Largest ever Optometry Tomorrow Conference with 11% increased attendance

  • 27 Mar 2017

The College of Optometrists welcomed over 900 attendees to Birmingham last weekend (19 - 20 March) for its annual conference and AGM.

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Held at the city’s Hilton Metropole Hotel, Optometry Tomorrow 2017 offered delegates the opportunity to earn interactive CET points, network with colleagues and visit its biggest ever trade exhibition. The conference, which had the highest number of delegates to date, saw an 11% increase in attendees on last year’s event.

The two-day event included over 90 lectures, seminars, peer discussion sessions, and skills and discussion workshops, spanning a wide range of topics. The extensive programme, in which delegates could obtain up to 15 interactive CET points, saw optometrists discussing hot topics such as myopia in children, treatment options for blepharitis and diagnosing PVD vs RD.

The keynote lecture was delivered by Mr Ian Flitcroft, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Associate Clinical Professor at the Children’s University Hospital Temple Street in Dublin. The lecture looked at the increasing prevalence of myopia and treatment and prevention options. Mr Flitcroft said; “We are facing an epidemic of myopia, not just in Asia, but in the western world too. It's predicted that four billion people will be myopic by 2050, rising from 1.4 billion in 2000. With this in mind, researchers and optometrists need to start considering myopia as a pressing public health issue. We should be embracing efforts to reduce myopia progression in young people, thinking of this as their 'eyesight pension’, a way to minimise the risk of sight-threatening conditions in later years. It has been an honour and a pleasure to speak at this year's Optometry Tomorrow conference. I was particularly delighted to see the level of interest shown by delegates in myopia prevention and the treatment options that are now available.”

Delegate Nita Odedra MCOptom Specialist Optometrist at Leicester Royal Infirmary said; “The conference has been excellent this year with so many great speakers and sessions that I’ve had difficulty deciding on what to attend. As always, I come away from the conference with new knowledge and new skills that will help me practically in my role.”

Professor Christine Purslow, Head of Medical Affairs for Thea Pharmaceuticals Ltd, platinum sponsor for this year’s conference, said; “As an optometrist myself, I find this conference the perfect combination of quality presentations and practical workshops. For Thea Pharmaceuticals Ltd this is about getting close to our valued customers; listening to their ideas, sharing and feedback.”

Graham Trevor, Director of Sales, Diagnostic Instruments for Topcon GB Ltd, a second platinum sponsor at the conference said; “Optometry Tomorrow proved to be an overwhelming success for Topcon again this year. With such strong attendance at the trade exhibition, and packed workshops, covering topics such as OCT scan interpretation, OCT Angiography and new concepts in visual field analysis, the weekend’s event showed once again how big an appetite the UK optometric community has for learning and progressive ideas. Topcon is very proud to be a joint headline sponsor and we are very much looking forward to next year’s event.”

The conference also featured the largest ever trade exhibition with 35 exhibitors and sponsors including platinum sponsors, Thea Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Topcon GB Ltd, gold sponsors Cooper Vision, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care; silver sponsors Avizor, Essilor Ltd, Optegra Eye Health Care, Optos, and bronze sponsors Alcon Eye Care UK, No7 Contact Lenses, The EyeBag Company Heidelberg Engineering, Scope Ophthalmics, Tristel Solutions Ltd and ZEISS.

Several awards were distributed during the conference; The Arthur Bennett Prize, one of the College’s Research Excellence Awards, which recognises achievement and celebrates outstanding contributions to research in the fields of optometry, optics and vision science was presented to Dr Alicja Rudnicka. Dr. Rudnicka, who is Reader of Medical Sciences at St Georges, University of London, won the award for her multi-discipline and statistical approach to epidemiology and retinal vasculature. Laura Edwards MCOptom, was the winner of the Optometry Tomorrow Poster Prize 2017 for her poster entitled ‘Health on the High Street – a pop-up pilot project’.




Notes 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.
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