The European Academy of Optometry and Optics (EAOO) was officially launched on Saturday 16 May 2009 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Officers of the Board of Trustees were appointed by the European Council of Optometry and Optics (ECOO) in Brno, on 28 February 2009. Dr Feike Grit,appointed as inaugural President, will serve a two-year term and will be succeeded by the inaugural Vice-President, Professor Roger Crelier. Nick Parker was appointed as the inaugural Treasurer and will serve a one-year term.

Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive of the College of the Optometrists, London, which hosts the Academy Secretariat, was appointed Company Secretary. Dr Rob Hogan, President of the College of Optometrists, London, was appointed to the Board as the College’s representative during the Academy’s start-up phase.

The results of the election of the Board of Trustees were announced at the ECOO General Assembly on 16 May. Trustees will serve a one or three year term in one of four Trustee categories:

Category 1 – Representing European Educational Institutions:

  • Dr Alessandro Fossetti (Italian Optometric Society, Italy)
  • Dr Paul Murphy (University of Cardiff, UK)

Category 2 – Representing ECOO member organisations:

  • Christian Stebler (Swiss Optical Association, Switzerland)
  • Eduardo Teixeira (Association of Licensed Optometrists, Portugal)

Category 3 – Individual educationalists:

  • Professor Jean-Paul Roosen (France)
  • 1 x vacancy

Category 4 – Individual practitioners:

  • Gerhard Gschweidl (Austria)
  • 1 x vacancy

Commenting on the need for the Academy Dr Grit said: “This is an exciting time for optometry and optics in Europe. To meet the requirements of a modern profession, ECOO needed a far greater input from the profession across Europe. A different framework was essential to enable us to optimize the cooperation between different stakeholders, leaders of optometry, practitioners, educators and scientists. The Academy will provide this new framework.”

Dr Grit added; I am delighted to become President of the European Academy and I look forward to spending the next two years taking this exciting new venture from strength to strength. Research is essential for the development of every profession and the launch of the Academy provides us with a unique opportunity to advance our profession, develop our scientific knowledge base and support and promote lifelong learning for optometrists and opticians across Europe. This weekend’s excellent inaugural Research and Academic Symposium, at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, and the Gala Dinner, held in the beautiful Beau Rivage Palace Hotel, was an amazing start to my term as President.”

The European Academy, an initiative of ECOO, has been established to build on the work of the former Association of European Universities and Schools of Optometry (AEUSCO). The Academy aims to: develop scientific knowledge of optometry and optics; advance and promote education and research into optometry, optics and related subjects; promote for the public benefit the science and practice of optometry and optics and the professional competence and conduct of Academy members.

The European Academy’s launch and its first event, the Research and Academic Symposium, was incorporated into the ECOO Spring meeting, running from 14 – 17 May. The Research and Academic Symposium brought key stakeholders from across Europe together to discuss and disseminate the latest research relating to optometry, optics and vision science.

In his welcome address, Dr Wolfgang Cagnolati, President of ECOO, told delegates that the foundation of the Academy is a milestone for the future of eye care in Europe that “opens new frontiers for European optometrists and opticians.” He added that the Academy had the potential to make optometry and optics stronger, for the benefit of both the public and the profession. He stressed that for the Academy to thrive and meet its potential it will need the support of a broad range of stakeholders from the sector. Dr Cagnolati went on to stress that although the Academy is in the early stages of its development, there are very ambitious plans in place for moving the organisation forward, including establishing a comprehensive set of member benefits, developing a Fellowship portfolio programme and developing a portfolio of Awards and Grants.

130 delegates attended the two day event, hearing lectures from 15 presenters from eight countries and viewing a series of eight poster presentations on a variety of research topics. The Symposium featured two keynote lectures. Dr Robert Harper, Optometrist Consultant at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, England, presented Glaucoma: Challenges and opportunities for optometry. Dr Harper told delegates that Glaucoma is a significant cause of visual morbidity throughout the world. He examined where there is scope for optometry to develop as a profession in relation to the identification, management and treatment of this condition, identified the research relating to optometric involvement in glaucoma pathways that is currently available and described some of the areas requiring further research based evidence. Dr Harper finished his presentation by examining the roles of specialist education, clinical governance and audit in relation to developing optometric involvement in glaucoma care pathways.

Josephine Mullin, Director of Education at the College of Optometrists, London, United Kingdom presented the Education keynote on developing a Scheme for Registration. Ms Mullin described how the College has been developing the Scheme for Registration to ensure that those who complete it successfully have the clinical knowledge, skills and experience to practise independently.

The European Academy will organise annual meetings in the spring with a comprehensive program of lectures, posters and workshops that will be of interest to leaders of optometry, scientists and clinicians from all over Europe. The date and location of the 2010 Academy event will be announced shortly.

Programme and abstracts booklet

You can download the programme and abstracts booklet below, which contains the full programme and details of conference sessions:

Lausanne 2009: Programme and abstracts booklet

Lausanne Photo Gallery

Lausanne Press Release and Programme

Academy meets in Lausanne 160509

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