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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, January to March 2018


“OCTANE” study group join forces on OCT angiography research.
HOYA launches Sync III, its third generation of enhanced single vision lenses
Eyeplan branches into audiology with launch of Hearingplan
Cracking the code: Make photochromic benefits relevant, says the New Transitions Campaign
GOC – ‘Love Your Lenses Week’ returns next week.
Murano Eyewear announce opportunity to win a fabulous trip to Venice.
Experts forecast UK glaucoma epidemic, with 85% increase in sight-stealing condition by 2050.
Registrant scam alert at GOC
DVLA amends website advice on cataracts and driving.
Maluma seen wearing Blackfin Sunglasses.
Fun pictures of the Plymouth Opsoc Sports Day 2018.
Shamir UK’s Driving solution for your customers
Ducati sponsors of the MotoGP Motorcycle World Championship, wow MIDO with their new styles.
MP visits Hemel Hempstead company to promote world glaucoma week
Essilor and Luxottica merger approved by EU Commission.
Cosium appoint Business Development Manager for Cosium UK.
GOC suspends Wolverhampton-based optometrist from its register.
OFNC issues comment on eye test fees.
Bryony Pawinska, FMO CEO resigns.
Michael Potter passed away on the eve of the 100% Optical Show.
New digital health company brings blended care to mental health provision.
A FABULOUS FIFTH 100% OPTICAL full show overview
Vision and driving: do I really need to tell the DVLA?
AI in ophthalmology and optometry, a discussion held at 100% Optical.
Yes, it’s off with a celebration cake and yes, it’s the Fabulous Fifth.
It's in the bag
OBE for John McGreggor founder and Chairman of Contamac.
Enrich Life, that's Shamir's motto.
Complete glazing service launches February 2018
Queen Rania pictured wearing MYKITA and Ricky Martin wearing Blackfin..
New Smartphone app highlighted in latest Optical Insider published 2 weeks before 100% Optical Conference.
Past Master Brian Mitchell, Obituary.
‘Laser scan saved my sight and let me see grandchildren grow up’
Data protection law in the UK is changing – essential, new advice for those working in the optical sector.

“OCTANE” study group join forces on OCT angiography research.

March 2018

ModyA group of eminent ophthalmologists from six centres – Moorfields, York, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester and Bradford Hospitals, named the OCTANE (OCT Angiography Network) Group, are working together on a research study that explores the feasibility of the use of OCT angiography in clinical practice. All six centres are using SPECTRALIS OCT Angiography Module, which is popular with research groups internationally because of the large install base, with over 50 units installed in the UK within less than one year.

The study has two phases: the first aims to identify how practical and repeatable the OCTA examination is in busy clinics. The second phase focuses on clinical investigation of specific disease groups using OCTA, including neovascular AMD, diabetic macular oedema (DMO), CSCR and pachychoroid spectrum. The group is looking at what useful OCT biomarkers there are for each disease, how reliably they can be detected and the limitations of the technology.

“Being an embryonic technology, many OCTA studies to date are limited by the relatively small data sets that have been acquired for analysis,” explained Christopher Mody, Heidelberg Engineering Director of Clinical Services.

“With six university hospitals collaborating, the OCTANE group has a unique opportunity to recruit and gather large patient cohorts which will provide more statistical power to their studies.”

At the group’s recent meeting in London during the Bayer Retinal Pioneers Summit, Dr Richard Gale, Consultant Ophthalmologist at York Teaching Hospital, stressed the importance of standardising OCTA examination procedure and identifying a systematic way of viewing and interpreting the images. He explained -
“We need to be careful about what we are looking at and standardise how we interpret, because the same patient can look different on different technologies.”

Dr Konstantinos Balaskas, Consultant Ophthalmologists at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, reported that in using OCTA for investigation of AMD he had found “useful end points for clinical trials, but the benefits in day to day clinic were unclear”.
Dr Sobha Sivaprasad, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital said that OCTA had the “potential for improving outcomes in the treatment of DMO”. The group plan to meet regularly to share their experience and case studies.

HOYA launches Sync III, its third generation of enhanced single vision lenses

March 2018

Designed to relax the eyes in a digital world

Hoya SYNC IIIHOYA Vision Care Company, a key player in the global market for ophthalmic lenses, is pleased to announce the launch of Sync III, its third generation of enhanced single vision lenses specifically designed to relieve digital eye strain and enhance visual comfort throughout the day.

