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Optical News - April - June 2013

Our aim is to provide a broad coverage of all events in Optics UK, including Clinical, Educational, Political, and Business News as well as International stories from around the world. Email your news to mail@primaryhealthnet.com. Primary Health Net aims to publish news within 48 hours of receiving information.

Don't forget to visit our New Product Briefing, and LOC Briefings for the latest in these areas.


Global Eye Health Action Plan announced at Vision UK conference

Vision Strategy Refreshed

Pharma Group Urges Action to Correct Fragmented Service

Hewlett Makes Response to ABPI

Optrafair London Set to Satisfy Trade Show Demand

Optrafair Success Reported by Grafton Optical

Don't Forget Independents Day

FMO boosts optical training with donation to WCSM courses

PM Backs Launch of Refreshed UK Vision Strategy

Vision 2020 Produce Strategy Online and Online Videos

Optical Confederation Welcomes UK Vision Strategy

BCLA Welcomes New President and Council

100% Optical Show Gains Momentum

ACLM Announce New Chairman

OCUCO Request Re-examination of Seiko "Freeform" Patent

Global Contact Lens Community Gathers in Manchester

BCLA to Launch New Brand Identity

BBC Broadcaster to Chair Moral Maze Debate at Vision UK 2013 Conference

Optoms Cycling for Sight Goes Global

Rodenstock Club Awards Launched

BCLA Secretary General to Retire

Bausch & Lomb Sells Out

Vision UK 2013: 2 Weeks to Go

Industry Group Formed to Address Independent Sector Decline

BCLA Goes Green

Rodenstock Staff Rise to Make or Bake Challenge

Roger Rees Has Luck of the Draw with Orasis

Too Many Older People Falling Due to Poor Eyesight

BCLA Annual Report

10 Years of OGS

GOC Reviews Implications of Francis Inquiry

New Charities Highlighted on Our Pages

Optical Confederation Publishes Advice on Access to GOS for Recipients of Universal Credit

Guide Dogs Celebrate with FMO Chief Exec

BCLA Clinical Conference Gets Buzzing

100% Optical Signs 5 Year Deal with ExCel

AOP Appoints New Chairman

Atlas of Optical Variation Updated

Continuous Innovation from Hoya

Vision UK 2013: Less than 1 Month to Go

Wiseman Fund Receives Surprise Donation

New Eyecare Hope for those with Reading Problems

Optical Confederation Proves it has Come of Age

National Eye Health Week, FODO and AOP AGMs

PHN Commits to Work with NEHW

Chairs of Optical Confederation Provide Brains Trust Panel

Interactive CET in Norwich

SMC Evening with a Difference Hailed a Success

FMO Updates Best Practice Advice and Bad Payers List Goes Online

Hoya Appoints New Dean

New GOS Model Contracts Available

FODO Chair Reports that Optics has Weathered the Storm

OCUCO to Sponsor WSMC Networking Evenings

Optrafair London Expands

Dates for National Eye Health Week Announced

Blepharitis Briefing

Silhouette Honoured as Best Employer

Rodenstock Launches Window Display Competition

Euromcontact Provides Insight into Contact Lens Markets

World Council of Optometry Develops Strategy to Ensure Optometry is Recognised Worldwide

Focus Group Appointments at Optrafair

100% Optical Commissions Comprehensive Census of UK and International Opticians and Optometrists

WCO Announces Award Winners

Elaine Sets New Challenge for Homeless Charity Fundraising

Radio Appearance for Forgan's Aquaviz

BCLA Proclaims Exhibition Will Be Biggest Ever

OGS Chair Accepts Rawlings Opticians' World Sight Day Donation

MPs Make Timely Statements on Encouraging Better Eye Health

FMO Publishes Motivational Speech by Guest at Optrafair

Ultravision Poised for Growth

Legal Team Highlighted in AOP Report

Brulimar Prize Presented by Polley

BCLA Appoints Conference Programme Co-ordinator

Optrafair Window Dressers Compete for New York Trip

More Registrants Meet CET Target

BCLA Updates Members on Fluorescein

GOC Appoints Scott Mackie and Helen Tilley

Student to Join BCLA Council

Rodenstock Opens New Look Head Office

Winning Rodenstock Opticians Enjoy Prague

AOP Legal Lounge at Optrafair

Vandyke Students Learn Valuable Lessons at Ultravision

BCLA Peer Review Case Topics Revealed

Optrafair London Partner Confirmed as Optician

GOC Sets Out 2013/14 Priorities

Eye Health Professionals Welcome First Ever Public Health Indicator


June 2013

Dr Ivo Kocur, an expert on public eye health at the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations public health arm, announced a new global Strategy called ‘Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014-2019' at the Vision UK conference on Tuesday 11 June at the QE II conference centre in Westminster, London.

In his key note speech Dr Kocur also welcomed the UK Vision Strategy 2013 - 2018 and held it up as an example of best practice for other countries around the world.

Dr Kocur said: "I am pleased to announce the World Health Organization has launched a new Strategy called 'Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014-2019'. The global target is to reduce the prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25% by 2019.

"The UK Vision Strategy for 2013 - 2018 will enable the UK to implement the global plan and is a source of inspiration for other countries around the world."

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director and Interim Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK said: "We are pleased to work together with the World Health Organization to ensure the UK Vision Strategy’s outcomes become reality. By working together with our partners we can meet the global goals of reducing avoidable sight loss over the next five years”.

The Vision UK conference was attended by over 500 delegates, making it the most well attended conference to date.

June 2013

Some day we might look back on the events staged at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre as a turning point in the way the UK looks after the visually impaired and of greater value limits the numbers becoming one of these statistics. The effort and planning that has made this event possible deserves no less an epitaph.

Just taking in the number of active organisations, charities and health bodies plus a large rump of their activists shows the depth and commitment Vision 2020 UK have made to host the event.

Nick Astbury, Chair of Vision 2020 UK and Lesley Anne Alexander CEO RNIB jointly chaired the day.

Anita Lighthouse, Interim COO Vision 2020 UK and programme director of the UK Vision Strategy took us through the 3 outcomes the strategy highlights as goals over the next 5 years.

• Everyone in the UK looks after their eyes
• Everyone with an eye condition receives timely treatment and if permanent sight loss occurs early and appropriate services and support are available and accessible to all.
• A society in which people with sight loss can participate.

The day continued with working party groups discussing the opticians under all outcomes and was later followed by a “Moral Maze” hosted by BBC broadcaster Peter White.

There was also an interesting talk on the Fight for Sight’s new imitative for research priorities as seen by those who suffer from eye problems. We will report on this next week.

There were as at all of these events a plethora of statistics punted around some with mixed pedigrees but we all know that the UK visual health is sicker than it should be.

We have free tests for the elderly and for those suffering financial hardship as well as those with family genetic connections, but still there are millions of UK citizens with impaired vision and we are told the majority of these would be corrected or assisted by refractive or cataract surgery. The balance maybe 20% of more have sight loss that is irreparable in the main and many of these may not have made that journey had they taken better care of themselves.

Anecdotally we all know that many do not take up their right to health improvement because knowledge of ill health or warnings of future threats is not what they want to hear.

So with the weight of the communications at QEII tipped towards helping and dealing with the 20% already under the wing, of many support groups and rightly so, how do we take away, digest and evolve the splendid strategic outcomes reported on our site today and make them relevant to the 70% of the public with refractive and lenticular challenges and who knows what else might be found during a comprehensive examination?

That, colleagues, is the challenge laid down to us this week. Somehow we must raise our game to communicate with family, friends, schools and social services to remedy this visual blot on the UK health landscape.

We hear that GPs through their College will be encouraged to raise the priority of eye care in any over view of their patient care, not before time. We also hear that pharmacists have been trained in Wales by WOPEC and Cardiff University to take part next month in a week’s activity to bring eyecare to the fore.

So Optics UK the challenge is on to convert Vision 2020 UK strategy policy into “bums on seats”.

September 16th sees the start of National Eye Health week an opportunity that is available to all, from large corporate to small independents. We can promise to publicise your events and ideas to raise your profile to your local public if you send us your stories early. Make no mistake although it starts 16th September we need to include the stories during the summer in the run up to the campaign.

June 2013

A major report released on the same day as the Vision2020 UK Strategy launch highlights the urgent challenge facing eye health services and calls on NHS England to appoint a National Clinical Director for Eye Health.

ABPI Pharmaceutical Ophthalmology Initiative (POPI): formed of ABPI member companies with an interest in eye health - its objective is to work with others to raise the standard of eye care and deliver the best possible outcomes for patients across the UK. Bausch + Lomb, MSD, Bayer and Novartis are members of the group and JMC Partners provides the secretariat. All recommendations in the report are those of the ABPI POPI group and may not represent the views of the full ABPI membership.

Better Vision for All, produced by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Pharmaceutical Ophthalmology Initiative (POPI), was compiled based on desk research and in-depth interviews with over twenty key stakeholders in the eye health community and makes a number of recommendations to inform change within the new system.

The POPI group is formed of companies with a special interest in eye health and it aims to work with others to raise the standard of eye care in the UK.

The number of people registered as blind or partially sighted is rising fast. The NHS needs to adapt to meet this challenge if we are to avoid people losing their sight unnecessarily but the complexity of eye care delivery, spanning primary, secondary and social care and involving a mix of private and NHS providers, makes this difficult. A National Clinical Director for Eye Health, working inclusively and providing strategic leadership across the sector from within NHS England, is needed.

Lord Low, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment said:

“With a service as fragmented as eye health, a National Clinical Director, supported by an advisory National Eye Health Network, is essential.

“Without a leader to drive the implementation of change, as has proven successful in services for cancer and cardiovascular disease, the system will fail to withstand the increasing pressures it faces and more patients will needlessly lose their sight.”

A demographic time bomb.

The total cost of sight loss to the UK economy is estimated at £22 billion .Reports of rationing and delays to treatment, acknowledged by Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS Medical Director, suggest that the system is already struggling to cope with demand.

Demographic and other factors indicate the situation is only likely to get worse. An aging population and sharp rises in diabetes and obesity, which are known risk factors for sight loss, point towards the future health and economic burden of sight loss and the impact this will have on associated services.

Joe Brice, Chair of the POPI group, said: “What comes out clearly in ‘Better Vision for All’ is the strength of opinion about fragmented services in eye care. We hope that this consensus will help bring about change, with the potential for stronger national leadership to put services on a more sustainable footing across the country to meet rapidly growing demand to the benefit of patients.”

The “Better Vision for All” report recommendations:

Commissioning:

1. A National Clinical Director (NCD) for Eye Health should be appointed by NHS England to take an overarching approach to eye care and drive change in a systematic and timely manner;

2. A National Eye Health Network comprising representatives from across the eye health community should be established to provide advice to the NCD and enhance the prospects of best practice being adopted across the country;
B. Prevention & Awareness:

3. An eye health awareness campaign should be developed and executed to encourage the public and health care professionals to realise the importance of eye health and emphasise the importance of eye checks;

4. A question on eye health should be developed and added into the NHS Health Check to increase awareness of the importance of sight tests;

5. Public Health England should circulate a fact sheet on the importance of eye health to all Directors of Public Health and request that they ensure eye health is covered adequately in Joint Strategic Needs Assessments;
C. Access to Treatments & Services:

6. The National Clinical Director should be responsible for supporting CCGs in providing patients access to treatments and services based on the best clinical and cost effectiveness evidence;

7. Care plans should be developed for eye care patients, owned by one practitioner, to promote a seamless experience and integrated service;

8. A list of minimum standards should be developed to guide patients on what they should expect from interactions in primary, secondary and social care;

9. New pathways should be subject to audit to ensure that patient safety and outcomes are satisfactory;

10. Digital data sharing best practice should be developed across an eye care pathway as part of the Secretary of State for Health’s Digital Challenge;

11. A best practice approach to rationalising and improving eye care service delivery should be developed, based on a systematic demand and capacity gap analysis;

12. The completion of NICE Quality Standards across the four main eye conditions should be expedited. Its completion should trigger the development of integrated commissioning guidance by NHS England;

13. The National Clinical Director should produce an annual report to benchmark different areas and drive further service improvements and best practice;

14. The National Clinical Director should develop a local CQUIN framework to support commissioners in the implementation of best practice eye health pathways.

The report can be viewed in full here

June 2013

“The eye health sector has already made great strides in joined-up working, not least in the refreshed UK Visions Strategy launched yesterday and described by the WHO as a “main source of inspiration and guidance [to others] in Europe” and in achieving the eye health indicator to track progress in improving eye health and preventing visual impairment. With or without a National Clinical Director, the new Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning and the twenty five Local Eye Health Networks (LEHNs) in England will have major roles to play in filling the gaps identified in this report. The ABPI also has an important role to play in these networks including through pharmaceutical and technological innovation. By working in collaboration we can ensure that genuine progress is made on the ground” - David Hewlett, Optical Confederation

June 2013

The overwhelming success of The FMO in staging UK optical trade shows has been confirmed by recent research, which reveals exactly what the UK optical industry is looking for in such an event.

From more than 6,600 visitors who attended Optrafair at The NEC, Birmingham, there were some impressive survey results –Of those responding to the free to enter questionnaire, 81% said they were “likely” or “very likely” to visit Optrafair London to be held at Olympia in the heart of London from 11-13 April 2014.

Optrafair Chairman Malcolm Polley said the figure revealed that the optical body’s formula for bringing education, training and the latest innovations from all aspects of optics together was the right one. “This figure of 81% is from those already attending Optrafair in Birmingham – it does not include those practice owners and support staff that will be keen to visit London for other reasons so we can expect an even more impressive figure. We have excellent interest from many in the south-east who do not travel to the Midlands show and from overseas visitors who are excited about the buzz which Optrafair London is creating.”

The survey showed that many came with multiple shopping lists but highlighted 65% attending to look for enticing new frames; 38% for diagnostic technology; 34% for sunglasses; and 33% for lens technology or new lens suppliers.

Contact lenses were of interest to 21% of visitors, with lab equipment and IT systems scoring similarly high on the agenda.

“We are using our unrivalled industry knowledge and this important data to ensure that Optrafair London is the undisputed venue for any optical business looking to move forward and grow its business and customer base,” added Malcolm.

June 2013

The last few months leading up to and after Optrafair has been a busy period for Grafton Optical. leading up to and after Optrafair. The launch of the iFusion generated huge interest and resulted in many customers purchasing at the show. Software options include: 3D / Ganglion Cell Complex / Macula / Glaucoma C/D Ratio / Angle View and Pachymetry.

The IVue OCT from Optovue continued to be a big success and with its GCC and Corneal modules it delivers in all areas. As did the Cobra Fundus Camera from CSO, and the digital slit lamps from Grafton, Shin Nippon and CSO.

Also making headlines at the show was the New “HD Cobra” Retinal Camera which completes the family of instruments produced by C.S.O. The Corneal Topographer, Digital LED Slit Lamp and HD Cobra all operate from one PC, using the “Phoenix” software database.

The New Shin Nippon DR900 Digital Refractor Head boasts the largest colour control screen, with the least number of control knobs. The wireless link connects to the Auto Refractor and LCD Test Chart panel.
Combi Units featured strongly on the Grafton Stand with two New additions to the range. The Grafton CT500 delivers good functionality, combined with excellent value. If space is an issue or a wheelchair accessible unit is required, take a look at the new Grafton S4Optik range.

Grafton offer computerised test charts in a range of specifications to suit all budgets and clinical requirements with new LED screens priced from £995.

The ever-popular “Grafton Shop” was open for business during the show, offering everything from Fixation Sticks to Pachmates and Auto Lensmeters. Demand was high which saw Grafton sell out of many products including near vision units, volk lenses, trial frames and pachymeters.

June 2013

OCT is becoming more prominent in UK independent practices. Comments from existing users are, "how did I test before without one?" making the i-Vue OCT an essential instrument to promote and enhance your clinical care for early detection & diagnosing of eye disease.

You can visit stand F7 to see how you could own a brand new i-Vue OCT from only £18.00 per day by visiting Grafton Optical.

More investment has been made into Grafton’s CSO family range of instruments. The new LED photo slit lamp provides outstanding still and video images as do the NEW HD Cobra retinal camera and corneal topographer.

Grafton is aware that a practice does require all those essential items such as trial frames, near vision units and cross cyls so ask the team for our best Independence Day offers on these products.

Representatives will be on hand to discuss your instrument requirements and they look forward to meeting you on the day.

June 2013

The FMO is further boosting optical training as £5,000 from the flagship show, Optrafair, was added to The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ fund for education this week.

John Conway, FMO Chairman, said the donation “reinforces the close co-operation between the manufacturing body and The WCSM”.

“Any industry must invest not just in technology but also is staff training – optics is no different. For the industry and profession to move forward we must all aim to provide the very best products, services, education and training. We are delighted to provide this support from the proceeds of our show, Optrafair,” said John, who has just been awarded Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.
Gordon Jones, Master of The WCSM, said the donation was timely and greatly appreciated –

“The support that The FMO shows for education, and the way that our two organisations have worked together to produce courses which are relevant and attainable, is excellent. Our new training programmes are tailored to today’s optical industry and designed to motivate and promote excellence in optics.”

The WCSM Level 2 Customer Service course, developed with The FMO, has been of particular value as an induction to the industry, covering the anatomy of the eye, frames, lenses, customer services and the organisation of the industry. Glazing courses have also won much praise from those who have taken part.

Picture shows: Debbie Gigg, WCSM Training Manager; Gordon Jones, Master WCSM; John Conway, Chairman, FMO.

June 2013

Prime Minister, David Cameron has today backed the launch of the UK Vision Strategy 2013 - 2018, a framework for change to improve eye health in the UK and support for people with sight loss. The Strategy will be launched today (11 June) at the Vision UK 2013 conference in Westminster, London.

Following a consultation in 2012, the Strategy sets out three priority outcomes for the next five years:
• Everyone in the UK looks after their eyes and their sight
• Everyone with an eye condition receives timely treatment and, if permanent sight loss occurs, early and appropriate services and support are available and accessible to all
• A society in which people with sight loss can fully participate

Mr Cameron who supports the aims of the Strategy said: "Any loss or impairment of vision can reduce a person’s quality of life substantially and demands for eye care services will increase as people live longer.

