edcuationworld ISR
educationworld EUW

Optometry: Glowing future for optometrists

optometristOptometrists examine eyes and test sight to detect and measure defects if any, to determine visual efficiency and performance, disease, or other abnormalities through observation and with the aid of instruments.

Lauded by poets, romantics and lovers, eyes are the windows to an individuals soul. That apart they are useful from the viewpoint of reading, writing, and discharging everyday functions as well. Little wonder that eye care specialists, professionally known as ophthalmologists and optometrists, are incrementally being regarded as valuable and respected members of society.

An ophthalmologist is a qualified medical practitioner and specialist in eye surgery. On the other hand optometry entails providing ‘one-stop shopping for eye and vision care. According to a World Health Organization survey, India will require 40,000 qualified optometrists by year 2020 as against the 8,000 who have currently set up shop across the country.

Optometrists examine eyes and test sight to detect and measure defects if any, to determine visual efficiency and performance, disease, or other abnormalities through observation and with the aid of instruments. Following examination, optometrists prescribe corrective procedures to safeguard, improve, and correct vision through the use of spectacles, contact lenses, low vision aids, appliances, vision therapy, and control of visual environments. In case patients need medical aid and advice, optometrists refer them to ophthalmologists.

A degree in optometry qualifies the awardee in the science of examining the human eye and the visual system. An optometrist is trained not only in basic ophthalmic procedures but also in advanced procedures like eye angiography, prescribing contact lenses etc. Contemporary optometrists test vision capability with the help of sophisticated computerised equipment. Much of the work is clinic-based and optometrists may also offer or provide preoperative and postoperative care to cataract, laser vision correction and eye surgery patients. The work hours are regular and emergency calls minimal.

The study syllabus for optometry is an admixture of science and medicine. The degree programme is of four years duration (including one year of internship) resulting in the award of a B.Optom degree. Related training is available in the form of a three-year B.Sc in ophthalmic technology, two/ three-year diploma courses in optometry, or a two-year diploma course in ophthalmic assistance.

These study programmes are open to students who have completed Plus Two or equivalent with physics, chemistry, biology, and/or mathematics with at least 60 percent average in science subjects and 50 percent in English. Applicants should be at least 17 years of age.

Given the projected demand for 40,000 qualified optometrists, and only 6,000 of them around, the scope in this field is huge but there arent enough colleges providing study courses in optometry at the diploma or degree levels. The institutes offering four-year bachelors degree programmes in optometry are:

Bharati Vidyapeeth School of Optometry, Pune
College of Optometry and Ophthalmic Sciences, Nasik
Lotus College of Optometry, Mumbai
L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad
All India Institute of Optometrical Sciences, Kolkata
Elite School of Optometry, Chennai
Bengal College of Engineering and Technology, Durgapur
Aditya Jyot Institute of Optometry, Mumbai
Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry, Hyderabad
Laxmi Eye Institute, Powai
All India Institute of Optometrical Sciences, Kolkata
Elite School of Optometry, Chennai
Bengal College of Engineering and Technology, Durgapur
Aditya Jyot Institute of Optometry, Mumbai
Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry, Hyderabad
Laxmi Eye Institute, Powai
H.V. Desai Eye Hospital, Pune

Moreover three-year study programmes in ophthalmic techniques are offered by Mahatma Gandhi University (School of Medicine), Kottayam, and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. For admission into B.Sc (Hons) ophthalmic techniques courses, the entrance examination is held in June every year.

With public demand for well-qualified optometrists rising exponentially, postgraduate courses have also become available at the Elite School of Optometry, Chennai; Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College, Pune; and the Lotus College of Optometry, Mumbai. Manipal College of Allied Health Sciences, Karnataka, offers graduate and post graduate degree programmes in optometry.

Two-year diploma courses are offered by Dnyan Prabhodhinis Medical Trust School of Optometry, Pune; Christian Medical College, Vellore; Susrut Eye Foundation and Research Centre, Kolkata; School of Orthoptics and Optometry, Sitapur; School of Optometry, Gandhi Eye Hospital, Aligarh; School of Optometry, Janakalyan Eye Hospital Educational and Research Institute, Lucknow; and SNDT Womens University, Mumbai.

Appreciation of optometry as a profession is growing, but in India the lacuna is absence of legislation mandating minimal qualifications and licensing of practitioners. Hence theres a shortage of reliable optometrists,” says Anahita Baliwalla Dastur, optometrist and contact lens practitioner, working in her familys 105-year-old firm Baliwalla & Homi (P) Ltd in downtown Mumbai.

ADDITIONAL DIPLOMA. A fourth generation optometrist employed in the highly-respected opticians firm which started handcrafting gold frames in 1899, Dastur followed in her fathers footsteps and read for a degree in optometry in London, as India did not offer a degree course in those days.

After passing her Plus Two with flying colours in 1980, she enrolled in City University, London, and was awarded a B.Sc (Hons) optometry in 1984; she is a member of the College of Optometry. Subsequently, Dastur acquired an additional diploma in contact lens practice (DCLP) from London.

Currently, Baliwalla & Homi owns and manages three optical retail establishments in Mumbai (Fort, Dhobi Talao, and Parel) supported by a large optical instruments factory which supplies optical items to retail establishments, ophthalmologists, and hospitals. Dastur is also on the faculty of the Lotus College of Optometry (estb. 2000), Mumbai, one of the most highly regarded optometry institutions in the country.

Looking ahead, Dastur predicts a bright future for this ‘highly satisfying profession. With multinationals coming on the scene, theres quantum growth in the optical products industry. With young students hooked on computers, eye and vision care have become critically important even as theres a rising demand for contact lenses. The result: sky-rocketing demand for optometrists and sky-high salaries for them. This is one of the emerging new careers of the 21st century,” says Dastur.

Current Issue
EducationWorld July 2019
ParentsWorld August 2019
Diplomathon Ad
BKG Global School

WordPress Lightbox Plugin