How do I become an optometrist in Pakistan?

Want to become an optometrist in Pakistan? Unsure how to go about it? Here’s all you need to know about practicing optometry in Pakistan:

What is optometry?

Optometry is the health-care profession concerned especially with examining the eye for defects and faults of refraction, with prescribing correctional lenses or eye exercises, with diagnosing diseases of the eye, and with treating such diseases or referring them for treatment.

Optometrists are different from opticians and ophthalmologists.

The different ops

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who are authorized to deal with all sorts of eye diseases and provide solutions which may include prescribing medicine or even surgery. They are usually also heavily involved in research work.

Opticians are individuals who simply work on designing and fitting glass and contact lenses based on prescriptions they receive from ophthalmologists or optometrists. They are not authorized to treat the patient in any form. They are also not allowed to check vision and make prescriptions.

Optometrists are not medical doctors. They examine problems you might have with your vision, and then prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. Some optometrists also provide low vision care and vision therapy.

 How to become an optometrist in Pakistan

Unfortunately, there is no set way that you can follow if you wish to become an optometrist in Pakistan. In fact, some people realized the lack of a governing body of optometry in Pakistan and started a petition to form an “Optometry council to regulate Optometry and Optometrists in Pakistan”.

But the petition was not successful, and we still have no authorizing body in this field. This means that different universities in different cities have their own programs that you can study to work as an optometrist. In fact, since there is no one overlooking the process, many people go straight into practice without even having any formal education.

Some universities in Pakistan have five-year courses that you can take to get a degree called “Doctor of Optometry” or an OD.  While some universities offer a simple bachelor’s in optometry. In either case, the course is studied after completion of Inter or A level. And in either case, you will graduate with the necessary skills you need to become an optometrist in Pakistan. It all depends on what suits you.