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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, January to March 2018


OFNC issues comment on eye test fees.
Bryony Pawinska, FMO CEO resigns.
Michael Potter passed away on the eve of the 100% Optical Show.
New digital health company brings blended care to mental health provision.
A FABULOUS FIFTH 100% OPTICAL full show overview
Vision and driving: do I really need to tell the DVLA?
AI in ophthalmology and optometry, a discussion held at 100% Optical.
Yes, it’s off with a celebration cake and yes, it’s the Fabulous Fifth.
It's in the bag
OBE for John McGreggor founder and Chairman of Contamac.
Enrich Life, that's Shamir's motto.
Complete glazing service launches February 2018
Queen Rania pictured wearing MYKITA and Ricky Martin wearing Blackfin..
New Smartphone app highlighted in latest Optical Insider published 2 weeks before 100% Optical Conference.
Past Master Brian Mitchell, Obituary.
‘Laser scan saved my sight and let me see grandchildren grow up’
Data protection law in the UK is changing – essential, new advice for those working in the optical sector.


February 2018

Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin, the famous Puerto Rican star, was immortalised wearing a pair of Blackfin sunglasses during the Gold Meets Golden Party.

The event, which was first organised in 2013, is a Golden Globes after-party and brings together Hollywood stars, professional athletes,

Olympic champions and numerous partners to help generate awareness and support for sports-related causes.

Model: BRUNSWICK BF761 is being worn by Ricky Martin.

OFNC issues comment on eye test fees.

February 2018

FODO Director of Policy and Strategy Ann Blackmore, speaking this week in her capacity as Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) Secretary, made clear the sector’s position on GOS fees on behalf of optical practitioners and businesses.

Commenting in a feature published by Optician magazine on Friday, Ann highlighted the impacts the two-year freeze on NHS examination fees is having on optical services and how many businesses and optometrists are still struggling with the ongoing problems at Capita.

Sight test fees are “disgracefully low and far below the real cost of delivering the service… actually lower now, in real terms, than they were in 1948”, she explained. Seventy years on from the foundation of the NHS, at a time when the public flocked towards vision correction services, it could be argued that the UK Government and the NHS is taking eye health less seriously than it did then, except in Scotland, Wales and increasingly Northern Ireland.

OFNC is calling for increases of at least 3% for GOS fees, CET, supervisor grants for pre-registration optometrists and patient vouchers, as well as greater investment in digital connectivity for optical practices and better commissioning of community eye services.

Although the Government’s 1% pay cap has in theory been lifted, we note that the Government’s remit to the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDPB) still asks them to make recommendations within a 1% total, together with on-going efficiency requirements. This is not a promising outlook for fees.

Bryony Pawinska, FMO CEO resigns.

February 2018

FMO has announced the retirement of its Chief Executive, Bryony Pawinska, at the end of May.

Bryony PawinskaMrs Pawinska joined FMO in January 2016, to work part-time as CEO for FMO following her retirement from full time employment as Chief Executive of the College of Optometrists.

Said FMO Chair, Andy Yorke “We will be very sorry to see Bryony go although we understand her desire to retire after a long and successful career. She has seen through a programme of modernisation of FMO’s governance and management in the past two years, and played an active role in the development of Optrafair as a vibrant show run by the sector for the sector, as well as contributing to the work of the Optical Confederation, of which FMO is a founder member. We wish her every happiness in the future.”

Mrs Pawinska said “It has been an interesting period of semi-retirement – I have worked with some wonderful people and learned a great deal about the ‘other side’ of a sector I have come to love over the years. I wish FMO every success as it continues to develop as a modern trade body.”

Michael Potter passed away on the eve of the 100% Optical Show.

February 2018

Michael Potter Obit
We heard at 100% Optical on Saturday that Michael Potter, ABDO's Head of Marketing and Communications, died peacefully at Pilgrims Hospice in Ashford on Saturday night.

