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ABDO ORASIS optrafair 2018
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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, April to June 2018


First of new generation OCT installed at Kingston independent

College of Optometrists issues advice for hay fever suffers as soaring temperatures continued last week.
UK aid to help eliminate the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness across poorest countries in the Commonwealth by 2020
Ophthalmic Lenses Availability - New 2018 Edition published
Submissions are now invited for the 2018 Ruskell Medal and Master’s Medal.
Vision Van on road to success, with national award win for Vision Express.
LOCSU and Newmedica sign agreement on post-cataract tariffs for community optometrists.
Mykita now Product Design Champions
Social Media for Louis Stone on Instagram.
Obituary, Gerald Bryan
Read the archived General News from 1st Quarter 2018.

First of new generation OCT installed at Kingston independent

April 2018

John RoseIndependent optometrist, John Rose, is the first in the UK to take delivery of the latest Heidelberg Engineering technology – the OCT Angiography Module (OCTA), on the fast OCT2 platform.

“I am future-proofing my practice”, explains John. “Hospitals are bursting at the seams and there is going to be some trickle down of care to optometry. The technology allows us, on the High Street, to visualise within seconds the structure and vasculature of the retina as well as information about blood flow. Already I get a lot of referrals from local ophthalmologists for imaging as it allows them to have useful diagnostic information without the trauma of fluorescein angiography. I am very interested in glaucoma care and believe the new model will be of great value in this respect.”

John, who has had a SPECTRALIS for seven years, believes the SPECTRALIS technology “provides another piece of the jigsaw puzzle” in understanding eye health.

“If you are going to invest in a piece of kit you might as well get the best. Heidelberg Engineering think well about back compatibility for referencing: the whole platform is very well thought out.”

The OCT2 upgrade is advertised as double the speed of image acquisition, but John Rose believes it is much faster.

“The acquisition is so much faster, especially with complex patients. OCTs are normally demonstrated on healthy young people who sit still, but I have plenty of patients who have Parkinson’s, tremors, and I really notice the difference – it seems more like four times faster to me, which is a massive advantage in clinic.

“Added to this, the eye tracking system with retinal recognition that Heidelberg Engineering pioneered is unrivalled – it is a massive advantage to know that you are tracking in exactly the same place and looking at real change over time. This is especially true when monitoring subtle changes in neuro-degenerative disease such as glaucoma where it is essential to look at small changes over time, and which may be faster than expected by normal ageing alone. The OCTA module will be useful in AMD, diabetic retinopathy, as well as artery and vein occlusion, it may also prove to be relevant in glaucoma to understand – and possibly answer – the chicken and egg question of whether capillary drop out comes before nerve fibre loss or vice versa.

“Being able to image the four capillary beds in the retina and the blood flow within them in such detail is extraordinary and enables us to visualize and understand pathology in even more detail than ever before. Every day is so interesting – as a profession we are fortunate to have access to world-leading equipment that tells us so much. As an optometrist, you may like your job, but if you really want to love your job you have to get a Spectralis!”

College of Optometrists issues advice for hay fever suffers as soaring temperatures continued till today.

April 2018

As the UK experienced hot weather, and the Met office predicted pollen count levels would rise (The Pollen Bomb!) , the College of Optometrists issued advice to those who suffer from hay fever, and how they can look after their eyes:

• Avoid your exposure to pollen, by closing windows and keeping surfaces clear with a damp duster.

• Wear sunglasses when outside, which may help to protect your eyes from dust and pollen.

• Visit your optometrist or pharmacist for advice and to get medicated eye drops to help alleviate itching and swelling.

• If you wear contact lenses, remember to check if you can use the drops when you are wearing your lenses. When the pollen count is very high, it can be more comfortable to wear spectacles rather than contact lenses. You may also feel more comfortable by avoiding wearing contact lenses when you are gardening, particularly when mowing the lawn, as grass particles and pollen may become stuck behind the lens and cause discomfort.

• If your eyes become dry, seek professional advice from your optometrist, pharmacist or GP. They may prescribe lubricating eye drops to ease the dryness.

Often people don’t realise that using eye drops before their symptoms appear can minimise the impact of hay fever on the eyes. So, if you know which type of pollen you are allergic to, you can consult the College’s infographic and take the appropriate medication ahead of time to help prevent the symptoms developing or lessen the affect.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney MCOptom, Clinical Adviser at the College of Optometrists, said: “Now spring has finally arrived with warmer weather, pollen levels will start to rise and many people will be affected by itchy and swollen eyes. Hay fever can cause considerable discomfort to your eyes, and eye drops are one of the ways that can easily help alleviate the symptoms. The most widespread group of eye drops used to help relieve the effects of hay fever are called ‘mast cell stabilisers’. These are effective for those with hay fever symptoms that affect the eyes, however it can take anywhere between five and 14 days before they are most effective, so to help prevent the symptoms occurring, it’s important to start using these drops before your allergy kicks in.

