Editorial: One year on

19 April 2021
Volume 22, Issue 1

Almost exactly one year on from the beginning of restrictions in the UK, I am pleased to share with our readers the latest peer-reviewed content of this month’s issue of Optometry in Practice.

Despite the ongoing challenges we all face, I hope readers have had a safe and productive start to 2021. Almost exactly one year on from the beginning of restrictions in the UK, I am pleased to share with our readers the latest peer-reviewed content of this month’s issue of Optometry in Practice.

Until relatively recently, gene therapy was something seen only in science fiction. Over the last 15 years, however, considerable progress has culminated in the arrival of a therapy, approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), to treat a rare inherited retinal disease. With growing science and media interest, patients will now be seeking information and guidance about these treatments from their optometrist. To support colleagues, the first article in this month’s issue by University of Oxford academic and optometrist Jasleen Jolly should help clinicians with answering patient queries, managing patients and appropriate referrals in the context of retinal gene therapy.

Our second paper by antipodean colleagues at the University of New South Wales in Australia, Adam Samuels, Stephanie Yeo and Nicole Carnt, describes how contact lens non-compliance leads to discomfort and poor vision and how it may ultimately contribute to contact lens drop-out. The authors recall that contact lens compliance has been discussed for many years without significant change to the percentage of wearers with poor compliance. Moreover, contact lens noncompliance increases the risk of microbial keratitis, with contact lens-related microbial keratitis such as Acanthamoeba keratitis a concern, especially in the UK. The authors suggest that looking at contact lens non-compliance through the lens of behavioural economics may offer helpful tips to tackle this complex problem.

Our next article is a case report by the interdisciplinary team of Richard Gilmour, Rosie Brennan and Carole A Cooke from the Western Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland. The authors present a case report of a 74-year-old woman with a palpable mass in the right lower eyelid, which transpired to be a metastasis from undiagnosed breast cancer. The authors discuss the need for optometrists to be aware of orbital disease, including appropriate history taking, clinical examination techniques and the differential diagnosis of an orbital mass.

Following the 2013 EU directives specifying the visual standards required for a driving licence, the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) changed their vision requirements for drivers. Whilst the General Optical Council (GOC) recently published a report of a survey looking at registrant and public attitudes to driver vision, the report did not look at drivers’ understanding of the current vision standards required when driving. Consequently, the final paper in the issue by Steve Taylor outlines a study involving 100 consecutive patients in optometry practice, to determine attitudes to requiring a vision check as part of a revalidation exercise, and general understanding of the responsibility to ensure drivers meet the standards for safe driving.

I hope you find the latest selection of articles in Optometry in Practice interesting and informative.

Professor Leon Davies PhD BSc(Hons) FCOptom Prof Cert Med Ret

Immediate Past President, Chair of the Board of Trustees, 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.