Q&A: Professor Clare O’Donnell on the British Society for Refractive Surgery conference

The optometrist shares what is on offer at the annual event – from guest speakers to networking opportunities

A group of ten people wearing lanyards and suits are pictured outside in dappled sunlight. Behind them is an avenue of trees with a modern building on the left.
Clare O’Donnell
The British Society for Refractive Surgery annual conference will be held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel in Oxford on 22 June and 23 June.

OT caught up with optometrist and British Society for Refractive Surgery vice president, Professor Clare O’Donnell, about what is on offer for optometrists at the event.

What is the British Society for Refractive Surgery?

The society is a forum that enables clinicians to keep up-to-date with the field of refractive surgery. It has been established for over 30 years – as part of our constitution, we have always had an ophthalmologist as a president, and an optometrist as a vice president. The society actively seeks and welcomes members who have an interest in refractive surgery – whether they are optometrists, ophthalmic nurses, healthcare technicians or doctors and surgeons. It is truly multidisciplinary.

What is on offer for optometrists at this year’s annual conference?

The topics covered at the conference will be of interest to any optometrists working within a refractive surgery setting. Additionally, for optometrists working in the community, they will often receive questions from patients about the surgical options for the management of refractive error. This conference can help you get up to speed to be able to discuss the latest developments and understand what is on offer within a surgical setting.

The annual conference is still relatively small so there are plenty of networking opportunities. You have the chance to talk face-to-face with international experts in the field. The speakers deliver short, interactive presentations, and there are plenty of chances to ask questions. There are up to 15 interactive continuing professional development points on offer for optometrists and there is a bespoke section for optometrists where they present interesting and challenging cases within refractive surgery.

What are some key talks you are looking forward to?

We have a session devoted to the latest options for managing keratoconus, which I think will be fantastic. Any clinicians who are involved in looking after patients who have cataracts will know that there has been a relative explosion in intraocular lens (IOL) We will have a dedicated session that will enable people to get right up to speed on the latest thinking around intraocular lens technology. Our keynote speakers this year are Professor Jorge Alio who is talking about therapeutic refractive surgery for keratoconus and the Professor Damien Gatinel who is speaking on refining IOL calculations for refractive accuracy and precision

This year, we also have complimentary wetlabs in corneal laser refractive surgery and sessions that will focus on medical legal issues – with solicitors presenting on issues such as record keeping, the consent process and how to ensure that communication with patients is always optimal. We have an optometrist-led session on interactive cases which proved hugely popular last year. The full programme for the conference is available online, where people can also find details about signing up. A reduced rate is available for optometrists and for British Society for Refractive Surgery members.

Main image: The British Society for Refractive Surgery council. Professor Clare O’Donnell is pictured on left.