Three reasons to be hopeful

A roundup of stories within optics that speak to the promise of the profession during uncertain times

cup of coffee

A morning scroll through the news headlines does not paint the most positive picture at the moment.

Continuing uncertainty about Brexit, fears over the spread of coronavirus and concerns over its potential economic impact are not far from people’s minds.

But there are reasons to remain hopeful in these unpredictable times.

Within optics, there are hard-working optometrists, dispensing opticians, academics and researchers making a difference to patients and the wider profession every day.

As a reporter I have the privilege of talking to people who are making a difference in their community and finding out something new between setting off to work and returning home.

While each article is important, I use the ‘accidentally iced coffee’ benchmark for stories that I am really excited to share with readers.

This is when a forgotten cup of coffee goes cold because I am engrossed in writing a piece.

You will find three below; I hope you enjoy reading them (but have more success remembering your hot beverage).

Using video consulting to improve care

Optometrists in Scotland are starting to use video consulting technology to access the expert opinion of an ophthalmologist on cases they see on the High Street.

Specsavers Alloa optometrist, John Keenan, told OT that the technology has given him greater peace of mind when deciding whether to refer a patient.

“I am not only learning but I am also gaining confidence in my clinical ability. Every day is a school day in optometry; which is even more the case when you are getting to partner up with an ophthalmologist who is examining the patient with you,” he shared.

OT’s upcoming April edition will explore the potential of teleophthalmology for patients in further detail by showcasing an award-winning Moorfields project that has halved patient referrals from primary care.

Multiple generations of eyewear in one frame

A university student who received a £50,000 grant to develop his range of sustainable eyewear spoke to OT at 100% Optical.

George Bailey spent his 20th birthday at the UK optical event sharing his vision for frames made from a hybrid of nylon waste collected from oceans and landfills all over the world.

Ultimately each pair of spectacles could one day contain multiple generations of Coral Eyewear frames.

A pioneering eye drop to help the eye heal

The conundrum of keeping an eye drop on the surface of the eye long enough for a therapeutic to take effect is being addressed by University of Birmingham researchers.

They have found that a common food ingredient that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration could be the missing link in a new approach to corneal healing.

Gellan gum eye drops can be combined with the anti-scarring agent, decorin, to reduce corneal surface scarring.

Experiments in mice revealed a surprising finding – that the gellan gum eye drop alone aids ocular healing.