"This presents a challenge for the health and social care system which can only be overcome by improving the coordination, integration and effectiveness of eye health and care services across the UK."

The Strategy is supported by organisations across the eye health and sight loss sector who work together to deliver the Strategy. This partnership working has led to many successes since the Strategy launched in 2008.

Mr Cameron continues: "This collaborative approach has to be the way to improve services and support for people with vision problems. I am therefore pleased to welcome the aims of the UK Vision Strategy."

Anita Lightstone, Programme Director for UK Vision Strategy said: "We are delighted to have the support of the Prime Minister. By health and social care professionals working together in an integrated way we can ensure sight loss is avoided where possible and blind and partially sighted people get the support they need to play a full part in society."

June 2013

You can download the Strategy Document either as a Word Document

Online videos

Also on the launch day, three 2 minute videos will go live on our website which provide an overview of each of the refreshed outcomes of the Strategy and feature key opinion leaders from across the sector including Dr Waqaar Shah, the RCGP clinical champion for eye health and David Blunkett MP. They will be available at: http://www.vision2020uk.org.uk/ukvisionstrategy/ A new section will launch on the menu bar called 'UK Vision Strategy 2013 - 2018' and this is where the videos will be.

Keep up with the days events by following with the hashtag #visionuk2013 and remember to and retweet with your thoughts on your accounts.

Strategy document

To download the UK Vision Strategy in Word use the this link

June 2013

The Optical Confederation warmly welcomes the ‘refreshed’ UK Vision Strategy launched today at the Vision UK 2013 Conference at the QE2 Centre London.

The ‘refreshed’ strategy builds upon, but remains true to, the aims and principles of the original strategy published in 2008.

The strategy, launched at the conference, includes three ‘key outcomes’:

• Empowering everyone in the UK to take responsibility to look after their eyes and sight
• Guaranteeing everyone with an eye condition receives primary treatment and, if permanent sight loss occurs, making sure that early and appropriate services and support are available and accessible to all
• Working to ensure an inclusive society in which people with sight loss can fully participate.

Optical Confederation Chairman, Don Grocott said: “Much has been achieved under the original UK Vision Strategy, not least the Eye Health Indicator in England and the considerable work to improve eye health, prevent visual impairment and enable people with sight loss to lead active, full and inclusive lives in all four UK countries. However, there is much more to do and people in this country, especially older people and people from minority groups, are still losing their sight at rates which are just not acceptable. As founder members of the UK Vision Strategy and enthusiastic supporters of Vision 2020 UK, the Optical Confederation and its members will continue to strive to improve eye health for all and offer access to the highest quality community eye health services and vision correction.”

Katrina Venerus, Managing Director of LOCSU said: “Community optical practitioners, together with hospital colleagues, are at the heart of delivering the UK Vision Strategy. Local Eye Health Networks (LEHNs) in England provide the ideal opportunity to work together to improve outcomes.”

David Hewlett, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, added: “It is great to see the UK Vision Strategy being endorsed at the highest level, and the continuing emphasis on the importance of looking after your eyes and regular sight testing is very welcome. This is the best means of achieving eye health for all and reducing the unacceptable levels of avoidable sight loss in the UK. Every member of the Optical Confederation is committed to these goals.”

June 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has welcomed Andy Yorke as its new President for the year 2013-14. The new President Elect is Susan Bowers.

Andy Yorke, BCLA PresidentHanding over the presidential badge of office at the BCLA Clinical Conference Gala Dinner in Manchester on this weekend past, Immediate Past President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, said: “Having been involved with the contact lens industry and the BCLA for more than 25 years, Andy brings a unique outlook to the role of President.

“His specialist knowledge of the profession and his understanding of the contact lens business and market will undoubtedly serve the Association and its members well.”

Andy, who is head of Topcon’s medical business in the UK, has served on the BCLA Council for seven years as Technical Representative.

Commenting on his hopes for the year ahead, Andy said: “My overriding aim as BCLA President is to help introduce a new generation of contact lens professionals to the Association, making the BCLA more accessible to younger members.

“The key is in our Association’s name, as I also want to widen our appeal and activities so that many more British contact lens practitioners can benefit from our education programmes and deliver these benefits to their patients in day-to-day practice.

“I’m taking over from Catharine as BCLA President during a period of significant change, so it is incumbent upon me to ensure the momentum continues for the benefit of all our existing and future members,” added Andy.

The new BCLA Technical Representative is Karl Aberdeen, who is Professional Relations Manager at CooperVision. Karl commented: “Having previously served on the BCLA Council, I’m acutely aware of the workload involved and I’m committed to contributing to the future success of the Association and will work tirelessly to deliver increased benefits for the membership.

“I believe I possess the corporate experience and business skills that will help the Council to develop strategies and initiatives that will help the BCLA better align itself with the industry and profession, which will result in ultimately growing the membership base and promote excellence in contact lens prescribing,” Karl added.

The composition of the 2013-14 BCLA Council is as follows:

• Andy Yorke, President
• Dr Catharine Chisholm, Immediate Past President
• Shelly Bansal, Past President
• Susan Bowers, President Elect
• Karl Aberdeen, Technical Representative
• Maxine Green, Technical Representative
• Iain May, Contact Lens Optician Representative
• Katherine Reed, Lay Member
• Keith Tempany, Contact Lens Optician Representative
• Sheetal Patel, Optometric Representative
• Brian Tompkins, Optometric Representative
• Dr Ursula Vogt, Medical Representative
• Siobhan Wren, Medical Representative
• Shivani Madhavji, Student Representative

A vacancy currently exists for an Optometric Representative and BCLA members will be invited to nominate candidates in July.

June 2013

Media 10 announce the use of an award winning floor plan that creates a positive visitor experience for next year’s 100% Optical Show. The show will be divided into 4 organic sections where exhibitors will be able to create individual communities in each hall with dedicated seminars, interactive features, drinks receptions and parties allowing each hall to target their key customers.

Media 10 announce that Shamir are among the latest group of companies to register for the show next February. Phil Bareham, Shamir’s general manager said, "As proud supporters of the UK Optical Industry, Shamir are looking forward to the opportunities that 100% Optical will create in 2014”

Also confirmed are Perception Software who claim to provide the first web based Ophthalmic Practice Management System who will be exhibiting in the Business Services sector at 100%.

Moorfields, the world’s leading eye hospital will be working with 100% to London has an event of international significance by show casing world class expertise in clinical care, research, education and training. 100% will also be supporting Moorfield’s eye charity for its patients and people with sight problems around the world.

June 2013

At its recent AGM on 14 May 2013 the ACLM appointed Dr Cameron Hudson as Chairman. He has been an ACLM board member since July 2010.

Cameron is an Optometrist and obtained both his degree and PhD at Cardiff School of Optometry and Vision Sciences. Notably he carried out a fundraising and research expedition as part of a 700 mile journey on foot to the South Pole in 2007 in support of vision charities. Since then Cameron has served in Professional services roles within the optical retail and contact lens manufacturing industries.Cameron is now based at the new Alcon UK and Ireland headquarters in Camberley, Surrey.

Nigel Mallinson, Managing Director of CooperVision Manufacturing Ltd and the outgoing Chairman, has kindly agreed to remain as a board member.

June 2013

Ocuco Inc., developer and provider of Innovations Lab Management Software, have filed a re-examination request with the U.S. Patent Office, seeking re-examination of Seiko Epson’s Patent 6,019,470, which claims the invention of back-surface progressive lenses.

“I began this inquiry because I was familiar with engineering projects back in the early 1990’s at both Gerber Optical and Coburn Optical, which had as their objective the production of back-surface progressives. It struck me as absurd that Seiko Epson, or anyone else, could claim to have invented a category of lenses that we were feverishly trying to make years before they were allegedly invented,” said Robert Shanbaum, president of Ocuco Inc., Ocuco’s U.S. subsidiary.

“Digging into it, we found that both back-side and dual-sided progressive lenses were anticipated in prior patents, going back to the 1930’s. We further discovered numerous defects in Seiko Epson’s patent, which we have enumerated in our re-examination request”, Shanbaum said.

A “re-examination” is an administrative procedure established in the patent regulations that allows any person to request that the Patent Office reconsider its grant of a patent, based on “substantial new questions of patentability”, which the requester must clearly set out.

“A patent is valid until it’s not – no one should think that our action in any way invalidates the patent at this point”, Shanbaum said. “We hope that our request is sufficiently persuasive that the PTO will grant our request, and then cancel the patent. We do not think that Seiko Epson is entitled to exact a rent from the industry, because their patent does not teach us anything that we did not already know.”

June 2013

More than 1,200 members of the global contact lens community gathered in the metropolis of Manchester, UK, last week to hear how they could be inspired in research, in practice and in business.
A total of 1,242 delegates and exhibition visitors from more than 40 countries attended the 37th British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition, held at Manchester Central from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 June. Attendance figures were slightly up on the 2012 event, which drew 1,203 delegates and visitors.

Contact lens professionals, academics, researchers, students and industry partners enjoyed four packed days of education, business, networking and socialising. More than 1,500 people came through the doors of Manchester Central during the four-day event, including delegates, exhibition visitors, members of the press, and industry representatives.

The Association welcomed 1,074 registered delegates in addition to 168 visitors who came just for the three-day exhibition, supported by 55 companies. It was the BCLA’s largest ever exhibition with the highest ever number of visitors.

The largest contingent of delegates came from the UK (471) with the largest overseas contingents coming from the USA (72) – followed by Sweden (45), Germany (40) and France (34) and Italy (34).
BCLA Student Rep and second-year optometry student at City University, Shivani Madhavji, said: “Visiting all the exhibitors was really interesting as I saw how advanced technology has become. The pre-reg talk I attended was particularly beneficial along with the RGP workshop, as it gave us hands-on experience with correct fitting and assessment. The mocktail stand labelling drinks after contact lens definitions was also great fun!”

Displayed around the exhibition hall were 80 entries in this year’s poster competition, with prizes donated by Elsevier. The overall winners were Maria Navascues-Cornago, Carole Maldonado-Codina and Philip Morgan for ‘Sensitivity of the marginal and tarsal conjunctiva in non-contact lens wearers’.

Mohammed Abid, a second-year optometry student at Cardiff University, who attended on the Saturday said: “I enjoyed the whole day and thought the RGP workshop was very informative and enjoyable. I also liked how the posters were laid out around the exhibition, and found them very useful.”

The winner of the 2013 photographic competition was Fabrizio Zeri, for his entry ‘Hyperferritinemia cataract’, with a special mention for Michelle Snowball's ‘Meibomian gland dropout’. Fabrizio was presented with a digital camera by Immediate Past President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, courtesy of competition sponsor Nikon Optical.

There were social media fun and games during the exhibition with full delegate, Andreas Muhs from Germany, winning an iPad Mini in the BCLA’s Eye Spy game. A bottle of champagne was given away each day to the delegate whose Facebook photo of them holding a BCLA branded themos cup received the most ‘likes’.

For 2013, the Association welcomed around 100 first-time sponsored delegates to enjoy a complimentary weekend package thanks to the generosity of all exhibitors.

Sponsored delegate, optometrist Kathy Gabbatiss from Oxford, had not been to the BCLA Clinical Conference for more than 20 years. She said: “It was definitely worth attending and meeting the new generation entering contact lens practice. It was interesting that many traditional ideas are still around and holding their value, but also to see all the new innovations. I’m really grateful to the BCLA and exhibitors for providing me with the chance to come for free. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back next year.”

At Johnson & Johnson Vision Care’s Patron’s event on the Friday evening, guests enjoyed a talk by inspirational speaker and communications expert, Chris Cummins, focusing on communication with teens and how to get it right. Chris got guests involved by taking part in an interactive eye movement game, designed to help practitioners insightfully interact with patients.

During a special reception prior to the ‘Year of the Contact Lens Chinese Banquet’ themed Gala Dinner outgoing BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, welcomed new BCLA members who had joined the Association since June 2012.

More than 700 guests attended this year’s Gala Dinner and awards. Announced during the evening were 21 new BCLA Fellowships, a mark of esteem in the field of contact lenses, which allows recipients to use the letters FBCLA after their names. Chris Kerr, who has retired as BCLA Conference Scientific Programme Consultant, was presented with a BCLA Honorary Life Membership.

More than 200 delegates attended the inaugural BCLA Business Day on Sunday 9 June. Themed ‘Understanding the business of contact lenses’, topics included the customer journey and maximising online opportunities. Delegates were give plenty of practical take-home tips, including how to use Google Places to promote the practice website, and the most effective marketing and social media strategies.

Attendee Helen Pinney of Brownbills Optometrists, Ashford, Kent, said: “We are already ranked number one on Google when searching for ‘optician + Ashford + Kent’. But I’m going to go back and make sure we’re using Google Places to maximise our online presence. You can’t afford to be complacent about practice marketing in today’s climate and the Business Day reminded us of that.”

New for 2013 were peer review and peer discussion. Delegates got involved in these new sessions, gaining contact lens and therapeutics CET points. Neil Cox, who attended peer discussion of several cases on the Sunday of the conference, said: “This was a really great addition to the programme, and the facilitation and general running of the sessions were extremely good. I hope it will be repeated.”

Speaking at the conference closing ceremony as he begins his year in office, new BCLA President, Andy Yorke, said: “As you know, the BCLA is embarking on an exciting new journey – all designed to support our members and conference delegates in clinical practice, research and in business.

“Our new look logo, new website and new year-round events will help us to move forwards and help our members – and the contact lens profession in general – to grow and develop. Make sure you are part of this journey as a BCLA member.

Andy added: “On behalf of the BCLA Council, I would like to thank Immediate Past President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, for her commitment and tireless dedication to the BCLA over the past year. I look forward to continuing to work with Catharine and benefit from her expertise over the next year, along with all Council members.”

Andy also thanked this year’s sponsors: Patron sponsors, Alcon, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care; Platinum sponsor, Bausch + Lomb; and Gold sponsors, David Thomas Contact Lens/Menicon, Sauflon and Topcon.

The 38th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition will take place at the ICC Birmingham, UK, from 6-9 June 2014. For the first time, the Clinical Conference will run from Friday to Monday, with the Exhibition on the Saturday to Monday, to better accommodate busy High Street practitioners. The theme will be announced in the autumn, along with further details about the new programme.

2014 keynote speakers:

• BCLA Medal Lecture: Dr Philip Morgan (UK)
• Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture: Heiko Pult (Germany)
• Professor Lyndon Jones (UK/Canada)
• Dr Motozumi Itoi (Hong Kong)

BCLA to launch new brand identity at 37th Clinical Conference

June 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) unveiled its new brand identity on the opening day of its 37th Clinical Conference and Exhibition, being held from 6 to 9 June at Manchester Central, UK.

BCLA LogoDuring a special presentation entitled, ‘Vision of the future’, which included a preview of the new BCLA website launching this summer, Immediate Past President, Shelly Bansal, showcased the refreshed BCLA brand and new logo design.

After charting the Association’s progress over the past 30 plus years, Shelly told delegates that there had been a great deal of activity going on behind the scenes during the past 12 months.

“We have spent the past year working on a brand new interactive website,” Shelly said. “We have also given our branding and logo a complete refresh, which we are launching today at the conference.”

Explaining the thinking behind the re-ignition of the BCLA brand, Shelly said: “The overriding reason is that we want to demonstrate our commitment to the three strands that our new logo reflects: partnership; leadership; and community.

“Our new strapline brings our mission statement into sharper focus, with a multi-coloured logo representing our different areas and functions, such as Education, Membership services, and providing guidance to the Public on everything related to contact lens wear and care.

“Working together with our members and our partners within industry and academia, we can ensure that the BCLA is at the forefront of educational and professional development in the field of contact lenses and the anterior eye.

“Through our new networking schemes, and brand new interactive website, we will bring the global contact lens community together to promote excellence in the field, and in vision care practice for our contact lens patients.”

The new BCLA branding will replace the existing logo and feature on the new BCLA website when it goes live this summer.

June 2013

Peter White, the BBC's Disability Affairs Correspondent, has been confirmed to chair the ‘Moral Maze’ debate at next week’s Vision UK 2013, the leading eye health and sight loss sector conference.

The conference, taking place on 11 June at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London, will feature a debate based on the popular BBC Radio 4 Moral Maze programme. This year’s debate will tackle the question: Digital accessibility – right or luxury? It will explore issues surrounding access to digital technology for blind and partially sighted people.

Peter has been the BBC's Disability Affairs Correspondent since 1995. He was the first totally blind person to produce reports for television news.

Peter said: ‘’I am looking forward to engaging in the debate about the accessibility of technology for blind and partially sighted individuals. Now that we are living in a society that is heavily reliant on digital technology it is important that we consider how this affects people with sight loss and how we can ensure that nobody is left behind’’.

The debate will comprise a chair, four panellists and three witnesses, all of whom are involved in the sight loss sector and have an interest or background in technology. The panellists will include:

• Nigel Lewis Chief Executive of AbilityNet
• Ellie Southwood, Vice Chair (External Affairs) for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
• Léonie Watson, Chair of the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB)

The moral maze witnesses are as follows:

• Geoff Adams-Spink, Journalist
• Kevin Carey, Founder Director of humanITy, RNIB Chair
• Stacy Rowe, Sightsavers

Conference places are still available. For more information about the programme and to book your place, go to: http://www.vision2020uk.org.uk/ukvisionstrategy/ or phone 01920 88 51 62.

June 2013

The annual charity challenge ‘Optoms Cycling for Sight’ is going global, with organisers calling on the entire profession, near and far, to take to their bikes and help them cover a total of 25,000 miles, and reach the £25,000 fundraising goal. All proceeds will go to Optometry Giving Sight and their efforts to develop sustainable eye care in developing countries.

Optoms cycling for sightThis year’s challenge will take place across a 10 day period from August 15 to August 25.

