A dispensing optician from Cambridgeshire has become the first person to graduate from a postgraduate content lens optician course at Anglia Ruskin University.

Alex Stewart, who is also a manager at Specsavers Huntingdon and St Ives, completed the course despite Covid-19 and has registered with the General Optical Council (GOC) as a contact lens optician.

‘I’d gained many of the necessary clinical supervised hours and case records before the first Covid-19 lockdown, so when restrictions started to ease in the summer I was able to have one last push to gain the remaining hours and records,’ he explained.

The course was designed to help DOs specialise in contact lens fitting and combines online study with blocks of face-to-face tuition at Anglia Ruskin University’s new purpose-built teaching facility.

Stewart added: ‘I’ve always wanted to diversify my role and the clinical aspect of becoming a contact lens optician appealed to me, having previously had more of a retail focus. In the future, I’m keen to be involved in training dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians while continuing to work in high street practice with my large base of contact lens patients in Huntingdon and St Ives.’

Dr Holly Price, course leader and senior lecturer in the university’s department of vision and hearing sciences, said she was delighted that the course has had its first registrant.

‘The whole pilot cohort have worked exceptionally hard this year and are on track to register shortly. Despite changes to the course needing to be made due to Covid-19, we have managed to clear these hurdles to ensure our students can register as contact lens opticians. We look forward to the course moving from provisional approval to registrable status from the GOC in 2021.’