Meet the team

Our senior management team is responsible for the development and delivery of our strategic objectives and oversees the day-to-day operation of the College.

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Our directors support our members in their professional development so that they can deliver the highest quality of eye care. They provide the necessary evidence-base and influence policy and decision-makers in health care delivery.  


Ian Humphreys

I want the College to be recognised as the modern, dynamic and innovative professional body it is - with members at the centre of all we do.

Optometry is currently in a period of significant change, prompted primarily by pressures on the NHS, and I intend to ensure that our members are supported through the changes and best placed to make the most of all the opportunities that arise. I believe that supporting our members’ professional development is the key to their success and the future success of the profession as a whole. Our support goes beyond CET provision, and we are developing an innovative programme of relevant and timely training and development for members at all stages of their careers.

The College strives to push optometry further up the government and NHS agendas, and works with other bodies to raise the profile of eye health care. Our members, the wider health care community and the public look to the College for robust information, advice and guidance. Our research and policy work is unrivalled in the sector and we’re at the forefront in terms of engagement with sector stakeholders and government on our members’ behalf.

I want to ensure that membership of the College gives our members a real sense of pride and that we provide an affordable and relevant benefits package that they really value. Ultimately though, it’s the members’ College and profession - everything starts and ends with them, and this is something I and the College team will never lose sight of.

Catherine Bithell
Director of Member Services and Communications

We are responsible for delivering all your membership needs and making sure you’re able to access all the College’s relevant benefits as and when you need them.

We aim to provide the latest news, views and information from the College and the sector.  From news releases, fortnightly enews and this website to our CET journal, Optometry in Practice, and local and national events - the College’s Member Services and Communications team is working for you.

We pride ourselves on developing practical resources to support members in everyday practice, and ensuring that membership of your professional body is as relevant to established professionals as it is for those entering the profession. As well as being there for all optometrists, we work hard to communicate what it is that optometrists do and raise awareness of the importance of eye health with other health professionals, health care commissioners and the public.

The absolutely best things about working for the College are the variety and pace, so there is no typical day! I  could be chairing one of our reference groups to get member views on the sector and the College, through to launching a brand new piece of College research or attending one of the College’s many regional events.    

Looking forward, I hope to further develop our services for individuals and groups of members – recognising that this is a diverse and changing profession. We also want to make sure that the profession and membership of the College, optometry’s professional body, is more widely valued and understood.  

Mike Bowen
Director of Research

Every piece of research we fund is evaluated for its relevance to members and impact on the evidence base for the profession.

The research team is working on a wide variety of projects at any time. These include, managing the College's portfolio of grants and research funding, overseeing current projects, funding and commissioning new research and supporting optometrists developing and undertaking practice-based research. We represent the profession within the sector and in cross-sector research contexts - ensuring that optometry stays visible and has the best opportunities to access funding for service development and further research. We are also responsible for the College's research journal, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (OPO).

It is a privilege to be involved in providing support to research scholars and the departments they will work in, and to see them setting out on careers as researchers and teachers, or returning to practice with valuable research skills that they can use in practice. The fact that the College and its members have had the foresight to invest in funding this area is something that other professions recognise and are even a bit envious of!

As the pressure on health care services continues to grow, we need to ensure that time and money is spent on what has been shown to work, and that members are able to deal effectively with the changing demographic of their patients. I'm looking forward to talking to members about how projects like our Enhanced Scheme Evaluation Project, and a National Eye Health Survey that will shape service design for a generation.

Sarah Cant
Director of Policy and Strategy

We support expertise in optometry and eye health, both in practice and policy.

The Policy and Strategy team supports you to deliver professional excellence in eye health in your day-to-day practice. We develop guidance and Clinical Management Guidelines, offer clinical advice to members, other professionals and the public, and provide clinical input into College work, such as events programmes, CPD materials and patient resources.

The team also ensure that optometrists are seen as equal partners in eye health care across the UK, by demonstrating the impact they have on the quality of eye care and health services. We provide an expert and evidence-based viewpoint, and influence decision-makers on matters that are important to you and to people’s eye health. 

Lizzy Ostler
Director of Education

Bill Scott
Director of Finance

The finance team work with the College’s Board, Council and staff to ensure that the College’s income is used to maximum effect for our members and deliver our charitable objectives. We also support value for money purchasing.

We ensure that the College’s financial activities and statutory reporting deliver our charitable activities and comply with the law and current best practice.

On a daily basis, we manage the College’s accounts, ensure that suppliers, staff, assessors and examiners are paid accurately and in a timely manner as well as managing the College's investments.
The Finance team also work with Facilities to deliver the safe, effective and smooth functioning of the College building and services.