“Shout from the rooftops” says new BCLA president

The new president of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has issued a rallying call to members, urging them to ‘shout from the rooftops’ and encourage “an exciting new generation of contact lens practitioners to reap the rewards of joining the organisation”.

Jonathon Bench, head of professional affairs at Alcon, officially took over as BCLA president at the Association’s awards dinner and masquerade ball in Manchester last weekend. He takes over from Professor Sunil Shah and will oversee the next stage of a campaign to raise the BCLA’s profile both in the UK and around the world, with a focus on encouraging a more diverse, younger membership.

He said: “It’s an absolute honour and privilege to be president of the BCLA, an organisation that has meant so much to me for so long. I am enthused and passionate about contact lenses and the ocular surface and that’s what the organisation stands for. Over the next year we have to face up to the fact that we will be changing, we will be evolving and we’re going to be adapting. It’s an exciting time and we need everybody who’s part of the BCLA to raise their voices, share their thoughts and let people know why the BCLA is so important to them so we can encourage so many more people become part of our big family.”

The BCLA clinical conference and exhibition saw hundreds of delegates attend over the course of the three days in Manchester, with dozens of countries from around the world represented. It was announced during the conference that a new BCLA certificate in myopia management will be launched later this year, adding to the existing dry eye certificate.

Jonathon added: “It’s hugely encouraging to see a number of highly-skilled young contact lens practitioners making their way into the profession. They are vital for the future of the nation’s eye health and the standard of the entries into the BCLA Awards proved that patients are in safe hands for many years to come. We were delighted to name Eleanor Hill as the winner of the 2019 BCLA Young Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year and Dr Saleel Jivraj as Dry Eye Practitioner of the Year. Hardworking and ambitious people such as Eleanor and Saleel can become the next generation of pioneers, innovators and thought leaders in a profession that is always evolving, always adapting and always learning.”