Optometrists examine patients' eyes, test their sight, give advice on visual problems and prescribe and fit spectacles or contact lenses when needed. They are trained to recognise diseases of the eye, such as glaucoma and cataract, as well as general health conditions such as diabetes. They refer patients to medical practitioners when necessary, as well as sometimes sharing the care of patients with chronic conditions. Most of these activities involve the use of specialist equipment.
Most optometrists work in high street practices which may be independent or part of a regional or national chain. A smaller number work in hospitals alongside other healthcare professionals such as doctors and orthoptists. Some optometrists work in academic settings doing research and/or teaching, and also in the optical manufacturing industry.