India has roughly 44,000 optometrists, doctors who diagnose problems related to vision like near and farsightedness, prescribe glasses, contact lenses and provide vision therapy and rehabilitation. While the need for optometrists in India is over 1 lakh, the number of persons suffering from refractive errors is 10 crore.
“There is a need to add more optometrists in India. The number of educational institutes teaching optometry courses is less. The Indian Vision Institute (IVI) will strive to produce optometrists and support Ph.D scholarships,” said CEO and Managing Trustee of IVI, Vinod Daniel, at the launch of IVI on Tuesday. The IVI, launched by Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Daggubati Purandeswari, will work to strengthen the Indian vision industry. “The Indian vision industry is valued at 3 billion dollars. It is dominated by spectacle manufacturing companies from China, countries from Europe and the United States. The IVI will work in increasing the Indian stake in the industry,” CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Professor Brien Holden said.“These days, a pair of glasses can be purchased for Rs. 60. And yet, public is not aware that their eye problem can be rectified. There is a need to spread awareness among public on the availability of inexpensive modern tools to rectify eye problems,” said Chairman, L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, (LVPEI), Dr. G. N. Rao. Ms Purandeswari said that close to six lakh people in urban India have access to one optometrist, while in rural India the ratio is 10 lakh persons to one optometrist. “Although a bit late, we have realised that un-corrected refractive errors in persons drags GDP,” Ms Purandeswari said.
US Consul-General Katherine Dhanani, Australian Consul-General David Holly, top researchers from LVPEI and doctors were present.