Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vision Council and Facebook remarks

When we grow our knowledge will also improve. Good experience is essential for this development.

Unfortunately we came to know that there is some remarks about our profession by our fellow colleague in FaceBook. It is very sad to know that he is a top executive member. I don’t know whether I should cry or laugh for their inefficiency or for their overacting without supervision. Like one man army

Ophthalmic Assistant cadre was introduced in 1976 with definite aim and objectives for Primary eye Care exclusively for Indian rural population where Ophthalmologists are available in adequate numbers. At that time, though Optometrists were present they were mainly concentrated only in major towns and cities. Although both these cadres are prescribing glasses, Ophthalmic Assistants alone are given responsibilities of rural primary eye care with treatment aspects. These Ophthalmic Assistants are posted in rural PHCs /CHCs only. At that time the aim was to control the blindness from 1.4 % to 0.3%. by 2000 AD.

Ophthalmic Assistants are not the enemies for fellow professional Optometrists. Optometrists and Ophthalmic Assistants are two wings of a bird. Already there are so many associations for optometrists in various names. But so far National Ophthalmic Association is the only association for Ophthalmic Assistants in India. When we establish NOA, there is a slight change in designation instead of Ophthalmic Assistant, at States like Pondichery. The designation, Ophthalmic Technician, was existed at that time in Pondichery.  (Most of the States it is still Ophthalmic Assistant). Considering these points we mentioned that in addition to Ophthalmic Assistants all other cadre those who are delivering similar duties under NPCB can also become a member of NOA. This is the history which every one knows.

In a National level organisation we should not push our views to others for our personal benefits. At the recent Chennai conference almost all the states were opposing for the change of designation from Ophtalmic Assitant to the Optometrist. One of our top executive member is supporting this designation change to Optometrist because of his Personal preferences like he had got his Optometry Degree.

Our Stand is:

Common name of Vision Care Professionals as already proposed. These issues were discussed in many common meetings (Optometrist and Ophthalmic Assistants combined meetings) and finalised in Delhi Vision 2020 meeting and it should be implemented. The council must be named as Vision Council of India as per the finalised draft. Optometrist and Ophthalmic Assistant can be registered in separate clauses.

Please everyone should understand these views.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guest coloumn

Times Ascent :Optometry being a health care profession has been among the few sectors that did not get affected much by the recent slowdown.

Nilesh D Thite, Professional Services Manager with Bausch & Lomb Eye care (I) Pvt. Ltd discusses careers in the Optometry industry in India

1. Did the recent recession have an impact on the optometry sector in terms of hiring?
Optometry being a health care profession has been among the few sectors that did not get affected much by the recent slowdown. Eye care is an important health need of the people. Hence, the impact of recession has been limited to high end spectacle frames and fashion accessories.  Most of the top optometry colleges have a 100 per cent placement record as of today. 
2. What kind of career opportunities exist in this sector? What are the various job profiles?
Most of the fresh graduates initially work as employees of optometrists in private practice or with large optical chains or in public clinics. Occasionally, they may work with ophthalmologists. Most optometrists are self-employed or work for other optometrists in private practice. Sometimes, their work may involve visiting the homes of bed-ridden or house-bound patients, acting as a consultant to firms or factories at their premises or working at health care institutions such as hospitals, community health centers or special clinics.
Thus, a qualified optometrist can independently choose from options such as private practice (spectacle and contact lens clinics), working with eye hospitals, spectacle or contact lens manufacturing units, spectacle, instruments or contact lens industry, working overseas, working at teaching institutes or as research scientists.

3. What is the level of pay one can expect as an optometrist?
The remuneration of a fresh graduate in optometry depends on his/her own abilities, interest and also the choice of field. By and large, the profession offers satisfactory pay, which is at par with other professional courses.

4. What is the educational qualification and skills required for practicing Optometry or working as an Optometrist in India?
Optometry courses are based on Sciences, including Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Therefore, a thorough background in these subjects is essential for students entering the course. All the leading institutes in Optometry offer a Bachelor degree course in Optometry. As for skills, perhaps the most important personal quality an optometrist should have is a liking for people of all ages and a genuine desire to help the patients. Optometrists also need a willingness to continue learning, not only clinical knowledge which helps in caring for the patients, but also practice management where business acumen can be an asset.

5. What do you foresee for the future of Optometry in India? Which particular segments of this industry are likely to grow most?
Optometry today, although an unlicensed profession, in future will be a licensed and regulated profession in India.  With a population of over one billion, there is no dearth of growth here. Every single human being above the age of 40 will require ocular care in one way or the other, and considering that we are today the youngest nation in the world, we will also have the largest number of people above the age of 40 years in the world in the near future. Hence the industry looks quite promising.

Courtesy ; to read the full interview log on to www.timesascent.in/interviews

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My views....

In my opinion the cadre of Ophthalmic Assistant was created to control the increasing blindness in our country. This cadre was created with the aim , a professional who can be independent associate of Ophthalmologist ; so that ophthalmologist may concentrate on the cataract surgery, which was found the major cause of curable blindness in our country and rest of the work assigned to the cadre of Ophthalmic Assistant which is reflecting in the original duty chart of the cadre. This cadre was started in place of already existing cadre of Optometrist adding some more clinical duties. The motive behind creation of the cadre was to produce a vision care professional who along with the work and duty of Optometrist may handle the other clinical aspect also. That is why the cadre was posted at Block Level as independent eye care professional instead of associated with Ophthalmologist.