Michael's marketing was vital to the expansion of ABDO and ABDO College.

He worked closely with PHN and was a strong supporter of your free site.

"I worked closely with Michael both supporting each other in ideas to progress the professions that he was so dedicated in helping. He was also a fellow SMC liveryman and we worked together on the Membership Committee. It was a real body blow to hear the news at the first day of the show that he has supported from the beginning. All that is ABDO in marketing was on show at 100% ABDO stands and that will be repeated at Optrafair. A fitting tribute to a great man and a good friend." said Bob Hutchinson Opchat News editor.

He was also strongly committed to the Spectacle Makers' Company and encouraged new graduates and colleagues to take up Freedom. He became a Freeman in 1987 whilst working for Rodenstock and was clothed as of the Livery in 2011. He provided much help and guidance to the Membership Committee

The SMC has sent their condolences to his wife, Alison, and to colleagues at ABDO through the General Secretary.

New digital health company brings blended care to mental health provision.

February 2018

“Oh My Mood” chooses Liverpool as its launch pad

Oh My Mood Logo
Three in four mental illnesses start in childhood. Yet, 75 per cent of young people with mental health problems are not receiving the treatment they need.

New digital health company Oh My Mood UK Ltd wants to shake up mental health provision by introducing a ‘blended care’ approach to make mental health care more effective and easily accessible.

As a mental health interventions provider, Oh My Mood develops blended care pathways, where digital solutions support face-to-face therapies. This approach improves the quality of care and makes mental health therapy scalable and more efficient. It additionally eases the strain on care practitioners without adding pressure on NHS budgets.

The company will work with clinicians, universities and digital health platforms globally to make evidence-based blended care pathways available to large audiences of mental health therapists and service users.

Jamie EssedderJaime Essed is the founder of Oh My Mood and has over 12 years’ experience working in the health sector. Previously, he was international manager at TelePsy, a Dutch digital health platform, where he successfully led its international expansion into the German and UK markets. In 2005, he co-founded Lionarons GGZ, a Dutch mental health clinic that currently employs 110 people.

Jaime Essed, founder of Oh My Mood, said: “An increased awareness of mental health has given rise to the number of people seeking help. Unfortunately, the mental health system struggles to cope and we are seeing longer waiting lists and more people being turned away.

“In mental health, digital solutions should support face-to-face therapies, not replace them. We are on a mission to improve the quality of care for mental health service users without putting decreasing budgets under more strain.”

The company has chosen the North West of England as its base because the region provides easy access to some of the UK’s best research universities. Oh My Mood’s main operations will run from the Innovation Centre in the Liverpool Science Park in Liverpool, as well as an office in Manchester.

Essed adds: “The North West is a great location for building and growing our company nationally and globally. The region will give us access to some of the best research & development teams in the country, while costs are relatively low in comparison with cities in the south of England. We have ambitious plans and expect to build a team of 50 employees within the next five years.”

Matt Biagetti, investment manager at Invest Liverpool, said: “I’m very excited to see Oh My Mood locate in Liverpool. I know the company has looked thoroughly at locations across the UK, so this is a clear demonstration of the attraction that Liverpool has for companies working in healthcare. Liverpool has the perfect environment for collaboration, business growth and international connections. I look forward to working with Jaime and the team at Oh My Mood.”

George Barclay, business developer co-ordinator at Liverpool Science Park, adds: “We welcome Oh My Mood to our science park. Digital health companies benefit from close collaboration and strategic partnerships with academic R&D departments. For that reason, we have built a purpose-built environment to make it as easy as possible for organisations to succeed. We look forward to seeing Oh My Mood grow and thrive.”

A FABULOUS FIFTH 100% OPTICAL full show overview

January 2018

Crowds at 100% OpticalSTOP PRESS:

100% Optical has grown in popularity for the 5th consecutive year since launching, with 8,936 people attending.

An 11% increase in visitors compared to last year, when the show attracted 8,051 people.

