Thirty years back only few institutions have conducted optometry course at Trivandrum, Chennai, Hyderabad and U.P. Those days out of 30 permitted seats only 3 students joined . Then it gradually changed. It took 15 years to get full capacity of 30 students for the course.
The purpose of this course is allow vision testing and prescribing the glasses by qualified registered Optometrist. Qualified people must replace the services of the unqualified people. Earlier days this course was not encouraged even among learned people. As time moves on , they are recognizing the need of this technical people in order to handle the vision and refraction work and relieve them from doing hard refraction work.
The private hospitals also recognize the need of trained optometrists for doing refraction works. Some of the big optical house came forward to keep one optometrist in their shops for better dispensing.
Still there is no proper legislation by State or central Government to save the patients from quacks. Considering the large backlog of cataract and uncorrected refractive error, it is the high time for our Government to consider to uplifting the optometry course.
In India, Indian Optometric Association (IOA) is striking hard to maintain the standard of education and profession by conducting optometry conferences, scientific sessions and seminars etc., frequently and many magazines are already published.
Slowly private institutions are coming forward to conduct these courses from degree to research level. India is coming up to the level of foreign countries in terms of optometry education and services to cater the needs of millions of visually disabled.
People are coming from outside of India for short term and full term courses in optometry and optical field. Now a days Indian Optometrists are getting appointments in many developed countries and it shows the standard of our education is equal to the developed countries. Exchange visitors program for optometry professionals are growing up.
In meantime Ophthalmic Assistant category was newly introduced by Government of India in 1976 with the support of WHO . Still the course is being conducted in many States/UT”s. They are also doing Refraction and other Eye Care activities under National Blindness Control Programme. National Ophthalmic Association is approaching Health Ministry for the formation of independent council and other related issues. Optometrists and Ophthalmic Assistants are the two wings of a bird. They are vision caregivers of our people. They should be strengthened by the way of education and proper legislation.