AOP support

AOP insight: plans for the Hospital Optometrists Annual Conference

OT  finds out more about HOAC in November, and nominations open for the Hospital Optometrists Committee

Vijay Anand

Dr Vijay Anand, deputy head of optometry at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and AOP councillor for hospital optometrists

What are the aims of the Hospital Optometrists Annual Conference (HOAC)?

The aim of the Hospital Optometrists Annual Conference is to bring together optometrists working in a hospital setting in order to learn and share ideas on working within both core optometry (paediatrics, medical contact lenses and low vision) and extended role clinics (glaucoma, medical retina, A&E/urgent care, adnexal and cornea clinics). Talks are chosen to cover a wide variety of topics to give attendees the opportunity to keep their own knowledge up to date as well as expand their knowledge in areas of work they are not involved in.

What will the conference look like this year?

Due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19, this year will again be a virtual conference, to be held on Saturday 5 November 2022. We have planned four key lectures followed by two peer reviews, one for specialty optometrists (AS/SP/IP) and one for general optometrists. The conference is free to attend.

I would also encourage any community optometrists to attend the sessions we have chosen, as they are relevant to all optometry colleagues


Are there any key focuses or themes?

We had a difficult decision when it came to the virtual conference, as we have tried to choose topics that present well virtually and those that would be of interest to a large cohort of delegates – even if it is not in their main area of practice.

This year we have lectures relating to medico-legal issues within ophthalmology, which all of us need to be aware of, as well as a lecture on examining patients with learning difficulties and sensory needs – again a set of skills any practitioner should be familiar with. We also have a lecture relating to neuro-ophthalmology which is often the most challenging topic for practitioners and a lecture related to glaucoma, but with a very different slant.

Who might want to think about attending?

As this year is a virtual conference, I would encourage all hospital optometrists to attend, whether they are working within an NHS settings or for an alternate healthcare provider, as they are not limited by needing to travel or stay overnight for a face-to-face conference.

I would also encourage any community optometrists to attend the sessions we have chosen, as they are relevant to all optometry colleagues. The event gives a good chance for community optometrists to gauge the kind of work that is undertaken within hospital settings and may entice them to become a hospital optometrist themselves. It may also encourage those that are attending for the first time to think about joining the next conference, which we hope can return to being face-to-face in 2023.