A first of its kind course took place in the UK in December, 2020 with 25 optometrists who completed training on new and advanced therapeutic techniques.

New clinical skills and procedural techniques were taught to experienced optometrists, which formed part of a process to deliver these services independently in a primary care setting.

Michael Johnson, co-organiser of the event, explained that the wider provision of these services would increase capacity, accessibility and flexibility for patients.

He said less people would be anxious about delays in receiving eye care and less people would endure extended periods of poor sight.

‘The course is a tipping point in expanding the imagination of what our profession and others believe to be achievable in our clinical scope of practice. The feedback and support that I have received from individual optometrists since the course has been overwhelming in its volume and positivity. Reading the messages of support has at times been emotional. It is evident that the course has tapped into some latent collective potential for positive change. It is my hope that we can build on this goodwill to move these techniques from a course into our community clinics,’ Johnson said.

.Ian Cameron, managing director at Cameron Optometry, attended the course and said: ‘One or two lone practitioners doing a new skill is good but a getting a larger cohort all trained and accredited at the same time across all parts of the country brings some momentum that can really shift the needle in extending optometry’s scope of practice.’