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Opchat Magazine Professional Matters PagesProfessional Matters News, July to September 2019


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Electronic GOS payments and Performers List services on PCSE Online changes
Scotland: Complete your GOS mandatory training deadline reminder
GOC welcomes the Professional Standards Authority Performance Review
More reasons for taking a good look at FODO Membership
UKOA and IGA publish new standards of care for patients with Glaucoma-related conditions.
AAOF announces The 2019 KORB-EXFORD Dry Eye Career Development Grant Recipient
GOC pilot of new triage process welcomed by AOP
GOC erases Peterborough based student dispensing optician
American Academy of Optometry Foundation announces the 2019 Fredric Rosemore Low Vision educational grant recipient
New Board member for ABDO
GOC pilots enhanced triage process for FTP complaints
AOP response to Channel 4 Supershoppers
AAO Foundation announces 2019 AAOF Student Travel Fellowship
College highlights role of Optometrist
AOP responds to Fake Britain on counterfeit contact lenses
NHS England’s EyesWise calls for patients to share their experiences of hospital eye clinics to help improve care
Scottish Pre-Reg Training Grant announced
CET window open in Scotland until 1 November
More Welsh language duties applied to Welsh Primary Care providers
£32 million to help cut NHS waiting times in Health board funding announced by Health Secretary.
GOC erases West Yorkshire based student optometrist
The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has launched an on-going series of CET webinars for members.
ABDO welcomes road safety statement
Chair for Optometry Scotland, David Quigley calls for greater participation and involvement
American Academy of Optometry Announces 2019 Award Recipients
Association of Optometrists response to the Green Paper on prevention
Research reveals public perceptions of opticians
News from General Optical Council 10 July 2019
Practice complaints Reminder of Deadline, even when there are none.
AAO announces Barr awards
GOC shares Fitness to Practise insights with optical business registrants
Archived News from the last quarter on Professional Matters April to June 2019

Electronic GOS payments and Performers List services on PCSE Online changes

October 2019

Ophthalmic Payments
PCSE receives and manually processes almost 20 million handwritten GOS forms a year. In a digital-age we want to provide you with a more efficient way to submit, track and manage your claims. We are looking to create easy-to-use systems that will simplify and speed up the ophthalmic payments process by:

Introducing two new electronic options for securely submitting GOS claims

Launching an online service so you can track claims, view statements and more easily reconcile your payments.

The move to electronic processes will remove the need for paper, reduce supplies and postage costs, offer greater visibility of claims, provide statements at the click of a button and in turn simplify your reconciliation processes.

You can find more about the benefits of the new service here.

You can also read some of our Frequently Asked Questions about using PCSE Online for Ophthalmic Payments in our FAQ Booklet.Performers Lists

Performers List Applications

We are introducing a simple, online service for submitting and tracking performer list applications.

All applications will be made online, through PCSE Online, instead of via a paper-based application form.

Applicants will be able to submit supporting documentation online and check the status of their application too. Where required, the PCSE National Engagement Team (NET) will carry out face-to-face identity checks.

A self-service function will enable performers to confirm or amend their own details (e.g. change of address or status) via the portal as and when required.

Overall, the move from paper-based applications and change notifications to online will create a more simplified, quicker process.

Download more information including the benefits of the new service here

Scotland: Complete your GOS mandatory training deadline reminder

October 2019

General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) providers in Scotland are reminded that all optometrists and OMPs have to undertake annual mandatory training.

Optometry Scotland (OS) has confirmed that for 2018/19 all First Port of Call Reflective Account of Practice must be submitted by 31 December 2019.

If this is not completed no payments will be received for delivering GOS services. OS signposts all practitioners to the 10 Step guide – GOS Mandatory Training.

GOC welcomes the Professional Standards Authority Performance Review

October 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today welcomed the publication of the Professional Standards Authority (‘the Authority’) Annual Review of Performance 2017/18. The GOC has met 22 of the 24 Standards of Good Regulation.

The GOC met all of the relevant standards of good regulation for its Standards and Education work and made progress with the management of Fitness to Practise (FTP) complaints. The Authority’s report notes the improvements that the GOC has made to its fitness to practise (FTP) processes, including the introduction of acceptance criteria to assess whether a complaint may constitute a fitness to practise allegation; and changes to the triage process which is used to determine whether a full FTP investigation will be opened.

Lesley Longstone, Chief Executive and Registrar said: “We welcome The Authority’s report and their feedback on our work to protect the public. We have endeavoured to improve the initial assessment activity we undertake at triage stage when we receive an FTP complaint, so we are pleased to see this is recognised in us meeting the relevant standard.”

The standards the GOC did not meet related to data errors on the register and the total time taken to process fitness to practise complaints. The review covered the period 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2018.

Lesley Longstone added, “In respect of the data errors, we have now improved our standard operating procedures to ensure that post hearing, amendments to the register or registrant record are made at the appropriate time. We are confident that these improvements will address the Authority’s concerns in this area.

“However, we recognise that we still have significant work to do in addressing the backlogs and delays within our FTP process. We are confident that our updated acceptance criteria and enhanced triage process will ensure that we only open investigations into those concerns that could impact on a registrant’s fitness to practice or to undertake training. We are committed to reducing the time it takes to investigate FTP concerns, and will ensure that cases are regularly reviewed and closed at an earlier stage where there is no ongoing risk to the public. Currently our ability to hold FTP hearings is reduced by the limited availability of hearing panel members. We are pleased, therefore, that we have now secured the legislative change needed to appoint extra panel members. This will allow us to hold more FTP hearings simultaneously and speed up the process of dealing with complaints for the benefit of patients and registrants.”

