College Council sets the strategic and professional direction of the College, and ensures that we remain true to our principles and accountable to our members. They share the College’s plans and activity with colleagues in their region, and share their colleagues’ feedback, views and ideas with us.

Our Council members are elected by members living and working in 12 regions across the UK, and we aim to ensure that they reflect the diversity and range of experiences of our membership. 

The Council has a maximum of 40 members:

  • 35 are elected by members living or working in their region
  • four are nominated by the College’s Lay Advisory Panel
  • one is nominated by the Optometry Schools Council (OSC).

There are also three Early Career Representatives (observers).

Kyla Black BSc MCOptom

Trustee, Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee, Council Member - East Midlands

Originally from Northern Ireland, Kyla graduated from Aston University in 1996 and completed her Pre Reg year with Dollond & Aitchison in 1997. She has worked for both Dollond and Aitchison, and since the merger, Boots Opticians for 22 years. In this time she has supported and supervised a number of pre-reg optometrists and student dispensing opticians.

Hassnain Safdar MCOptom

Council Member - East Midlands

Hassnain graduated from Aston University in 2016 and completed his pre-reg with Specsavers in 2017. Currently, he practices as a locum optometrist in a variety of multiple and independent practices. He was the inaugural LOCSU Student ambassador in 2016 and remains an active committee member of the Leicestershire and Rutland LOC since 2019.

David Hill BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP) FBDO

Council member - Eastern

David graduated from City University in 1996. Following a period with Boots Opticians, he joined Specsavers in Newmarket as a partner in 2003. He registered as an IP optometrist in 2014 and retains a close working relationship with the hospital eye service. David chaired Suffolk LOC until the end of 2020 and remains a member of the committee. Also, he works part-time as a clinic supervisor at Anglia Ruskin University and has supervised many pre-reg students.

E: david.hill@college-optometrists.org

John Kidd BSc(Hons) MCOptom

Council member - Eastern

John started his career as a manufacturer then qualified as a Dispensing Optician before graduating as an Optometrist at Bradford University in 2000. Over the years he has practiced in multiples, owned his own independent group and now currently works in an independent setting and Addenbrookes hospital.

Dr Keziah Latham PhD Prof Cert LV FCOptom

Council member - Eastern

Kez is an Associate Professor at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), where she has been a staff member since 2006. Her key interests are in low vision and assessment of visual function, and she was awarded the Neil Charman medal for excellence in optometric research in 2017. Kez trained at Aston University for her undergraduate degree (1990) and PhD (1995), and then continued there as a lecturer (1995-2000). She has worked in community practice throughout her career in both independent and multiple settings. With her current independent practice she is involved in glaucoma shared care schemes.

Dr Irene Ctori MCOptom

Trustee, Chair of the Education and Standards Committee, Council Member - London

Irene graduated from City University in 1994. She worked in high street community practice until 2007, mostly in Vision Express, Ilford and then the Oxford Street store. Irene then went on to hold a role as a specialist optometrist at Whipps Cross University Hospital until 2012. This included leading a fast-track age-related macular degeneration clinic; undertaking complex adult and paediatric eye examinations and conducting low vision and diabetic eye assessments.

David Jameson MCOptom

Council Member - London

David graduated from Anglia Ruskin University with First Class Honours and gained GOC-registration in 2004. As a Pre-registration Optometrist he won the Institute of Optometry’s Clinical Skills prize the same year.

Dr Joy Myint FCOptom Prof Cert LV FHEA

Council Member - London

Joy is currently the Head of Optometry and Director of Studies at the University of Hertfordshire. She holds several positions in academia, for the College of Optometrists, and within the wider profession. Her area of expertise is visual impairment and has various roles within this specialism.

E: joy.myint@college-optometrists.org

Meera Shah MCOptom

Council Member - London

Meera qualified in 2007 from Anglia Ruskin University with a first class honours degree. In her final year she was awarded the AOP prize for the best overall performance in the Legal and Business aspects of Optometry Module. 

Jay Varia BSc (Hons) MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof.Cert. Glauc

Council member - London

Jay graduated from the University of Wales, College of Cardiff and qualified as an optometrist in 2001 after completing her pre-registration year in independent practice.  After a period in working within the multiple sector, she joined a specialist independent practice in 2003 and was involved in diabetic shared care, community minor injury schemes, myopia control and orthokeratology clinics as well as carrying out regular eye examinations and contact lens consultations, which she continued until 2018.

