More than moderation

The wellbeing of patients is important, but practitioners also need support to make sure their lives are as healthy and stress-free as possible

Chief executive of the AOP, Henrietta Alderman

Both in this journal and its online equivalent, and through the AOP’s daily ‘Eyes in the news’ updates on the community forums, we can learn about the latest advice for patients to maintain healthy eyes – and there is plenty of it.

Last week it was carrots and all things orange and this week it is broccoli. Nevertheless, whatever the latest dietary trend, there is no doubt that a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet and regular eye examinations are the right advice for the public when it comes to maintaining healthy eyes. Much of the advice is similar for many other aspects of our health: don’t smoke; take exercise; eat plenty of fruit and vegetables; drink alcohol in moderation; and so on.

To support our members in giving good advice to their patients, we have developed a range of resources that can be accessed from our website. Our Top tips for healthy eyes web resource includes a video and a leaflet that members can download free of charge and use on practice websites or in their waiting rooms.

Reading the AOP blogs will also reveal relevant information encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

The AOP will be launching a health and wellbeing survey to see where the pinch-points are for members and find out what type of support members want from the AOP

The AOP supports National Eye Health Week, which this year runs from 19–25 September, and is a great opportunity for practices to promote healthy eyes through healthy lifestyle choices and regular eye examinations. There are lots of excellent free resources to assist you, to help get your practice noticed, and inform your patients about the importance of vision.

It is also a good to see a community public health initiative in Dudley, where its Local Optical Committee has joined forces with Public Health Dudley to develop the first Healthy Living Optician concept in England. It is hoped that this will be replicated by other public health teams in England for the delivery of NHS health checks, smoking cessation advice and health promotion. Optometrists are well placed to deliver public health messages in the heart of the community.

A healthy lifestyle also means living without excessive stress, and in the next few months, the AOP will be launching a health and wellbeing survey to see where the pinch-points are for members and to find out what type of support members want from the AOP. Members have already told us that this is an issue for them, and the AOP’s new CET-accredited legal video outlines some of the situations that might cause stress within practice and the support that the AOP can provide.

Also look out for an AOP-sponsored webinar next month, delivered by The Careers Group, on the topic of stress in the workplace.

One way of handling stress is to remove its cause, another is to develop ways of dealing with it. Mindfulness is one technique and it has been developed as an accessible form of meditation and adopted by healthcare professionals, educationalists and business leaders alike. We would be interested in any techniques that you find helpful – yoga is mine!