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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, July to September 2017


BLACKFIN is nominated for the SILMO D’OR in Sunglass Design category.
Specsavers and Heidelberg engineering set to transform community eyecare in the UK.
Tesco agreed sale of Optical division to Vision Express brings in a closer examination of effects on some patients by CMA.
AAOF in collaboration with the Beta Sigma Kappa International Honor Society announce Kappa Award.
KAOS: New advertising campaign for 2017.
Katy Perry on tour with Mykita.
Special Delivery for National Eye Health Week!
GOC suspends Essex-based dispensing optician.
Diabetes Scotland and RNIB Scotland join forces to promote vital eye screening for people with diabetes.
New bill to improve patient safety from DoH and The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP.
9 in 10 people aged over 40 are not aware of the help available for people suffering from low vision.
Daily lives of one million Brits blighted by avoidable sight loss.
Association of Optometrists welcomes Honorary Associates.
Tackling illegal contact lens sales.
Wolverhampton toddler loves her new glasses, but many children will return to school without the right prescription.
BRANDO to relaunch Phillipe Chevalier at SILMO 2017
Norville Opticians gets on it’s bike for Keynsham in Bloom.
Shamir asks? Have you got the BEST DRESSED STORE?
AAO’s provide public information of upcoming Total Eclipse across the States on August 21st.
Usain Bolt in training for last appearance.
Enjoy Summer with our Selfie Competition, show your Attitude! ®
Blackfin in Lajatico with Andrea Bocelli at the “Teatro del Silenzio”
Are screens hurting my child’s eyes? AOP produces the answer.
Win BIG with Shamir’s new Scratch Card Campaign!
New page devoted to your comments and suggestions, criticisms and constructive ideas to improve the Optical Sector on PHN.

BLACKFIN is nominated for the SILMO D’OR in Sunglass Design category.

September 2017

Blackfin nominee
Yet another Silmo d’Or nomination for Blackfin, the brand of titanium eyewear 100% made in Italy. The model ARC BF822 is among the finalists in the Sunglass Design category.

The arch, a structural support element, lends an original connotation to this frame, as the name implies. But the arch can also be seen as the span of a bridge, in this case embracing the lenses and enclosing them in a single piece of metal.

With its front in pure titanium and patented Swordfish temples in beta titanium, the ARC BF822 frame is an evolution of the iconic SLOT BF801 model and the silver fully mirrored lenses are fitted to the frame without screws or joints.

The winners of the Silmo d’Or will be announced on Saturday 7 October at an award ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Specsavers and Heidelberg engineering set to transform community eyecare in the UK.

September 2017

Heidelberg Spirit

Heidelberg Engineering has designed the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT, a bespoke OCT imaging platform - which achieves high definition images in just three clicks - to support Specsavers' ambition to offer patients a choice of the best possible technology in their eye examination by installing an OCT in every practice.

The new SPECTRALIS SPIRIT is set to transform eyecare in the community at a time when hospital services are increasingly stretched. Providing excellent image quality, accuracy and reproducibility, it measures up to one micron of change over time – which sets the technology apart from competitors.

With an emphasis on glaucoma diagnosis and care, the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT uses highly sensitive and specific parameters for early detection of glaucoma, minimising false positive referrals and providing the clinician with an easy-to-interpret traffic light signal report.

To understand how the Specsavers’ partnership integrates with the existing SPECTRALIS business, Krysten Williams, Director of Heidelberg Engineering UK, stressed the differentiation of the two models and the roles they play –

“In past years the challenge was to find and design an imaging solution to meet the demand for a high-volume retail environment, and to ensure that both optometrists and ophthalmologists can embrace shared care with confidence,” said Krysten Williams.

“This strategic move is a highly significant contribution to advancing eyecare in the community. Those who have already invested in the SPECTRALIS platform can be confident that the full range of functionality and imaging modalities of the retinal specialists’ OCT of choice, as well as their own expertise continues to set them apart.”

“We have just one ophthalmologist per 50,000 people in the UK. By comparison, in Germany the figure is one per 11,100 people. High Street optometry could help to relieve the burden on hospital eye departments, who are faced with an ageing demographic, and an alarming rise in age-related eye disease. For over six years Heidelberg Engineering UK has been dedicated to providing high level clinical education to optometrists and we have seen those who invested in technology and their own education raise the standard of patient care in their community.

“The collaboration with Specsavers raises the bar for diagnostic technology and education in all Specsavers practices and, in turn, encourages the NHS to recognise the profession as the logical choice for commissioning and paying for services provided in the community. The business opportunity for diagnosis and care is here for the entire profession to seize. The SPECTRALIS SPIRIT is available to all optometrists, allowing them to build their clinical confidence by starting with the essentials of OCT and upgrading to additional imaging modalities that enhance their clinical decision making as their practice grow.”

Paul Morris, Specsavers’ Optometrist Director of Professional Advancement, spoke of the enthusiasm of Specsavers practices to roll out OCT, and the company’s “significant” investment in training –

“OCT is the future of optometry. Our partners have shown a passion for the opportunity to offer the latest in imaging technology to better identify and manage the long-term eye health of patients. Our relationship with Heidelberg Engineering is new, but the quality of their OCT devices needs no explanation as the company is synonymous with leading-edge technology. I am confident that we will have a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

If you have questions about Heidelberg Engineering’s partnership with Specsavers or about the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT please call 01442 502 330 or email

Heidleberg Engineering sponsor your FREE Opchat News. You can click to their pages here.

Tesco agreed sale of Optical division to Vision Express brings in a closer examination of effects on some patients by CMA.

September 2017

In an effort to try and simplify its business back to the core Tesco is attempting to sell its Optical Business to Grand Vision’s Vision Express.
Tesco’s optical business employs around 1500 workers at its 200+ stores but jobs under TUPE rules remain safe in the transfer.
Vision Express will run the existing stores as concessions within Tesco.

