Aston and BBR Optometry partner up to tackle the ageing eye

BBR Optometry

Aston University has embarked on a second Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) in partnership with a high street optometry practice, which will look into the eye health of an ageing population.

BBR Optometry Ltd (BBR) is a successful, independent and privately-owned high street optometry practice, delivering a mix of private and NHS clinical services alongside a core retail business of spectacles and contact lens sales. The company operates in a market which is increasingly dominated by multiple retailers such as Specsavers and Boots, which compete for standard services such as the provision of spectacles and contact lenses. Alongside, and as a result of the first KTP BBR Optometry has already successfully differentiated its business model into enhanced clinical services and the second KTP will build on this success with novel approaches to patient care.

BBR’s first KTP project with Aston University identified business opportunities in the provision of treatment on ageing eyes and age related conditions, as they recognised a growing market among ageing patients that are taking responsibility for their own treatment and seeking improved care outside the NHS. As a result, BBR’s KTP project with Aston University aims to develop a transferable model to manage and communicate with patients with sight issues related to age.

This project has the potential to develop systems and protocols to deal with the effects of an ageing population and conditions associated with the ‘ageing eye’ which would improve care to the community. Conditions such as Dry Eye Syndrome are well known but are not well managed, due to them not being sight-threatening. However, research has shown that this condition can have a dramatic impact on quality of life. Furthermore, emerging technologies show promise in dry eye management but the investment required means that BBR will have to develop a strong clinical and business plan to make the technologies commercially viable.

In addition, the KTP will develop and deliver appropriate training and CPD and accreditation for optometrists to take on their expanded roles, which will directly lead to a new postgraduate PhD module, which will be delivered as a distance learning CPD module for practitioners. 

We are looking forward to working with Aston on our second KTP, building on the outcomes that enabled us to look into improving our services

Nicholas Rumney, Managing Director of BBR Optometry said:  "Our first KTP had unbelievably successful outcomes that have already changed the structure and nature of our practice for the better. We are looking forward to working with Aston University on our second KTP, building on the outcomes that enabled us to look into improving our services to people through a range of techniques and expertise. Aston University has definitely made a valuable contribution to BBR Optometry."

Dr Shehzad Naroo, Senior Lecturer of Optometry at Aston and academic lead, said: "We are really excited to be working with BBR Optometry on a second KTP; the success of the first has enhanced our relationship with them. We really look forward to the challenges they have to offer us."

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