• 25 January 2016 2:03 PM | Anonymous

    BIOS Statement on Free Vision Screening Campaigns/Tools

    Recent public relation activities by corporate stakeholders in children’s eye care have been directed at schools offering free vision testing kits for teachers or other school staff can use. These are some examples which members have noticed:



    The BIOS is not able to endorse these campaigns as there is no evidence to support the approach. The information that teachers and parents receive about children’s eye care should be balanced, presented in a clear and unbiased way, ensure best practice and be scientifically accurate. 

    There is concern in England that a lack of awareness of the National Screening Committee (NSC) guidance on the 4 to 5 year vision screening is leading to a failure in the commissioning process for both the screening and the onward care pathway for children who fail the screening.  The BIOS is working with all stakeholders in children’s eye care to ensure that the specification and commissioning of vision screening contracts occurs in a consistent way that delivers on NSC recommendations.  It is important that the NSC guidelines for universal vision screening of children are not undermined.

    In Scotland Orthoptists have a government mandate to deliver the screening.  In Wales Orthoptists are working with the Welsh Government for Vision Screener-delivered testing and have an agreed all-Wales Vision Screening Care Pathway. In the Republic of Ireland Orthoptists are working with the Health Service Executive to review current provision of screening and the screening care pathway. In Northern Ireland there is regional vision screening in schools with all 4 -5 year olds a having a vision test by nurses trained by Orthoptists.

    We must ensure that the public are not misled, and defend national evidence-based guidelines.  Screening programs are essential to those who do not seek advice or think they are at risk, and show no signs or symptoms of the condition.  The national guidelines provide a population based examination of all children ensuring the ‘at risk’ and vulnerable children in the population are reached and appropriate use of resources.

    Suggested local action for Heads/Leads of Orthoptic Service - this is a letter you can send to head teachers in your area to let them know if you already offer free vision screening for 4-5 year olds Free Vision Screening Letter_19 01 16.docx


  • 19 January 2016 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    Part-time Orthoptist Vacancy Dublin, Ireland

    A Part-time Orthoptist is required for a dedicated Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus practice in South Dublin. Applicants should possess a degree in Orthoptics from either Liverpool, Sheffield or Glasgow Caledonian Universities or equivalent.

    Post qualification experience is desirable.

    Expiry date 28th February 2016. Please forward your CV to info@blackrockeyecare.com or telephone 00353-1-2103653

    More information from http://www.blackrockeyecare.com/

    Full time Care & Services Research Officer, MS Society 

    ·         Salary: £27,395 - £31,564 plus excellent benefits

    ·         Closing date: 21 Jan 2016 at 8:00AM

    ·         Published date: 06 Jan 2016

    The MS Society is looking for a Care and Services Research Officer to join the research team and help run our multi-million pound research grants programme, as well as enable us to build their own evidence around the needs of people affected by MS in the UK. There will be an emphasis on generating evidence as you will be part of a team involved in the 2016 My MS My Needs project. This is an exciting opportunity to analyse the results of a major MS Society research project. In addition you will play a key role in implementing the new research strategy, and taking forward the results of the ground breaking James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership.

    They are looking for an enthusiastic individual with a detailed understanding of a range of research methodologies, and a proven ability to apply them in answering complex research questions. You will also have the organisational ability to effectively coordinate the care and services research programme, ensuring that funding decisions are informed by the expert opinions of people affected by MS and relevant scientists and health professionals. Above all you will be committed to using your expertise to help the MS Society build the evidence base around how best to support people affected by MS, and apply that evidence in their work.


  • 15 January 2016 3:24 PM | Anonymous

    The Stephenson Honorary Fellow Award was established by the IOA Council of Management in honour of their former Deputy President and Council Member, Professor Gail Stephenson.  Image result for gail stephenson image

    Professor Stephenson devoted many hours to the service of orthoptics nationally and internationally.  She achieved great distinction for her commitment to orthoptic education and the development of the profession.  This award recognizes orthoptists’ outstanding contributions and distinguished service to the profession of orthoptics at the local and international level.  

    The person nominated for this award must have made an exceptional impact to the profession within IOA full member countries, associate member countries or within developing countries in which the IOA is assisting.  There must be evidence of excellence and outstanding performance over a number of years in various aspects of orthoptics, e.g.: 

    • Development and promotion of the profession
    • Exceptional service in an elected position over and above what is expected
    • Education of orthoptists
    • Pioneering work in orthoptics
    • Volunteer and humanitarian work
    • Exceptional advocacy related efforts on the state, provincial, territory or national level for the profession
    • Special service or specific effort for a cause that improves the quality of eye care
    • Other evidence of awards .