However, the Competition Watchdog (Competitions & Markets Authority) may well have an eye on the deal as it might they believe have a negative impact on customers as there is a supposed duplicity within some of the 200 towns where both companies currently trade.

This is only a phase 1 investigation which if unsatisfactorily resolved will be referred to a more in-depth investigation.

It said three local areas would not have sufficient competition after the merger, which could result in price increases or a decrease in the quality or choice of the products and services available in store.
These are Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, Helston in Cornwall, and Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

Adam Land, CMA senior director released this statement:

“Opticians provide a vital service for millions of people in the UK and it is therefore important that any competition concerns are addressed. In this case, we have looked carefully where Vision Express and Tesco Opticians compete at present and identified three areas of the country where we believe this merger could result in a worse deal for eye care customers.”

Vision Express' chief executive Jonathan Lawson said in a statement:

“We are happy the CMA will consider proposals to resolve the competition concerns it has identified in areas where Vision Express is acquiring Tesco Optician stores. Vision Express is committed to providing suitable remedies to the CMA in order to avoid the acquisition being referred to a phase two investigation, which would prolong uncertainty for all involved.”

“We are now working on undertakings to allow the CMA to clear the acquisition so we can move forward with integrating Tesco Opticians into our estate.”

Watch this space for news on the assimilation of working practices between the two groups not least in pricing and supply of goods but also with concerns on IT digital processes and in-store services.

AAOF in collaboration with the Beta Sigma Kappa International Honor Society announce Kappa Award.

September 2017

AAOF in collaboration with the Beta Sigma Kappa International Honor Society, is pleased to announce Adam J. Peiffer, OD, as the 2017 recipient of the Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Research Fellowship.

Adam Peiffer
Dr. Peiffer is an Advanced Practice Fellow and Clinical Instructor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

The fellowship is designed to provide support for early career optometric and vision science faculty research.

This award will fund Dr. Peiffer’s project, “Collaborative Assessment of Neurocognition and Vision in Adolescents with Sports-related (CANVAS) Concussion Study”.

Dr. Peiffer will be honored at the AAOF Celebration Luncheon during the American Academy of Optometry’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

Please join the AAOF in congratulating Dr. Peiffer on this impressive honor.

KAOS: New advertising campaign for 2017.

September 2017

Kaos KK421


A veritable explosion of colours is at the heart of the new advertising campaign from KAOS, the youthful, irreverent brand belonging to Area98.

All of the ingredients that have made KAOS a success – creativity, transgression, passion and energy – are channelled by the new images, which showcase a gritty, vibrant collection designed for bold personalities who feed off strong emotions.

The decorations on the frames – which are always unusual and sometimes border on the risky – are underlined by exuberant colours which reflect in the details of the faces photographed, giving life to an innovative, extravagant form of expression, and one that most certainly does not fit the mould.


A melting pot of unexpected sensations is sparked by the playful colour contrasts, evoking the unmistakeable “apparent chaos” which represents the brand’s core inspiration.


In fact, KAOS is more than a simple collection. It is an identity which loves to have fun, to play around with colours and form and to experiment with excess, without ever compromising on quality and fashion. KAOS conveys emotions because it penetrates right to your very instincts thanks to its bold, stimulating style.

Katy Perry on tour with Mykita.

September 2017

Katy Perry on tour


Katy Perry opens her new show 'Witness: The Tour' at Montreal's Bell Centre wearing sunglass DAISUKE.


The Cobalt Blue with Navy Solid Shield lenses is a sunglass visor made of MYLON from the MYKITA & BERNHARD WILLHELM collection.





Special Delivery for National Eye Health Week!

September 2017

Letter message from Royal MailEye health message to be applied to millions of stamped letters and parcels delivered across the UK

Royal Mail and Eye Health UK, the charity responsible for National Eye Health Week, are joining forces to promote the importance of good eye health to millions of households across the UK, with a postmark.

The special National Eye Health Week postmark will appear on all stamped mail delivered by Royal Mail between 21 – 23 September 2017.

It’s hoped the postmark will not only be seen by millions, but also encourage people to think about their eyes and how much they rely on good vision to do everyday things like reading their mail!

(Example of how postmark will appear right)

Commenting on the collaboration David Cartwright, Chairman of Eye Health UK said: “One million people in the UK suffer with avoidable sight loss that makes doing things like reading difficult, or even, impossible. We hope that when this message drops through people’s letter boxes and raises awareness of the Week it will prompt them to take action to ensure their eyes and vision stay healthy.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We are really pleased to be joining the campaign to encourage more people to consider the health of their eyes. We hope that this postmark will help spread the message.”

The last posting date for National Eye Health Week postmarked mail will be 22 September 2017.

GOC suspends Essex-based dispensing optician.

September 2017

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Ivan Jason Kidgell, a dispensing optician based in Essex, from its register for a period of 12 months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct, relating to dispensing spectacles to patients under the age of 16 while he was not appropriately registered. Selling and/or supplying optical appliances to patients under the age of 16 is restricted by law to registered optometrists, dispensing opticians and medical practitioners.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Dr. Pamela Ormerod, said:

“Mr Kidgell has offered no explanation of the reasons behind his failure to maintain his registration in the material before the Committee, other than a reference to a possible financial issue and some difficulties of communication with the Council. Once Mr Kidgell’s employer had suspended him, he completed the process of his registration in a very short period.

“He has not shown insight into the seriousness of his misconduct. As a result, the Committee cannot be satisfied that he is unlikely to behave in a similar fashion in the future. Moreover, the Committee determines that it is necessary to make a finding of impairment in order to reaffirm clear standards of professional conduct so as to maintain public confidence in the profession and its regulator.”

Mr Kidgell has until 9 October 2017 to appeal his suspension, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate suspension order.

Diabetes Scotland and RNIB Scotland join forces to promote vital eye screening for people with diabetes.