Exhibitor rebooking for 2019 was phenomenal, with more than double rebooks year on year.

The landmark fifth anniversary of 100% Optical exceeded expectations and was hailed a fabulous event.

The UK’s largest optical show took place at London EXCEL from 27th - 29th January and was bigger, bolder and brighter than ever before.

The show attracted visitors from all over the world and premiered more than 20 exclusive product launches, 16,500 frames and 100's of pieces of equipment.

It showcased the biggest equipment area to date with 20 manufacturers and 200 exhibitors featured in an impressive line-up including Cerium, William Morris, Optos, Specsavers, Essilor, Continental Eyewear, Bausch & Lomb, Amplify Hearing and Snowbird Finance to name but a few.

See Essilor Bespoke and Swissflex stories

Catwalk at 100% OpticalThe reinvented ‘trademark’ catwalk show wowed spectators, revealing a glimpse into tomorrow’s trends and the hottest brands to watch out for in 2018.

Day one featured children modelling new junior fames who stole the show.

Numerous celebs were spotted amongst the crowds browsing for their 2018 frames, including former footballer and presenter Ian Wright, and Kinky Boots star Matt Henry.

Event Director, Nathan Garnett said, “We’ve had double digit growth on visitor figures which is great news for our fifth anniversary and we’ve noticed a significant number of first-time visitors who haven’t been to an optical show before.

“Many visitors maximised their time by planning and pre-booking appointments with exhibitors and we’ve had really positive feedback about how much people enjoyed the show.

Hearing Care at 100%
“The new audiology section proved a success with a dozen new exhibitors and a programme of audiology seminars.

It’s a new initiative and momentum is starting to build as practitioners recognise an opportunity to align additional services to their clinical portfolio.

See Story on FODO's division for Hearing NACH

“So far our exhibitor rebooking numbers are at a record high with Birmingham Optical, Bib Ophthalmic Instruments, William Morris, De Rigo, Performance Finance, Zuma Morel, Leightons Opticians, Andy Wolf Eyewear, Salt. and Safarro signing up at the show and we’re already planning our long-term growth plans for 2019 and beyond.”

The industry’s very own Oscars, the AOP awards, recognised the crème de la crème of optometry on Sunday and the Royal College of Art Eyewear Design

Competition demonstrated young British talent to an international market.

Main Stage at 100% Optical
Meanwhile, the world-class education programme provided more than 140 hours of CET and CPD sessions for the whole practice team.

Commenting on the education programme, head of education at the AOP, Ian Beasley, said: “There’s been a palpable shift in the feel of the event this year. Sessions have been full to capacity with practitioners from all modes of practice eager to hear updates on latest clinical research outcomes, technology updates and refresh skills across a broad range of core competencies.”

“Off the back of successfully trialling sessions for optical assistants last year, we’ve increased our offering to accommodate a clear demand for education for the whole practice team. Plans are now coming together for 2019 to continually evolve the event.

“The new Future Practice Hub gazed into the future and delivered its mission to help practices survive and thrive in the modern world with talks on the future of independent practice, artificial intelligence and the future of commissioning.”

Future proofing was a hot topic this year. Artificial intelligence is coming and ophthalmology and optometry will not be spared, warned consultant ophthalmologist and surgery pioneer John Bolger.

“There will be two classes of human beings in the future”, said the surgeon. “Those who use know what AI is, its capabilities and its potential and those who are used by AI.

“It’s going to make a lot of the things we do redundant but, at the same time, open up new opportunities. As Stephen Hawking said, it could decide our fate without us even knowing it.”

See Main Story on A1

Julian Jackson
This year, 100% Optical pledged its support for the Big Blind Walk 2018 in collaboration with VisionBridge.

Founder Julian Jackson gave thanks to the show and said: “I’m so grateful to 100% Optical for giving the this platform to not only raise awareness of the social, economic and psychological impact of sight loss amongst a growing number of the UK population but also to promote and raise money for eye research, which I believe is one of the most underfunded areas of medical research and certainly one of the best kept secrets in the UK.

