AOP Lifetime Achievement accolade for Professor David Whitaker

The prestigious award was presented to the optometrist and prominent researcher at a celebratory event on 25 February

Optometrist and former Vice President of the Association of Optometrists (AOP), Professor David Whitaker has been honored with a prestigious national award.

With a career spanning five decades, Professor David Whitaker has been recognised for his profound contribution and ‘instrumental’ work on the career progression course for optometry, receiving the AOP’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor Whitaker said he felt privileged to be a recipient: “It feels absolutely fantastic. It was a bit of a surprise. There’s always that sense of imposter syndrome, and thinking, ‘am I really worthy of this?’ but I’m incredibly proud, and I thank the AOP immensely.”

“I know the quality of the AOP as an organisation and I really respect what it is there for…I’ve seen so many people’s lives and livelihoods being incredibly well supported by the AOP.”

As part of his acceptance speech, Professor Whitaker offered thanks to those who have played an important role in his career, saying: “I’m so grateful to those that I have collaborated with, those that educated me when I was an undergraduate and a PhD student, and the fantastic advice that I’ve had from more senior academic researchers. I’ve learned so much from them. I think it would be unfair to single out an individual. I have many, many people to thank for getting me to this stage in my career.” 

Professor Whitaker is Dean and Head of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University, was a Visiting Professor at the University of Nottingham and has contributed to numerous research excellence panels.

On presenting the award, Chairman of the AOP, Emma Spofforth said she was delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate “a truly exceptional colleague for his extraordinary work and awe inspiring contribution to vision research and the optometry profession.”

The award was presented at a reception dinner held at the Andaz London Liverpool Street on Sunday 25 February. The event marked the 10 year anniversary of leading trade and education event 100% Optical and was supported by headline sponsor, CooperVision alongside Specsavers and Lloyd & Whyte.

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High resolution photos can be found in this drop box folder.

For more information, please contact Anjola Sulaiman, PR and Media Executive, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 0207 549 2062.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the voice of the optical profession, representing 80% of practising optometrists. The AOP elevates the work of its members, safeguards their interests, and champions eye health across the UK. For more information, visit

About the Lifetime Achievement award

The AOP’s Lifetime Achievement accolade recognises a person who has dedicated their career to promoting and expanding the role of optics. The recipient of the award is selected by the AOP’s Chairman of the Board and AOP Chief Executive.