September 2017


How Do You See Scotland? campaign, supported by actor Brian Cox CBE, launched during National Eye Health Week

Edinburgh Castle with low visionThis National Eye Health Week, Scottish charities Diabetes Scotland and RNIB Scotland have joined forces, with support from actor Brian Cox CBE, to raise awareness of the importance of specialist eye screening for people living with diabetes.

According to latest figures from the Scottish Diabetes Survey 2016, over 42,000 of the 287,336 people who are eligible for diabetic retinopathy screening in Scotland do not have any record for the previous 15 months.


Diabetic retinopathy is a potential complication of diabetes and the leading cause of preventable sight loss in working age adults. The ‘How Do You See Scotland?’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the condition and the importance of attending regular screening. As part of the campaign, the charities have released a series of photographic images of iconic Scottish landmarks obscured by the effects of retinopathy.

To launch the campaign, Brian Cox, star of films such as The Bourne series, X-Men 2 and this summer’s Churchill, has narrated a 90-second film [] which will be shown in Scottish cinemas during National Eye Health Week.

The film opens with images of beautiful scenery in Scotland that gradually become obscured by dark blotches, mimicking the effects of diabetic retinopathy which affects the blood vessels in the eyes. In his narration, Cox stresses that attending diabetic retinopathy screening appointments, which are different from regular eye examinations at an opticians, are important to help prevent sight loss.

Actor Brian Cox said: “Like many Scots, I am living with diabetes and I am aware of the various challenges it can bring. To help me stay healthy, I make sure I attend my diabetes check-up appointments, including retinopathy screening, and I encourage all people with diabetes to do the same.

“Sight loss is a potentially devastating complication of diabetes which can develop if people are not supported to manage their condition well. However, regular retinopathy screening means that changes to the eye can be detected early enough to allow treatment which can prevent further deterioration and irreversible damage.

“I’m proud to support the ‘How Do You See Scotland?’ campaign from Diabetes Scotland and RNIB Scotland during National Eye Health Week. Don’t lose sight of what’s important; get your eyes checked.”

Like Brian, over 291,000 people in Scotland are living with diabetes, and this number is rising every year. Attending regular retinopathy screening is an essential part of diabetes care for people, aged 12 or over, who are living with the condition.

Diabetic retinopathy happens when the eye’s tiny blood vessels start to either leak or become blocked. This can lead to either loss of central vision or, at worst, total blindness.

Campbell Chalmers, director of RNIB Scotland, said: “Retinopathy is the single biggest cause of preventable sight loss among working-age people. That’s why it’s so important that everyone with diabetes attends the eye check-ups that are an essential part of their diabetes care.

“During National Eye Health week we want to urge people to take care of one of the most precious things we have – our sight!”

Jane-Claire Judson, national director of Diabetes Scotland, said: “It is very concerning that over 42,000 people with diabetes in Scotland do not have a record of attending a retinopathy screening appointment in the last 15 months. Screening is vital to pick up early warning signs of damage to the eye so that people can get the treatment needed to prevent permanent damage.

“We need to understand why people are not attending their screening appointments and what can be done to remove these barriers. We hope the ‘How Do You See Scotland?’ campaign will raise awareness of the issue and encourage more people to attend this essential diabetes healthcare service.”

For further information on the How Do You See Scotland? campaign visit

New bill to improve patient safety from DoH and The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP.

September 2017

Proposals will give the Health Service Safety Investigations Body power to investigate serious patient safety incidents.

A safety organisation drawing on lessons from the airline industry will have new legal powers to investigate serious patient safety incidents in the NHS in England, under plans laid before parliament today (14 September 2017).

The draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill will establish and enshrine in law the powers of the Health Service Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB).

The bill forms a key part of the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plan to develop a more open, learning culture across the NHS.

The HSSIB will take forward the work of the current Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), which came into operation in April 2017 as a division of NHS Improvement.

Under the proposals, the HSSIB will be independent of the NHS and at arm’s length from government. It will have far-reaching access to investigate serious safety incidents or risks to patient safety.

After each investigation is completed, the HSSIB will publish detailed reports which will:

• make recommendations for system-wide learning across the NHS

• help develop national standards on investigations

• provide advice, guidance and training to improve investigative practice across the health service

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said: This draft bill represents a landmark moment for patient safety across our NHS, and is a historic opportunity to achieve widespread cultural change in learning from mistakes.

When significant errors occur, it is vital that health organisations react quickly and decisively to share lessons and make improvements. To achieve this we need to create an environment where patients, public and healthcare professionals all feel able to speak out about their concerns, without fear or favour."

A key feature of the HSSIB would be its new approach to investigations, which will protect the information it holds from disclosure.

The aim is to create a ‘safe space’ in which participants, including patients, families and staff, can share information in the knowledge that it will not be disclosed except in limited circumstances, or by order of the High Court.

It is hoped that the safe space model will encourage more participants in investigations to speak out about safety concerns to help identify and address risks across the NHS. This approach is already used in the safety-critical rail, aviation and marine industries – all of which have achieved dramatic improvements in industry safety.

The draft bill also proposes to give the HSSIB the power to establish an accreditation system across the NHS – supporting trusts who receive accreditation to conduct safe space investigations.

This will further reduce unsafe and costly practice, improve investigations, and embed a culture of learning and improvement throughout the health service.

Keith Conradi, the chief investigator of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and former head of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, said:
"We very much welcome the introduction of the draft Health Service Safety Investigations Bill. It’s a key step towards HSIB’s independence and as the bill progresses, we look forward to hearing the variety of views and comments on the bill’s content."

Read in depth here

9 in 10 people aged over 40 are not aware of the help available for people suffering from low vision.

September 2017

ABDO Infographic

Survey Infogram shown on right.


New research released today by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), reveals that as many as 9 in 10 people aged over 40 are not aware of the help available for people suffering from low vision.


According to the NHS, low vision (visual impairment) is when your sight can't be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, or by any medical or surgical treatment. It is therefore concerning that well over half of over 40s (60 per cent) believe that low vision can sometimes be improved with glasses or contact lenses.

