Industry Informer


18 June 2019 

IACLE makes its mark at BCLA 2019 to celebrate 40th year

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators celebrated 40 years of ‘Exceptional Education. Exponential Impact’ at the British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference in Manchester, UK (30 May – 2 June).

Read a full report on IACLE’s presence at BCLA

More than 100 delegates took up the invitation to ‘Make Your Mark’ at the IACLE exhibition booth on a time wall of milestones in the association’s history. Visitors also contributed ideas for the future of contact lens education.

Three of the Founding Members of IACLE who attended its very first meeting – in Monte Carlo, Monaco in November 1979 – were saluted at the IACLE / BUCCLE Education Day held on 29 May to coincide with the conference. The day was jointly organized with the British & Irish University & College Contact Lens Educators, and attracted 80 members and guests.

IACLE’s Founding President Dr Hilmar Bussacker, first BUCCLE Chair Richard Pearson and former IACLE Vice President Professor Des Fonn described their experiences of the early days of IACLE and were awarded certificates to mark the 40th Anniversary. First IACLE Secretary Dr John de Brabander sent a video message to delegates.

Outgoing industry supporters Dr Dwight Akerman (recently retired from IACLE Platinum Sponsor, Alcon) and Ian Davies (formerly of IACLE Silver Sponsor, Johnson & Johnson Vision) were also acknowledged, with IACLE Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Contact Lens Education. Professor Lyndon Jones received the Lester Janoff Memorial Award 2019 from the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators. His colleague at the University of Waterloo, Canada, IACLE Assistant Secretary Dr Luigina Sorbara,presented the award.

40th Anniversary celebrations continued at the BCLA Conference on 30 May with a presentation from IACLE President Dr Shehzad Narooduring the International Perspectives session, followed by a reception and cake-cutting hosted with Vice President Professor Philip Morgan of the University of Manchester at the association’s exhibition booth. 

The 2019 IACLE Contact Lens Educators of the Yearstepped up to the stage at the IACLE Awards Presentation in the main auditorium on 1 June. Receiving their certificates from Dr Gary Orsborn Vice President of Global Professional & Clinical Affairs at CooperVision, sponsor of the Educator Awards, were:

  • IACLE Americas Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Dr Rubén Velázquez, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City

  • IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Professor Craig Woods, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

  • IACLE Europe/Africa – Middle East Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Dr Fabrizio Zeri, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy

Also receiving his certificate from BCLA President Professor Sunil Shah was one of five IACLE Travel Award recipients for 2019, Joseph Afonne from Mzuzu University in Malawi. The annual Travel Awards are funded by IACLE and all its corporate sponsors. All the awards presented were co-sponsored by the BCLA.

The Awards ceremony completed a very successful week for IACLE that saw its members and Fellows involved throughout the program at BCLA 2019, as they chaired sessions, joined panel discussions, and delivered lectures and workshops.

Judith Morris, IACLE Regional President for Europe / Africa – Middle East and organizer of IACLE / BUCCLE Education Day commented: ‘The 40th celebration at the BCLA exhibition booth had such a buzz, and the events in the UK will help make 2019 a memorable episode in the life of IACLE. The Education Day also had a very positive atmosphere.’

IACLE’s 40th anniversary events now move on to the Asia Pacific Optometric Congress (APOC) in Manila, Philippines (17-20 June). Celebrations will be held at two further major international meetings during 2019: the Colegio Federación Colombiana de Optómetras (FEDOPTO) Congress in Bogotá, Colombia (8-10 August), and Academy 2019 and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry in Orlando, Florida, USA (23-27 October). Many more national and local meetings around the world will mark the occasion.


TOP LEFT: IACLE member Dr Mohammad Abahussin from Saudi Arabia makes his mark on the time wall at the association’s exhibition booth.

TOP MIDDLE: IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo and Vice President Professor Philip Morgan (right) cut an anniversary cake at the 40th reception.

TOP RIGHT: Pictured at the 2019 IACLE Awards Presentation (left to right) are: IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo, Dr Fabrizio Zeri, Professor Craig Woods, Joseph Afonne, Dr Rubén Velázquez, BCLA President Professor Sunil Shah and Dr Gary Orsborn, Vice President of Global Professional & Clinical Affairs at CooperVision, sponsor of the IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards.

BOTTOM: Founding Members of IACLE (left to right), Richard Pearson, Dr Hilmar Bussacker and Professor Desmond Fonn, receive certificates to mark the 40th Anniversary.

Find out more about IACLE’s 40th Anniversary events

Information on all IACLE membership benefits is available at

International Association of Contact Lens Educators