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17 June 2022

FODO member update – 17 June

This week:

College provides more detailed guidance on use of PPE

Following our Covid update last week, the College of Optometrists has published a short video on when to consider wearing a face mask in primary eye care settings.
The College explains that the use of face coverings should be based on a dynamic risk assessment. For example, clinical procedures like direct ophthalmoscopy are likely to require a face mask, but one is unlikely to be needed for pre-screening or dispensing.

This latest College guidance is for England and Wales at this stage. The College is in the process of confirming the latest advice with officials in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Scotland Committee praises clinical leadership in Grampian

The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee has published its report on alternative pathways to primary care.
The Committee said it was "encouraged by evidence that optometrists have the potential to offer a wider range of services [...] which would further ease pressure on GPs". It added: "Grampian already offers an example of best practice in this regard." It has therefore called on the Scottish Government "to assess whether optometry can be funded to fulfil this potential and how existing examples of best practice can be replicated more widely across Scotland". 

GOC consultation - time to get involved

We are one month from the deadline to submit a response to the GOC's call for evidence and consultation on the Opticians Act and associated policies.
Dan Hodgson, FODO Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: "We have received significant feedback from members, holding over 15 workshops. Our members provide 80% of all sight tests in the UK and we've had detailed input from more than 100 members representing individuals, independent practices and regional and national eye care providers. It has been a fantastic opportunity to engage with members, and it's not over yet. Please get in touch and get involved."
Emerging themes from member engagement to date include:

  • The Act has served patients well - protecting patients, enabling choice, and improving access to high-quality and responsive care
  • The sight test should remain as now (i.e. not split up); this will continue to maximise patient access and prevent avoidable sight loss
  • The sight test should continue to be the responsibility of a UK registered optometrist or medical practitioner as now
  • Current legislation overall strikes the right balance, protecting patients while encouraging innovation and access to some of the best primary eye care services worldwide.

We are now in the process of drafting our submission but welcome further feedback from members. If you would like to get in touch, please email [email protected]

Glaucoma UK urges people to get sight tests

A rise in the number of people living with glaucoma in the UK has prompted Glaucoma UK to highlight the importance of regular eye tests.
Glaucoma cases are expected to increase by a third between 2020 and 2035. The glaucoma charity will urge people to get tested during Glaucoma Awareness Week 2022 from 27 June to 3 July.
For most people, a routine eye test is where the signs of glaucoma are first spotted, but almost a third of UK adults do not have the test every two years, which is recommended.
Learn more

Other sector news

Royal Pharmaceutical Society publishes new prescriber guidance
The College of Optometrists has worked alongside multiple professional bodies to produce new prescriber guidance for healthcare professionals.
Commissioned by the Welsh Government, the guidance concerns the safe expansion of independent provider optometrists' scope of practice, such as more therapeutic treatments to improve patient care.
Learn about the College's independent prescribing qualification.
Preventing vision-impairment related falls
The National Falls Prevention Coordination Group (NFPCG) has updated its resources to help reduce the incidence of falls related to vision impairment in older people.
One resource is a 'how-to video' filmed at the University of Liverpool explaining the use of the Bedside Vision tool for hospital inpatients and carers. Other information for healthcare and eye care professionals to use includes information sheets, posters and the College of Optometrists' guidance on The importance of vision in preventing falls.
Nominations open for Research Excellence Awards
The College of Optometrists' Research Excellence Awards are now open for nominations, giving you the chance to recognise an optometric researcher's talents.
Submit your nomination by 21 July and learn about College research projects.

VCHP receives Eyecare Hero of 2022 award
Elaine Styles, chair of Vision for Homeless People (VCHP), has won the Eyecare Hero of the Year 2022 Award, reports the Optician.
She received the award at the event in Glasgow for charitable efforts in helping vulnerable people access eye care.
Optical training platform iCETuk organises the awards, which raised £769 for VCHP on the night.
ECOO has extended its survey deadline to 15 July to gather information to ensure that the European Diploma in Optometry syllabus keeps up to date with changes in optometry. There is a survey for educators and professionals. Take part before the new deadline.

How visually impaired athletes live their dream
How are visually impaired athletes classified for the Olympics and Paralympics?
According to All About Vision, they must have a permanent visual impairment with reduced or no vision to fulfil their dream of competing in the Paralympics. 
Each athlete's visual impairment is also classified with the codes B1, B2 and B3, which signify the level of light perception, visual acuity and visual field.
But the standards may differ slightly depending on the sport. Archery gold medallist Im Dong-yhun is almost legally blind, but his visual acuity wasn't poor enough to meet Paralympic classification standards. However, shot-put and discus thrower Assunta Legnant could compete in both games. She has congenital glaucoma in both eyes.
The Olympics and the Paralympics allow athletes to dream big regardless of impairment. 

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