Where is optometry now and where are we going next? 

About the session

CPD ref: C-108522


Profound changes are afoot across all nations in the UK in the way eye care is delivered and in how optometry is taught. Driven by the pandemic, coupled with educational and health system reforms along with the introduction of new technology, it is likely eye care will look different in five years. In this session our expert panel will share their visions of the future and discuss how organisations are likely to enable it.

Some topics that will be discussed are:

  • recent significant innovations to enhance the care we deliver
  • challenges for the sector to overcome over the next five years
  • benefits and risks of AI
  • whether there a future for refraction and spectacles, or are we heading to become solely focused on eye care?
  • the future for prescribing - should every optometrist become an independent prescriber as planned for Scotland?
  • and much more…

Target audience

  • Optometrist
  • Dispensing Optician.

Domains and learning outcomes


s.10 Work collaboratively with colleagues in the interests of patients

  • Understands the expanding roles of eyecare professionals and how they may work with others to deliver eyecare, now and in the future.

Clinical practice

s.5 Keep your knowledge and skills up to date

  • Understands recent developments and innovations in optometry and how the profession is likely to change over the next five years
  • Understands the upcoming changes in optometry education and healthcare systems and how this may affect future eyecare provision.


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

Gillian is The College of Optometrists' Vice President and Council Member - North West. She 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. 

Since graduating with a BSc (Hons) Ophthalmic Optics, Gillian has achieved a MSc in Management Practice and a Doctorate in Philosophy. She holds the College's Professional Higher Certificate in Glaucoma and a qualification in Independent Prescribing. Gillian has worked with NICE as a guidance committee member and is a CQC specialist advisor. Her work at the College has involved the development of higher qualifications and competency frameworks.

Panel members

Kyla Black BSc MCOptom

Kyla graduated from Aston University in 1996 and has worked for Boots Opticians for 27 years.

Having delivered several field leadership roles within Boots Opticians she is now Head of Professional Services and Capability. This role ensures there is high levels of clinical governance, training, and professional development throughout the company.

Her passion includes ensuring the future of optometry by supporting both pre-reg and early years optometrists with their career development. Kyla was elected College Council Member in March 2019 and has served as a Trustee from April 2021. She is also the Chair of the DOCET board. 

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney MBE FCOptom Higher Cert Glauc

Clinical Adviser

Daniel is one of our clinical advisers for four days each week, dividing the remainder of his time between primary care optometry and community glaucoma clinics in East Anglia. He is a passionate advocate of the profession, committed to supporting all practitioners and ensuring that patient care is always at the heart of optometry. He has helped lead the sector’s response to the pandemic and has made many national media appearances discussing the importance of good eye health and the vital role of optometry in primary care.

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.

Harjit Sandhu

Harjit is a health policy expert with special interests in health economics and health systems. He started his career as an optometrist and has worked in a variety of clinical, policy and operational roles across community practice, the hospital service, the third sector and international clinical trials. 

He has an MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management from the LSE, and brings a wide range of analytical, clinical and public health skills to his role.

Claire Slade BSc MCOptom

Claire Slade is Head of Professional Advancement and Governance at Hakim Group and a key member of the senior leadership team.

Graduating from Cardiff University in 1997 as an Optometrist, Claire built on her passion for improving optometric care and supporting the development of fellow professionals by stepping into the world of Professional Services.

Having over 20 years’ experience in roles held as Superintendent Optometrist at Asda, and Director of Professional Services at Boots Opticians, Claire has always had an influence on where the profession is going next. Claire is currently a non exec director of FODO and sits on various leadership committees to help secure the successful delivery of the GOC’s Education Training Review.

Kiki Soteri MSc MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret

Kiki's career spans more than 25 years, across hospital, community and academic practice, committed to lifelong learning and completing relevant postgraduate qualifications. 

In 2011 she helped to launch the first optometry degree programme at Plymouth University, where for the next five years she led optometry admissions, teaching and assessing a range of clinical modules including clinical case management via problem-based learning. 

For the past seven years she has held leadership roles within multiple organisations. She is a committed advocate for advancing practice and postgraduate development, and she continues to coach and mentor colleagues at all stages of their career journeys.