“Follow our top tips and use our pollen calendar to work out which pollens might be the cause of your hay fever. Next time you have an appointment with your optometrist ask them about the best ways to help your eyes during the hay fever season, your optometrist is well placed to advise on the most effective treatments and ways to keep them comfortable throughout the hay fever season.”

UK aid to help eliminate the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness across poorest countries in the Commonwealth by 2020

April 2018

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt announces new funding to 10 Commonwealth countries to tackle trachoma.

Malawi(Left) Malawi is one of the Commonwealth countries close to eliminating trachoma.

Photo credit: The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

Millions of people across the Commonwealth will be free of blinding trachoma as the UK steps up its support to tackle this ancient and avoidable disease, the International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt will announced last week.

Trachoma, a bacterial infection that can lead to permanent loss of sight, affects more than 52 million people across 21 Commonwealth countries. If left untreated, the painful disease, which is the world’s main infectious cause of blindness, can cause eyelids to turn inward, or eyelashes to grow towards the eye scratching the cornea.

To help eliminate the disease, UK aid will provide additional support to 10 Commonwealth countries over the next 2 years, providing antibiotics to millions, surgery and education programmes to teach people how to stop the spread of this infection.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:" British research, NGOs and pharmaceutical companies have been at the forefront of the global fight to eliminate blinding trachoma that causes debilitating pain for its victims. UK aid has already made a huge difference to vulnerable people in countries including Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda, freeing families trapped in a cycle of poverty as the disease passes from one generation to the next. In Malawi for example, 4 years ago 8 million people were at risk of trachoma and now no-one is.

This further commitment will mean millions of people across the Commonwealth will receive vital sight-saving treatment and we will be on course to eliminate this ancient and avoidable disease.

This new package of UK support will: enable our partners to map out where the disease remains in 138 districts in Tanzania, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Kenya help Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru work with the World Health Organisation to confirm they have eliminated trachoma and provide 76,000 people with surgery in Kenya, to prevent blindness and end the pain trachoma causes, and eliminate the disease as a public health problem by 2020 and help Pakistan, Tanzania and Papua New Guinea get nearer to elimination as millions receive sight-saving treatment

Today’s support is part of the UK’s £360 million commitment made in April 2017 to provide a billion treatments for people at risk of neglected tropical diseases like trachoma and guinea worm. Neglected tropical diseases affect over a billion people in the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world, stopping children going to school and parents going to work - costing developing economies billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and reducing overall global prosperity.

The International Development Secretary will highlight the results of UK aid at an event this evening organised by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (QEDJT) to celebrate work to eliminate trachoma across the Commonwealth.

Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, said: "At the Trust, thanks to support from DFID and our partners from across the Commonwealth, we have seen how the elimination of trachoma transforms lives for the better. It is wonderful news that more citizens, communities and countries across the Commonwealth can now look forward to a future free of the scourge of this ancient, painful, blinding disease.

Through our partners, Sightsavers and the QEDJT, UK aid has made huge progress in fighting avoidable blindness. UK aid has helped to train more than 10,000 people to look for the final trachoma cases around the world. These trained specialists have provided crucial advice to those affected by the disease, helping them to get surgery and teach them on how to stop the spread of the infection itself."

Dr Caroline Harper CBE, CEO of the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind – more commonly known as Sightsavers – welcomed the announcement:

"Blinding trachoma is a horribly painful disease that has devastating effects on the people it affects and their communities.
This new investment the Commonwealth 2018-20 Fund will help us make huge strides towards eliminating this ancient scourge from the Commonwealth and will also encourage other donors to step forward."

Ophthalmic Lenses Availability - New 2018 Edition published

April 2018

Available now from the ABDO College Bookshop in eBook and print formats.

The 2018 definitive guide to spectacle lenses, coatings and tints available in the UK has been launched at Optrafair. Ophthalmic Lenses Availability collates information from leading lens manufacturers enabling anyone in the optical industry to rapidly locate the most suitable lenses. A valuable dispensing aid, the guide includes:

• Manufacturers’ data

• Lens data files

• An availability index

• PPL corridor length and fitting heights

• Materials, tints and coatings

• Lens engravings list

ABDO Head of Communications Antonia Chitty says, “Simply known as 'The Lens Bible’, this essential guide is much in demand every year. Our thanks must go to Phil Gilbert for continuing the complex job of editing the book. Copies have been selling fast at Optrafair, and are available now in the ABDO College Bookstore for online ordering. Watch out in 2019 for a new improved
Ophthalmic Lens Availability.”

Order your copy here

Submissions are now invited for the 2018 Ruskell Medal and Master’s Medal.