With low vision affecting one in five over 75s it’s worrying that a further six in ten didn’t know that they could get help from a registered dispensing optician.

Low vision is more common in older age groups and the most common cause is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Almost half (44 per cent) of all those surveyed said they would not seek professional medical help if they were experiencing ongoing problems with their vision. Richard Rawlinson from ABDO says, “Eye problems often start without signs or symptoms so get an eye test every two years, even if you think your vision is fine”.


The older you are, the better care you take of your eyes, it seems, with only 1 in 10 people age 60+ missing their regular eye check compared to one in five of those age 40-59.


A happy marriage seems to be good for your eyes, with only 11 per cent of married people missing out on eyecare compared to 23 per cent of those who are single and a whopping 28 per cent of those who are divorced.

While low vision can't be cured, there is plenty of support available to help people carry on living a full life. People can visit their local optician for advice and be provided with practical aids, magnifiers and gadgets.


There are lots of adaptations that can be made round the home, such as brighter light bulbs.

A registered dispensing optician can advise on the wide range of magnifying tools now available to help with reading and writing.


There are even local services and organisations that offer help and support. Richard Rawlinson says, “Talk to a registered dispensing optician for advice if you are worried about your eyes”.

If you want to know more, search online for EyecareFAQ click here for advice on low vision and all sorts of eye problems.

EyecareFAQ radio day campaign

The survey results will form the basis of the EyecareFAQ radio day broadcasts which will take place throughout the UK on Friday 15 September 2017.

ABDO media representatives will look to raise awareness of the work done by registered dispensing opticians across the UK and will focus on encouraging those aged 65 and over to take care of their eyes and look after their eye health, as well as providing tips to those with low vision on how to still live a full and active life.

Daily lives of one million Brits blighted by avoidable sight loss.

September 2017

Poor lifestyle choices and low uptake of eye tests leaving people in the dark

Eye health experts today marked National Eye Health Week (18 – 24 September) with a stark warning that a million people in the UK are living with avoidable sight loss severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives – leaving them unable to do things such as drive. And worryingly, this number is forecast to rise by a third by 2030, if we don’t take action now.

David Cartwright, Chair of National Eye Health Week explains: “Eyesight declines as part of the natural aging process and some cases of sight loss are still sadly unavoidable but for many simply going for regular eyes tests and adopting a healthier lifestyle could prevent sight loss having a significant impact on our lives and help people to live well for longer.”

Your lifestyle can impact your eye health regardless of your genetic predisposition. Being physically active has been shown to reduce your risk of visual impairment by 58 per cent versus somebody with a sedentary lifestyle; whilst ditching a diet high in meat – more than 3.5oz daily (the equivalent of two small sausages) – could help cut your risk of cataract.

Research published in the British Medical Journal reveals as many as one in five cases of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the UK’s leading cause of blindness, are caused by tobacco consumption. Making smoking directly responsible for around 120,000 cases of AMD in Britain today.

There is also growing evidence to suggest that what we eat and drink can play a role in triggering the onset and progression of AMD. One research study has shown that eating just one portion of fish a week could reduce your risk of developing AMD by as much as 40 per cent, whilst, heavy drinking (three or more standard drinks per day) has been associated with the development of early AMD.

Poor uptake of regular eye tests, once every two years unless advised otherwise by your optometrist, is also a big risk factor for unnecessary sight loss as the early detection and treatment of common eye conditions like glaucoma is essential to avoid irreversible sight loss.

Almost 14 million (13.8) of us fail to have regular eye tests yet your optometrist can spot signs of glaucoma years before you may notice a change in your vision. In fact, there are an estimated 300,000 people living in the UK with undiagnosed glaucoma because they have not had a recent eye test.

David Cartwright concludes: “Over the next seven days National Eye Health Week will seek to inspire people to make small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference to their future eye health.”

National Eye Health Week’s six simple sight savers

1. Quit smoking. Smokers have a significantly greater risk of sight loss than non-smokers.

Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the delicate surface and the internal structure of the eye. This can lead to an increased risk of many eye conditions including AMD; nuclear cataracts; thyroid eye disease; dry eye and impaired colour vision.

2. Eat right for good sight. Most of us have no idea that what we eat can affect how well we see, however, eye-friendly nutrients found in many fruit and vegetables and fatty acids derived from fish, nuts and oils can all help protect your sight.

Vitamins B and E can help protect against cataracts whilst Omega-3 fish oils help maintain healthy blood vessels inside the eye.

3. Watch your weight. More than half of all British adults are overweight however maintaining a healthy weight helps preserve macula pigment density, which in turn, helps protect the retina against the breakdown of cells and the onset of AMD.

Obesity also puts you at increased risk of diabetic retinopathy and damage to blood vessels in the eye caused by excess body weight has been linked to glaucoma.

4. Get fit. Aerobic exercise can help increase oxygen supplies to the optic nerve and lower any pressure that builds up in the eye.
Reducing intraocular pressure can help control conditions such as glaucoma.

5. Cover up. Exposure to UV light can increases your risk of developing macular degeneration and cataract. In fact, frequent use of sunglasses has been associated with a 40 per cent decrease in the risk of posterior sub-capsular cataract.

Always wear sunglasses when the UV index rises above three and check your sunglasses filter AT LEAST 99 per cent of UVA and UVB light. Look out for a CE or British Standard or UV 400 mark when choosing your sunglasses as this indicates they provide adequate UV protection.

6. Be screen smart. On average, we spend more than eight hours a day staring at a screen so it’s no surprise that 90 per cent of us say we experience screen fatigue – tired or irritated eyes, blurred vision, headaches and poor colour perception.

Avoid eye strain by using the 20-20-20 rule, especially if you’re using a computer for long periods of time. Look 20 feet in front of you every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.

And, don’t forget to book an eye test during National Eye Health Week if you haven’t had one in the last two years.

Association of Optometrists welcomes Honorary Associates.

