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Future gazing

From injections to operations, one optometrist shares his hopes for the future of optometry

02 Mar 2017 by Emily McCormick

I recently listened to a passionate optometrist talk to his peers about the future of optometry and the value of upskilling.

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This particular practitioner was not all talk and no action either. He was wholeheartedly putting himself out there and advancing his clinical skillset. Not only was he independent prescriber qualified, but he had recently gained certification to perform intravitreal (IVT) injections, and had completed a course in basic surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

In fact, during the talk, he even revealed that he had the basement room of his practice specced out to be used as a theatre – though in the future, he emphasised.

So why is Ian Cameron doing this? Because in a time when threats to the profession are growing and ophthalmology is increasingly overstretched, he wants to be prepared for the changes afoot. And he wants the profession to join him, because showing itself to be prepared and ready to take on additional skills will no doubt be key in securing the advancement of the profession, he said.

“We need to get an army ready and prepare ourselves for these changes,” he highlighted.

For Mr Cameron, the future of optometry is in ophthalmology services, such as IVT injections and, perhaps even, cataract surgery, being performed by optometrists in the practice setting.

The optometrist drew on statistics that demonstrated how overstretched ophthalmology departments are, with no plan in place to change this.

Outpatient appointments in ophthalmology departments have increased by 40% in the last decade, while 20 patients a month are losing their vision as a result of not being seen on time, he shared.

Will you be joining Mr Cameron's army? Share your views on optometry advancing in the AOP's community forums.

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