It has given me the opportunity to reach a lot of professionals and not least introduced me to PHN and their Opchat News who have agreed to become my media partners for the BigBlindWalk."

See Charities Page and Julian Jackson's Story.

100% Optical will be back in 12-14 January 2019, save the date!

Vision and driving: do I really need to tell the DVLA?

January 2018

Driving is the one visual task that affects other people, with poor vision causing an estimated 2,900 road casualties a year.

Henry LeonardJulian Jackson
Professional advisor to the Association of Optometrists, Henry Leonard (l) and senior lecturer, Dr Julie-Anne Little (r , discussed what to do when a patient doesn’t meet the required standard, but tells you they have no intention of informing the DVLA, in a seminar - Vision and driving: do I really need to tell the DVLA?

Julie_Anne Little“Despite the fact that driving is unarguably a visual task, there is little evidence that a particular threshold is critical to determine safe driving”, said Dr Julie-Anne Little.

In the UK, emphasis is very much on the responsibility of the driver to determine their own visual ability and the driving test’s number plate method. The AOP is campaigning to change this and recommends checks every 10 years to coincide with driving licence renewal.


However much the Department of Transport like the self-assessment ability of the number plate test, there is an ambiguity to the driver as to whether they meet the visual standards.

Dr Julie-Anne Little continues, “People are poor judges of their visual quality and research indicates that UK drivers lack understanding of the number plate test.
Also, measuring vision across a range of visual conditions and adverse weather is challenging.”

So what should we do about it? Henry Leonard advises that, “It’s a grey area and we’re not in favour of compulsory reporting but it is our duty to report it if a patient doesn’t.

“There is a fine balance to what we need to do as practitioners while not scaring people off getting a test in the first place. It’s important to be an advisor to patients.”

“The DVLA advise that healthcare professionals should advise the individual on the impact of the medical condition for safe driving ability and to notify the DVLA of the condition.

“If you think a patient is going to ignore your advice, we recommend sending a letter by recorded delivery. Finally, you should notify the DVLA if the individual cannot or will not notify the DVLA themselves.

“If you believe a patient will continue to drive against advice, AOP members can call us to discuss on a case by case basis.”

This is a synopsis of a lecture given at 100% Optical 2018

AI in ophthalmology and optometry, a discussion held at 100% Optical.

January 2018

Artificial intelligence is coming and ophthalmology and optometry will not be spared, warned consultant ophthalmologist and surgery pioneer John Bolger.

John Bolger My i ClinicThe founder and owner of the MyiClinic independent eye hospital said the optical sector needed to ensure that AI works for it and not the other way around.

“There will be two classes of human beings in the future”, said the surgeon. “Those who use know what AI is, its capabilities and its potential and those who are used by AI.”

In a mind-expanding presentation he explained how AI is developed and created. He showed how neural networks are strengthened and improved for image recognition.

He explained the “terrifying” way machines can teach themselves, get better at identifying images, and learn to recognise and contextualise both simple and increasingly complex images – from numbers, cats and dogs to the health of the human eye.

“The more machines learn, the more they learn. Artificial intelligence is exponential. They can already beat chess masters in seconds. Vision begins with the eyes, but truly takes place in the brain.

It would be perfectly possible in the future, he said, for the consumer to have super-speedy eye scans in Tesco’s, with images processed with total accuracy through AI.

Demonstrating the ground-breaking OrCam artificial vision device, which uses neural networks, he said: “This is the kind of breakthrough that, in just a few years, will let people with blindness ‘drive’ autonomous cars.

“It’s going to make a lot of the things we do redundant but, at the same time, open up new opportunities. As Stephen Hawking said, it could decide our fate without us even knowing it.”

Yes, it’s off with a celebration cake and yes, it’s the Fabulous Fifth.

