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Double New Year Honours for Optometry and Vision Sciences

3 January 2019

Downing street image
Prof Barbara Ryan

The School of Optometry and Visions Sciences has been represented twice in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for 2019, with an MBE and a British Empire Medal.

Professor Barbara Ryan, our Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, was awarded the MBE for services to optometry, and Jane Latham, Honorary University Associate, was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Blind and Partially Sighted Young People in Wales.

Barbara joined Cardiff University in 2003. Her area of specialist optometric research and practice is low vision rehabilitation and she has co-authored many professional development articles for a number of professional bodies on aspects of low vision care. Professor Ryan successfully trained and provided clinical leadership for a new model of low vision service rehabilitation in primary care optometry practices across Wales. Barbara is a co-founder of the Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC), which has provided professional development to over 11,000 optometrists in the UK and internationally since 2009. Between 2012 and 2016, she was Chief Optometric Advisor to Welsh Government, a distinguished role in which she helped to guide the improvement of eye care services and eye health strategies focused on the prevention of blindness in Wales.

Jane Latham has been an Honorary Associate at Cardiff University since 2012 and Development Director for UCAN Productions, which is housed in our School. Jane works to challenge the perceptions of visual impairment and runs programmes to develop physical and vocal confidence, aiming to raise aspirations and promote individual abilities in young people with visual impairment. UCAN have made an outstanding contribution to the Medical School ophthalmology teaching program and the optometry BSc. The UCAN team take students through the life of a young person with profound visual disability, and their input has been both inspirational and uplifting. The course if delivered by doctors and optometrists, with many of the latter recruited from the School and WOPEC, and this is an excellent example of collaboration between two professional groups and the charitable sector.

These aren’t the first honours our School has received, with Dr Maggie Woodhouse receiving and OBE for services to people with disabilities in 2014 and a Queen’s Anniversary Prize last year for her pioneering Down’s syndrome Vision Research.

Head of School, Marcela Votruba said of these awards: “I am delighted to hear such wonderful news at the start of 2019 and incredibly proud of both Barbara and Jane. I am deeply impressed by the dedication and achievements that lie behind these honours.”

View the full list of New Year Honours for 2019.

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We provide short courses as well as postgraduate courses through our Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre.