Dr Claire Howard

Orthoptist chairs key driving panel

Orthoptist and researcher Dr Claire Howard has been appointed as the chair of a prestigious medical panel advising on driving and visual disorders.

She is the first non-medic to chair any of the DVLA medical panels – she was also one of the first orthoptists to become an expert member of the Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Visual Disorders.

The advisory panel provides advice that aims to maintain and improve road safety.

Dr Howard qualified as an orthoptist in 1997 and has worked in Salford ever since. She provides specialist clinical care to stroke patients as well as working as a clinical research fellow for the NCA Centre for Clinical and Care Research. She also chairs the Greater Manchester Council of AHP Research hub.

She is a specialist in the field of brain-injury related visual impairment, particularly stroke-related visual field loss, which often affect a patient’s ability to drive. She has supported many patients to return to driving following a stroke-related visual impairment.

Dr Howard said: ” It is an absolute honour to be appointed into this role. My aim is to bring growing evidence to the forefront and ensure that all decisions made by DVLA regarding vision and driving are evidence based and in the best interests of all drivers.”

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