The go-to for all things eyes

What changes would you like to see to help the profession move forward?

virus with man
Getty/ Katsana Prathummat

Yesterday, it was reported that three quarters of UK adults have had one dose of a vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19), and a further half have had both doses. Quite the achievement, and testament to the hard work of so many.

And yet the refrain remains care and caution, data not dates – particularly as emerging evidence suggests both doses are needed to give strong protection against the delta variant.

For Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, there is “still a long way to go, and we have not won the race yet.” She draws attention to the need of government to ensure a continuous good supply of vaccines wherever they are needed, “especially now that the recommended gap between doses has been reduced to eight weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority cohorts.”

From the experiences and lessons we have learned over the last difficult year, OT has been reflecting on the big challenges and questions in 2021 and beyond – and the team has dedicated its upcoming June/July edition to future-gaze.

We find out why a group of Canadian optometrists are threatening a withdrawal of services in September, and ask UK optometrists for their personal take on the future of GOS. We also explore High Street trends and what they mean for independents practices, and consider the ripple-effect of mega-mergers – chiefly the acquisition of GrandVision by EssilorLuxottica.

And what about ‘big data,’ and how to harness it? Optometrist and AOP clinical director, Dr Peter Hampson, asks us to “imagine a world where all of the data captured from OCTs was pooled and categorised, and we could have a far greater understanding of what the ‘normal’ patient actually looks like. This in turn should enable us to detect disease at an earlier stage and instigate treatment quicker, improving outcomes for patients and enhancing the role of primary care.”

As the new-look AOP Council prepares to sit from 9 June, OT caught up with some of the new councillors to ask: ‘What changes would you like to see to help the profession move forward?’

Mehul Patel concluded that the pandemic has forced the industry to adopt a different mode of working within a short space of time. “We have a huge opportunity to take a more holistic primary role in eye care with the support of our ophthalmology colleagues; one that delivers on our patients’ needs and remunerates fairly. With more and more practices embracing technology and investing in OCT, core training needs to encompass these advancements and produce skilled professionals who can competently manage patients under supervision of the hospital eye service.”

Kris Cottier told OT: “We need to build on the gains the professions have made. Every practitioner deserves to be given the opportunities to maximise their skill-set and work to the full extent of their capability. We need to continue to highlight the advantages of eye care in the primary eye care setting rather than in secondary care. We need to continue to be seen as the go-to practitioner for all things eyes.”

What changes would you like to see in optometry? Please get in touch and share your views with us.