Persuading policy-makers

2 August 2023
Summer 2023

A message from Leon Davies, College President

With extensive press coverage of the impact of digitisation and artificial intelligence on healthcare provision, I’d like to welcome you to this digital summer issue of Acuity.

As ever, I like to keep readers up to date with some of the many opportunities I have had to assert optometry’s role as a vital healthcare provider. In addition to an invited presentation during the President’s session at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists congress in Birmingham, I was invited by Marsha de Cordova MP to speak at the meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment on the topic of workforce. Along with other sector partners, these were excellent platforms to showcase the College’s Workforce Vision and increase the recognition of optometrists as key healthcare professionals in multidisciplinary teams.

A central pillar of our Workforce Vision is to champion and enable optometrists to take the lead in clinical research. With this in mind, our article sees Professor Bruce Evans FCOptom, one of the UK’s leading exponents of clinical research, chart his role in building optometry’s evidence base through research in areas such as optometric factors in dyslexia, myopia management and binocular vision. Reflecting on his illustrious career, his advice for others is to adopt a long-term career strategy, with re-evaluation points every five years. 

With UK online eyewear sales expected to grow by 6% in 2023 (Euromonitor International, 2023 ), research by the College revealed that 89% of College members thought legislation regarding the sale of optical appliances was necessary to protect consumers. Our article offers insights from leading clinicians on the impact of online sales and how practice-based clinicians can provide a competitive, value-added service for in-person dispensing.  

A central pillar of our vision is to champion optometrists to take the lead in research

Finally, another article profiles Dr Neil Handley, our British Optical Association Museum Curator, who recalls his 25-year career at the College. From humble beginnings as the Museum’s Documentation Assistant, Neil now presides over an eclectic mix of ophthalmic items that attract hundreds of visitors to the College each year.

I hope readers enjoy the range of digital articles found in this issue and that you will all be able to take a break from the day job to spend quality time with family and friends over the summer.

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

Related further reading

The College of Optometrists and BCLA (British Contact Lens Association) welcomed around 900 attendees at Optometry Tomorrow 24 - now incorporating BCLA Focus on 28-29 April.

We have responded to the General Optical Council (GOC) consultation on revised Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians, Standards for Optical Students and Standards for Optical Businesses.

We have responded to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) consultation on two draft guidance documents.