Diploma in Optometry

This programme is offered at Lilongwe campus.
Duration: 3 years.

Background:
World Council of Optometry (WCO) defines Optometry as a healthcare profession that is autonomous, educated and regulated (licensed/registered). It defines Optometrists as the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and visual system who provide comprehensive eye and vision care, which includes refraction and dispensing, detection/diagnosis and management of diseases in the eye and the rehabilitation of conditions of the visual system. Optometry is an emerging profession and the practice is diverse across different countries

The Optometry program started in Malawi in 2008 with the BSc in Optometry at Mzuzu University. The first batch of the degree students is graduating in 2012. In 2010 the Diploma in Optometry course started at Malawi College of Health Sciences. There are 19 students studying the diploma course and they are now in their second year. These students are expected to work at district hospitals after graduation where their main responsibilities will be conducting refraction on patients to find the correct power required for spectacles, fitting lenses into the spectacles and examining eyes both externally and internally to identify eye diseases. Optometry Technicians cooperate with Ophthalmic Clinical Officers to manage patients with refractive error or eye disease and refer patients to higher centers when indicated. International Centre for Eye care Education (ICEE), Sight Savers and Optometry Giving Sight (OAG) are supporting both programs.

Optometry services are always in demand and qualified Optometry Technicians can expect to be busy seeing patients in their clinics. According to World Health Organization (WHO) and World Council of Optometrists (WCO), twenty optometry practitioners are needed per million of the population in order to fulfill the vision 2020 mission in the developing world. This means that 300 optometry practitioners are required in Malawi at present. This is a growing profession that provides services which are greatly in demand and students can expect to make big advances in eye care in Malawi in line with the Vision 2020 ‘Right to Sight’ goals of eliminating preventable blindness.

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must have a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) or its equivalent with credit passes in Mathematics, Biology and Physical Science.