Optimism or pessimism?

For me, these final weeks of winter are an interesting time of year when optimism and pessimism collide with more intensity than usual. A sunny day and a glimpse of budding daffodils can make moods lift and spring appear to

be within touching distance, only for the rain and cold to reinstate winter for a little longer. Famously, parts of North America rely on a groundhog to predict the arrival of spring, which at least absolves people of making the choice between optimism and pessimism themselves.

This is the seventh Optician issue of 2024 and one of the key and evolving stories of the year has been the increased prominence given to optics by political parties with the promise of a more fulfilling and fairly remunerated future ahead. Much like the weather and the hoped for arrival of spring, these developments can be interpreted with pessimism or optimism.

In this issue alone, we carry stories on Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, minister for public health, start for life and primary care, meeting with the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee, and the Times Health Inquiry recognising the potential of high street

optometry to play a greater role in improving the health of the nation (News, pages 4-6). To this observer at least, Leadsom’s post-meeting comments perhaps indicate a willingness in the current government to adopt a pro-optics position commensurate with that of the opposition.

Other recent developments, including the continuing championing of primary care eye services by Marsha De Cordova MP and, most notably, shadow health minister Karin Smyth’s announcement that a Labour government will seek a deal with high street optical practices to deliver outpatient appointments, have been greeted with understandable optimism.

A more pessimistic, or perhaps realistic view, is offered by a correspondent to Optician (Letters, page 4) this week. Jim Osbourne states that optical hopes were high back in 1997 only to be dashed post-election, and therefore preaches caution. Whether you choose to interpret the political developments with optimism or pessimism, there’s little doubt 2024 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for optics.


Deputy editor

11 Showcase

12 Best from Opti

NEWS 4 7 Days News from the past week 7 In Focus Communication gap identified

in macular research

OPINION 8 Diar y of a Spectacle Designer

Pondering the role of personal brands

PRACTICE 10 Informed

The latest from inside the industr y 11 Showcase

The latest product news

FRAMES AND FASHION 12 Best in show

Opti Munich’s spor tswear and star tups 14 Prints charming

Developments in 3D printing at Opti

CLINICAL 16 CPD: Hyper tension and the eye

Optometrists’ role in systemic disease detection 21 Dispensing a non-verbal child on the

autistic spectrum A challenging and rewarding case study 24 Concussion and vision screening

Links between concussion and vision

CLASSIFIED 25 Ser vices 29 Recruitment

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Optician is the weekly, paid-for information source for optometrists, dispensing opticians and the optical industr y. For 132 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 ar ticles, comprehensive CPD coverage along

with the ver y latest in contact lenses, frame fashion trends and spectacle lens technology. Optician offers advice on careers and carries hundreds of job oppor tunities ever y week. Optician provides its readers with essential business help and offers a forum for eye care professionals and others in the market.

16 Februar y 2024 OPTICIAN 3