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley added, “Earlier this year the Government published its response to its 2017 consultation: Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation. There was a welcome emphasis on modernising FTP processes so that regulators can make FTP decisions more quickly, to provide an early resolution for patients and registrants. We look forward to getting more detail about their proposals and taking those changes forward.”

The full report is available at here

More reasons for taking a good look at FODO Membership

September 2019

FODO issues new guide to help optical businesses meet the new GOC Standards.

FODO Members can now access FODO’s new guide for advice on meeting the General Optical Council (GOC) Standards for Optical Businesses, which come into effect on 1 October 2019. The guidance saves you time by highlighting the standards you most need to pay attention to.

It also helps you to implement the standards effectively. Find out more by visiting

UKOA and IGA publish new standards of care for patients with Glaucoma-related conditions.

September 2019

The UK Ophthalmology alliance and the International Glaucoma Association have come together to provide a specefic guide for the Glaucoma Care sector.

They should be read in conjunction with the UKOA-RNIB Patient Standards for Ophthalmology, available here

The Patient Standards for Glaucoma can be read and downloaded here.

AAOF announces The 2019 KORB-EXFORD Dry Eye Career Development Grant Recipient

September 2019

Laura Downie

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation are pleased to announce Laura Downie, BOptom, FAAO as this year’s recipient of the Korb - Exford Dry Eye Career Development Grant.

Dr. Downie is currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences and Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Her proposal to develop a novel point-of-care medical device for eye diagnosis was chosen out of nine very competitive submissions.

She will receive a $25,000 grant to help her advance eye care and improve outcomes for people with dry eye disease.

Dr. Downie will be recognized at the AAOF Celebration Luncheon during the Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry, October 23-27, 2019.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Downie on this impressive honour.

GOC pilot of new triage process welcomed by AOP

September 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomes the latest announcement from the General Optical Council (GOC) launching a four-month pilot of an enhanced triage process.

The new process will enable them to close cases earlier, where there is no risk to the public.

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: “It is reassuring to see that the GOC is taking a more pragmatic approach towards fitness to practise investigations, which will speed up the process. Current delays in the system cause unnecessary distress to practitioners. We are pleased that the GOC are taking this issue forward as a priority and we hope it will mean a fairer and more proportionate system for our members.”

Sam Thomas, AOP Interim Head of Professional Discipline explained some of the work the AOP has been doing to support the pilot: “We have been working with the GOC and OCCS on the Acceptance Criteria and believe that it will improve the often long and cumbersome fitness to practise process that some members have to face. Our hope is that the pilot is successful and that the criteria is expanded in the future. We encourage all members to cooperate with the GOC on the new Acceptance Criteria, and also with the OCCS when they are involved.”

The pilot will run until 31 December 2019 and will include further consultation.

GOC erases Peterborough based student dispensing optician

September 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to erase Arzoo Maqsood, a student dispensing optician based in Peterborough, from its register. She will now be unable to undertake training as a student dispensing optician in the UK.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found her fitness to train impaired by reason of misconduct related to manufacturing documents to support a fraudulent application to obtain a place on a BSc Optometry degree course.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Anne Johnstone said:

“The Committee was not satisfied that the Registrant had developed satisfactory insight into the seriousness of her actions. In the light of the Registrant’s oral evidence and in particular, her repeated attempts to minimise her responsibility for what had occurred, the Committee could not be satisfied that the risk of further dishonest conduct was low.

“Dishonesty, particularly when sustained over a period of time, is difficult to remediate. In the present case, dishonesty had been repeated on a number of occasions and had involved the creation of false documents and lying about the provenance of those documents in interviews.

“The Committee reached the conclusion that the circumstances of this case are so serious that the public interest can only be protected by the sanction of erasure.”
Ms Maqsood has until 24 September 2019 to appeal her erasure.

American Academy of Optometry Foundation announces the 2019 Fredric Rosemore Low Vision educational grant recipient

September 2019

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), in collaboration with the Fredric and Marion Rosemore Family Foundation, are pleased to announce the 2019 recipient of the Fredric Rosemore Low Vision Educational Grant.

So-Yeon Sharon Lee, OD, FAAO, Dipl-ABO, is an Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry.

She will receive a grant for her project, “Managing visual comfort and function in patients with low vision using Acuvue Oasys with Transitions contact lenses,” which is intended to improve the quality of life for the visually impaired.

The grant is designed to enable institutions to provide care and support personnel directly related to the field of low vision.

Dr. Lee will be honored at the AAOF Celebration Luncheon during Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry joint meeting on October 23-27, 2019.

New Board member for ABDO

September 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has a new board member after the results of the latest election were announced. Daryl Newsome has been re-elected for a further term while Lorraine Bleasdale is new to the board.

Lorraine Bleasdale has worked in optics for 28 years having started as a receptionist before working her way up to qualify as a dispensing optician. She is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Masters and an ABDO Local Lead for the North of England, actively helping with CET events.

She works part time and says, “Over the last five years, I have fostered three boys, which is rewarding yet challenging. It has given me a greater insight to the family/ work balance and keeping to the commitments surrounding those.”

