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The optometrist and primary eye care
  1. A EWBANK, Editor
  1. Optician, Reed Business Publishing
  2. Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS

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    Ophthalmologists are strongly opposed to any move by optometrists to treat anterior segment disease. Or are they? This year the optometric journal Optician has been examining this question by gauging opinions from grassroots professionals and from their representative bodies. At a time when UK universities are offering optometrists the first postgraduate courses in ocular therapeutics the results make interesting reading.

    According to a survey conducted by Optician in August 1996, half of UK ophthalmologists believe that optometrists could use ocular therapeutics given suitable training. Yet many clearly remain implacably opposed to the concept—49% of those surveyed saying they were against any suggested timescale for introducing such a move.

    Not surprisingly, optometrists’ opinions are less divided. A similarOptician survey earlier in 1996 showed that 91% of UK optometrists surveyed would be interested in using ocular therapeutics, again given suitable training. There was widespread support for managing a range of conditions such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and dry eye.

    Despite their enthusiasm, many optometrists expressed concern over the issues of education, funding, and litigation and many rejected the notion of managing a wider spectrum of anterior segment disease. Yet eight out of 10 optometrists believed that a realistic timescale for a move into therapeutics was within 2 years.

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