Alcon has hosted its first Alconversation event, which saw a panel of experts gather to review the current landscape of optics and discuss how it could be improved.
The event was hosted at Alcon’s UK headquarters and chaired by clinical adviser to the Optical Consumer Complaints Service, Richard Edwards. The panel comprised of the General Optical Council’s director of policy, Alistair Bridge; optometrist and AOP Board member, Gordon Illett; and councillor for the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, Andrew Price.
Topics discussed during the Alconversation included whether the Opticians Act and General Ophthalmic Services were still fit for purpose, and the impact of Brexit on the NHS and UK product supply.
Ideas for change included the future-proofing of optics and introducing an apprentice-style approach of ‘gentle supervision’ that is similar to medicine.
Looking to the future, the panel revealed where they would invest. For Mr Illett it was in an interactive device for children and patients with disabilities which, through play, could collect data for the practitioner to work with.
A topic all panel members agreed on was the importance of educating the public and the role of the eye test. Mr Price highlighted: “We need to educate patients about the skills we have and the education that’s behind it. Whether that is a campaign focused action, or simply five minutes with each patient educating them, changes need to be made in order to future-proof the industry.”
Alcon has confirmed that it will hold similar events throughout the year.
Business unit head of vision care at Alcon UK and Ireland, Ray Pasko, said: “Alconversation was an opportunity to bring together some of the brightest minds, thought-leaders and regulators in the optical space and deliver a programme of what’s important today and, more importantly, what will be important in the future. We’re looking forward to continuing to do these events in the future.”