Practical perspectives

31 October 2019
Autumn 2019

A message from the President of the College of Optometrists.

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Acuity. Here, we cover a number of highly topical areas, together with discussions of some of the basic scientific underpinnings of what we do; I hope that you find it useful.

In this edition, we gain perspectives from practitioners in Northern Ireland and Scotland, Professor Kathryn Saunders FCOptom of Ulster University, and Dr Janet Pooley MCOptom, Optometric Adviser to the Scottish Government. Adrian O’Dowd discusses beta blockers in the treatment of glaucoma. Prescribing decisions in glaucoma need to take into account clinical guidelines, effectiveness and the likelihood of side effects. As more of us are undertaking – or thinking about undertaking – an IP qualification, this article is particularly timely. 

We also feature an article on the running of an orthokeratology clinic. A number of optometrists are becoming involved in orthokeratology as a myopia management intervention, and I know that many more practitioners want to get involved in this area of work. The evidence base relating to the safety and efficacy of orthokeratology is building, and I would encourage practitioners involved in this method of myopia management to be well informed and familiar with the current evidence to be able to provide the most up-to-date advice to patients. 

Record-keeping remains one of the most important things we do, and we must get this aspect of our work absolutely right 

Also discussed is the handling of clinical records. Record-keeping remains one of the most important things we do as optometrists, and we must get this aspect of our work absolutely right. A further aspect is how the huge dataset that we have access to as a profession can be used, with appropriate patient consent, to contribute to our collective knowledge on vision and eye care. The College has done work in this area to encourage standardising how data are collected. Measuring the impact of eye care schemes has a vital role to play when we present the value of optometry to policy-makers and the effectiveness of what we do, via mechanisms such as local clinical audit and larger studies. 

It is vital that we continue to develop our clinical skills. Alongside excellent advancements in technology in recent years, these will help us take on increasing levels of clinical responsibility. I hope that the articles included in Acuity help you to develop your knowledge and inspire you in your careers.


Professor Edward Mallen BSc PhD MCOptom

Ed graduated in optometry from Aston University in 1998, and completed a PhD at the same institution in 2003. He is now Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, and Professor of Physiological Optics at the University of Bradford. He also holds the position of Honorary Professor with the School of Health Professions, Plymouth University, and Visiting Professor at Aston University. Ed was appointed College President in March 2018.

Ed is the Ex Officio of the Education and Standards and Research Committees and the Lay Advisory Panel.


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