Press Releases

Online STE Launch

IACLE introduces Online Student Trial Exam to support educators following the COVID-19 pandemic

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) has launched an Online Student Trial Exam (STE) to support educators whose students are currently unable to attend their institutions in person or who want to assess students’ knowledge online.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Contact Lens Education’ survey conducted in May 2020 among IACLE Educator Members worldwide revealed:

• 71% of their institutions were currently closed to students to attend in person
• Only 24% were running exams or assessments for students to take in person
• 22% said they were not currently assessing students at all

Hosted on a new teaching online platform – IACLETOP – the Online STE is one of many additional resources IACLE is introducing under The TLC (Teach. Learn. Connect.) Initiative to support educators, students and industry at this time, and help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative also reflects IACLE’s wider move towards online delivery via IACLETOP.

The STE has previously been a 100 multiple-choice question (MCQ) assessment in paper format to help teachers gauge how their students are progressing through their contact lens curriculum. The paper-format STE will now be discontinued. Delivering the STE online means IACLE can offer a number of enhancements:

• A choice between the traditional 100 MCQ exam or a reduced STE with 50 MCQs, providing more flexibility for educators and students.
• Questions and answer options randomized, so each student gets an individual exam.
• The option to complete the STE via a smartphone app as well as on their computer.
• Online feedback for each student, either on the day or when the educator prefers.

The Online STE will be free of charge until the end of 2020 and will initially be conducted in English, with translations into Spanish, Korean, Chinese (Simplified) and Bahasa to be completed by September.

IACLE’s Executive Manager of Educational Development Professor Craig Woods, who is leading the project, explained: ‘Even if educators are teaching remotely and their students are learning from home, IACLE is able to support them with this tried, tested and trusted exam. We’re very excited to add this to our existing resources and the three institutions that have already tried it out were impressed by how easy it was to administer to their students.’

FIACLE optometrist Fakhruddin Barodawala, lecturer at SEGi University in Malaysia, was among the first to run the exam. He commented: ‘IACLETOP came to the rescue just in time. The pandemic has hit everyone globally, and we were clueless on how we would conduct the STE. At SEGi University, STE is an important element of contact lens teaching as it forms a part of our summative assessment for final-year students. Both I as the educator and my students had a good learning experience.’

– ENDS –

For media enquiries please contact:

Alison Ewbank
Communications | International Association of Contact Lens Educators
International Association of Contact Lens Educators
London | United Kingdom
Work: + 44 208 390 9378 | Mobile: + 44 7732 121 959
Skype: alisonewbank1 | Web:

Amelia Morgan 
Marketing Consultant | International Association of Contact Lens Educators
Leeds | United Kingdom
Work / Mobile: + 44 7740 858 395
Skype: ameliagracemorgan_1 | Web:

Notes for editors 

  1. Information on the IACLE Student Trial Exam.
  2. Details of The TLC (Teach. Learn. Connect.) Initiative.
  3. ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Contact Lens Education’ survey of IACLE Educator Members worldwide was conducted online in May 2020. A total of 214 responses were received from 32 countries across all three of IACLE’s global regions. The survey covers the current effects of the pandemic on contact lens education worldwide, and how educators and institutions plan to adapt in future.
  4. Information on all IACLE activities and membership benefits is available at


The International Association of Contact Lens Educators was established in 1979 and is a non-profit, non-political association. IACLE has 967 (as of 30 June 2020) active members in 726 institutions in 79 countries and welcomes contact lens educators from all eye care professions and related disciplines. IACLE is dedicated to raising the standard of contact lens education and promoting the safe use of contact lenses worldwide. It is the leading provider of educational and information resources essential to contact lens educators. IACLE is supported by leading global contact lens manufacturers: Platinum Sponsor Alcon, Gold Sponsor CooperVision, Silver Sponsor Johnson & Johnson Vision, Bronze Sponsor Bausch + Lomb and Donor Sponsor Euclid.