Delhi

Hunger strike by optometrists enters second day

The indefinite hunger strike by members of the Indian Optometry Federation (IOF) being held at Jantar Mantar entered its second day on Tuesday. The group is protesting against what they claim to be “unlawful change of duties of optometrists by the Central Health Ministry.” The group has also written to the Prime Minister demanding immediate relief.

R.S. Berwal, secretary, IOF, said: “Blindness in India can only be controlled if optometry is considered part of the primary health care. We should be allowed to diagnose and treat patients for common eye ailments and refer patients who need specialised care and surgical intervention.’’

He added that the Ministry has “unlawfully changed our duties, so that optometrist may remain subordinate and assistants in health care system.’’

Optometrist Ajeet Bhardwaj, IOF president, said the Ministry has no records available to show “why and by whom the duties were changed and as a result this profession is not taken up by many students.’’

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. An optometrist is not a medical doctor.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:29:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/hunger-strike-by-optometrists-enters-second-day/article7030010.ece

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