    The award of Honorary Fellow is a cumulative award which will be submitted to stringent review by the IOA Council of Management.  It is an award which is of high order and will be rarely conferred. 

    Eligibility: Orthoptists who hold IOA membership.  Consideration will be given to posthumous candidates. 
    Application: Nominations for this award can be made by any IOA member. Applications should include:

    • A completed nomination form The Stephenson Honorary Fellow Award Nomination Form.docx
    • A letter of support from the IOA member Country Association from which the candidate hails (within the UK &I this would be BIOS)
    • Two additional letters of support (e.g., individual with direct knowledge of the candidate’s work, letters from other organizations, etc.) 

    Application deadline: All applications must be received by the IOA Secretary, Katherine Fray by February 1st 2016.  Send to mailto:secretary@internationalorthoptics.org
    Selection: The IOA Council of Management will review all applications and select the winner. 
    Award: Certificate and pin to be presented at a prestigious IOA function (i.e., Congress, AGM, etc.)

  • 08 December 2015 8:18 AM | Anonymous


    This joint strategy was produced by the Allied Health Professions Federation (AHPF) with the support of Public Health England (PHE). It sets out our vision for the role of allied health professionals (AHPs), including orthoptists, in public health. It details how we intend to implement that strategy, the goals we have set out to achieve and how we will measure our success.

    Orthoptists can make a start and show their commitment to this initiative by sending in their examples of Making Every Contact Count (MECC) which BIOS has started to record on behalf of the profession mailto:bios@orthoptics.org.uk

    In time, it is intended to help AHPs, as well as professional bodies like BIOS and partner organisations, to further develop their leadership in public health, share best practice with colleagues and partners and ultimately embed preventative healthcare across all their work.

    Quote from Ann Green, Chair, Allied Health Professions Federation:
    After close collaborative working between PHE and AHPF we are delighted to see this strategy launched. It will provide a blue print and roadmap to harness the huge potential within the AHP workforce to further develop their public health role. As the third largest group of clinical professionals in health and social care, we can make a substantial difference to the health of the public and seek to be leaders in preventative healthcare.

  • 30 November 2015 2:16 PM | Anonymous

    Chancellor George Osborne last week delivered the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and Autumn Budget to the House of Commons. Read in full here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-and-spending-review-2015

    The main announcement for the NHS was confirmation of the commitment to increase NHS funding from £101bn currently to £120bn by 2020/21, with the first £6bn delivered upfront next year.

    Other points of interest to employers in the NHS include:

    • tax-free childcare costs for parents working more than 16h and earning less than £100,000
    • bursaries for student nurses to be removed and replaced with student loans and also cuts to AHP bursaries
    • creation of up to 10,000 new nursing training places
    • more than £5bn for health research including genomics and dementia
    • £600m of additional funding for mental health services, including access to talking therapies and crisis care
    • a new council tax levy of up to 2 per cent for local authorities to spend specifically on adult social care, with the aim of bringing £2bn more into the social care system
    • Better Care fund increased to £1.5bn by 2019/20
    • state pension will increase next year to £119.30 per week
    • a new single tier pension payment of £155.65 for new pensioners from next year
    • an apprenticeship levy to raise £3bn a year, set at 0.5 per cent of the payroll bill but with a £15,000 allowance for employers to offset the levy.

    Commenting on the cut to AHP bursaries - the BIOS Chair, Rowena McNamara, said:

    "The British & Irish Orthoptic Society objects strongly to the news from the Spending Review that bursaries for AHPs are being cut. It is only going to add to the increased unpredictability of numbers of undergraduates being trained as Orthoptists (if applicants have more debt resulting from a lack of a range of available funding). It could also mean that universities may accept a larger number onto undergraduate courses - leading to an oversupply.

    With this additional debt hanging over applicants, smaller AHP professions like Orthoptics will struggle to recruit to undergraduate courses.

    Potentially the pool of applicants then taking up extended roles, some of which are beginning to replace medics, may be disrupted. (As we know, medical ophthalmologists are projected to be in short supply by the Centre For Workforce Intelligence).

    The undergraduate commissioning system currently takes into account AHP bursaries and so, without this, it would have to be overhauled. The risk to this finely balanced system is that projected workforce requirements would be severely disrupted and chaotic.

    Without the funding provided by NHS England for bursaries, Health Education England itself will be underfunded and potentially understaffed removing the current quality assurance and robust commissioning cycle associated with this process."