September 2017

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is pleased to announce the following parliamentarians as new Honorary Associates; Sir Kevin Barron MP, Rt Hon. Alistair Burt MP, Sir Roger Gale MP, Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, Earl Howe, Lord Low of Dalston CBE and Jim Shannon MP.

The Honorary Associates have been formally invited to support the work of the AOP and represent our interests in Parliament. All the Honorary Associates are already active campaigners on eye health and sight loss issues – with a proven track record in these areas.

Commenting on his appointment, Lord Holmes of Richmond said: “I was delighted to become an Honorary Associate of the AOP. As the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK, the AOP provides crucial support in an incredibly important sector.

“The importance of sight tests for the early detection of potentially sight threatening eye diseases, as well as the issue of eye health more broadly, must be placed firmly on the health agenda. It is an honour to support the AOP’s work in doing this.”

Former Health Minister and current Defence Minister, Earl Howe said: “My five years as a health minister taught me that good eye-health is one of the most critical ingredients for the health and wellbeing of the general population.

“The importance of optometrists and the high professional standards that they maintain cannot therefore be overstated, and I am proud to play my part in promoting the work of the AOP both in Parliament and outside.”

Henrietta Alderman, Chief Executive of the AOP said: “We’re delighted, and very grateful, to the distinguished parliamentarians who have agreed to become Honorary Associates of the AOP. All associates have been supportive of our work in the past and act as strong advocates for eye health issues in Parliament. We hope that by working even more closely together we will further advance the profile of optometry to Government.

“We look forward to working with all of our associates to highlight the importance of maintaining good eye health and championing the role of optometrists to key stakeholders.”

Tackling illegal contact lens sales.

September 2017

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is working in collaboration with the General Optical Council (GOC) to tackle the illegal sale of zero-powered cosmetic and novelty contact lenses.

In the UK, zero-powered cosmetic contact lenses can be supplied only under the supervision of a registered optometrist, dispensing optician or medical practitioner but many High Street shops, who stock them without the required practitioner, are in breach of the law.

The AOP and GOC have jointly produced an information leaflet Do you know the law on selling contact lenses?, which sets out the facts and the GOC’s legal remit in this area to take action. The leaflet has been developed for use by optical practitioners who wish to advise local suppliers of the law around contact lenses, and inform them that they should stop selling them illegally.

Emma Spofforth, Chairman, AOP Independents’ Committee, said: “Cosmetic and novelty lenses, regularly worn for fancy-dress, can pose a very serious risk to wearers if unsuitable or misused. Eye infections as a direct result of cosmetic lenses have been known to cause permanent damage to the eyes and in some extreme cases, even blindness. We are launching this resource to help address the issue of illegal sales which increases the chances of something going wrong for the individuals who wear them, and, in many cases, do not even know they are putting their eye health at risk.

“We know, from member feedback, that many optical practitioners are aware of illegal sales in their local area and want to notify the vendor that they are breaking the law but perhaps feel they haven’t the means to do so. This leaflet gives practitioners a way in and sets out the legalities in plain terms.”

Alistair Bridge, Director of Strategy at the GOC said: “Often we find that sellers of cosmetic contact lenses are not aware of the law, or of the potential risks to patients if a professional is not involved in the sale. The first step to get them to cease illegal sales is therefore often as simple as letting them know what the law is. This leaflet sets the law out for retailers in clear terms and will be a useful aid for anyone who wants to help us tackle the problem in their local area.”

The leaflet, Do you know the law on selling contact lenses?, is designed to look like a formal cease and desist notice, that optical practitioners can print and distribute to the relevant shops. If individuals would prefer not to hand it to a member of shop staff directly, they can put it through their letterbox, and then notify the GOC if they continue to stock the lenses after a period of time.

Wolverhampton toddler loves her new glasses, but many children will return to school without the right prescription.

August 2017

Zoe Lacey
Local mum, Zoe Lacey, has described the positive impact of her daughter’s new glasses, as the Association of Optometrists (AOP) highlights that many children returning to school this September are missing out on a sight test.

UK optometrists found that at least one in five school children tested had an undiagnosed vision problem.This echoes recent figures from Eye Health UK, which estimate 1.6 million children in the UK have uncorrected vision.

For one Wolverhampton family, the benefits of the correct prescription have been clear. Ms Lacey, says that her daughter Kristalie’s specially adapted glasses, provided by local Prab Boparai Opticians, were an instant hit with the two-year-old: “Kristalie now wears her glasses all the time… she’ll wake up and want them on almost straight away – once they’re on she smiles and says ‘see you’.”

Ms Lacey took Kristalie for a sight test after noticing a squint in her daughter’s eye, However, she explains that her vision problem could have easily gone unnoticed: “When Kristalie tried on her glasses for the first time her reaction was overwhelming – I didn't realise at all how much she needed them as she seemed fine when finding things at home and walking around.”

AOP Clinical and Regulatory Officer, Farah Gatrad, said that good vision was essential to a child’s development: “It’s been shown that undiagnosed vision problems can negatively affect children’s academic achievement – not to mention their confidence and social skills when at school.

Ms Gatrad continued: “The AOP recommends a child’s first sight test at around the age of three – but earlier if you are concerned – and certainly before they start school” She added: “We know there are lots of costs for parents around this time of year, however children under the age of 16 can have their sight test funded by the NHS, and receive vouchers towards the cost of glasses.”

Zoey Lacey took two-year-old Kristalie to be examined after she noticed a squint in her daughter’s eye. Tests revealed that Kristalie had long sightedness or ‘hypermetropia’. Following her diagnosis Kristalie was fitted with specially adapted children’s glasses.

Kristalie’s optometrist, Prab Boparai, commented, “it’s easy for a child’s vision problem to go unnoticed they can’t always tell what is clear or blurred, so a routine visit to the optometrists is essential.”


August 2017

BF 797Blackfin is looking forward to the autumn with a new collection displaying the very essence of the brand, eyewear with that unmistakeably strong personality that is in its DNA.