Commenting on her appointment to the board, Lorraine says, “I can’t express how overwhelmed and proud I am to have been elected onto the board, I will do my utmost to make a difference.”

Daryl is a second generation optician following in his father’s footsteps. Qualifying in 1984 he has worked for multiples and independents in various roles including buying, management, training and teaching. Currently he is an associate lecturer at Plymouth university, a partner in Newsome opticians in Devon, a practical and theory examiner for ABDO, and a practical tutor preparing under graduate students for their professional examinations.

The Association's thanks go out to Kevin Gutsell who was not re-elected. Kevin joined the board in September 2009 and has made a great contribution in this role over the last ten years.

ABDO President Clive Marchant FBDO says, “I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Lorraine Bleasdale on her election to the ABDO board, and to Daryl Newsome on his reappointment. I look forward to working with them both. Thank you also to Kevin Gutsell for his commitment during his term of office.”

The three year term for those elected commenced on Friday 6 September 2019.

GOC pilots enhanced triage process for FTP complaints

September 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today announced the launch of a four-month pilot of an enhanced triage process that will give the GOC greater discretion to close cases at an earlier stage, where there is no ongoing risk to the public.

Triage is the process the GOC uses to decide whether a new complaint or referral about a GOC registrant should be subject to a formal fitness to practise investigation. The triage decision-making process is underpinned by Acceptance Criteria, an assessment tool launched in 2018 and updated in July 2019, to determine which complaints or referrals may constitute an allegation of impaired fitness to practise or fitness to train.

If a complaint or referral does not meet the Acceptance Criteria, the GOC will not open an FTP investigation.

During the pilot, in cases where it is unclear whether the complaint or referral raises a FTP concern, the GOC will conduct additional enquiries before a decision is made to open a formal investigation.

Director of Casework and Resolutions, Dionne Spence, said: “I am delighted that we are launching this pilot exercise. Last year, our case examiners closed 84% of the fitness to practise investigations that they considered. It is therefore clear to us that we need to enhance the initial assessment activity we undertake at triage stage.

"I am also pleased that this enhanced process means that, in the majority of cases, registrants will be made aware of complaints at an earlier stage and before any decision has been made about formal investigation. I encourage registrants who are contacted by our Triage team to consult with their professional body and to engage with the new process. This will assist us greatly in ensuring that we are making fully-informed decisions.”

The GOC’s Acceptance Criteria can be viewed here

The pilot will run until 31 December 2019 and will include further consultation with stakeholders.

AOP response to Channel 4 Supershoppers

September 2019

Rebuttal of consumer advice to buy online

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) believes the latest episode of Channel 4’s Supershoppers, broadcast on 28 August 2019, is unhelpful to patients buying prescription eyewear.

The programme does not make consumers aware that buying online can cause problems for them later. It is important that a patient is fitted with glasses that suit their needs, are comfortable and are properly tailored to their prescription. This is much easier to achieve through a sight test and consultation in an optical practice setting. It also does not need to be expensive, as indicated on the show, as optical practices offer a range of eyewear to suit different budgets.

In a 2017 survey of more than 1000 UK Optometrists[1], almost 90% concluded that patients are more likely to experience problems if they buy their lenses somewhere other than where their sight test was conducted. More than 8 in 10 stated they had seen patients with such problems in the last year.

Over half of optometrists surveyed also reported seeing patients who had issues when they had bought glasses or contact lenses online – such as poor aftercare guidance or ill-fitting products. Supporting this evidence is the recent report from independent consumer advice organisation Which? Best places to buy glasses which identifies issues with purchasing glasses online.

Optometrist and Head of Clinical and Regulatory at the AOP, Henry Leonard, explains: “You’re less likely to have problems with your glasses if you buy them from the practice which did your sight test, this is because you can discuss your particular needs with optical professionals who know about your eyes, and are experts on which frames and lenses suit your prescription and lifestyle. With more complex prescriptions, it’s especially important to ensure that accurate measurements are taken to properly centre the lenses for your eyes, as this helps ensure your vision is as clear as possible, and the glasses don’t cause eyestrain or headaches.”

AAO Foundation announces 2019 AAOF Student Travel Fellowship

September 2019

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 AAOF Student Travel Fellowships. The fellowships are supported by past and present AAO Presidents, donors, and members of both the Academy and the Foundation Boards. Each recipient will receive a travel grant to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry.

The 2019 Student Travel Fellowship recipients are:

Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Student Travel Fellowship
Salwa Saleh, Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University

Brett G. Bence Clinical Student Travel Fellowship
Raphaella Tran, University of Houston

Brett G. Bence Leadership Student Travel Fellowship
Astiney Franklin, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Elmer H. Eger Memorial Student Travel Fellowship
Quinn Gallen, University of Missouri College of Optometry
Mayra Lazo, Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry

Kirschen Family Student Travel Fellowship
Lea Hair, University of Houston

Lois Schoenbrun Student Travel Fellowship
Makayla Porter, Southern College of Optometry

Luxottica Student Travel Fellowship
Chung Ki Fung, New England College of Optometry
Nicole Karson, University of Houston

N. Rex Ghormley Student Travel Fellowship
Betty Li, University of California Berkeley

Recipients will be honored at the AAOF Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, October 26, 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM in the Florida Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

College highlights role of Optometrist

September 2019

College of Optometrists launches new animation and poster explaining the role of the optometrist

Resources developed for member use during National Eye Health Week

The College of Optometrists has launched two new member-only resources to help members in the promotion of National Eye Health Week 2019. The College has developed a short animation that explains the role of the optometrist, and a poster outlining which professionals a patient is likely to encounter during a visit to an optometric practice. College members can download both resources from the website and can share and use them online and in practice.