Participants can cycle solo or in a group, on the road or on a stationary bike in the gym, and are encouraged to reach a mileage which is a ‘challenge’ for them.

Organisers are asking fellow cyclists to let them know how many miles they plan to ride and to pledge to raise at least £1 for each mile covered.

Gemma Hill, the co-ordinator of Optoms Cycling for Sight, has said of this year’s event: “I’m so excited that we have expanded the event in this way. Not only do we have the potential to get more of the optical industry involved and taking part, but if we can raise at least £1 per mile we will be able to give a huge amount of money to the incredibly worthwhile endeavors of Optometry Giving Sight. I consider the provision of eye care where it does not exist an often overlooked cause and I am committed to getting everyone involved to rectify this.”

In previous years, a group of optometry students have cycled 800 miles across the country, making stops at each of the eight UK-based optometry departments along the way. Last year’s challenge raised more than £3,000 and was supported by optical companies including Specsavers, Eyecare 3000 and Topcon.

This year’s challenge was kickstarted at Optrafair, where the team cycled over 300 miles on a stationary bike across the three day event. The team will also be at this year’s BCLA conference in Manchester.

Fares Hatoum, founder of the initiative who has taken part in both previous cycles, will be taking the challenge to the continent this year by attempting to cycle from London to Paris in 24 hours between 24 – 25 August.

Those who wish to get involved in this year’s challenge are invited to email info@oc4s.co.uk to receive further information and sign-up forms.

To follow the progress of this year’s event you can join the Facebook group ‘Optoms Cycling for Sight UK’ or follow @OptomsCyclingUK on Twitter

June 2013

The search is on for top-performing independent opticians-

A three night trip to Salzburg is the main prize for winners of the 2013 Rodenstock Club Awards, which reward independent opticians for their loyalty and support.

Winners of the eight award categories, together with the Centre of Excellence winners, will enjoy a fabulous trip to the home of Mozart‎ in March, where they will have time to ski or enjoy a spa visit, in addition to visiting the Porsche Design studio at Zell am See.

Practices from across the UK will compete in a number of product specific categories, including Impression lenses, ColorMatic IQ lenses, Wimbledon eyewear, luxury brand eyewear and Rodenstock eyewear. Excellence in marketing is also recognised in the annual awards.

Dietmar Rathbauer, Managing Director of Rodenstock UK, said: “Rodenstock Club celebrated the 21st anniversary of our prestigious awards last year and now we are looking forward once again to rewarding our loyal customers and thanking them for their continued support.

“We are always keen to attract new customers to Rodenstock and there are many benefits and rewards available to independent practices who work with us. They will have access to the best products at highly competitive prices, and enjoy a comprehensive range of sales and marketing support.”

The competition runs until 30 November. The winning practices will be announced at a luncheon and awards ceremony at The Four Seasons Park Lane on Tuesday 10 December 2013.

The Rodenstock Club, founded in 1991, has evolved to provide a unique level of service and portfolio of products plus a range of rewards and benefits, including contributions to local advertising, branded open days, loyalty bonuses, annual training and early bird promotions.

June 2013

After 28 years as Secretary General to the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), Vivien Freeman has announced that she will retire at the end of this calendar year.

Vivien said: “It has been a huge privilege to lead the BCLA for over 28 years and I’m immensely proud of how much the Association has achieved. When I first joined as Secretary General in 1985, we were a small organisation which I managed from my office at home. Today we have 2,350 members, a conference with more than 1,000 delegates, continuing education events, numerous publications both online and offline and of course email, social media and the website.

“I am extremely fortunate to have worked with some wonderful people – from presidents and council members to the office staff and sponsors – not to mention the many delegates who regularly attend our events. I look forward to continuing those friendships in my retirement.

“I am confident that I am leaving the BCLA with strong foundations for the future; a new website including a socially interactive database, new branding, results of a recent questionnaire, an ever growing conference and exhibition with venues booked up to and including 2020. We have a well-established office with excellent staff and consultants and more defined procedures for conference management, programme sourcing and office administration.

“My immediate focus will remain on organising a fantastic conference this year. Beyond that, I have a personal interest ensuring that the BCLA goes from strength to strength after my departure. I look forward to cheering you all on from the sidelines and wish all those working for and with the BCLA the very best for the future,” Vivien concluded.

BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, commented: “Vivien has worked tirelessly over the past 28 years to help established an internationally renowned Clinical Conference and Exhibition and a strong Association. She will be greatly missed by us all, and we thank her for her hard work and wish her all the best in her retirement.”

BCLA President Elect, Andy Yorke, added: “The BCLA was born from a group of enthusiasts that has grown into a global organisation. Vivien has been at the heart of that organisation and personally responsible for significant parts of that growth. We all at the BCLA owe her a debt of gratitude for that and she will be missed but not forgotten. I wish her much happiness in her well-earned retirement.”

The Association will begin a process of recruitment for a new Secretary General in the near future.

May 2013

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. To Acquire Bausch + Lomb For $8.7 Billion

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX) (TSX: VRX) and Bausch + Lomb Holdings Incorporated, the global eye health company, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Valeant will acquire Bausch + Lomb for $8.7 billion in cash.

Under terms of the agreement, which was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, Valeant will pay aggregate consideration of $8.7 billion in cash, of which approximately $4.5 billion will go to an investor group led by Warburg Pincus and approximately $4.2 billion will be used to repay Bausch + Lomb's outstanding debt. Valeant expects to achieve at least $800 million in annual cost savings by end of 2014. Bausch + Lomb expects to have revenues of approximately $3.3 billion and adjusted EBITDA in 2013 of approximately $720 million. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Valeant's cash earnings per share. Assuming the transaction occurred on January 1, 2013 and assuming the full realization of synergies, the acquisition would have been approximately 40% accretive to Valeant's expected 2013 Cash EPS.

The transaction will be financed with debt and approximately $1.5 - $2.0 billion of new equity. Valeant has secured fully committed debt financing for the transaction from Goldman Sachs Bank USA. Taking into account the anticipated equity raise, Valeant's debt to pro forma adjusted EBITDA ratio will be approximately 4.6 times.

Bausch + Lomb will retain its name and become a division of Valeant. Valeant's existing ophthalmology businesses will be integrated into the Bausch + Lomb division, creating a global eye health platform with estimated pro forma 2013 net revenue of more than $3.5 billion. The acquisition positions Valeant to capitalize on growing eye health trends driven by an aging patient population, an increased rate of diabetes and demand from emerging markets. The combined business will also benefit from access to a strong product portfolio and a late stage pipeline of innovative, new products.

Valeant's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, J. Michael Pearson, said, "We are excited to announce the acquisition of Bausch + Lomb, which will transform Valeant into a global leader in eye health by significantly strengthening our capabilities in ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, contact lenses and lens care products, and ophthalmic surgical devices and instruments. Bausch + Lomb's world-renowned brand, comprehensive portfolio of leading eye care products, and promising late stage pipeline are an ideal strategic fit for our current ophthalmology business and we are strongly committed to continuing to build a sustainable eye health business. With this transaction, Valeant will be a worldwide leader in both dermatology and eye health."

Bausch + Lomb's Chief Executive Officer, Brent Saunders, said, "Bausch + Lomb has undergone a profound transformation over the last few years. We introduced innovative new products for patients; built a robust pipeline; expanded into new markets; and strengthened our relationships with eye care professionals around the world. Valeant's acquisition of our company is a testament to the tremendous value our talented employees have created over the past several years." Saunders continued, "Our companies have a shared commitment to providing innovative and high quality products and exceptional service to customers. I am confident that under their stewardship, the Bausch + Lomb brand will continue to stand for excellence and innovation in eye health."

Following the closing, Mr. Saunders will join Valeant in an advisory role to help ensure a seamless transition and integration and Fred Hassan, Chairman of Bausch + Lomb's Board of Directors, will join Valeant's Board of Directors. In addition, Dan Wechsler, Executive Vice President and President of Bausch + Lomb's Global Pharmaceuticals, will join Valeant as Executive Vice President and Company Group Chairman, Ophthalmology and Eye Health. Bausch + Lomb's Chief Medical Officer Calvin W. Roberts, M.D. will also join Valeant as its Chief Medical Officer, Ophthalmology and Eye Health. We also anticipate additional members of the senior management team to join Valeant.

About Valeant
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE/TSX:VRX) is a multinational specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of pharmaceutical products primarily in the areas of dermatology, neurology and branded generics. More information about Valeant can be found at www.valeant.com.

May 2013

The countdown is on – there are just two weeks left to book your place at Vision UK 2013, the leading eye health and sight loss sector conference.

Vision UK 2013 is taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London on Tuesday 11 June.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of the launch of the UK Vision Strategy 2013-2018, and contribute to plans for turning the Strategy into a reality over the next five years.

An exciting line-up of speakers has been confirmed (read about latest booking below) for the day and includes an address by Baroness Thomas of Winchester, Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Disability Group. Baroness Thomas, an active disability campaigner, will be providing a back bench view on the ongoing ‘battle for change’.

Vision UK 2013 promises to be an exciting and inspiring event for anyone involved in the eye health or sight loss sector – make sure you’re there!

World Health Organization speaker announced for Vision UK 2013 conference

Dr Ivo Kocur, an expert on public eye health at the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations public health arm, has been confirmed to speak at the Vision UK 2013 conference in London on 11 June.

Dr Kocur will be delivering a key note speech at the conference on the global approach to reducing blindness.

Through his work with the World Health Organization, Dr Kocur has been involved in developing international and national public health eye care workshops, and assisting WHO member states in eye care projects worldwide. He was instrumental in the development of the VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative and involved in the global coordination of this programme.

Dr Kocur said: "I am delighted to be involved in the Vision UK conference. I hope that the work of the global programme and the UK Vision Strategy will inspire and encourage those working in the eye health and sight loss sector across the UK. By working together and sharing our experiences, we can all strive towards the ultimate goal of preventing avoidable sight loss’’.

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director and Interim Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK is thrilled to have Dr Kocur on board at this year’s conference, where the UK Vision Strategy for 2013 - 2018 will be launched. She said:

“We are very fortunate to have Dr Ivo Kocur joining the Vision UK conference in an important year. His international expertise in eye health will provide valuable insights which will inform the implementation of the refreshed UK Vision Strategy for the next five years’’.

You can book your conference place and pre-conference dinner place by phoning 01920 88 5162.

Or visit the website

May 2013

Under the auspices of The Association of Optometrists (AOP), a number of UK optical businesses have formed an Independent Practice Support Group to look at ways to halt the decline in independent practices in the UK optical sector.

Essilor, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Luxottica and Transitions are pooling expertise, ideas and resources to address the contraction of the independent sector in the UK.

AOP Chairman, Lyndon Taylor, said: “While the AOP supports all its members irrespective of how they practise, it is clear that a vibrant independent sector is good for choice for both the public and the profession.”

Mike Kirkley, Managing Director of Essilor Ltd, said: “As a group, we are delighted to be working with such esteemed partners on a common objective – to secure the long-term success and viability of independent optical practitioners throughout the UK.”

The group has already embarked on consumer research to understand more about the public’s perception of the independent sector. This research will be used by the forum to design and test future pilot programs in the market.

With the objective of benchmarking success, the group is also keen to hear from independent optometrists who feel that they operate a successful practice, and who are happy to share the reasons for this success. Optometrists should contact stevemiller@aop.org.uk to discuss this further.

In the spirit of collaboration, the forum will share its ideas at the appropriate time with the other organisations that support the independent optical sector in the UK.

May 2013

With a renewed focus on sustainable events and practices, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has upped the eco-friendly credentials of its 37th Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held from 6-9 June at Manchester Central, UK.

From the conference venue, with its ISO 20121 International Standard for Sustainable Events Management, to recycled delegate bags, pens, lanyards and printed materials, delegates will be assured that the environmental impact of this year’s event has been kept to a minimum.

In addition, the full conference registration brochure is available online this year, rather than having been mailed out to thousands of members and previous conference attendees.

BCLA Events Manager, Sarah Greenwood, said: “We’ll be encouraging delegates to return their badges, printed materials and bags before they leave – although the bags are so fantastic this year, I’m not sure how many we’ll get back. We will also have more recycling bins throughout the venue and delegates will be encouraged to use these.”

Sarah Greenwood, BCLASustainability initiatives planned for the 2014 Clinical Conference and Exhibition at the ICC Birmingham (5-8 June) include:

• Fewer printed materials
• Use of Apps and QR codes for communications
• Printing stations for printing limited amounts of materials on recycled paper
• ‘People power’ on the BCLA stand with delegates invited to ‘power’ up the stand using a bicycle-powered generator
• Electronic posters projected using low-powered PCs
• Sustainable ‘extras’ available for all 2014 exhibitors from contractors

“We are committed to exploring new ways in which to run our events and conferences in a more environmentally friendly, yet cost-effective manner,” explained Sarah. “It is part of the BCLA’s vision going forward to be recognised for our sustainable activities that reduce waste and energy use, whilst better meeting the needs of delegates. We will be keeping members updated on our progress.”

May 2013

Staff at Rodenstock UK have been putting their culinary skills to the test to raise money for charity, as part of the company’s Customer Service Week.

The upmarket eyewear manufacturer organised a ‘Make or Bake’ day at its offices in Northfleet, Kent, inviting teams from each department to get creative in the kitchen and rustle up some tempting treats.

Enthusiastic staff produced a range of cakes, sweets, jam and Indian food to sell to colleagues, raising £500 for the EllenorLions Hospice in Northfleet.

Rodenstock’s annual Customer Service Week is designed to raise awareness of the importance of good customer service within all of the company’s departments.

Rodenstock Customer Service Manager Katie Watts said: “As well as training programmes, we like to include some fun, interactive projects to encourage teamwork and collaboration. This year our challenges included erecting a tent blindfolded and creating the tallest tower from spaghetti and marshmallows! We finished the Customer Service Week with a fancy dress competition.

“Rodenstock is always keen to support the local community and we’re delighted to have raised so much for the EllenorLions Hospice. It’s a wonderful organisation that provides the highest quality care for thousands of people.”

Rodenstock also makes a donation to the hospice every Christmas and recently donated office furniture to the charity following completion of its £1 million office refit.

May 2013

Visitors to the Orasis Stand H17 at Optrafair 2013 were invited to enter a prize draw for an ipad mini.

New and existing customers were welcomed onto the stand to view the system and watch a demo or have a 'play' themselves!

Those who viewed the software saw its modern appearance and layout enabling users to easily carry out functions such as finding and storing patient information, stock information and product information. Orasis takes rather a ‘holistic’ approach, focusing on the whole business so that your staff can utilise their skills and knowledge to meet customer needs whilst the system takes care of the administration.

Other innovative features that were on view at Optrafair was the In-House Texting Service that Orasis offers at the cost of a 'Sim Only' monthly unlimited text contract, paperless clinical records for eye examinations and contact lens aftercares and trials, contact lens administration and diary management.

Roger Rees, an Optometrist in Llanelli, has received his ipad Mini after winning it at a prize draw run by Orasis Practice Management Software at Optrafair 2013. David Francis, a software programmer at Orasis, hand-delivered the prize to Roger last week.

“I was absolutely over the moon when Simone Mason from ORASIS phoned me up to tell me that I had won an ipad mini” commented Mr Rees. “This will be ideal for me as I will be able to carry it around with me so easily. In fact when I heard the news my wife went out to buy a lottery ticket as we thought it would be a good omen!!!”

Mr Rees added “I was instructed on the ORASIS programme on their stand at Optrafair by a member of the technical support team.... It was very easy to use and was a very good system. It covered all the British College Guidelines within the testing section. I have used many optical computer systems over 34 years in optometry and found this to be very easy to use. “

Visit Orasis's page on our site

May 2013

New research by the College of Optometrists reveals lack of awareness of the link between falls and poor vision

The majority of people are unaware of the link between poor eyesight and falls in older people, according to new research by the College of Optometrists, released in the run up to this year’s Falls Awareness Week.

Nearly half of those surveyed said they had an older friend, parent or relative who had fallen, yet less than a third (32%) knew that poor vision was a major cause of falls.

Up to one in three people aged over 65 will experience a fall each year – often at significant cost to their health and quality of life - as well as the public purse. Falls are estimated to cost the NHS up to £4.6m a day. Fewer than three per cent of people questioned said their parents’ deteriorating eyesight was a cause for concern.

Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, says that failing eyesight should not be seen as an inevitable consequence of ageing: “We are concerned that public awareness of the link between poor vision and falls is so low. Suffering a fall can have an extremely debilitating effect on the quality of an older person’s life and the lives of those around them. Being aware of changes in vision is particularly important for those older people at higher risk of falling or who have fallen before.”

The research also showed that almost half of those surveyed (46%) didn’t know that their parents may be entitled to an NHS sight test in their own home, or care home and 25% didn’t realise that sight tests for over 60s are free.

The College is encouraging carers and people supporting older people to ensure that people who are at risk of falling are receiving regular eye examinations.

Jane Ashcroft, Chief Executive of Anchor, which has almost 1000 care homes and retirement properties around the country, said it was important that people had regular check-ups. “We are keen to lend our support to any campaign which encourages greater understanding about what causes falls and how to prevent them.”

Dr Blakeney says there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of vision related falls: “If you have recently had a big change to your spectacle prescription, ask your optometrist whether they can give you a compromise prescription to make it easier for you to get used to it. You should only wear your new spectacles at home until you are used to them.

“If your optometrist has told you that you should wear spectacles for distance (television, walking about etc), you should keep them on when you are walking outside the home as this could make you less likely to fall.

“Some people are more likely to fall if they walk about wearing bifocals or varifocals, even if they are used to them. So, if you take part in regular outdoor activities it may be best to have a pair of distance spectacles to wear when walking about outdoors or when you are in unfamiliar places. If your distance vision is good without your spectacles it may be best to take your bifocals or varifocals off for walking about. Your optometrist will be able to advise you about this.”

May 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has published its 2012-13 Annual Report with BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, declaring the organisation “well positioned for the future”.

