of what he is saying is pretty much true but that's life you just deal with it
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thenextchemist
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#5
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#5
I know a person working in London or the outskirts of London who achieved a first in her optometry degree.
She is now earning £35,000 a year...



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ALittleLost25
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Bloom77)
I know a person working in London or the outskirts of London who achieved a first in her optometry degree.
She is now earning £35,000 a year...



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If you pass with a 2.2 you earn the same wage, she dun goofd
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JohnDoughBoy
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#7
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#7
OK, I made this account on the fly because her post ****ed me off.

1. 27K in London? Guess what? Leave. No wonder you're miserable.

2. I have a friend who has been a qualified Optometrist for a year. Salary? >50K.

3. Is the above an anomaly? Yes. But most that I know are above 30K after one year. One girl I know was on 20 odd K and got an offer for 45K which she had to turn down due to family reasons.

4. I know Optoms who have worked internationally - Canada, Australia, Spain - they say the UK still stands pretty well!

5. Yes, Optometry can be tough. Yes, there is pressure. Sure, it's repetitive. I know a guy who earns less than 20K in a manager position after 5 years in the same position, he works physically outdoors in the cold. He would laugh in her face if she complained to him.

6. None of these people have complained to me about conversions.
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Optometrist2567
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#8
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#8
Agreed. Such a disgusting comment to make to the profession. Any confident compete individual believes in the lenses and the benefits that are given by them. You don’t ‘sell’ you recommended knowing more than the person in your chair. Only someone who has no control in the room will ever make these remarks. If a doctor didn’t have the NHS system and saw a patient needing surgery would they shy away because they’re scared it’s about being a ‘sales person’. Not one of my patients have ask whether I was qualified or university educated (since my pre Reg) they assumed when they walked through the door. I’ve worked in over a 100 stores, each and everyone of these stores have never once dated and questioned one little part of my sight test or what I’ve prescribed or recommend.

Moral of the story. If your a competent human being who wants to earn a significant salary, care for people, with business opportunities. Apply optometry. Most wont regret it.
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Arnieee
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#9
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#9
I agree with the points raised about working in a retails setting and that in some places there is a lot of pressure on your sales and the repetitiveness of the job itself can make you want to slit your wrists… but if you agree to start on 27k after qualifying then you are a mug. This career is very much what you make of it and majority of people will remain working as a resident in a store due to concerns about job security and other insignificant factors. I started on 40k after qualifying and 6 months later went on to locum due to an opportunity which arose that got me out of my contract. Since i started locuming I’ve never looked back. Earning £350/400 per day means you can earn yourself £50,000 working 3 days/week. It’s a highly paid profession but i think the most attractive aspect of the job is the freedom it offers. Even if you grow to hate it in the end it gives you the flexibility to pursue other avenues on the side
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peanutswalnuts
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Arnieee)
I agree with the points raised about working in a retails setting and that in some places there is a lot of pressure on your sales and the repetitiveness of the job itself can make you want to slit your wrists… but if you agree to start on 27k after qualifying then you are a mug. This career is very much what you make of it and majority of people will remain working as a resident in a store due to concerns about job security and other insignificant factors. I started on 40k after qualifying and 6 months later went on to locum due to an opportunity which arose that got me out of my contract. Since i started locuming I’ve never looked back. Earning £350/400 per day means you can earn yourself £50,000 working 3 days/week. It’s a highly paid profession but i think the most attractive aspect of the job is the freedom it offers. Even if you grow to hate it in the end it gives you the flexibility to pursue other avenues on the side
Hi, Thank you so much for your insight. I am an accounting ACCA student and I am fed up of 9-5 desk job. It is not actually 9-5 I have to bring alot of work at home due to deadlines and all. It is just not for me. I am looking at courses in health care profession which can give flexibility and doesn't take years and years to complete and is also doable, not like ACCA where you fail and fail and just like that 3 years have gone by with you stuck on the final exams with no progress. So yea optometry sounds like a DREAM. It is social not a desk job, no work coming home with me and there is always high paying locum work.
One think I am unsure about is that how hard is it to get a job? Like with accounting auditing profession we have to apply to soooo many jobs and a handful call you to interview just to say they found a better candidate.
Are there alot of opportunities right after graduation? what sort of starting salaries should I be expecting?

Thankss
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RyanS101
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#11
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#11
(Original post by peanutswalnuts)
Hi, Thank you so much for your insight. I am an accounting ACCA student and I am fed up of 9-5 desk job. It is not actually 9-5 I have to bring alot of work at home due to deadlines and all. It is just not for me. I am looking at courses in health care profession which can give flexibility and doesn't take years and years to complete and is also doable, not like ACCA where you fail and fail and just like that 3 years have gone by with you stuck on the final exams with no progress. So yea optometry sounds like a DREAM. It is social not a desk job, no work coming home with me and there is always high paying locum work.
One think I am unsure about is that how hard is it to get a job? Like with accounting auditing profession we have to apply to soooo many jobs and a handful call you to interview just to say they found a better candidate.
Are there alot of opportunities right after graduation? what sort of starting salaries should I be expecting?

Thankss
The grass isn't always greener on the side. I don't know much about accountancy but have friends in the industry. Optometry is a great degree. It just depends on how much and what you want from it. to see the high paying locum rates you may have to travel to different areas. This is because the profession is becoming more and more saturated There are new optometry universities that keep opening up which are churning out more graduates-> driving down the salaries /locum pay. Yorkshire for example now has Bradford, Manchester , Huddersfield , that area is heavily saturated and the rates/salaries are lower now! To see the big pay also you will be working for one of the high street chains . there is a significant amount of focus on sales performance (i..e how many of your patients buy glasses).
an optometrist has a very important job, you screen and detect eye disease which can and will prevent sight loss. however there isn't much management of said conditions , rather you would refer on to an ophthalmologist (someone who has trained 5yrs of medical school , 2yrs as a junior doctor and then on average 7yrs as speciality trainee).

Working from home as you said wouldn't really work , although they are implanting remote refractions now where you can sit from home and control the machines -> again a way to drive down the salaries

Happy to discuss more if you want to message me. Honestly I would say stick with accountancy become charted , use that money to enjoy your spare time. Although I don't know your current situation so I can't really say

good luck
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