Clinical services director at Specsavers, Giles Edmonds (GE); head of professional affairs at Alcon, Jonathon Bench (JB); director of professional affairs for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in the UK, Ireland, Nordic and DACH, Kamlesh Chauhan (KC); and sales director for Northern Europe at Optos, Chris Willis (CW) tell OT what it takes to become an AOP Awards winner.
What makes an AOP Awards winner?
GE: Frankly, getting to the shortlist is a real achievement in itself – congratulations to all the nominees who were selected by the expert panel. But to be an AOP Awards winner, you have to be offering something extra in terms of dedication to high quality patient care – something that really inspires your peers when they are deciding on who to vote for.
JB: What makes an AOP award winner is someone who goes above and beyond to help their patients with their ocular health, taking the time and patience to meet their needs and supporting them throughout their eye care journey. These winners not only need to show compassion to their patients, but moreover, initiative in offering the most suitable solutions to their optical issues. In line with this, winners must demonstrate a clear passion for their profession, always interested in educating themselves and their patients with the latest eye care solutions.
KC: The AOP Awards is a very prestigious event and the winner should therefore be worthy of this honour. The winner has to demonstrate what they have delivered to help patients lead better lives and or supported the profession to do this. Ultimately, the role of the profession is to enhance the lives of patients and this must be the core of what they have done to receive this prize. Although providing a high quality service in itself is very worthy, it would be good that the winner shows innovation and demonstrates imagination and novelty in what they have achieved.
CW: A person, product or team going beyond expectation to make a difference to the optical industry – professionally, clinically and commercially.
Why are the awards important to the profession?
GE: Awards such as these are a celebration of all that is best in our profession and it's important that we take the time to recognise this and to share best practice so that we keep on improving.
We run our own Awards for Excellence every other year at Specsavers and we find that it's a great way of showcasing the passion, dedication and innovation that exists across the group and also the competitive spirit as they are hotly-contested.
JB: These awards are important as they recognise the everyday heroes in our profession, those people who transform the lives of their patients who deserve recognition for all of their hard work in the field. By recognising those who have demonstrated such a clear commitment to the profession along with leadership, knowledge and support throughout their career, we hope to inspire a whole new generation of eye care professionals and innovators.
KC: Awards and competitions can be very helpful in a profession. Award winners are often at the forefront of the profession and highlight the direction that the profession is moving towards and act as an inspiration to the rest of the profession. It is also a great signal to those in the earlier stages of their careers to see what to aspire too. Due to the publicity surrounding the award it also helps disseminate these important messages. Finally, award winners can display their award both physically and digitally which helps patients appreciate the quality of the service being provided by the practice or group of practices and ultimately by the profession as a whole.
CW: Highlighting outstanding achievements sets a benchmark for everyone to strive toward, while rewarding those who are already making a difference beyond what is traditionally expected within the industry.
If the company was to win an award, what would it be for and why?
GE: We're always pleased to see individual Specsavers practitioners and practices recognised by their peers and it's great to see that there are five of them shortlisted for various awards this year. If the company were to win an award, I'd like it to recognise in some way our commitment to advancing the profession as a whole through education, development opportunities and investment in technology. A transforming eye health award, perhaps?
JB: If Alcon were to win an award, it would be for our innovative Dailies Total1 water gradient material (delefilcon A). It has revolutionised the world of contact lenses and offers those with a vision correction need (long or short-sighted, or presbyopic) a lens with a contactless feel. It provides all-day comfort with up to 100% water content at its outermost surface – resulting in a highly lubricious surface. This is the world’s first water gradient material, offering a change in modulus and water content from lens core to surface, for a wearing experience like no other. Alongside the lubricity of the lens, Dailies Total1 also has the highest oxygen transmissibility of any daily disposable on the market.
KC: At Johnson & Johnson Vision, we have a bold ambition – to change the trajectory of eye health around the world. We deliver innovative vision solutions that enable eye care professionals to create better outcomes for their patients throughout their lives; from sight correction solutions including world leading surgical technologies and contact lenses, to dry eye diagnosis, treatment and management and the restoration of vision for cataract patients. Serving more than 60 million patients a day across 103 countries, we are committed to helping people see better, connect better and live better. If we were to win, it would be for recognition of the desire and commitment to improve patients’ lives.
CW: ‘Most Game Changing Addition to Your Practice’ Award – Optos not only manufacture ultra-widefield devices for use in optometry and ophthalmology, they provide a cornerstone solution that facilitates positive change to the way a practice operates, communicates, markets itself, treats patients and drives revenue.