AOP Councillors

There are 33 AOP Council positions.

  • 13 Councillors are elected to represent AOP members in their geographical constituencies* across the UK
  • 20 designated Councillors represent particular membership groups and demographics

In the 2021 Council elections, two candidates tied for first place in Yorkshire and the Humber and have therefore both joined Council. This means there are currently 34 members on AOP Council and not the usual 33 members.

* Your Councillor/ voting geographical constituency is determined by the address you have chosen for your AOP communications. You can review this address in the 'My details' section of your My AOP profile. Click 'edit details' to find your address details under 'Communication preferences'.

You can contact AOP Councillors on the AOP Community online forums, via the links below.

Councillors by Geographical constituency

East of England

Postcodes covered: AL, CB, CM, CO, IP, LU, MK, NR, PE, SG, SS, WD

About Emma Spofforth

I am an optometrist working in an independent opticians. Therapeutics, enhanced services and expanding our profession are my particular interests.

Supporting practitioners to do what they are trained to do, whether it's working in a small indie, or a large multiple, or within the constraints of the NHS, is the most important issue facing the profession.

As a Councillor, I enjoy interaction within both the whole Council and the smaller committees as I feel we do make a difference. I also enjoy spreading the word about what the AOP can do for its members.

East Midlands

Postcodes covered: DE, LE, LN, NG, NN

About Tushar Majithia

I am an optometrist and managing director of an independent group of practices in Lincolnshire. I have served on the Council since 2014 and in 2018, I was elected on to Board. My main professional interest in optometry are low vision and contact lenses.

I think that the most important issues facing the profession are the threat of online retailers and the development of technology.

Joining the Council has enabled me to have a voice in shaping the future direction of the profession and helped me to build strong professional relationships across the sector. I am passionate about independent practice and would like to use my experience to support this sector.


Postcodes covered: BR, CR, DA, E, EC, EN, HA, IG, N, NW, RM, SE, SM, SW, TW, UB, W, WC

About Jagdeep Kaur Gill

As a locum optometrist, my current work location is in Essex. I provide my services to a range of opticians, including both independent and chain stores.

As a newly qualified independent prescriber, I am eager to explore the clinical aspects of optometry. I am highly interested in advancing my skills in this area and hope to pursue opportunities in the near future

In my opinion, the most important issues for the optometry profession are the current crossroads that it faces and the opportunity for optometrists to become more clinically oriented. With legislative changes and possible reforms, it is vital for the sector to work collaboratively to find solutions that are fit for purpose. This inspires me to work at AOP and help shape the future of the profession.

North East England

Postcodes covered: DH, DL1-5, DL12-17, DL98, NE, SR, TS

About Angela Henderson

I work in independent practice in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I am also an NHS England clinical advisor and assessor for the College of Optometrists. I have worked in multiple and hospital settings and as a locum.

Interests include Ortho K, myopia control and dry eyes, professional standards, governance and assurance. The profession needs to promote the untapped skills of our workforce and ensure we are used in disease detection, monitoring and management to serve the needs of an ageing population. I have enjoyed my time on the Policy committee. We need more people working in practice to get involved to ensure we get a balanced view and more collaborative working.

North West England

Postcodes covered: BB, BL, CA, CH1-4, CH10-70, CH99, CW, FY, IM, L, LA, M, OL, PR, SK, WA, WN

South East England

Postcodes covered: BN, CT, GU, HP, KY, ME, OX, PO, RG, RH, SL, SO, TN

About Rachel Hiscox

I am an optometrist working full-time for Johnson & Johnson Vision as a professional educational & development manager.

I am interested in all aspects of contact lens practice, communication and optical coherence tomography.

The professional landscape of optometry is changing, with an ageing population and an over-stretched hospital eye service. Expanding the role of the optometrist would not only offer improved patient care, but also increase the scope of the optometrist. Working to forward this is a key challenge, along with ensuring any services are adequately funded to reflect the cost and experience of primary care optometrists.

South West England

Postcodes covered: BA, BH, BS, DT, EX, GL, GY, JE, PL, SN, SP, TA, TQ, casual vacancy

About Karen Gennard

My main role is as an employed community optometrist in an independent practice in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. I also have a role as a clinic development manager for Vision Care for Homeless People. I am responsible for the set up and running of a clinic in Gloucester providing eyecare and spectacles for people who are homeless and vulnerable.

My interests are myopia management, enhanced services and reducing health inequalities.

Optometry faces some changes in the coming years and as health care practitioners we should be driving these changes. Our voice needs to be heard at a local, regional and national level.

