The AOP has presented long-serving politician Baroness Jill Knight with the Peter Yeo award – its highest accolade.
The Association introduced the award in 1999 and it was given to Baroness Knight earlier this month in recognition of her “outstanding service to the AOP and to the profession.”
During a Parliamentary career spanning 50 years, Baroness Knight campaigned tirelessly about optometry and the importance of eye care. She served as an honorary vice president of the AOP for 30 years.
Entering the House of Commons in 1966 as a Conservative for Birmingham Edgbaston, Baroness Knight was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. Since then she has contributed to many debates and raised a number of questions about eye health and eye care, with a focus on the role that optometry plays in public health.
Speaking to OT, Baroness Knight said: “My husband taught me a lot about optics and the lack of awareness that people have about the role of the optometrist.”
She added: “Many people still don’t understand the importance of having a sight test and getting their spectacles made by professionals who are able to ensure the right prescription, rather than purchase them from other, cheaper outlets.
“You only get one pair of eyes and it is critically important that you look after them.”
The Peter Yeo Medal was established in honour of optometrist Peter Yeo, who died in January 1999 while serving as an AOP Councillor. Mr Yeo had devoted much of his professional life to helping fellow optometrists both directly and through his work with the AOP.
Commenting on receiving the award, Baroness Knight added: “I was very touched to received the award from the AOP and certainly never expected it.”
In the last 17 years the AOP has only presented the award to seven people. Awarding Baroness Knight with the medal, AOP chairman, Kevin Thompson, said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to present this much-deserved award to you today.”
Baroness Knight retired from the House of Lords earlier this year at the age of 91.