Dr George Anthony Gibson BSc PhD FCOptom

Treasurer, Council Member – North East

Tony left Aston University in 2003 with a 1st Class Honours degree and qualified in 2004. He then returned to Aston University in 2005 to study for a PhD which he gained in 2008. Tony currently works in independent practice in Darlington. He is a committee member of the Durham LOC. 

E: tony.gibson@college-optometrists.org

Madeleine Mould MCOptom DipTp(IP)

Council Member - North East

Madeleine graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2014 and completed her pre-reg in independent and multiple practices in Cambridgeshire. She relocated to Northumberland to become a resident optometrist and completed the IP diploma in 2019. Madeleine also sits on the LOC and contributes to the ICS Eyecare Alliance, while establishing working relationships with the local HES department.

E: madeleine.mould@college-optometrists.org

Robert Harper BSc (Hons), MPhil, DPhil, DipGlauc, DipTP(IP), FCOptom

Council Member - North West

Robert Harper is an Optometrist Consultant at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, an Honorary Professor of Optometry in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Manchester and a Visiting Professor in Optometry at City, University of London.  His role encompasses clinical practice within the HES, research, undergraduate and post-graduate teaching, and training and continuing education for post-graduate optometrists. He is also actively engaged in examining and wider professional matters.  Areas of clinical and research interest include glaucoma, diagnostic test evaluation, low vision rehabilitation, and enhanced schemes within optometry.  He has presented nationally and internationally for over 3 decades and been lead applicant or co-applicant on grants amounting to over £3 million.  Robert has authored a glaucoma handbook and over 100 papers, including over 70 papers in the peer reviewed literature.  He has fostered links between the HES and community optometry for many years and in 2015 was awarded Life Fellowship by the College for his contribution to the profession.  He is currently an expert panel member for NICE, an external examiner at Cardiff, and an optometry member of the RCOphth external reviewer team.

E: robert.harper@college-optometrists.org 

Matt Roney Bsc MCOptom

Council Member – North West

Matt graduated from the University of Bradford in 2016, and went on to complete his pre registration year at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Soon after qualifying, Matt undertook a post at The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital. He is currently a Senior Optometrist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Although Matt’s role is predominately within the hospital, he locums regularly in private practice.

Matt was elected College Council Member for the North West region in March 2019.


E: matt.roney@college-optometrists.org

Dr Gillian Rudduck BSc MSc PhD MCOptom Prof Cert Glau Dip TP (IP)

Vice President, Council Member - North West

Gillian has over 20 years' experience in a wide range of optometry, including primary and secondary care and academia, and currently practices as a consultant optometrist and clinical lead at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals.

Katie Curran PhD, MPH, BSc (Hons) MCOptom

Council member - Northern Ireland

Katie qualified as an optometrist from the University of Ulster, Coleraine in 2012. She completed her pre-registration year in Scotland and continued to work as a full-time optometrist until 2016, before returning to Northern Ireland to complete a Master’s in Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). Katie has a keen interest in the optometry profession from a clinical and research perspective. She is passionate about strengthening partnerships between optometrists, ophthalmologists and other health care personnel to enhance patient care. She is also interested in early prevention strategies to reduce avoidable vision impairment and blindness for all age groups.

Professor Kathryn Saunders BSc FCOptom

Trustee, Council Member - Northern Ireland

Kathryn Saunders is a Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. Her research interests include the development of refractive error in infancy and childhood in typically developing children and in the presence of developmental disability.

Dr Laura E Sweeney MCOptom DipTp(IP)

Council Member - Scotland

Laura is originally from Glasgow and continues to work and live in the Southside of the city. She graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in 2008 and completed her pre-registration year at McCabe Opticians in Barrhead. In 2010 she began her PhD studies. Prior to, and throughout her PhD studies, Laura worked part time as a specialist optometrist in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde working in the glaucoma, cataract and paediatric clinics. Alongside her PhD studies she also completed the Independent Prescribing qualification in 2014.

Kathryn Trimmer BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP)

Council Member - Scotland

Kathryn qualified from Glasgow Caledonian University in 1999 and has worked in Grampian in North East Scotland ever since for both multiple and independent practices. She has supervised pre-registration optometrists in her early career and moved to Professional Services Manager of a large independent group where she mentors and supports optometrists and dispensing opticians at all stages of their career. In this role she has been involved in service development in the practices as well as locally with the Grampian Eye Health Network, where optometry has been the first port of call for all patients with acute eye problems since 2007. She is past Vice-Chair of Grampian AOC, and is an active member of Optometry Scotland which has recently negotiated a new GOS contract for Scotland. She achieved Independent Prescribing status in 2013.

