A joint vision

3 May 2024
Spring 2024

A message from Leon Davies, College Immediate Past President.

I look back over my last two years as President with great affection, having been in a privileged position to champion our profession through advocacy with a wide range of healthcare professions, clinical colleagues, charities, commissioners and parliamentarians. With unstinting support from the College team, I hope our collective efforts have advanced our profession and benefited our patients. I now sign off my last Acuity editorial as Chair of the Board of Trustees and Immediate Past President. 

In February 2024, I was pleased to see the publication of the joint vision of The College of Optometrists and Royal College of Ophthalmologists for our continued collaboration. Our joint vision re-emphasises the Colleges’ guidance for the integration of services. It will help ensure eye care services that prioritise patients according to clinical need and enable them to receive care that is appropriate and accessible. Importantly, the vision champions multidisciplinary eye care professionals to provide care collaboratively in primary, community, hospital and independent sector provider settings. I look forward to the opportunities this joint vision affords as we all continue to provide the best possible care for our patients.

Having recently co-authored a research review in our scientific journal, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, exploring the role of artificial intelligence (AI)-based large language models in ophthalmic care, I am sure readers will be as keen as I am to read our Big Question article considering the unintended consequences of AI-powered diagnoses. While access to imaging technology, AI and large-scale datasets may provide signals to diagnose present and future systemic diseases from ocular scans, the article asks: what are the consequences for optometrists, and are they all positive?

I hope our collective efforts have advanced our profession

After recent work with the RNIB on the development and launch of its Eye Care Support Pathway, I am pleased to read our one-to-one interview with Cathy Low, Director of Partnerships at the Thomas Pocklington Trust, where she recalls how her own visual impairment has shaped her inspiring career.

Members often comment on the value of Acuity’s infographics, and this issue is no exception. In this issue, readers will find sight loss incidence and prevalence data in the UK, both now and in the future in the latest.  

In terms of Acuity, that’s it from me. I am looking forward to supporting our new President over the next two years, and continuing to champion our College, its members and our profession in the years ahead.

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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