So far, the cadre was not accredited by any University or by any regulating professional body. This provide an opportunity to those who were not in favour of this cadre but their personal interest. They intervene in the degradation of the cadre at all level. Due to the absence of accreditation body there is no uniformity in nomenclature, duty chart, pay structure etc. The nomenclature also become an obstacle in the up lift man of the cadre.

In present scenario there is no unity among the different nomenclature of eye care professional. Those who are not in favour of these type of eye care professional succeeding “ Divide and Rule”. Actually the Nomenclature of Optometrist have world wide recognition. In world scenario Optometry is well established independent science faculty. Due to the established world scenario it is easy to uplift the cadre. In so many regulating bodies out side India have assigned the same duties which was assigned to the cadre of Ophthalmic Assistant in India. More over the broader unity among the eye care professional other than Ophthalmologist is the only way for achieving our goal. It is my personal view that there should be consensus among all vision care professional by what ever name they are known but they have minimum 10+2 Science with minimum two years course in the Ophthalmic Science field.

General Secretary
National Ophthalmic Association

Friday, February 12, 2010

Executive Meeting of NOA

Invitation from National Ophthalmic Association

All Office Bearers of National Ophthalmic Association.
Presidents / General Secretaries of State Organizations.

Subject:Regarding Extended Executive Meeting of National Ophthalmic Association at
Bhopal (M.P.)

An Extended Executive Meeting of NOA will be held on 6th & 7th March 2010 at Bhopal in Office of M.P.Rajya Karmchari Sangh 48/1 South T.T.Nagar Bhopal [8 Shop, Pletinum Plazma New Market] Bhopal(MP.)

As you aware that our Biannual Conference was proposed to be organized in Bangloru,Karnataka, but due to unavoidable circumstances it was not possible to organize . Govt. of India is in the process to establish an overarching Regulatory Body as “National Council for Human Resources in Health” (NCHRH) to cover the all health professional under one umbrella. Moreover NPCB authorities & Vision 2020 also under process to establish an Academic Council for various Eye Care Professional other than Ophthalmologist. In this circumstances it is decided to organize an extended executive meeting of NOA at Bhopal(MP)

The Main Agenda of this executive meeting will be as under:

1 Review of the Resolution passed in last Conference of NOA.
2 Discussion on the Minutes of Meeting by ADGO, NPCB and by JS Ministry of Health & F W
3 Regarding Proposed Regulating Body in relation to our Profession.
4 Evaluation of Life Membership and Organizational issues of NOA.
5 Income – Expenditure Auditing, Pending Dues of State and other financial issues.
6 Renewal of Executive Body of NOA.
7 RTI issues and Filing of Court Case in relation to original duty chart legalization.
8 Any other important issue with permission of President.

So you are requested to make it convenient to participate in this crucial meeting of NOA in the interest of our beloved profession. Your early confirmation will facilitate to accommodate you in better way. For any assistance, contact: A.S.Sengar Mobile – 98272016092 & Mr.Rajesh Sharma Mobile -9425456264

Rajbir Singh Berwal
General secretary
National Ophthalmic Association.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guest Coloumn:


Today I like to present the conversation that I had with one of our senior colleague who did his Ophthalmic Assistant course at Madurai Medical College, Madurai and now a Marketing Professional in class.

K. Srinivasan (44 Years )is a person par excellence. He is at present residing in Bangalore. From a mediocre background to a very successful professional he had traveled a long journey. He is hard working, intelligent (both in his school/College Days), a very good artist, enjoys reading, watches only sensible movies along with his family. I have known him close to 25 years as a friend, class mate and as a family friend. A Graduate from University of Madras and holds PG Degree in Marketing Management from University of Mysore apart from Diploma Pharmacy and Diploma in Ophthalmic Assistant from MMC, Madurai.

Veerasamy: Good Afternoon! Srinivasan. It is very nice talking to you. Pl tell me about your career journey from an Ophthalmic Assistant to a Marketing Professional.

Srinivasan: A Very Good Afternoon. It is been almost 21 years since I have entered into Marketing Field and all I can say is that my career is successful. After my course I joined Aravind Research Foundation, Madurai as Basic Eye Health Worker and worked there about a year. In Feb 1989 I have joined M/S. Crosland’s Research Lab Ltd as a Professional Service Representative based in Hubli , Karnataka. I have had vast experience in working in various reputed Pharmaceutical houses in India in different managerial position in Karnataka region. In 2004 I joined M/s. Infosys BPO Ltd in BANGALORE. After 2 years working there I moved to Institute Of Clinical Research (India) as a Regional Manager (South) based in Bangalore. Due to better managerial exposure I then moved to M/S. Bilcare Research Academy- a Pune Based Clinical Trial Management Services company which launched its Clinical Research Training Program in Bangalore in 2008 as a Marketing Manager looking after South India.
After working there till April 2009, I then moved to Au-Kbc Research Centre in MIT Campus, Chrompet, Chennai as a Clinical Trial Management Program Promotion Officer and at present I am with this Centre which is providing Clinical Trial Management Training to the Professionals. My job is to market this Training Program by organizing various promo activities including giving a guest speech at various Universities, colleges and institutions in order to promote clinical Research Education offered by the Centre at Anna University Chennai.