Clinical Adviser for the College of Optometrists, Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom says: “We are excited to share these two resources with our members for National Eye Health Week and beyond to help explain the expertise they can provide to patients. We know there is often confusion related to the term ‘optometrist’ and patients may not know which eye specialist to visit when they have a problem with their eyes or vision. We hope that these resources can help build awareness of the term optometrist, and in turn, work to encourage members of the public to keep their eyes healthy. At the College, we will be launching our own consumer-facing campaign during National Eye Health Week, with the aim of increasing awareness of the role of the optometrist.”

Members wishing to embed the animation in their practice website can fill in a short form on the website, and the poster can be downloaded and printed from the same page now.

AOP responds to Fake Britain on counterfeit contact lenses

August 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomes the report from Fake Britain, broadcast on 14 August 2019, which raised awareness of the risks to consumers who have been unknowingly sold counterfeit contact lenses.

In the UK, contact lenses can be supplied only under the supervision of a registered eye care or medical practitioner but we are aware that some online outlets are selling contact lenses that are not fit for purpose and are illegal.

The General Optical Council (GOC) is the regulator for the optical profession in the UK and can take action including private prosecution or liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service, Trading Standards or other public prosecuting bodies. Online suppliers suspected of selling counterfeit lenses should be reported to the GOC.

Clinical and Regulatory Adviser at the AOP, Roshni Kanabar, said: “This draws attention to an important issue. Patients should be aware that there are suppliers out there who are selling products that put their eye health at very serious risk.

"Eye infections, like the one featured in the Fake Britain report, have been known to cause permanent damage to the eyes including blindness.

"It is crucial that contact lenses are suitably fitted for the wearer and stored and washed in sterile solution. This is why patients should always go to a reputable supplier for their contact lenses and follow advice from their eye care practitioner.”

Advising on how to spot counterfeit lenses, Ms Kanabar said: “Generally, if your normal brand of contact lens is considerably cheaper, it’s more than likely that they are counterfeit.” She added: “Patients who have decided to acquire their contact lenses online should also make sure they provide a current prescription to avoid problems – you should be asked for this as part of the purchase.”

In an AOP survey of over 1000 UK optometrists, more than half reported seeing patients who had issues when they had bought glasses or contact lenses online.

The AOP continues to work with the GOC on the issue of zero-powered lenses illegally sold on the High Street and online. The AOP jointly produced an information leaflet Do you know the law on selling contact lenses?, which sets out the facts and the GOC’s legal remit in this area. The leaflet can be used by optical practitioners who wish to advise suppliers of the law, href="">available here

NHS England’s EyesWise calls for patients to share their experiences of hospital eye clinics to help improve care

August 2019
EyesWise is an NHS project that aims to save sight and improve lives. Since April 2018, work has been underway in hospital eye services across the country to streamline and speed up outpatient treatment for patients at highest risk of sight loss.
Now NHS England is launching the 100 Voices campaign to find out what it feels like to use those services.

If you think the NHS can learn from one of your patient's experience, please direct them to EyesWise here. They can write about it or upload a video or recording of themselves talking about it.

They can access the ‘Online survey’ here. Alternatively they can contact NHS England on 0113 824 8672 or at

Scottish Pre-Reg Training Grant announced

August 2019

The Scottish Government has announced that the grant to trainers of pre-registration optometrists is to increase by 2 percent to £3619 for pre-regs taken on from 1 April 2019. (NB It is £3,620 in England and Wales.)

Application form and instructions on completing can be accessed here

CET window open in Scotland until 1 November

August 2019

The Scottish Government has opened the claims window for CET undertaken by optometrists in Scotland between 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. There are two levels of payment

• a standard grant of £561
• a higher grant of £842 for independent prescribers.

Only one grant can be claimed per optometrist.

Claims forms have to be printed off, completed and returned electronically by no later than Friday 1 November 2019. Guidance and claim forms can be accessed here

More Welsh language duties applied to Welsh Primary Care providers

August 2019

Changes to regulations in Wales place six new duties on providers of Primary Care services which are undertaken on behalf of the health board with which providers are registered. The six duties are:

1. Notify the Local Health Board of the service(s) it is willing to provide through the medium of Welsh
2. Make a Welsh language version of any document or form provided by the Local Health Board available to patients and/or members of the public
3. Display all text on any new sign or notice relating to the service provided in both English and Welsh
4. Encourage the wearing of a badge, provided by the Local Health Board, by Welsh speakers, to convey that they are able to speak Welsh
5. Encourage those delivering services to use information and/or attend training courses and events provided by the Local Health Board, so that they can develop an awareness of the Welsh language (including awareness of its history and its role in Welsh culture) and an understanding of how the Welsh language can be used when delivering services
6. Encourage those delivering services to establish and record the Welsh or English language preference expressed by or on behalf of a patient.

