Optometry is a thriving career option in India
Optometry – Optometrists or optometric physicians are primary eye care and health professionals involved with vision care and they are experts in determining one’s refractive error and prescribing appropriate correction. They deal with vision screening (eye testing), diagnosis of visual problems, orthotics and vision training, optometric counselling of patients with partial sight, colour blindness and hereditary vision defects, and designing and fitting of spectacles, contact lens and low vision aids. They also prescribe vision therapy eye exercises to patients complaining of visual symptoms such as squint, etc., writes Aruna Singh, Principal, Delhi Paramedical and Management Institute in India Today.
There is humongous scope for optometry job, both in the domestic market as well as overseas destinations. Though optometry goes hand in hand with ophthalmology in the treatment of visual disorders, optometrists should not be confused with ophthalmologists or dispensing opticians. An optometrist performs all the tasks of an ophthalmologist, short of surgery. Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D’s) are trained physicians specialized in eye and vision care who perform eye surgery, as well as diagnose and treat eye diseases and injuries, Singh writes.
Citing recent studies, Singh writes that every third blind person in the world is an Indian. “There are millions of other peoples suffering from various other kinds of a defect in their eyes. Optometry is the right career option for those who are interested in alleviating human suffering, in an overly populated country like India. The demand for optometrists is very high and is expected to rise further in the coming years.
If you wish to pursue a degree or diploma courses in ophthalmic technology, you should have passed 10+2 or equivalent examination, with a minimum of 50% marks in physics, chemistry and biology. You should have enormous patience, manual dexterity and confidence, to succeed in this profession. The essential characteristics to become a licensed optometrist are mechanical aptitude, excellent vision and coordination. Self-discipline, a disposition to serve others, work ethics characterised by dedication and persistence and the ability to deal tactfully with patients are some essential qualities to become a successful optometrist, according to Aruna Singh, Principle of Delhi Paramedical and Management Institute.
After completing the course on optometry, an optometrist has a slew of career opportunities. Either you can establish an independent practice by starting your own eye clinic, optical shop, lens manufacturing unit and more or you can take up a job in optician showrooms, eye doctors, contact lens and ophthalmic lens industry, hospital eye departments etc. Optometrists can also seek employment with any multinational organisation dealing with eye care products as professional services executives or take up teaching as a career.
The initial salary of an optometrist in a government entity is Rs 18,000 or above plus other allowance. Salaried optometrists are likely to earn more initially than optometrists who set up their own practices. However, ultimately those in private practice, once established, usually earn more, Singh concludes.