I’ve just returned from an excellent optometry event on the Continent.

The European Academy of Optometry and Optics (EAOO) annual conference ran together with the partner Optometry Conference of Central and South-Eastern Europe and offered three days of excellent lectures and workshops.

The content was noticeably swelled by research papers and posters this year and had a significantly high scientific content. As eye care professions continue to evolve, admittedly at differing rates in member countries, it is good to see this evolution is in an advancing direction.

Even better to see, despite the imminent threat of the UK severing ties with Europe, UK representation at the conference was impressive and there were many familiar faces from both UK academia and clinical practice in evidence.

Dispersal of knowledge and learning is essential for the clinical sciences so maintaining a strong presence within European optometry and optics is important for the future of UK practice. Optician will certainly be supporting this event in the coming years. Look out for highlights in this publication soon.

On a different matter, and at the risk of you accusing me of going on about it again, discussion around the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning continues to make the news. Most, if not all, of the so-called AI developments are actually, in my view, machine learning. The ability to predict a problem within new data based on comparison with existing data is no different to how long-established algorithms have been used, such as that in a Humphrey Field Analyser.

A recent announcement by the Prime Minister to invest in AI for medical purposes prompted this response from experts at Warwick University. ‘We need more collaborative efforts across disciplines to charter through unchartered data grounds, establish connections between them and begin to work with AI algorithms to speed both human and machine learning.’ Note the inclusion of ‘human’.