Optometry Wales is in the process of establishing the following to help support practices in delivery of these duties:

• Developing a pro forma ‘Welsh Language Framework’ for practices to adopt and share with the Health Board

• Facilitating the delivery of regional roadshows to help support practices in understanding how they can be compliant

• Making available, free of charge, translation and support services for practices to help develop and promote more use of the Welsh Language.

£32 million to help cut NHS waiting times in Health board funding announced by Health Secretary.

August 2019

The NHS will receive a further £32 million to help reduce waiting times.

The investment is in addition to £70 million funding announced by the Health Secretary in April and brings the amount being spent on the Waiting Times Improvement Plan for 2019-20 to £102 million. The £102 million is part of the £850 million set aside to support the delivery of the plan over a three-year period.

The investment will help deliver additional clinics and extra staff. It will also facilitate an increase in cataract procedures, hip and knee replacements and general surgery.

Construction has started on the £15 million expansion of the ophthalmology unit at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow and NHS Highland is expected to start work on the £36 million North of Scotland Elective Centre by the end of 2019.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman made the announcement during a visit to the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, where NHS Fife has adopted a range of innovative approaches to reduce waiting times.
These include diagnostic and surveillance tests for local endoscopy patients as well as those from NHS Lothian and NHS Forth Valley, and the introduction of a ‘Jack and Jill’ theatre to cut waiting times for cataract patients. This allows a surgeon to work simultaneously across two adjoining theatres.
After visiting the departments, Ms Freeman said:

“I am pleased to see the difference the developments here are making to patients in Fife and beyond.

“The investment I am announcing today comes on top of the £70 million outlined in April this year.

“It is good to see that funding is making a tangible difference in hospitals such as the Queen Margaret and I am determined that should be the case across Scotland.

“Our Waiting Times Improvement Plan will also see the creation of new elective and diagnostic centres, leading to quicker appointments in planned surgery, taking pressure off emergency treatment.

“We will continue to ensure the additional funding delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed.”


The Waiting Times Improvement Plan was announced in October 2018 and directs more than £850 million to substantially and sustainably improve waiting times by spring 2021.

An initial £26.7 million was allocated to all territorial NHS Boards and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in 2018-19.

GOC erases West Yorkshire based student optometrist

August 2019

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to erase Talha Daji, a student optometrist based in West Yorkshire, from its register. He will now be unable to undertake training as a student optometrist in the UK.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to train impaired by reason of his conviction of assault by beating.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by James Kellock said:

“The student registrant's conviction for a criminal assault aggravated by homophobic words is a serious matter, which could seriously damage the reputation of the profession, and call into question the trust and confidence in which the profession is rightly held by the reasonable member of the public.

“He did not address any expression of remorse and understanding directly to the Committee, nor did he offer an undertaking, or any practical steps in support of such an undertaking, that would persuade the Committee that there is no likelihood of any repetition.

“In the Committee’s view, taking into account the absence of insight and remorse, the student registrant’s conduct which gave rise to his conviction is fundamentally incompatible with being a professional person regulated under the Act.”

Mr Daji has until 22 August 2019 to appeal his erasure.

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has launched an on-going series of CET webinars for members.

August 2019

ABDO’s head of CET Alex Webster says, “We are excited to be able to offer interactive CET that members can access in a new way, without having the expense and time associated with travel to and from an event. Each month we will host a new CET-approved webinar enabling members who complete the session to gain 1 interactive CET point.”

The CET webinars feature a wide range of topics across the field of ophthalmic dispensing and associated areas. Alex adds, “We will be working with experts in their fields for this new series of webinars. The series was launched by Professor Christine Purslow. Professor Purslow’s career has provided her with a wide range of experiences from hospital optometry and private practice to research, lecturing and developing postgraduate education programmes.

In 2013 she was appointed Head of Medical Affairs for Thea Pharmaceuticals. In her webinar Professor Purslow explored the link between vision and comfort and delved into the latest research to help us understand what could be happening on the ocular surface when patients complain of poor vision”

Looking to August and beyond ABDO can announce two fantastic speakers. On Thursday 22 August Dr Michael Crossland, a specialist optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, will be speaking about paediatric low vision cases. On Tuesday 17 September Professor Mo Jalie will be joining us to discuss modern spectacle lens manufacturing.

Advanced booking for webinars essential as places are limited. This can be done through the  event pages on the ABDO website as each webinar is released. Upcoming topics for webinars include GDPR & Data Protection in optical practice and Reflective practice.

ABDO welcomes road safety statement

July 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has welcomed a road safety statement from the Department of Transport (DoT) in which the need for change in relation to the population and driving is recognised.

Debbie McGill, Policy and Public Affairs Officer at ABDO says, “We welcome the move to establish a research programme and literature review to assess how far poor vision is a road safety problem. We hope consideration will be given to the July 2018 Driving Blind Campaign, which ABDO supported, calling on the Government to introduce legislation that requires all drivers to have a sight test before their driving test and at every subsequent license renewal. The campaign references evidence that should be considered going forward.”

In the statement, recognition is given to the ageing society grand challenge. Debbie McGill says, “This is why ABDO supports the implementation of a new vision test which would provide a consistent level of care for all patients. ABDO is also calling for optical practices in the community to be used to conduct the new vision tests for drivers. Eye health checks are important for all of the population, especially drivers. Not only can vision be assessed to determine if someone is fit to drive but underlying eye disease/health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes etc. can be detected through a vision test. The earlier sight threatening eye disease is detected, the more opportunities there are of managing and preventing sight loss, reducing the risk to all road users.”

