Practitioners had the chance to benefit from a truly multidisciplinary approach to learning at the UK-based Specsavers Professional Advancement Conference (PAC), with a program that brought together optometrists, contact lens and dispensing opticians, optometry undergraduates, ophthalmologists and audiologists.

More than 2,000 people were at the event on Sunday 21 October, taking over the ICC in Birmingham, England for a program that was dominated by interactive discussion workshops and offered a year’s worth of CET points. As well as Specsavers practitioners, around 100 delegates were self-employed or independent optometrists. A further 65 practitioners came from Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

Just two years into Specsavers’ ground-breaking partnership with ophthalmology provider Newmedica, five senior consultant ophthalmologists were at the PAC to share their expertise in sessions on red eye, cataract and glaucoma, flashes and floaters, medical retina and OCT.

In a first for the event, a discussion workshop brought together optical and audiology professionals to examine consent issues and clinical cases involving multidisciplinary care for both hearing and sight loss. In another first, a bespoke undergraduate program was provided free of charge to around 80 optometry students.

OCT was predictably popular, given Specsavers’ national rollout program, with introductory sessions for DOs, more advanced case studies for optometrists and a supplier drop-in clinic with Heidelberg and Birmingham Optical for Nidek.

Welcoming delegates to the event, Specsavers UK Director of Professional Advancement Paul Morris said, “I’m sure you are all looking forward to a great day of world-class learning and professional development. But that is not the sole purpose of PAC; it is also about networking, sharing ideas, and exposure to product and equipment that can enhance our care offering.

“It is a unique event and, indeed, Specsavers is a unique business, where decisions are taken for the long term, not for short-term gain. It’s all about doing the best thing for patients, putting them at the centre of everything we do.

“At a time of unparalleled change in our sector we, with your help, are leading the agenda.”

The annual PAC is the culmination of Specsavers’ industry-leading professional education program which has seen more than 60,000 CET points awarded during the past year.

It included an exhibition which gave delegates the chance to meet with optical and audiology product and equipment suppliers as well as with the College of Optometrists, Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre, Association of British Dispensing Opticians, and the Association of Optometrists, along with eye health charities Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Macular Society and the International Glaucoma Association.

This article first appeared in ProFile UK.