Between smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs and other devices, many people spend an average of 8-10 hours a day looking at digital screens. Prolonged screen time can cause digital eye strain symptoms such as irritated eyes, blurred vision, headaches and sensitivity to light, even after only two hours. Switching between devices and other near vision tasks can make matters worse, as the eyes never get a chance to relax.

Sync III lenses have the distance power for everyday use and a choice of three ‘boost zones’ at the bottom of the lens, optimised for the way patients use their eyes today. The boost zone has a slightly increased power, which helps the eye muscles to relax and focus more easily, relieving eye strain and enhancing visual comfort throughout the day. Anyone aged between 13 and 45 who spends two or more hours a day focusing on digital screens or near tasks can benefit from the relaxing power of Sync III.

“The digital revolution has dramatically changed the way we see the world, and our eyes are literally taking the strain,” says Olga Prenat, optometrist and Director of Hoya Faculty. “This is largely due to the fact that our eyes are simply not made to spend long periods of time looking at screens or near tasks. Sync III lenses are. What’s more, our studies tell us that most users of digital devices have not heard of digital eye strain and accept their symptoms as unavoidable. Therefore, educating patients is crucial. As our lives become increasingly digital, everyone in the visual optics field is going to be confronted with new visual demands.”

“At the same time we recognise that not all digital users are the same,” adds Maarten Brouwer, Lens Expert EMEA. “That’s why we developed three Sync III power boost options for different user profiles. These provide accommodative support tailored to the patient’s age, digital device use and severity of digital eye strain symptoms. Combining our long expertise in ocular health and lens design with up-to-the-minute insights into human behaviour, Sync III lenses reflect what we know about how people live with their digital devices. As a result, we have developed a lens solution that is perfectly suited to address the needs of today’s digital users – and offers eye care practitioners an ideal opportunity to distinguish themselves in a crowded single vision lens space.”

Sync III is available to order from the 16th April 2018

Eyeplan branches into audiology with launch of Hearingplan

March 2018

New scheme to benefit practices offering hearing services

Eyeplan Ltd, the leading provider of monthly payment eye care schemes in the UK, has announced the launch of Hearingplan, a new scheme for independent practices that wish to offer audiology services. Hearingplan will enable practices to offer monthly payment hearing plan schemes, whereby patients pay a small monthly fee in exchange for a suite of benefits.

As in the optical market, practices offering audiology services have historically had to rely on cross-charging to provide hearing care services. Hearingplan, a dedicated hearing care scheme, seeks to address this. This means that audiologists will have the freedom to provide a high level of clinical care, and their patients will have access to regular care and hearing aids at an affordable price.

“There is a growing interest in the market for practices to offer additional services, such as audiology, if they have the space and time to do so. Hearingplan has been designed to support those practices,” said Chris Clemence, Commercial Director at Eyeplan Ltd. “Eyeplan has been successfully working with independent Opticians since 1998. In that time, we have helped many practices to generate significant practice revenues from contracted monthly income and we are delighted to be bringing our expertise in this field to the audiology market.”

If you would like to learn more about Hearingplan, Eyeplan will be exhibiting at Optrafair on Stand A34. See Preview pages

Cracking the code: Make photochromic benefits relevant, says the New Transitions Campaign

March 2018

Tranistions Campaign with benefitsTransitions is unveiling a new approach at communicating benefits. This new language will ensure your customers make a smarter choice:

Why Squint? Smile!

Why risk eye health? Protect!

Why the hassle? Enjoy!

Discover how Transitions has cracked the code in making photochromics relevant, increasing the cool factor.

The new Transitions trade video is designed to illustrate this radically different approach, now available in different languages on the Younger Trade portal.

Click here to see the latest B2B Video.

GOC – ‘Love Your Lenses Week’ returns next week.

March 2018

The GOC’s ‘Love Your Lenses Week’, begins next week, on 24th-30th March.

Launched for the first time last year in response to research showing that many people were not using their contact lenses correctly, this year’s campaign will focus on the importance of thoroughly washing and drying hands before touching contact lenses, with the key message of the campaign being ‘Wash hands and dry before touching your eye’.

In support of this, the GOC has produced a campaign toolkit to help optometrists, contact lens opticians, contact lens manufacturers and retailers, and industry partners to help communicate the message to users. The toolkit includes advice, social media graphics, practice activity ideas, posters and more.

