The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) conference 2017 held from 9th to 11th June in Liverpool, UK (the “home of The Beatles”) was educational, informative and a wonderful celebration of the 40th anniversary of BCLA clinical conferences. The School of Optometry and Vision Science (SOVS) was well represented, with Professor Mark Willcox, Visiting Professor Eric Papas, Dr Jacqueline Tan and PhD candidate Ms Jaya Sowjanya Siddireddy in attendance.
It was with great joy that we witnessed our own UNSW Sydney, SOVS PhD candidate Jaya Sowjanya Siddireddy give her first ever conference presentation, and receive the prestigious and highly competitive Dallos Award for her research on “The role of eyelid bacteria on contact lens discomfort”. Jacqueline Tan presented research conducted by her 5th year students on “The effect of a hydrating mask compared to traditional warm compresses on tear film properties in meibomian gland dysfunction”, and was awarded a Fellowship with the BCLA at the Awards Dinner extravaganza held at the incredible Concert Hall, St Georges Hall. We also celebrated the winner of the President’s Award, which was conferred on fellow Australian researcher Kate Gifford.
Highlights of the conference included the worldwide release of the: Dry Eye Workshop II report, which has not only revised the definition of Dry Eye, but summarizes current best practices for the diagnosis and management of Dry Eye; three year results demonstrating the effectiveness of a Dual-Focus 1 Day soft contact lens for myopia control; and presentations from Industry revealing new technologies and the future of contact lenses, including virtual and augmented reality, as well as smart contact lenses.
The conference was a wonderful opportunity to hear the latest updates in research, meet with leading researchers from Academia and Industry, and strengthen and make new connections with potential collaborators in the future. It was a very worthwhile and productive conference to attend.