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Opportunities for optometrists


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Thought it would be most appropriate to ask this question here.

I was an Air Cadet for five years as a teen and have always contemplated joining the Canadian Forces.  I'm currently an optometry student and from my searching, it seems that there are no opportunities available for optometrists in the CF; I was a little surprised at this because vision is so important in the Canadian Forces!  Is anyone aware of any opportunities available to optometrists? 

Not that I've seen - we do employ ophthalmic technologists on some bases to do some of the routine refractions and quick curbside consults for us...it actually used to be a sub-specialty course for medics but got phased out.

While there may be no opportunity for employment in the CF as an optometrist, you might be suitable for BioScience Officer. Contact recruiting, the worst that can happen is they say no. Another option is to join as an HCA and work on the side.
Thanks for the quick replies MM and ModlrMike!

That's disappointing.  Optometrists could provide a great service to the Canadian Forces - we pretty much handle all primary care for the eyes nowadays (authorised to rx meds etc.) and I'm sure due to the nature of the work, a lot of personnel do experience eye problems.  I have a few acquaintances who are ODs for the US military and it seems like such rewarding work.
I have a passion for the eyes and have always wanted to be an optometrist (following in my mother's footsteps) so I can't really see myself performing another role; I'm sure the MDs, DDSs, Pharmacists, RNs etc. on here can relate!
I guess there are CF ophthalmologists that handle the eyes?
We usually refer out to civilian ophthalmologists these days - it's been awhile since we had one in uniform...well Regular Force anyway.  Like Mike said, there are other potential options - the worst you can do is ask and they say no.

Just don't fall against your lens grinder and make a spectacle of yourself :blotto:
I've never touched a lens grinder and probably never will; I guess you must be confusing me with an optician.

Pretty witty though!  ;D
eyeod said:
I guess there are CF ophthalmologists that handle the eyes?

No uniformed opticians, ophthalmologists, or optometrists.  We use all contracted civilian services in garrison.

Oversees we use a 24 hour e-mail consult and telephone consult service to a ophthalmologist.  It is a 24 hour rotating service out of the US that is mostly staffed out of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Madigan Army Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center and Lackland Air Force Base.  Seems to work rather well. In my time in theatre there was no deployed coalition ophthalmologist, nor talk about getting one. We did get a weekly update from the US Ophthalmology Adviser on how we were doing with the cases that made it back to the US.  Seem that all was well with respect to casualty management for the most case. 

When I was down in the US doing some training in Texas they were running a four day short-course on military ophthalmology for people that were deploying. Has a cross section of Nursing Officer, Medical Officers, and PA's on the course.  Looked pretty interesting from the outline that I saw and people I talked with during break who were taking it.

Good luck on your schooling.

Thanks MC.  I think the best the thing for me to do is revisit the issue once I graduate.  I'm toying with the idea of a PhD and maybe could fill some sort of R&D role with that although I'd rather be a clinician.
Hi eyeod,
I found your comments on this forum, and I want to know if you are still interested in practising on a CAF base.
I know over 10 years have passed since your post. Are you in Ontario, and can you practice two days a week on base?
The current remuneration is $140.00 every two years. Other tests are billable with pre-authorization, OCT, Retina photo, and VF.
Space and diagnostic equipment are provided.