On the ground at the AOP

An explainer on... the Hospital and Specialty Optometrists Conference

HSOC returns for 2024, and with double the capacity of last year’s event, Dr Ian Beasley, head of education at the AOP and OT  clinical editor, shares what attendees can expect

A conference room, the image is focused on a mug in the foreground while professionals network in the background
Pixabay/Steve Cliff

After a three-year hiatus, 2023 saw the welcome return of the Hospital and Specialty Optometrists Conference (HSOC) to a face-to-face setting. As the AOP team set about planning for last year’s event, it was challenging to predict the willingness of practitioners to leave the comfort of ‘learning by Zoom’ and venturing back to a ‘real’ conference. We need not have worried – the event sold out in record time, and it was clear from post-event feedback that delegates relished the opportunity to come together to learn, network (and party a little) with their friends and colleagues.

So, with the success of 2023 in the back pocket, the team has been able to plan for a much bigger event in 2024, increasing capacity by over 50%. Another triumph to carry forward to 2024, is the decision to extend the invitation for specialty optometrists working in the community to attend the conference, providing a platform for primary and secondary care colleagues to foster collaboration and share key learnings.


increase in capacity for HSOC 2024

The 2024 event will take place on 21–22 September in Manchester, offering an accessible location to delegates from all four nations. The extensive two-day programme of education will provide a mix of lectures, short paper sessions, discussion workshops and numerous peer review sessions.

The main lecture programme will explore a diverse range of topics such as eye disease and visual hallucinations, and entrustable professional activities, while retaining the long-held tradition of hosting a memorial lecture. In response to demand seen in 2023, capacity for short paper sessions will be doubled, enabling practitioners to share empirical research findings with their peers. 

In addition to the main lectures, delegates will be able to build their own programme by selecting their preferred sessions from five distinct content streams including anterior eye, contact lenses, glaucoma, medical retina and general optometry. Within the streams, some content will be pitched at an advanced level for practitioners with subspecialties, whereas others will deliver at a more accessible level for those without extensive experience in the clinical area.

Practitioners attending across the weekend have the opportunity to accrue over 18 interactive CPD points, covering core and specialty domains.

Alongside education, delegates will also have ample opportunity to meet a range of exhibitors who will be showcasing their latest products and innovations. And of course, the conference would not be complete without the gala dinner on the Saturday night where dancing is not mandatory, but certainly encouraged.

For more details on the conference, and booking details, visit the AOP website

Coming up at the AOP

1 June: New AOP Councillors welcomed

With the results of the AOP Council elections announced, look out for interviews with new AOP Councillors in the August/September edition of OT.

2 Summer: One million appointments

The latest AOP campaign highlights the mounting pressure on GPs and how optometry patient pathways can help. Find out more on the AOP website

3 Summer: AOP student reps

 The AOP’s latest cohort of student representatives from optometry schools across the country will be announced.