It’s been a busy few days, not least because of a hectic weekend at Optrafair.

As always, the event offered a useful opportunity to catch up with developments in instrumentation. I was particularly interested in a new software system aimed at automating image analysis. Images of the anterior eye, such as areas of hyperaemia or of staining, can be imported and then analysed automatically.

Options include quantitative assessment of staining, hyperaemia grading, and measuring the rate of change in appearance of lesions over time using sequential images. Retinal image analysis can only be a short time away. I mention this because, compared with previous attempts to automate image analysis, the new system appears much more robust and I very much look forward to trying it out soon – look for a review in the coming issues.

If repeatability across a range of standard views is possible, then we might be looking forward to a significant development in the screening and monitoring of disease, both remotely or directly.

Of the many lectures and presentations available, I made sure I attended that given by consultant ophthalmologist and AMD guru Usha Chakravarthy. Her presentation included a review of the ECHOES trial she organised a little while back. I have always wondered why so little publicity surrounded the results from this research which had shown how community optometrists have comparable ability in interpreting OCT results. Reassurance about our skills in assessing AMD patients and only referring when treatment is needed is important to facilitate the roll-out of clinical care to community practices and ease the burden on the hospitals.

And as a final bit of gossip, there was some discussion during coffee breaks at the NEC about the University of West England advertising for optometry staff. Another optometry school is on the way.