About Us – Optometry Ireland

Optometry Ireland is a membership organisation that represents the professional interests of eyecare professionals in Ireland. Whilst Optometry Ireland originated as the professional body representing optometrists (formerly known as ophthalmic opticians), Optometry Ireland advocates on behalf of everyone working in the eye-care sector. The role of Optometry Ireland, is to provide an unbiased voice for for eye-care professionals in Ireland and to advance the profession in Optometry so our members can put their professional skills to their fullest use, in order for the people of Ireland have access to expert eyecare that Irish Optometrists are educated and trained to deliver. We advocate for world class patient care by raising awareness about the importance of access to regular high quality eyecare and promote good vision and ocular health.

You can recognise members of Optometry Ireland by their use of either MAOI or FAOI (Members or Fellows). In order to make communication easier, the Association of Optometrists Ireland has started using the name Optometry Ireland in its communication channels- it much easier for people to say. You can learn more about the history of the profession and the organisation below.

Council of Optometry Ireland

Members of Optometry Ireland elect a Council to represent members’ interests and all members are eligible to stand for election. In addition, there are a number of standing committees that members may join / be elected to to serve on. Council will then elect an Executive Committee made up of the President / Vice-President / Hon. Treasurer / Hon Secretary and the Chair of Education & CPD along with the Chair of Professional Services; the immediate Past-President usually joins the Executive in an ex-officio role (non-voting) role.

There are 16 members of the Optometry Ireland Council, made up of 4 regional representatives and 12 other Council members. Each year 4 members of Council retire by rotation and an election is held to fill the places, with all members eligible to stand for election. Council currently features a gender split reflective of the profession with a mix of practice owners and employed members involved in both the Council & Executive that covers a broad spectrum of optical practice.

Some of the roles of Optometry Ireland

  • Looking after members interests by constantly monitoring developments in the profession and the professional environment and responding as appropriate.
  • Representing the voice of the profession to third parties – Government, industry, public, other professions etc.
  • Representing the profession at international level by participation in ECOO (European Council of Optometry & Optics) and WCO (World Council of Optometry).
  • Negotiating on behalf of the profession to enhance its role in healthcare.
  • Conducting research and planning future activities to keep the profession at the front of international developments.
  • Encouraging high standards of service in the profession.
  • Providing and facilitating a wide range of Continuing Professional Development.
  • Providing other member services including providing news, information and the website.

History_AOI_public

History of Optometry Ireland Irish Opticians go back much further than the One Hundred Years commemorated by this publication. In the “Dublin Chronicle” of 1787 we read of an optician living on Aran Quay – possibly of the Mason family – and in 1819 there were no less than 14 opticians in Dublin. However, organisation of the profession did not occur until 1905 with the formation of the “Irish Optical Association”, probably stimulated by the formation of the “British Optical Association some ten years previously. The name was changed in 1945 to “The Association of Ophthalmic Opticians, Ireland” and to…

Our President

Meet our President – John Weldon

aoi staff

Meet the AOI staff Sean McCraveChief Executive Officersean@aoi.ie Lynda McGivney Nolan F.A.O.IOptometric Advisorlyndamg@aoi.ie Mary CoyleAdministration Managermary@aoi.ie Lily LawlessFinance Officerlily@aoi.ie Linda O’SheaMembership Officerlinda@aoi.ie Sean CEO Sean is an experienced professional business manager, with proven P&L, change management and people management skills, gained in a profit and non profit environment. He is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the AOI Council and Executive committees, in particular the strategic, planning and implementation of AOI objectives. Sean has worked for a number of highly successful commercial and representative companies including The Irish Times, Irish Tam, Javelin Advertising, ACOI, IAPI and ReBo. He started…


The Council is the governing body of the Association.

