Thinking smarter

2 August 2023
Summer 2023

The College’s Clinical Editor, Jane Veys MCOptom, on embracing the advantages of both digital and analogue

How do you prefer to consume your information? Since its inception, Acuity has been available in hard and soft copy formats. For this edition, we are trialling soft copy only, and it has focused my thoughts on when, where and why I choose different formats to access information. We are living in an information age, a digital era when we can have instant access to knowledge about anything and anyone.

Today, with 6.6 billion people – around 83% of the world’s population – owning a smartphone (Ericsson, 2022), the ease of instant accessibility means many of our patients are turning to search engines to check their symptoms rather than going to a health professional. Our article explores the challenges practitioners face when patients attend an appointment referencing a sensationalist headline, or clutching a wad of “medical” information found on the internet.

The article provides some great tips too on how busy optometrists can keep on top of all the latest developments and research. Setting up alerts or news feeds from the College, filtering them into a folder and allocating time to assess and consume the information is a smart way to keep up to date and manage your time. Using credible sources and referring our patients to them will assist all in understanding the evidence base.

The use of evidence-based optometry is encouraged and requires an understanding of medical statistics. So whether you just need a refresher on p-values and odds ratios, or a better understanding of statistical versus clinical significance, check out the infographic.

Take advantage of the hyperlinks too, and explore sources and additional information to further your interest and knowledge. Our research tells us our infographic is one of the popular features in Acuity – and indeed, scores highly among readers for both engagement and recall: bite-sized, digital information at its best.

The value of reverse mentoring should not be underestimated

The younger generations have grown up with the internet, and indeed many a youngster has taught me the best ways to access information – the value of reverse mentoring should not be underestimated when it comes to smart digital practices. But are some of our youngest patients missing out on timely correction of refractive error because of the behaviour of some of our profession? Our article explores how optometrists in community practice can feel empowered to work effectively with young children and have fun at the same time

While digital content and tools continue to evolve and grow, it is possible, indeed healthy, to combine both worlds. So read on (digitally) and explore all Acuity has to offer. Recognise and embrace all the advantages digital format brings but practise healthy habits too. I’ll be turning my phone and PC off early this evening and picking up a paperback to relax and enjoy the unique tactile feeling of holding a book and the sensory stimulation of simply turning a page.

To adapt an old adage: “Practise smarter, not necessarily harder.”

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


Ericsson. (2022) Ericsson mobility report November 2022. (accessed 7 June 2023).

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