West Midlands

Postcodes covered: B, CV, DY, HR, ST, SY1-8, SY11-15, TF, WR, WS, WV

About Francesca Marchetti

I am a self-employed independent optometrist. I work on the High Street with both independents and multiples, and at a private eye hospital. I occasionally do some work for Aston University.

I love dealing with everything dry eye related and mentoring and coaching in a work environment.

Competition, competition, competition. With AI and internet sales increasing, our role as a “jobbing optometrist” is both a threat and a challenge. We need to embrace these new challenges and stand united to ensure we will have a profession in years to come.

I absolutely love being on AOP Council. It has allowed me to advance our profession and engage with people I would never have had the opportunity to meet and mingle with.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Postcodes covered: BD, DL6-11, DN, HD, HG, HU, HX, LS, S, WF, YO

About Stewart Mitchell

I work in a small independent practice in the centre of Bradford. The practice is a partnership so I understand the pressures juggling between optometry and running a profitable business. I do specialist contact lens work, semi-scleral, RGP and specialist soft contact lenses, but have a keen interest in the clinical role we play, managing and deflecting referrals into secondary care. An important issue is maintaining clinical skills when the financial model we work to fails to address the cost of our professional time.

I’ve really enjoyed being involved with the trialing of primary care support England online. Sadly not in its design, but in its testing.

Northern Ireland

Postcodes covered: BT


Postcodes covered: AB, DD, DG, EH, FK, G, HS, IV, KA, KW, KY, ML, PA, PH, TD, ZE

About Eilidh Martin

I am a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University. My focus is teaching contact lenses and dry eye alongside research on the ocular surface and lid margin. I am also module leader on the IP course. The most important issue is our expanding role as optometrists and how we can take the burden off the over-stretched hospital eye service.

I have found my first term as an AOP Councillor very interesting. It is great to feel you are making a difference within the profession. I would encourage anyone to get involved with the AOP no matter what stage of your career, you will make a valuable contribution.

About Kevin Wallace

 I work in my own independent practice, as well as being special advisor to the AOP, optometric advisor to my local Health Board, and a module leader at WOPEC.

I am particularly interested in the legal and regulatory aspects of optometry in the UK, and have enjoyed being involved with guidance the AOP has produced, particularly making accurate claims.

It is vital that as we expand the scope of practice of optometrists that the fees paid are adequate to cover the service – whether that is GOS, shared care or other more advanced work.


Postcodes covered: CF, CH5-8, LD, LL, NP, SA, SY9-10 , SY16-28

About James Brawn

I currently split myself between three roles: Research optometrist at the University Hospital of Wales, ad hoc tutor for WOPEC, and as a self-employed locum. My primary interests are in paediatric optometry, and optometric education.

The upcoming changes to the education and training of future optometrists is the most important issue for the profession. It is imperative that the next generation of optometrists are highly skilled clinicians. With increasing numbers of optometrists now working part time, or as locums, I would like to improve engagement between these groups and the AOP.

Designated Council members

Northern Ireland

About Brian McKeown

I work in independent practice in Northern Ireland.

I sit on the Optometry Northern Ireland Committee where I have a keen interest to ensure that optometry has a voice and is heard. My hope is that I can help some way to develop and enhance the profession.

Currently I feel independent prescribing is under utilised. There is also going to be a big shift as AI and technology continues to improve how we work.


About Erica Campbell Walker

I am an Independent Prescribing Optometrist with over 20 years of clinical experience and the Senior Specialist Lead for Simulation at NHS Education for Scotland where I plan, develop, and implement simulation-based education and training. I am also a locum optometrist.

I have a strong commitment to lifelong learning and recognise the need to remain up-to-date with current evidence-based practice. I am passionate about promoting professional development and encouraging professionals to access relevant training and development opportunities.

I believe that adapting to the evolving healthcare landscape, and increasing awareness of the critical role optometrists play in delivering high-quality healthcare services are the most important issues for the profession.


About Kamaljit Kalsi

I am an experienced optometrist based in Wales since 1999. My current role is a professional services optometrist for a leading domiciliary provider, ‘Outside Clinic’.

My current responsibilities include carrying out eye examinations and I am also office-based and support over 80 optometrists, alongside undertaking quality assurance procedures as part of the professional services team.

I am passionate about the domiciliary sector and believe it is highly rewarding. Equally, I am proud of the Welsh Government’s promotion of eye health.

I would intend to promote the profession across Wales but also the domiciliary sector including within our Universities and the wider public.

Dispensing opticians

About James Dawson

I currently work as a dispensing optician in independent and multiple practice. I work closely with optometrists to find the best solutions for our patients' needs. I also consult with suppliers and manufacturers on frames, lens design, equipment and eye health products and training.

