Global mapping of optometry workforce

African Vision and Eye Health

Field Value
Title Global mapping of optometry workforce
Creator Naidoo, Kovin S. Govender-Poonsamy, Pirindhavellie Morjaria, Priya Block, Sandra Chan, Ving F. Yong, Ai Chee Bilotto, Luigi
Subject Optometry optometrist; practitioner-to-population ratio; mapping; optometry workforce; global distribution
Description Background: Vision impairment is a growing global burden issue, and appropriately trained optometrists are essential for its management. However, there is a shortage of optometrists worldwide, which hampers eye care planning. Few studies have addressed this shortage quantitatively.Aim: The study aimed to describe the distribution of the global optometric workforce.Setting: Global and country level.Methods: From February 2017 to May 2020, a standardised questionnaire in English was utilised to collect data on the global number and distribution of optometrists from key informants. Optometrists were categorised based on the World Council of Optometry’s guidelines, from levels two to four. Optometrist-to-population ratios were calculated for all countries and regions and compared with targets of 1:50 000 (in developing contexts) or 1:10 000 (in developed contexts).Results: An 80.9% response was achieved with responses from 123 of the 152 countries invited. Most (40.7%) key informants were academics. The total number of optometrists across 21 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) regions was 331 781. Sixty-six (53.7%) countries met the 1:50 000 optometrist-to-population ratio. There was a noticeable positive correlation (r = 0.7) between the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment and the optometrist-to-population ratios. Strong inverse relationships existed between a country’s gross domestic product and optometrist-to-population ratio.Conclusion: High-income countries met the target for optometrist-to-patient ratios, while low- to middle-income countries and low-income countries did not meet the targets. Low optometrist-to-patient ratios were strongly associated with a higher magnitude of blindness and vision impairment.Contribution: This article provides the first consolidation of the global optometry workforce.
Publisher AOSIS
Contributor Brien Holden Vision Institute World Council of Optometry African Vision Research Institute
Date 2023-10-27
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Cross-sectional study
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/aveh.v82i1.850
Source African Vision and Eye Health; Vol 82, No 1 (2023); 8 pages 2410-1516 2413-3183
Language eng
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Coverage Global 2017-2020 Key informants in countries around the world
Rights Copyright (c) 2023 Kovin Shunmugam Naidoo, Pirindhavellie Govender-Poonsamy, Priya Morjaria, Sandra Block, Ving Fai Chan, Ai Chee Yong, Luigi Bilotto