The International Opticians Association (IOA) has updated its look with a new website and social media presence aimed at forging a stronger international network for optical dispensers (opticians).
Elaine Grisdale FBDO FAAO, Director of Development at the International Opticians Association, said originally the IOA was designed to bring like-minded optical professionals together to talk about the business side of optics and its development, however today the mission is different.
“First and foremost the IOA is an association dedicated to the enhancement and development of the optical profession around the world. Its mission is to act as a forum for optician practitioners, optical bodies, industry partners and educators to come together and discuss topics which have an impact on the development of the profession and the delivery of world class eye care and quality vision. The IOA is a forum for opticians around the world offering them the opportunity to discuss and disseminate matters relating to optical business.”
Ms. Grisdale said the IOA, which will host its biennial conference in the UK from 13-20 April, 2018, now has a more political outlook with the emphasis being on the development of the profession worldwide. “This is both in terms of helping local optical organisations win the ear of government in terms of recognition and scopes of practice, as well as ensuring the highest standards of practice and quality vision for all,” she said.
While optics is under-represented in many countries, in others the profession is under attack. “There are still places where optics is in its infancy, the IOA’s challenge is to forge partnerships to raise standards across the globe and help countries who are getting started.
“The challenge is to be pro-active and not re-active. The IOA aims to bring all opticians together to consider the future and create plans for development of the profession, rather than responding to circumstance.”
Ms. Grisdale described the IOA’s priorities as:
i) To increase the visibility and membership through a refreshing new image and vibrant new website. The website will globally highlight the work of our profession to the benefit of opticians but also the public who deserve to know more about what an optician does and what they can expect from an optician visit.
ii) To engage with professionals all over the world via associated social media channels to provide a support mechanism helping opticians deliver the best standards of care. It will also ensure that the IOA is an active and relevant part of opticians’ lives.
iii) To act as a bridge between optical professionals to create relationships and a professional network to strengthen and improve the profession and share best practice and continued development. Our new website and social media channels will allow every optician who has access to a mobile to learn more about their profession and develop their own skills and knowledge.
Working in the Optical Landscape
“There has been no international body working for the advancement and protection of the opticians profession unlike in optometry and ophthalmology,” said Ms. Grisdale. “Through face to face interaction with other professional bodies and via the conduit of national organisations, the IOA will be able to play a more active political role to advance the profession and protect the public. Holding other stakeholders to account who purport to represent both optometry and optics, by encouraging development of the profession in countries where there are little resources, acting as an international reference for excellence in optics for national bodies fighting with Ministries for recognition or increased scopes of practice, helping promote skills via the website, CET, train the trainer and advice and guidance. Promotion of the profession to the grand public with the emphasis on explaining the need for professionals to deliver the best quality vision and products. Promoting opportunities for professionals to move to other countries to experience work abroad. Working with industry partners to look at areas for development both in terms of geography and product knowledge.
“Business matters should not, of course be ignored or forgotten. We will make sure that the IOA also creates a forum for business development to happen. Eighty per cent of the turnover of a practice which also undertakes eye exams, comes from the dispensing element and the supply of optical appliances. The investment in clinical and diagnostic equipment and optometric staff could not happen as efficiently without the work of the optician,” Ms. Grisdale said.
IOA’s biennial conference will be held in the UK from 13-20 April. Visit www.ioassn.org for details.