Optometry Ireland Council

Optometry Ireland is constituted as a company limited by guarantee. It is a non-profit organisation with all funds applied to achieving its objectives and plans. It is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Optometry Ireland is comprised of a council of 13 members who are voted in to represent the profession from all over Ireland. Council members include regional representatives, representatives from the education sector and representatives from our Executive council. Together, council forms a united policy for the development of eyecare working in the interests of the profession and our patients.

The Executive Committee is a sub-set of Council comprising of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and two further members of Council. All of these are elected by Council annually. Council meets 5 times per annum with the Executive Committee meeting in the intervening months, plus occasional additional meeting as needs determine.

Optometry Ireland is required to produce detailed audited accounts annually and these are presented at the Annual General Meeting for acceptance and ratification. Four Council members are required to retire by rotation annually and election of replacements occurs at the AGM. The AGM is the ultimate decision-making forum.

There are three standing Committees open to all members to serve upon:

* Continuing Professional Development

* Professional Services

Optometry Ireland implements a Code of Ethics and Practice which all members are required to adhere to as a condition of membership.

John Weldon

President

Optometry Ireland – What it means to me.

Having trained, qualified and practised in the UK, returning to Ireland was always on the agenda, but the timing wasn’t so clear.

Just over 25 years ago family service drove the decision to come home, and the then Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) was the obvious place to turn to for help and advice about practice. From the moment of registration with the GOC, following successful completion of my PQE’s I had registered and continued to maintain my registration with the Optician’s Board, but the actual practicalities of day-to-day Optometry in Ireland were the remit of the Association.

 Professional indemnity insurance, provided through the Association still represented (and still does) class-leading quality and value. There were many differences in optometric practice between the two jurisdictions: we had been used to the use of ophthalmic drugs in practice such as cyclopentolate, tropicamide, benoxinate and proxymetacaine. The payment systems through GMS and DEASP contracts were unknown. Referral pathways were very much unclear then and it is not lost to me that some things have been very slow to change. Shared-care schemes were common then in UK and established procedure and protocols had been shown to improve patient care, as well as providing stimulating use of one’s professional skills.

More direct involvement with the AOI developed through the personal interest in the education of future Optometrists. Recruitment as a PQE Examiner began a long period of supporting Optometry students on their journey towards qualification.

 Continuous improvement of the PQE process and examiner training hopefully transitioned the profession away from the fearful inquisition remembered by so many, to a more collegial conversation with experienced colleagues whose communication techniques allowed each Optometry student to demonstrate their own clinical skills and knowledge. 

Being appointed as PQE Manager was a great honour and a challenge as CORU would move to evaluating the four year degree course at DIT/ TU Dublin as a registerable degree in harmony with other HCP disciplines. 

The importance of CPD and the recognition of the value of life-long learning was a good fit for the Association and today the re-named Optometry Ireland continues courses, lectures and practical workshops to improve and develop clinical skills. To advance Optometric learning the development and delivery of post-graduate modules, hopefully leading to MSc and onward to Phd, have been sponsored and supported.

The Association has consistently been the voice of Optometry when it comes to legislative change and negotiation of contracts with GMS and DEASP. Personal interest in governance of the profession led to deep involvement in the enactment of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act, 2005 as Optometry in Ireland bade farewell to the 1956 Optician’s Act.

Further engagement with the new regulatory body CORU led to service on fitness to practice committees, The Optical Registration Board, and ultimately CORU Council. 

Throughout this period, and currently, it is the steadfast advocacy of Optometry Ireland on behalf of the profession that characterises a truly member-led, member-serving organisation.

It was a great honour to be the first person in the State to be awarded a Fellowship, and indeed a great surprise to be elected to serve as Vice President by President Patricia Dunphy. To be subsequently elected as President to serve the profession and the membership has been humbling and a tremendous privilege.

John Weldon

President

Edel McCann

Vice President

Derville Pitcher

Treasurer

Barry Lawler

Honorary Secretary

Martin O’Brien

Chair of CPD Committee

Fiona Kavanagh

Chair of Professional Service’s Committee

Triona Culliton

Patricia Dunphy

Mary O’Loughlin

Martin Crowe

Declan Hovenden

Nicola Teahan

Fiona Cleary

Sinead Ryan

Tania Constable

Mary McMahon

What does Optometry Ireland do?