January 2018

The Fabulous Fifth

The largest yet 100% Optical
opened 2 hours ago at London’s Excel with its normal vibrancy and pizzazz.

It has passed the test of time from its 1st small test exhibition 5 year’s ago to a conference exhibition supported by over 200 companies and expecting 8500 visitors over the next 3 days.

If you want a cool experience, and you are available in the next 3 days get on down here to Custom House on the DLR. It took us 25 minutes from Central London.

This year’s show has a record pre-attendance registration in part “because 100% organisers learn and adapt year on year to the trends and needs of the exhibitors and the feedback from visitors.” Said Nathan Garnett, show director, pictured with the show’s fifth anniversary cake aloft with candles.

This year the show sees the most product launches and the largest growth in its equipment section experiencing the advantages of a London show.

Reflecting the needs of the independent practices the show also for the first time has an audiology hub demonstrating the ability to grow revenue.

Bob Hutchinson, editor of Opchat News published by PHN (co-media partners) confirmed the sentiments of the shows organisers and their PR team Gravitas Newshounds.

“Its only 12 noon and the aisles are already buzzing with visitors, this is going to be a fun three days, even if it is work!”

It's in the bag

January 2018

Plans to extend carrier bag charge to smaller businesses

The Government has said it intends to extend the 5p bag charge, which currently only applies to retailers with more than 250 employees, to all businesses in England. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own plastic bag charging system.

No date has yet been given for when this change will apply. PHN will keep you updated.

OBE for John McGreggor founder and Chairman of Contamac.

January 2018

John McGreggorMost countries have a system of national honours that may be bestowed upon nationals of distinction. The best known awards in the United Kingdom are those belonging to the Order of the British Empire, the most widely appointed of the British Orders of Chivalry, which consist of Knighthoods and four other classes.

The awards recognise people who have made an achievement in public life, committed themselves to serving and helping Britain or for innovation and entrepreneurship, establishing achievement in a specific field of work.

The OBE is a very prestigious award and only 211 were awarded in the 2018 New Year’s Honours. John McGregor, Chairman of Contamac Ltd, was appointed as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List and the citation reads, “Founder, Contamac. For services to International Trade and Innovation in Polymer Technology”.

John was delighted to receive such a prestigious honour which reflected his leadership of the company in achieving two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, one for International Trade and the second for Innovation. He was however quick to emphasise that awards such as these are rarely as a result of a single person’s efforts and an OBE is a case in point. Contamac’s performance in international trade has come about partly as a result of having exceptional staff, who in every department of the company have worked as a team to provide excellent service to our customers worldwide, and additionally the support and loyalty Contamac enjoys from our customers, which is of course greatly appreciated. The citation for innovation in polymer technology recognises that Contamac has for many years invested significant time and resource in developing materials for contact lenses, intraocular lenses and more recently in implantable diagnostic devices, and that investment continues. John pointed out that the Award was the result of the input by staff past and present, so they should all be proud of their role and he expressed his gratitude to them all.

Alan Pain, Regional Director, Department for International Trade, East of England, said: “The East of England is alive with innovative and enterprising companies, and Contamac is a perfect example of this. The Department for International Trade is here across the East of England to help companies of all sizes and in all sectors embark on their exporting journey. From one-to-one support, to events and market visits, our specialised team of International Trade Advisers have real industry knowledge and a vast amount of export experience.”

John warmly acknowledged the support and assistance that Contamac has enjoyed over the years from the UK Trade and Industry Government Department, without whose assistance our export trading would have been less successful.

Martin Senior, International Trade Adviser, Department for International Trade, said: “We’ve been delighted to see Contamac’s international success over the last decade. It’s a testament to their ambition, innovation and tenacity. The company has grown year-on-year, leading them to be recognised with The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in both the International Trade and Innovation categories. Whilst they are now experienced exporters, it has been wonderful to see their openness to exploring new, diverse markets, including India, Russia and China. I nominated John for an Honour in the New Year’s Honours List as I believe his story is truly inspirational. Taking Contamac from a garden shed to a purpose-built factory employing over 80 people, whilst spending his ‘spare time’ on his charity work, makes him extremely well-deserving of the award. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for John and Contamac.”

