Optometry is a healthcare profession that focuses on eye care, vision and visual system. An optometrist is a healthcare professional who is capable of prescribing and dispensing vision correcting lenses, spectacles, diagnosing eye disease and treating them (to an extent).
In this article, you will be reading about the best Optometry courses available in India after 12th. To become a qualified Optometrist, one must successfully complete Bachelor’s or Diploma Optometry courses mentioned in this article.
Topics like course details, eligibility criteria, admission process, eligibility criteria and career prospects have been covered in this article.
Optometry: Basic details
As mentioned before, optometry is part of the healthcare profession. This discipline focuses on eye care. An optometrist is a healthcare professional capable of diagnosing eye diseases/vision problems, prescribing lenses/spectacles, performing treatment (in some cases) and referring patients to an Ophthalmologist/relevant Doctor (if required).
Optometry and Ophthalmology deals with eye care, but Ophthalmologists are eye Doctors (specializing in eye care after completing MBBS)! On the other hand, optometrists are not considered as eye Doctors!
An optometrist is capable of diagnosis of ocular diseases. But he/she will have to refer the case to a qualified Doctor, if the patient needs surgery or advanced treatment. If the problem can be corrected by lenses, spectacles or minor treatment procedures, an optometrist may take care of the patient.
A classic example is patients suffering from refractive errors in their eyes. An optometrist may examine such patients, find the error and dispense lens or spectacles to correct the error. But if the condition is serious and needs clinical intervention, an optometrist will have to refer that case to a relevant Doctor!
In India, optometry courses are available in three main formats-
- Certificate Courses
- Diploma Courses
- Bachelor’s Degree Courses
To work as a qualified Optometrist and achieve good career growth, pursuing Bachelor’s Degree courses will be beneficial. Let us check each course out and examine details about them in the next section-
Optometry courses in India
1 Bachelor of Optometry (B.Optom.)
Known as Bachelor of Optometry, Bachelor in Optometry or B.Optom., this is the most popular and valued optometry course available in India.
It is a 4 years long UG Degree course. Academic program is 3 years long. After academic program has been completed, students have to go through 1 year long internship program. Only after completing the internship program will one be called a qualified Optometrist!
Eligibility criteria: Candidate should be at least 17 years of age at the time when the course starts. Candidate should have passed 10+2 Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English subjects. Minimum aggregate marks required is 45% (may vary from one institute to another).
Admission process: Admission is based on marks scored by candidates in board examination and EYECET/ relevant entrance tests. Few institutes also follow direct admission process.
Note: Students who have completed 2 years long Diploma in Optometry course may secure admission directly in 2nd year of B.Optom. program.
2 B.Sc. in Optometry
It is a 4 years long UG level Bachelor of Science course. The academic program is 3 years long. The academic program is followed by 1 year long internship program. After completing the academic program, a student must complete the internship program. Only then will one get the Degree and be called a qualified Optometrist.
Eligibility criteria: Candidate should have passed 10+2 Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English subjects. Minimum aggregate marks required is 45% (may vary from one institute to another).
Admission process: Admission is based on marks scored by candidates in board examination and state entrance test/relevant entrance test. Few institutes also follow direct admission process. Some reputed institutes are known to have their own private entrance exam to select candidates.
Note: Students who have completed 2 years long Diploma in Optometry course may secure admission directly in 2nd year of B.Sc. Optometry program. This entry is known as the lateral entry.
3 Diploma in Optometry
It is a 2 years (3 years long in case of some institutes) long Diploma certificate program. D Opt holders may make use of lateral entry and join 2nd year of B.Optom. or B.Sc. Optometry courses. Though D Opt course is job oriented, pursuing Bachelor’s Degree courses mentioned above will help one climb up the career ladder in a better way!
Many times, this course is also known as Ophthalmic Technology course.
Eligibility criteria: Candidate should have passed 10+2 standard. Few institutes allow admission to 10th passed students too (3 years long course). Minimum aggregate marks required is 45% (may vary from one institute to another).
Admission process: Admission is based on marks scored by candidates in board examination. Few institutes also follow direct admission process.
4 Certificate courses
Though certificate courses are not very valuable, they will help one get technical and assistants’ jobs in sectors related to eye care. Typical certificate course lasts for a period of 1 year. 10+2 is the educational qualification required. Many institutes also offer certificate courses to 10th passed students.
Though course content may vary from one format to another, the core subjects remain the same. Let us take a look at some of the important subjects-
- Ocular Anatomy
- Ocular Physiology
- Visual Optics
- Ocular Diseases and Conditions
- Dispensing Optics
- Optometry Instruments
- Contact Lenses
- Community Optometry
- Hospital Training
Note: Most of the subjects mentioned above have both classroom lectures as well as practical lab sessions associated with them. In case of Bachelor’s Degree programs, 1 year long internship program is present at the end.
Further studies and advanced courses
Well known PG courses available after completing Bachelor’s Degree programs are- M.Sc. in Optometry and Master of Optometry. These courses are 2 years long (each). If you are interested in further advanced course, PhD program will be of use to you.
Career prospects and job opportunities
Qualified optometrists have diverse job opportunities available in front of them. If one wants to work at Eye care clinics or ophthalmic department of hospitals, one may work under Ophthalmologists and assist them. One may carry out Optometrist practice under supervised or independent setup.
Another popular career option is opening own Optical shop. Few other forms of self employment are- opening lens manufacturing unit or ophthalmic instrument manufacturing unit.
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One may also work for established optical shops and firms manufacturing lens and ophthalmic instruments. Optometry professionals can also don marketing role within vision care sector. They may market lenses, ophthalmic instruments etc.
If you are interested in ‘teaching’ related career, you may become an instructor/teacher at optometry training institutes.