These models ooze style and tell the story of this brand of titanium eyewear, a story of passion, of quality, of people and places, embodied in the concept of neomadeinitaly representing the identity of the firm.

BF 797One of the new features of this collection is the colouring of the front as in the model Pleasant Bay BF797.

This spectacle frame is the first to have the colour of the front applied at an angle of 45°.

The rigorously angular design of the top rim offset by the softer curves of the lower part and the large lenses create an up-to-the-minute look that sets the trend.

The generous proportions of the highly polished eye rims are emphasised by the original colours – sulphur yellow or cloud white with details in polished titanium, or opaque black with details in seagull wing grey.

BF 797Blackfin eyewear is entirely conceived, designed and produced in Italy by Blackfin.

BF 797If the Made-in-Italy concept is a fixed point, neomadeinitaly is our strong point.

Our heritage from the past and our respect for the beauty that surrounds us guide our code of ethics.

All Blackfin eyewear is made of the purest titanium in the world using a production process that for us is a true ritual.

BRANDO to relaunch Phillipe Chevalier at SILMO 2017

August 2017

Phillipe Chevallier

Brando has announced plans to relaunch iconic French eyewear brand Phillipe Chevallier, with a new collection to be unveiled at SILMO 2017.

Phillipe Chevallier himself has shared his extensive archive of original designs, sketches, prototypes and photography with the Brando team to be drawn upon in the revival of his namesake brand. Phillipe Chevallier joins Brando’s expanding portfolio of outstanding eyewear and accessories design.

Originally a jewellery designer in Paris, Phillipe Chevallier began to design eyewear in the late 60’s during the creative boom of the free love movement, a time of cultural revolution.

He swiftly gained notoriety for the unique creations he handcrafted for the runways of French Fashion houses Lanvin and Pierre Cardin, amongst others. His avant-garde flair is credited for introducing
the concept of couture eyewear.

Having sealed his reputation as an influential eyewear createur, he went on to launch his eponymous brand in 1968 focusing solely on women’s acetate sunglass frames. Phillippe Chevallier frames were photographed by the likes of Guy Bourdain and collected by Sir Elton John.

These vintage frames now sell at auction for up to $50,000, making them some of the most valuable in the world.

Says Michael Jardine, Brando’s Founder and CEO, “As a long-time collector of vintage eyewear I acquired the trademark for Phillipe Chevallier some years ago, so it is a great pleasure to be able to announce that we are introducing this influential brand back onto the market. We have worked alongside Phillipe to capture the joie de vivre of the original brand in the forthcoming collections.

Reimagining such significant designs has been an incredible journey, and we are looking forward to sharing the results with the eyewear community at SILMO and beyond.”

Brainchild of private collector Michael Jardine, Brando’s Chief Dreamer and a veteran within the eyewear industry, Brando was born out of the desire to create a platform to celebrate some of the most important eyewear designers from the past as well as current influencers.

Using original archives as inspiration, two of the world’s most influential eyewear brands, Serge Kirchhofer and Philippe Chevallier are revived and reimagined.

In addition, the legendary Alyson Magee who designs and controls her own collections, and renegade design genius Yohji Yamamoto’s eyewear collection also find a natural home in the new incubator of exceptional design that is: Brando

The result: newly designed collections emerge, combining the ethos and influence of the original with fresh perspectives, which are then realised in the highest-level production houses available in the world. Jardine’s dream is brought to life by honouring truly inspiring talent in the realm of art, design and eyewear thus creating his own legacy for eyewear enthusiasts of tomorrow.

The new Phillipe Chevallier collection will be exhibited on the Brando Eyewear booth at SILMO 2017, the French Parisien Eyewear Fashion exhibition in hall 5 - 5d 140, 6-9 October.

Norville Opticians gets on it’s bike for Keynsham in Bloom.

August 2017

Beth BraceyNorville Opticians in Keynsham near Bristol has adopted a bike as part of the town’s first Great Bike Trail.

Running for four month’s across the summer the Keynsham in Bloom Community Group’s initiative seeks to promote the environmental interests of the whole town by placing florally decorated bikes at more than 60 locations around the town enabling people to follow the trail and admire a fabulous display of blooming flowers and plants.

In adopting the bike Norville Opticians undertook to keep it fed and watered throughout the period.

Pictured here is Norville Opticians Keynsham Practice Manager and Dispensing Optician Beth Bracey making sure that their flowers are looking at their best.

Shamir asks? Have you got the BEST DRESSED STORE?

August 2017

Shamirs Best Dressed Window CompWe believe in rewarding our customers, so have a bottle of fizz and a box of chocolates on us!

On the success of launching our Transitions® Satisfied or Exchange campaign we will be extending the end date to the 31st of December 2017 with a competition of the ‘best dressed store’. The winner will receive a bottle of fizz and a box of chocolates!

Exclusively prepared for Independent Opticians, we are giving your patient’s the opportunity to try Transitions® with a free exchange system - although we’re confident this won’t be needed! Continuing from our National Campaign, Challenge Us, and reflecting our 3 company beliefs in Quality, service and Value, Shamir are offering patients a free 30-day exchange scheme to clear lenses from their Transitions®. “We want to incorporate our 3 company values in every campaign launched as we believe Independent Opticians can thrive with our support regarding business marketing tools, quality lenses and supreme value for money.” States Phil Bareham, General Manager of Shamir UK Ltd.

How do I win the bottle of fizz and chocolates?

It’s simple! Give your local Area Lens Consultant a ring stating your interest. We’ll send you some POS including posters and table talkers to display in store, take a picture and tag Shamir (@shamir_UKLtd) and Transitions® (@TransitionsGB) on Twitter as well as using the hashtag #startwithshamir. The competition will run over August and September and the winner will be announced in October. Good luck!

Shamir sponsor your free Opchat News, you can visit their page on the Suppliers Guide.

AAO’s provide public information of upcoming Total Eclipse across the States on August 21st.

