The oldest optical organisation in the world has launched a new charity this week, to coincide with World Sight Day.

The new Spectacle Makers’ Charity combines two previous grant giving trusts – one promoting support for optical education and the other for organisations helping vision impaired people get the most out of life.

These trusts have previously given over £70,000 a year in charitable support, benefiting students of dispensing, optometry and orthoptics, trainee ophthalmologists and charities working across the United Kingdom and abroad.

Bringing the two elements together will allow the Charity to be more efficient and impactful in its giving and set a clear direction for ongoing support from members of the Company and other donors who have so generously given in the past.

The new Chair of the charity is Liz Shilling, who is a Senior Assistant to WCSM’s Court and well known to BIOS members and in optical circles as Liz Tomlin, Head Orthoptist and Eye Team Lead at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.

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Newly appointed Chairman of The Spectacle Makers’ Charity, Liz Shilling said:

This is a very exciting development. Our new Charity looks forward to supporting all aspects of optical education and enhancing the lives of vision impaired people and their families.

 In this pandemic year there are extra challenges, both for vision charities and their recipients and for young people starting their careers in eye health. The Spectacle Makers’ Charity will play its part in helping them, as part of our ongoing mission to support better vision for all”.

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers is a Livery Company in the City of London and the oldest optical organisation in the world founded in 1629. It has launched a new charity this week, to coincide with World Sight Day.

As an Orthoptist you are entitled to become be part of this livery company. There are a few who have already accepted this honour. It involves becoming a freeman of the Spectacle Makers then you can become freeman of the City of London prior to becoming a Liveryman. The Spectacle Makers meet regularly for networking across the whole optical sector, have social and charitable activities. For further details please visit or, for informal discussion, please contact Liz Tomlin on