- The early impact of technology is likely to be facilitating, but in 20-30 years time, it could advance to completely replace the more day to day optometric functions. This will mean that community service pathways will increase as the professions move more towards clinical management.
- The scope of practice is likely to change. Our definition of, and attitude to, what constitutes an optometrist must become more flexible and business models will need to be revised.
- Education must move along with the changing scope and more structured career paths after registration should be in place. Emphasis should be on interpretation of data, interpersonal skills, and the more clinical aspects of optometry.
- Changing the CET system into one of continued professional development (CPD) could forge a more natural path for practitioner up-skilling and career progression, in line with the evolving scope of practice.
- IT connectivity with the NHS and free flow of data between primary and secondary care is key to enabling the evolving workload.
- There will likely be some level of deregulation of professionals, practices, products and businesses. As a sector, we must be unified in our intentions early enough so that changes are advantageous, both for the patient and the professions.
- Data from the OWS report suggested an apparent pay gap between genders, although participants felt that this was not the case. The sector must investigate this data more fully before proceeding with any firm action.
- Greater levels of employer flexibility and clearer career paths could be key to tackling the issues of part-time and locum working.
How might the findings affect you in practice?
- The public must continue to have trust in optometry to deliver eye care services, despite the increase in online sales and automation.
- If practitioners embrace the cultural shift towards technology, and are more involved in delivering primary eye care in the community cost effectively, they will remain indispensible.
- CPD will become increasingly important.
- Look out for college updates on new technology and research.
- Try to prepare your practice for the increase in new technology and what it will mean for business.
- Look at ways to harness the use of online dispensing.
Download the complete project report and the member briefing below:
Other resources of interest
Guidelines for practice staff on how to deal with patients with acute eye problems.
Ophthalmic Services Guidance: Primary Eye Care, Community Ophthalmology and General Ophthalmology (England)
This document concentrates on the commissioning and provision of eye health and ophthalmology services in England.
Your patient, their health can help improve your knowledge and skills in managing public health issues that affect your patients: dementia, falls and depression (1 non-interactive CET point).
Download this member briefing for information on the headline changes to the guidance.
This course discusses the major impact of short wavelength and visible light upon the eye and surrounding tissues and considers the best approach to communicate this and to assess any impact.
The aim of this course is to emphasise the link between poor nutrition and certain eye disorders and to establish how best to communicate accurate and relevant information.
This course discusses the major impact of smoking upon eye health and shows how optometrists can play an important role in helping people access cessation services in the UK.
A report into the ophthalmic public health data available, and how it can be improved to be more useful. (1.3MB)
NHS England's new care models aim to dissolve boundaries between primary care and community services, hospitals, social care and mental health services.
Do you know your legal responsibilities with regards to patients' vision and driving?
Principal ocular causes for the condition, and how the standard eye examination should be modified to meet today's visual demands.
How does the FtP system promote standards among optometrists, protect the public and maintain confidence in the profession?
Guidance on current visual acuity standards for driving in the UK and advising patients on their fitness to drive.
Does breastfeeding bring potential visual benefits?
This study aims to inform delivery of public health programmes directed at children most in need of community support.
Optometrists talk to patients about eye health every day, and have an important role to play in health promotion and public health.
Homeless people, travelling people and vulnerable migrants have an increased prevalence of both short- and long-term illness compared to the general population.
There is higher prevalence of eye disease in the non-white population of the UK. A lack of awareness of increased risk and reduced uptake of eyecare services means sight loss is more prevalent.
The optical sector is exploring practical measures to improve services that contribute to public eye health.
How failing vision, along with other symptoms of ageing can affect patients' management of their medication.
Articles in this edition cover: Therapeutics, OCT vs FFA, corneal confocal microscopy, amblyopia management and Britain's eye health.
Articles cover: Disciplinary cases and the issues they raise, smoking and eye disease, the electrophysiology of vision and macular holes.