This study was conducted to evaluate the range of services provided by optometrists in various modes of optometric practice in India.
An online questionnaire was administered to 1674 optometrists to collect information on the range of optometric services offered. Data were analyzed based on variables including sex, educational qualification, and modes of practice. Two-sample Wilcoxon rank sum tests, χ2 tests, and Fisher exact text were used to conduct inferential statistics.
A total of 563 valid and completed survey questionnaires were received from graduates of 41 optometry institutes working across 23 states of India. Of these, 225 (40.0%) were female, 288 (51.2%) had completed postgraduate education, and 340 (60.5%) were involved in more than one mode of practice. The top three modes of practice were hospital-based practice (44.8%), academia (42.8%), and optical retail (33.0%). Of the 441, out of 563 (78.3%) respondents involved in patient care, the majority (98.4%) performed refraction and routine eye examination, 70.3% dispensed contact lenses, and 66.9% practiced optical dispensing. Lower involvement was seen in providing binocular-vision (45.1%) and low-vision services (30.2%). Higher education was associated with advanced level of practice (p < 0.05) except clinical investigative procedures. There was a significant association between postgraduate studies and involvement in academics and research (p < 0.01).
Most optometrists are engaged in multiple modes of practice, with optical practice, hospital-based practice, and academia being the leading modes. Optometrists need to be more involved in providing the core optometric services of binocular vision and low vision. Higher education has an impact on the level of optometric practice.