AOP Councillors

Meet and contact AOP Councillors on the AOP Community

Council group photograph

There are 33 AOP Councillors: 

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

* Your Councillor/ voting geographical constituency is determined by the address you have chosen to be communicated at by the AOP. 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

AOP Councillor Deepali Modha

Deepali Modha

Contact Deepali in the England forum

AOP Councillor Emma Spofforth

Emma Spofforth

Contact Emma in the England forum

About Emma

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

AOP Councillor Tushar Majithia

Tushar Majithia

Contact Tushar in the England forum

About Tushar

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.

Henna Mehmood

Henna Mehmood

Contact Henna in the England forum

About Henna

I currently work in a multiple practice carrying out private MECS, eye examinations and contact lens appointments. I also work as a mock OSCE assessor as part of a private pre- registration company.

My interests are glaucoma, medical retina and independent prescribing. I hope to pursue the IP qualification in the near future.

I feel the role of an optometrist will change in the future allowing more clinical responsibility in the community. It is important to enhance these clinical skills so we are ready to face these challenges.

I hope to continue supporting my colleagues with any issues they are facing in practice.


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

AOP Councillor Gordon Ilet

Gordon Ilett
(AOP Board member)

Contact Gordon in the England forum

AOP Councillor Rakhee Shah

Rakhee Shah

Contact Rakhee in the England forum

About Rakhee

I am an optometrist and split my time between academia (City, University of London), research and working in independent practice. In practice, I enjoy myopia and dry eye management. My research interests include evidence-based optometry, clinical optometry, clinical decision making, professional practice, glaucoma and dementia. Advances in technology and forecasted changes in education will have an impact on the scope of optometric practice. Raising awareness of the role of optometrists, with appropriate funding for clinical services, is the ongoing challenge. I have really enjoyed my role as a Councillor. I have learnt a lot and been able to contribute through discussions and debates on the challenges the profession currently faces.

North East England

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

AOP Councillor Angela Henderson

Angela Henderson

Contact Angela in the England forum

About Angela

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.

AOP Councillor Jane Ranns

North West England

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

AOP Councillor Dharmesh Patel

Dharmesh Patel

Contact Dharmesh in the England forum

South East England

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

AOP Councillor Andrew Bridges

Andrew Bridges

Contact Andrew in the England forum

Valarie Jerome

About Valarie

I’m a new practice owner and locum optometrist. My professional interests have always been patient education, anterior segment disease and glaucoma.

Commercial pressures, control of the profession and not advancing the profession/scope of practice I see as our greatest threats. 

Had I not become active in the profession outside the consulting room, I would be a “clock in, clock out” optometrist and would have most definitely lost interest in optometry.  Since joining the AOP Council, I have met so many more optometrists from all over the country, learned about optometry in other places besides my small town in England, and learned so much more about the behind the scenes of events shaping our profession.

South West England

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

AOP Councillor Jane Bell

Jane Bell

Contact Jane in the England forum

About Jane

I am an independent prescribing optometrist with various roles, including chairing the Wessex LEHN (Local eye health networks) and CGPL (Clinical governance and performance leads) for Primary Eyecare Services. My particular interests are developing integrated eye health services and post graduate education to enable optometrists to fully utilise their skills and abilities.

I’d like to see the profession fully accepted as part of the healthcare family with appropriate funding for education and provision of eye health services.

Being an AOP Councillor affords the opportunity to discuss national issues at Council to influence and be part of the process to shape future policy for the profession.

AOP Councillor Ed Bickerstaffe

Ed Bickerstaffe

Contact Ed in the England forum

About Ed

I work on the High Street for a small independent group in Wiltshire. I also triage ophthalmology referrals from the High Street and GPs into secondary care on behalf of the clinical commissioning group. I enjoy seeing patients in a primary care setting and helping them achieve the best visual outcome with a range of appliances.

