Information is gathered through surveys from optometric and optical associations in 29 ECOO member countries across Europe. The latest data shows very different professional landscapes for the professions across Europe, including a varied scope of practice.
Interestingly, the report highlights that “with the rising costs of medical care and the decline of the number of ophthalmologists in some countries in Europe, primary eye health is transferred increasingly to optometrists and opticians.”
However, it states that the opportunities for optometrists and dispensing opticians to develop beyond their traditional roles and offer primary health care “is not uniform.”
Past president of ECOO, Dr Julie-Anne Little, said: “The data clearly shows that the professional landscape is scattered and each country has its unique profile. However, comparison of these data over the years also demonstrates the progress the profession is making in terms of scope of practice and educational levels.”
“We hope that the Blue Book contributes to a better understanding of the professional landscape of optometry and optics in Europe,” she added.
The first Blue Book, which proved valuable to professionals, policy-makers and academics alike, was published in 2008.
Commenting on the update, president of ECOO, Paul Folkesson, said: “The Blue Book has had considerable success over the past years, with many stakeholders using the information and calling for new data. We have therefore engaged in updating the data together with our members.”
ECOO has said that it will update the book “on a regular basis,” to capture the data as a ‘snapshot’ every two years.