Focus groups highlight industry issues
Andrew McClean speaks to Optical Express about clinical skills, education and sustainability in optometry
Eye care professionals (ECPs) said the optical sector should focus more on clinical services and less on the sale of commodity items during focus group sessions conducted by Optical Express.
The multiple commissioned the research to better understand optometrists’ view on the eye care sector, their ambitions and the challenges they faced.
Focus groups took place in March 2022 and were designed to inform a larger scale survey conducted by Optical Express that closes in June.
The eight participants in the focus groups had varied levels of experience and worked in independent or multiple settings, or as a locum in the UK.
Optical Express told Optician that ECPs provided feedback on eye care related topics, such as clinical skills, education and sustainability.
David Moulsdale, founder and CEO of Optical Express, said: ‘This research should act as a stimulus to everyone in the profession. Optometrists do a fantastic job, but many feel their clinical skills are being undervalued and that they’re not being supported to provide high quality eye care to patients. It is really valuable to hear the views of clinicians in practice so we can understand how to improve the profession as a whole and ensure that we apply this feedback. The survey is a promising step towards gaining further knowledge in order to focus our efforts in the right places.’
6 OPTICIAN 17 June 2022
UNDERVALUED SKILLS Some participants in the focus groups felt their clinical skills were not always valued in practice. The optometrists discussed how, in some practices, the focus was on meeting sales targets for glasses and contact lenses. ECPs felt they did not get enough opportunity to spend time with patients and address their clinical needs.
The growth of online suppliers of eyewear and contact lenses was seen by some optometrists as having a detrimental impact on
“In many optical practices across the country, the focus is very much on the sale of glasses and contact lenses.”
their role, as online shoppers missed out on important eye consultations.
Stephen Hannan, clinical services director at Optical Express, told Optician that optometrists were concerned their clinical skills were not being used to their full potential. He added that ECPs felt they were not able to give patients the full benefit of their clinical training and experience.
‘In many optical practices across the country, the focus is very much on the sale of glasses and contact opticianonline.net