Founding President of the College of Optometrists celebrates his centenary

  • 8 Aug 2018

Today Dr Philip Cole OBE FCOptom, Founding President of the College of Optometrists, celebrates his 100th birthday.

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Dr Cole became a member of the British Optical Association in 1944, served on the College Council from 1980-1996, and worked as the College’s professional adviser from 1984-1995, and remains an esteemed member of the profession, and a College Fellow. 

Philip has been a strong supporter for practice-based research and foresaw the benefits to the profession from supporting the development of its academic members and researchers in particular. He was also an advocate of the development of the College’s postgraduate research funding programme.

The College’s practice-based Research Award is named the Philip Cole Award, in recognition of his advocacy for developing optometrists as researchers, and his position as the Founding President of the College of Optometrists in 1980. Philip is also the co-author of the first volume of the History of the College of Optometrists (1980–1998), in which the early years of the College’s support for research is documented.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research at the College, said: “We are really pleased to see Philip celebrating his centenary. The College owes him a great deal, and this is a chance to remind members of the commitment he has given to the College and the profession, especially to fostering research within optometry in the UK.”

Prof Bruce Evans FCOptom, who runs the practice that Philip Cole founded over 70 years ago, said: “Dr Cole’s pursuit of clinical excellence established an ethos that still defines our practice today, and his influence is still felt in the broader profession. As in his work at the College, Philip’s foresight and leadership have influenced generations of optometrists. We all wish Phil congratulations and our best wishes on his 100th birthday.”


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 healthcare professionals.
  2. The Philip Cole Prize is awarded for excellence in practice-based research by College members. The Prize is given to honour the important contribution that practising optometrists continue to make to the optometric evidence base. It was inaugurated in 2010, and a complete list of prize winners is available online.
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