Optometry is a health care profession concerned with health of the eyes and the visual system. It focuses on diagnosing eye disease as well as detecting any defects and abnormalities concerning the eyes and our sight. The field of optometry earlier dealt with correcting refractive defects – often thought of, but not limited to, short and long-sightedness by the majority – by the use of spectacles. Practitioners who made spectacles were called dispensing opticians or prescribing opticians. But modern day optometry now includes intensive medical training for the management and diagnosis of ocular diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, along with a study of optical aids and optical instruments.
Retail optometry is a field that has seen immense growth in India in recent times. The optical retail industry is going through tremendous technological developments, and to keep pace with such innovative development demands huge investment. This is one significant reason that large business brands like Vision, Titan, Reliance and Express have ventured into the field of retail optometry, offering job opportunities for trained optometrists.
There are several institutes in India offering certificate courses in Ophthalmic Dispensing leading to ‘Certified Dispensing Optician’. Such courses have been designed according to international standards of Western countries with the objective of refining the theoretical knowledge of opticians and training them with comprehensive concepts of ophthalmic optics and dispensing. These courses focus on upgrading the skills of opticians so that they can deliver better and accurate services to clients. These courses can also be accessed through distance education like the one-year ‘Post-Graduate Program in Optical Management’.
Lenskart was founded in 2010, with its headquarters at New Delhi. Mr. Peyush Bansal, the founder and CEO of Lenskart, began as an online optical retailer selling contact lens, eyewear frames, spectacles and sunglasses. Later, the company switched to outlets in stores, malls, hospitals, and now finally provides services in your homes. At present Lenskart has an impressive portal having 275 employees selling over 5,000 spectacles per day, with a revenue of $12 million. Titan Eye Plus is another big player in India in the optical world with around 400 outlets all over the country. Their competitors are Lens Bazaar, Deals4opticals, Yebhi and Healthkart.
The latest innovation in retail optometry is that users can book an eye check-up on an app, much like the modern version of booking a cab. Lenskart began home eye check-ups which was a new initiative appreciated by customers with more than 50% people finally coming back to Lenskart for purchasing eye wear.
To conclude, the optical retail industry is one of the fastest growing retail businesses in India with wide prospects for trained optometrists in the years to come. In fact, the Indian eyewear market is around $3 billion dollars with a growth rate of 15% annually.
By: Ruchi Bhargava