Optometry Council of India (OCI) is a self regulatory body which is at present registering optometrist. Here is a look at the achievements of OCI over the last one and half years in the field of Indian optometry
Founded by the late Prof. Brien Holden, the Optometry Council Of India came into existence in September 2012 as a result of the co-ordination between regulate the Indian Optometry Federation (IOF) and the Association of Schools and Colleges of India (ASCO).
OCI: Understanding the purpose
Optometry Council of India (OCI) commenced registration on 26th January 2014. Although OCI is a nascent organization, with the support of optometrists in India as well as from overseas, the firm have come a long way since inception. According to figures available on their website, in India more than 450 million people need vision correction. Uncorrected refractive error accounts for over 50% of unnecessary vision impairment. This in turn leads to huge productivity losses for the country. The core purpose of this body is to regulate the institutions in the country providing optometry education in India and in turn pave the way for a better qualified breed of optometrists in the country.
Here is a look at the achievements of the council in the last one and half years since its inception.
Registrations and Membership:
1000 members have registered within a period of 18 months. Out of these, 125 are NRI registrations from UAE, Bahrain, UK, Australia, Canada, USA and Malaysia. Corporates such as Essilor, L&M, Alcon have made it mandatory to register all their optometrist with OCI. Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand has made it compulsory for Indian optometrist applying for licensure to have OCI registration. Indian optometrists seeking American Optometry Academy (AOA) membership also need to be registered with OCI.
Till date three articles of OCI have been published in local Indian optometry magazines. On the occasion of World Optometry Day, OCI logo with a message to all public to get their eyes examined every year was published in 30 national dailies.
Continuing Education and School accreditation
To maintain OCI registration, it’s very important to accumulate credit points through continuing education. Some of the CE providers accredited with OCI are LVPEI, ASCO, Vidyasagar College, Harijyot College, Karnataka Optometry Association, Masterclass Optometry, India Vision Institute, Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, Management and Science University Malaysia and Alcon Laboratories India Pvt Ltd. All these programs put together are 11 OCI accredited CE’s conducted with a total of 60 credit points.
Apart from registering optometrist, the second main objective of OCI is to accredit optometry schools and colleges. The manual for accreditation and a policy document on schools accreditation has been developed and published by OCI, the same which has been shared with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) who are currently working with the government of India to standardise optometry education.
OCI is also currently the associate member of the World Council of Optometry (WCO). The council is currently the verification agency for optometrist travelling to middle eastern countries. Few optometrist who travelled to UAE on work required good standing certificates as part of procedure and OCI issued close to 10 such certificates. OCI has written to 13 universities in India introducing itself and also informing them about non-acceptance of distance education or education through correspondence in Optometry.
OCI has its own website and online registration that has been open since day one. Recently a member’s ONLY section was introduced and in this way, members can upload their CE credits document online. A Case report template developed for registered optometrists helps them to submit interesting case reports and earn CE points. And job opportunities from various organisations is circulated to all registered optometrists.
With digital India becoming the key word these days, OCI has attempted to put interested optometrist registered with them under the optometrist locator. This way the public benefits from knowing where an optometrist is located and also helps in viewing their area of speciality.
Benefitting the public
For the end user, the benefit from the Optometry Council of India comes in the form of better quality of eye care which is cost effective. Additionally, it is regulatory bodies like OCI that will ensure the regular influx of skilled optometry work force for the development of the domain of optometry.