The shortlisted nominees for this year’s AOP Awards have been revealed and voting has opened
Following much deliberation by the judges, the shortlisted candidates for this year’s AOP Awards have been selected.
A wide variety of nominations were received across all of this year’s 12 categories, with newly-introduced accolades for Young Practice of the Year and Specialist Practice of the Year proving particularly popular.
As the shortlist is now confirmed, voting for the winners opens, giving the profession the opportunity to decide the winners. Voting closes at midnight on August 31.
A revamped judging panel was introduced this year, with a cross-sector of experts selected to represent different areas of the profession. The judges include: chair of the judging panel, optometrist David Shannon; optometrist and AOP councillor Thurka Sivapalan; hospital optometrist Nicola Roper; contact lens specialist Shelly Bansal; optometrist and AOP professional adviser Geoff Roberson; and optometrist and OT clinical editor Dr Ian Beasley.
The judges were in unanimous agreement that the calibre of nominations was extremely high this year and that picking a shortlist was extremely difficult.
Speaking to OT after the judges’ deliberation was complete, Mr Shannon, said: “It was very difficult to make a choice and it took time to whittle each category down to just three.
“The quality of nominations this year was outstanding, really exceptional. If I’m honest almost everyone deserved to be shortlisted.”
Now in its fourth year, the Awards aim to celebrate the achievements of optical professionals and groups, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty over the last 12 months and deserve to be recognised among their peers.
Headline sponsored by contact lens giant CooperVision, the Awards scheme has grown in popularity year-on-year since its launch in 2011, cementing itself as a highlight in the optical calendar.
In 2013, around 16,000 votes were cast for the shortlisted candidates, with more than 20,900 people visiting the event’s online pages when voting was open between May 31 and September 6.
Over the coming months, all shortlisted nominees will be profiled in OT and online to assist readers in deciding whom to vote for in each category.
The winners will be revealed at a special black tie gala dinner and ceremony on Thursday, October 23 at the Hilton Metropole Birmingham, during the National Optical Conference (NOC).
Click on a category below to find out the shortlist and to vote. Alternatively, you can post your vote to: AOP Awards, Optometry Today, 2 Woodbridge Street, London, EC1R 0DG.
Voting for the AOP Awards 2014:
Optometrist of the Year
Nominees for this award will combine a commitment to patient care with a great deal of clinical experience. They will be a key figure in every area of the practice, supporting colleagues and driving revenue. They will also be a team player within the optical community, constantly striving to better the profession.
Practice of the Year
Sponsored by AEL Chartered Accountants
The multiple, franchise or independent practice which can demonstrate a great balance between clinical excellence and a strong emphasis on patient journey. Educating patients and the wider community about eye health, a flair for products and services, and emphasis on catering for each patient on an individual basis are musts.
Lecturer of the Year
Sponsored by 100% Optical
The winner of this award will be a lecturer who is committed to offering dynamic and informative teaching which inspires clinical excellence among their students. The great pastoral care provided ensures that this lecturer remains in students’ minds long after the studies end.
For more information and to vote, click here
Student of the Year
Sponsored by Specsavers
An optometry student, dispensing optician student or pre-registration student who demonstrates initiative and drive to improve their fellow students’ participation in, and awareness of, optical issues. Their passion for the profession guarantees their status as an optical leader of the future.
Optical Assistant of the Year
Sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers
The person or team dedicated to improving the customer experience of their practice. They will have a demonstrable interest in furthering their eye care knowledge, including taking an interest in the technology available in the practice. They will support the team while providing a positive and friendly customer service.
Dispensing Optician of the Year
Sponsored by ABDO
The DO of the Year will have an encyclopaedic lens knowledge, which they utilise by finding creative solutions for each patient’s individual needs. They are dedicated to keeping informed of new innovations in frames and lenses and are a leader within the practice, supporting colleagues and promoting eye health.
Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year
Sponsored by CooperVision
With a full grasp of product range and innovation, they actively promote contact lens wear within the practice and beyond – particularly focusing on groups such as teenagers and the elderly. They are constantly looking for ways to expand the presence of contact lenses within the practice, and through their promotion, sales of lenses continue to grow.
Marketing Campaign of the Year
Sponsored by Lloyd & Whyte
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 and engagement, and revenue growth.
Charity Initiative of the Year
Charities from all corners of the eye health sector are welcome to enter this award, including those which are dedicated to research, raising awareness of optical issues, or supporting people with vision impairments. They will be able to demonstrate an innovative and successful initiative from the past 12 months which encompasses either a lead on research, strong campaign work or profile raising.
Specialist Practice of the Year
Sponsored by Cerium Visual Technologies
The winner of this award will be a practice that goes beyond the GOS to offer and actively promote enhanced services to the benefit of patients and the growth of the practice. Specialisms include, but are not exclusive to; low vision, children, technology, colorimetry, orthoptics and glaucoma.
Young Practice of the Year
A practice, either multiple, franchise or independent which has been established in the last five years. This new practice fills a need in the community, has had local impact and has demonstrated drive and flair in establishing, growing and retaining a strong customer base. The team will be dedicated to the future expansion of the practice.
Sponsored by Alcon
The 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 winner will have a demonstrable and wide-reaching impact on the profession.