Visionaries in training

1 November 2023
Autumn 2023

A message from Leon Davies, College President

Those with young families will be well versed in the rituals and routines surrounding the start of a new academic year. After weeks away from school, I know my own brood were keen to get back (at least I think so!). 

Similarly, this autumn, many undergraduate optometry students are embarking on their new courses, with programmes designed to align with the General Optical Council’s (GOC’s) new Education and Training Requirements. As with the College’s Workforce Vision, the new route to registration is an opportunity to develop and upskill new registrants, so future graduates will be equipped to deliver advanced levels of eye care within multidisciplinary teams. I wish all our new colleagues the best of luck and look forward to welcoming them into our profession.

Over the coming years, the pre-registration landscape will also change, with the introduction of the new Clinical Learning in Practice (CLiP) programme, which will offer work-based placement experiences as part of undergraduate students’ master’s degrees. Through her role as the College’s Lead Assessor, Dr Rebekah Stevens MCOptom explains how her career in academia has prepared her for the challenge of guiding pre-registration optometrists, and how she will work with universities to deliver CLiP.

Future graduates will be equipped to deliver advanced levels of eye care

The GOC’s new education standards and outcomes will also see a greater emphasis on research in optometry, ensuring students take an evidence-based approach to their clinical decision-making. With that in mind, our research-focused article considers the advantages and disadvantages of Delphi studies, which have become an established and widely used qualitative research method for eliciting a consensus view of a given topic. 

I’d also like to highlight our article that discusses the role of the consulting room, with how it could, and perhaps should, evolve in line with advancements in clinical practice, physical technology and the rise of artificial intelligence. 

Finally, as a past Editor-in-Chief, I wanted to acknowledge and thank all contributors to the final issue of our sister journal, Optometry in Practice (OiP). Fittingly, the editorial is written by OiP’s longest-serving editorial board member, Professor Jonathan Jackson MCOptom. Accessed via the College’s website, the issue covers a range of CPD and is a fitting end to OiP’s contribution to optometric education over the last 23 years.

Professor Leon Davies PhD BSc(Hons) FCOptom Prof Cert Med Ret

Immediate Past President, Council Member - West Midlands

Leon Davies is a registered optometrist and Professor of Optometry & Physiological Optics at Aston University. A Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, Leon holds fellowships with the College of Optometrists, the American Academy of Optometry, and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Leadership roles at Aston University include Director of Research (2010-17) and Head of the School of Optometry (2016-21). His clinical research is focused on presbyopia and the restoration of ocular accommodation to the ageing eye.

Image credit | Sam-Kerr

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