BCLA 2019 hailed a “global gathering”

The event featured speakers such as professors Lyndon Jones, James Wolffsohn and Eric Papas

Conference theatre
The British Contact Lens Association's (BCLA) clinical conference and exhibition, which took place in Manchester on 30 May–1 June, addressed topics including myopia management, dry eye and contact lens comfort.

The outgoing president of the BCLA, Professor Sunil Shah, called the event “a truly global gathering,” with speakers and delegates from around in the world in attendance at the Manchester Central Convention Centre.

“For three days people were given an exclusive insight into the very latest research, data and analysis into the conditions they see in practice day in, day out – giving them invaluable information to take away and use to provide potentially life-changing results for their patients,” he said.

During the event, Professor Shah officially handed over the presidency to head of professional affairs at Alcon, Jonathon Bench, who will oversee a campaign to raise the BCLA’s profile worldwide.

Speaking about the BCLA’s aims, Mr Bench said: “It’s an exciting time and we need everybody who’s part of the BCLA to raise their voices, share their thoughts and let people know why the BCLA is so important to them so we can encourage so many more people become part of our big family.”


On day one of the conference, keynote speaker Professor Eric Papas discussed the issue of contact lens comfort. He chaired a session that looked at the types of contact lenses being prescribed and maintaining ocular health.

Professor Lyndon Jones from the Centre for Ocular Research and Education, who was awarded the BCLA Medal during the event, spoke about 30 years of research in contact lens deposition, corneal straining and ocular drug delivery.

The Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture was delivered by Dr Nicole Carnt, who spoke about acanthamoeba keratitis.

Professor James Wolffsohn from Aston Unversity, associate professor Jennifer Craig from the University of Auckland and Dr Sruthi Srinivasan from Alcon held a dry eye tech discussion for practitioners who are interested in setting up a specialist dry eye clinic.

The second day of the conferene was dedicated to myopia management, with Dr Jeffrey Walline from Ohio State University chairing a session on the myths and misconceptions of the condition.

Speaking about growth in the understanding of myopia, Dr Walline said: “When I first started talking about myopia control there would be 10 people in the audience. Five would be my family and the other five would be in the wrong room. Things have changed now.”

During the conference, the BCLA announced that it will launch a certificate in myopia management later this year.


On the Saturday evening, the winners of the BCLA Awards were announced at a ceremony that recognised the work of contact lens and anterior eye professionals.

Winners included: Dr Saleel Jivraj, who was named BCLA Dry Eye Practitioner of the Year; Eleanor Hill won the BCLA Young Contact Lens Practitioner Award, and a team from CooperVision took home the BCLA Industry Award.

Speaking about the awards, Mr Bench said: “Hardworking and ambitious people such as Eleanor and Saleel can become the next generation of pioneers, innovators and thought leaders in a profession that is always evolving, always adapting and always learning.”

The Diane Gould Photography Competition was won by Fazeela Umar for her image ‘Lattice Corneal Dystrophy,’ while Marta Blanco-Vasquez won the BCLA Poster award.

A total of 24 new BCLA Fellowships were awarded while five people received Dry Eye Fellowships and 14 people were presented with certificates for Dry Eye Management and Contact Lens Retention.