Research optometrist

Optometrists can find interesting and rewarding job roles in larger national and international companies which undertake research, development and deliver a range of healthcare services.

Job roles

  • Senior director for a territory or number of countries
  • Director of professional services or research
  • Manager of individual markets or research projects
  • Professional services consultant or manager
  • Practice development manager
  • Researcher
  • Trainer.

How to get into research

Routes into this kind of work can include academic work and achieving a PhD, community or multiple practice to gain clinical and management skills and working with professional bodies, like the College, to engage with research and education programmes.

For field work roles, such as practice development managers, there is a need for you to be a good communicator and have good presentation skills.

Professional services managers are more usually responsible for the development of education and training materials and this role requires people with an interest in researching and understanding materials and products.

Working in research

Key business areas might include pharmaceuticals, medical devices or consumer products. Working in this part of the sector means you will work more directly with other optometrists and healthcare professionals than with patients.

Some of the jobs involve field work, visiting practices to train optometrists and other staff on products and techniques. The research projects or programmes will be commercially funded. There is variety, if the responsibilities and often the jobs are not nine to five, some involve travel, but many will be weekday, rather than include weekend work.

Job tasks can include:

  • educating healthcare professionals through conferences and training events
  • visiting practices to train staff and demonstrate products, for example contact lenses
  • researching new treatments and devices
  • writing or commissioning journal articles
  • managing regional or professional teams.

Latest from Acuity

Research funding

Online CPD

Dr Lesley Doyle BSc MCOptom Prof Cert Med Ret Prof Cert Glauc

Researcher and locum optometrist

Where are you working at the moment? I currently have two roles. During the week I'm a researcher at the University of Ulster, funded by the Department for Employment and Learning investigating vision in children with Down syndrome and to keep my skills (and finances) up-to-date, I work as a locum (providing cover for optometrists on leave or for busy practices) at the weekend.

Dr Kamlesh Chauhan MCOptom

Training and qualifications

  • Clinical topics, such as dry eye, cataracts and contact lenses
  • Clinical skills, such as using OCT equipment and interpreting results
  • Communication skills
  • Facilitation and presentation skills
  • IT skills
  • Leadership and management
  • PhD – which might be sponsored externally, for example through The College of Optometrists
  • Research related training.

Training and development opportunities will be well-defined and include induction and ongoing education programmes on key clinical and commercial topics which might be product related, including dry eye, contact lenses and OCT.

Other opportunities might include positions on clinical councils for membership and industry bodies or specific training and qualifications such as Independent Prescribing.

We have developed CPD courses for eye health professionals with an interest in research. The courses are in collaboration with Ulster University and the the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).

College events help you learn, network and gain CPD points. We have a blended programme of both online and in-person events which include: Optometry Tomorrow - our annual national conference and exhibition; peer reviews; webinars; CPD events tailored to Independent Prescribers; and much more.

Online learning, using College and Docet materials can be an efficient way of keeping your skills up-to-date, as well as earning CPD points. The College offers training for assessor, examiner and supervisor roles.

Fellowships for research and industry optometrists include:

The College offers a range of financial and practical support for members undertaking research including travel bursaries, maintenance grants and funding for PhD research projects.