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September 2011 - Optician News Desk

  • A week of news - optics finds drivers' vision ally

    Despite proposals this year to make the number plate easier it is difficult to find an individual in the UK who wouldn't benefit from safer roads. Optics, of course, has a vested interest in tightening up drivers' vision laws and this week found an ally in the insurance industry. While practitioners would stand to benefit should drivers be made to have their eyes tested, the estimated drop in accidents would also favour motor insurers. Cue RSA, owner of insurance behemoth More Than, which has thrown its weight behind a new campaign called Fit to Drive. It has also commissioned a study to Brunel University. While the findings that poor vision causes accidents are not unique, the campaign will raise awareness of the issue among MPs who have been too distracted by seatbelt and drink driving laws. RSA could be a key acquisition for optics, and its UK chief executive Adrian Brown should push it all the way. Early signs were encouraging when RSA hosted a launch event at its HQ in the City this week, with MP Esther McVey in attendance and a simple proposal was tabled for the number plate test - scrap it all together. As the drivers' vision debate returns to parliament, optics and road safety charities have a new big hitter in their corner.
  • A week of news - finger prick test

    A latest suggestion for enhanced services to reach the news desk is from Durham University in the shape of a diabetes finger prick test. Its studies found that 32 per cent of high risk group patients needed further medical advice after blood glucose test trials within optical practices. Redcar-based optometrist Faye McDearmid said testing was a great opportunity, but rightly cautioned that funding was not yet available. And should NHS funds become available, many are unconvinced it would be sufficient to cover the extra cost of such a service, never mind help make money. Indeed, an extra revenue stream is only a welcome one if it proves profitable, whether it is diabetes, glaucoma or red eye clinics. It remains unclear whether enhanced services will equate to enhanced revenues. Meanwhile, a survey by Vision Express this week revealed that only 30 per cent of parents never take their child for an eye test, while the Optical Confederation's Children's Eye Health campaign and marketing drives by the multiples seek to re-address the balance. It compares to 90 per cent of children being taken to the hairdressers every year, which would be expected, but spare a though for the remaining 10 per cent who never have a haircut. Now they must be really be struggling to see.
    Published 9 Sep 2011 4:23 PM by newsed
  • A week of news - drivers' vision

    Optician's news desk has been awash with opinion about drivers' vision of late as the profession eagerly awaits further debate on the subject when Parliament resumes. In reaction to the Royal College of Opthalmologists' ringing non-endorsement of screening for drivers, it was the turn of the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) to state its case once more. It agreed other factors such as alcohol, drugs, and experience were largely to blame for accident levels, but set visual acuity apart because unlike the other causes it can actually be screened. 'We are at a loss to understand the RCO's apparent disregard of this important aspect of road safety,' the IGA added. It also noted that half of those with glaucoma in the UK are currently undiagnosed. This does beg the question of why the RCO felt it necessary in last week's edition to reject mandatory screening? The answer is that it believes it would come at significant expense to drivers, adding those over the age of 40 are already encouraged to have their eyes tested. The debate also reached Twitter - the social networking site knocked in last week's blog but proving its worth once more - where MP Meg Munn voiced her opinion on the matter in the following tweet exchange with Optician. Meg Munn: 'New Glaucoma Association campaign supports my call for regular eye tests for driver.' Optician: 'The Royal College of Opthalmologists has come out against mandatory testing though, what is your view on this?' Meg Munn: 'It's astonishing that opthalmologists believe the number plate test introduced 70 years ago is sufficient for today's roads.' Optician: 'The RCO argues alcohol, age and attention causes higher percentage of accidents. But what are the numbers of vision-related ones?' Meg Munn: 'Would expect RCO to have stats on accidents. My constituent Fiona killed by driver with cataracts - far from only victim.'
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