Verum’s analogy of a man sawing away with an increasingly blunt and ineffective blade but too busy to sharpen it encapsulates the situation facing eye care.

There’s always been a suspicion within optometry that ophthalmology is a little too protective of its patch, there was so much optometry could do to close the gap between primary and secondary care but the white coat brigade wanted to keep those skills and the funding. But could the squeeze on secondary care actually start working in favour of high street opticians?

Anyone dealing with the hospital eye service is aware of how stretched it is. Optometrists will know how little communication, even acknowledgement, they receive back on referrals. Industry suppliers will know how tight spending is, equipment is not being upgraded or even replaced. Users of the service will know how inefficient and ineffective it can be once referred.

Optometry has long said things should change and ophthalmology should allow optometry to take on expanded roles and help the hospital service cope.

It has now become a regular event in the pages of Optician for optometrists to report from ophthalmology-led meetings at which the squeeze currently being felt in hospitals is highlighted and a call for help made.

While Verum takes the example of glaucoma screening as his example there are many others. Just last week Bill Harvey reported on his experience at the British Association of Retinal Screening. Optician has already received correspondence (see next week’s issue) highlighting just how much optometrists have to offer. The same can be said for many conditions.

As Verum pithily points out; the time has come for ophthalmology to embrace optometry’s skills for the good of the patient.