What Is Optometry?


Optometry is a health care profession which deals with the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases and disorders of the visual system. It is a vision care science.

In 1958, two schools of optometry were established, one at Gandhi Eye Hospital, Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh and other one at Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital, Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. These schools offered diplomas in optometry courses of two years duration validated by State Medical Faculties. Subsequently four more schools were opened across India situated at Sitapur Eye Hospital, Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh, Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Bengalooru in Karnataka and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.Elite School of Optometry (ESO) was established in 1985 at Chennai and was the first to offer a four-year degree course.

Academic degrees such as Bachelor of Optometry, Master of Optometry and Doctor of Philosophy in Optometry are awarded in India by the universities recognised by University Grants Commission (India), a statutory body responsible for the maintenance of standards of higher education in India.

Optometrists across India are encouraged to register with the Optometry Council of India, a self-regulatory body registered under the Indian Company Act. Facilities for specialisation in different areas of optometry in India are also developing. In a study about the range of optometric services in India it was stated that although most optometrists are involved in multiple modes of practice, optometrists need to be more involved in providing the core optometric services of binocular vision and low vision.

India needs 115,000 optometrists; whereas India has approximately 9000 optometrists (4-year trained) and 40,000 eye care personnel (2-year trained).[36] In order to prevent blindness or visual impairment more well trained optometrists are required in India.[37] It should be noted that definition of optometry differs considerably in different countries of the world.[38] India needs more optometry schools offering four-year degree courses with a syllabus similar to that in force in those countries where practice of optometry is statutorily regulated and well established with an internationally accepted definition.

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