Word play

31 January 2022
Winter 2022

Clinical editor Jane Veys on the change from CET to CPD.

Welcome to our first edition of 2022, and the start of a year that marks the change from CET to CPD. Initialisms sometimes take away the power of the words themselves, so in the full spirit of Continuing Professional Development, I would like to reflect for a moment on the exciting opportunities this change brings for us all, with a little help from the thesaurus. 

Continuing – ongoing, unending: an adjective, describing a non-stop process whether we be newly qualified, an experienced clinician or nearing retirement. Professional – expert, qualified, proficient, skilled, practised: a noun all optometrists should aspire to be.

Development – growth, expansion, progress, advance, change, improvement: say these positive words out loud and you cannot help but be inspired to move forward and read Acuity!

If you are looking for professional inspiration, I recommend our interview with Frank Munro. His whole career illustrates CPD in action - advancing not only his own skills and knowledge for the benefits of his patients, but also the work he has (and continues to do) for the advancement of the optometric profession as a whole. I first had the privilege of meeting Frank in the 1980s when, as a young clinical researcher, I was presenting to the Scottish Contact Lens Society. I recall his encouragement and passion for optometric service even then. An exchange of words between peers (that is, communication) can have a lasting impact.

Professional development is a journey, not a destination

Communication is one of the core domains in the new CPD process, and a critical skill that underpins much of our professional interaction with patients. I am sure we can all recall occasions when poor communication has led to frustration, delay or even a missed diagnosis. How often have you experienced a patient, just about to leave your consulting room at the end of an examination, mentioning a new symptom or concern that had not been previously covered? This “door-handle remark” is explored in our article, providing advice on questioning techniques during history and symptoms, and how to conclude an examination. Is there something else? Communication experts say the use of the word “something” (not “anything”) can help reduce the frequency of the door-handle remark. One word can make a difference. 

Making a difference to the lives of our patients is one of the most rewarding aspects of being an optometrist, but not all visual impairment can be resolved with a pair of spectacles or contact lenses. Our article on this explores the challenges of diagnosing cerebral visual impairment (CVI) and its impact on child development. CVI is now considered the most common cause of visual impairment in children in developed countries, and optometrists have a role in supporting its diagnosis and management. Communication with parents and teachers is a key part of the support families need, with positive, practical words of advice. 

Words matter. Throughout this year, Acuity will continue to provide you with a diverse range of articles in print and online, and engage you with words to help support your own ongoing development. Professional development is a journey, not a destination – enjoy the ride.

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.

Related further reading

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We are advising people against wearing novelty cosmetic contact lenses this Halloween, unless they have been supplied by an optometrist.