The road safety statement reiterates the legal requirement for all drivers to inform the Driver and Vehicle License Agency (DVLA) of any health problems that effects their ability to drive. Debbie McGill says, “ABDO welcomes this, but would also request that clarification be given to clinicians on how to apply this without breaking patient confidentiality. ABDO is calling for consultation with the Statutory Bodies, in particular the General Optical Council, which has recently consulted on this topic, to form a collaborative approach, taking into account advice the GOC provide on this subject which includes “that practitioners should promptly raise concerns about their patients if, in their professional judgement, patient or public safety might be at risk.”

ABDO would also welcome the opportunity to be part of the research/literature and the new vision test review groups.

New Chair for Optometry Scotland, David Quigley calls for greater participation and involvement<

July 2019

"As the sole representative of the entire optometry sector’s views to Holyrood, your OS team will continue working with the Scottish Government and Practitioner Services on the latest round of fee negotiations and pledges to support members in the transition to e-GOS. The feedback from recent roadshows has been very positive and our aim is to carry this positivity into the next round of negotiations with the Scottish Government.

David QuigleyOS thanks its members for their continued support and hopes to draw on that once more in 2019 and beyond for the additional challenges of the Educational Review, workforce requirements, the prospect of shared care and increasing involvement in community eyecare, along with the prospect of changes in the UK high street and the economy as a whole.

With this in mind, we would urge all pre-registration optometrists, practicing optometrists and dispensing opticians to become members of OS and join us in facing the challenges that lie ahead.

We continue to undertake activities that will make a difference – from funding vital research through Glasgow Caledonian University, to commencing work on a Scotland-wide workforce survey, and involvement in the development and implementation of a SCQF level 5, modern apprenticeship qualification for optical assistants.

OS has placed a major focus on improving its communications, including investment in PR and a new website, and promoting the profession and industry as a whole – but the support and backing of the entire profession must be maintained and, where possible, heightened.

Key benefits of OS membership include:

Membership card with discounts from retailers

Up to date information on the activity of OS

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American Academy of Optometry Announces 2019 Award Recipients

July 2019

Each year the American Academy of Optometry recognizes distinguished individuals who have made countless important contributions to advancing the profession of optometry.

“Our Academy is only as good as the people we honor. In 2019 we are honoring the best; our best teachers, researchers, clinicians, and rising stars of the future,” remarked John G. Flanagan, PhD, FCOptom, FAAO, Awards Committee Chair.

The Academy is pleased to announce the 2019 award recipients:

Raymond A. Applegate, OD, PhD, FAAO
Charles F. Prentice Medal and Lecture Award

Susan A. Cotter, OD, MS, FAAO
Glenn A. Fry Award and Lecture
(American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)

Uduak C. Udom, OD, MPH, FAAO
AAO-Essilor Award for Outstanding
International Contributions to Optometry

Thomas R. Stelmack, OD, FAAO
William Feinbloom Award

J. Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, FAAO
Brien Holden Humanitarian Award

Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD, FAAO
Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award
Rami Aboumourad, OD
Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics
(American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)

Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS, FAAO
Vincent Ellerbrock Clinician Educator Award

Thomas A. Aller, OD, FBCLA, Maria Liu, OD, PhD, FAAO,
Christine F. Wildsoet, DipAppSci(Optom), PhD, FAAO
Garland W. Clay Award
Heather A. Anderson, OD, PhD, FAAO
Donald O. Mutti, OD, PhD, FAAO
Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education
(American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)

Awards of the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies

Philip B. Morgan, PhD, MCOptom, FAAO
Max Schapero Memorial Lecture Award

S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO
Founders’ Award

Awards of the Public Health and Environmental Vision Section

Robert N. Kleinstein, OD, PhD, FAAO
Henry B. Peters Award for Public Health and Environmental Vision
(American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)

Award winners will be recognized at the Joint American Academy of Optometry and World Council of Optometry Recognition Gala and Awards Program on Saturday, October 26, 7:00 to 10:00 PM, in the Plaza International Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Orlando. The Fry and Prentice Lectures will be held on Friday, October 25, 8:00 to 9:00 AM, in Room W331. This session will feature lectures from both the Charles F. Prentice Award recipient and the Glenn A. Fry Award recipient.

Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies award recipients will be honored at 4:00 PM on Wednesday, October 23 in Room W221. The Public Health and Environmental Vision Section Henry B. Peters Awardee will be honored on Thursday, October 24 at 5:30 PM in Room W230 CD.

The joint meeting of the American Academy of Optometry and World Council of Optometry, Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry, will take place October 23-27, 2019, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. For more information, visit

Association of Optometrists response to the Green Paper on prevention

July 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomes the ambitious goal for a smoke-free society in the Government’s green paper, Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s.

The AOP recently launched a campaign to highlight the damaging impact smoking has on eye health. Our campaign, Stub it out, was inspired by our members telling us that they think not smoking is the number one thing people should do to protect their eyes. Smokers are four times more likely than other people to develop age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of sight loss in the UK, and are twice as likely to develop a condition which can lead to cataracts and glaucoma, which is also sight threatening.

Yet, while most people know that smoking leads to health issues such as cancer and heart disease, less than a fifth of people know that smoking affects eye health.

