So, all the professional bodies have now offered their qualified support for the proposals of the GOC Education Strategic Review as featured in last week’s issue (19.02.21, page 18). I say qualified, because many still have concerns about the funding of the new proposed strategy and also about the timeframe within which to implement the changes. Also, good to see the AOP’s ongoing resistance to the introduction of an apprenticeship approach to qualification.

Gone will be the two step (undergrad and pre-reg) approach and in comes the requirement for much greater in-practice experience (48 weeks) throughout training – something I think few would argue against but many will wonder how it will be funded. Both funding and the ‘need for speed’ do make the process vulnerable to unwanted commercial influence if you think carefully about how this will most likely be implemented.

I also agree with our College president, Cool Colin (Davidson) as we know him, when he says: ‘The College supports the clear direction that the new learning outcomes provide, including that the new threshold for registration as an optometrist should be at Master’s degree level.’ This grading of optometry, on the back of the increased awareness of what we can offer due to the pandemic, can only help to establish the extended role of the ECP, both in the minds of other professions and with the public.

Changing skilfully from a comment on commercial adverse influences, I recommend a nice study (News 26.02.21) published in the latest American Journal of Optometry.1 I quote, ‘Blue-blocking lenses did not alter signs or symptoms of eye strain with computer use relative to standard clear lenses.’ A well-designed study that hopefully puts pay to some of the wilder claims used by some in their lens recommendations.

  1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2021.02.010