Reporting activities during the year within the Association’s wide-ranging membership services – from CET events to the annual Clinical Conference to Contact Lens & Anterior Eye ¬(CLAE) – the report charts the BCLA’s progress in enhancing its core offering and introducing new benefits and resources for members at home and abroad.

Highlights for 2012-13
• Development of new BCLA brand identity and vision
• Regeneration of the BCLA website: going live soon
• Launch of ‘BCLA to go’ workshops
• Successful new Clinical Conference venue at the ICC Birmingham
• New membership category for newly qualified OOs and CLOs
• Inaugural Impact Factor rating of 1.421 for CLAE

In the report, Dr Catharine Chisholm writes: “The past year has seen significant investment by the BCLA in some exciting developments that will move us substantially towards our vision of becoming the leading resource gateway for the global contact lens community.

“These initiatives will greatly enhance the support we provide to our members at home and abroad at all stages of their career. Not just in clinical and scientific education but in business education, practice resources, on and offline, peer networks and patient information.”

The President said she would look back over her year in office with a sense of satisfaction that the BCLA was well positioned for the future.

May 2013

Sustainable eye care charity Optometry Giving Sight will be celebrating a milestone at this year’s BCLA conference – 10 years since being founded in the UK. The charity was launched at the 2003 conference, and they are fittingly celebrating their first decade on their stand at the 2013 event.

Ten years ago in 2003, the World Council of Optometry, the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness signed an agreement to create Optometry Giving Sight as a means of mobilising resources from the global optometric community to help eliminate refractive error blindness and low vision. Optometry Giving Sight was first launched in the UK in 2003, followed by Australia and the Netherlands in 2004, the United States and Canada in 2005, Italy in 2006, and Norway, Ireland and Singapore in 2009.

Nick Rumney, chair of the charity’s national committee, was one of the first UK optometrists to become a monthly donor after signing up at the 2003 BCLA conference. Mr Rumney said the role of chair has given him an even greater appreciation for the importance of the eye care projects that receive funding.

“I am proud to be involved with Optometry Giving Sight and to help support and promote the vital work that we as a profession are helping to fund,” he said. “I am delighted to be able to join the celebrations of success at BCLA.”

“We would like to thank all of our supporters and sponsors who have contributed to outcomes that range from new vision centres, to the graduation of a country’s first locally-trained optometrists.”

In addition to celebrating their 10th anniversary of funding affordable eye care, the charity will also be promoting the upcoming Optoms Cycling for Sight initiative and encouraging delegates to join this year’s World Sight Day Challenge.

In the ten years since 2003, the UK has contributed funds towards 67 projects in 38 countries, including India, Haiti, and Malawi. These projects have helped to provide basic eye care services to more than 4 million people; train more than 2,600 mid-level eye care personnel; and establish more than 1,100 vision centres and optical laboratories. Optometry Giving Sight has also recognised where people in the UK are underserved, and in 2011 the UK awarded a grant to Vision Care for Homeless which funded their Whitechapel clinic in London for a year. The charity has also supported Cardiff University students to help provide eye screening in Moldova and Russia to those without access to eye care.

The UK profession has made a significant contribution to the development of Optometry worldwide through Optometry Giving Sight-funded projects. Last year, the first locally trained optometrists graduated from universities in their home countries of Mozambique, Malawi and Mali. These new professionals will go on to provide optometry services where they were previously unavailable, extending the reach of the profession to those who desperately need it.

May 2013

Council members discussed the implications of the Francis Inquiry for the GOC. Council noted that the Inquiry’s recommendations and the Government’s response will affect all healthcare regulators and agreed that the GOC should provide a considered and proportionate response.

Council considered the Inquiry’s emphasis on candour and openness to be particularly important. The GOC will consider whether registrants need more detailed guidance on raising concerns and how it might collaborate with other bodies to help foster an open culture throughout UK healthcare. This will take place as part of the Council’s standards review already planned for this financial year.

Other issues of importance include looking at how the GOC handles complaints; considering whether the GOC’s standards and education place enough emphasis on care, compassion and working with vulnerable people; and whether the GOC should do more to increase public awareness of its role.

The GOC will consider the implications of the Inquiry as part of a number of projects already in its business plan, including its review of standards and its reviews of student and business regulation. The GOC will also consider the findings of the Inquiry in developing its next strategic plan.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar Samantha Peters said, “Although our registrants were not directly implicated in the Mid-Staffs scandal, there are lessons for all healthcare regulators.

“I’d like to reassure patients that we will ensure we learn from, and act on, these lessons. I’d also like to reassure registrants that any changes we make in response will be proportionate and suitable for the professions we regulate.”

Guidance on FTP Rule 16 consultation

Council has agreed to a focused consultation on draft guidance for its Fitness to Practise (FTP) Rule 16. Following consultation, the guidance will support the GOC’s Investigation Committee (IC) members in making and determining a Rule 16 application – which is to review and possibly cancel a case previously referred to the Fitness to Practise Committee.

Rule 16 is a common ‘checks and balances’ provision for healthcare regulators. It would usually be applied when new evidence or information comes to light between the IC’s decision and the scheduled FTP hearing.

The GOC will launch the consultation this week. It will run for 12 weeks. Following the consultation, Council will review the responses before approving the final guidance at its meeting on 14 November.

Committee membership

Council approved the appointment of Council members to the GOC’s statutory advisory committees. Council members will now chair the committees; previously, they were chaired by members of staff.

The move will strengthen Council’s relationship with the advisory committees (Standards, Education, Registration and Companies) and ensure that it is able to take full account of their advice. As well as being chaired by a lay member, an additional lay member and a registrant member will also serve on each committee.

A full list of which members have been appointed to each committee is available in the annex to the relevant Council paper:

Other news

Council received an update on the behaviours associated with the GOC’s organisational values of being responsible, principled and forward-thinking; agreed terms of reference for the GOC Nominations Committee, which has a number of roles in the recruitment of the GOC Chair and Council members, and other non-executive roles; and noted the work over the last year of its Audit and Risk Committee.

Next meeting – Thursday 11 July 2013 in London. Time and venue to be confirmed at a later date.

More charities highlighted on our charity pages - British Wireless for the Blind Fund and SAVI

May 2013

The British Wireless for the Blind Fund provides high quality, easy to use audio equipment which has been specially designed and adapted for listeners living with sight loss.

Radios are made available on Free Loan to Blind and Partially Sighted people who meet the criteria. For non qualifiers their radios are also available to purchase through BWBF Direct.

BWBF offers a range of sets to meet different needs, from the simple digital radio to their unique wireless internet audio player, with an audible programme guide.

BWBF aim to keep at the forefront of audio technology, responding to changing needs and technologies, investing in research and development to ensure our sets are equipping people for the needs of the future.

More about SAVI in Surrey

Read also about Surrey Association for Visual Impairment (SAVI) who also join our charity page whose current Chief Executive is a face well known to Optics, Bob Hughes.

Click to our charity pages

OC publishes advice on Access to GOS for Universal Credit Recipients in the North West

May 2013

Patients in receipt of Universal Credit in the North West of England will qualify for NHS sight tests and optical vouchers anywhere in the UK, as they would have under the previous system. The Optical Confederation has issued guidance for contactors with details about the pilot areas and how to process GOS claims for recipients of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a welfare reform brought in by the Coalition Government to replace Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefits. The new benefit is initially being piloted in an area of North West England called Ashton-under-Lyne, before being expanded to three more locations in July. The Government hopes to phase in Universal Credit nationwide up to 2017.

Those who qualify for Universal Credit will be provided with an award letter from the Department of Work and Pensions bearing their name which they must present when attending an NHS sight test. The Department of Health has confirmed that people in pathfinder areas will be eligible to receive these services wherever they wish to attend for their eye care. Along with providing proof of receipt of Universal Credit, claimants should complete and sign the GOS form to indicate their eligibility in the usual way.

Processing GOS Claims

The GOS forms have not yet been updated to include a ‘Universal Credit’ option. The Department of Health has clarified that patients in receipt of Universal Credit should tick the Income based Jobseekers Allowance box on the relevant GOS form for the duration of the pilot. This will be the same whether practitioners are using paper forms or submitting claims through their practice management systems.

Mark Nevin, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said, “We believe it is fundamentally important that those on limited means have the access to NHS sight testing and the best possible eye health. We will continue to press the Government to ensure all recipients of Universal Credit have access to NHS sight testing to ensure better public health outcomes and to support people to stay in or get back into work.”

Click here for OC Guidance notes

May 2013

Guide Dogs is to repay the generosity of The FMO in providing valuable free space at Optrafair which brought a flood of interest for the charity.

A new puppy is to be named “Malcolm” - or “Polley” if female - via a free sponsorship for which the charity usually charges. Jackie Potter, Guide Dogs Corporate Events Manager, explained, “Optrafair brought great interest for us, the educational message was phenomenal in awareness of the charity.

Many people took our collection boxes and our sims specs which simulate various sight loss conditions. We are delighted to repay that kindness from The FMO in naming a puppy, which is soon to be sired.”

Malcolm Polley, FMO Chief Executive and Chairman of Optrafair, is pictured with one of the Guide Dog puppies in front of the sensory tunnel at April’s show.

May 2013

Use your smartphone, laptop or tablet at the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition to connect, engage and win prizes

The BCLA is planning a number of social networking activities to encourage real-time connectivity at this year’s Clinical Conference and Exhibition, which takes place from 6-9 June at Manchester Central, UK. BCLA Marketing Manager, Jashan Bahia, explained: “Anyone who has ever been to the BCLA conference knows that our social events are an important part of the programme. This year, we aim to bring an extra buzz and more fun to the conference using social media, encouraging delegates to join in the conversation using the hashtag #bcla2013.

“We’ll be giving away an iPad Mini to one lucky winner in our Eye Spy game,” added Jashan. “Delegates will find details of how to play and win in the delegate manual.”

In another game, Mug Shots, delegates will have the chance to win a bottle of champagne by simply uploading to the BCLA Facebook a photo of them holding one of the 150 thermos flasks that will be given away on the BCLA stand. There’ll also be a local cupcake designer, Piped Dreams by Caroline, on the stand ready to create delicious personalised cupcakes for delegates.

The team will be blogging during the conference, Tweeting news and photos in real-time, and enabling the global online community to track what’s happening on the BCLA Facebook page and Twitter.

“Use the #bcla2013 hashtag today and start connecting with us – and your peers – ahead of the world’s largest contact lens conference,” added Jashan.

May 2013

Media 10, organisers of 100% Optical, the UK’s new annual international trade exhibition taking place from February 16-18 at ExCeL, London, has signed a long-term strategic deal with ExCeL to host five 100% Optical events at the venue between now and 2018.

The agreement with ExCeL was secured by Media 10’s Managing Director Lee Newton in a recent meeting (on 17 May) with ExCeL’s Director Jeremy Rees, whose company committed significant support to host London’s biggest optical event. Jeremy said: “We’re pleased to have the commitment from 100% Optical over a long period and we are confident that Media 10 will create the UK’s leading optical event.”

100% Optical recently commissioned one of the UK’s largest research companies to create the industry’s most comprehensive database of UK and international Opticians and Optometrists and announced the launch of an optical industry wide census. The census commenced at the beginning of May discovering more about working practices, its development and the staff, including Opticians and Optometrists that work within them. Now,100% Optical would like to invite companies to contribute to a more focused industry study taking place at the end of May. Saul Leese Media 10 Marketing Manager said: “The census is going well. We’ve covered around 2,000 businesses so far but for the second phase we’re keen to engage with manufacturers and eyewear design companies as to the sort of information they want from a census.”

The organiser of 100% Optical has recently been nominated 9 times for an award at this year’s event industry awards – AEO (Association of Exhibition Organisers) Excellence Awards 2013. Already the most awarded event organiser over the past decade, Media 10, is renowned for event design won Event Organiser of the Year in 2012. Nominations include Best Trade Event for 100% Design, which uses the same award winning floor plan as 100% Optical and Best Trade Marketing Campaign in 2012.

AOP appoints new Chairman

May 2013

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is pleased to welcome Lyndon Taylor as the new AOP Chairman, announced at this week’s AGM in London. Lyndon replaces David Shannon who has been AOP Chairman for the past three years.

Lyndon is an independent optometrist practicing in mid Cheshire in partnership with his wife, Elizabeth. He has been actively involved in Local Optical Committee work and the development of shared care and enhanced service projects, both locally and nationally, for more than 15 years. Lyndon has been a Director of the AOP since 2001 and AOP Chairman of Finance from 2009 to 2013.

Speaking on his new role, Lyndon said: “I am delighted to be taking over as AOP Chairman. The AOP has been through a lot of change over the last couple of years which will culminate with our new Chief Executive Henrietta Alderman staring at the beginning of August. I would like to thank David Shannon for his hard work over the last three years in driving these changes forward. “I am really looking forward to working with Henrietta to provide an even better service to our members. I will be very keen to complete the work already underway to enhance the dedicated support which we provide for our different groups of members, including employees, locums and independent practice owners.”

May 2013

As reported in LOCSU News in April – the Atlas of Optical Variation has now been updated so that it reflects the changes which have taken place in NHS. LOCSU thanks all the LOCs who have responded with the latest information about their services which they have transferred to the atlas. On visiting www.locsu.co.uk/atlas you can see that:

• the map now shows the NHS England Area Teams rather than the previous PCT clusters
• visitors can identify from the information box attached to each service, which CCG(s) has commissioned the specific service
• we have included information on stable glaucoma monitoring and ophthalmology referral triage services for those LOCs that have these services in place.

May 2013

Hoya BlueControl and Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+ are the results of Hoya’s commitment to continuous innovation. Hoya launched InnoVision in 2012, the core platform from which Hoya creates its technologies, designs and premium services. Hoya always strives to develop new calculation techniques and optimisation methods that support the development of even smarter lens designs. To positively influence the consumer buying experience, Hoya continuously work on the development of smart service concepts and support tools.

Hoya’s InnoVision philosophy has four pillars at its foundation:

- Visual Perception: Hoya runs several programmes and researches to understand the way the human brain responds to various optical stimuli
- Visual Experience: Together with scientific partners Hoya strives to find the most accurate correction and most optimal solution for any shortcomings in the complex visual system
- Design Verification: Constant verification of the optical design and lens output ensures that Hoya reaches its ultimate goal: to create a solution that ensures maximum visual performance and comfort for the wearer in all situations and circumstances
- Human behaviour: By monitoring people’s behaviour, and mapping their needs and demands for different lifestyles, Hoya is able to create the best match of products to the wearer.

Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+ was the first lens design to truly demonstrate the InnoVision philosophy with the new aspherisation process and progressive distribution, balanced to lead to a minimum amount of blur for the wearer. The base parameters in Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+ were changed to match modern wearing trends and frame fashion and reference power was integrated for an even more accurate correction. Binocular Eye Model Evaluation was used to simulate how people would see with Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+ in terms of overall clarity, distortion of images, vision while moving, speed of change of images and off-axis vision. The two base design directions have been created based on the results of clinical trials and field wearing tests, as well as consumer behaviour studies.

The launch of BlueControl shows that InnoVision really is at the core from which Hoya creates its technologies and designs. Research though InnoVision has shown that over-exposure to high energy visible light (blue light) and extensive usage of digital devices leads to digital eye strain, causing blurred vision and headaches. Together with eye care professionals, Hoya continually strives to find the optimal solution to prevent the negative effects of over-exposure to blue light. Hoya anti-reflection coatings are validated by extensive laboratory and independent tests that prove their superior performance in the field of durability and scratch resistance.

In addition, InnoVision plays a key role in the education of eye care professionals through the Hoya Faculty in Budapest, developing interesting lectures and practical training sessions. Mrs. Olga Prenat, the new Dean of Hoya’s Faculty Education and Experience Centre in Budapest will continue this theme in future training and development when she takes on the position in September 2013.

You can visit Hoya's Page on Blue Control Here

May 2013

There is less than a month left to book your place at Vision UK 2013, the leading eye health and sight loss sector conference. Vision UK 2013 is set to take place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London on Tuesday 11 June.

An exciting line-up of speakers has been confirmed and includes a keynote address by Dr Ivo Kocur, lead on the Prevention of Blindness and Deafness at the World Health Organization (WHO).

The afternoon programme features the popular ‘Moral Maze’ debate, and will tackle the question - Digital accessibility: right or luxury? The debate will be chaired by Peter White, BBC Disability Affairs Correspondent, and panellists include Léonie Watson, Chair of the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB) and Nigel Lewis Chief Executive of AbilityNet.

A pre-conference dinner will be held on Monday 10 June at the Hotel Russell. The dinner will be hosted by Lord Low, and Baroness Sally Greengross, a crossbench (independent) member of the House of Lords, will be delivering a speech during the dinner about ageing and sight loss.

Book now!

You can book your conference place and pre-conference dinner place online at http://visionuk2013.hmconline.co.uk/Pages/Welcome.aspx or by phoning 01920 88 5162

You can look at the provisional programme by clicking

http://www.vision2020uk.org.uk/ukvisionstrategy/page.asp?section=225§ionTitle=Vision+UK+2013+programme

May 2013

The support of the Wiseman Memorial Fund has been repaid some 42 years after helping a struggling optometry student, much to the delight of the charity’s trustees.

Malkiad Singh, who set up his practice, Eyes Rite Opticians in Dovercourt, Harwich, 30 years ago, has always remembered the support that he received from the benevolent charity back in 1971.

“I came from Tanzania to study optometry at Glasgow and had very little money. The £50 donation from the Wiseman Memorial Fund paid the whole year’s fees and I met the rest of my costs by working in restaurants. I have always been very grateful for this support and have not forgotten the kindness. Now I can afford to remember those who helped me in the past, but I am still working out what the interest should be! I am sure that money can now be used to help someone else,” said the 67 year old.

Mr Singh, who worked initially in Scotland and then moved to Colchester Hospital before setting up his practice, is involved in much local charitable work and volunteered as a Games Maker working with the disabled athletes at the Olympic park last summer.

