A hard year to put into words

From “lockdown” to “unmute” – the words that tell the story of our year

Getty/ John_Lamb

Last year, it was “climate emergency.” But when the team behind Oxford Languages’ ‘Word of the Year’ started to examine the data to decide the winner for 2020, it quickly became apparent that it was an impossible task.

Their response was to examine, as the team put it, the “phenomenal breadth of language change and development” over the year, and in turn create their Words of an Unprecedented Year report.

From “COVID-19” and “coronavirus,” “lockdown” and “circuit breaker,” to “bubbles” and “face masks,” not to mention “key workers,” the list will seem only too familiar.

As my colleague Lucy noted in her blog a couple of weeks’ ago, 2020 has been traumatic. But this should not stop us from taking pride in our achievements, both in staying resilient in the face of, yes, another of those words of the year, “unprecedented” challenges, and also being flexible and adapting the ways we work in order to deliver patient care.

One standout example was the COVID-19 urgent eyecare service (CUES) – a model that once again shows the value of community optometry, and reiterates the importance of continuing the conversation about how eye care provision can be remodelled in 2021.

LOCSU’s Richard Whittington and Zoe Richmond offered their reflections to OT’s Laurence Derbyshire – well worth a watch if you missed it.

Yesterday, in the latest in OT’s virtual roundtable series, we partnered with CooperVision to bring together five ECPs to explore the impact of tele-optometry on clinical practice. In a fascinating conversation, the group was quick to conclude that patients’ response to remote consultations has been overwhelmingly positive. The challenge for 2021? How to embed this new way of working so it continues to meet the needs of patients and practice teams. Look out for our report in our February/March edition. And if you missed our roundtable ‘Meeting the critical need for contact lens comfort,’ in partnership with Alcon, click here.

Finally, in last week’s blog, OT picked out three myths we had spotted that have been circulating about COVID-19 vaccines.

Feedback from readers got us thinking about how scientific research is based on the freedom to ask questions. Therefore, we have a request: do you have queries about the COVID vaccines that you’d like OT to explore?

Please email what you would like to know about the vaccines to assistant editor, [email protected]. We will then publish a selection of the questions and answers on our website next month.