Study calls for Optometry to be Integrated into India’s Health Care System
Optometry could play a more meaningful role in meeting India’s eye care needs were it to be systematically integrated into the country’s health care system.
This conclusion was reached by PhD graduate, Dr Anitha Arvind in her study titled Meeting the Eyesore needs of India: What Role can Optometry Play and the Regulatory Framework needed for this role? It was supervised by Professor Kovin Naidoo and co-supervised by Professor Peter Clarke-Farr.
‘Measures need to be taken to ensure that education and training is adjusted to the needs of the public,’ said Arvind.
‘Optometrists should be actively involved in both awareness and health promotion interventions. They are better suited for diagnosis and management of ocular and systemic conditions through appropriate education and training. They can contribute to the prevention of avoidable blindness.’
The study also emphasised that the optometry profession needs to be recognised and integrated into the primary healthcare system.
‘Furthermore, it should provide comprehensive eye care services. Regulating the profession ensures that the public’s needs are protected and that there is standardisation in eye care delivery,’ said Arvind. She added that strategies to streamline optometry in terms of education, professionalism and service delivery will go a long way in meeting India’s eye care needs.
According to Arvind, the study was the first of its kind to study the current state of optometry in India in terms of education and service delivery.
‘My PhD journey was very enriching and at the same time challenging as I had to manage work, home and studies. I cannot thank my supervisors enough as they brought out the best in me and pushed me to complete my PhD. I can see a great change in my understanding of research and scientific writing and this helped me become a more confident person.’
Arvind is a mother of two teenage sons and is married to an Air Force officer in India. ‘Due to the nature of my husband’s work I get to travel across the country and explore its varied culture and rich geography. I am a fun-loving person and passionate about my profession, work and home.’
Words: Nombuso Dlamini