John McGregor expressed his appreciation that it was the UKTI’s Department for International Trade’s nomination that lead to his appointment.

Enrich Life, that's Shamir's motto.

January 2018

Enrich life with ShamirOne of our core beliefs at Shamir is to invest, support and value our customers.

Through great campaigns, supporting marketing materials, as well as retailing advice and training from our experienced team of consultants, we follow our ultimate purpose in supporting you and your team.

Therefore, exceeding your business goals whilst building and maintaining a prominent relationship.

To further our efforts together, Shamir are launching a new and rewarding Campaign: ‘Enrich Life’.

This multi-pair offer will be available for 6 months from 1st February 2018, enabling greater accessibility for patients to make multiple purchases, ensuring your profit, growth and ultimately, your success.

To make the campaign easier for you, let us help with your marketing material, both in-store and online.

Simply log onto our website blog for full information including terms and conditions.

You wouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes for everything, so why limit yourself to just one pair of glasses?

The process:

1. When ordering lenses, ensure you include the promo code MP18 in the reference box for all multipair orders. Please note all pairs of lenses for the same patient must be ordered at the same time to ensure the relevant discounts are applied.

2. Our operational team will apply a 50% discount on the lowest priced pairs, whilst your individual discount terms will be applied to the other.

3. Log on to our website blog to complete the ma rketing material order form and we will send these out as soon as possible.
Enrich the life of your patients – because one pair is never enough.

For further information please contact our customer service team

Complete glazing service launches February 2018

January 2018

Jai Kudo Lenses in association with Continental Eyewear launch Complete Glazed Service for 2018

As part of an ongoing commitment to continually improve their service offering, Jai Kudo Lenses have invested in the very latest state-of-the-art robotic glazing technology. Partnering with MEI, global leaders in this field,

Jai Kudo Lenses announce the arrival and installation of an MEI Racer into their Liverpool based optical lab to provide unparalleled glazing capabilities.

The Complete Glazed Service incorporates four eyewear brands - . Reykjavik Eyes Black Label, Walter & Herbert, Jaeger and L.K.Bennett

The service focuses on coupling these high-quality frames with market leading glazing and lenses, all from a totally independent optical supplier.

Established in 1996, Jai Kudo Lenses are an international supplier of ophthalmic lenses.

From single vision stock and RX lenses to bifocals, freeform progressives, occupational lenses and sun lenses including Transitions and NuPolar.

Now part of the Millmead Optical Group, Jai Kudo Lenses are based in Liverpool as part of a four acre optical business site with over 1.3 million lenses in stock.

MEI will be making their fisrt appearance at 100% Optical this week on saturday. See show preview here

Queen Rania pictured wearing MYKITA and Ricky Martin wearing Blackfin.

January 2018

Queen Rania of Jordan
Royal style icon Queen Rania of Jordan completes her pared-down style with a pair of MMESSE010.

The design is taken from the MYKITA + MAISON MARGIELA collection.

She is pictured here visiting the Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan

Ricky MartinRicky Martin in Blackfin sunglasses

Ricky Martin, the famous Puerto Rican star, was immortalised wearing a pair of Blackfin sunglasses during the Gold Meets Golden Party.

The event, which was first organised in 2013, is a Golden Globes after-party and brings together Hollywood stars, professional athletes,

Olympic champions and numerous partners to help generate awareness and support for sports-related causes.

New Smartphone app highlighted in latest Optical Insider published 2 weeks before 100% Optical Conference.

January 2018

Severe concussions where a person is visibly shaken or knocked unconscious are obviously cause for concern, but milder ones that go undetected can also lead to dangerous health impacts down the track. A new smartphone app could prove pivotal in this area, using a mobile device’s camera to scan the pupil for telltale signs of injury on the spot.

