The sector’s efforts in providing support to those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine instils a real sense of pride among the profession. Those that have helped in some way, through the provision of goods or volunteered services, are really accomplishing something. But it’s important this good work continues because as much as the Ukrainian people need help now, they are going to need even more in the coming months and years.

As the list of companies boycotting trade with Russia or pulling their operations from the country continues to grow, the spotlight has shone on how businesses within optics have responded – or not responded in some instances.

Belfast optometrist and practice owner Geoff McConville has scaled back his own dealings with companies that still trade with Russia. It’s a moral stance that most could get on board with, but this isn’t a black and white situation, because there are millions of Russians that need medical devices like spectacles and contact lenses. Should they suffer for something they have no control over?

International humanitarian law requires supply chains of medical devices and medicines to be kept open and manufacturers in these areas are exempt from western restrictions and can freely ‘operate in compliance with current sanctions.’

So, the debate comes back to the reading of your moral compass. McConville has taken the decision to sever ties with several companies that do not align with his values, which is really all a practitioner can do in this situation.

Could manufacturers that still supply products to Russia do more to appeal to the industry’s sense of what’s right? Very possibly. It could take the form of restricted product lines so that all but the most essential devices are supplied to the people of Russia, or financial and practical support for Ukraine could be ratchetted up significantly.

Practice owners like McConville might not have the same scale of decision to make, but standing up for what they feel is right makes a strong statement.