Optician sadly reports the death of optometrist and former Association of Optometrists head of professional development, Karen Sparrow.

Sparrow had a wide-ranging professional career, that included time as an optometrist in practice, developing education at the AOP and latterly as global programme manager for Peek Vision, a technology social enterprise rolling out solutions for the diagnosis of vision impairment and access to eye health in less advantaged areas of the world.

Many came to know Sparrow through her work as a volunteer trainer and Africa lead for Vision Aid Overseas. She led team visits to Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Botswana, helping to provide local sustainable eye health solutions.

She was a Fellow of both the American and the European Academy of Optometry and a member of the World Council of Optometry, as well as a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM). At the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Sparrow also volunteered as a games maker.

A WCSM tribute said: ‘She was so proud to be a member of the Company and played an important role in explaining its modern purpose and exploding many of the myths about the Livery. She coordinated and spearheaded social media efforts. Even when the decline in her health meant she could not herself take part in the 2021 Lord Mayor’s Show, she was at the centre of the social media hub, pulling the team together and posting messages across all channels from her hospital bed.’