The annual conference and annual general meeting of the Nigeria Optometric Student Association came to an end over the weekend. This student professional body truly depict what the future holds for us, as professional. I was ably invited to the 4-day event by Comrade Domike Princewill, President, Madonna University Chapter of the Association.

The event was packed with academic talks from different resource persons from different universities. I particularly fancied the speakers who spoke to participant on the Day-2 of the conference. I learnt quite a lot. For my readers who have interest in being professional Optometrist and rising to the top, this piece of information would serve the purpose.

Read the description of Optometry on the official website of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri:

“About the department of Optometry:

Optometry is a healthcare profession that is autonomous, educated and regulated. The Optometrist, as its practitioner is called, is a primary healthcare practitioner of the eye and visual system, who provides comprehensive eye and vision care services which include refraction and dispensing, the detection/diagnosis and management of disease in the eye and rehabilitations of conditions of the visual system ( World Council of Optometry, W.C.O.).” Enter FUTO Optometry Department

Optometry is a medical sub specialty that requires students to spend 6 minimum years in the university, one year internship program before they are awarded their degree and license to practice. Every activity of Optometry in Nigeria is regulated by the Optometrist and Dispensing Opticians Board of Nigeria (ODORBN).

As in other fields, participants were advised to ensure that they get personal development and career development strategies from reputable sources. Under personal development strategies, attending of seminars, weminars, symposium, workshops, conferences and clinical meetings are all included. Other personal development strategies include peer interactions, reading journals, surfing the Internet, contributing articles to journals etc.

Career development strategies include enrolling in academic post-graduate programmes (like diploma courses, online degrees, masters and PhDs), enrolling in clinical residency programs as offered by the Nigerian College of Optometrists.

In Optometry, career prospects abounds as seen in: Clinical Optometry, Academic and research, Business and Management, Public health, politics and Legislative, Media and Journalism, Military and Paramilitary etc.

Clinically, there exist hierarchy through which an Optometrist rise to the peak in his or her practice. This is the hierarchical structure as it operates in Nigeria’s civil service:

Assistant Optometrist (Grade Level 8)

Intern/NYSC Optometrist (Grade Level 9)

Optometrist (Grade Level 10)

Senior Optometrist Grade 2 (Grade Level 12)

Senior Optometrist Grade 1 (Grade Level 13)

Principal Optometrist Grade 2 (Grade Level 14)

Principal Optometrist Grade 1 (Grade Level 15)

Assistant Chief Optometrist (Grade Level 16)

Chief Optometrist (Grade Level 17)

Also there is another hierarchical structure among the academia, it is as follows;

Lecturer 2

Lecturer 1

Senior Lecturer

Associate Professor of Optometry

Professor of Optometry.

Optometry, being a relatively young specialty in Nigeria, faces a lot of survival challenges. Bickering still exists between Optometrists and Ophthalmologist in the hospital setting. It is a classic case of battle for supremacy!!!

For all intent and purpose, Optometry, according to World Council of Optometry is autonomous, independent and educated. Give them a chance.







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