Optometry Ireland is a membership organisation that represents the professional interests of the vast majority of optometrists in Ireland. Any optometrist who is accepted onto the statutory register is eligible for membership.

The role of Optometry Ireland, is to provide an unbiased voice for the optometry profession in Ireland, to advance the profession in Optometry so our members can practice their professional skills to their fullest qualification and to strive to increase the scope of practice of optometry in Ireland, so our patients may enjoy expert eyecare that Irish Optometrists are trained to deliver.

We advocate for good patient care by raising awareness about the importance of access to regular high quality eyecare and promote good vision health.

Join Optometry Ireland

We welcome new members at any time. The role of Optometry Ireland is to represent optometrists as individual professionals, regardless of employment profile, and to enhance the role of optometry in public eye-care.

Click HERE to view our Membership Booklet.

All new members must be elected at one of the monthly Council or Executive meetings.

The following is required:

  • A completed Application Form, signed by a proposer and seconder. (View Application form: click here )
  • Two references. Various types are accepted and the details are listed on the Application Form.
  • Copy of a passport, driving licence or other appropriate document for establishing ID.
  • Payment of membership subscription and, if required, Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) premium.
  • PII Disclaimer Form if applicable.

Optometry Ireland Office Team

NamePositionEmail
Sean McCraveChief Executive Officersean@aoi.ie
Lynda McGivney Nolan F.A.O.IOptometric Advisorlyndamg@aoi.ie
Mary CoyleAdministration Managermary@aoi.ie
Lily LawlessFinance Officerlily@aoi.ie
Linda O’SheaMembership Officerlinda@aoi.ie
Kelli SmithOffice Manager kelli@aoi.ie








Irish Optometrists

Irish Optometrists are independent primary eye care professionals working on the front line of eyecare in Ireland. We are regulated as health care professionals under CORU and the HSCP act of 2017, In Ireland, Optometrists achieve a Bachelor’s of science degree from TUDublin.
Members of Optometry Ireland are trained to develop and promote good eye health for our patients. We are amongst the most highly qualified in our field in the world and this is just some of what we do to help keep your eyes healthy and to lead good eyecare in Ireland;
⦁ specialise in the examination, diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of disease and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures
⦁ diagnose ocular manifestations of systemic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and complications of the aging process such as cataracts and macular degeneration
⦁ prescribe and fit eye glasses and contact lenses as well as safety eyewear and low vision aids
⦁ provide vision rehabilitation
⦁ work in conjunction with other health care providers to provide integrated, quality care for patients
⦁ educate patients about their vision health and what lifestyle choices are needed for protecting and promoting good vision and eye health 
⦁ work with the media to highlight the importance of good community eyecare and to bring relevant eyecare issues to national attention
⦁ carry out research into the development of visual science

United Nations has adopted a global eye health resolution; Optometry Ireland campaigns for Irish vision care.
On the 23rd of July 2021, the UN pledged to commit for a global target to provide universal access to eyecare for all its member nations, by 2030. This plan aims to eliminate preventable sight loss by ensuring all populations of UN member nations has full access to eyecare. This pledge however, will only be successful if the governments of these nations, including Ireland, commit to providing access these services. In Ireland, waiting lists to access hospital eyecare are continuously growing while the resources available at community level from Optometrists remain largely ignored. Optometry Ireland is committed to continuing its long campaign to have the model of public eyecare overturned so that more modern, accessible and fair eyecare is available to all Irish citizens. Optometry Ireland recognises that the only way to meet the growing demands on the eye health sector is for the state to recognise the full scope of practice of Irish optometrists and allow us to practice to our full scope and is committed to engaging with government to ensure this happens as soon as possible.