I started practicing optometry about 15 years ago as a pre-reg in a busy multiple practice in Dundee. My role has certainly changed greatly since then as I have gone down the path of doing hospital based optometry where my role has evolved as demands are always changing. However when I think of the huge change in throughout optometry in that time, it is really quite incredible.
Direct ophthalmoscopes were the mainstay of examining the fundus, with the volk lens and dilation reserved for special occasions. Fundus photography had not yet become common let alone OCT. Most consulting rooms probably didn’t have a computer or laptop, now so many of our systems are computer or tablet based. Products such as contact lenses and ocular lubricants have developed greatly, as have the technologies we can steer our visually impaired patients towards. Independent prescribing for optometrists was a far-off notion – now it is becoming commonplace and I think eventually will be mainstream. Our involvement in more and more clinical disciplines whether its in practice or hospitals is evolving all the time. There are now numerous hospital optometrists giving IVT anti-vegF injections and doing laser procedures – where 15 years ago contact lenses, paeds and low vision were our staple services. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has been describing the ‘Perfect Storm’ of demands on ophthalmology services and the demand for more joined up thinking is more relevant than ever.
The question I ask is, where will the next 15 years lead us to as a profession? What will technology bring? What will our roles be? How will we relate and work with our ophthalmology colleagues?
I would love to open up this discussion and get peoples’ views on how they think the profession may change and develop in the next 15 years. Please leave your thoughts and ideas, regardless of how radical they might seem – this is just intended as a bit of thought provoking fun!
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