Johnathan Waugh BSc MCOptom DipTp (IP)

Trustee, Council Member - Scotland

Johnathan qualified from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2000 and undertook his pre-reg in the hospital eye service at St. Paul's Eye Unit, Liverpool. He then worked as a locum across the UK before working with ASDA Opticians for three years. Returning to the hospital sector in 2005, he was involved with Glaucoma and paediatric care, achieving IP status in 2010.

Lucy Blown MSc BSc (hons) MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc

Council Member - South East

Lucy graduated from City University in 2006 and completed her pre-reg placement with Dollond and Aitchison. Lucy is currently an Independent Practice Owner, having previously worked in Multiples as a Lead Optometrist and also in Refractive Surgery settings.

Colin Davidson BSc (Hons) FCOptom DipTp(IP)

Immediate Past President, Council Member - South East

Colin currently works part-time for the University of Hertfordshire where he is programme lead for independent prescribing. He also works in independent practice in East Sussex, and at Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton where he works in both A&E and uveitis clinics. He is a senior assessor for the College and an OSCE chief examiner. He is a former member of East Sussex LOC and a current member of the education faculty at the Johnson and Johnson Institute.

Mike Horler BSc (Hons) FCOptom Prof Cert Med Ret Cert Oc Pharm Cert Oc Therapeutics Dip TP(IP)

Council member - South East

Mike currently works at Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton, in Medical Retina, and also as a Professional advancement consultant. Mike is a current WOPEC lead assessor and has previously worked at City University and University of Auckland, New Zealand where he taught & examined at undergraduate & post graduate level.

John Tickner FCOptom DipTp(IP) DipOC DipTp(AS) DipTp(SP) DipGlauc

Council Member - South East

John graduated from City University in 1985 and worked as an employee of Dollond & Aitchison and subsequently Leighton’s Opticians until taking over his own practice Howie & Tickner Optometrists in 1995.

William Gillan MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Glauc

Council Member - South West

More details to follow.

E: william.gillan@college-optometrists.org

Lewes Hambrey MCOptom

Council member - South West

Lewes has been an Optometrist since 2004. He began his career in the multiple sector, before working for a decade in independent practice, including a number of years as a sole practitioner. He has spent time in the Hospital Eye Service and provided domiciliary care, and now works in a multiple practice as part of a large Optometric team.

Kiki Soteri MSc BSc (Hons) MCOptom DipTP(IP) FHEA ProfCertGlauc ProfCertMedRet

Vice Chair of the Education and Standards Committee, Council Member - South West

Kiki is head of optometry development for Specsavers, a visiting lecturer to University of Hertfordshire for postgraduate courses and an honorary associate professor at Plymouth University. Within Specsavers, Kiki leads the development of optometrists across the four nations of the UK and Ireland and helps ensure the support provided is inclusive and tailored to professional and patient needs.

Clare Pearce MCOptom

Council Member - Wales

Clare Pearce has worked in optics since beginning her degree in 2001 at Cardiff University. She then began her career in Bridgend Specsavers where she supervised a pre-reg student and became part of the clinical management team. In 2012 she set up an independent practice within a medical centre in Cardiff and feels passionate about building and maintaining good relationships with other professionals within primary care.

Dr David Grant Robinson PhD BSc (Hons) MCOptom FHEA Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert LV Prof Cert Med Ret

Council Member - Wales

Grant is a teacher at the Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC) based at Cardiff University. He qualified from Cardiff University in 2008 and remained in Wales to complete his pre-registration year.

Shamina Asif BSc MCOptom

Council Member - West Midlands

Shamina qualified from Aston University in 2004 with a First-class honours degree and having a having received the highest prize in elective studies. She is currently a self- employed optometrist having, worked for Boots Opticians for 12 years and is a tutor on the Boots Opticians pre-registration programme. She has supervised two pre-registration students.

Professor Leon Davies PhD, FCOptom, Prof Cert Med Ret, FAAO, SFHEA

President, Council Member - West Midlands

Leon Davies is a registered optometrist and Professor of Optometry & Physiological Optics at Aston University. A Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, Leon holds fellowships with the College of Optometrists, the American Academy of Optometry, and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Leadership roles at Aston University include Director of Research (2010-17) and Head of the School of Optometry (2016-21). His clinical research is focused on presbyopia and the restoration of ocular accommodation to the ageing eye.

Jagdeep Singh BSc(Hons) MOptom MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret Dip(Tp) IP

Council member - West Midlands

Jagdeep graduated with Master’s degree in Optometry from Aston University in 2015 and completed his pre-reg year with Specsavers in 2016. He currently works a Specialist Optometrist at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital working in medical retina, urgent eye, diabetic screening and injection clinics. Jagdeep is an Independent Prescribing Optometrist with a Professional Certificate in Glaucoma and Professional Certificate in Medical Retina. He is currently studying towards his Professional Certificate in Low Vision. He also works as an AMD Optometrist for SpaMedica, across various sites in the UK.

Stephen Clark MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert LV Prof Cert Med Ret

Council Member - Yorkshire and Humber

More details to follow.

E: stephen.clark@college-optometrists.org

Dr Aleksandra Mankowska BSc PhD MCOptom FHEA

Trustee, Council Member - Yorkshire and Humber

Aleksandra entered the optometric profession in 2004 after 11 years in the automotive industry. She graduated from Bradford University in 2007 and was awarded a PhD by the same institution in 2013 for a study of blur adaptation in human vision.

Barbara Watson MSc FCOptom DCLP

Council Member - Yorkshire and Humber

Barbara has been an optometrist for more than 30 years and has worked throughout West Yorkshire in independent practice, multiple practice, as a locum and for local hospitals. She was one of the first members of the College to gain her Fellowship by examination and also holds the College Diploma in Contact Lens Practice.

E: barbara.watson@college-optometrists.org

Early Career Representatives

Mohammed Bilal Saleem

University of Bradford
Council Member - Early Career Representative

Bilal is in his final year of Optometry at the University of Bradford. He is the second of three Early career reps on the Council. His responsibilities include, providing a bridge between his fellow students and the College, in addition to giving a student perspective during Council dialogue. He has an aspiration to improve optometry and give a new light to his profession.

Niamh Coyle

Council Member - Early Career Representative

Niamh is the newest addition to the role of Early Career Council Representative. She is currently in her third and final year of study at Cardiff University, where she enjoys all aspects of the course, but has found particular interest in her contact lens modules and hopes to pursue this further. Niamh is excited to be embarking on her role and feels it is a privilege to express the views and opinions of her peers in the optometric community.

Lay Advisory Panel Representatives

Andrea Clerk MBA, CIPD

Lay Advisory Panel Member

Andrea has extensive experience in governance and regulation and has worked within the legal and medical professions with responsibilities for professional training, standards, compliance and continuing education.  She is skilled in modernising product ranges and service approaches, notably through an emphasis on blended learning.  Andrea is passionate about giving individuals the right training at all stages of their careers, in order to ensure they have the proper skills and experience to deal confidently and professionally with challenges as they arise.

Katie Engel LLB

Lay Advisory Panel Member

After graduating, Katie worked as a solicitor in private practice and in-house. In 2009 she moved into the regulation of the legal profession, working for the Law Society's Legal Complaints Service and then the Legal Ombudsman. She is currently an adjudicator for an ombudsman scheme and enjoys the variety and challenge that the work brings.

Katie has a keen interest in optometry due to her family's eye conditions and has had several operations relating to her eyelids over a number of years.

Rekha Randhawa LLB (Hons), MA

Lay Advisory Panel Member

After completing her undergraduate law degree at University College London and a Master’s degree in Medical Ethics and Law at King’s College London, Rekha was Called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 2007.  Following extensive experience working as a legal assistant in healthcare and non-healthcare disciplinary prosecution work, she cross-qualified as a solicitor in 2012.  After qualification, she specialised initially in claimant clinical negligence work, working for major London firms in that field and representing primarily children with cerebral palsy following birth hypoxia. Latterly, she worked as an in-house solicitor at a leading medical defence organisation, defending doctors and dentists from medical/dental negligence claims and disciplinary proceedings.

Mark Redhead MA, MBA, FRSA

Lay Trustee, Chair of the Lay Advisory Panel

Mark’s career to date has been in health policy, management and sector development. Following a variety of roles in membership organisations and the NHS, Mark currently is head of system partnerships at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. 

Optometry Schools Council Representative

Will Holmes MPhil PGCertMedEd MCOptom MAcadMEd FHEA

Optometry Schools Council Representative

Will Holmes studied optometry at UMIST and qualified in 2004, following a combined practice/hospital pre-registration post. He is currently Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning in the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry at the University of Manchester. Will is Chair of the Optometry Schools Council, Co-Chair of the Optical Confederation Education Forum, AOP Academic Councillor, Member of the Optometry Advisory Group for Devolution of Health and Social Care in Greater Manchester and has served on the Editorial Board of Optometry in Practice where he co-edited a special edition on Optometric Education.