I have a keen interest in optical styling and fashion, and have an enthusiasm in how dispensing opticians can be more involved with the clinical aspects of Eyecare. I have an invested interest in dry eye and MGD and with new developments in optical equipment that aid treatment and diagnosis.

To see further developments in the optics, making great eye care available to all. To be constantly evolving to the changing nature of technology and to embrace and use it to its full advantage, whilst protecting the integrity and importance of the profession and its members.

Domiciliary care optometrists

About Paul Chapman-Hatchett

I used to run a chain of domiciliary practices’, which we integrated into the Outside Clinic a couple of years ago. My passion has always been in the domiciliary sector, throughout my career I have strived to improve the quality of care for patients who are unable to attend the high street, with the goal of maximising their independence and quality of life.

As our population ages, we need to raise the awareness of the roles, skills and expanding scope a domiciliary optometrist can have in providing GOS and ophthalmology services in a community setting.

As a councillor and Co-Chair of the Domiciliary Eyecare Committee, I want to raise awareness of our sector, drive professional standards and support optometrists working in this sector to develop.  All with the ambition of ensuring that housebound individuals have the same right to access high quality eye care as the wider population.


Directors of independent practices

About Kevin Thompson

For the last 40 years, I've built up my own company in the North East of England, so my role is that of chief cook and bottle washer, with an occasional eye exam!

I have a huge interest in optical compliance, having played a part in writing & developing "Quality in Optometry" over the years.

Members should be able to retain as much of their autonomy as they wish to - little fish should be allowed to thrive as well as big ones and AOP should provide that even playing field.

Directors of multiple practices

About Mehul Patel

I am a managing director of a multiple franchise practice in Kent. I have worked as an OSCE examiner for WOPEC and presented multiple dry eye seminars to the profession.

My other interests are glaucoma management, myopia control and my practice actively promotes provision of enhanced services and independent prescribing.

The development and extension of enhanced services, embracing technological advances in eye care, and enhancing professional skills will form the substrate from which the profession meets future challenges.

I would like to make a change to the profession around the COVID ways of working and support optometrists and multiple owners in their work. The AOP platform can bring this together and support different groups.

Franchisee / Joint Venture Partner optometrists

About Adnaan Ahmad

I am a an optometrist franchise partner with Boots Opticians and have been for almost eight years. My role is split into two parts, an optometrist and an extremely busy business owner. I love both roles.

Myopia control is on the verge of a significant break through and it is exciting to be able to offer this as an option. OCT is a great piece of equipment which I think every practice should have. Through COVID-19 we have had to adapt our ways of working. Post COVID-19 I believe there is huge scope for optics to grow and take on more responsibility as the primary contact for eye problems.

There are lessons to be had from our recent experiences – these are a foundation for change within optometry and the role of an optometrist. We have the tools at our disposal to relieve pressure on hospital eye services and participate in further shared care schemes.


Hospital optometrists

About Alisha Mann

I work in SpaMedica, Walsall Manor hospital and locum in community opticians. Currently I deliver a variety of clinics, from complex contact lenses, paediatric, cataract pre- and post-operative and medical retina assessments, performing YAG laser capsulotomies and intravitreal injections. I triage referrals, conduct internal virtual reviews for medical retina queries and oncall services. I examine at mock OSCE’s for pre-registration Optometrists via Optom Academy.

I have completed my professional medical retina and glaucoma certificates. I hope to do more professional certificates in glaucoma in the future. 

Unfortunately, in many hospitals, optometrists are under-utilized in an overwhelmed ophthalmology department with long waiting lists. The more optometrists understand the processes and formats at hospitals, the more we can contribute to shaping hospital eye departments.

Independent prescribing optometrists

About Ankur Trivedi

My working week consists of roles as a specialist optometrist – this is split between working in an Independent Community Practice setting and in a Glaucoma Shared Care Clinic at Gloucestershire NHS Trust. I also work part time in a clinical lead role for a Primary Eyecare Company.

Delivery of community enhanced optometry services – especially utilising higher qualifications. Independent prescribing, glaucoma and myopia management.

Making our collective voice heard amongst the key decision makers in Government. Maximising the clinical scope of those colleagues that wish to thereby ensuring a strong future for the profession.

Locum optometrists

About Meera Sodha

I am a locum optometrist and work within all the professional sectors. Within one of my current practices, I am driving the learning and implementation of dry eye clinics, myopia management and do an extensive amount of contact lens work, all of which I am passionate about. I keep abreast of new specs lens technology to ensure I have the best recommendations for my patients and in some cases have introduced new and interesting products for various aspects of eye care at different places of work. The advantage of being a locum is that I have the opportunity to learn something new from every practice I work with and implement as and when required.