Chairman of the Wiseman Memorial Fund, John Andrews, commented –

“It was wonderful to hear that a donation by earlier Trustees has helped a determined young man to success. We are also delighted to receive the funds back to the coffers to support more youngsters.”

May 2013

Norville Opticians has introduced a specialist eyecare package for children and adults with issues relating to literacy skills. The hour-long examination is designed to help pinpoint the issues which may be preventing someone from developing the skills required for reading.

Norville Coloured LensesThe package of tests sets out to assess whether the problems are due to difficulties with memory, the tracking of the eyes, pattern recognition or visual stress. A report is then written for the patient which outlines the results of the tests and makes recommendations for the management of the symptoms.

If someone’s reading ability is being affected by visual stress (sensitivity to some patterns; particularly stripes) some of the symptoms can be treated by using coloured filters in a lens. A further examination is therefore carried out using an Intuitive Colorimeter; a piece of equipment which determines exactly what tint is required to alleviate those symptoms.

Although this service is based at Norville Opticians in Keynsham between Bath and Bristol it is available to patients throughout the region.

Optometrist Jane Mason said: “Many people’s reading problems can go undetected for years. Visual stress can occur in a person even if their eyesight is normal. It can cause frustration and a lack of self-confidence and it is beneficial to pick it up as soon as possible. The longer it is left the greater the lack of self-esteem.”

Signs of visual stress may include headaches and sore eyes, print appearing blurred or seeming to move, letters changing shape or size, fading or becoming darker. In some cases patterns and coloured fringes can be seen.

“Parents may be able to spot this in their child if they become restless while reading, moving closer to or away from the page, blinking or rubbing their eyes excessively or using their finger as a marker and such like.”

Jane Mason added: “The use of precision colour tints has been shown to help with dyslexia as well as ME and migraine. She concluded: “This extended specialist examination can show up any problems. This is a private consultation and is not covered under the standard NHS eye examination. Parents, children and teachers alike have been amazed at how quickly they can see improvements in the speed and accuracy of reading skills.”

May 2013

This week the AGMs of most of the key organisations in Optics once again took place on Tuesday at the Pullman Hotel in London.

The meetings followed a photo call for the numerous CEOs, Directors and Councillors of FODO, AOP, ACLM, FMO and ABDO as well as Elvis the dog providing assistance to one of the staff who works at FODO offices.

Don Grocott in his 3rd and last year as Chairman of the Optical Confederation reflected on how far joint working groups have come since the early days of the Intra Optical Committee ably chaired by Sir Richard Meyjes, whose recent passing was noted. He would have been very happy to have seen the results of his endeavours in the form of the invigorated OC.

This year the OC appears to be assured and in importance finally greater than the sum of the different bodies that make up its council.

Grocott explained to a packed audience that the liaison between the main optical bodies had improved relationships with Government, and other professions who now clearly only had one voice to listen to providing better clarity from the sector.

Examples of their successes over the year were:

1. European Cadmium Standards
2. BIS
3. Working with the 3rd sector
4. Dept of health matters
5. Dealing with fluoret crisis

They have been successful in monitoring reports from Government, RNIB and basically on watch for anything that will make the running of our businesses more complicated.

They made 26 responses in 2011, 43 in 2012 and so far this year 11 already.

Their drivers are:

• To improve eye health
• Patient protection
• Encouraging a flourishing and successful market
• Relieving optical business from unnecessary burdens

OC is run on consensus and most responses to external threats and opportunities came in an agreed reply to those requiring a viewpoint. Even if disagreement arose differing responses were always returned wherever possible in the same communication. Grocott mentioned that whenever it was possible the College was asked to add its weight to any responses.

This was an afternoon where the bodies that had worked hard to form OC became more subsidiary to it. For the first time the political will of all concerned seems finally to be concentrated within one optical body. As David Hewlett said later in the day “it is always safer to be one of the herd which provides safety against threats from outside, those wishing to “go it alone” (and he was particularly thinking of a suggestion that a new Independent Opticians pressure group be set up) are at risk at being separated from the herd and easily attacked.

May 2013

We have already released Jayne Rawlinson’s comments made in the FODO report and published earlier on your news site. You can read the FODO report at your leisure.

The AGM proceeded with all proposals being passed including the levy for FODO members from June to be set at £85 per 1 FTE. The only interruption during the 15 minute AGM was that of Elvis the guide dog who enjoyed joining in with the applause with a friendly round of barking!

We will publish the AOP report when we receive it from them.

May 2013

Following an impressive presentation by the NEHW team PHN has arranged to provide space for information and to collaborate on this year’s eye health week. The aim will to encourage PHNs 30,000 visitors from the public to read and react to the poor stats on eye health and to encourage them to click on to the visionmatters site.

More will be published about this in the future weeks.

May 2013

Peter Black, ABDO, Jayne Rawlinson, FODO, Cameron Hudson, ACLM, Martin Conway, FMO and David Shannon, AOP, Alan Tinger LOCSU under the chairmanship of Don Grocott, OC answered varied questions from the audience.

Asked what their individual priorities were, Peter Black mentioned the reduction of sight loss in the UK and the consideration of dispensing refractionists. Also to improve the education of professionals on LVAs, and to improve school vision screening.

Cameron wanted to elevate the visibility of contact lenses, to tackle the illegal sale of contacts and to try to improve patient retention within the practice.
Shannon emphasised the importance in curbing the creeping regulation from Government within optics.

Tinger explained why in his opinion forming LOCSU LOC companies was imperative to develop enhanced services with CCGs and in the application for AQP contracts as he considered these groups did not want to deal with individual practice arrangements.

A lot of consideration to helping retain a thriving independent sector took up much time and FODO's Jayne Rawlinson reminded the audience that FODO now had a director on the board with the specific task of helping Indys namely Glenn Tomison, later in the day to become Vice Chairman of FODO whilst Jayne remains as chairman for a record 5th year. Although the majority of FODO members are chains there are many SMEs and smaller practices within their number.

Tinger considered that the reduction in the independent sector was just a fact of the way people shop on the high street nowadays; he said that 25% of shopping on the high street now takes place within 3% of shops.

John Conway’s view was that independent practice was vital for all and for the customer for it was independent shops who put an individual stamp on the stock they sold giving the customer a better experience.

As Shannon said there are no magic bullets to solve this problem of decline but that the OC will be looking at it in the year to come.

Finally news on the DVLA contract that we reported was being sought after by LOCSU. Although we do not have sight of any survey results LOCSU has said that practitioners want them to try for the contract. Tinger says this makes sense as apparently LOCSU has the IT platform with which to maintain the process.

May 2013

A reminder that the College is providing a free CET event in Norwich with two interactive CET points.

The location is at The Forum, in Norwich on Thursday 13 June, 6pm - 9.20pm

How low can you go? Expanding low vision service provision in practice

Dr Keziah Latham will be providing the following learning objectives:

• Assess visual function in order to determine appropriate low vision aids to suggest to a patient
• Determine the most appropriate low vision aids for you to stock in practice
• Make appropriate referrals for complex low vision aids, and patients’ additional needs

The competencies covered for optometrists will be:

• Assessment of visual function
• Optical appliances
• Professional conduct

Number of CET points: 1

'It's a Bug's Life' - a microbe's journey around the cornea

Damian Lake providing learning objectives on:

• Diagnose common microbial corneal infections
• Understand the early signs of acanthamoeba infection
Covering competencies of:
• Ocular examination
• Ocular disease

Number of CET points: 1

May 2013

In the first of what is hoped to be a series of early evening meetings provided by the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers the Master Gordon Jones in his closing speech remarked on the success of the evening free to those guests who were invited by members of the Livery.

Around 40 guests and members gathered in the facilities provided by the AOP for an evening of networking and discussion on topics of interest that were put to a panel of “luminaries” by the question master Don Grocott.

The panel consisting of Frank Norville, Bob Chappell and Felicity Harding discussed issues relating to the value of Liveries, the services that are expected by patients and customers and what they get, the balance of eyewear and eyecare and the fact that so many elderly people do not take an eye examination.

There were many valuable and interesting comments from the packed floor from those involved and knowledgeable about different sectors in Optics UK and from those invited who made contributions from a refreshing and different standpoint outside Optics.

The meeting started at 6.30 pm with canapés and drinks kindly provided by Ocuco Ltd the leading UK software company. It proved to be an excellent social and networking event for those outside the Spectacle Makers membership and an opportunity to make new friends as well as the chance to catch up on old acquaintances.

The meeting closed around 8.30 pm after another 30 minutes of social chit chat.

It is hoped to repeat the format again this year.

May 2013

The FMO has released a comprehensive advice package for its optical trade members on Best Practice for Credit Control. Outlining the details of setting a credit control policy, it suggest four levels for businesses to adhere to, with an emphasis on payment terms.

The new document has been drawn up by an experienced FMO working group which embraces industry knowledge from the Frame, Lens and Equipment Groups.

Led by former FMO Chairman, Andrew Actman, the group includes Stuart Burn, David Baker, and Preston Everard. The group offers some wise business protocols –

“We put a strong emphasis on listing the payment terms and ensuring that sales staff are familiar with the company’s credit policy. It is important to carry out credit checks with each new customer and to set appropriate credit limits. Terms and conditions should be issued when orders are placed, along with advice on interest that may be charged on overdue accounts,” said Andrew Actman.

Alongside this, The FMO’s 25 year old register of “Bad Payers”, produced by the trade association’s members for their shared benefit, is being updated.
Running under licence from the Office of Fair Trading, the Bad Payers’ List works to protect FMO members’ businesses by highlighting those who are not working in the interests of the overall optical industry –

“Now a paperless system, which will operate online for FMO members, it highlights accounts that are first or repeat offenders, giving a scale of the problem by listing County Court Judgements Applied for, and Awarded,” added Andrew.

Hoya appoints new Dean at Hoya Faculty

May 2013

Effective from 1st September 2013, Hoya has appointed Mrs. Olga Prenat as the new Dean of Hoya’s Faculty Education and Experience Centre in Budapest, Hungary. Currently holding the position of Director of the Institute and Centre of Optometry in Bures sur Yvette – France, Mrs. Prenat will replace Mr. Hans Warntjes who will officially retire in June, having worked with Hoya for 24 years.

Hoya FacultyMr. Warntjes dedicated the past 5 years to the development and growth of the Hoya Faculty Education and Experience Centre in Budapest.

Hans Werquin, CEO of Hoya Vision Care Europe comments: “We thank Hans Warntjes for his highly valuable contributions to numerous successful Hoya product developments over the past years, and his relentless efforts to make Hoya Faculty the successful and renowned Education and Experience Centre for European eye care professionals it is today.

We are fortunate to have found Olga Prenat to take over the helm at Hoya Faculty. With her international optical background, proven academic track-record and strong business acumen she is the right person to continue the rapid development of Hoya Faculty.”

Mr. Hans Warntjes will remain involved in a smooth handover of Hoya Faculty until the end of this year.

The Hoya Faculty is the Education and Experience Centre for opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists who want to further expand their understanding of Hoya products and how they should be prescribed. Hoya Faculty emphasises knowledge exchange through direct dialogues with participants. It explains the latest technologies, teaches proven refraction methods and enables participants to brush up on their basic knowledge. Hoya Faculty also focuses on concrete and common questions, such as ‘how do I recognise the specific problems of presbyopic patients, ‘what solutions are available to me’, and ‘how can non-adaptation problems best be prevented’.

May 2013

The 2013 GOS Model Contracts (for both Mandatory Services and Additional Services) are now available on the websites of the various Optical Confederation organisations.

The revised GOS Model Contract follows the updated Primary Ophthalmic Service Regulations 2013, issued in March 2013, which primarily transfer responsibility for GOS contracts from PCTs to NHS England.

A key change for ophthalmic performers to note is the removal of the requirement to write letters to notify GPs with the results of a patient with diabetes or glaucoma’s NHS sight test. As before, should such patients have a change in their clinical status which the GP should know about, they should be referred as normal to their GP, or directly to HES in the case of an emergency.

Mark Nevin, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, noted “The vast majority of patients with diabetes are enrolled in a diabetic retinopathy screening service, while patients with glaucoma will be seen in secondary care, which means their care is adequately catered for. We therefore welcome the fact that practitioners will no longer need to write these unnecessary notification letters which didn’t add to or improve patient care.”

The Optical Confederation also notes that, in line with the ongoing reforms of the NHS in England, responsibility for the GOS Model Contracts has passed from the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to the newly renamed NHS England body (previously NHS Commissioning Boards).

May 2013

In this year's FODO (The Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians) report you can read about the landmark developments in optometry and optics over the past twelve months that have occurred and read their views on the future.

The Report details much of the work done behind the scenes by FODO and its Optical Confederation partners to safeguard the effective delivery of eye care during the recent reforms to the NHS in England. FODO Chair Jayne Rawlinson notes in her introductory report, “Using a collaborative approach through the Optical Confederation, we have been able to exert a significant influence on the NHS reforms in England – for the good of all. But we still have further to go as a sector.”

Rawlinson notes several victories on behalf of the sector, including the confirmation of the Eye Health Indicator and the expansion of enhanced services, more flexible models of care and better use of the skills and potential of optometrists and opticians through of the LOCs, LOC Companies, Local Eye Health Networks supported by LOCSU (Local Optical Committees Support Unit) in the new commissioning system.

The Eye Health Indicator establishes optics as operating on the front line of public health, and the expansion of enhanced and shared care in the community ‘should bring a much needed boost (and in some cases a lifeline) to optical businesses of all sizes”, Rawlinson continues.

Commenting on the news that [two] LOCs had already achieved AQP contracts (Any Qualified Provider) for enhanced services in the new NHS system, Rawlinson agrees that, “everyone in optics can now see that the establishment of LOCSU in 2007 was absolutely the right decision made at the right time,” and that “our strategy must be to win every [AQP contract] we can in 2013-14.”

Looking forwards to the year ahead, Rawlinson welcomed proposals to form a national Clinical Council for eye health commissioning in England to give clear, united and unanimous advice on eye health matters to NHS commissioners, the Government, practising clinicians and other professionals across the whole of spectrum of eye care, patients and the public.

David Hewlett (FODO CEO) added, ‘Our Annual Report is our key communication to the sector on everything we are doing through the Optical Confederation and with our partners in the Colleges, other professional colleagues and the voluntary sectors . A recurring theme is that by pooling our strengths we can do so much more for the eye health of the UK population and to support the clinicians who deliver eye health services and the people who need them across the whole system.

The Annual Report summarises the broad strategic approach taken by FODO as part of the Optical Confederation over the last year on key issues such as NHS fees, GOS Contract Compliance (in England) and Post Payment Verification. It also updates the sector about developments in Scotland, Wales, Northern and the Republic of Ireland and across Europe, as well as the key outputs from the Optical Confederation Domiciiary Eye Care and Information and IT Committees and the Driving and Vision Campaign.

You can download a digital copy of the Report here:

http://www.fodo.com/downloads/FODO_annual_report_2013_WEB.pdf

May 2013

In a new initiative from the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers a series of early evening networking events will take place initially in the capital.

The first will be held on May 15th at 2 Woodbridge Road Clerkenwell at the AOP offices who have offered its rooms for the evening for the sole use of the SMC event.

Catering and beverages have been generously sponsored by Ocuco, the largest provider of Software to the Optical sector in the UK.

This first event is by invitation only and aims to provide a congenial setting for people with an interest in healthcare issues to discuss and question a selected panel of luminaries provided by the SMC.

The audience will include members of the Spectacle Makers with their friends from outside the Company. The aim will be to promote friendship in the apolitical forum of the Spectacle Makers - and above all to have some fun.

The evening starts at 6.30pm for a glass of wine followed by an "Any Questions" format panel discussion for 30 minutes or so. Then more socialising with refreshed glasses, and the canapés provided by Ocuco till around 8.30pm.

Don Grocott who will be chairing the panel said,” The discussion will be led three or four 'luminaries' who will offer their views on matters of general interest with an optical slant. This is an opportunity to discuss matters of general, broad interest to those interested in optics and more widely.”

Leo MacCanna, CEO of Ocuco Software expressed his pleasure at helping launch the first one to be held. “We have always considered that being involved and staying close to the projects and concerns of those connected to optics whether in the UK or abroad is essential for us to understand the challenges in the profession that we need to provide solutions to assist in the changing optical world”, said MacCanna.

Those who would be interested in attending future events run by the Spectacle Makers or finding out more about the social as well as educational and charitable role of the Livery and Company should put their name forward by email to clerk@spectaclemakers.com

May 2013

The FMO has informed us of some positive news regarding the Optrafair London show which will take place at Olympia from 11-13 April 2014.

Due to high levels of interest the original designated hall space was allocated very quickly. However, with the cooperation of Olympia management, the show has now been allotted a larger hall, of 9,000m², which should accommodate all of those who wish to exhibit in this central London location.

Steering Group announces 16th to 22nd September for Eye Health Week

May 2013

The National Eye Health Week 2013 ’Your Guide to Getting Involved’ has been launched and is available as a free download from the vision matters website www.visionmatters.org.uk.

Francesca MarchettiThe guide includes advice about how eyecare charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK can get involved in the Week including ideas for hosting events and sponsorship opportunities.

The fourth annual National Eye Health Week will take place 16 – 22 September 2013. The Week provides a unique opportunity for the ocular sector to work together to raise awareness of the importance of good eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.

Francesca Marchetti, Chair of the National Eye Health Week Steering Group, said: “This free guide is a fantastic resource to inspire everyone to get involved in this year's National Eye Health Week.
It includes ideas about innovative events you can organise to mark the Week and details of the free National Eye Health Week resources which will be launched this June to help you make your event as successful as possible.”

Practitioners can pre-register for their free National Eye Health Week resource pack and download the Guide to Getting Involved by visiting www.visionmatters.org.uk or emailing info@visionmatters.org.uk.

May 2013

Kestrel, one of our new supporters, who had a very successful launch at Optrafair have provided a new clinical briefing on blepharitis. You can also read about products to ease the problem provided by Kestrel in the suppliers guide.