April 2018

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers is now inviting submissions for these two esteemed competitions, which each year attract significant interest from UK research students and departments.

The winner of each medal will receive a prize of £750 and will also be invited to the Company’s Court Luncheon at Apothecaries’ Hall on Wednesday 3rd October 2018, where they’ll meet leading figures in the world of optics and the City of London, plus receive their medal and purse from the Master Spectacle Maker.

The Master’s Medal has a wider scope this year - the competition is open to anyone working for a doctorate or higher degree in any aspect of vision, whose first research paper was generated during the course of their studies and has been accepted for publication in a refereed scientific journal or presented publicly at a national or international meeting between 1st July 2017 to 30th June 2018.

Submissions for the Ruskell medal are welcomed from entrants at any stage of their research career. This bronze award recognises ophthalmology and/or vision science research which contributes significantly to the advancement of our understanding of vision and the prevention of unnecessary blindness.

Reviewing all applications is The Company’s Professorial Committee, a group of eminent scientists and academics drawn from UK universities and colleges.

“We are delighted to announce the launch of this year’s Bronze Medal competitions” said Felicity Harding, Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers. “These medals provide an important opportunity to encourage people to publish their work and share their findings to improve our knowledge about vision”.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 6th July 2018 and The Committee will make its final decision by 7th September 2018.

Further information on how to enter is available by visiting: Ruskell Medal and Master's Medal

Vision Van on road to success, with national award win for Vision Express.

April 2108

VE VandNational optical retailer scoops Best Corporate Social Responsibility campaign at the CIM Marketing Excellence Awards 2018

Vision Express has earned acclaim at this year’s CIM Marketing Excellence Awards in recognition of an initiative to tackle sight-stealing condition glaucoma using its Vision Van.

Hosted by comedian Katherine Ryan at Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Thursday 12 April, Vision Express beat off stiff competition from industry giants such as Natwest, to take home the top accolade in the Best Corporate Social Responsibility category.

Touring the country for World Glaucoma Week 2017 in its mobile eye testing vehicle, the national optical retailer teamed up with charity partner the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) to put the spotlight on glaucoma as the ‘silent thief of sight’, which is the biggest cause of preventable sight loss in the UK.

In the week following the Vision Van tour, Vision Express recorded a record number of online bookings, demonstrating a real need for the initiative.

The tour has also earned finalist positions for Vision Express in the Third Sector Business Charity Awards and the Better Society Awards, with the results due to be announced in awards ceremonies on 23rd and 24th May respectively.

Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Vision Express, said: “It’s fantastic for the team to be recognised for its achievements at the CIM Marketing Excellence Awards.

“Awareness campaigns such as World Glaucoma Week provides the opportune time to raise the profile of vision-related conditions and the importance of maintaining regular eye tests. The work we do with the Vision Van is absolutely unique and enables us to target eye health hot spots around the country where we know there are specific issues.

“This year we’ve launched a brand new vehicle, with support from the Road Haulage Association, which will allow us to continue to take the eye test on the road, making vision care more accessible and boosting detection rates for sight-stealing conditions, including glaucoma and macular degeneration.”

Karen Brewer, head of communications at the IGA commented: “We are delighted that our partnership with Vision Express and the work that we do to raise awareness of glaucoma has been nationally recognised through this award. We have successfully worked together for several years to encourage people to have regular eye health checks in order to detect glaucoma early.

“We look forward to this relationship continuing so that we can help to reach everyone with, or at risk of, glaucoma”.

Vision Express has also been shortlisted in the Public Affairs Campaign category at this year’s CIPR Excellence Awards, for its road safety initiative – Eye Tests Save Lives. It calls on the Government to recognise the dangers to road safety posed by drivers who neglect regular eye tests. The campaign has gained support from MPs and policy-makers, and prompted the DVLA to include an eye test reminder on licence renewal notices.

Details of the cities the Vision Express Vision Van will visit this year are available here:

LOCSU and Newmedica sign agreement on post-cataract tariffs for community optometrists.

April 2018

Community ophthalmology provider Newmedica has entered into a framework agreement with the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) which will see patients returning to their optometrist after cataract surgery for post-operative assessment for a set tariff.

This is the first national framework agreement of its kind for LOCSU with a community ophthalmology provider.

It will be open to all optometrists providing they have successfully completed the LOCSU/WOPEC cataract accreditation.

The post-operative cataract pathway is evidence-based and uses best practice guidance to improve the patient journey and clinical and cost-effectiveness.

Richard Whittington, LOCSU Chief Operating Officer, said: "At LOCSU we are pleased to be entering into the agreement with Newmedica as it will enable Primary Eyecare Companies and practices to offer effective cataract post-operative care in a timely manner to patients in the community. It will also provide an opportunity to redesign local services with primary care being at the heart of delivery."