Optics is forever evolving. We need to ensure optometrists can effectively practice to the best of their ability. Having been involved in the AOP from my student days through committees, Council and the Board, I would strongly encourage people to get involved when the time is right for them. It’s rewarding and you can make a difference.

West Midlands

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

AOP Councillor Susan Bowers

Susan Bowers

Contact Susan in the England forum

About Susan

I work in an independent practice doing minor eyecare conditions services (MECS), dry eye, contact lenses and refraction. I also work at the local hospital in glaucoma. I enjoy myopia management, drug prescribing. I have an FP10 pad, dry eye work and save people from going blind with glaucoma. My dream 10 years ago was that everyone did a four-year degree, became a Doctor of Optometry with IP and took over from the ophthalmologists. AOP Councillors really do make a difference. I have done 12 years now and I need young enthusiastic optometrists to take optometry further into the future.

Francesca Marchetti

About Francesca

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

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 trialling of primary care support England online. Sadly not in its design, but in its testing.

AOP Councillor Nizz Sabir

Nizz Sabir

Contact Nizz in the England forum

Northern Ireland

Postcodes covered: BT

AOP Councillor Julie Anne Little

Julie-Anne Little
(AOP Deputy Chair and Board member)

Contact Julie-Anne in the Northern Ireland forum

AOP Councillor Brian McKeown


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

AOP Councillor Alison McClune

Alison McClune

Contact Alison in the Scotland forum

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.

AOP Councillor Kevin Wallace

Kevin Wallace

Contact Kevin in the Scotland forum



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

AOP Councillor Nadeen Joseph

Nadeen Joseph

Contact Nadeen in the Wales forum


Mike George
(AOP Chairman and Board member)

Contact Mike in the Wales forum

About Mike

I don’t have a typical working day: I can be teaching at the university, advising at the health board or seeing patients in practice. My clinical interests include providing eye care for people with all levels of ability, particularly those who cannot communicate in the usual way such as young children, children with special needs and adults with intellectual disability.

We face decreasing salaries combined with increasing demands from patients and employers.Only the AOP protects, supports and represents optometrists throughout their careers.  I was drawn to the Council by my desire to advance and defend the interests of optometrists.

Designated Council members

Dispensing Optician

Early Career Optometrist

AOP DO Councillor James Dawson

James Dawson

Contact James in the General forum

Sana Asif

Sana Asif

Contact Sana in the General forum

Franchisee/ Joint Venture Partner Optometrist

Hospital Optometrist


Jonathan Bennett

Contact Jonathan in the General forum

Vijay Anand

Vijay Anand

Contact Vijay in the General forum

Newly-qualified Optometrist

Pre-registration Optometrist

Josie Evans

Josie Evans

Contact Josie in the General forum

About Josie

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.

Raveena Vaghela

Raveena Vaghela

Contact Raveena in the Student and pre-registration forum

About Raveena

I am a pre-registration optometrist in a multiple practice. My interests include the effect on structures of the eye and vision of migraines and in the developments of selective laser trabeculoplasty as an alternative first line treatment for glaucoma. I believe that bridging the gap between primary and secondary care is extremely important. This will take the strain off the hospital eye service and also create a more specialised role for optometrists in practice. COVID-19 has changed the way in which we practise and teach optometry. I hope to guide and feedback your views to make this transition easier.

Undergraduate Student Optometrist

University Lecturer

Luke McRoy-Jones

Luke McRoy-Jones

Contact Luke in the Student and pre-reg forum

About Luke

I am currently a third-year student at University of Plymouth.

After qualification, I hope to embark on additional qualifications, such as the Low Vision certificate, as I find this area really fulfilling. My ultimate career aim is to have my own practice, where I can lead a team to offer excellent eyecare in a community.

The landscape of optometry education is set to change rapidly over the next few years, while the role of an optometrist is becoming more specialised. It is therefore essential that we engage with our profession and education providers to shape our future practitioners.

AOP Councillor Will Holmes