PAC – Professional Advancement Conference marks 25 years of clinical education

Specsavers co-founders Doug and Dame Mary Perkins celebrated the company’s 25th Professional Advancement Conference on Sunday (13 October), sharing anniversary cupcakes and joining in clinical discussions with the delegates. 

Open to all optics and audiology practitioners, wherever they work, the conference took over the whole of the ICC in Birmingham, with 2,000 delegates multiple educational tracks, 40 exhibitors and up to a year’s worth of CET points on offer. 

Doug Perkins commented: ‘The wealth of experience to be found under one roof is phenomenal. Colleagues who first attended PAC many years ago as trainee or newly-qualified practitioners now bring their own clinical teams along each year, or deliver workshop sessions as facilitators or presenters – passing on their knowledge and experience to the next generation of practitioners. 

‘PAC has always aimed to be relevant to everyday practice – and that’s why it continues to be so successful. 

‘The passion and enthusiasm among the delegates for knowledge-sharing and wanting to do the best for their patients is tangible at an event like this – and makes for a very inspiring day.’ 

A welcome event to celebrate the 25th anniversary was held the evening before, allowing colleagues – including some from Northern Europe, Spain and Australia – to catch up ahead of the main conference. 

Many of the discussion workshops were accredited for more than one practitioner group, allowing optometrists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians the opportunity to take part in case-based discussions together, on topics ranging from recall habits, to lifestyle dispensing, and contact lens fitting for patients with sensitive eyes.

In keeping with Specsavers’ focus on glaucoma awareness and training for the delivery of enhanced optical services, IP optometrist Irinder Khakha delivered a session on referral decisions, risk stratification and ways that community optometrists can support the wellbeing of people under the care of a secondary glaucoma service. 

Professor Phil Morgan of the University of Manchester – recently returned from presenting at Specsavers clinical conferences in five different countries across Northern Europe – spoke on the utility of the contact lens aftercare visit and using evidence-based approaches to maximise the chances of successful contact lens wear in presbyopia. 

With Specsavers’ national OCT rollout continuing apace, there was a strong focus on OCT throughout the day, including eight workshops targeted at all levels of experience, and a supplier drop-in clinic with Heidelberg and Birmingham Optical for Nidek.

The annual PAC is the culmination of Specsavers’ industry-leading professional education programme which has seen more than 40,000 CET points awarded during the past year. 

It included an exhibition which gave delegates the chance to meet with optical and audiology product and equipment suppliers as well as with the College of Optometrists, WOPEC, and AOP, along with eye health charities the Macular Society and the International Glaucoma Association.  

Specsavers’ regional CET roadshow events – the MiniPACs – will take place from 3 March to 10 May 2020. 

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