August 2017

Learn How to Photograph an Eclipse Without Damaging Your Eyes or Your Camera

Eye care professionals encourage amateur shutterbugs to be aware of the damage they can do to their eyes

Total Sun Eclipse

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry are teaming up to offer tips on how to safely photograph an eclipse. On Aug. 21,

Americans of all ages will come together to witness a single, inspiring event – a total eclipse of the sun. The last time anyone saw the sun disappear in the United States was in 1979. But there is one thing that sets this month’s total eclipse apart from others: Smartphones. Millions of ordinary people are expected to use smartphones and digital cameras to photograph this eclipse.

Eye care professionals are concerned that first-timers might train their cameras on this phenomenon, unaware of the damage they can do to their eyes.

The most important safety tip to remember is to never look directly at the sun. Viewing the sun directly, even for brief periods, can cause permanent damage to the retina and result in blindness. Your eyes need specially designed solar eclipse glasses, and your camera needs a specially designed solar filter.

“Before pointing your camera at the sun, you need to get a special-purpose solar filter and put it over the camera lens,” said Russell N. Van Gelder, M.D., Ph.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Never look at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. The concentrated solar rays will damage the filter, and injure your eyes. Also, do not use solar eclipse glasses to look through a camera, binoculars or a telescope. The sun can melt the filter and damage your eyes.”

With all these restrictions, is it worth trying to take a picture?

Ralph Chou, OD, MSc, FAAO a professor emeritus of optometry and vision science at the University of Waterloo, says that with a little effort and preparation, you can make good photos.

Dr. Chou has spent a lifetime eclipse chasing. This month’s will be his 19th total eclipse.

Dr. Chou connects his DSLR camera directly to a telescope so that the sun fills the entire frame. Watch this video to see how he has perfected his technique over the years. No matter what kind of camera you own, one or more of the following techniques can be used to shoot a solar eclipse:

• Buy a solar filter or modify your eclipse glasses to function as a solar filter for your smartphone. Cut your glasses in half and tape one eyepiece over your smartphone camera lens.

• Take the filter off during totality. Totality is when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face. The path of totality for the Aug. 21 eclipse stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. Unless you're in the path of totality, keep your solar eclipse glasses on throughout the eclipse.

• Use a tripod to keep your camera stable.

• Use a remote trigger. With a remote, you can adjust settings and shoot the photo while keeping your camera stable.

• Practice. Take photos just after sunset during twilight to get an idea of what the light levels will be like during totality.

• Shoot photos of the moon to learn how to manually adjust the focus on your camera. Tap the screen and hold your finger on the image of the moon to lock the focus. Then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten the exposure.

• A telephoto lens system is a must-have for eclipse photography with a smartphone. There are zoom lenses for smartphones designed solely to provide magnification without resorting to digital zoom.

• Try the pinhole effect. This eclipse effect is easily captured with point-and-shoot cameras. Use a straw hat or a kitchen sieve and allow the sun’s shadow to fall on a piece of white cardboard placed several feet away. The small holes act like pinhole cameras and each one projects its own image of the eclipsed sun.

Make sure you purchase solar eclipse filters and glasses from reputable manufacturers. There have been reports that some companies are selling counterfeit products labeled as if they conform to international safety standards

Usain Bolt in training for last appearance.

August 2017

Usain Bolt

As Usain Bolt trains for his weekend appearance we chase him down wearing MYKITA.

The Jamaican 'Blitz' captured during a rare training break at Munich Olympiastadion.

The sprinting legend and world record holder wears HYBRID model OAK from the MYKITA MYLON collection.

{Picture credit: Usain Bolt twitter @usainbolt}

Enjoy Summer with our Selfie Competition, show your Attitude! ®

August 2017

Take a selfie with your Shamir Lenses, post it on twitter, tag us and win a pair of Attitude III® lenses!

Shamir Selfie Competition Summer’s finally here and protecting your visual health has never been so poignant. Attitude III® protects and enhances vision. With their wrap-around unique design fitted into frames from a 0° - 40° Face – Form angle, whilst constantly ensuring visual acuity including an extended field of peripheral vision.

The design fits all prescriptions from SV to progressive lenses ensuring wearers visual confidence therefore improving performance.

The lens incorporates our 4 advanced unique technologies ensuring all stages of vision (near intermediate and far) can be reached with minimal distortion and outstanding clarity. Also, assisting the lens performance is our selection of materials and treatments, including fixed tints, photochromic or polarised along with our Glacier Sun UV coating, improving durability and protecting lens colour.

How it Works:

Think big, original and SUMMER - get creative with your Shamir lenses! Whether it’s with a pout, a Pimms or a picnic we want to see it! Once you’re happy with your selfie, post it on Twitter tagging us (Shamir_UKLtd) and using the hashtag #shamirsummerselfie.

The campaign will take place in August and September, with the winner being awarded their lenses in October. Good luck and happy snapping!

To find out more regarding the campaign please find your nearest Area Lens consultant via the contact us tab on our website or call customer service.

For full Terms and Conditions, please visit our website.

PHN thanks Shamir UK for being sponsors of your free Opchat News and Knowledge site. See Shamir's page and links by clicking here.

Blackfin in Lajatico with Andrea Bocelli at the “Teatro del Silenzio”

August 2017

Andrea Bocelli

Lajatico, the home town of Andrea Bocelli, is set to host the traditional annual concert in the atmospheric Teatro del Silenzio (Theatre of Silence), now in its twelfth year.

The concert, which will take place on Thursday 3 August, is entitled Il Canto della Terra (The Song of the Earth). Once again, Blackfin will be in attendance, alongside the famous tenor, to lend its support to this wonderful project.

“It is an honour and a pleasure to be able to continue this partnership, which goes from strength to strength every year. We are delighted to support the projects of Andrea Bocelli and the Teatro del Silenzio. It is clear demonstration of the mutual respect between us, the Maestro and all his team. We are always thrilled to be involved in this event!” – says Nicola Del Din, CEO of Blackfin.

