What to Know About Optometry in Nigeria

Optometry in Nigeria

The optometry profession in Nigeria is a young and growing profession,  about 75% of the population in Nigeria, don’t know about optometrists, yet their visual care is performed by them, many persons always on hearing the works optometry, ask the question what is optometry and what do they do, owing to we grew up with the concept of that eye doctors are known as occultists. This has affected our notion to the fact we don’t know that they’re three different specialties involved in eye care practice in Nigeria, which are the dispensing opticians, the optometrists, and finally the ophthalmologists. This three different specialties work hand in hand to make eye care delivery a success in Nigeria.

What is Optometry and its Scope of Practice in Nigeria?

They are primary eye health care providers, are the front line of eye and vision care. They examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care, they play a major role in an individual’s overall health and well-being by detecting systemic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension. They also Prescribe medications, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses and perform certain surgical procedures.Counsel patients regarding surgical and non-surgical options that meet their visual needs related to their occupations, avocations and lifestyle. Optometry in Nigeria is regulated by the optometrists and dispensing opticians regulation board of Nigeria, (ODORBN).

In Nigeria this profession is regulated and defined with their scope of practice in Nigeria, currently CAP 009 of the federation, formerly known as Decree 39 of 1989, this defines optometry as defines, Optometry as health-care profession specializing in the art and science of vision care and whose scope of practice includes:

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  1. Eye examinations to determine refractive errors and other departures from the optimally healthy and visually efficient eye;
  2. Correction of refractive errors using spectacles, contact lenses, low vision aids other devices;
  3. Correction of errors of binocularity by means of vision training (orthoptics);
  4. Diagnosis and management of minor ocular infections which do not pose a threat to the integrity of the ocular or visual system; and
  5. Ocular first aid.

How Many Years Does it Take to Study Optometry in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, every of the existing 8 universities offering optometry, award a doctor of optometry, which lasts for a period of 6 years to get, and after the 6 years program, you will write a professional licensing exam to be qualified to practice. Before you will proceed to go for a compulsory internship program in any of the accredited hospitals.  Currently in Nigeria they is also a postgraduate college of optometry, that aims at training optometry consultant in about 7 specialities which are Primary care, paediatric optometry, ocular health, public health, orthoptics, cornea/ contact lens,and low vision and rehabilitation,

What is the Optometry Course Outline in Nigerian Universities

In Nigeria about 7 schools currently offer optometry, which includes

Each of this institutions prepares her students in courses like Gross Anatomy, histology and embryology, neuro anatomy, General physiology, neurophysiology, ocular anatomy and physiology, optics and refraction, General and Ocular pathology, general and ocular pharmacology,  Epidemiology, clinical psychology, low vision and rehabilitation, orthoptics, Geriatric optometry,  paediatric optometry, contact lens practice etc. Most of this courses are so designed that they follow a sequence in order to suit the students, examination’s in optometry schools is done per semester. And clinical exams are conducted by most schools to clinicians.

What is the Acceptance Rate of Every Optometry School in Nigeria?

Majority of the optometry school’s are so selective in terms of admitting students, thou as a result of know data or accuracy of information they is no acceptance percentage for optometry schools.

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Is Optometry School Harder than Medical School?

This is a question that the answer will be so difficult to answer owing to in Nigeria, all medical profession are so strict when it comes to training their students, both medicine and optometry schools are hard in the sense that their polices are almost the same.

Is Optometry in High Demand?

Currently with the global advocacy program on blindness and the increase in estimated number of the visually impaired and blind to about a million plus, and the statistics rate of those with no access to eye care in the world to be 1 billion, the demand for optometrists is high in order to meet the needs of the general eye care needs in Nigeria. The optometry profession in Nigeria, is doing her best to meet up with the number.

How Much do Optometrist Earn in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, an optometrist is placed under conhess 7, as an intern in most hospitals, while some they are placed under Conmess, an average optometry intern in a state hospital earn around 120,000- 140000, while for federal hospitals 130,000- 180,000 for a beginning optometrists their salary range is around 150,000 upwards.

Job Scope of an Optometrist

The optometry personnel is not only limited to hospitals and clinics to practice, many of them take up careers in research centre’s, education institutions as vision screening staffs and as educator’s, occupational health practice in industries,  some take up jobs in humanitarian agencies.

The optometry profession in Nigeria, as we can see has a lot to offer the public and with her members interest also covered and represented.

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