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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, October to December 2017


AIO comments on Which? Undercover report.
Yet again another expert panel of witnesses cast doubts on the eye tests.
AOP responds to Which? article on sight tests.
Two out of five eye tests not up to scratch, according to Which? probe
Louis Stone Optical’s Instagram shortlisted for national award.
WCSM installs only 3rd Lady as Master in its centuries long history.

AIO comments on Which? Undercover report.

October 2017

The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) has expressed great concern over the findings of the Which? Investigation into the quality of eye care.

However it was not a surprise to AIO that it was only Independents that did not receive a single unsatisfactory rating, and that the only ‘excellent’ rating went to an Independent.

Christian French, Chairman of AIO said: ‘Whilst it is disappointing to read the results of the Which? investigation, it is good to see that patients are being made aware of the disparity in eye examination quality. It is clear from the results that different business models serve patients differently, and Independents are continuing to do what they do best; offering consistently thorough and comprehensive eye examinations.

‘For Optometry to take a stronger role in providing community eye care it is essential that standards are raised across the Board. This disparity in eye exam quality encapsulates the driving force behind AIO’s new quality mark for Independent practices which we are rolling out in the coming months. This will provide reassurance for the public that they can rely on the eye health care they will receive wherever the quality mark appears in an Independents window.’

Yet again another expert panel of witnesses cast doubts on the eye tests.

October 2017

The problem with these regular salvos from the health and consumer press is the lack of information provided about the “expert panel”.

No doubt the profession will stand behind its excellent record of limited complaints from its millions of annual sight tests provided as demonstrated by the optical ombudsman reports.

But are some of the alleged mistakes in the report ones that the man on the Clapham omnibus would notice without cross reference to another professional?

The detailed analysis of mistakes which highlight all the major chains and franchises in comparison to a supposedly bette experience had with independents will make tough reading for the professional leads of those companies.

Perhaps what we should be asking each time a report is published is why every time the independents come out as better? Is that really true or does the “expert panel” have a professional bias against commercialism?

We let you judge. The expert panel consisted of three optometrists.

AOP responds to Which? article on sight tests.

October 2017

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is responding to the Which? article ‘Two out of five eye tests not up to scratch, according to Which? probe’. (see report below)

The AOP is aware of the findings by Which? in their latest report, comparing how a sight test is conducted at many High Street optical practices.

There is no evidence to suggest that this is typical across the sector and we hope that this report does not cause concern for the public.

Optometrists are eye health professionals and the services they provide are far wider than a simple test to determine whether spectacles or contact lenses are required to correct vision.

As well as an eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of underlying general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. A sight test includes a range of tests and this is tailored to the individual patient.

Optometrist and Clinical Director at the AOP, Dr Peter Hampson, said: “All registered optometrists and dispensing opticians are governed by set Standards of Practice to ensure patient care remains at the centre of their professional practice. Findings from our 2017 survey into the wellbeing of UK optometrists indicates that many within the profession have a deep sense of accountability and diligence.”

The AOP supports its members to meet Standard of Practice by producing guidance which gives advice on a range of areas relating to communication, patient referrals, safeguarding and maintaining patient records.

Two out of five eye tests not up to scratch, according to Which? probe

October 2017

An undercover Which? investigation into the quality of eye tests has found that almost half of opticians investigated were not up to scratch.

We sent undercover researchers into branches of independent opticians and chains such as Boots Opticians, Optical Express and Specsavers for an eye test, and asked a panel of experts to assess recordings of the appointments.

A total of 13 out of the 30 optician consultations were rated as poor or very poor by our expert panel. In the worst cases, optometrists issued inaccurate prescriptions that didn’t correct eyesight problems such as astigmatism or double vision, which would have left our researchers with unsafe glasses.

Some optometrists are also failing to warn patients about common eye health problems. Important tests were also missed, such as checking the pressure of the eyes or looking at the health of the front of the eye, that could reveal potentially serious eye health problems.

All of our undercover researchers were aged all over 40, meaning they were at higher risk of problems such as glaucoma.

Independent and small regional stores were the only type of stores we visited that did not carry out eye tests rated unsatisfactory by our expert panel.

All of the big chains had at least one unsatisfactory appointment – and some as many as three.