As well as presenting the performers with complimentary personalised glasses, during the interval the video of the Blackfin 2017 communication campaign, shot on Mount Etna, will be shown on the maxi screens. This dramatic, breath-taking landscape is true to the theme of the concert: the Earth.

The concert is intended as a journey of languages and words which, while appearing to be worlds apart, can actually come together in chorus to embrace the whole world.

The performers who will take to the stage with Maestro Bocelli include the baritone Leo Nucci, the tenor Matteo Bocelli, the Sonia Franzese Choir and the Children’s Choir of Haiti.

The orchestra will be conducted by Marcello Rota and stage direction is by Luca Tommassini.

The stage is set in Lajatico for the dress rehearsal on Wednesday 2 August at 9.00 pm, then on Thursday 3 August at 8.15 pm for the concert, which is already sold out.

Are screens hurting my child’s eyes? AOP produces the answer.

July 2017

80% of optometrist’s report worried parents when it comes to screen time

School summer holidays arrive this week, with children across the UK thrilled at the prospect of six long weeks staying up late, pyjama days watching cartoons and copious hours glued to their phone or tablet – much to the dismay of their parents.

With more screen time firmly on the horizon, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is advising four simple steps that parents can take to make sure their child’s eyes stay healthy this summer.

Tips for keeping children’s eyes healthy

1. Get them outdoors – regular play and exercise can help prevent or reduce the development of myopia (short-sightedness). Studies show two hours of outdoor activity a day is ideal[i]
2. Use night settings – using night settings, if your device has them, may help children sleep by reducing the amount of blue light given off by the screen during night-time hours
3. Switch off – make sure digital devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime
4. Book a sight test – children should have a sight test every two years, from the age of three, or more often if your optometrist recommends it

Optometrist and AOP spokesperson, Ceri Smith-Jaynes, explains: “A big worry for parents is the amount of screen time their children will have over the summer as watching TV and playing computer games fills up more of their days, as well as their evenings, during the holidays. Research from the AOP, shows us that more than 80% of optometrists have seen parents, in the past month, that have concerns about screen use damaging their children’s eyes.”

Reassuring parents, Ms Smith-Jaynes said: “There isn’t clear scientific evidence that indicates screen use damages eye health but we do know that long periods of time carrying out near tasks, like reading on screen, can cause eye strain and other symptoms like dry eye and headaches – so it’s important that children take regular breaks.” Commenting on what parents can do to help protect their child’s vision, she added: “Do get your children playing outdoors as much as possible and make sure digital devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime – to help them settle down before sleep. Remember, your optometrist should be your first port of call if you have any concerns about your child’s eyes; they can assess if there is a problem and provide helpful advice.”

Win BIG with Shamir’s new Scratch Card Campaign!

July 2017

Chances to win Smart TV's worth £500 and Fortnum and Mason Hampers!

Shamir Scratch Cards Shamir believes in providing the Ophthalmic industry with supreme products as well as proving our loyalty with rewarding promotions and chances to WIN BIG.

Having already launched our national campaign, urging independents to Challenge Shamir’s Value by sending in their bill, we are bringing the return of our Scratch Card Campaign. This summer, for 3 and a half months, challenge our Quality with our extensive range of Glacier™ coatings. Join the team of industry practitioners stating “The Glacier Plus coating is the best I’ve come across”. Some of the prizes include Smart TV’s or Fortnum and Mason Hamper’s containing Sandringham truffles and a bottle of Côtes du Rhône wine or pink champagne and chocolate - perfect for a summer picnic!

Tanya Storey, Head of Sales and Professional Services, explains “Our belief is to maximise visual acuity for every individual regardless of prescription, age or lifestyle. Our Glacier coatings are no exception”. Some of the features include; anti-reflection, dust repellent, water and stain resistance and not forgetting to mention the improved, comprehensive UV protection. “Our patients are highly delighted with the quality of the lenses and the coatings that are being supplied” states one of our customers.

Our campaign will launch on July the 10th until the 31st of October where a scratch card will accompany every Glacier coating ordered. Simply scratch off the grey layer to reveal your prize! The feedback received has proven the coating’s exceptional attributes, so challenge Shamir and order yours today!

For more information regarding this campaign and our extensive product range, contact our customer service team.
Shamir are sponsors of your free Opchat News online resource, visit their page and link to their website.

New page devoted to your comments and suggestions, criticisms and constructive ideas to improve the Optical Sector on PHN.

July 2017

Have Your Say, the new interactive page is open to all those who work and depend on a healthy Optical Sector whether it be in the devolved States, the UK, Regions, Europe or the World.

We want constructive views on matters that are discussed, enacted or enforced that affect our lives and the visual health of our Nation.

Have Your Say will publish your ideas anonymously or by name (up to you) and will also ask questions to all the organisations, membership, academic or regulatory that affect you on your behalf if you so wish.

Email for publication with your opinons and ideas or with questions you wish PHN to pursue on your behalf.

Decide whether you wish your name published otherwise please state your current or past role in the Optical Sector.

To start the ball PHN has composed the first letter to all organisations, opinion formers, regulators and academics for their view on opportunities and risks created by the dynamic changes that are occurring in our sector.

Our staff at PHN have been asked on many occasions, and have personally experienced a growing attitude at meetings, that technology is pressurising the professions into creating a new and streamlined health provision for the public.

Pressures in moving secondary care into our sector and the call for a simplified method for the public to gain access to an up to date dispensing Rx, when and where they wish, are putting pressure on the current system.

So PHN has written to all organisations, opinion formers, regulators and academics for their view on the opportunities and risks these pressures might create.

We will publish all their responses on our Have Your Say pages as we receive them.

We look forward to your comments also so please send in your views to over the coming weeks whether personal views or views from LOCs, we welcome them all.

You can read our letter sent by our Editor by going to our new Have Your Say Page by clicking here.


Primary Health Net