25 February 2020

College’s Optometry Tomorrow hosted in Telford International Centre for the first time

The College of Optometrists welcomed over 680 optical professionals at its annual conference and AGM last weekend (23-24 February).

The conference, which was held for the first time at Telford International Centre, saw delegates attend cutting-edge lectures, seminars, peer discussion and hands-on skills and discussion workshops. The programme, in which delegates could obtain up to 16 interactive CET points, saw optometrists discussing hot topics such as immediate sequential bilateral cataract surgery, ocular tumours and glaucoma laser treatments. 

Professor Chris Hammond, Frost Professor of Ophthalmology and Consultant Ophthalmologist at King’s College and St Thomas’ Hospital, presented the keynote lecture entitled; The Genetic Future of Eye Disease. He said; “The last ten years has seen a research revolution in rare genetic blinding eye diseases, including the development of the first human gene therapy. Genetic research is allowing us to understand mechanisms in common age-related eye diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, and in other areas such as myopia. We hope these discoveries will allow the development of personalised medicine, to predict who will get disease, to prevent this where possible, and to personalise treatments in our patients for the best outcomes. It has been an honour and a pleasure to speak at this year's Optometry Tomorrow conference and to open a window to the future of genetics in eye disease with my optometric colleagues.” 

Helen Owens, Eye Health Business Unit Manager for Thea Pharmaceuticals Ltd, platinum sponsor for this year’s conference, said; “As Platinum Sponsor for Optometry Tomorrow 2020, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and talk to so many enthusiastic optometrists over the course of the weekend.  Thea continues to support this conference as we see it as the perfect combination of high-quality clinical presentations and practical workshops.  For Thea this is about getting close to our valued customers; listening to their ideas, sharing and feedback”

Following the conference, delegate Emily McCracken MCOptom, optometrist at McCracken Opticians in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, said: “I come to Optometry Tomorrow regularly for the extensive choice of CET and the networking opportunities. The conference app has also been so useful, particularly for accessing presentations once they are over.” Her husband, therapeutic optometrist Mark McCracken MCOptom DipTp(IP) added, “the choice of lectures and workshops are very relevant to community practice and the type of patients I see every day, covering a wide range of conditions from glaucoma and anterior eye through to vitreo-retinal. This year the workshops and peer review sessions have been invaluable. It’s so helpful to gather the opinions of my colleagues, and I had the opportunity to discuss an ongoing case with my peers.”

The conference featured a trade exhibition with over 40 exhibitors and sponsors including platinum sponsor, Thea Pharmaceuticals; gold sponsors, CooperVision, Johnson & Johnson Vision and SpaMedica; silver sponsors, Visioneering Technologies Inc ; bronze sponsors, Alcon Eye Care Ltd, Entod Research Cell UK Ltd, Essilor, No7 Contact Lenses, Scope Ophthalmics and Topcon Healthcare. 

David Hill was the winner of the Optometry Tomorrow Poster Prize 2020 for his poster on ‘A minor eye conditions pilot scheme delivered by community optometrists’.

Optometry Tomorrow 2021 will be announced soon; look out for details on the College website


Note to Editors

  1. The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.