How To Make A Career In Optometry? Courses And Scope

Posted By: Shatavisha Chakravorty

One of the most divine gifts of God is that of eyesight. Indeed, it is through the eyes that we perceive the world. It is difficult for anyone to think of a world that is devoid of their eyesight. Because of the importance of this particular sense organ, it is obvious that people take very good care of the same. So, people go for regular eye check-ups. The people who are responsible for examining the eyes and other parts of the visual system are known as optometrists.

With an increasing consciousness amongst people with respect to eye care, the role of optometrists in our lives is increasing. These days, eye care clinics are coming up in every nook and corner of the country. This naturally prompts a corresponding increase in the career scope and job opportunities for qualified optometrists in the country.

A Career In Optometry

In this article, we shall talk about the various super specialisations of the optometry courses that are available in the country and discuss how you can go about with practising a successful career here.

• Job Role

These people do anything and everything that is possible in light of improving a person's vision. This would include things like prescribing eyeglasses, contact lenses and other visual aids as well as performing minor surgical procedures when required.

Although it is the ophthalmologists who perform the actual surgery, all the details pertaining to the pre and post-operative care that is given to patients is handled by optometrists. In fact, there are many optometrists who specialise in a particular area of visual health (like glaucoma, partial sight, myopia or so on) and offer their expert advice on the same.

Counselling patients and enlightening them about the various aspects of visual health is also the responsibility of such people.

· Courses

In India, the courses that are available in the field of ophthalmology may either be a degree or a diploma. The diploma courses can be taken up directly after your class 12th. The only criterion for this is having the subjects of physics, chemistry and botany as your major subjects.

If you want to pursue a degree in this field, you can either take up a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree or go for a bachelor's degree in optometry (BOpto). These courses are usually three years long. For people who are passionate about this field and want a master's degree, the two-year master's degree can either be in the field of optometry or that of optometry and vision studies.

• Top Colleges In India

There are hundreds of government and private colleges across the country that offer these courses. In fact, for the master's degree alone there are over 20 different colleges offering the course. Amongst them, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, the Punjab Medical College of Amritsar and the Bharati Vidyapeeth University are amongst the most popular.

Other prominent names would include the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Government Medical College, Nagpur, and the Government Medical College and Hospital, Surat. Students from the department of optometry in these prominent places are seen to fare very well in their respective careers.

• Types Of Careers

After having completed the aforementioned course, a candidate can choose to pursue a wide array of careers. Broadly speaking, an optometrist is not a physician and is someone who focuses on the internal and the external structure of the eyes. They focus on regular vision care and prescribe spectacles in this regard.

These people take up different roles in the field of vision treatment. This includes private practitioner, professor, vision consultant, trainee optometrist, optometry researcher and customer care associate. Depending on your preference, you can take up any of these.

One major advantage of this career choice is that even if you pick up one particular line of study here, it will be possible for you to make a switch from one career option to another in the course of time if the situation so demands.

• Work Environment

Unlike most jobs in the world of medical science, optometrists rarely have to deal with any form of emergency. This makes it one of the least stressful jobs in this field. There might be cases where you would have to work on the weekends (because people often prefer to go for an eye check-up during their off days).

However, very rarely will you have to deal with night shifts. The nature of the job here is neither desk-based nor that of standing continuously for nine hours. It is the unique nature of this job here that makes it one of the most preferred global professions

· Salary

The money that optometrists make will depend on the qualifications that they possess and the experience that they have. For freshers with a bachelor's degree, the starting salary will be about INR 3 to 4 lakhs per annum. For candidates who have completed their postgraduate degree, the same stands at an average value of INR 5.8 lakhs.

• Job Satisfaction

Other than the salary and work environment, the biggest plus point of this field is the job satisfaction. Indeed, there is nothing like being able to give the gift of sight to an individual. In the Indian context, it is often seen that social service is the way of life in many households.

So, this type of profession gives one the opportunity to make a career out of something that gives them inner happiness. Studies have confirmed that the happiness index parameter of optometrists in the country is higher than that of other professions.

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