  • 28 November 2015 10:15 PM | Anonymous

    Claire Saha, BIOS Exemptions Project Lead, reports as follows:

    Following the public consultation on proposals to allow orthoptists to sell, supply and administer medicines under exemptions within the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, the Commission of Human Medicines has considered the proposal.  The minutes from this meeting were published on 27 November 2015 and are available here - see page 2 onwards CHM Summary Minutes.pdf

    The Commission will submit their recommendations to ministers, which is likely to be considered before the end of the year.  Subject to ministerial approval, changes to legislation will be made in 2016, with courses to train orthoptists to use exemptions available during 2017.

  • 20 November 2015 10:42 PM | Anonymous
    Staff Side PRB evidence 2016-17.docx

    BIOS and BOSTU members contribute to Pay Review Body evidence - read more in the link above

    Results from the 2015 British and Irish Orthoptic Society survey of members:

    ·         75% reported that they did not have enough resources to carry out their job, either in time or equipment or both

    ·         Over 70% said morale in the department was worse than last year, particularly having to deal with continual change and increasing pressure to work harder with fewer resources

    ·         Over 65% work between 5-10 hours overtime per week, with 60% of those stating these hours are not paid

  • 18 November 2015 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    Many thanks to those who spotted the misleading and scare-mongering article from the Daily Mail this week.

    Working with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, we today succeeded in getting the headline: "Girl, 5, to have her eye REMOVED and put back in place by surgeons to fix squint" changed to a less sensational one: "Girl, 5, to have her eye muscles shortened by surgeons to fix her squint."

    We have also asked them to publish this jointly agreed statement:

    Professor Carrie MacEwen, president of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said, “Surgery to correct squints is extremely common. There are possible complications or risk of infection with every surgery, but squint surgery is a low risk procedure and carried out under general anaesthetic.”

    She told Mailonline, “It involves adjusting the small muscles on the coat of the eye (the sclera) to help change the position of the eyes and straighten them. The eye is never removed from the socket to carry out this procedure.” Professor MacEwen added the surgery is the most common eye operation carried out on children. However, it is less common now as first-line treatments include glasses and eye patches.  www.rcophth.ac.uk

    Anita Mccallum, a spokesperson for the British & Irish Orthoptic Society said, “The health professionals involved in referring, diagnosing, treating and correcting squints are Orthoptists (who will diagnose and manage) and Ophthalmologists who perform the surgery. Optometrists who practise in the community can also diagnose squint and advise on treatment. Often the discovery of the condition starts with a referral from health visitors and GPs who will advise parents on the need to see a specialist.”

    Ms Mccallum added, “If squints are not corrected with surgery they can lead to permanent eye problems such as loss of binocular (two eyed) vision and can hamper social interactions and self-esteem, so it is important that people come forward for prompt attention. Treatment includes glasses for lazy vision (amblyopia) before surgery is performed.” www.orthoptics.org.uk

    Thanks again for everyone's vigilance - together we can change misinformation and misleading messages in the media.

  • 22 October 2015 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    4th of November is Wobbly Wednesday, a day to raise awareness and understanding about Nystagmus. They are using social media to help promote the day and have set up a Thunderclap – this is a way of posting the same message at the same time on Twitter or Facebook around the world.

    Lots of orthoptists have already signed up and if you haven't please do!. on Twitter or Facebook you could ask your trust to get involved. It’s very simple, just sign up online at https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/33037-wobblywednesday

  • 19 October 2015 1:51 PM | Anonymous

    International Orthoptic Congress, Rotterdam 2016

    A reminder that the deadline for submission of abstracts for the 2016 IOC is rapidly approaching and closes on December 1st. Abstracts can be submitted via http://ioacongress2016.org/abstracts

    The UK has a consistently good record of attendance and presentation at the IOC and it is an excellent way to meet orthoptists and hear about orthoptic research from across the globe. The IOC is also an ideal opportunity for new graduates to gain some presentation experience and raise the profile of your department.

    The programme is varied with 12 themed sessions in the areas of Amblyopia, Vision Screening, Binocular Vision, Strabismus, Strabismus Management, Low Vision, Cerebral Vision Impairment, Neuro-ophthalmology, Ocular Surgery, Technology & Eye Disease, Education (Orthoptic, Medical) and Other. In addition there will be special programme features such as the Burian Lecture (Dr Anna Horwood), Education forum and a Leadership forum. Other aspects include round table discussions, posters, three invited symposia and panels/forums centred around the ‘Bridging Worlds’ theme of the Congress.

    On behalf of the IOA, I encourage you to consider submitting a presentation and making the most of a relatively low cost trip to our Dutch neighbours.

    Dr David Newsham

    BIOS UK & Ireland representative on the IOA


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British and Irish Orthoptic Society

0203 853 9797

Salisbury House · Station Road
Cambridge · CB1 2LA
United Kingdom