Discussing dry eye and waging war on myopia

The BCLA’s Visionaries conference tackled industry topics during debates and lectures

19 Dec 2017 by Andrew McClean

A GP has called for the barriers between general practice and eye care professionals to be broken down.

Speaking at the British Contact Lens Association’s (BCLA) Visionaries 2017 conference, Dr Waqaar Shah said he wants to see optometrists play an integral role in wider health management.

“We have to work better across different organisations. We should bring optometrists into the extended primary care team and break down those barriers that currently exist and result in an old-fashioned way of working,” he said.

“The cross-fertilisation of ideas between practitioners is of fundamental importance. The industry has been sub-specialised to such an extent that specific knowledge is not being disseminated. We need to see a paradigm shift in thinking,” Dr Shah added.

Dr Shah made the comments during a panel discussion on the management of dry eye disease at the day-long conference, which was held at the Wellcome Collection in London on 13 December.

BCLA Visionaries conference

BCLA council member and consultant ophthalmologist, Professor Teifi James, chaired the debate, which also included Colin Davidson from the College of Optometrists; consultant rheumatologist, Professor David D’Cruz; advance clinical pharmacist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Elaine Mann; Andrew Price from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians; optometrist Nick Rumney; consultant ophthalmologist and BCLA president elect, Professor Sunil Shah; and optometrist Professor James Wolffsohn.

Worldwide War on Myopia

At the event, Professor Wolffsohn examined the findings of the DEWS II report on dry eye disease, and sessions were also held by sponsors including Alcon, CooperVision and Mark’ennovy.

Dublin-based eye surgeon Ian Flitcroft used his concluding lecture to declare the start of the Worldwide War on Myopia. 

“The calculated risks from myopia are comparable to those between hypertension, smoking and cardiovascular disease. It’s the most prevalent medical condition on the planet and it’s rising generation by generation in the developed world. It should be the biggest news story in medicine,” he said.

Mr Flitcroft added: “The current generation – ‘Generation M’ – is going to be the most myopic the world has ever seen. We can’t simply stand by and do nothing. We need to wage war on this and arm ourselves with weapons to fight back.”

Next year’s Visionaries event will take place on 8 November 2018. 

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