We’ve seen a number of promising breakthroughs when it comes to detecting concussion, such as systems that track eye movements in search of symptoms and blood tests that can pick them up seven days after the incident. Knowing whether an athlete has suffered a concussion or not is important, because if left untreated it can not only lead to immediate consequences like headaches and memory loss, but further knocks to the head can pose even graver, long-term health risks.

So a smartphone app that can be used on the sideliness to immediately screen for concussion would be a game-changer, and that is exactly what researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have set out to develop. Called PupilScreen, the technology works by tracking the pupil’s response to light, something known as the pupillary light reflex, which is a technique already used to gauge traumatic brain injuries.

SmartphoneWhile this pupillary light reflex has been used to assess serious brain injuries, recent research has shown that the technique can also reveal less severe ones, such as light concussions. So looking to take advantage of this new knowledge, the UW team has developed an app that uses the smartphone’s camera, along with deep learning tools, to pick up changes in pupillary light reflex that are invisible to the naked eye.

The phone’s flash is used to stimulate the eye and the camera than captures a three-second video. Deep learning algorithms then determine which pixels belong to the pupil in each frame, and in this way track changes in pupil size across the duration of the video. Putting the app to the test, the team tried it out in a pilot study involving 48 subjects, including both healthy patients and some with traumatic brain injuries. Using the app, clinicians were able to diagnose the brain injuries with almost perfect accuracy and almost as well as a pupilometer, an expensive machine found only in hospitals.

From here the team plans to conduct a broader clinical study in the coming months that will see the app put through its paces by coaches, medical technicians and doctors. They will also look to make improvements to the system, which currently requires the phone to be placed inside a box to control light exposure, and hope to produce a commercially available system within two years. “The vision we’re shooting for is having someone simply hold the phone up and use the flash,” said lead author Alex Mariakakis. “We want every parent, coach, caregiver or EMT who is concerned about a brain injury to be able to use it on the spot without needing extra hardware.”

The PupilScreen app uses the phone's flash to stimulate the eye and the camera than captures a three-second video, looking for signs of concussion(Credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington)

A smartphone app that can be used on the sidelines by coaches, parents and doctors to immediately screen for concussion would be a game-changer(Credit: Dennis Wise/University of Washington).


Read the 100% Insider for further news here.

Read about the special offers and products being shown at this years 100% Optical Show on the PHN preview pages.

Have you registered for this free event and booked your seminar seats at the largest CET event? Register here.

Past Master Brian Mitchell, Obituary.

January 2018

Tributes paid on the death of Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Past Master Brian Mitchell

Brain MitchellTributes have been paid across the optical sector following the death on 23 December 2017 of Brian Mitchell FCA FRSA, Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers 2000-2001, Honorary Fellow of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and a former Director/Trustee of ABDO, ABDO College, the Institute of Optometry and Vision Aid Overseas Ltd.

In his working life, Mr Mitchell was a Senior Partner of accounting firm KPMG, practising both in the US and the UK. He joined the Spectacle Makers’ Company as a Freeman in 1984 and was clothed as of the Livery in 1986. When he retired in 1990, he was able to increase his involvement in a number of charities and his experience was widely sought out, not least by the Court of the Spectacle Makers’ Company.

Over his years on the Court, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, he revolutionised the finances of the Company and its Education and Examination Fund (which became the WCSM Education Trust) and was a key figure in the establishment of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Charity.

He worked hard in building relationships with colleges, professional bodies and associations. They, in turn, valued his expertise and his wise counsel, resulting in recognition within optometry and dispensing optics for someone who always maintained his admiration for those seeking to improve eye health.

He commented in a letter in 2001, “I am a “layman”, for whom spectacles have been an essential support for nearly sixty years. I sometimes wonder if you, who spend your working lives in optics and ophthalmics, always remember just how important you are to so many patients like myself”.

