DEFINITION – Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye” (American Optometric Association [AOA]).
Today, the profession of optometry involves much more than just prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses. Optometrists are trained to evaluate any patient’s visual condition and to determine the best treatment for that condition. Optometrists are viewed increasingly as primary care providers for patients seeking ocular or visual care. Acharya is among the best colleges for optometry.
Conditions typically cared for by Optometrists are:
Corneal abrasions, ulcers, or infections; glaucoma; and other eye diseases that require treatment with pharmaceutical agents, management and referral when necessary;
Visual skill problems such as the inability to move, align, fixate, and focus the ocular mechanism in such tasks as reading, driving, computer use, and in tasks related to hobbies and employment;
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The inability to properly process and interpret information requiring perception, visualization, and retention, such as that needed for most learning tasks;
Poor vision–body coordination when one interacts with the environment, as in sports, occupations, and other everyday activities requiring spatial judgments; and
Clarity problems such as simple near- or far-sightedness or complications due to the aging process, disease, accident, or malfunction.
Optometrists also work to:
Diagnose, manage, and refer systemic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and others that are often first detected in the eye;
Provide pre- and postsurgical care of cataracts, refractive laser treatment, retinal problems, and other conditions that require pre- and postsurgical care; and
Encourage preventative measures such as monitoring infants’ and children’s visual development, evaluating job/school/hobby–related tasks, and promoting nutrition and hygiene education.
Health sector in India
Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sector, both in terms of revenue and employment. Healthcare comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private players. Acharya is among top BSc Optometry colleges in India.
Indian healthcare delivery system is categorized into two major components, public and private. The Government, i.e. public healthcare system, comprises limited secondary and tertiary care institutions in key cities and focuses on providing basic healthcare facilities in the form of primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in rural areas. The private sector provides a majority of secondary, tertiary, and quaternary care institutions with major concentration in metros and tier I and tier II cities.
India’s competitive advantage lies in its large pool of well-trained medical professionals. India is also cost competitive compared to its peers in Asia and Western countries. The healthcare market can increase three-fold to Rs. 8.6 trillion (US$ 133.44 billion) by 2022. In Budget 2021, India’s public expenditure on healthcare stood at 1.2% as a percentage of the GDP.
India is a land full of opportunities for players in the medical devices industry. The country has also become one of the leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities, thus catering to a greater proportion of population. Besides, Indian medical service consumers have become more conscious towards their healthcare upkeep.
Though 1 year of COVID-19 has changed what it’s like to work in healthcare but while some industries may never fully recover from pandemic-related losses, healthcare will.
OUTLOOK FOR THE PROFESSION
With favorable working conditions, regular hours, and a minimum of emergency calls, optometric careers offer many options and great freedom in choosing a location to live and practice. Optometrists provide the majority of primary vision care administered. A large number of people in India wear glasses or contact lenses. Even people who may not require corrective eyewear need regular care to prevent, detect, and manage eye disease.
MODES OF PRACTICE
Optometrists practice in many different kinds of situations and with different types of employers.
Individual Private Practice – The individual private practitioner usually is a primary care optometrist with a standalone practice. Such practitioners may specialize in fields such as
- Contact lenses
- Low vision/geriatrics
- Vision therapy.
- An individual practice may be in a variety of settings and locations, ranging from a freestanding to a professional building.
Partnership or Group Practice – This mode of practice is very similar to an individual practice except that there are two or more optometrists in the group. Each member of the group may specialize in a different area of practice. This is an increasingly popular form of practice.
Retail/Optical Settings – In this setting, optometrists usually rent space from or are employed by a large retail outlet. However, they remain independent practitioners.
Optometric/Ophthalmologic Professional Settings – The optometrist practices in conjunction with the ophthalmologist and comanages the patients in this setting.
Military/Public Health – Optometrists are commissioned officers who work in a hospital or clinical setting with other health care practitioners.
Interdisciplinary Care – The optometrist works with other health care practitioners in a hospital-based or clinic setting.
Academic/Research – The OD either teaches about primary care or performs research in a university setting. Academics pursue additional training after optometry school and have completed a residency, masters of Science, or doctoral program.
Corporate/Industrial – Optometrists are employed by large corporations to perform clinical research or to provide patient care in a clinic within the corporate setting.
Consultants – Optometrists work as consultants to the ophthalmic industry, education, sports (high school to professional), and government.
AREAS OF EMPHASIS
Primary Eye Care: Primary eye care includes promotion of eye health, prevention and treatment of conditions that may lead to visual loss. Optometrists can work in different fields e.g. Primary Eye Care-Dept. of Veteran Affairs, Primary Eye Care-Indian Health Services.
Cornea and Contact Lenses: This field is devoted to topics and practice furthering their understanding in the field of contact lenses, cornea, diagnosis and treatment of anterior segment disease, refractive surgery, and related technologies
Geriatric Optometry: An optometrist specializing in geriatric care must develop skills that include management of degenerative eye disease, rehabilitation of impaired visual functions, assessment of psychosocial dysfunction, and interdisciplinary health team participation
Pediatric Optometry: A field in Optometry specializing in juvenile patients. When you’re a Pediatric Optometrist, your job is to diagnose and treat vision problems, just like a regular Optometrist
Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation: This field is devoted to topics and practice relevant to dysfunctions of the eye movement, accommodative, binocular and perceptual systems, reduced visual acuity and compromised visual fields.
