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 Nicholas Hagan

I work for Specsavers professional services as a clinical consultant. My role encompasses patient care, access to care, professional development, and enhanced service provision. My role is practice based. I support clinical teams' training and development, alongside governance delivery and ensuring the highest standards of care.

My goal has always been to provide an environment that utilises optometrists’ full scope of practice. Embracing and delivering commissioned Enhanced Optical Services, while ensuring that each individual clinician has the confidence, proficiency, and support to provide the highest standards of care to our communities. Professionally I want optometry, as a whole, to have the confidence to deliver total eye healthcare in the primary care setting.

With changing models of care and rapidly increasing advancement of technology, all healthcare professions face challenge and opportunity in equal measure. As a profession we must expand our contribution to the diagnosis and management of conditions, for the benefit of all patient groups and the NHS. If we do not lead and shape the changes that need to happen, we will either be left behind, or worse still, left out.

East Midlands

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

About Reena Rani Anand

As a locum optometrist, I work at various stores within Leicestershire and Birmingham. I am a member of the Leicestershire LOC where I help organise CPD events.

I am a part-time clinical research optometrist working on a myopia management project at Aston University. We hope to obtain data to address the global health concern of myopia.

I currently organise Aston’s postgraduate optometry module practical workshops and teach in undergraduate practical clinics during term time.

I am the Walsall LOC CPD Officer and Secretary and also work with Optom Academy, a private teaching organisation, as a Mock OSCE Examiner, Tutor and Lecturer.

My interests in optometry include myopia management, binocular vision, contact lenses, medical retina and glaucoma. I am passionate about learning and optometric education. I have completed my professional certificate in glaucoma and medical retina and believe lifelong learning is essential in optometry to identify gaps in knowledge.

My background has given me great insights into the profession and how optometrists can support positive patient health outcomes. I am committed in ensuring patients receive the best possible care and can highlight challenges facing optometry services across the area so they can be addressed.

The role of optometrists is constantly evolving and expanding as we upskill and take on more responsibilities. With advancing technology and with an increasing number of eye conditions being managed within the community, it is important that extra guidance and training is provided to help support AOP members and protect the public.

With this increasing scope of practice, it is essential that we are paid adequately for any additional/ enhanced services offered.

I also understand the impact the current times have had on our mental health and wish to emphasise the importance of health and wellbeing.


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 Simon Raw

I have worked for the Outside Clinic for the past 16 years and previously I was with Boots. I am a full-time domiciliary optometrist seeing mainly elderly house bound patients. I am also CPD lead for my company, and I guest lecture on domiciliary care at 11 universities. I am NEOS treasurer and former chair. I am a peer discussion author and facilitator. I am an AOP mentor too.

I love domiciliary because of my patients and promoting the benefits of this section of optometry to all. I enjoy teaching at universities and developing new innovative ways of teaching and CPD. I enjoy supporting and mentoring colleagues.

Collaboration and unifying the profession to give the best care to patients. Being suitably rewarded for our time and expertise. Upskilling as a profession to allow us to reduce the burden on HES.

North West England

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

About Sarah Lowry

I have a history of independent practice ownership. However, I changed direction a few years ago and now have roles as a Clinical Lead at Primary Eyecare Services, on NHSE Performers Advisory Group, and with GM East LOC, Confederation of GM LOCs, and Optometry Provider Board.

I am interested in how optometry is moving forward, increasing skills and scope of practice.

Ensure that our profession has the ability to upskill, increasing scope of practice without being held back by other professions and adequate funding for enhanced GOS services.

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 Sukhi Drake

I am a business owner in Birmingham, leading community-based practices. My roles vary from testing, management, training, and supervision. It is important to make sure my team feel valued and thrive in a healthy culture. Everyone is given the chance to succeed in any roles and opportunities. My role is to listen to colleagues and give constructive feedback. I am always ready to learn and give back to the community.

My professional interests are to help support the optical community by effective communication. I am Secretary of Solihull LOC, helping to bring my optical colleagues together efficiently by emails, social media platforms, and newsletters. I enjoy supporting training opticians and progression through their career. It is rewarding to share your skill sets and lay a strong foundation for new optometrists. I enjoy learning and setting myself challenges.

The optical profession has challenges in how AI can be used effectively in eye care and understanding its limitations. AI systems can reach decisions which can undermine trust and accountability. Encouraging diversity and sustainability by long term planning and right support is important. This gives variation to the way of working and core values. Everyone learns from each other and their outlooks and experiences in life.