May 2013

Silhouette has been announced as one of Austria’s best employers, following an anonymous questionnaire filled in by staff at the luxury eyewear brand’s Linz headquarters as part of the “Great Place to Work” initiative.

The results collectively revealed that 94% of staff believed family-owned enterprise Silhouette International is a very good place to work, based upon criteria of credibility, respect, fairness, pride and team spirit.

Tarek El-Dabbagh, Head of Human Resources at Silhouette International commented, “This is a fantastic result, especially since only 83% of employees in industrial companies feel this way about their employer.

“For us it is mainly about using questionnaires such as this to determine our quality as an employer, to ensure this quality is maintained and to continue to develop.”

The international specialist for high-quality eyewear participated in the “Great Place to Work” initiative for the second time since 2008 and was able to place in the top 5 of Upper Austrian companies evaluated. The five best employers according to the “Great Place to Work” were honoured in a ceremony on Monday, 8 April 2013. The host of the event was Silhouette International – “which is a real pleasure for us”, said El-Dabbagh.

Klaus Schmied, co-owner and board member of Silhouette International, was delighted about the top ranking and emphasised, “The Great Place to Work poll mainly provides us with valuable feedback about the atmosphere in the company, the perceptions held by our staff and of course information on potential.

“As a company we are always very close to our staff, we appreciate direct contact and, of course, their feedback and personal perceptions. We are therefore very honoured to be given this accolade by our staff.”

May 2013

Opticians have the chance to win a selection of fabulous prizes after Rodenstock launched a series of international window display competitions across all of its upmarket eyewear brands.

Participating UK opticians, who deliver the best point of sale displays, using kits supplied by Rodenstock, will be rewarded with prizes which include an iPod Touch before competing with winners from other countries for the star prizes.

Damien Klevge, Business Manager Eyewear, said: “These seasonal promotions are staged throughout the year to provide attractive benefits for opticians who make the most of the fantastic point of sale marketing materials we supply.”

High-quality advertising materials have been produced to promote Rodenstock’s own range of eyewear plus the licensed brands of dunhill and Porsche Design.

Damien says: “The goal is to create a global brand presence in all our markets with co-ordinated themes and imagery that match the brand perfectly and present the products in an appealing way. The campaign covers all our eyewear brands during different periods of the year."

“Our international window display campaign provides standardised, clearly structured and consistent customer communication at the point of sale and that makes it easier for the public to recognise their favourite brands and find the right frame in the shop. This goes perfectly with the Rodenstock ‘System of Better Vision’, because a clear presentation of these three eyewear brands supports the success of the optician through higher sales figures.”

UK opticians will be up against some tough overseas competition for the big prizes – Rodenstock has sent out 9,000 window display sets to practices in 48 countries.

After receiving the marketing materials, participating opticians decorate their display windows over the course of several weeks. The practices send in pictures and a jury selects the UK winners. At the end of 2013, our home-grown winners measure up against winning opticians worldwide. Prizes for global winners include a luxury weekend for two in Milan.

Damien says: “This is a great opportunity for participating opticians to really stand out in the High Street by using our marketing materials to provide their businesses with the best possible support. Rodenstock understands the importance of marketing for independent practices and we continue to develop ideas to assist them in new customer acquisition and existing customer retention."

“The competitions have already started but with prizes on offer throughout the year, there is still time to get involved and be a winner.”

May 2013

Since 2003, EUROMCONTACT’s provided the framework for its members (international manufacturers of contact lenses and care systems to do syndicate market data analysis. The total data collection covers 31 countries, six of which are tied with another one to form three clusters (BE and LU, UK and IE. and CZ with SL). This report covers only the eleven major countries, while occasionally making a reference to the total of the 31 countries. Read the report on our business briefing pages.

World Council of Optometry develops strategy to ensure optometry is recognised worldwide

April 2013

The development of an advocacy strategy to help lobby governments around the world to ensure optometry is recognised as a key profession in the public health sector, was one of the main topics of conversation at the World Council of Optometry’s (WCO) recent General Delegates’ Meeting in Malaga, Spain (21 April).

Maria Arce, Director of International Affairs, said: “We know that many countries are struggling to get optometry officially recognised by their governments. We are in close contact with optometric organisations around the world, and are in a strong position to help the voices of eye and vision care professionals heard.”

During the meeting, members of WCO’s committees also gave updates on the work they have been carrying out over the past year. Notably, it was reported that a record number of applications were received for the 2013 WCO fellowship programme. This programme provides financial assistance to optometrists and students of optometry around the world who are committed to improving vision and eye care globally.

In 2013, the programme will provide $10,000 towards optometric projects and $10,000 for travel bursaries to be divided between the successful applicants.
The General Delegates’ Meeting also marked the last official engagement for WCO’s outgoing President, Tone Garaas-Maurdalen (Norway). She said: “I have been lucky enough to hold the position of President of WCO since our last General Delegates’ Meeting in Puerto Rico in 2011. The past two years have been an exciting time for me, and the organisation, and I am proud of the great strides forward made by WCO in this time. It has truly been an honour to hold this position.”

The new President of WCO, Dr Susan Cooper (Canada), said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to serve our esteemed profession as President of the WCO. I look forward to working with the Governing Board on behalf of our global members to continue to move optometry forward as the primary eye care profession.

“The past two years, under the leadership of Tone Garaas-Maurdalen have seen increased involvement by WCO in both the International Association for Prevention of Blindness and the World Health Organization. Partnering with organisations such as these is critical as we seek to increase the profile of optometry and its integration into the healthcare systems of nations around the world. As we continue our work we must also continue to develop mutually beneficial relationships with the large NGOs with whom we share the goal of a world without preventable blindness. I look forward to working toward these goals during my administration and I thank everyone involved in WCO for their help and support.”

The Governing Board also welcomed Nigeria’s Dr Uduak Udom as President Elect, while Dr Pete Kehoe (USA) took over from fellow American, Dr Richard Wallingford, as Treasurer.

The GDM ended with thanks to the members of the Governing Board whose term has now finished: Professor George Woo (Hong Kong), Wolfgang Cagnolati (Germany), Rajeshwari Sagar (Tanzania) and Hernando Avila (Columbia).

The GDM was part of Malaga 2013, a unique optometric and optics gathering that also included the European Academy of Optometry and Optics’ Annual Conference, the European Council of Optometry and Optics’ General Assembly, and the Spanish General Council of Optometry’s National Conference.

Focus group appointments at FMO

April 2013

New promotions at The FMO see Ron Wright appointed as Chairman and Stuart Burn as Vice-Chairman of the Equipment Focus Group.

“The combination of Ron’s technology-led background through his years of experience in optics and leadership of the BiB Group and Stuart’s knowledge of finance, allowances and taxation issues is of tremendous importance. As Stuart also works within the dental and veterinary sectors he has a valuable breadth of knowledge which is a great asset to optics,” said FMO Chairman, John Conway.

Ron is keen to see more technology companies – from the providers of consulting room diagnostics through to the latest cutting edge gadgetry for prescription labs - to raise their profile collectively and work together through The FMO.

Stuart BurnStuart Burn agreed, “By speaking with a cohesive voice optics is a lot stronger. Optics in general is going through a lot of change at the moment and it is important that the major suppliers are networking to understand what is working in this challenging time. The collaboration at The FMO allows us to get a better feeling for the nuances of the market and tailor our approach accordingly. There is a lot to be gained in working together and with cross referrals, demonstrated by the collaboration with lens spend and equipment purchases by a number of companies. With this collaborative working innovative ideas develop – it is the way forward.”

*The FMO, as the Voice of the Optical Industry, operates with three sector specific groups – for Frames, Lenses and Equipment companies. Each of the groups meet regularly to share best practice ideas and market information.

April 2013

Media 10, organisers of 100% Optical, the UK’s new annual international trade exhibition taking place from February 16-18 at ExCeL, London, has announced it is to commission one of the UK’s largest research companies to create the industry’s most comprehensive database of UK and international Opticians and Optometrists.

The independent Optical Census, which will be conducted by telephone to Opticians and Optometrists, will enable 100% Optical to reach every active trade professional. The study will also offer a rare glimpse of current market conditions, views and trends as well as support the development of key content for the trade exhibition.

100% Optical Show Manager, Nathan Garnett said: “This industry wide initiative will provide us with the vital insight necessary to deliver an exhibition and education programme that not only meets but also exceeds the needs and expectations of all sectors of the Optical industry both here in the UK and overseas.”
Marketing Manager Saul Leese added: “We’ve spoken to many companies in the Optical industry that have incomplete lists. The survey will enable us to reach every optician in every corner of the country so we can effectively promote the event and gather important market research. In addition every exhibitor at 100% Optical will benefit from being promoted to this list.”

The Optical Census commences on Monday May 6th. Any optical professional that wants to be part of the census can go to www.100percentoptical.com and complete a brief survey. They will then be contacted for a brief interview. The census will for the first time gain greater understanding of the number of Opticians and Optometrists practicing in the UK. At the very least the census will establish every single Optician and Optometrist in the UK as well as the companies they work for, location and size. The census will also establish what they are looking for from a trade event.

Market Makers, the UK’s biggest B2B telemarketing company with clients including Microsoft, Samsung and O2 will carry out the independent survey. Business director Graham Gillett said: “We are looking forward to working on this project. To run any successful business it is vital that databases are accurate and current. Media 10’s audit of the Optical market is incredibly exciting and something the industry should do annually.”

Media 10 has also revealed an impressive line up of leading UK and International Eyewear brands already committed to exhibiting at, 100% Optical. This innovative event comprises four clearly defined shows in one – 100% Eyewear, 100% Lenses, 100% Equipment and Machinery and 100% Business Services. The array of global Eyewear design talent will feature within 100% Eyewear where a programme of fashion features are planned to showcase exhibitors’ unique and innovative designs, allowing first sightings of new frame designs including sport eyewear for summer 2014.

The latest additions to the growing list of companies from the International Eyewear design community set to exhibit includes: Lindberg, ic!Berlin, William Morris London, götti SWITZERLAND, Ph & F by Phillipe Hoet, Jono Hennessy, Carter Bond and Zuma Eyewear.

About 100% Optical Eyewear Designers

Lindberg, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of high-end eyewear renowned for breakthrough ideas, technical innovation and distinctive design, the company’s eyewear designs have received 59 major international awards to date.

ic! berlin designs, produces and markets screwless sheet-metal glasses. Focusing on the clip-on hinge system ic! Berlin offers a worldwide unique screwless hinge by holding together both frame and temple with a detachable clip.

William Morris London is an independent company with a very 'English' brand. They offer non-designer glasses to every audience, providing superb original designs at a high quality but at an affordable price.

Since 1998 götti Switzerland has been crafting eyewear that blends a couture design sensibility with functionality, so that each pair of glasses is a piece of "wearable art".

A combination of a passion to design and a recognition of the ever growing demand for original creative eyewear has driven the designs behind the brand Ph & F by Phillipe Hoet. From initial idea to finished product, each frame is made in their Belgian workshop using the finest Italian artisan quality durable acetate, giving Ph & F eyewear a strong hand made character.

Independent Australian Eyewear brands Jono Hennessy & Carter Bond are designed by eyewear artisan Jonathan Sceats. For Jono producing beautiful eyewear is not just about making optical Frames look good it's also about superior fit, understated independent style and sense of satisfaction when crafting the perfect pair of glasses.

Zuma is the essence of London inspired eyewear design. Concepts created by exciting new designers from the Royal college of Art and the London Institute of Art working closely with Optical professionals and product engineers allow Zuma to deliver fresh exciting designs with a chic appeal.

Media 10 anticipates that around 8,000 international visitors will attend the launch event in February 2014, including; Buyers, Designers, Dispensers, Optometrists, Opticians, Orthoptists, Practitioners, Laboratory Managers, Technicians, Consultants Ophthalmologists, Surgeons and Students.

April 2013

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has announced the winners its international optometry awards at a ceremony in Malaga, Spain, on Saturday 20 April. Professor Brien Holden (Australia) was named winner of the Distinguished Service Award, while Dr Jillia Bird (Antigua) picked up the International Optometrist Award.

Distinguished Service Award

On nominating Professor Holden for his award, Professor Kovin Naidoo (South Africa), said: “For more than 40 years, Brien’s vision and dedication to optometry has been unfaltering. His leadership has led to major breakthroughs in scientific knowledge and the development of devices for vision correction; as well as significant advances in the fight against avoidable blindness and vision impairment worldwide.”

On receiving the award, Professor Holden said: "Optometry is a wonderful profession, it has the capacity to do immense good for the billions of people who need eye care, especially for those in need, and the World Council of Optometry is its guardian, strategic leader and conscience.

“When one is recognised with such a prestigious award, it is received in the knowledge that optometry and my fellow optometrists have offered me my professional life and access to research, education, the student experience, public health, innovation and the great good optometry does for those who are denied access.

“I thank the World Council of Optometry for the recognition they have afforded me and optometry for the opportunity I have had to experience the best this world has to offer by way of dedication to and concern for the welfare of all people, everywhere."

International Optometrist Award

Dr Jillia Bird was nominated for the International Optometrist Award by the Trinidad and Tobago Optometrists’ Association for her outstanding work in raising awareness of glaucoma in the Caribbean. Her family’s history of preventable vision impairment has fuelled her passion for blindness prevention.

Nigel St Rose, nominating, said: “In 2007, Jillia founded the Antigua and Barbuda Glaucoma Support Group, a thriving patient support and advocacy group. The group successfully lobbied the Antigua’s government to recognise the public health threat that glaucoma poses to its predominantly African-origin population. Jillia has also been elected President of the World Glaucoma Association.”

Jillia commented: “I am deeply humbled to be chosen by the WCO for this prestigious award. Sight is by far our most precious sense. Each of us holds the potential to raise the world's awareness of avoidable blindness, and in doing so, reduce the current unacceptable global blindness burden.”

On announcing the awards, WCO’s outgoing President, Tone Garaas-Maurdalen, said “These awards recognise individuals’ outstanding contribution to the development of the profession, and to the community. We were so impressed by the calibre of nominees, and excited to hear about the fantastic work these individuals carry out.

“I would like to thank everyone who sent in a nomination form, and thank all of those who were nominated for the work they do, and the difference they are making to thousands of lives of people around the world. “Our heartfelt thanks and congratulations go to Brien and Jillia.”

WCO was in Malaga to host the organisation's General Delegates' Meeting as part of Malaga 2013, a unique event that brought together four international optometric and optics organisations.

April 2013

Elaine Styles, the dynamic Chair of Vision Care for Homeless People, has set the bar even higher for herself with the latest cycling challenge to raise much needed funds.

“In July I am attempting my biggest physical challenge yet – the Trans Pyrenean Raid - an epic cycle from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean over some of the most famous Cols in the Tour de France. The seven days of outstanding exercise through extraordinarily beautiful scenery will be tough and rewarding with some huge climbs and wonderful descents! Cycling over the top of 20 Pyrenees cols from Biarritz to Perpignan, covering 742 km and climbing 14,353m, is the aim,” said Elaine.

The challenge tops last year’s fantastic achievement when Elaine cycled 920 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, calling in at eight regional opticians on the way and raising funds for the three London clinics, the one in Birmingham and most recently opened in Brighton. VCHP’s ultimate aim is to expand the service nationwide in all the major cities, to make a difference to as many homeless and vulnerable people as possible.

“Knowing what I am raising money for adds to the incentive to get up those long steep mountain climbs. For every £5 raised a homeless person will have a free eye examination and a pair of spectacles. I am covering all my own expenses so EVERY penny donated will go directly to delivering the VCHP services. I am aiming to raise £1,435 – which is £1 for every vertical 10 meters (30 feet) I climb."

To sponsor click on: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ElaineMcKnight

Elaine is pictured in her yellow jersey – homage to the Tour de France!

April 2013

Bob Forgan, managing director of Anglo Italian Optical, made a guest appearance on BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo show last week, when he was invited into the studio to talk about his latest innovation Aquaviz.

Show producer Rebecca Pike was intrigued to know more about Aquaviz, the world’s first prescription watersports mask with a unique ‘snap in’ lens insert, which can be interchanged between swim, snorkel and ski masks, and is designed to sit the same distance away from the eyes as glasses to maintain normal vision.

Forgan commented: “I’ve always been a fan of Mayo’s weekly innovations slot and was surprised, but delighted of course, to be invited on the show. I did my best to get the key points of Aquaviz across, but in just three minutes it was quite limiting.

“The reaction from listeners, however, has been astonishing and I’ve spent at least two full days replying to hundreds of emails, and the team has been busy processing orders. In fact, while I was in the studio, producer Rebecca’s husband got in touch to order a mask as he’s a keen swimmer.

“Also as a result of my appearance, Jason Bradbury from The Gadget Show tweeted about Aquaviz and we’re in the process of sending him a pair too.”

April 2013

The 2013 Exhibition of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) will be the biggest ever in the event’s 37-year history.

Taking place at Manchester Central from 7-9 June, in parallel with the 37th BCLA Clinical Conference from 6-9 June, the BCLA Exhibition will welcome a total of 55 companies, including 11 first-time exhibitors from the UK and overseas.

Visitors will be able to find out about the very latest technological developments in contact lenses and care products, diagnostic equipment, dry eye therapies, nutritionals, practice software, imaging solutions and much, much more.

BCLA Events Manager, Sarah Greenwood, said: “With 50 plus companies from the UK and overseas choosing the BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition to debut their newest product innovations, this is truly the go-to event for anyone and everyone involved with contact lens practice and business. We are delighted to welcome several new exhibitors this year, as well as our long-time supporters from the global contact lens industry.”

Richard Lee, Business Development Manager EMEA of first-time exhibitor, TearLab, said: “TearLab is excited to exhibit at the BCLA Exhibition this year as it draws together practitioners keen to learn about new technologies. The event is known for attracting forward-thinking clinicians wanting to offer their patients the best care possible. It creates the perfect balance between clinical education and interaction with manufacturers, making it the ideal place to exhibit.”

