Eye Care in India in a Blind Alley – IOF

Half -baked optometrists are putting Indian eyes to great risk

Eye Care in India in a Blind Alley – IOF

New Delhi, June 4:  It is a unique case of inverted spec (Ulta Chasma). And it is not a laughing matter at all. It has put millions of eyes in India in danger.

It is also a brazen case of surreptitiously changing assigned role of optometrists, who are considered most critical component in eye care the world over, and eliminating the purported files that played havoc with the eye care system in the country. It was done to make way for black sheep in the system.

Surprisingly, in India, eye care system has been put upside down. That is why blindness is increasing by the day.  Perhaps, it is also why we are second to none in worst eye care in the world.

Indian optometry foundation has sent SOS to Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, seeking correction in the eye care view in India. A shot in the arm of optometrists fighting for their rights is that Delhi High Court has taken notice of the perverted anomalies in eye care.

Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on petition of Indian Optometry Federation against illegal release of money for deployment of untrained, unqualified manpower in various Vision centers established under NPCB program on Control of Blindness.

In a press conference, Indian Optometry Federation president and a reputed optometrist Ajeet Bharadwaj expressed shock over the way millions of Indian eyes have been endangered by tampering with the globally accepted eye care system created by WHO guidelines. He said, ‘in the beginning, optometrists being trained in different universities in India were assigned genuine role but it was surreptitiously changed in 1992 saying a committee did it. In reply RIT application, optometrists associations were shocked to get the answer to query as to how their role were changed, that related files have vanished from Union Health Ministry. It is a brazen case of ‘Aankh Band Dibba Gayab’.

Bharadwaj alleged that MCI (Medical Council of India) is jealously guarding eye care turf for ophthalmologists (eye doctors) to the detriment of millions of Indian eyes. According to practice world over, eye doctors only focus on surgery part of the eye care. The rest is left for optometrists. Optometrists can diagnose the eye ailments and do non surgical treatment too. In the beginning, optometrists were assigned the globally accepted role but somewhere in between they were put on sidelines through unfair means.

Bharadwaj said, ‘this state of affairs has made way for half backed optometrists. In this unfair state of affairs some NGOs engaged.  As government is allowing employment of untrained and unqualified manpower by NGOS, Hospitals and lens manufacturing companies , it is causing more harm to the unsuspecting people who believe that the person advising them is trained medical professional and believing their advice.’

Optometrists are trained health care professionals who evaluate eye health, clarity of vision and importantly, can detect several disorders of eye like cataract and glaucoma as well as identify systemic diseases like diabetes.

Mr. Ajeet Bhardwaj said, “Optometrist in developed countries provides 70 to 90 per cent of total primary eye care independently. We have 143 UGC recognized institutions and approx 40000 plus optometrists in India but as per WHO, India requires about 2 lacs optometrists”.

  1. S. Berwal, Secretary, IOF, said, ‘Blindness in India can only be reduced or controlled if optometry is given its role of primary health care where they can diagnoses and treat patients for common eye ailments and refer patients who needs specialised care and surgical intervention. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW)had promised the same to Ooptometrists and that reflected in the original duties and responsibilities of optometrists in 1978. MOHFW unlawfully changed our duties, so that optometrists may remain subordinate and assistants in health care system’.

 

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12 thoughts on “Eye Care in India in a Blind Alley – IOF

  • June 4, 2015 at 8:55 PM
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    India has maximum number of untrained people examining eyes in optical shops as there is no council to regulate optometry profession .

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  • June 4, 2015 at 9:12 PM
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    A very genuine demand. Being an Optometrist from a reputed Institute and practising independently for the last 6-7 years, I too feel the need for our original duties to be restored… rather our practicing authorities related to non-surgical diagnosis and treatment of eye ailments/diseases should be increased to the global standard..!!
    During my practice I have come across many situations where I could clinically manage my patients but I had to refer them to hospitals due to lack of full medico-legal authorities and so they had to waste their time & money needlessly. Thanks IOF for raising the voice effectively…expecting the best to follow ☺

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  • June 4, 2015 at 9:31 PM
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    Very well written sir. These are some facts which are to be taken in right spirit by both Ministry of Health and all Ophthalmologists who consider us as enemies. But if we go hand in hand, we would be able to lower the rate of preventable blindness in our country. It is also time to pay tribute to those who have devoted themselves to the field of Eye care. Our untiring effort neither gives us recognition nor honour though we take pride in catering to the community. But i do feel we need to standardize Optometry course in our country too to make sure all endproducts to be a complete Optometrist. Proud to be an Optometrist.

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  • June 4, 2015 at 9:34 PM
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    OH.GOD.PLS SAVE PATIENTS FROM QUACKS

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  • June 4, 2015 at 9:51 PM
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    There should be one uniform structure of Optometry

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  • June 4, 2015 at 9:58 PM
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    I think, I will conduct MBBS and DO(eye) and Ms(eye) courses in private institutions,as they conduct optometry course, without obeying any rules.

    Should I ????!!!!! :-)

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  • June 4, 2015 at 10:14 PM
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    I must commend for creating public awareness in such a relevant matter .. It is essential to know and understand the role of an optometrist vis a vis an ophthalmologist ..and the need for them to be recognised as primary health care providers. Very well put forward must commend you again

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  • June 4, 2015 at 11:38 PM
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    If eye care can.be organized in India the way it is done in countries with mature eye care system like USA, Australia, Optometrists will takeover a great burden and “unnecessary blindness” can be avoided. In India . approximately 80% of blindness is avoidable or curable.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 8:01 AM
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    A qualified Optometrist should be allowed to provide primary eye care to reduce the burden of Blindness in India.

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  • June 5, 2015 at 11:06 AM
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    Tempering with the role of optometry, and delegating basic eye care to non-qualified and under-qualified personnel, will be detrimental to the true development of optometry as the first line of defense against blindness!

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  • June 5, 2015 at 11:18 AM
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    Optometry is one of the most sought after profession in the developed countries. To eradicate preventable blindness Optometric services are badly needed in our country. Government of India should give the due recognition to this profession and involve Optometrists in eradicating preventable blindness by 2020

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  • June 5, 2015 at 11:47 AM
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    It is the need of the hour to streamline the optometry curriculum across India so that the quality of the professionals passing out will not be affected. The optometrists must be able to do the primary eye care effectively and it needs quality education and ample clinical exposure. A total ban on distance mode has to be implemented as the first line .Optometry cannot be a correspondence course if it has to do its part in preventable blindness .All the institutes offering below standard courses need to be stopped.
    More shameful fact is that even being a large nation ,we do not have regulation for the practise of optometry while in countries like Mauritious ,Malaysia etc..they have a council and an Optometrist qualified in India cannot practice there…we do not have a legislation and no control over quality of professionals passing out.. TIME TO THINK…..AND ACT ..

    Reply

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