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Eye 2 Eye Optometry
Doing medicine ain’t no cakewalk and it’s not just the slog that psyches out students but the dreaded time factor. MBBS followed by an MD means at least a decade of slogging. And by the time you are qualified to practice (with a decent standing in society) you are WAY past your prime. For those who don’t have the marks (or the patience) to do an MBBS-MD, Paramedical Services are an alternative.

Speech therapy, optometry and physiotherapy were once considered the last resort for “losers”, but today they are lucrative career options in their own right. Optometry in particular is still in a nascent state in India and the graph is only going upwards! This profession is a fairly paying with qualified optometrists starting out at Rs 8,000/- and going on to net a neat Rs 20,000/- per month (all this by the time he/ she is 26!) And for an optometrist who sets up his own practice – sky is the limit.

The Subtle Difference
An optometrist is trained to prescribe eyeglasses/contact lens, test sight, fabricate lenses and detect eye diseases. Optometrists work in tandem with ophthalmologists, referring cases that require surgery/medication to the latter. An ophthalmologist too can prescribe eyeglasses etc…etc, but he/she also performs eye surgery, and treats eye diseases. And yeah, you need to do your MBBS followed by an MD/MS if you intend to venture into this field. My guess: a lousy ophthalmologist is one who does an optometrist’s work. Opticians generally own the shop and are trained only to fit and adjust eye glasses.

How To Get In
You can apply for a degree/ diploma in Optometry (Ophthalmic Tech) provided you have cleared your class XIIth with Physics, Chem and Bio. Most instis have their entrance exams btw June – August AFTER the top medical schools have declared their results. Before joining an insti, check if it is affiliated to the Indian Optometric Association (IOC) in Chennai.

Optometry Degree Courses
This is your best bet if you are eying foreign shores. All the degree institutes mentioned below have phoren links – you can transfer your credits to the insti of your choice.

Elite School of Optometry, Sankara Nethralaya(affiliated to Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) Pilani) offers a 4 year course – Bachelor in Science (Optometry). The College takes in 20 students after an entrance exam and an interview. Elite also offers a Masters in Optometry. Add: 18 College road, Chennai 600 006.

Hirabai Haridas Khimji College of Optometry, Ramwadi Eye Hospital offers a 4 year programme leading to a Bachelor Degree in Optometry (B.Optom)
Add: Ramwadi, Kalbadevi, Mumbai 400 002
Website: http://www.optomeyeinstitute.com/

AIIMS offers a three year course – Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Ophthalmic techniques. And the selection procedure is through an all India entrance exam and an interview.
Add: All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi – 110029.

Bausch & Lomb International School of Optometry (in association with LV Prasad Eye Institute) was established early this year and offers a four-year degree level course in optometry.
Add: Dr. G.N.Rao, L.V.Prasad Eye Institute, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.
Website: http://www.lvpeye.stph.net/

Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, School of Optometry, Pune offers a 4 year Bachelor of Clinical Optometry. Optometry diploma holders (from other instis) can join in the third year. BVDU takes in students after an exam and an interview.
Add: School of Optometry, Bharati Vidyapeeth University Medical College, Nursing College building,
Dhankwadi, Pune 411043.
Email: comamodgogate@vsnl.com

Optometry Diploma Courses
The following bodies offer a 3 year diploma in Ophthalmic Technology

SNDT University: Admits about 25 girls in Ophthalmic Technique. Minimum qualification: X standard.

Municipal Eye Hospital, Nagpada, Mumbai: Takes in students who have completed class XII (Chem/Physics/Bio). The fees are very reasonable, working out to about Rs 2,000/- per year, and in the final year the student gets paid a stipend of Rs 350/- per month – which basically means you get back the money you spent!!

Jaslok Hospital, KEM Hospital, BYL Nair Hospital and Kamathipura Eye Hospital offer a 3 year diploma course.

The following bodies offer a 2 year diploma in Ophthalmic Technology:
– Christian Medical College, Vellore – 632001
– Gandhi Eye Hospital, Aligarh
– Government MI Colleges in Aurangabad and Nagpur
– Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Chennai
– Jnana Prabodhini’s IMLD School of Optometry, Pune

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