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Industries & Professions /
Employment for optometrists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The demand for eye care services will become greater as people continue to become more health conscious. Also, people are more likely to seek such services because they are better able to pay for them as a result of higher income levels, the growing availability of employee vision care plans, increasing Medicare and Medicaid coverage for optometry services, and the growing number of people who receive health insurance as a result of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Increased use of computers by people of all ages appears to lead to eyestrain and aggravated vision problems, creating more need for vision assistance. In addition, a growing elderly population—the group most likely to need eyeglasses and suffer degenerative eye diseases caused by diabetes—also will keep demand strong. Some of the needed eye care will be provided by physicians who specialize in the treatment of the eyes (ophthalmologists). But there will be more than ample opportunity for optometrists to supply a substantial amount of service. Employment growth will be offset somewhat by productivity gains (in the form of more support staff assistance) that allow for optometrists to see more patients. Those who are certified and have completed a residency program will have the best job prospects.