1 May 2024

Optometry Tomorrow 24 delights visitors

The College of Optometrists and BCLA (British Contact Lens Association) welcomed around 900 attendees at Optometry Tomorrow 24 - now incorporating BCLA Focus on 28-29 April.

This was the 20th year of The College of Optometrists’ flagship event, and the first time that it had been a collaboration.

Attendees included delegates, representatives from industry, optometry education, researchers and speakers.

With sessions covering the latest advances in the profession, research-focused poster presentations, and innovative and informative lectures and seminars, the agenda provided a comprehensive and informative experience, with something to engage practitioners from all fields and at every stage of their career.

It took place at the Telford International Centre and had programmes from the two organisations running concurrently, providing all delegates with the opportunity to attend lectures from both.

Ian Humphreys

CEO of The College of Optometrists

“I am delighted that our two organisations have come together for this collaborative event. The College of Optometrists and the British Contact Lens Association share a common goal: to advance the field of eye care and enhance the quality of life for patients through innovation, education, and collaboration.

“Through this joint event we are uniting our expertise, knowledge, and resources to achieve this shared vision.”

Luke Stevens-Burt

CEO of the British Contact Lens Association

“The combining of both events allows for the exchange of knowledge and expertise between both fields.”

Artificial Intelligence was the subject of the 20th Anniversary Keynote Lecture. Delivered by Pearse Keane, Professor of Artificial Medical Intelligence at the Institute of Ophthalmology, Transforming Eyecare with Artificial Intelligence explained how the widespread adoption of AI will help ophthalmologists spend more time treating people with complex eye diseases, and how it can be harnessed as a force for good in both optometry and ophthalmology.

Myopia was the focus of the Charter Lecture, in collaboration with the BCLA. It was delivered by Professor Kathryn Saunders FCOptom, who leads the Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction (NICER) Study, the largest prospective study of eyes and vision in childhood in the UK and Ireland. Her lecture, Myopia management: Current evidence and future directions, presented a future landscape of myopia and the vital role of optometrists in its management.

Attendees were also able to benefit from numerous face-to-face learning and networking opportunities, interactive sessions, workshops, and industry-led talks.

In fact, there were 27 practical workshops to choose from, 56 small group sessions, 12 peer review sessions and 10 business and communications skills sessions, with loads of opportunities for delegates to develop their clinical techniques in clinical workshops.

Delegates from both professional bodies were able to attend 110 CPD sessions over the two days, making it possible to gain all their required CPD points in this final year of the GOC cycle, and to gain contact lens optician and therapeutics specialty points.

And it wasn’t all about work. As well as the academic programme, Optomfest took place on the Sunday evening, offering visitors the opportunity to unwind and socialise with friends and colleagues, at a social celebration of twenty years of Optometry Tomorrow.

The conference also featured a trade exhibition with 34 exhibitors and sponsors.

These included platinum sponsors: CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision; gold sponsors: Alcon and SpaMedica; silver sponsors: Positive Impact, Bausch + Lomb, EssilorLuxottica, Scope Ophthalmics, Thea Pharmaceuticals and Topcon Healthcare; and bronze sponsors: Docet, Optos, Hakim, Hoya, Optos and Safilens.

Christina Olner MCOptom

Head of Professional Affairs at CooperVision

“CooperVision were delighted to be Platinum sponsor of OT24 - now incorporating BCLA Focus. As leaders in contact lenses and myopia management, CooperVision welcome the opportunity to engage with professional colleagues from diverse practice backgrounds and are thrilled to deliver education to them at this prestigious event.”

Dr Rachel Hiscox MCOptom

Professional Education and Development Manager at Johnson & Johnson Vision

“Johnson & Johnson were delighted to be a platinum sponsor of Optometry Tomorrow 2024 - now incorporating BCLA Focus, and to have the opportunity to meet with so many eye care professionals over the conference. We were delighted to provide five educational sessions during the event, supporting eye care professionals’ professional development for the benefit of their patients.”

Deborah Bott, Ahalya Subramanian, David Edgar, Pouya Alaghband, John Lawrenson and Peter Campbell were the winners of the 2024 Best Early Career Poster for their poster, ‘Barriers and enablers to managing glaucoma medication adherence: An interview study with UK specialist Eye Care Professionals’.

Jane M. Fulton, Tsz Wing Leung, Sara J. McCullough, Lesley Doyle, Nicola S. Logan, Carly S.Y. Lam and Kathryn Y. Saunders were the winners of the 2024 Best Poster Overall, for their poster, ‘The PreMO (Predicting Myopia Onset and Progression) Risk Indicator reliably predicts future myopia in both UK and Hong Kong children.'

The event also featured The College of Optometrists 2024 AGM, which saw Dr Gillian Rudduck MCOptom inaugurated as College President, taking over the role from Professor Leon Davies FCOptom.

View photos of OT24 now incorporating BCLA Focus.

Related further reading

How women are taking the lead In optometry and changing the face of the profession.

A message from Leon Davies, College President