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Optometry as a career option

A four-year degree course in Optometry offered by the Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry and recognised by BITS enables students to consider it as a challenging career option.

ON THE JOB: The large patient base ensures hands on experience.

BLINDNESS IS a major health hazard faced by the country today. According to WHO statistics there are about 10 million visually disabled people in India and nearly 80 per cent of blindness can be prevented if there are sufficient eye care professionals.

The L.V.Prasad Eye Institute as part of its commitment to quality eye care and education established the Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry in the year 2000. With the support of leaders in eye care products, Bausch and Lomb, USA the school was set up on a six-acre campus in the secluded environs of Kismatpur, 15 kms from Hyderabad.

The only school in A.P. to offer a four-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Optometry, this is a collaborative programme from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani.

CORRIDORS OF LEARNING: Modern facilities with a well-equipped library and laboratories.

The BS programme is extensive and the curriculum is approved by the International Centre for Eye care Education, Sydney.

It consists of three years of course work and one year of clinical internship. Prasad, a second year student says, "when I did not get a good rank in the Eamcet, I was disappointed and joined Optometry, but today I have no regrets. People are mis-informed about this field and are not aware that it is as challenging a field as any.''

A two-year Diploma in Ophthalmic Techniques and a one- year Vision Technician programme are also offered. The school has modern facilities with a well-equipped library and laboratories, a distinguished panel of local and international visiting faculty and a hostel within the campus.

Says Vallam S. Rao, programme co-ordinator, "we follow a multiple-level entry and exit plan whereby a student who does our two-year programme can come back and join the third-year of the degree programme after a break.''

Added to this is the hands-on-learning advantage that all the students have at LVPEI with its large patient base, access to modern clinical techniques and a world class clinical research centre.

LVPEI has one of the best contact lens education programmes in the world, one of the first low vision rehabilitation centres besides being involved in indigenous production of low cost, high quality low vision devices through research and development.

An optometrist deals with vision screening, diagnosis of vision disorders, orthoptics and vision training, optometric counselling of patients with partial sight, colour blindness and hereditary vision defects and designing and fitting of contact lens and low vision aids.

In actuality, an optometrist performs all the tasks of an ophthalmologist short of surgery. An optometrist can establish an independent practice, work at eye institutions or hospitals, pursue higher studies and research or seek employment with multinational companies dealing with eye care products in India and abroad.

I.J.Bajaj, Regional Manager Lawrence & Mayo is of the opinion that, "there is a dire need for optometrists and on graduating, these students will be immediately absorbed by the industry.

In the future, all optical outlets will have to employ qualified optometrists as the government has already implemented this ruling in States of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.''

Eligibility to any of these programmes is 10 + 2 with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics / Biology and adequate proficiency in English. Short-listed candidates will be called for a written entrance examination and an interview.

SPACE TO STUDY: The Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry

Applications will be accepted until June 29, 2002 for the new academic year.

With approximately 10,000 trained ophthalmologists to cover a one billion population there is an immediate need for other cadres of specifically trained eye care personnel. Under these circumstances there is no reason not to be optimistic about optometry.

For details contact: Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry, Post bag No.1, Kismatpur, P.O. Rajendranagar B.O. Hyderabad - 500 030. Telephone: 401 45 00 / 401 12 43


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