This week, NICE released new guidelines for those dealing with dementia patients ( 454244.article). These should be of interest to all involved in eye care and well worth a look through.

Not only is the prevalence of dementia on the rise, but the strong association between age and eye disease, and the increased risk of specific eye diseases in the various forms of dementia means that it is essential that this group of patients receives regular eye care.

This does present us with some challenges and I hope that over time we become better accustomed to dealing directly with these patients and also feel more comfortable in discussions with carers and family members. I have been granted power of attorney for my mom and know that, at the moment, she is compos mentis and I respect her wish not to have her cataracts referred for treatment.

On the other hand, I recently assessed an elderly patient diagnosed with dementia who also had early cataracts. To meet the NICE recommendations regarding cataract referral (see Optician 29.06.18), I found it quite a challenge outlining the process and outcomes of referral to a standard I felt was both understood clearly and met my responsibilities. These discussions and decisions are likely to become a common feature in eye care.

On a different matter, I recently mentioned new glucose monitoring apps for diabetes that avoid constant finger-pricking. A study last week from the University of Eastern Finland has shown that self-monitoring of type 2 diabetes reduces follow-up costs by more than half and, when done using an electronic feedback system, ‘results in considerable savings on health care costs especially in sparsely populated areas, a new study shows’. We should make sure our diabetic patients are aware of this technology.