Over the years, I have found that I am drawn to and have a passion for contact lens work; I love the challenge of fitting and tackling complicated prescriptions (and patients). I also have a keen interest in myopia management and dry eye disease and regularly attend sessions to enhance my knowledge in these areas. I keep abreast of new developments in specs lenses and have in the past enjoyed dispensing and glazing.

The last few years have brought to the forefront the increasing stressful working conditions faced by optometrists and the impact this has on their mental health; Lack of hands on educational resources, especially for locums in every area need to be addressed. Form safe spaces for professionals to seek help and advice on both professional and personal matters. Awareness needs to be created in fair and acceptable work and pay conditions; optometrists earnings have changed very little in the last 20 years despite the enhanced level of skill and knowledge we hold as professionals.

University lecturers

About Phillip Buckhurst

Phill worked as an optometrist in the north west before completing his PhD 2011 and since staying in academia. He was part of the founding team for the Plymouth Optometry programme in 2012 and is now a professor and the academic lead for optometry.

Phillip’s research interests are mainly focused on the assessment of intraocular lenses. He has been involved in numerous multicentre clinical trials from design to delivery including several trials used for American Food and Drug administration approval. More recently Phill has been involved in myopia control clinics and research.

Some of the most important and exciting issues for the profession in the medium term are myopia control, the use of new technology and artificial intelligence (particularly for the analysis of pathology), the increasing scope of practice for optometrists and the new GOC education standards.

About Will Holmes

I am a senior lecturer at the University of Manchester. My teaching is around early years clinical skills and professionalism. I was the optometry programme director between 2016-2021 and my main role now is adapting our course to the new GOC education requirements.

I’m interested in what optometrists need to learn and how we might best teach and assess this in more authentic ways.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most important issue for us to address. It is going to substantially change clinical work, teaching and research.

Newly-qualified optometrists and Early career optometrists

About Summaya Ali

I work as a specialist optometrist at Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Trust. I am involved in: glaucoma, keratoconus and pre-operative cataract assessment as well as core optometry clinics.

My professional interests are independent prescribing and eye casualty.

The most important issues facing the profession include: the gap between hospital and high street optometry and communication between the two establishments for better patient care.

Moreover, I am interested in the support out there for optometrists embarking on their professional journey once qualified.

Employees of independent practices

About Josie Evans

I work in an independent practice conducting eye examinations, contact lens appointments and examining patients with acute eye conditions under the minor eye conditions scheme.

My areas of interest are the management of myopia progression through specialist contact lenses, paediatric optometry and glaucoma.

It is important to expand the range and extent of eye conditions managed in community practice, ideally through a national scheme to eliminate a ‘postcode lottery’ for patients.

I really enjoy my role as Councillor; seeing how much work occurs behind the scenes to promote the profession and support individuals. It is great to see AOP members’ thoughts so highly valued.

Employees of multiple practices

About Karan Vyas

I work at Specsavers Opticians in Corby as the lead optometrist and a pre-reg supervisor. I am currently working towards my IP qualification and take a keen interest in glaucoma and paediatric optometry.

The education of future optometrists along with the remit and role of optometrists in the UK are the two large questions in front of the profession. NHS reforms will change the role of the profession and the way eye care services are provided in England. Other professional issues around demands on professionals as well as issues of race and discrimination are challenges which require solutions.

Pre-registration optometrists

About Priya Tanda

I work as a pre-registration optometrist at Jaysons Opticians, Long Eaton, with a background in ophthalmic dispensing. Patient care, innovation and excellence in optometry are at the forefront of my thinking.

My professional interests include myopia control, technology within optometry and communication.

The education of future optometrists is one of the most important issues facing the profession, with the regular changes in technology, ocular interventions and policy. I would like pre-registration optometrists to be able to maximise their skills, with access to the right resources and to be able to have an input in building the future of our profession.

Undergraduate student optometrist

About Habeeb Rahman

I am a 2nd year optometry student at the University of Bradford, where I have gained valuable experience working as an optical assistant throughout my degree. Additionally, as a current student representative for the College of Optometrists, I am passionate about advocating for the optometry profession and advancing the interests of fellow student optometrists. I am committed to making a meaningful contribution to the AOP community as a councillor.

As an optometry student, I have developed a particular interest and fascination for myopia management. Given that this is a rapidly evolving area in optometry, I am eager to stay abreast of the latest developments and contribute to ongoing research efforts.

I believe that one of the most pressing issues facing the profession is the Education Strategic Review. With all universities set to transition to offering optometry over four years, it is critical that this process be managed smoothly to ensure that the quality of optometric education remains high and that students are well-prepared for their professional careers. I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition for all students.