AOP support

Supporting practices and the individuals who make them

With the output of content from the AOP increasing, OT  sought to review recent launches and find out what is next for members

Optometrist and patient
Getty/Thomas Northcut

The AOP has an ever-growing suite of content designed to support members and tailored to the different needs and goals of optometrists across modes of practice and career stages.

This includes an array of education and tools to support optometrists to meet their goals in education, development and business.

Reflecting on the output of educational content over the past few years, Wendy Steele, AOP commercial director, shared: “Through the pandemic the AOP worked to ensure members continued to have access to education that allowed them to meet their CET requirements for the last cycle.”

With January 2022 marking the beginning of a new era for education with the launch of the continuing professional development (CPD) scheme, Steele said: “We have continued to develop a programme of content that has supported our members’ transition to a CPD scheme.”

“Our online education offering has significantly increased, and this has allowed us to deliver a range of online content tailored to members’ specific needs with a focus on their roles in practice through our long-running partnership with Johnson & Johnson Vision,” Steele continued.

Running a practice brings with it a unique set of challenges, from clinical or employment questions, to keeping up-to-date with the latest technology and refining communication skills.

In 2022, OT, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Vision, released the Practice Team Guide – a two-part series created to address the needs of the whole practice team. The first in the series was published in April/May, with the second instalment launching alongside this edition. Articles from the series can be found on OT’s dedicated supplement page

Content exclusively for locum optometrists has continued in 2022 with the second instalment of a guide exploring the challenges and benefits of locuming. Produced in collaboration with the AOP, and in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Vision, OT’s Locum Briefing covered practical advice, essential habits for safe practice and tips for managing the rising cost of living.

Content has been designed to support optometrists across practice settings.

Steele explained: “We have increased the reach of content available to hospital optometrist members via our virtual events in 2020 and 2021, with more early career optometrists accessing the content.”

Student and pre-reg optometrists have also been able to benefit from content delivered by the AOP.

“We know the importance of supporting members in their foundation years and we were pleased to deliver a range of freshers presentations in person this year for the first time since 2019,” Steele said. “This content is complemented by a range of skills videos and guidance online for all student year groups to support the development of their clinical skills, while our very successful third year legal lectures help students understand their professional responsibilities.”

Discussing the response to the AOP’s content this year, Steele said: “We’ve had such positive feedback on the content we have delivered so far this year, and this is reflected in the volume of members accessing both CPD and non-CPD content.”

“Internally, we work closely with our internal committees and industry partners to gather insight into member needs, and this informs the content we offer,” she explained.

This combination resulted in more than 2300 attendees across the AOP’s inaugural MAYopia Day event, as well as high levels of engagement in content delivered in partnership with Moorfields Private Eye Hospital.

Beyond education, employment and business tools, the AOP also aims to support member wellbeing.

“We look to support members, not just as clinicians but as people, and this is reflected in our health and wellbeing programme,” Steele said.

This has included a new wellbeing webinar series around happiness, delivered in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Vision throughout 2022.

The AOP has also produced a suite of resources and content related to managing the menopause, designed for both members experiencing the menopause, and practice teams supporting their staff and colleagues.

Recognising the success of this project, the AOP has plans to build on this further in 2023, with more opportunities for education.

Looking ahead, the AOP’s ambition to provide more tailored content will continue into 2023.

“Our programme will look to recognise where members work, and their changing roles and responsibilities in practice,” Steele said. “We know that the wider practice team are integral in the success of any optical business and our aim is to offer education and training that allows practices to be successful as a business as well as the individuals who work in them.”

Myopia is set to continue to be an important clinical theme, with plans underway to ensure AOP members and OT readers have access to the most up-to-date information on the topic.

“This will include a continuation of our education programme with CooperVision, through virtual and in-person events, and the return of the very successful MAYopia Day,” Steele added.