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Undervalued and under pressure

Recent findings from research carried out by Optical Express through a series of focus group sessions provided an interesting, but ultimately unsurprising overview of the optometric sector in the UK (In Focus, page 6). Admittedly, the findings were going to be used to inform the content of a larger, sector-wide survey, so there will be additional insight in the near future, but the overall themes coming out of the focus groups were that optometrists felt undervalued, underprepared and underutilised. Themes we’ve sadly come across before.

Some of the participants felt there should be a greater focus on clinical care and less emphasis on the sale of commodity items and meeting sales targets. It’s an admirable perspective, but we should remember optometrists aren’t forced to work in these settings and the principles of an employer shouldn’t come as a surprise when you begin working for it.

The addition of conversations around sustainability was a welcome addition to the research, but even that important topic


seems to be feeling the pressure from commercial interests. Findings showed there was reluctance among practitioners to have conversations around sustainable products because it could put patients off and hinder sales of products, especially of contact lenses. It’s wrong that practitioners feel pressure that stems from an overall lack of progress in the contact lens industry on making their products more environmentally friendly or developing other modalities that aren’t at odds with the ethos of sustainability.

A recent BBC Panorama investigation into the operations of TerraCycle, the firm tasked with recycling the UK’s contact lenses and packaging and partner of several manufacturers, won’t have helped the cause. Panorama alleged TerraCycle worked with sanctioned criminals as waste handlers, collection and recycling rates were extremely low, and the schemes were likely misleading consumers on how much could be recycled.

The notion of contact lens recycling may have to be reassessed.


10 Back to school

14 Opti Boxes innovation

NEWS 4 7 Days News from the past week 6 In Focus Focus groups highlight industry issues

OPINION 8 Diary of a Spectacle Designer

Adding positivity

FRAMES AND FASHION 10 Back to school This year’s frames for children 14 Box fresh Innovation from Opti Boxes 19 Halls of frame Independent eyewear at Opti

CLINICAL 21 Clinical comment

Fat of the land 23 CPD: Informed consent and the specialist optometrist Importance of gaining valid consent for invasive treatments

CLASSIFIED 30 Recruitment 32 Services

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Optician is the weekly, paid-for information source for optometrists, dispensing opticians and the optical industry. For 130 years Optician has been the independent voice for eye care professionals, students and business owners offering breaking news, analysis and education. In print and online, Optician provides an array of clinical, business and technology articles, comprehensive CPD coverage along with the very latest in contact lenses, frame fashion trends and spectacle lens technology. Optician offers advice on careers and carries hundreds of job opportunities every week. Optician provides its readers with essential business help and offers a forum for eye care professionals and others in the market.

17 June 2022 OPTICIAN 3

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