Donald Francis Carley Loran (Don) 1936-2018

  • 23 Jan 2018

We are sorry to announce the death of former Council member, Life Fellow and Past President of the BOA, Don Loran.

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Don Loran

Don Loran was born in North Manchester, the son of an ophthalmic optician. He trained at the Manchester College of Technology and was then awarded the King George VI memorial scholarship to do a Master's degree at Ohio State University following an exceptional result in his Professional Qualifying Examination. His thesis was on 'The effect of residual tonicity on the measurement of hyperphoria' (1959).

He spent the years 1956-1958 and 1960-63 in general practice, before joining the hospital eye service for a three-year spell. From 1966-71 he specialised in contact lens practice before being appointed a university lecturer. He was associated in various roles with the course at Manchester (UMIST), as lecturer and Clinical Director. He was passionate about contact lenses and did a lot of research and development within this area of optometry. At an international level he served on the committee of the International Society of Contact Lens Educators.

Don was instrumental in the initiation of the ‘novel’ concept of UMIST clinics, at which members of the public could have their eyes tested by students and staff. This expanded with his help from a handful of patients to many thousands! He also set up the UMIST Graduates Association helping ex-students stay in contact with the department and even coming back to work at UMIST in part-time roles. He was awarded the UMIST medal in 2000.

In 1980 Don, with others, instigated the formation of the Marton Library Trust. This was a registered charity that oversaw the development of a first-class open library and optometric archive that ran for over thirty years.

In 1986 he ran the ‘Optometric Manpower and the Need for Vision Care: National Survey’ together with Chris French and Adrian Jennings, which was one of the first surveys to address the perceived shortage of ophthalmic opticians. That same year he was also Chairman of the Northern Optical Congress. He also lectured on a sessional basis at Aston University. In later years he was a CPD course organiser and self-employed vision consultant.

He served as the penultimate President of the British Optical Association from April 1979 having already served as Acting President for several months due to the illness of Tony Vallis. Don was also the BOA’s final Treasurer, responsible for winding up the Association from December 1980 once the College was already in existence. A founder member of the Council of the College of Optometrists, he remained on Council until 1992, serving also as Chairman of the Academic Committee and as a College Examiner and Practice Visitor. He was appointed a Life Fellow of the College in 1994.

Don had a passion for sport and fitness; he was a keen runner and he loved football. He ran a Cub Scout football team for eighteen years (having been one of the first ever Queen’s Scouts himself) and was a qualified football referee. Not forgetting his Manchester roots, he was also a passionate Manchester City fan; he loved to watch them live, and in latter years became an armchair supporter! With this background it was natural that he went on to become one of the founder members of the Sports Vision Association. In addition to this he also co-authored a book on Sports Vision.

Don was well liked, particularly for his humour, compassion, kindness, patience and, above all, his humility. He was well respected and loved by all who knew him and he will be sadly missed.

His funeral will be held at St Mary's church in Middlewich on 29th January at 1pm.

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