Veerasamy: Nice to know about your experience. Please tell me have ever repented for not joining the Govt.Service as an Ophthalmic Assistant and what is your opinion about forming a Council for the Vision Care Professionals of India.

Srinivasan: Not at all. It gives me immense pleasure that I have gone into a Private Sector where I have had enough learning experience and I am very happy the way my career progressed as of now.
It is very sad to know that you people have no common banner to get organized. You have the strength and purpose to form the council. Get organized first then move to the next level of excellence. Vision Council of India is a good idea. By 2011 you must realize this goal.

Veerasamy: Thank You!

Srinivasan: It’s my pleasure talking to you. Wish you guys all the very best in 2010.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Road Ahead for Vision Care Professionals of India

Many of us in the Vision Care Profession aware about the initiative taken by Vision 2020: 'The Right to Sight' India in forming an independent Council for Vision Care Professionals in the country through a Steering committee comprising members from different cadres. I think 2 or 3 times this committee was convened and discussed under the banner of Vision 2020 India.
A draft proposal of the council was prepared and discussed in these meetings as well as outside among our colleagues for strengthening the draft proposal. After repeated discussions and deliberations both Optometrist and Ophthalmic Assistants Association have accepted to form 'Vision Council of India' (VCI). Members of Optometrists and Ophthalmic Assistants can be incorporated in to this council in a separate classification (sub clause).
In our country there are independent councils for nurses, doctors, dentists and pharmacists and are very well organized. But for the Vision Care Professionals (who are responsible for the primary eye care and are considered as the back bone of the Blindness Control Program) we do not have such independent council to steer our fellow members at the moment.

I, wonder why so much of delay in establishing a council. Indeed it is a BIG question which does not have an answer. In the army a cadre without a commander is almost useless and we need a proper regulatory council which can act as a supreme body in order to bring all of us in to one fold. In the absence of such scenario the only sufferer is our rural poor people and they will suffer a lot by irreparable visual loss if we do not act now together.

Time is running out for all of us. Let’s take a pledge to resolve this issue in 2010.

Some of our colleagues also felt the need for merging these two cadres ie Optometrist and Ophthalmic Assistant into a single band. As elsewhere mentioned in this blog in Indian context there is a need for these two different categories is essential in the interest of our rural poor people. The Government of India is also very clear about this from the beginning. Hence there is no need for an amalgamation of these two cadres. Regarding the job description there need not be any significant change at the moment.
The Road ahead for us is to let everyone strive for the earliest formation of Vision Council of India in order to achieve the goals of Vision 2020: 'The Right to Sight' initiative.

Together we will achieve this mission very soon. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let make Vision Council of India a reality!

During the Silver Jubilee celebration of the ‘School of Optometry', Chennai in the year 1988 , the founder of the school (Late) Dr.T.T.Ramalingam emphasized the need for an higher education in Optometry and the need for an independent practice for the Optometric profession.

In the year 1989 during the 22nd All India Optometric Conference held in Chennai the then Honorable Health Minister had assured to legalize the Optometric profession as an independent one in the interest of Public Health.

Again in 1993 on the occasion of 25th Conference of Indian Optometric Association held in Chennai (Late) Dr.E.Vaithilingam an eminent Optometrist and the then President of IOA appealed the State and Central Government to regulate the Optometric practice by legalization.

Mr. Pardeep Bharti who was instrumental in the formation of National Ophthalmic Association and the first General Secretary of the Association insisted the Government of India many times for the formation of an Independent Council for Vision Care Professionals in the line of Nursing, Dental & the Pharmacy in order to deliver effective Eye Care System throughout the country and also to save the rural people becoming blind unnecessarily due to ignorance.

Besides various organizations across the country voiced their opinion during various occasions for the Council related issues. In subsequent meetings with Central Health Ministry by the Representative of the NOA, the Government of India assured to take initiative to form a council for the Vision Care Professionals.

Recently the “Vision 2020 -The Right to Sight” India also taken active efforts for the formation of an independent Council and later it was suggested by our fellow professionals as 'Vision Council of India' in order to bring all the Vision Care Professionals in to one umbrella .

But even after so many years neither our predecessors nor our fellow professionals have failed to take up the cause of forming an independent Council. Always we say that India is a pioneer in Blindness Control Programme and paving the way for many Developing Countries in implementing better Eye Health Care delivery system. This vision cannot be achieved without the involvement of Vision Care Professionals at the micro and macro level since they are one of the important stake holders in the whole process.

There should be an uniformity in thinking among our fellow professionals as the need of the hour is: we need to regroup our self into one fold i.e Vision Council of India which can play an important role in effective eye health care delivery system at all level.

Is there any second opinion to this thought among our fellow professionals?