Having returned from holiday and catching up on my reading, Moneo’s article (16.10.17) on ‘How much do we see and how much do we tell?’ struck a chord with me for two reasons.

Last year I was told I had to take early retirement from optometry because eye problems meant I felt I could no longer safely interpret what I was seeing through a direct ophthalmoscope. It seems optometry is still defined by an optometrist’s ability to interpret the view of the fundus using 100-year-old technology and can not be reliant on modern imaging systems.

Since retiring I have been doing some voluntary work for a local blind charity. I have reinforced the importance to them that all VIPs should continue to have regular eye tests as it is an important health check. Imagine my anger and shock when a colleague who has restricted vision told me of her recent poor experience.

She had booked a sight test at an independent High Street practice that we knew to be supportive of the valuable work local blind charities do. However, following her sight test she came away with the impression that because she did not wear spectacles the optom was not interested in seeing her. My colleague knows the basics of why her vision is poor and the optom was aware of the medical history.

My colleague just wanted to understand more and to know whether the inside of her eyes were healthy but all she was told was that the images were too fuzzy for the optom to comment. She knows that her ocular media are clear but she can not maintain fixation yet apparently the optom made no attempt to explain or investigate why the images were fuzzy. She was left feeling the appointment was a total waste of time and was considering getting a second opinion even if she had to pay for it. Following her poor experience I did not feel in a position to recommend anyone she could see with any confidence of a more satisfactory outcome.

All optometrists and DOs are trained and required to maintain core competencies in visual impairment. Unfortunately personal experience suggests that few High Street opticians are interested in maximising the vision of VIPs Ω but are prepared to provide hearing aids.