Low Vision Rehabilitation: This field is devoted to topics and practice relevant to low vision patients.
Ocular Disease: This field is devoted to topics and practice relevant to the diagnosis, management and treatment of ocular disease.
Refractive and Ocular Surgery: The majority of the clinical and didactic curricula will be devoted to topics and practice relevant to refractive and ocular surgery.
Community Health Optometry: The field is devoted to community based optometric care with an emphasis on public health and cultural issues that impact care.
Brain Injury Rehabilitation: The field is devoted to topics and practice relevant to assessment, management, and interdisciplinary rehabilitation of patients with brain injury and neurologic disease.
ADMISSION CRITERIA (RGUHS UNIVERSITY)*
A candidate desiring to join the four years programme leading to the B.Sc. Optometry degree
should have passed the Two year Pre University examination conducted by Department of Pre University Education, Karnataka State with English as one of the subjects and Physics, Chemistry , Biology / Maths as optional subjects. The candidate shall have passed the subjects of English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology / Maths individually also.
Shall have passed any other examination conducted by Boards/Councils/Intermediate examination established by State Governments/Central Government and recognized as equivalent to two year Pre University examination by the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences/Association of Indian Universities (AIU) with English as one of the subjects and Physics, Chemistry and Biology as optional Subjects and the candidate shall have passed subjects of English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology / Maths individually also.
Shall have passed Intermediate examination in Science of an Indian University/Board/Council or other recognized examining bodies with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, which shall include a practical test in these subjects and also English as compulsory subject. The candidate shall have passed subjects of English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology / Maths individually also.
Shall have passed first year of the three year degree course of a recognized University with Physics, Chemistry and Biology including a practical test in these subjects provided the examination is an ‘University Examination’ provided that the candidate shall have passed subjects of English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology / Maths individually in the pre university or other examinations mentioned in the clauses above.
Shall have passed B.Sc. Examination of an Indian University, provided that he/she has passed the B.Sc. examination with not less than two of the following subjects : Physics, Chemistry, Biology (Botany, Zoology) provided the candidate has passed subjects of English, Physics, Chemistry Biology / Maths individually in the qualifying examinations mentioned in clauses a, b and c.
Candidates with two years diploma from a recognized Government Board in Optometry shall have passed class 12 [10+2] with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, as subjects or candidates with 3 years diploma from a recognized Government Board in Optometry should have studied Physics, Biology and Chemistry as subjects during the tenure of the course.
Lateral entry to second year of B.Sc.Optometry for candidates who have passed diploma program from the Government Boards and recognized by RGUHS, fulfilling the conditions specified above under (f) and these students are eligible to take admission on lateral entry system only in the same subject studied at diploma level from the academic year 2008-09.
*can vary from university to university
Residencies in the profession of optometry are optional and not required either for licensure or for the establishment of a specialty practice. Residencies are typically one year in duration. Most often, residencies are located within hospitals, VA facilities, outpatient clinics, or the clinical facilities of the various colleges and schools of optometry. Residencies vary within areas of emphasis.
Graduate Degree Programs
A master’s degree can be sought by someone who has an Optometry degree. This individual usually plans to practice optometry but also wishes to be grounded in the basics of research to do some clinical research within his or her practice.
A PhD degree is most often sought by someone intending to go into full-time research and/or teaching. For those possessing a PhD, opportunities exist not only to teach and do research at a college or university but to engage in research within the corporate and government sectors
Optical retail chain outlets in India
Optical retail chain outlets in India dispense spectacles, contact lenses and sunglasses as per the requirement of the patients.
There are approximately 800 optical retail chain outlets in India according to the experts in that particular field 15 % optical retail chains belong to the: Lawrence¬ & Mayo, Bon Ton opticals, GKB opticals, Titan eye plus, Himalaya opticals, Vision Express and Ben Franklin. Retail sector is fragmented and 85% of the outlets are mostly standalone, small shops in local shopping center.
Presence of retail chain is found to be greater in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telanagana,¬ Gujarat and West Bengal and least in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Eye hospitals in India
Eye hospitals in India are spreading their services across the urban and rural belt. Similar to optical outlets, the eye hospitals in India are found to have varied pattern in distribution. The hospitals are either set up as part of a chain, as individual private clinic or as sub specialty in a multispecialty hospital.
India has approximately 1280 eye hospitals as found through our online research, including the major chains. Most of the major hospitals are found to be in urban belt.
While there are many eye hospitals in urban India, primary eye care is not well-established in rural parts¬ of the country. Though the secondary and tertiary eye care facilities have come up in several cities, there is a vacuum existing due to the lack of organised primary eye care sector in rural India.
Career guide by ASCO
Report (Feb 2016) by India vision institute and Brien Holden Vision Institute 1730Optometry in India report_February 2016.pdf (indiavisioninstitute.org)
American Optometric Association, http://www.aoa.org/. March 2013.
American Optometric Association. 2012 Executive Summary on Income from Optometry. St. Louis, MO.
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, Edition 2012-2013. Washington, DC.