Which? magazine editor Richard Headland said: ‘We rely on opticians to provide us with care and advice we can trust. ‘Our research, while only a snapshot, shows some shocking findings including too many instances of inaccurate prescriptions, inconsistent advice and failure to provide the correct eye tests. We did encounter some examples of great practice too, including one visit to an independent optometrist that was rated ‘excellent’ because of the thorough eye test, clear advice and accurate prescription. Unsafe or inaccurate glasses prescriptions The majority of our appointments resulted in prescriptions that would have corrected eyesight problems and made activities, such as computer use and driving, safe and comfortable. But we also experienced some worrying appointments that resulted in our researchers being given a spectacle prescription that wouldn’t correct problems with their vision, or that could be unsafe. One researcher would have seen double as soon as they walked out with their new glasses.

Read more:

Louis Stone Optical’s Instagram shortlisted for national award.

October 2017

Louis Stone Award

Louis Stone Optical’s Instagram account (@louisstoneoptic) has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award. The optical distributor has been announced as one of three finalists in the category of Marketing Initiative of the Year in the AOP Awards 2018, which is run by the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

Clare Gaba, who is Head of Marketing and Communications at Louis Stone said she was delighted they had made it to the shortlist in this category, commenting: “It actually made me a little bit emotional. Louis Stone Optical Ltd has been running for almost 70 years and this is the first award we have ever been shortlisted for.

Louis Stone has most definitely been deserving of awards in the past, but we never had the capacity for a member of staff to promote us, let alone find out about these awards and put us forward for them. That's when I stepped in”.

The AOP Awards recognises the highest levels of achievement in UK optics, and saw a 75% increase in entrants this year.

The Marketing Initiative of the Year accolade is about celebrating an outstanding marketing campaign which promotes an element of optometry. The initiative can be focused on products or on the promotion of eye health to the public.

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: “The AOP Awards are about recognising practitioners who contribute so much to the public and profession.” Adding, “With this year seeing more unique entries than ever before, our finalists have achieved so much by getting this far.”


October 2017

Angelina Jolie


Seen signing autographs for her fans after the Q&A Event in Los Angeles: Angelina Jolie in a Mykita frame.


Angelina is a longstanding MYKITA enthusiast and was spotted again with sunglass frame STUDIO 3.2 in Black Havana from the MYKITA STUDIO collection.


WCSM installs only 3rd Lady as Master in its centuries long history.

October 2017

Master Felicity Taylor

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers held its Annual Service yesterday, during which the new Master and Wardens for the year take up office.

There is always a mix of skills and experience within each team of Master and Wardens and this year is no exception.

The new Master, Felicity Harding (left), has a background in social care and charity work.

She was a Trustee, and then Chair, of Vision Aid Overseas Chair of Vision Aid Overseas until 2010 and a non-executive member of National Victim Support until 2007.

She remains actively involved as an Ambassador for Samaritans, the charity founded by her father, The Reverend Dr Chad Varah, in 1953. She joined WCSM as a Freeman in 2008, was clothed as of the Livery in 2009 and became a Court Assistant in 2012.

Opchat Magazine General News

The Upper Warden, John McGregor (pictured left with Wardens and Master), is a chemist by training who founded his own business, Contamac Ltd, in 1987. Contamac is now a globally important business producing contact lens and intra-ocular lens materials and has won two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

The Renter Warden, Huntly Taylor (right), is a Dispensing Optician with more than 30 years’ experience in his own practice and is a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ABDO College.

WCSM Awards

At lunch following the installation service, Past Master Professor John Marshall introduced the winners of the Company’s 2017 bronze medal competition awards for research.

geraint Williams

Geraint Williams PhD FRCOphth, a consultant ophthalmologist working with a team at the University of Birmingham, was awarded the Ruskell medal for his paper on developing a predictor for scarring in ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid, a blinding form of conjunctivitis.


Deanna Taylor

Whilst Deanna Taylor, of City, University of London, won the Master’s Medal for her paper on the real life impact of dry age-related macular degeneration.

The Company received a record number of applications for membership in the last quarter.

WCSM welcomes professionals of all ages and all backgrounds who are committed to better vision for all.


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