Meet a member: Ali Yasen


Tell us a bit about yourself:

Growing up as the son of an ophthalmologist and an amblyope fostered an interest in eyesight from a young age. This was bolstered in my Biomedical Sciences degree, which covered neuroscience and
ocular systems. My growing fascination led me to working in an Opticians, which I absolutely loved. As such, I decided to study further and undertake the Optometry degree, which has been thoroughly enjoyable. I am now in my final year at City, University of London and
looking forward to my pre-registration period.

When did you first join the BCLA?

I joined the BCLA in August 2017, having been introduced to it by one of my lecturers.

Why did you sign up?

Contact Lenses was, and still is, my favourite module at University and I wanted to learn more. I love that the BCLA keeps us up-to-date on all recent happenings in the contact lens world. I saw that there were some local events being held soon, which piqued my interest. As a student, registration was free and so it was a no-brainer for me.

Has it lived up to expectations?

It has more than lived up to my expectations! I was particularly interested in the events which were held in September; the Presidential Address and the BCLA @ Yours day in London. The idea of myopia
control was strongly featured in each of the events, and I really bought into the evidence presented to me. Kate Gifford’s talk at the BCLA @ Yours Roadshow was particularly compelling, and left me so inspired to investigate the possibilities further. To that end, I chose to undertake a final-year research project in the field! I am looking forward to the Visionaries event in December.

What are the biggest challenges facing the industry and how can the BCLA help tackle those issues?

I was sold on the idea of myopia control. There is already a wealth of research pointing towards effective retardation strategies, and I believe contact lenses will play a big part in this in the future. Given the risk factors associated with high myopia, I now firmly believe that managing myopia is mandatory as a healthcare professional, and will also have knock-on benefits in secondary care. The BCLA are taking a very pioneering stance in this field, which I am excited to be a part of as a prospective clinician.

Why would you recommend the BCLA to others?

The BCLA has a real sense of community; everyone I have met has been so friendly and approachable. There is a culture of sharing information, which is not only great for continued education, but the discourse is also genuinely stimulating. The events are well-organised and the content of the presentations has been fantastic.