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

Kyla graduated from Aston University in 1996. She successfully completed her pre-registration year with Dollond & Aitchison and continued to work for them and, since the merger, Boots Opticians for 27 years. In this time, she has supported and supervised a number of pre-reg optometrists and student dispensing opticians. 

Hassnain Safdar BSc 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 Prof Cert Paed Eye Care Prof Cert Glauc

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.


Professor Keziah Latham BSc PhD FCOptom Prof Cert LV

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.

Farah Awan BOptom

Council member - London

Since graduating from Anglia Ruskin University Farah practices across the independent, multiple, education and consultancy sector. She has a broad range of experience in these fields and is an advocate for practitioner wellbeing, equitable service delivery and promoting diversity in the optical sector. Keen to promote inclusive leadership and bridge the gap between primary and secondary care pathways Farah has a portfolio of roles.

Dr Irene Ctori PhD BSc FCOptom

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.

Meera Shah BSc(Hons) 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 PhD BSc(Hons) FCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret

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. 


Madeleine Mould BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Glauc

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.


Matt Roney MCOptom DipTp(IP) Dip Glauc

Trustee, Council Member – North West

Matt is a Specialist Optometrist working within the Liverpool Hospital Foundation Trust, UK. He specialises predominantly in glaucoma as well as acute ophthalmology. Matt currently holds the College of Optometrists' IP and Higher Certificate in Glaucoma whilst being in the final stages of the Diploma Glaucoma qualification. Matt is also a visiting lecturer and examiner at the University of Hertfordshire for the College of Optometrists' Higher Qualifications in Glaucoma and Independent Prescribing for post-graduate Optometrists.

Dr Gillian Rudduck PhD MCOptom DipTp(IP) Higher Cert Glauc

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.

Ian White BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret

Council member - North West

Ian began his career on the high street, working in both multiples and independent practices. He later moved into domiciliary practice and continues to work in this sector on a part-time basis. The remainder of his time is spent working in the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme, which he has been involved with since 2009.

Dr Katie Curran PhD BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP)

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 PhD 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 BSc 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 MSc BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Paed Eye Care, Prof Cert Med Ret Prof Cert LV

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 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 FCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Med Ret

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 FCOptom DipTp(IP) Higher Cert Med Ret

Council member - South East

Mike is a Consultant Optometrist in Medical Retina at Sussex Eye Hospital, Brighton and a College Assessor. He has previously held posts at City University, University of Auckland, and Moorfields/UCL Post graduate education team.

Mike lived in New Zealand, where he gained an IP qualification in 2006, practicing in community and university.

John Tickner BSc 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 BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP) Higher Cert Glauc

Council Member - South West

William graduated from Manchester University and completed his pre-registration at Stirling & Falkirk Royal Eye Infirmaries. He then worked for Duncan & Todd in Wick, a practice based in a remote area of Scotland, where he was the sole resident optometrist and quickly progressed. 

Lewes Hambrey MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret

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 MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret

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.

Eleanor Thomas BSc (Hons) MCOptom

Council member - Wales

Since graduating from University of Wales Cardiff in 1997 Eleanor has worked as a community optometrist across south Wales as both resident and locum optometrist, for large multiples and smaller independent practices. During this time, she has supervised pre-registration optometrists and attained EHEW accreditation.

Nkosi Yearwood MCOptom

Council member - Wales

Nkosi, originally from Yorkshire, graduated Cardiff University in 2021, qualifying in August 2022, practicing in an independent practice in South Wales. He has continued on as a resident Optometrist, going back to Cardiff for further study towards higher qualifications, with a hope to gain IP qualification amongst others in the future.

Professor Leon Davies PhD BSc(Hons) FCOptom Prof Cert Med Ret

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 MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret Prof Cert LV

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.

Hamza Mussa BSc MCOptom Prof Cert Med Ret

Council member - West Midlands

Hamza graduated from Aston University in 2016 and completed his pre-reg with Specsavers in 2017. Hamza currently works as Lead Optometrist for Specsavers. Hamza has completed his Professional Certificate in Medical Retina and due to begin working towards his Independent Prescribing qualification in 2024.

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

Council Member - Yorkshire and Humber

More details to follow.


Dr Aleksandra Mankowska PhD MCOptom

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.


Early Career Representatives

Mariam Amin

University of Manchester
Council Member - Early Career Representative

Mariam is currently in her third year at the University of Manchester. She was previously a College Student Rep and now hopes to continue to make a difference to the profession via this role as an Early Career Representative.

Niamh Coyle

Council Member - Early Career Representative

Niamh 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

Professor Joy Myint PhD BSc FCOptom Prof Cert LV

Optometry Schools Council Representative

Joy is currently Professor, Head of Optometry and Director of Studies at the University of Hertfordshire. She holds several positions within academia, for the College of Optometrists, and within the wider profession. She is the current Chair of Optometry Schools Council, and on the Steering Group for the Sector Partnership for Optical Knowledge and Education (SPOKE). Her area of expertise is visual impairment and has various roles within this specialism, including Paralympic Sport.