Karl Aberdeen, UK and Ireland Professional Relations Manager of Patron Sponsor CooperVision, said: “CooperVision has been exhibiting at the annual BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition since 1997. As a company we feel that this industry-leading event offers us an excellent platform to showcase our products and marketing opportunities; it also provides delegates with a fantastic opportunity to learn from the experts, network and develop their skills and knowledge. The BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition is internationally regarded as the leading global event within the contact lens industry and, as such, we feel that it is imperative that we support through both our sponsorship and presence, today and into the future.”

Exhibition opening times are from 10am to 6pm on the Friday and Saturday, and 10am to 2.30pm on the Sunday, and as always the show is free to attend for registered BCLA Clinical Conference delegates and non-delegates alike.

The Exhibitors’ Pavilion will operate during coffee breaks and lunchtimes only this year, on the Friday and Saturday, so delegates won’t miss out on attending these free short sessions, providing the latest product and technology information to support eyecare practitioners in everyday practice.

The Exhibitors Pavilion timetable, along with a complete list of exhibitors, can be viewed on the BCLA website, www.bcla.org.uk

2013 sponsors:

• Patron: Alcon, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
• Platinum: Bausch + Lomb
• Gold: David Thomas Contact Lenses/Menicon, Sauflon and Topcon
• Premium Exhibitor: UltraVision

April 2013

Independent practice chain Rawlings Opticians raised over £780 for Optometry Giving Sight through the World Sight Day Challenge activities of their eight practices in 2012. Nick Rumney, Chair of Optometry Giving Sight’s national committee, accepted the cheque presented by managing director Richard Rawling at Rawlings’ Caterham branch. The practices raised the funds through cake sales, prize draws, customer competitions, and collecting donations for repairs.

Richard Rawling commented,”Rawlings Opticians support Optometry Giving Sight as they are dedicated to ensuring nobody is unavoidably deprived of sight. The massive difference that that makes to people’s life cannot be underestimated and makes the difference between a life of poverty and one of opportunity. We supported World Sight Day with a range of activities and were overwhelmed by the public’s support and belief in the charity.”

Optometry Giving Sight provides ongoing funds to projects that are training local eye care professionals and establishing vision centres, so that eye care and low cost glasses are being delivered in communities where these services do not currently exist. In 2012, the charity donated funding to 42 projects in 24 countries, including East Timor, Haiti, and India.

Donna Power, European regional manager of Optometry Giving Sight says, “We are incredibly grateful to all the staff of Rawlings Opticians for contributing to make their World Sight Day Challenge such a success. It is group efforts like this that enable us to make a significant contribution towards eliminating avoidable blindness.”

April 2013

Sarah Champion MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests.

Local MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion visited Scrivens Opticians at All Saint’s Square in the centre of Rotherham on Friday 12th April to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

1.8 million people in the UK are living with sight loss and this figure is set to increase by 115% to nearly 4 million people by 2050, largely due to the ageing population (1). Much of this is preventable through the early detection and treatment of eye problems. Regular eye tests are a simple and practical way to maintain good eye health and look after your eyes.

Senior Optometrist at the Rotherham branch, Robert King, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:

“An eye test is not just a check to see whether you need glasses or not, but is also a means of ensuring your eyes are healthy. At Scrivens Opticians our eye tests can pick up other health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes so they are an important health check for everyone. Many eye conditions such as glaucoma are treatable and in many cases sight loss can be prevented if they are detected early enough.”

Commenting on her visit Sarah Champion said:

“Excuse the pun, but it really was an eye-opener visiting Scrivens. Seeing the sophisticated services they provide the people of Rotherham was very impressive. Their early intervention work prevents costly NHS bills and, genuinely, saves sight!”

Many groups of people are entitled to free NHS sight tests. These include those aged 60 and over, all children under 16 and those on low incomes. Optical practices are convenient and offer easy access in the local community. You can visit any practice that is either near where you live or where you work. Optical practices can see NHS patients at times that suit them.

Meanwhile at Stoke Joan Walley MP repeats the call on constituents to look after their eyesight.

Local MP for Stoke on Trent North, Joan Walley visited James Herd Opticians in Tunstall today to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Practice Co-owner and Optometrist, Delia Cliffe, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests and commented on some of the new eye care services that are increasingly becoming available at many high street opticians practices.

“Having completed further training and accreditation, many Community Optometrists are now undertaking work such as Glaucoma Co-Management, Acute Eye service, Direct Access Cataract referral, Post-operative Cataract Follow-up and Paediatrics, which in the past have been mainly confined to the hospital setting. These new eye care services are being delivered to a very high standard and represent good value to the local health economy. Many patients in North Staffordshire are now reaping the benefit of having access to these enhanced services at a convenient and familiar high street location of their choice, coupled with significantly shorter waiting time for appointments”

April 2013

Turning your customers into your sales force

“Turning your customers into your sales force” was the driving message of The FMO’s inspired motivational speaker, Royston Guest, at Optrafair.

He urged delegates to the leading UK optical show to build a compelling proposition, asking “What makes you their optician of choice?”

With a more informed and better educated audience, differentiation in the market is vital to success, Royston told the audience at the April event.

“Branding and perception of price is critical. What is your brand and where does it sit in the local marketplace? Where would you like it to be? You should aim to be the best in your sector,” he urged.

“Your brand is what people say about you and the impression that you create – transparency is vital and being very clear with customers who respect integrity.”
Royston highlighted the fact that we “buy into people” before buying products and services, as seen with Richard Branson and the Virgin brand –

“What do people think when they look at your business? Make your business stand out with proactive education as it enables people to make informed decisions – people will pay for great service, and every customer is your brand advocate.”

Drawing parallels with the coffee industry and the added value created by the likes of Starbucks and Costa in terms of product differentiation, environment and service, he suggested that customer experience is set to be the next key competitive area in business.

Malcolm Polley, Chairman of Optrafair, praised Royston’s inspired wisdom –

“It is so very easy to become blinkered by one’s own sector of the consumer market, but Royston drew on examples from so many other fields to create a truly inspired presentation. Many of our delegates took away thoughts of how they can step up their communication and customer service and that nothing can be taken for granted in today’s competitive market.”


April 2013

UltraVision CLPL is taking the manufacture of contact lenses to the next level and in support of this has employed Clinical Director, Lynn White MSc FCOptom and Engineering Manager, Nick Stonehouse. With a strong clinical and manufacturing team, UltraVision is poised for growth and ready to ensure the future development of the next generation of contact lens technology.

UltravisionDescribing her new role as Clinical Director, Lynn says “UltraVision is serious about putting clinical excellence at the heart of its business and delivering innovative products for those patients whose visual needs cannot be met by disposable lenses.“

Lynn has been a consultant to UltraVision since 2007, contributing heavily to the development of KeraSoft IC, the revolutionary soft lens for keratoconus and irregular corneas. Lynn has over 30 years varied experience in Optometry. She ran her own practices for over 20 years, worked in the Caribbean as an Optometrist and on her return, developed her own dedicated Irregular Cornea Contact Lens Practice. She was an AOP Councillor for 8 years, with a special interest in Low Vision.

Nick Stonehouse brings a wealth of experience in contact lens manufacturing, having worked at Alcon’s (formerly CIBA Vision) Farnham manufacturing plant. Nick started there 25 years ago making RGP and soft contact lenses (spheres, torics and colour printed) before joining their Quality department as QA Engineer. In the short time Nick has been at UltraVision he has been implemental in helping streamline UltraVision’s manufacturing processes and practices. His experience in working in a speciality made-to-order manufacturing plant will be invaluable to UltraVision.

April 2013

The Association of Optometrists’ (AOP’s) Annual Report 2013 is now online. For the second year, the Association has published its report online to facilitate two-way, cost effective communication.
New sections of the report include a welcome video focusing on highlights of the year and plans for the future, and a video insight to the AOP’s in-house legal team.

AOP reportDescribed by one AOP member as “smart, professional and caring”, the legal team has had another very active and successful year providing unrivalled advice, defence and representation to AOP members.

Richard Carswell, AOP Interim Chief Executive, said: “The defence of our members will always be the heart of what the Association does. All AOP members have access to the best possible legal advice and representation, given by experienced staff who assist and advise optometrists and dispensing opticians daily. The new video about our in-house legal team enables people to find out more about this core service.”

A 'print basket' function enables readers to print out specific sections they are particularly interested in. There is an option to 'download the full report' to see the content in its entirety, much like a ‘hard copy’ version.
A 'feedback' button enables readers to let the AOP know their thoughts on its new-look report – or on the performance of their Association.

The report is online and accessible via the AOP website www.aop.org.uk or http://annualreport2013.aop.org.uk/

April 2013

Brulimar held a prize draw at the show, drawn by Malcolm Polley, Chairman of Optrafair, and picture show left to right –

Howard Librae, Brulimar MD, Malcolm Polley, Alexander Harris, Brulimar Sales Director

First out of the bowl was Mr Jaffrey of Acocks Green, Birmingham who won a Brulimar voucher for £1,000

Sherratt Opticians of Crewe won a £500 voucher

Better Spex of Kentish Town won £250 voucher

April 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has appointed Nick Rumney as Conference Programme Coordinator (CPC). Nick will officially begin his role after the Association’s Clinical Conference in June.

A Fellow of the BCLA, Nick Rumney is Managing Director of Hereford-based independent practice, BBR Optometry. Having attended the BCLA Clinical Conference for more than 20 years, Nick chaired the conference’s inaugural Clinical Grand Rounds session in 2012 and will do so again at this year’s Clinical Conference, which is being held from 6-9 June at Manchester Central.

Nick RumneyA regular speaker and well-known throughout the profession, Nick is a founder member of the European Academy of Optometry and Optics, and a Fellow of the College of Optometrists and the American Academy of Optometry. He is also a Research Fellow at Aston University and Visiting Lecturer at Manchester University.

Commenting on his appointment, BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nick as our new CPC. With his wide-ranging experience, as both High Street practitioner and optometric educator, Nick brings a wealth of skills and knowledge to the role. We are confident that he will help shape the Clinical Conference to ensure that it meets the ever-evolving needs of all those involved with contact lenses and the anterior eye.

“On behalf of the BCLA Council and Executive, I’d also like to thank Chris Kerr for his sterling effort and success over the past five years in his capacity as Conference Scientific Programme Consultant,” continued Catharine.

“Under Chris’s stewardship, the conference has developed into arguably the world’s most prestigious scientific meeting of contact lens practitioners – with many new and popular features introduced to expand its appeal to the wider eyecare community. We are truly grateful to have had Chris’s expertise driving the conference forward in recent years, and we will continue that momentum into 2014 and beyond.”

On his appointment, Nick Rumney said: “Although I have been involved with clinical education and training for many years now, I remain at heart an optometrist seeing patients on a regular basis. The annual BCLA Clinical Conference is devised with everyday practitioners in mind, but I believe a perception persists that it is geared towards contact lens experts and specialists alone.

“My aim is to challenge this perception by building on the conference’s multidisciplinary approach to practical, clinical and business contact lens education, and focusing on ways to make it more appealing to younger members of the profession.

“Planning, developing and delivering the BCLA Clinical Conference is a long-term, evolutionary process that begins some 14 months in advance. This most prestigious international meeting is ripe for evolutionary change and I am very excited to be a part of this.”

 

Optrafair window dressers compete for trip to New York

April 2013

An enticing trip to New York has brought some excitement to practices around the UK who have entered the Optrafair Window Dressing Challenge and now three finalists will compete for the prize.

Entrants from diverse practices sent in submissions of their current window displays and from these three finalists have been selected to dress the windows, kindly sponsored by Luxottica, Mondottica and Brulimar, which will form the grand entrance to this weekend’s Optrafair.

Maggie Barnaby who runs Barnaby’s Opticians in Bournemouth, will be dressing the Mondottica window; Jilly Southworth, an optical advisor of Broadhurst Optometrists in Preston, will be dressing the Luxottica window; and Cathy Rogers, FBDO, a partner in Optima, West Malling will be dressing the Brulimar window.

David Pardoe OptrafairJudging is to be carried out by a team which is independent of optics – bringing valuable fashion retailing experience – Harvey Nichols Events Co-Ordinator, Sinead O’Connor; David Pardoe, Retail Manager of The Mailbox, Birmingham; and Richard Ash, Managing Director of The Green Room, based at Fort Dunlop and who advises international companies on retail and pop-up shops around the world.

Maggie Barnaby, from Bournemouth, said her practice is always very keen to promote the fashion aspect of frames –

“This is a very exciting aspect of Optrafair. I have worked in the fashion business and in promotions so my skills are in selling. Sandbanks is near to us so we tend to stock luxury brands and very different products. Our windows represent what we do and are a great way of enticing existing and new clients.”

Jilly Southworth is looking to create a New York theme for her window, to support the competition, and Cathy Rogers who is responsible for the large Georgian windows of the West Mailling, Kent, practice is used to creating themes – perhaps based around the seasons or colours.

The winner will be revealed at Optrafair this weekend! Make sure you visit the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham at some point from 13-15th April for the free to enter show of all that is new and inspiring in optics.

April 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today announced figures showing that the vast majority of optometrists and dispensing opticians have demonstrated their continuing fitness to practise by meeting their Continuing Education and Training (CET) points target for 2010-12.

The GOC has this week removed only 187 practitioners (less than 1 per cent) from its registers for failing to meet their target, fewer than the 191 removed after the previous cycle (in April 2010) despite the GOC register growing by around 8 per cent in that time. 19,305 individuals and 2,089 bodies corporate successfully renewed their registration.

All optometrists and dispensing opticians have to complete regular CET to demonstrate that they are keeping their skills and knowledge up-to-date.

The GOC also removed 144 registrants from its registers who failed to apply for 2013-14 retention by the 31 March late application deadline.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Samantha Peters, commented on the reduced number of removals: “This year’s figures are an encouraging sign that registrants understand the importance of completing their CET and maintaining their GOC registration.

“However, while we are happy to have removed fewer registrants than at the end of the previous CET cycle, I must stress how serious removal from the register is. Those registrants who have failed to complete their retention are now unable to practise, by law, until they have restored their registration.”

Any individual or business registrants who have been removed, but who wish to continue practising, must restore to the registers immediately. Applicants must complete the restoration form, and pay the £330 restoration fee. Individual practitioners must also provide evidence of having completed the required minimum of CET in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from www.optical.org

Individuals who are not GOC-registered but continue to practise as dispensing opticians or optometrists in the UK, or use a protected title, are breaking the law. Bodies corporate not on the registers may not use or associate any of the protected titles with their company names. The GOC is sending lists of those removed from the register to relevant commissioning authorities.

April 2013

Pending EU agreement on the regulation of in vivo diagnostics, including dry fluorescein products, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has issued new guidance to members on the use of Minims 1% and 2% in everyday contact lens practice.

The decision to issue the guidance follows a representation made by the BCLA last week, on behalf of its members, to Bausch + Lomb regarding the company’s decision to cease worldwide production of Fluorets fluorescein strips.

In a joint reply to BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, Calvin Roberts, Bausch + Lomb Executive Vice President (VP) and Chief Medical Officer, and Joe Barr, Bausch + Lomb VP Clinical and Medical Affairs, Global Vision Care, said they regretted any impact the discontinuation of Fluorets might have on BCLA members and the broader eyecare community.

Drs Roberts and Barr went on to explain that their paper supplier had ceased the part of its business that was critical to manufacturing Fluorets. “Despite our best efforts, we have not identified a viable alternative supplier willing to manufacture to the necessary standards,” they continued.

They said the company would do everything it could to help manage the transition to “a viable fluorescein solution”, provide clinical guidance on the use of Minims fluorescein 1% in place of Fluorets, and “continue to explore possible options for identifying a viable alternative supplier”.

“However this is a long‐term effort, and unlikely to result in the re‐introduction of a paper‐based solution, given what we have already experienced,” Drs Roberts and Barr concluded.

The timing of the discontinuation of Fluorets coincides with the imminent European Commission (EU) classification of fluorescein strips and the subsequent withdrawal of CE marked alternatives. It is expected that the General Optical Council (GOC) will issue guidance shortly to UK eyecare practitioners, in consultation with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

“The BCLA is keen to have the issue resolved as a matter or urgency, not just for our members, but for the eyecare community at large,” said Dr Chisholm.

After contacting the MHRA last week, the BCLA received the following response: “In the UK, in vivo diagnostics fall to be regulated as medicinal products which satisfy the second limb of the definition of a medicinal product and are not regarded to be medical devices.

“The MHRA is aware that there are currently ongoing discussions at EU level concerning this type of product and that Bausch + Lomb has taken the decision to cease the production of the licensed medicinal product Fluorets.

“The MHRA has now taken the decision not to take further regulatory action at the present time regarding CE marked ophthalmic diagnostic strips until such time an EU decision has been made. You need to be aware that the MHRA decision is not an indication that we would regard the products to be medical devices, and that this is an interim measure pending EU agreement on the regulation of these products.”

Dr Chisholm told BCLA members today via a News Alert: “The situation is obviously still changing as we wait for the imminent EU Commission ruling on whether all fluorescein sodium should have their classification changed to CE marked only. Only then will the MHRA, and the BCLA, be in a position to advise on the status of these ophthalmic dyes in the UK.”

To support eyecare practitioners in the meantime, Professor James Wolffsohn, Professor of Optometry and Deputy Executive Dean of the School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, has produced some guidance on the use of fluorescein Minims, based on his experimental work and the scientific literature.

April 2013

Optometrists Scott Mackie and Helen Tilley have been appointed as new members of the General Optical Council (GOC).

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley welcomed the announcement, saying: “Scott and Helen both bring considerable experience from their work in many parts of the optical sector and I’m delighted to welcome them both.

“Between them their expertise includes CET, hospital optometry, optical education and promoting the value of optometry in primary eye care. Along with their experience of practising on the high street, this will make them tremendous assets to the GOC and I look forward to working with them both.”

Helen Tilley said: “Public confidence in the regulation of the profession is vital if optometrists and dispensing opticians are to further develop their role as primary eye care providers. As a GOC Council member, I am delighted that I will be able to play a part in helping to ensure public confidence in our registrants.”

