Bouncing back

19 August 2022
Summer 2022

The College’s Clinical Editor on renewed excitement and optimism in the profession.

Foreign holidays are now back on the agenda, and the demand for flights for leisure appear to be bouncing back. After a forced two-year absence, the optical conference scene has now also well and truly re-emerged. If you have a passion for eyes and information, the options are many: virtual or in person, at home or abroad, many with hybrid options too.

Returning from the College’s Optometry Tomorrow conference (OT2022) earlier this summer, full of new knowledge and a renewed excitement for my profession, I bounced back to my desk with new ideas, inspiration and contacts – you will be hearing from me!

For practitioners in primary care and smaller practices, optometry can at times feel a lonely profession – many hours spent in a dark consulting room – and so the benefits of getting out to meet colleagues at local or national meetings are significant. At OT2022, what was in evidence was the sheer joy of delegates getting reacquainted with colleagues after the prolonged absence or meeting new ones, all face to face. We are human beings – we thrive on physical interactions to inspire, to empathise, to discuss, to share.

Over lockdown, we had to learn the art of virtual networking – although I suspect many of us simply failed to network, other than between our existing groups of friends and colleagues. Our article reminds us of the value of networking at all stages of our career – and the opportunities that exist face to face and virtually. A traditional business card (preferably with a QR code as a nod to modernity!) still has value, and acts as a prompt to follow up.

With conferences aplenty and technology at our fingertips, accessing research should be easy – but the sheer quantity of abstracts, journal articles, and guidelines can feel like information overload. How can we keep up to date with research developments, when our clinic diary is fully booked, practice management needs attention and there are many more daily demands on our time and attention?

‘Little and often’ is a mantra that can be applied to knowledge

We offer tips and advice on how to access this information and discusses the importance of keeping up to date with quality evidence to inform clinical practice.

Over the last decade there has been an explosion of potent new treatments for cancers and autoimmune conditions, many with ocular side effects. As healthcare professionals, it can be daunting to keep up with the seemingly ever-increasing new drugs emerging. Our article reviews a number of new medications and the role optometrists have in both spotting and monitoring any side effects.

“Little and often” is a mantra that can be applied to knowledge gain – Cindy Tromans FCOptom advises looking up the action of a drug every time a patient lists an unfamiliar drug in their history and symptoms.

We learn and we forget. I try to apply the “little and often” rule throughout my week – reading a journal when a patient fails to show, listening to podcasts when travelling, and subscribing to alerts from trusted sources, such as the College’s Clinical Management Guidelines.

Happy reading, listening and sharing – all ideas welcomed, and emails will not bounce back!

Jane Veys MSc MCOptom FIACLE

Jane has been involved in optometry for over 30 years and is an experienced educator, facilitator and scientific writer. She has published more than 50 articles, authored a leading contact lens textbook and created industry leading digital education series.

Image credit | Caroline Andrieu

Related further reading

Our response to the Royal College of Ophthalmologist's guidance on reopening and redeveloping services after COVID-19

This outlines a COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service delivered from a network of optical practices, acting as urgent eye care hubs, to support the immediate and recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eye Care Services are experiencing increasing pressure due to greater patient need. This can lead to delayed treatment for patients who need hospital care.