Darshak Shah, Newmedica Managing Director, said: "We have a simple mission for Newmedica: to make eyecare better. Eyecare services have traditionally been hospital-based yet many ophthalmic assessments and treatments currently carried out in secondary care can be undertaken effectively in primary care.

"At Newmedica we are delighted to have entered into an agreement with LOCSU that will be open to all appropriately accredited optometrists. This is a significant step forward in the redesign of local eye care services that will be of benefit to patients and to practitioners."

Mykita now Product Design Champions

April 2018

Red Dot winner for MykitaThe MYKITA reinterpretation of the traditional rimless concept has the Red Dot jury members convinced – the following four models from the LESSRIM collection have been distinguished with the Red Dot Award in Product Design 2018:

Rounded butterfly sunglasses AIMI in Gold/Black and Dark Grey Solid lenses
Double-bridged panto frame RYO in Silver/Champagne Gold (optical)
Oversize round glasses YOKO in Gold/Blue Grey (optical)
Classic panto frame EITO in Silver/Shiny Graphite (optical)

Based on a barely visible construction, LESSRIM models feature ultra-fine rims that lie flush in the groove of the lens perimeter.

The reduced material concept amounts to outstanding lightness and comfort. Pure shapes and subtle colour accents sharpen the virtually translucent aesthetic.


April 2018


Ocuco has acquired OptiCommerce, the leading provider of websites and eCommerce services to the UK eye care market.

The company will continue to be run from London, and all existing staff will be retained.

OptiCommerce was started in 2008 by Paul Clare, an eCommerce entrepreneur, and Dr Kuki Hundal, an ophthalmologist with experience in optical retail. Frustrated after spending over £100,000 building a custom site for his store – he met Paul, and they decided together to turn their expertise towards providing high quality ‘done for you‘ optical websites for independents at an affordable price.

“It’s impossible for small businesses to manage all of the aspects of the construction of an eCommerce site and also to market it. We manage all of that and more!” said Paul Clare.


Leo Mac Canna, Ocuco CEO, said “This is Ocuco doubling down on the UK market pre-Brexit, and on eCommerce for independents as the way of the future. The OptiCommerce model is the most successful model we have seen anywhere, in terms of providing the online presence Independents desperately need to remain competitive in an increasingly online world, and the digital marketing services to market it. We hope to further build the company in the UK and export the OptiCommerce model around the world.”

Ocuco is a leader in eye care software, with offices in 16 countries, and over 8,500 customer locations across 80 countries using its retail, lens manufacturing, and eCommerce software.

Ocuco are proud to be sponsors of your free Opchat News and you can view their information here

Social Media for Louis Stone on Instagram.

April 2018

In March, Louis Stone reached the grand milestone of 10,000 followers on Instagram.

Louis Stone is incredibly proud of this achievement as it took them only just over a year to accomplish and was entirely made up of organic (non-paid for) activity.

They then launched a giveaway in celebration of the achievement which led to them gaining another 500 followers in the space of only two weeks!

Clare Gaba, Louis Stone’s Head of Marketing & Communications (who opened her own marketing consultancy in January and now has Louis Stone as one of her clients, said ‘just over one year ago, a loyal customer to Louis Stone told me that an optical distributor would not ‘translate’ to Instagram,

I decided to test that theory. One year later, we are hot on the heels of the largest chains in optics in the UK - I guess we do translate after all!’

Obituary, Gerald Bryan

April 2018

Gerald Bryan CMG CVO OBE MC, who was the first paid employee of the ACLM, died on March 21st just short of his 97th birthday.

Gerald served in the army in World War II, fighting the Vichy French in Syria where he was shot in both legs - one was amputated.

He joined the Colonial Service and served in Africa and the West Indies. He was the Administrator (equivalent to the Governor General today) of St Lucia. He was then Government Secretary in the Isle of Man, General Manager of the Londonderry Development Commission and then of Bracknell New Town Development Corporation.

After retiring, he decided he wanted to work part-time and applied for the new job as Secretary General of the ACLM in 1983. He was a great success in the role both by relieving members of much administrative work but also by getting the Association into good order. He organised and attended Annual General Meetings held in attractive locations in the Britain and the Channel Isles.

His wife, Wendy joined in the associated social events where they were both very popular.

Perhaps a favourite story of Gerald was his response to a rather ‘grand’ PR lady who towered over him and asked, imperiously, who he might be. He replied cordially that he was the Secretary General of the ACLM and anything else she needed to know could be found in ‘Who’s Who’.

Gerald retired from the ACLM when the EU Medical Directive was being developed and the Association led the formation of the European federation of contact lens manufacturers associations, Euromcontact.

He did not want to make the necessary frequent trips to Europe. He was succeeded at the ACLM by Major General Michael Tillotson


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