Helen works as a community optometrist in her own practice, Monnow Eyecare in Monmouth. She has been a member of the GOC’s Fitness to Practice (FTP) Panel, although she is standing down from this position to avoid any conflict with her new role as a Council member.

Scott Mackie said "The public trusts optometrists, dispensing and contact lens opticians to provide a professional service and protect their eye health. As a GOC Council member, I am very much looking forward to working with colleagues and external stakeholders to assure the public that this trust is well founded and that the profession is making a difference.”

Scott is also a community practitioner, co-owning two practices in Lanarkshire. He is a visiting lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, acts as a consultant to the industry and is a Director of Professional Services to Visioncall.

The appointments were confirmed by the Privy Council after the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) approved the GOC’s recruitment procedure.

Scott Mackie took up his appointment on 1 April. Helen Tilley will take her appointment up from 1 May, to enable a clear separation between her role as an FTP Panel member and her role as a Council member.

They replace Kevin Lewis and Nick Rumney, whose terms finished on 31 March.

Aprl 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has appointed its first-ever Student Representative on the BCLA Council.

Shivani MadhavjiShivani Madhavji, a second-year optometry student at City University, London, will officially join the BCLA Council at its AGM in Manchester on Friday 7 June and remain in the role until May 2014. She will attend the Council’s next meeting in London on 17 April as an observer.

BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming Shivani onto the BCLA Council as our first Student Rep. This is an important role, and we will be working closely with Shivani to encourage greater student participation within the BCLA.

“The BCLA offers undergraduate students, pre-registration optometrists and trainee contact lens opticians a host of free and discounted resources to help them on their way to becoming successful contact lens practitioners – but we feel these are sometimes under-utilised,” continued Catharine.

“We hope Shivani will help us to raise awareness of all the fantastic benefits that BCLA student membership offers – and full BCLA membership going forwards.”

Shivani said: “I’m really looking forward to representing my fellow students on the BCLA Council, and passing on my enthusiasm and passion for everything about contact lenses and the anterior eye. Being the link between the BCLA and students is a very exciting opportunity.”

April 2013

Upmarket eyewear manufacturer Rodenstock UK has completely modernised its offices in a £1 million refit. The remodelled office at Northfleet in Kent has been officially unveiled as part of a three-year programme of investment. Management and staff celebrated the official opening by Group CEO, Oliver Kastalio, with a special lunch.

Dietmar RahbauerUK Managing Director Dietmar Rathbauer says: “Northfleet was originally opened in 1987 and a refurbishment was well overdue. It was important that we put customer service back at the centre of our whole company process and now Rodenstock UK will be a sales and marketing organisation first and foremost, focusing on customers’ needs and delivering excellent service and operational excellence in all our systems and processes.

“We are grateful for the full co-operation of employees who have been very patient while the building was reconfigured and refurbished around them.

“The end result is an inspiring workplace for production and office employees, supporting the Rodenstock ethos and working for the business, now and in the future,” adds Dietmar.

The five-month refit was designed to create a more flexible, collaborative and open working relationship between staff by more efficient use of space, while promoting the company ethos of quality, design, tradition and innovation to customers in what is a very price competitive market.

The redesign involved moving operations, glazing and quality assurance into a brighter, more spacious and purpose-built unit. A new production and operations unit allows an increase in stock lens inventory and together with improved logistics, following the reorganised layout, has resulted in improved delivery performance and glazing quality.

A new open-plan office, combined with cellular offices, encourages improved communication and collaboration, and spacious meeting rooms allow professional brand presentations for customer visits, altogether creating a bright and welcoming space for employees and customers alike.

April 2013

Opticians and guests from the winning practices in the Rodenstock Club Awards enjoyed a fascinating visit to the historical city of Prague. During the four-day trip, 37 opticians and guests visited the Rodenstock factory at Klatovy, where they learned more about the company’s production facilities and operations in the Czech Republic.

Rodenstock Winners in PragueThe group also had time to enjoy the sights of a city described as the ‘historical pearl of Europe’, including a guided walking tour of the city and sampled some of the best cuisine Prague had to offer.

Dietmar Rathbauer, managing director of Rodenstock UK, who hosted the trip, said: “Prague has captivated visitors for hundreds of years and we were delighted to share these beautiful surroundings with some of our most loyal customers, who have worked so hard to win these prestigious awards.”

The winning practices won their prizes at a luncheon and awards ceremony at The Landmark, London, attended by more than 300 Rodenstock Club members.

The Rodenstock Club, founded in 1991, has evolved to provide a unique level of service and portfolio of products plus a range of rewards and benefits, including contributions to local advertising, branded open days, loyalty bonuses, annual training and early bird promotions.

April 2013

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) will be running a free legal lounge at this year’s Optrafair at the NEC Birmingham, from 13-15 April 2013. Visitors will have the opportunity to talk to the Association’s in-house legal experts for advice and support at the AOP stand (R50).

Gerda GoldingerGerda Goldinger, AOP Director of Legal Services, said: “The defence of our members will always be the heart of what the Association does. Our experienced advisers will be running a legal lounge throughout Optrafair to discuss legal issues and offer advice. Come along and meet the team and find out how the AOP could help with your legal queries.”

The AOP will also be launching its new members’ Image Library at Optrafair. AOP members now have the opportunity to use a range of high quality optical images for use in practices, in leaflets and on websites.
David Craig, Director of Marketing and Business Development, said: “We have received numerous requests for optical images over the past year, which led us to create our new members’ Image Library. AOP members now have the opportunity to use a range of high quality optical images to promote their practice, free of charge. The new range of images includes close-ups of eyes and equipment shots which can be used within practices, as well as on leaflets, posters and websites.”

The AOP’s stand will also include information about this year’s AOP Awards – now in its third year. The annual AOP Awards celebrates the achievements of those within the optical profession, with winners nominated and voted for by the profession itself. Forms will be available for visitors to nominate themselves and their peers in this year’s Awards. Nominations can also be made online at www.optometry.co.uk/awards/

Representatives from two of the AOP’s approved suppliers – Myers La Roche and Aon - will be on hand to discuss exclusive services that are negotiated on behalf of AOP members.

Visitors will be able to enter the Myers La Roche free prize draw to win a Red Letter Day gift card to the value of £250. They will also be giving away a sales and profit improving CD-ROM with templates that can be downloaded and used to improve communication with patients. The CD-ROM has links to useful websites, including the Myers La Roche Online shop which allows customers to order a wide range of practice development materials, from posters and leaflets to complete advertising and promotional campaigns.

Aon has proudly been providing insurance to AOP members for over a decade. They understand members have specialist insurance requirements, whether a practice owner or locum. Aon representatives will be happy to discuss this and answer any queries at Optrafair.

Visitors to the Aon stand will have a chance to win an iPad Mini in a free prize draw (which will be drawn on 19 April) and receive an exclusive 10% premium discount off their first insurance premium if they take out a policy with Aon before 31 December 2013.

April 2013

UltravisionAs part of their studies in A Level Science, students from Vandyke Upper School and Community College enjoyed a visit to contact lens manufacturer Ultravision. Clinical and Customer Services Advisor Manager, Josie Barlow and Wendy Churchill, Export Executive, led the visit for the students by presenting the science behind vision, contact lenses, and how Ultravision changes patients’ lives on a daily basis.

Using her 25 years’ experience, Josie Barlow answered questions from the students and was impressed with the interest shown. Josie said, “the students were always engaged and asked some fantastic questions that will enhance their applied science studies.”

The students were interested to see the manufacturing processes involved in making contact lenses and the science behind making a contact lens safe and comfortable to wear. Mrs Smart, a teacher from Vandyke Upper School, stated “Thank you so much for being so supportive - it was a great experience for us. We would love to come back next year.”

Ultravision enjoys supporting the local community and welcomes any educational visits from schools and colleges in the surrounding counties.

BCLA peer review case topics revealed

April 2013

Cases covering dry eye, blepharitis, RGP lens fitting and contact lens-induced peripheral ulcer are among the peer review discussion topics being offered at the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference from 6 to 9 June at Manchester Central.

BCLA WorkshopsBCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, said: “All optometrists and contact lens opticians must now take part in at least one case-based discussion involving patient records and decision-making – so we are very excited to be able to offer this year’s delegates the opportunity to gain their peer discussion CET points with us.”

Therapeutics peer review for optometrist prescribers will take place on Thursday 6 June. “These sessions are ideal for independent prescribers as well as those who are thinking of training to become one to come along and observe,” commented BCLA Council member, Susan Bowers, who will be leading these sessions. “We are asking all participants to bring one case on a memory stick or their laptop and we will discuss their cases according to the College of Optometrists’ clinical management guidelines.”

On Sunday 9 June, the sessions will cover a range of contact lens cases provided by the College of Optometrists, Association of British Dispensing Opticians and Local Optical Committee Support Unit. The lead facilitator is Susan Bowers and table facilitators include BCLA Council member Iain May and Dr Karen Sparrow of the Association of Optometrists. The facilitator will present the cases on PowerPoint, and then the table facilitators will discuss them afterwards in groups of eight delegates.

BCLA member, Mike Harris, who recently attended a peer review session in Warwickshire facilitated by Susan Bowers said: “We had a fabulous time as we reviewed the cases presented and came up with various different management options. There was no right or wrong and I feel I came away with improved knowledge of the areas covered. Peer discussion is a fact of life now so don’t hesitate to get together with your colleagues and learn something new.”

Peer review and peer discussion at the BCLA Clinical Conference will cost £30 per session. The sessions must be pre-booked via the BCLA website at www.bcla.org.uk

Optrafair London Partner Confirmed as Optician

April 2013

Optrafair London, the exciting fashion-led optical event to be held at Olympia in April 2014, is to be brought to an international audience by the powerful team of Optician magazine in partnership with The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO).

The inaugural Optrafair London will be held in the heart of the capital at Olympia Central from April 11-13 and is scheduled to run in alternate years to the main Optrafair show in Birmingham which takes place next week (April 13-15).

FMO Chief Executive, Malcolm Polley, said Optrafair London and the great experience of this unrivalled partnership would provide optical professionals with the chance to see the latest advances in eye care, products and services on an annual basis -

‘The combination of two of the most respected organisations serving the UK optical market will bring a great new energy to the sector’s exhibitions. The synergy of these two organisations and depth of knowledge of the optical market is unrivalled.’

Optician Editor and associate publisher Chris Bennett said he was delighted to be working on Optrafair London with the FMO team: “London is a world-class city crying out for an optical show. Optician and the FMO are the right people to deliver it.”

The Optician partnership follows extensive discussions by The FMO with other possible show partners – some of whom favoured a less central location.

“If we are staging a show in London then it is vital that it is within minutes of all that London has to offer and the buzz of this exciting fashion capital,” added Malcolm.

The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians said Optrafair London would provide optical professionals with a chance to see the latest advances in eye care products, fashion and services in one of the most exciting cities in the world.

The announcement will bring clarity and certainty to those wishing to exhibit and attend a show in London. For over 40 years Optrafair has provided the UK optical industry with a world-class exhibition in Birmingham. The FMO’s announcement means the profession and industry can be confident that a world-class event will now take place in London too. This will provide a showcase for UK optical brands in a destination overseas visitors are visiting in increasing numbers.

 

GOC sets out key priorities for 2013/14

April 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today published its business plan for 2013/14, setting out its key priorities to enhance public protection.

The GOC’s priorities for the year include:

• a review of its standards of competence, conduct and performance
• completing its reviews of how optical businesses and students should be regulated
• considering its approach to tackling illegal practice
GOC chief executive and registrar Samantha Peters said: “Delivering our business plan will enhance patient safety and improve our efficiency as a regulator.
“Our priority projects could lead to significant regulatory changes, but we won’t be making them alone. It is vital that we work closely with our stakeholders over the coming year and make valuable use of their expertise as we consider changes to our rules or policies. I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in our work to get involved in the consultations we will run and help us shape the future of optical regulation.”

The business plan, which covers the financial year 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014, will also see the GOC implement its new Fitness to Practise Rules and roll out a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to improve its information management.

The GOC will also develop a new strategic plan for the three years 2014/15 – 2016/17. The Council’s current strategic plan comes to an end on 31 March 2014.

Samantha Peters added, “As well as implementing these projects, we will maintain our commitment to delivering our core functions - setting standards, approving qualifications, maintaining the register and investigating fitness to practise concerns - efficiently and effectively. I am determined that we will deliver high-quality public protection while also ensuring value for money.”

The business plan is available on the GOC website at http://www.optical.org/en/about_us/strategic_plan/index.cfm

April 2013

Eye health professionals from across the sector will welcome the first ever Public Health Indicator for eye health when it comes into force on April 1st, 2013.

As part of the new Public Health Outcomes Framework, the Indicator will track changes in the numbers of people who are certified as blind or partially sighted and have lost their sight from one of the three major causes of preventable sight loss: glaucoma, wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director and Interim Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK said: “April 1st is an important day for anyone with an interest in preventing avoidable sight loss and ensuring eye health is on the agenda of every newly created Health and Wellbeing Board across England. For the first time, there is a responsibility on commissioners of public health to ensure that they tackle both sight loss and avoidable sight loss in their local communities.

“But the onus is not just on commissioners – eye health professionals across England need to use their local contacts to raise awareness amongst commissioners and those involved with public health planning of the importance of improving eye health and tackling avoidable sight loss through this new requirement."

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of the Optical Confederation said: “Eye health professionals across the sector are eager to seize this opportunity to tackle eye health in their local communities and through Local Eye Health Networks in England. This is our chance to make a real difference across the NHS and social care for our patients and the public, especially at risk groups”.

A new briefing ‘Preventing avoidable sight loss: a public health priority’ has been launched to support eye health professionals in raising awareness of the indicator. The briefing was jointly produced by members of VISION 2020 UK including the College of Optometrists, LOCSU, Optical Confederation, Royal College of Ophthalmologists, UK Vision Strategy and RNIB.

The briefing is available at: http://www.commissioningforeyecare.org.uk

Eye health professionals welcome the first ever Public Health Indicator for eye health

Vandyke students learn valuable lessons at Ultravision!

AOP legal lounge at Optrafair

Winning Rodenstock opticians enjoy Prague

Rodenstock opens new-look head office

City optometry student to join BCLA Council

GOC appoints Scott Mackie and Helen Tilley to Council

BCLA updates members on use of fluorescein

More registrants meet GOC CET target

BCLA appoints new Conference Programme Coordinator

Brulimar prizeBrulimar prize presented by Polley at Optrafair

“Smart, professional and caring” legal team highlighted in new AOP report

Ultravision poised for growth

FMO publishes motivational speech by Guest at Optrafair

MPs make timely statements on encouraging better eye health in the community

OGS Chair accepts Rawlings Opticians’ World Sight Day donation

BCLA proclaims 2013 BCLA Exhibition will be the biggest ever

Radio appearance puts Forgan’s ‘Aquaviz’ on the innovation map

Elaine sets new challenge for homeless charity fundraising

World Council of Optometry announces award winners

100% Optical Commissions Comprehensive Census of UK and International Opticians and Optometrists

Euromcontact provides insights into contact lens markets across Europe in our business briefing section

Best of British goes up against the rest of the world in Rodenstock window display competitions

Silhouette honoured as “Best Employer”

New clinical briefing provided for Blepharitis

Optrafair London confirmation

Ocuco are announced as the first sponsors of a series of new WSMC networking evenings

FODO Chair, Jayne Rawlinson reports that Optics has weathered the Storm

New GOS Model Contracts (2013) Available

FMO updates its best practice advice for credit control while “Bad Payers List” goes online

SMC's Evening with a difference hailed as success by the Master

Get interactive CET in Norwich for free

Chairs of the OC bodies provide brains trust panel for afternoon session

Primary Health Net committed on the day to work closely with NEHW in raising awareness on both its sites

The OC meeting was followed by news about the National Eye Health Week and later by FODO AGM and later an AOP AGM

Optical Confederation day proves it has come of age

New eyecare hope for those with reading problems

Wiseman fund receives surprise donation

Vision UK 2013: Less than a month to go!

Continuous innovation from Hoya

Atlas of Optical Variation updated by LOCSU

100% Optical Signs 5 Year Deal with ExCeL, London

BCLA Clinical Conference gets buzzing

Guide dogs celebrate with FMO chief executive

GOC reviews “Implications of the Francis Inquiry” at recent Council meeting

10 years of Giving Sight

BCLA says it’s well positioned for the future - Progress charted in 2012-13 Annual Report

Too many older people falling due to poor eye sight

Roger Rees has the luck of the draw from ORASIS!

Rodenstock Staff Rise to "Make or Bake" Challenge for Charity

BCLA ‘goes green’ for 2013 and beyond

Industry group forms to address the decline of the independent optical sector

Vision UK 2013: Two weeks to go!

B & L sells out

BCLA Secretary General to retire

Rodenstock club awards launched; action-packed trip to the Austrian Alps awaits winners

Optoms Cycling for Sight Challenge goes global

BBC broadcaster Peter White to chair ‘Moral Maze’ debate at Vision UK 2013 conference

Global contact lens community gathers in Manchester

Ocuco requests re-examination of Seiko “freeform” patent

ACLM announce new Chairman

100% Optical Show is gaining momentum and is determined to create a different experience for both exhibitors and visitors

BCLA welcomes new President and Council

Optical Confederation Welcomes ‘Refreshed’ UK Vision Strategy

Vision2020 UK produces Strategy Online and Online Videos on its Conference day

Prime Minister backs launch of refreshed UK Vision Strategy

FMO boosts optical training with donation to WCSM courses

Don’t forget Independents Day in Birmingham for those who can’t resist another exhibition and conference

Optrafair success reported by Grafton Optical

Optrafair London set to satisfy trade show demand

Hewlett makes immediate response to the ABPI from the Optical Confederation

Pharmaceutical group urges for more action to correct what it calls a fragmented service

Vision Strategy refreshed and put on stage at QE II

Global Eye Health Action Plan announced at Vision UK conference

 
 
 
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