Commenting on the green paper, the AOP’s Head of Clinical and Regulatory Henry Leonard said: “It is positive to see the Government has a renewed focus on tackling smoking, and the goal of making cigarettes obsolete by 2030 is laudable, but this will need to be followed up with strong actions. As an optometrist, telling a patient they are losing their sight, particularly when it might have been preventable, is the most harrowing part of my job.”

More broadly, we are pleased that this green paper gives prevention the focus it deserves and recognises the impact of sight loss.

But the NHS in England needs to go further to tackle this. When it comes to eye health, prevention is key. At least 50% of sight loss is avoidable.

That’s why it’s vital for the public to understand the importance of sight tests, which are crucial in detecting early signs of eye disease, as well as signs of other health problems - and for patients with eye conditions to be able to access timely follow-up treatment.

Hospital eye departments are under ever-increasing strain, due to the ageing population and the availability of new technology and treatments. This has led to up to 22 people per month experiencing unnecessary and irreversible sight loss because of delays to hospital appointments.

This is unacceptable, especially as a solution to ease some of the pressure on hospital eye departments already exists. Optometrists in community practice can provide NHS services to treat minor eye conditions and monitor patients with chronic-but-stable conditions like glaucoma.

These services can free up capacity in hospitals, allowing them to focus on the most complex cases, and are also more convenient for patients. Many areas of England have commissioned these services from optical practices, but provision is patchy across England. In order to prevent avoidable sight loss, the NHS in England must make full use of optical practices.

Research reveals public perceptions of opticians

Last week, the GOC published the 2019 Public perceptions research and supporting infographic, which explores how patients view and interact with opticians and the services they provide.

The research findings encompass a range of topics, including where patients would go if they had an eye health problem, their views on the quality of care, the frequency of contact with opticians and their views on complaint handling.

An important finding which emerged from the research was that 32 per cent of respondents said they would see a GP first if they woke up with an acute eye health problem in comparison to 25 per cent who said they would see an optician.

Geographical analysis of responses showed significant differences across the nations. Respondents from Scotland (34%), Wales (33%) and Northern Ireland (28%) were all more likely to say that they would visit an optician first when compared to respondents from England.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said “We are pleased to see that public confidence and satisfaction with opticians remains high. 96 per cent of patients reported they were satisfied with the optician who had carried out their eye test, and 94 per cent were satisfied with the overall experience of opticians.

“It was also positive to see that of those patients that did experience something going wrong, three-fifths had received an apology. Each year this number has increased and we look forward to seeing further improvement in this area. We encourage all of our registrants to read the research report and learn from the insights.”

Key findings in the survey include:

• 46 per cent of respondents viewed opticians as providing both a healthcare and retail experience.

• 69 per cent of respondents had visited an optician in the last two years.

• Only 13% of respondents had experienced anything going wrong with the care they received from an optician, and 58% of those had received an apology.

• 90% of respondents were confident that they would receive a high standard of care from an optician.

A total of 2,000 members of the public were surveyed. An infographic and the full research report can be found on the GOC website.

News from General Optical Council 10 July 2019

July 2019

Education Strategic Review update

Council reviewed the recommendations developed in response to the Education Strategic Review (ESR) consultation on draft Education Standards for providers and Learning Outcomes for students, and decided upon the next steps.

Following the steers provided by Council in May on the key issues raised by the consultation, the GOC organised workshops with a wide range of stakeholders to further explore the issues and gain insight into stakeholders’ views.

The stakeholder workshops provided extremely valuable feedback and were instrumental in the development of the recommendations that were presented to Council. Council considered and decided to approve these recommendations, which were:

• To implement the ‘one accountable provider’ approach;

• To create a standardised assessment framework;

• To develop learning outcomes and education standards that increase the clinical content of courses and the emphasis on professionalism and clinical leadership; and

• To support mentoring schemes for newly qualified professionals and to take forward work to support such schemes alongside an exploration of other options for support through our already established Transition to Practice project under the CET Review Programme.

The GOC Director of Education Dr Subo Shanmuganathan said, “I would like to thank all of the stakeholders that attended our recent workshops for their commitment and constructive engagement. Our overarching goal is to develop a system of optical education that prepares practitioners for the roles of the future and ensures they can meet the changing needs of patients while maintaining public safety.

“We acknowledge the feedback we’ve received and accept that we need to do further work to shape the learning outcomes to ensure they are fit for the future. We intend to do this through two expert advisory groups, one for Optometrists and one for Dispensing Opticians. We also understand the importance of developing an implementation plan that is realistic for all of our stakeholders. We have undertaken wide ranging stakeholder engagement throughout this review, and will continue to do so as we develop the final standards and outcomes and the timeframes for implementation.”

The GOC will publish the final ESR Education Standards and Learning Outcomes consultation response report shortly and will set out a short term, medium term and long term implementation plan for each recommendation at November Council.

Love Your Lenses campaign update

Council welcomed the presentation from Claremont Communications reporting on this year’s Love Your Lenses campaign, which focused on promoting materials to support practitioners to ‘land the message’ when providing contact lens patients with aftercare advice and so raising standards of care.

Council members also considered a report evaluating the impact of the Love Your Lenses campaign and expressed their appreciation for the positive support for the campaign provided by a wide range of stakeholders, including patient representatives, optical businesses, professional bodies and manufacturers.

