The role of optometrists in India: an integral part of an eye health team

Indian J Ophthalmol. Sep-Oct 2012;60(5):401-5. doi: 10.4103/0301-4738.100534.

Abstract

India has a proud tradition of blindness prevention, being the first country in the world to implement a blindness control programme which focused on a model to address blinding eye disease. However, with 133 million people blind or vision impaired due to the lack of an eye examination and provision of an appropriate pair of spectacles, it is imperative to establish a cadre of eye care professionals to work in conjunction with ophthalmologists to deliver comprehensive eye care. The integration of highly educated four year trained optometrists into primary health services is a practical means of correcting refractive error and detecting ocular disease, enabling co-managed care between ophthalmologists and optometrists. At present, the training of optometrists varies from two year trained ophthalmic assistants/optometrists or refractionists to four year degree trained optometrists. The profession of optometry in India is not regulated, integrated into the health care system or recognised by the majority of people in India as provider of comprehensive eye care services. In the last two years, the profession of optometry in India is beginning to take the necessary steps to gain recognition and regulation to become an independent primary health care profession. 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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / methods*
  • Eye Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Optometry / methods*
  • Referral and Consultation*