AHPO - The Association of Health Professions in Ophthalmology


The organisation that developed into AHPO began in 1999 as a sub-committee of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists with a remit to consider and recommend a programme for the education and training of ophthalmic support workers. As the work of the sub-committee progressed it became clear that wider and more formal representation from all ophthalmic related professional groups was needed. AHPO was established in 2002, became a registered company limited by guarantee in December 2003, and was registered as a charity in January 2005.

AHPO has the following stakeholders:

  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • British and Irish Orthoptic Society
  • Ophthalmic Imaging Association

Other individuals and organisations include ophthalmic nurses, optometrists, the British Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision, vision impairment and eye health organisations, low vision service providers, Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, and Rehabilitation Officers.

Purpose and objectives

Our key objects are to promote the practice, education, training and research in the field of ophthalmology and vision science throughout the United Kingdom by promoting high standards of care and treatment of patients with disease or disability affecting the eyes or vision, advancing public education in ophthalmology and vision science, and representing the needs and interests of ophthalmology and vision science in the provision and advancement of health care.

We seek to do this by

  • Developing and maintaining standards of competence and competence assessment for ophthalmic skilled procedures undertaken by ophthalmic allied personnel
  • Providing or arranging provision of certification of competence and awarding of academic qualifications
  • Recommending and reviewing curriculum for the education and training of ophthalmic allied personnel
  • Producing textbooks and other materials in any medium for education and training appropriate to the curriculum and standards of competence
  • Developing and accrediting programmes for education and continuing professional development for ophthalmic allied personnel

Our achievements

Diagnostic tests and investigations are essential for the diagnosis and management of ophthalmic disease and virtually every patient who attends an eye clinic will have some form of diagnostic testing. Staff who perform these investigations are important members of the multidisciplinary team and should be appropriately trained to a consistent standard. AHPO worked with the Healthcare Science Modernising Scientific Careers programme to achieve this objective. The Healthcare Science BTEC Level 4 Diploma for Ophthalmic Healthcare Science Associates is the first nationally recognised qualification approved by Health Education England for staff working at this level. AHPO contributed to the ophthalmic and vision science content to the specification and also to the curriculum for the BSc and Masters in Neurosensory Sciences


For a full list and to access our policies please visit our policy resource page