Original Research

Profile of Nepalese optometrists and their perspectives about a new optometry school

Dinesh Kaphle, Himal Kandel, Prakash Paudel, Kovin Naidoo
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 78, No 1 | a476 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v78i1.476 | © 2019 Dinesh Kaphle, Himal Kandel, Prakash Paudel, Kovin Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 September 2018 | Published: 30 October 2019

About the author(s)

Dinesh Kaphle, African Vision Research Institute, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, School of Optometry and Vision Science, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Himal Kandel, Save Sight Institute, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Prakash Paudel, BKP Lions Centre for Ophthalmic Studies, Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu, Nepal
Kovin Naidoo, African Vision Research Institute, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia


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Abstract

Background: The optometry training programme started in Nepal in 1997 with an intake of six students per year. The second optometry school was established in 2018 with an intake of 40 students per year.

Aim: To establish a profile for Nepalese optometrists and understand their perspectives regarding the entrance examination, curriculum, infrastructure and recruitment of lecturers for a newly opened second optometry school.

Setting: The prospective study respondents were contacted by email and the survey was administered online.

Methods: A semi-structured questionnaire was emailed to 118 registered optometrists of the Nepalese Association of Optometrists, and the response rate of the survey was 69%. The questionnaire contained broad areas such as demographics of participants, their scope of practice, mode of entrance examination and content of the course curriculum, and availability of adequate infrastructure and lecturers.

Results: A vast majority (93%) of the respondents suggested that optometrists should have been involved more in the planning of the programme. Over half of the respondents (57.5%) suggested that the programme should go ahead with a revised curriculum and well-equipped laboratories. The qualitative analysis produced four broad themes: (1) quality assurance and control; (2) resources; (3) curriculum development and implementation; and (4) professional standards and opportunities. The responders expressed several strategies to address these concerns, including communicating with stakeholders and filing a case in the court for starting up a new optometry school without sufficient involvement of the existing optometrists.

Conclusion: The recommendations for improvement include conducting impartial entrance examinations, establishing equipped laboratories and recruiting adequate lecturers.


Keywords

perspectives; optometry school; Nepal; cross-sectional survey; optometrists

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