The opportunity for advancement and upskilling has never been greater for all our practice team and it is essential we embrace the opportunities. Our practices have for many years flourished providing cheap under-valued eye care to drive spectacle sales. But our practices face the same changes as the rest of the high street, online retailing continues to gather momentum and we are not immune, online measuring of refraction is knocking at the door.

Future survival and prosperity of our practices requires us to invest in the latest technology in our consulting rooms and dispensing areas and the whole team must provide exceptional service, creating an environment and services that our patients value and will not consider seeking elsewhere.

Optometry must embrace the opportunities available to engage with secondary care. Dispensing opticians need to embrace the opportunities, upskilling to become contact lens opticians enabling progression into the provision of Mecs and repeat pressures. Dry eye services are also of great benefit to our patients.

Moving to front of house, dispensing opticians and optical assistants must be skilled in patient triage to the most appropriate services including self-care advice and the role of optical hygienist to support our consulting room teams.

None of these services can be provided without appropriate training and there is much out there on offer. I urge us all to consider our options before our summer vacations and aim for progression this autumn.

ABDO and dispensing colleges have much to offer from introductory courses, optical technicians to contact lenses, low vision, Mecs and a BSc Hons degree in ophthalmic dispensing.

Clive Marchant FBDO
ABDO President