Celebrating success

8 February 2023
Winter 2023

A message from Leon Davies, College President - Winter 2023.

Welcome to the first issue of Acuity of 2023. I hope you were able to take time away from work to rest and reflect, and that you are now ready to seize the opportunities that a new year affords. 

Over the past three months, I have continued to work hard as President to raise the profile of optometrists and to reinforce the College’s position as the voice of optometry across the UK.

During this time, a particular highlight for me was the College’s Diploma Ceremony – our first since 2019 – at Central Hall Westminster, London, where I was able to welcome more than 600 new optometrists to our profession. 

Two ceremonies ensured that the achievements of our newest members and higher qualification recipients, all of whom overcame the challenges of the pandemic, could be recognised. 

I was also delighted to celebrate the outstanding achievements of five new Life Fellows and three Honorary Fellows of the College, along with colleagues whose research endeavours in the fields of optometry, optics and vision science were acknowledged by the College’s prestigious Research Excellence Awards. With such an abundance and diversity of talent on show, I was reminded that the future of our profession remains bright.

With such talent on show, I was reminded that the future of our profession is bright

In terms of current and future practice, one area of our clinical work that is becoming ever more important is the identification and management of myopia. While there has been a long debate concerning the precise role of genetics and environmental factors in the development of refractive error, recent research has focused on the putative impact of “genetic nurture”, which describes the genetic effects transmitted indirectly from parents and other relatives to a child. Our article gathers opinions from leading UK myopia researchers who discuss this concept in the light of recent evidence. 

While I am keen not to dwell on the pandemic, those readers with young families will know from first-hand experience that the series of lockdowns led to a significant and sustained increase in screen time among children and adolescents. Our article shares the thoughts of leading clinical academics on the impact of these behavioural shifts in terms of increasing symptoms associated with digital eye strain, dry eye disease and advancing myopia.

With a range of other topics covered in this quarter’s issue of Acuity, all that remains for me to do is to wish you all a happy and productive 2023.

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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