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Esteemed optometrist Kenneth Bell has passed away
mivision | 12 April 2017
Mr. Bell was highly regarded for his long serving contribution to optometry and in particular, the development of The Cornea and Contact Lens Society (CCLSA) over many years. Current Chief Executive Officer Dorothy Carlborg said he was loved by many. “Ken was asked to take on the Secretary role by Charles McMonnies in about 1969 and he did such a good job they never let him go! I took over in 2008 so they got a very good run out of him – 40 years as Secretary but involved in the CLSA since the mid 60’s!! I can remember Ken telling me that it was his late wife’s goal in life to find someone to replace him in that role. I understand what she meant now!”
Mr. Bell’s career in optics was instigated by his uncle, an optometrist, who arranged a job for him in the industry when he was 14. He commenced his optometry studies at the Sydney Technical College in 1948, completing his qualification in 1952.
Mr. Bell practiced on Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands before opening a practice in Singapore, where he spent 10 years and became the first optometrist in that country to fit corneal micro lenses. He also opened a branch in Malaysia.
On his return to Australia, Mr. Bell established a practice in Australia Square, Sydney.
He formed the Cornea and Contact Lens Society with Prof Charles McMonnies, housing the office of CCLSA from his practice and staging the first Contact Lens Congress in 1966 at UNSW. Mr. Bell was the Society’s Secretary from 1969 to 2009. He was honorary treasurer on the CCLSA board until May 2015.
During his time as secretary, CCLSA hosted major international conferences, provided over $500,000 in research grants and contributed to the development of Australian standards for contact lenses. Mr. Bell represented Optometry Australia on the Optometrists Registration Board of NSW from 1979 to 1982 and was Chairman of the Board from 1982 to 1988. A keen educator, he was the Contact Lens Clinic Supervisor at UNSW from 1981 to 1988.
Mr. Bell closed his Sydney practice in 2000 and continued working two days a week until 2005 for optometrist Colin Wood. He continued to work as a consultant until his retirement in 2015, concluding an extraordinary career spanning 73 years.
The Australian College of Optometry named the Kenneth W Bell Contact Lens Laboratory in Mr. Bell’s honour in 1992. His significant contribution to the CCLSA will be remembered through the awarding of the Kenneth W Bell medal.
He formed the Cornea and Contact Lens Society with Prof Charles McMonnies