Council recognised the campaign’s valuable contribution to patient safety and having established and orchestrated the campaign over the last three years, decided that it was now an appropriate time to hand over the GOC’s Love Your Lenses campaign to a sector body to allow the GOC to invest in new areas of work more closely linked to its core regulatory functions. The GOC will be discussing the next steps with stakeholders and will make a further announcement on the future of the campaign in due course.

Education: Approval and Quality Assurance

Council granted provisional approval for the following programmes:

• A new programme providing two registrable qualifications in optometry and in ophthalmic dispensing at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan); and
• A new therapeutic prescribing programme at the University of Hertfordshire.

Council granted provisional approval to the University of Huddersfield’s new optometry programme, subject to the Registrar being content with additional mitigating actions, which may include writing to the Vice Chancellor.

Provisional approval means that the provider has been approved by the GOC to run a programme which is considered as all or part of a route to registration. Students recruited to the programme are not guaranteed entry to the GOC register and may be required to undertake additional assessment through an alternative approved provider in the event that any aspect of the programme when delivered does not satisfy our requirements.

Council granted full approval to the University of Hertfordshire’s Master of Optometry programme.

Public perceptions research

Council discussed the findings from this year’s public perceptions research, which tracks the public’s view of eye care services across all four nations. The research report will be published later this month.

Practice complaints Reminder of Deadline, even when there are none.

June 2019

Deadline for reports on NHS practice complaints in England - 19 July

Contractors in England have until 19 July to submit their reports on complaints received about General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) in their practices between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019.

This report form has to be submitted to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA), which manages this function on behalf of NHS England, by close on 19 July.

As advised earlier contractors are required to report on three areas

• the number of complaints received, the number of justified (‘well founded’) complaints and any referred to the ombudsman
• the general nature of the complaints
• action taken to improve services as a result.

Completing the form is a contractual requirement and should include zero returns. If you do not know how many complaints you received, you can submit ‘unknown’.
Click here:

AAO announces Barr awards

June 2019

American Academy of Optometry foundation announces the 2019 Joe and Janet Barr early career cornea and contact lens research award recipients

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the Joe and Janet Barr Early Career Cornea and Contact Lens Research Award. In conjunction with the joint meeting of the American Academy of Optometry and the World Council of Optometry, two awards will be given this year to include students abroad. This year’s awardees are Pabita Dhungel and Rabia Mobeen.

Pabita Dhungel
Pabita Dhungel is an MS/PhD Candidate at Pacific University College of Optometry. Her project is on the Impact of Scleral Lens Wear on Intraocular Pressure and Posterior Ocular Perfusion. Patrick J. Caroline, FAAO, Associate Professor at Pacific University said “Pabita embodies that extremely rare mix of scientific researcher and skilled clinician. I look forward to her future contributions to our profession.”

Rabia Mobeen is a PhD Scholar at the University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science.
Her project is on the Corneal Immune Response in Children, Adolescents, and Adult Contact Lens Wearers. Professor and Head of School, Lisa Keay, PhD, MPH, BOptom, at University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science said “Rabia is a talented emerging scientist with a very bright future.”

The award is intended to provide a MS, PhD, vision science, or physiological optics student attending a school or college of optometry seed funding for a research project in cornea/ocular surface or contact lenses.

Of the six applicants who applied for the award, both Pabita and Rabia presented an impressive resume of experience in clinical research, volunteer service, and lecture presentation. They will both receive a $2,000 award and a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry, October 23 - 27, 2019.

GOC shares Fitness to Practise insights with optical business registrants

July 2019

On Friday the General Optical Council (GOC) held a roundtable event for optical business registrants at their London office.

The event was attended by representatives from a wide range of companies.

Dionne Spence, GOC Director of Casework and Resolution said, “We hope that by sharing insight about the complaints we receive, and our Fitness to Practise (FTP) processes and outcomes, we can help both optical businesses and practitioners to minimise the likelihood of complaints being raised with us.

“Optical businesses play a vital role in providing eye care services to the public and provide the working environment for thousands of our registrants. Going forward, we hope to create more opportunities to share information with our business registrants, from the large multiples to smaller independents.

“I found the event very helpful in giving me greater insight into how businesses operate. Getting feedback directly from business registrants was invaluable and will help inform our prevention agenda. I would like to thank everyone who attended for their commitment and constructive engagement.”

Meena Ralhan, Vision Express, Optical Compliance Officer said, “We really welcome the direct engagement from the GOC, it was an insightful day working through scenarios to see actually how the GOC reach decisions and surprisingly how only a small handful of company complaints go through to a full FTP hearing.

“The new business standards are welcomed, easy to understand and effectively what we already do. We look forward to supporting the GOC in implementing them further within our businesses. This honest and open approach with businesses’ involvement is a very positive way forward. May it continue.”

During the forum, business registrants were presented with a range of real-life case studies to develop their understanding of the FTP process.

The GOC also shared data showing that the most common complaints received about business registrants over the last three years related to:

1. Optical businesses not having correct procedures in place or not applying their established procedures appropriately
2. Poor complaint handling
3. Directors of optical businesses failing to declare cautions / convictions

Limited companies operating as optical businesses which use protected titles such as optometrist or optician, must register with the GOC by law. However, the GOC urge all eligible optical businesses for which business registration is not mandatory to register their business to enhance trust from patients. Independent research has shown that patients would rather ‘use an optical business that meets a certain set of standards, than one that does not’*.

To find out more about business registration visit:

npower business
Primary Health Net