Cool heads in a crisis

30 April 2020
Spring 2020

A message from Colin Davidson, the College President.

At the time of writing, we are facing the world’s largest public health crisis in over a century, and every day presents a new challenge. 

I know that these uncertainties will be challenging for us all, and our practice and profession will need to change and adapt in the coming months. I would like to express my hope that your organisation, its people and their families are healthy and safe, and remain so during this unprecedented situation.

As your professional body, we will stand by your side during these difficult times to advise and update you in the most timely and practical ways possible. We are already, and will continue to, work with other sector bodies to bring you the very latest in news and advice. 

Of course, 2020 marks an important year for eye care, so when things begin to return to normal we will do our utmost to communicate to the public the vital importance of vision and eye health and the role optometrists play in both. 

As your professional body, we will stand by your side during these difficult times to advise and update you

Acuity is one of the ways in which the College will continue to support its members and highlight how they are seeking to improve practice and progress their careers. In this issue, we profile two optometrists who have taken a different path to optometry. Gemma Hill MCOptom initially studied biological sciences before realising optometry was the career for her. She now owns her own practice, has recently become IP qualified and is planning to take on a pre-registration optometrist this year. It is obvious Gemma finds her job extremely rewarding.

Simon Frackiewicz MCOptom came to optometry after having pursued a career in orthoptics. Simon worked in a hospital before deciding to go back to university. He now feels both of his degrees influence his current practice and, like Gemma, he runs his own successful practice. 

Both Gemma and Simon have realised the benefit of extra study and College higher qualifications, which are a great way to further an optometric career. 

Additionally, I would like to mention the article on HLA-B27 and its implications in eye inflammation. I work in a hospital and regularly see patients presenting with anterior uveitis. This insightful piece highlights the importance of careful questioning to ensure that as clinicians we have fully understood our patients’ general health status.

I hope these articles will provide food for thought and will continue to inspire you during these difficult times.


Colin Davidson BSc (Hons) FCOptom DipTp(IP)

Colin currently works part-time for the University of Hertfordshire where he is programme lead for independent prescribing. He also works in independent practice in East Sussex, and at Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton where he works in both A&E and uveitis clinics. He is a senior assessor for the College and an OSCE chief examiner. He is a former member of East Sussex LOC and a current member of the education faculty at the Johnson and Johnson Institute.

Colin was awarded a Diploma in Independent Prescribing Dip TP(IP) in 2011, and Fellowship of the College in 2013.


Related further reading

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UKHSA confirms that changes to the self-isolation period following Covid exposure applies to healthcare workers

The College issues advice following the Prime Minister's announced that the UK would return to COVID Alert Level 4.