World Council of Optometry (WCO) has defined optometrists as: Primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and vision system who can successfully manage the leading cause of vision impairment (i.e. refractive error) and can also help alleviate the burden of other causes of blindness through diagnosis, referral and co-management.
As primary eye care practitioners, optometrists have a vital role in detecting potentially serious eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma and age-related maculopathy, and general health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
In order to provide comprehensive vision care to all the people of the country, India needs a large number of Optometrists.
Job Opportunities: A career as an Optometrist can be very fulfilling as it provides a wide scope for employment.
1. Practice independently or have a joint practice along with an Ophthalmologist
2. Become an educator or head of an educational institute
3. Contribute to an eye care institution
4. Be a member of professional services in corporate organization
5. Become a researcher in basic science and clinical research
6. Join the central or state government hospitals and health centre
The optometry graduate program runs for a duration of 4 years, of which 3 years are a combination of theory, practical and clinical labs and the fourth year would consist of an internship where students would directly interact with patients and practice under the guidance and supervision of qualified practicing optometrists. There are 2 year Diploma programs which are in the process of being upgraded to 4 year programs.
You can visit Association of Schools and Colleges of India (www.asco-india.org) website for more information about the schools & colleges that offer the program.