How healthy is the future of eye health?

28 August 2020
Acuity digital

With COVID-19 affecting so many areas of our lives, Helen Gilbert looks at the impact the pandemic is having on optometric and ophthalmological research.

Is the future of eye health and vision sciences research hanging in the balance? In July, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) expressed “deep concern” about the impact of COVID-19 on this field and warned the interruption would likely “exacerbate existing health inequalities”.

Its paper, Mitigating the Impact of Covid-19 on Academic Ophthalmology and Ophthalmic Research cautioned that it would not be feasible to resume all interrupted ophthalmic research, “due to the shortfall in funding or delays in research activities that cannot be overcome”.

“Inevitably this will leave gaps in scientific evidence to inform clinical practice, service provision and policies,” it stated.

Encouragingly, some COVID-19 specific-research has been accelerated. The Health Research Authority has implemented “a fast-track process to review new studies and amendments to existing studies, often within a few days of application”, according to its website.   

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Related further reading

The College and Eye Research Group Oxford are collaborating to bring you a webinar on Monday 24 June, on how optometrists can get involved in research.

We have partnered with Ulster University to develop a series of learning modules to support optometrists who want to undertake research, from developing their understanding of research to acquiring the necessary skills.

The College has provided key information to help you identify cases and guidance on managing circumstances that are relevant to optometry practices.