Yorkshire and the Humber

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

Northern Ireland

Postcodes covered: BT

About Catherine McGuckin

I currently work as a locum optometrist across independent and multiple practices in Northern Ireland. I am also privileged to supervise final year primary eyecare clinics at Ulster University.

I am interested in ocular disease prevention and management in primary care, so much so that I am currently training to be an independent prescriber. I enjoy myopia management clinics and find this work very rewarding.

The profession faces issues with realistic clinical loads, especially as more and more services are delegated to primary care. We need to have the skillset, time, and appropriate renumeration to carry out this vital work.


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

About Frances Jamieson

I work in my independent practice in a Scottish Highland village. Being in a rural area provides a very varied day of work, with plenty of opportunities to make use of independent prescribing. I am also Vice Chair of the Highland Area Optometric Committee.

I like to keep up with developments in our scope of practice, having obtained independent prescribing and NESGAT glaucoma qualifications.

I think communication is at the heart of many of our professional issues, and their solutions. We need better communication between primary and secondary care, between the profession and the public, and between areas of the UK.

About Johnathan Waugh

My time is split between NHS diabetic retinal screening and independent practice. I launched a new practice in January 2024 along with an optometry colleague and we are thoroughly enjoying the professional freedom that gives us.

I spent many years working full-time within ophthalmology clinics and developed an interest in glaucoma and pediatrics.

Our practice will soon be looking after community glaucoma patients and I am looking forward to the new challenges this will bring.

As a Scottish optometrist with a Unionist view, I am keen to make sure that the profession remains connected across the four nations, sharing successes and developing together.

In Scotland, our remit is evolving rapidly, and I would like to ensure that my colleagues (and their staff) have all the support they need to fulfil their duties and feel comfortable in practice.


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

About Martin Sweeney

I am a resident optometrist for a national chain in North Wales.

My interests are in dry eye management, anterior eye injuries, glaucoma assessments, and pre-reg supervision.

The new Welsh GOS scheme has given us a once in a generation opportunity to further enhance our capabilities within a primary care setting. We need to grasp every chance to improve our skill sets.

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 Sarah White

I work in an independent practice in South Yorkshire, having been there for almost 11 years. My role is varied, as most business owners find in independent practice. I run contact lens clinics, dry eye clinics, work closely with optometrists on finding the perfect dispensing solution and fill the rest of my days with all the behind the scenes activities needed to run a successful optometric practice.

My interests lie in the realm of contact lens fitting and problem solving, having worked as a contact lens optician in a busy multiple, independent practice and also hospital settings. I also read everything I can around myopia control and dry eye as these are both trending upwards and will rely on practitioners to have the knowledge to support these individuals.

With an ageing population, myopia epidemic and dry eye on the increase there are many ways dispensing opticians can provide professional support to optometrists and increase their value to optometry practices. I would like to see dispensing opticians supported in training to push this even further and see their roles evolve into something more.

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 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.

Undergraduate student optometrist

About Ki Yan Lam

I am a third-year MSci optometry student at the University of Manchester, driven by a strong passion for creating win-win situations. This passion has guided me in my role as the student representative of AOP, BCLA, and within optometry, where I have been instrumental in fostering communication channels. I am dedicated to advocating for the interests of my fellow student optometrists and aspire to make a meaningful contribution to the AOP community as a councillor.

As an MSci optometry student at UOM, I have the advantage of studying part of the Pro-cert of Glaucoma, which gives me a window into how glaucoma affects patient vision, especially when life expectancy is increasing. I would like to improve my profession by getting an Independent Prescriber and glaucoma certification, which will help preserve the public's vision.

Education is the cornerstone of protecting the public's vision. The transition to a four-year education model holds immense promise in strengthening the future optometrists' adaptability to the ever-evolving world, encompassing technologies, policies, and social structures. Additionally, as AI becomes ubiquitous in human life, I am eager to want optometry, as a whole, to have the confidence to deliver total eye healthcare in the primary care setting.

With changing models of care and rapidly increasing advancement of technology, all healthcare professions face challenge and opportunity in equal measure. As a profession, we must expand our contribution to the diagnosis and management of conditions, for the benefit of all patient groups and the NHS. If we do not lead and shape the changes that need to happen, we will either be left behind, or worse still, left out.