India has a proud tradition of blindness prevention, being the first country in the world to implement a blindness prevention programme which focussed a model to address blinding eye disease. The integration of highly educated four years trained optometrists into the primary health services, is a practical means of correcting refractive error and detecting ocular disease, enabling co-management care between ophthalmologist and optometrist.
The formation of the Indian Optometry Federation as the single peak body of optometry in India and the soon to be established Optometry Council of India are key organisations working towards the development and regulation of optometry. The profession of optometry in India is not regulated, integrated into healthcare system or recognised by the majority of people in India as a provider of comprehensive eye care services.
According to the definition of World Council of Optometry (WCO),
“Optometry is a healthcare profession that is autonomous, educated, and regulated (licensed/registered), and optometrists are the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and visual system who provide comprehensive eye and vision care, which includes refraction and dispensing, detection/diagnosis and management of disease in the eye, and the rehabilitation of conditions of the visual system”
Fully qualified optometrists with a minimum of four years of training are qualified to:
- Prescribe the latest advances in spectacle lenses including progressive, aspheric, and safety & protective spectacles based on the visual needs of the patient,
- prescribe rigid and soft contact lenses including orthokeratology, frequent replacement, and extended wear contact lenses,
- conduct complex contact lens fitting for paediatric eye conditions, keratoconus, post-surgical complications, eye trauma, and corneal ectasia,
- prescribe vision therapy, vision training or orthoptic treatment for children with learning
- problems or common binocular vision disorders, including strabismus and amblyopia,
- provide low vision and rehabilitative services-vision aids assisting visually impaired people to use their functional vision more effectively,
- detector diagnose ocular conditions and associated systemic health conditions, and refer them to appropriate health care professionals, and
- offer counselling services on preventive vision care.
The services offered by an optometrist vary from country to country. The scope of practice of optometry in India is still poorly defined. The public does not have a clear understanding of the role and responsibility of optometrists in the healthcare system.
The Future of Optometrist in India
While optometry is not recognised by the Government of India as an independent healthcare profession, the Optometry Council of India will be a self-regulating body to accredit practitioners and optometry schools against a set of guidelines.
With input from the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and Indian Optometry Federation, the Optometry Council of India will develop a national system for the accreditation of optometry schools, colleges and training institutions through the implementation of a Common Minimum Optometry Curriculum and have competency skill level evaluations and assessments for each level of optometry. Registered practicing optometrists will be required to participate in continuing education courses to encounter the new challenges of changes in technology and practice spectrum1)De Souza N, Cui Y, Looi S, et al. The role of optometrists in India: An integral part of an eye health team. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2012;60(5):401-405. doi:10.4103/0301-4738.100534..
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||De Souza N, Cui Y, Looi S, et al. The role of optometrists in India: An integral part of an eye health team. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2012;60(5):401-405. doi:10.4103/0301-4738.100534.|