How did you become interested in the profession?

Most optometrists need a refractive correction of one form or another. Have you ever considered how well you need to be able to see to do your job?

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Author: Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser
Date: 3 August 2016

I suspect that, for a large majority of us, an interest in optometry was precipitated by needing the services of an optometrist as a child. It is therefore, no surprise to me to find that most optometrists (and I have not done an academic study of this) need a refractive correction of one form or another. Following on from this, have you ever considered how well you need to be able to see to do your job?

With the advent of technology such as ocular imaging, and the ability for it to magnify small lesions to make them more visible, the answer is probably ‘not as well as you needed to several years ago’, as no longer do you need to be able to detect small fundal lesions if you can magnify them on the screen in front of you (and the patient).

As dentistry is a visually demanding job, the first paper (Murray et al) in the new edition of Optometry in Practice looks at the eyesight of 319 dental students during their training (second, third, fourth and fifth year). They found that some dental students had never had an eye examination, although the majority (85%) had had an eye examination at one stage. It would be interesting to see if optometry students, given a similar questionnaire, had a 100% rate of having had an eye examination. If my theory is correct I would also assume that the dental students had a 100% rate of having been to a dentist prior to starting their training.

Astle et al look at the consequences of strabismus, not only the ocular ones, and look at the benefits of strabismus surgery in adults. It is worth us all remembering that patients are not only a pair of eyes, and that there may be psychosocial and communication benefits for some people in having squint surgery, even though it may not improve visual function. I am sure I am not alone in sometimes not knowing which eye to look at when talking to a person with a large squint, but that may be because I try to ascertain which eye the person is fixating with!

The final two papers look at the provision of domiciliary eyecare in the United Kingdom and nutrition and the eye. Readers should also note the caveat from the editor at the beginning of the journal about the use of nutritional supplements to prevent AMD, and the College’s Using evidence in practice fact sheet about these.  


The consequences of strabismus and the benefits of adult strabismus surgery

A review ofthe impact of strabismus, focusing on the psychosocial consequences of the condition, of which many optometrists may be less aware.

An introduction to nutrition for an optometrist

This article provides a basic introduction to health and nutrition.

Eyesight: A study of dental surgery students during their clinical training

Dentistry is visually demanding and a defect in acuity or colour vision could adversely affect clinical outcomes.

Domiciliary optometry in the United Kingdom

Exploring approaches to delivering a high standard of care to this diverse patient group.


Dr Susan Blakeney FCOptom
Clinical Adviser, College of Optometrists

Susan graduated from City University. After a pre-registration year in multiple practice she was awarded the President’s Prize from the College. Since then, she has completed both bachelor and master of laws degrees and a PhD. She obtained a MA in Medical Ethics and Law from Kings College London and has completed the post graduate ophthalmic public health module at Leeds University. Susan was awarded Fellowship of the College in 2009.  She has completed the College’s Professional Certificate in Glaucoma and the Professional Certificate in Medical Retina. She currently practises part-time in independent practice, is a clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, Optometric Adviser to NHS England, South (South East) and a Case Examiner for the General Optical Council.

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