Myopic outlook fuels demand
Job prospects in optometry are very good. Every graduate of Hong Kong Polytechnic University's BSc (Hons) in Optometry programme - the only university course in Hong Kong that trains optometrists - is fully employed. But with only 35 to 40 places offered on the course every year, the number can hardly meet the market demand. Hence, the profession has long demanded that the university increase the number of places available.
Another problem the profession faces is that many optometrists will reach retirement age over the next few years. The Optometrists Board says that, as of end-March 2012, the total number of registered optometrists practising in Hong Kong stood at 2,032. Around 200, however, are expected to retire over the next couple of years. This again shows the need to train sufficient optometrists to take their places.
Optometry salaries are generally good and fresh graduates can be paid up to HK$28,000 a month. There are various employment options to choose from, such as clinics, government departments or chain stores. After two years, some optometrists will seek to go into private practice.
Patrick Cheng Wai-hung, president, Hong Kong Association of Private Practice Optometrists
As told to Chiu Po-sze