Awards categories

Find out more about the awards categories and selection criteria

The AOP Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding talent and contributions in the optical sector.

In 2018, the Awards are growing to 15 categories, with the introduction of Frame of the Year and Health and Wellbeing Practice of the Year.

Nominations have been submitted for the 2018 Awards and our panel of expert judges, drawn from across the sector are reviewing and shortlisting finalists.

Fourteen categories will be open to vote from 29 September 2017. Twelve categories are open to public vote, whilst Product of the Year and Frame of the Year are decided by a member-only vote.

Awards categories

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Charity of the Year

This award recognises charities from all corners of the eye health sector, including those who are dedicated to research, raising awareness of optical issues, or supporting people with vision impairments. The nominees will be able to demonstrate an innovative and successful initiative from the past 12 months, which encompasses either a lead on research, education, strong campaign or profile-raising activities.


Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year

With a full grasp of product range and innovation, the Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year is a champion for contact lens wear in the practice and beyond – particularly focusing on groups such as teens and the elderly. The nominees will have constantly identified ways to expand the presence of contact lenses within the practice, and, through their promotion, have seen the sales of lenses grow.

Dispensing Optician of the Year

The Dispensing Optician of the Year will have an encyclopaedic lens knowledge, which they have utilised to find creative solutions for each patient’s individual needs. The nominees will be able to demonstrate a dedication to keeping up-to-date with new innovations in frames and lenses, and can show evidence of their leadership within the practice, supporting colleagues and promoting eye health.

Frame of the Year

The winner of this category will be a frame that had a significant impact upon the wearer, the dispensing practice or practitioner. This 'impact' may have been aesthetic, emotional or financial in nature. The frame's design might be broad in appeal, forward-thinking in style or innovative in its material. It might be the pioneer of a whole new trend phenomenon. The way in which it was marketed and presented to the profession and to a wider audience might also be considered. The judges will welcome samples, case studies or measures of its success.

Health and Wellbeing Practice of the Year

This award will recognise the practice that understands the important role that health and wellbeing can play in job satisfaction. Entrants must be able to demonstrate the management systems and initiatives they have put in place to motivate, engage and support their staff. They will have established the awareness of wellbeing and the important role it can play, recognising that a happy, healthy workforce is essential for a successful business and helps retain an energised team.

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Lecturer of the Year

Recognising teaching at the highest level, the nominees will be able to demonstrate a commitment to dynamic and informative teaching methods, which inspire clinical excellence amongst students. Showing great pastoral care, the nominees will remain in students’ memories long after their studies end.

Alcon lifetime award

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises a person who has dedicated their career to promoting and expanding the role of optics, or who has brought the benefits of optics to a wider audience. The recipient will have a demonstrable and wide-reaching impact on the profession. 

The winner of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award will be chosen by a judging panel and is not open to public vote.

Marketing Initiative of the Year

This award acknowledges an outstanding marketing campaign which promotes an element of optometry, be it sales-motivated marketing, brand-building, or increasing awareness of eye health by a practice, manufacturer, company or organisation. The nominees will show how the campaign’s initial objectives translated to measurable benefits, including market impact, engagement, and revenue growth.

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Newly-qualified Optometrist of the Year

The Newly-qualified Optometrist of the Year award will go to an optometrist who has been qualified for up to three years (from their date of registration on the GOC register). We're looking for someone who has launched themselves into the early years of their career with gusto. Going above and beyond their day job, this optometrist will be able to demonstrate a keen interest in the profession in its wider context.

Optical Team of the Year

This award will go to the team dedicated to delivering the best possible customer experience in the practice. Nominees will have a demonstrable interest in furthering their eye care knowledge, take an interest in the technology available in the practice, and demonstrate outstanding support to the team while providing unique, out-of-the-box customer service.

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Optometrist of the Year

This award will recognise an optometrist who has combined a commitment to patient care with hands-on clinical expertise. The nominee will be a lead figure in every area of practise – be it as a locum, in a community practice or in a hospital setting – having supported the development of colleagues. A team player within the wider optical community, the nominee will have worked with a range of stakeholders and played a role in initiatives designed to support the profession.

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Practice of the Year

A practice, either multiple, franchise or independent, that can demonstrate clinical excellence and a strong emphasis on the patient journey. The nominees will have engaged in educating patients and the wider community about eye health, along with showing a flair for products and services, and an emphasis on looking after every patient on an individual basis.

Product of the Year

To be eligible, the products must have been brought to market in the last three years (at the time of application submission). This category seeks to highlight organisations that have identified new products and successfully brought them to market or adapted an existing product for a new market. Entrants must be able to clearly demonstrate that there was a demand for the innovation and that the innovation has proved successful, in line with the objectives set.

Student of the Year

This award will be given to an optometry student, dispensing optician student or pre-registration optometrist who can demonstrate initiative and drive to improve their fellow students’ participation in, and awareness of, optical issues. The nominees’ passion for the profession points to their status as ‘an optical leader of the future.’

Young Practice of the Year

The Young Practice of the Year accolade will go to an outstanding practice, either multiple, franchise or independent, which has been established in the last five years. Having filled a need in the community, the nominees will be able to demonstrate drive and flair in establishing, growing and retaining a strong customer base. The team will be able to show dedication to the future expansion of the practice.