Original Research

Knowledge and skills amongst optometrists in public and private sectors in India

Anitha Arvind, Peter C. Clarke-Farr, Kovin S. Naidoo
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 80, No 1 | a643 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v80i1.643 | © 2021 Anitha Arvind, Kovin S Naidoo, Peter Christopher Clarke-Farr | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 2020 | Published: 08 December 2021

About the author(s)

Anitha Arvind, African Vision Research Institute, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Peter C. Clarke-Farr, African Vision Research Institute, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, Department of Ophthalmic Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Kovin S. Naidoo, Discipline of Optometry, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Optometrists with different levels of optometric education in India provide eye care services under various capacities to the public.

Aim: The study evaluated the status of optometrists in terms of their knowledge, skills and frequency of skill utilisation in public and private sectors.

Setting: A quantitative study design was adopted using a survey questionnaire that was distributed to optometrists providing eye care services in public and private sectors.

Methods: A structured and validated questionnaire with closed-ended questions was administered to 650 participants.

Results: A total of 400 completed questionnaires were received (response rate = 62%) of which 207 respondents were males (52%) and 193 females (48%). Most (57%) of the respondents were bachelor’s degree holders with 86% of the respondents in the private sector and 14% in the public sector. The knowledge level of ancillary and diagnostic tests (69%) was the least amongst public sector optometrists whilst it was binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (66%) for private sector optometrists. The skill levels in indirect ophthalmoscopy was least amongst the public sector (56%) and private sector (44%) optometrists. Indirect ophthalmoscopy showed the least frequency of skill utilisation amongst public sector (13%) and private sector (34%) optometrists.

Conclusion: The study highlighted the need for mandating best practice standards, and expanding the scope of defined practice, as optometrists are better suited for diagnostic roles and comprehensive eye examinations, and can contribute effectively towards averting preventable blindness.


Keywords

optometry skills; knowledge; skill level; skill utilisation; public sector; private sector

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