As with the advent of any new year, 2019 looks set to bring its own unique assortment of beginnings, challenges and opportunities for our profession. Indeed, it’s hard not to mention the current uncertainty (at least at the time of writing) surrounding the impasse faced by Her Majesty’s Government and the European Union. Time will tell as to the exact implications for optometry in the UK.
Within optics, the General Optical Council’s Education Strategic Review (ESR) looks set to enter the final stage of consultation. As readers will be well aware, the ESR provides an excellent opportunity for the whole optical sector to re-evaluate how it educates and develops practitioners of the future, for the future. It is imperative that the central tenets of the ESR remain core to any future reimagined route to registration, and that current and new providers of degree and postgraduate courses are empowered to innovate and collaborate to raise standards of practice for public benefit.
Optometry in Practice also continues to develop in 2019 with the addition of four new editorial board members: Raquel Gil-Cazorla, Lindsay Rountree, Deanna Taylor and Jane Veys. All four optometrists bring with them a wealth of clinical and academic experience that will be put to work over the coming years. I very much welcome all four colleagues to the Optometry in Practice team and look forward to working with them over the coming months.
2019 also sees the start of a new CET cycle. With this in mind, the latest issue of Optometry in Practice publishes three evidence-based articles. The first paper of the current issue outlines the main outcomes from the TFOS DEWS II reports. Here, Craig and Wang navigate the practitioner through the literature and provide optometrists with a basic framework, supported by an established evidence base, for the management of dry eye disease.
With an ageing population, optometrists will see an increasing need to examine patients in a range of environments. With that in mind, Stephen Clark’s article describes, through a retrospective analysis of electronic patient records, a cohort of patients who accessed domiciliary eye care due to difficulty in accessing high-street practices. Amongst his findings, Clark’s data suggest that patients accessing home visits are usually older, more likely to be female and most likely to have their mobility restricted by arthritis. Recommendations include making the availability of domiciliary sight tests more widely known to these hard-to-reach groups.
The final paper in this issue by Porter and Dwarampudi outlines the nature of optometric referrals to the hospital eye service. The article aims to help primary care optometrists improve their referral letter writing, which will allow secondary care practitioners to triage patients more effectively. The authors consider what information to include in a referral, which referrals can be classed as routine and how to prescribe for amblyopic children who are waiting for an orthoptic assessment. Anonymous clinical examples are discussed and supported by the current evidence base.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to wish all readers of Optometry in Practice a successful and prosperous 2019.