what is optometry? who are Optometrists?
Optometry is a branch of medicine which involves examining the eyes and applicable visual system for defects or abnormalities as well as the medical diagnosis and management of eye disease and the specialists are known as optometrists. Traditionally, the field began with the primary focus of correcting refractive error through the use of spectacles. In Modern day however, has evolved through time so that the education curriculum additionally includes intensive medical training in the diagnosis and management of ocular disease in countries where the profession is established and regulated.
In 2010, it was estimated that India needs 115,000 optometrists; whereas India has approximately 9,000 optometrists (4-year trained) and 40,000 optometrists (2-year trained). In order to prevent blindness or visual impairment more well trained optometrists are required in India.
At present there are more than fifty schools of optometry in India. Academic degrees such as Bachelor of Optometry, Master of Optometry and Doctor of Philosophy in Optometry are awarded in India by the universities recognized by university of grants commission(India), a statutory body responsible for the maintenance of standards of higher education in India.
Duties of Optometrists
Optometrists typically do the following:
- Perform vision tests and analyze results
- Diagnose sight problems, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, and eye diseases, such as glaucoma
- Prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other visual aids, and if state law permits, medications
- Perform minor surgical procedures to correct or treat visual or eye health issues
- Provide treatments such as vision therapy or low-vision rehabilitation
- Provide pre-and postoperative care to patients undergoing eye surgery—for example, examining a patient’s eyes the day after surgery
- Evaluate patients for the presence of other diseases and conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, and refer patients to other healthcare providers as needed
- Promote eye and general health by counseling patients
Some optometrists spend much of their time providing specialized care, particularly if they are working in a group practice with other optometrists or physicians. For example, some optometrists mostly treat patients with only partial sight, a condition known as low vision. Others may focus on treating infants and children.
Optometrists promote eye health and counsel patients on how general health can affect eyesight. For example, they may counsel patients on how quitting smoking or losing weight can reduce vision problems.
Many optometrists own their practice, and those who do may spend more time on general business activities, such as hiring employees, ordering supplies, and marketing their business.
Optometrists also may work as post-secondary teachers, do research in colleges, or work as consultants in the eye care industry.
Most optometrists work full time. Some work evenings and weekends to accommodate patients’ needs.there is an environment which is no different from a general physician.
Job Outlook for Optometrists
Employment of optometrists is projected to grow 17 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Because vision problems tend to occur more frequently later in life, an aging population will lead to demand for optometrists. As people age, they become more susceptible to conditions that impair vision, such as cataracts and macular degeneration, and will need vision care.
The number of people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, has grown in recent years. Diabetes is linked to increased rates of several eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects the blood vessels in the eye and may lead to loss of vision. More optometrists will be needed to monitor, treat, and refer individuals with chronic conditions stemming from diabetes.
In addition, nearly all health plans cover medical eye care and many cover preventive eye exams .
Job Prospects for Optometrists
Like admission to professional degree programs in other fields, admission to programs is highly competitive.but job opportunity for an optometrist is huge.
Students who choose to complete a residency program gain additional experience that may improve their job prospects.
In addition, a large number of currently practicing optometrists are going to retire hence creating opportunities for new optometrists.
Various optometry colleges in India
*the above list only contains the name of institutes which provide 4 year degree course in the field of optometry
Top Job Profiles
Optometrists may work as
- Customer Care Associate
- Private Practitioner
- Trainee Optometrist
- Vision Consultant
- Optometry Researcher
- clinical practice in hospitals and optical clinics
Salary & Pay Scale
The initial monthly salary of an optometrist ranges between Rs.20, 000 to Rs.40, 000. Optometrist can earn Rs. 4 to 5 lacs per year as a fresher.
In the U.S. ,The median annual Optometrist salary is $118,496, as of March 01, 2018, with a range usually between $104,930–$131,342, however this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors.