It may be tempting fate to think about getting back to business but this week’s look at dry eye gives a glimpse of the future. A future that has got a lot closer.

The last few months have been a surreal experience. On one level there’s been an air of waiting for the return of a life frozen in time. On another level, change is happening at an accelerated pace. The impact on our lives, both personal and professional, is profound.

Staycations, electric scooters and guestless weddings are all pandemic tropes but the Covid time machine has also concertinaed real change – on the high street, the railways and, most dramatically, for online retail. Developments previously
counted in years are being counted in weeks, pounds and
unemployment.

The trends facing optics are no secret. Teleoptometry, online retail and disrupted education will all test the profession. However, contrasting with this is the increased importance people place on their health, a desire to support local businesses and a renewed emphasis on supply chain trust.

Dry eye is just the sort of eye care patients will increasingly seek as they return to optical practices. Martin Polk’s article (Optician, 21.8.20) provided some useful insights such as the 41% hike in the number of patients reporting an increase in dry eye during lockdown and the heightened desire to talk to an optical professional about it.

At some point practice life will regain some semblance of sanity but a Bobby Ewing shower moment (ask your mum) is unlikely. Life won’t simply pick up where it left off in March. Understanding patients’ new priorities is paramount to carve out the position we want in primary health. Change is happening and it’s happening fast. Let’s take our lead from Canada (News, 21.8.20) and make modifications to achieve the things that work for us and not simply accept the things that work against us.