A member of one optical body commented “Brian was a generous mentor, a source of reassurance to younger colleagues and a great supporter when I took on a new role”. The Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, Felicity Harding, echoed this sentiment “I learned so much from Brian, both at Vision Aid Overseas and in his work for the Company and the Spectacle Makers’ Charity.

He was so generous with his time and will be missed by all of us within the Livery”.

Mr Mitchell was 82.

‘Laser scan saved my sight and let me see grandchildren grow up’

January 2018

A grandmother who feared she would miss out on seeing her grandchildren growing up after developing a rare form of eye cancer has urged wider use of state-of-the-art laser scanners to protect eye health.

Rosemary Harries, aged 69 from Bugbrooke in Northamptonshire, was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2008 following a routine eye examination at Tompkins, Knight & Son Optometrists in Kingsley Road, Northampton.

The check-up, carried out using a state-of-the-art Optomap ultra wide field laser scanner, highlighted an unusual vein movement. Rosemary was referred to her doctors and, ultimately, hospital. Within three weeks she was undergoing surgery to save her sight.

She said: “As I was laying in my hospital bed I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to see my granddaughter grow up. I now realise that having that eye examination, and in particular the Optomap scan, was the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

The specialist treatment at St Paul’s Ocular Oncology Unit at the Royal Liverpool Hospital saw a temporary plaque fitted, which ‘zapped’ the potentially cancerous cells at the back of Rosemary’s eye, saving her sight, and arguably her life.

“It was a scary experience but I’m so glad it was picked up when it was,” says Rosemary. “It could have been so much worse, it doesn’t bear thinking about. The lady in the bed next to mine had to have her eye removed.

“I have been fortunate to see my granddaughter Olivia grow up into a lovely young girl. She’s nine now and I have a five-year-old grandson, Henry, too. I wouldn’t want to have missed out on seeing them.

“I would urge everyone to get their eyes checked regularly. I have an annual examination at TK&S and six-monthly check-ups at Northampton General Hospital. A full exam can highlight any number of health issues and if people put off a check-up thinking they don’t need it they are making a big mistake. A 30 minute appointment could save your life.”

The high-tech Optomap scanner used in the original examination allows for a wider image of the eye to be taken, giving significantly more detail and allowing problems to be picked up which would otherwise have gone undetected.

TK&S owner Brian Tompkins said: “It’s essentially the difference between opening the door and looking into the whole eye or peering through the keyhole. Being able to have that wider field of vision makes a huge difference and in Rosemary’s case it has allowed doctors to prevent the cancer cells from spreading, potentially saving her life.

“Regular eye examinations are vital. Your eyes are a window to your wider health and simple checks can ensure there is nothing untoward.”

Data protection law in the UK is changing – essential, new advice for those working in the optical sector.

January 2018

New data protection laws which come into force in the UK on 25 May 2018 – will impact on the optical sector.

To help those working in the sector the Optical Confederation has published an initial guide to these important changes, aimed at optical practices, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and practitioners.

It includes a breakdown of what optical businesses need to do to comply, when the new rules come into effect.

The guidance, published on the Optical Confederation website, explains what is changing and what steps you should take now.

Optical Confederation Chair, Fiona Anderson said: “These changes will affect everyone working in the sector. Even though some of the new rules are still not clear, people are understandably eager to know what they should be doing in their business and professional roles.

The Optical Confederation knows that demand is high for guidance on this topic and we’ve produced initial advice that sets out what people can do now to prepare for these changes.”

With a Bill, currently going through the UK Parliament and because the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has not completed its guidance on the General Data Protection Regulation, some of the detailed changes have not yet been finalised. The Optical Confederation will publish updated guidance periodically, as the rules are confirmed.

The guidance can be found here:

You can also keep up to date with the latest advice by regularly checking the Optical Confederation website.

PHN has also provided guidance in our business briefing area after working closely with the ICO published in November last year. Click here

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