2013 CONFERENCE – Ashford

October 2013 


Over 120 independent optometrists and dispensing opticians from across the UK travelled to Kent to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Eastwell Manor and its lovely landscaped gardens as the setting for the AIO annual conference.

Delegates could choose a one, two or three day involvement.

Day one included a visit to Dover Castle, a gem of English Heritage, with fascinating tours of the ancient keep built by Henry 2 and the Secret Wartime Tunnels that played such an important part in the 2nd World War.

Peter Warren and Chris Clemence

Eyeplan CEO, Chris Clemence and AIO Chairman, Peter Warren

Day two was the clinical day with a quick fire format in which 14 expert speakers kept everyone interested.

The day long sponsors exhibition ensured delegates were au fait with the latest retinal imaging techniques by Topcon and Optos, practice softwear from Optisoft, William Morris’ Love London exclusive frames and  the Hoya MyStyle lenses.  Everyone enjoyed the generosity of our sponsors and the expertise of the No7 Contact Lens IT experts throughout the conference but, in particular, the new AIO members benefited from the introductory incentives generously donated by Topcon and No7 Contact Lens Laboratory.

Conference principal guest was new AOP CEO Henrietta Alderman who also joined in the fun of a Murder Mystery Dinner in the evening. Diners adopted 1920’s dress to match the period of the drama and Henrietta correctly identified the murderer, motive and method. Hopefully such skills will not be required in her new role!

Day three began with the AGM, when Peter Warren took over as chairman from David Beaumont. Peter acknowledged David’s tireless work over the past three years to move AIO on and increase membership. During the AGM, an agreement of mutual support between AIO and Eyeplan was confirmed. At the Final Business Forum, a further 9 specialist speakers led discussion on aspects of business and practice management, designed to help the survival and growth of independent practice.

The AIO is indebted to the following companies for their support of the Ashford Conference:




TOPCON (Great Britain) Ltd



 No7 Contact Lens Laboratory Ltd

Alexander Edward Lee

HOYA Lens (UK) Ltd


Association of Optometrists






Essilor Ltd


William Morris


National Eyecare Group

Lynx IDG