BCLA UK: Bouncing back from Covid-19

Sarah Morgan discusses sustainability

Eyecare professionals are bouncing back from the initial impact of Covid-19, with contact lenses playing a crucial role in the rebuild – according to new data presented at the BCLA UK conference and exhibition.

During the online conference held on Sunday 8 November, British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) members heard the latest evidence-based research, with lectures promoting best practice to maximise success with contact lenses, including confidence with myopia management and the management of dry eye disease.

As part of the programme, immediate BCLA past president Jonathon Bench chaired a session looking at contact lens retention, which featured talks from Professor Philip Morgan, Paul York and Zoe Bull.

Data shown during the session revealed that despite 702,000 lost appointments in the first half of 2020 due to lockdown restrictions, the UK only saw a three per cent fall in contact lens sales during the first lockdown; early reports also indicated year-on-year growth in July and August due to pent-up demand. This, said the speakers, was thanks mainly due to the prevalence of subscription-based models.

The session also saw Zoe Bull showcase a ‘Protect, rebuild and reignite’ roadmap to allow practices to ‘bounce back’, focusing on providing increased use of ‘out-of-practice’ services such as tele-medicine and remote care.

Sarah Smith was joined by Sarah Morgan for her session titled, ‘Eyes on the planet: sustainability in practice’. Other sessions included ‘Science of compliance’ chaired by Dr Katharine Evans, and ‘Evidence-based practice’ chaired by Professor James Wolffsohn.

A series of online peer review sessions were also held, with 120 delegates taking part. Christine Purslow presented ‘Lubricants for dry eye: what’s it all about?’, while Craig McArthur staged, ‘Perfecting communication for successful myopia management’.

Luke Stevens-Burt, chief executive of the BCLA, said: “As a truly global organisation, it was great to welcome eyecare practitioners from around the world to BCLA UK. Although clearly it’s a shame we couldn’t meet in person, this was definitely the next best thing and has helped bring our members closer than ever before.

“The combination of an exciting new format and some fascinating lecture content ensured thus year’s BCLA UK was a huge success. It highlighted the resilience, enthusiasm and positivity that abounds in the category and shows that by demonstrating a willingness to adapt and evolve, we can continue to grow for many years to come.”

Another new feature for BCLA UK 2020 was the Virtual Exhibition, with delegates able to contact suppliers direct and view product demonstrations from event sponsors.

An Eye Spy competition was held – with Krupa Nathwani, Paul MacDonald and Louise Nicklin named the winners.

Find details of BCLA events at www.bcla.org.uk