BCLA Focus and Love Your Lenses: Interview with Luke Stevens-Burt
10th June 2022
How excited are BCLA to be ‘in-person’ again?
Super excited! It’s been amazing to see the whole conference eco system open again over the last few months. This is the first opportunity that the BCLA has really had to join that, and we are so happy to be part of such a busy optometric calendar. We haven’t seen our members in person for a long time, so being able to deliver hands on, key sessions that require people to be present in the room is brilliant.
Although we feel we have really harnessed digital to the best of our ability by delivering excellent education programmes over the last couple of years, the opportunity to reconnect and bring the community back together for focused, in-person discussion is refreshing and we are really over the moon to be back.
Who structured the programme and speakers for the event – is there a theme?
We convened a new conference committee which was led by Sarah Farrant and other members of the council to structure the program and reach out to speakers. Our new committee representation has really helped to shape this programme, spending time researching which sessions will work and what we believe practices want to see from BCLA. They’ve been great.
There is no particular theme this year, but we are really focusing on how to increase confidence among ECPs and give them the ability to improve skills in contact lens fitting and development. The programme itself is broad with something in there for everyone. There are opportunities to learn about some of the latest research to extend and broaden their services, with exhibitors talking about new products to bring exposure to new thinking.
Overall, there is a solid mix of interesting workshops, presentations and lectures to get everyone engaged.
Tell us about the industry exhibition – how do you encourage your delegates to visit the trade partners?
We’ll be actively encouraging visits to the trade partners with a cosy exhibition area for this event. Exhibitors are excited to be talking to delegates about their products and services and there are a huge number of opportunities to increase footfall when wandering around the exhibition area, with product demos planned and the ability find out about the best products and services currently out there.
We also have refreshments during breaks, lunch, exciting talks and an awards ceremony taking place, so there are plenty of incentives for delegates to visit!
There is already a really good buzz around the attendance and the opportunity which is great to see.
Are you ready for the #LoveYourLenses campaign next week?
We’ve got a really exciting couple of weeks ahead of us here at BCLA, with the closing of the conference acting as the starting point for love your lenses week. This is the second year BCLA are running the campaign and we’ve seen an increase in interest from last year with over 250 practices registered. We’ve attracted global participation even though the campaign is primarily UK based. But as a global association, we’re pleased to be able to communicate this campaign internationally.
While the initiative is led and resourced by the BCLA, we are grateful to the funds received from commercial partners and The Optical Fund. We could not deliver this without that support.
We have really enjoyed seeing the responses on social media so far and watching the continued growth and engagement. The first 200 UK supporters have been sent a pack with t-shirts and we have encouraged them to share pictures online in the lead up to the campaign. It’s amazing to be able to use those assets and features to encourage those conversations between ECPs and patients to promote a healthy compliance with contact lens wear.
We have specific, dedicated webinars for the campaign, kicking off with a panel-based webinar discussing the everyday impact of one of the most important contact lens research papers released in recent years titled ‘Not all soft contact lenses are created equal; The real-world significance’.
This webinar is key for this campaign as it is such a hot topic at the moment.
What’s next for BCLA?
We want to continue the valuable work we are doing in bringing the community together and grow our membership globally. We will continue to have a strong interest in certificates that focus on dry eye and myopia management, making assessments more accessible and easier to manage. Our journal has been performing remarkably and is increasingly impactful, so we wish to see this continue. The industry has responded very well this year and we can’t thank our sponsors and supporters enough for the contribution they have made to the BCLA.
We are back next year with our Clinic Conference and Exhibition for the first time since 2019 and we will have the opportunity to bring even more of our community together at this amazing event. This will give our members the opportunity to network, find out latest research and have an excellent all-round time.
We are striving to continue this journey of engagement and growth, as the BCLA has a strong reputation for being influential in this sector and plays a strong thought leadership role.