Employment of optometrists is expected to grow by 33 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 11,300 new jobs over the 10-year period. Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, more optometrists will be needed to meet the health needs of an aging population. Also, the number of people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, has increased in recent years. These diseases frequently cause vision problems and require treatment from optometrists. In addition, an increasing number of insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, provide some vision or eye-care insurance coverage.
Because the number of optometrists is limited by the number of accredited optometry schools, licensed optometrists should expect good job prospects. Admission to Doctor of Optometry programs is competitive, however, as it is for professional degree programs in other fields. In addition, a large number of currently practicing optometrists is expected to retire over the coming decade, creating opportunities for new optometrists.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition