Council Associates

Introduced in January 2022, Council Associates take part in our Council meetings and associated activity, and also attend our Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. Whilst they are not voting members, they are encouraged to contribute to discussions.

The Council Associate positions aim to increase the diversity of experiences and perspectives on our Council, while providing registrants with the first step towards a board, committee or panel role.

Our current Council Associates can be seen below:

Deepali Modha

Deepali Modha is a qualified optometrist from Hertfordshire, currently working as a Clinical Performance Consultant for Specsavers Optical Group. Since graduating from Cardiff University with a BSc Optometry, she has worked within community practice and gained wide-ranging experience from a variety of roles within the sector, including pre-registration trainee supervision, mentoring colleagues, and examining students. She has previously sat on both the College of Optometrists and Association of Optometrists Councils. Deepali is passionate about the professional development of optometrists and the role of optometry in primary care services going forward.

Jamie Douglas

Jamie Douglas is a qualified dispensing optician based in Somerset. His career in the optical profession began as a trainee laboratory technician at a large multiple practice, from which he rose to team leader before deciding to pursue patient-facing care and beginning his training as an optical assistant. Since graduating in 2022 with a qualification in Ophthalmic Dispensing from Anglia Ruskin University, Jamie has practiced within the same multinational group where he began his career. He holds a particular interest in low vision and developing research fields within optics, such as myopia management.

Rupa Patel

Rupa Patel works as a Specialist Optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and as a locum optometrist in community practice. She has experience working in numerous extended role clinics, including consultant-led and optometrist-led glaucoma, medical retina, optometrist-led external disease, consultant-led cataract, complex adult refraction and specialist contact lens fitting.

Rupa gained her optometry degree in 2015 at Aston University before moving into a full-time hospital optometry role at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital on qualification in 2016 until 2021. She found a real passion for the profession whilst working in secondary care and decided to pursue numerous further qualifications and education, including certificates in glaucoma, medical retina and a degree in independent prescribing. She is currently undertaking a Master's degree with University College London (UCL) in Advanced Clinical Practice in Optometry and Ophthalmology.

Desislava Pirkova

Desislava Pirkova earned a degree in International Economics and Trade from Coventry University. Her journey in optometry began with a qualification as a Dispensing Optician from ABDO College in 2021, followed by her current pursuit of an Optometry degree at Aston University. Desislava’s role extends beyond academia; she manages a network of small practices in Birmingham and owns a practice in the Leicester area. This engagement stems from an interest in optometry and lenses, with a specific focus on myopia management.

Community involvement is a cornerstone of Desislava’s approach, organizing low vision clinics, partnering with charities, and collaborating with organizations to elevate eye care awareness. This initiative is reflective of her commitment to contribute positively to the optometry field, underscoring a culture of eye health awareness and enhancing accessibility.