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Career Story: Pediatric Optometrist

Pediatric Optometrist

Job Title: Pediatric Optometrist

Type of Company: Private optometrist's practice in a suburb of Boston.

Education: BA, Biology •• OD, Optometry

Previous Experience: I worked part-time as an ophthalmic technician during my undergraduate studies.

Job Tasks: I am a pediatric optometrist specializing in visual processing disabilities. I work collaboratively with two other optometrists and an ophthalmologist. I perform comprehensive eye exams including subjective history, visual acuity measurement, muscle assessment, neurological evaluation, subjective refraction, binocular function analysis and ocular disease assessment including dilation and ocular photography.

I have worked collaboratively with various school districts doing core evaluations for students with learning disabilities. Since my specialty is visual processing efficiency, I perform numerous subjective tests to analyze proper visual processing. The results of these tests are used to assess the patient's visual component in learning disabilities.

During a typical day in my office, I examine between twelve and fifteen patients between of 18 months of age and 95, though eighty percent of my patient population is juvenile. I consult with other medical professionals regarding differential diagnoses and necessary referrals. I assist and manage office personnel, including receptionists, technicians and billing staff. I dispense various ophthalmic materials and special order patient contact lenses. I review ophthalmic articles and obtain eighteen hours of continuing education yearly. Occasionally, our office hosts an optometry student and I actively assess the student's proficiency and prepare him for national board review after graduation.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the rewarding experience of helping children to see and process information more efficiently. Visual processing is an important part of the learning process.

The worst part is giving a patient, or a parent of a patient, a diagnosis with poor prognosis. These cases are rare but still occur and are very difficult.

Job Tips: This is a great career for someone who likes physics, mathematics, and biology. This is also a great career for women who hope to balance career and family life in the future. As a mother of four, I find I am able to balance my career and home life within this professional framework.

Additional Thoughts: I love my job and feel very lucky to be in such a rewarding profession. This is a great career choice for either part-time or full-time work. There are many avenues of optometric practice: lecturing, education, private practice, franchise corporate, hospital-based or research.

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