Bill Harvey: In search of space
Author: Yiannis Kotoulas
One positive outcome of the current situation will be the development of the role of the eye care professional.
It is over 20 years since I started working for this prestigious publication. I remember how sensitive I was initially to criticism received over the new-fangled email medium. A common complaint was that we did not publish enough on spectacles: ‘If I had wanted to manage eye disease, I would have studied medicine.’ And if we published a series on dispensing or lenses, I took flak from more medically-minded colleagues: ‘Refraction can be done by a technician; why do we need another article on dispensing?’ I would always argue a place for both; indeed, I would go further and suggest that if we really need to help people with their eyesight, we need good knowledge of a much wider skillset, embracing such varied disciplines as psychology, optics theory, pharmacology and IT to name a few.
This week’s CET covers photometry and lighting, and includes information we all should know and apply. That said, how many practices offer specific advice on lighting and supply the appropriate appliance? I suspect the number in no way reflects the significant improvement in acuity with better lighting for presbyopes. ECPs should be seen as the go-to experts for lighting expertise.
Talking of broader knowledge, I was sad to see the recent loss of optics genius and designer of the first Varilux lens, Bernard Maitenaz. I was lucky enough to meet him once; he was both clever and modest. Hats off too this week for the optical whizzes behind the images of Mars sent from the newly landed Perseverance rover. Keep up to date at youtu.be/21X5lGlDOfg
A broader role in community practice for ECPs is a good thing and needs to be better recognised. It is almost as if the GOC had received some forewarning of changes to come when it started to move towards a more unified education strategy.