Increasing numbers of eye care practices are now offering specialised assessments over and beyond what might be considered a routine eye check.

The high prevalence of symptomatic dry eye disease (DED) has, without doubt, facilitated this and community optometry is in a perfect position to offer a dedicated service for the assessment and management of DED. All boxes are ticked. A large patient base wanting something done about a condition all too often pooh-poohed by doctors but is enough to affect quality of life – check. And willing to pay for the service – check. Tailored assessment using a wide range of specialist tests and equipment which optometrists are fully qualified to use – check. A range of treatments and advice to manage the various forms of DED – check. The potential to offer ongoing management as factors change over time – check. An evidence base to support intervention – check.

And the evidence for specialised management keeps coming. This month, the journal JAMA highlights a study showing a significant link between DED and migraine, suggesting ‘patients with migraine headaches are more likely to have comorbid DED compared with the general population. Although this association may not reflect cause and effect if unidentified confounders account for the results, these data suggest that patients with migraine headaches may be at risk of carrying a comorbid diagnosis of DED.’ We would be mad to ignore these opportunities.

And on a different note, and to help assuage any fears that the UK is heading towards obscurity, it has recently been announced that the next biennial multidisciplinary low vision conference is to be held in Manchester this coming September 10 to 12 (see www.eslrr.org for details). This is a major global conference and one that will reinforce the leading place the UK has in low vision and its management. Anyone with an interest in vision should keep the dates free, and abstracts and poster submissions are still being accepted.