Murano Eyewear announce opportunity to win a fabulous trip to Venice.

March 2018

Murano Venice Trip

Here at Murano Eyewear LTD we are excited to announce we will once again be giving our customers the opportunity to win a 3-night trip to Venice (Italy). Not only this, but their patients will also have the chance to win a separate duplicate trip.

To celebrate our 20th anniversary we wanted to bring back our biggest promotion to date! This is a fantastic opportunity that our customers can pass over to their patients.

This time around we have added some new and improved features including Luxury Italian Hampers as regional runner up prizes, and sales material to help make the most of this fantastic promotion. By calling the office on 01282 431410 any independent opticians may receive a free promotional pack. More information can also be found on our website

Easter Eggs from MuranoAnd then there's the chance of Eggs for Easter!

Celebrate Easter with Murano Eyewear Ltd.

Yes for their 20th anniversary Murano wanted to bring you several promotions throughout the year including for Easter!

Take advantage of this promotion throughout March and don’t forget to view the latest styles on our website.

By ordering 6 or more frames through the website you will receive the following special Easter gifts. A free beautiful Murano Frame, Bag of Mini Eggs and a new Murano compact mirror

Experts forecast UK glaucoma epidemic, with 85% increase in sight-stealing condition by 2050.

March 2018

Kathleen Murphy at VEVision Express debuts its unique, top-of-the-range Vision Van, in bid to tackle spiralling glaucoma rates, set to further strain NHS by 2050

A glaucoma crisis is set to strain an already-struggling NHS, with eye health experts predicting that the diagnosed number of cases in the UK is likely to top 1.28million by 2050 – a huge 85% increase.

As World Glaucoma Week (11-17 March 2018) put the condition at the top of the health agenda, research conducted by the National Eye Research Centre and commissioned by Vision Express to mark its 30 years of trading, unveils a worrying landscape for glaucoma over the next 30 years.

It estimates that the condition may affect 3.2million in the UK in 2050, but unless detection rates are improved, only 1.28million will have been diagnosed and be receiving the treatments they urgently need.

Glaucoma is one of the biggest causes of preventable sight loss and already accounts for over one million outpatient NHS visits each year. However, the condition is symptomless in its early stages, and a regular eye test is the only way to detect it. Over 90% of individuals who are diagnosed early will retain some useful sight but late diagnosis can result in total blindness.

Mike Daw, CEO of the National Eye Research Centre, said: “We’ve found that while detection rates are increasing over time, the symptomless nature of glaucoma in its early stages means that in 2050, almost 2 million people may be affected, but will probably be completely unaware that they may be heading towards permanent sight loss.

“Sadly, our NHS is already hard pressed to meet even current needs, and we know that late interventions to help safeguard sight from glaucoma are much more costly. Our estimate is that by 2050 the price tag of NHS treatment for glaucoma will have increased by well over £100million.”

GP, broadcaster and author Dr Rosemary Leonard added: "Even when we are not experiencing any symptoms, we still need to be aware of our eye health and go for regular check-ups when necessary. Eye tests don't just detect if you have a problem with your vision, or glaucoma. When the optician looks at the back of the eye, they can see the changes that could indicate if you have diabetes or high blood pressure - so it is very good as a means of having a general MOT as well as just checking on your vision."

To celebrate 30 years of eye health expertise, and in a bid to boost glaucoma detection rates, Vision Express is launching a brand new Vision Van – a mobile eye testing facility housed inside a one-of-its-kind vehicle - which will journey across the
UK offering free eye tests to the public during World Glaucoma Week 2018. Details of the cities it will visit are available here:

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: “The outlook for glaucoma is very worrying, and our biggest challenge is to remind people to have a regular eye test - even if you don’t have any vision issues. Once symptoms are detected, the condition may already have caused irreparable damage.

“To celebrate our 30 years of trading, we’ve worked with the Road Haulage Association to put on the road a purpose-built top-of-the-range mobile eye testing vehicle, which is kitted out with the very latest in eye testing technology, including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which a study has revealed can pick up glaucoma up to eight years before any sight loss is experienced.

“We know mobile health screening works - the NHS recently reported that stationing mobile screening units in convenient locations such as supermarkets, has prompted a four-fold increase in cancer detection rates, and we want to replicate that kind of success for sight-stealing conditions.”

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The Road Haulage Association is delighted to be associated with the Vision Express initiative and is proud to be operating the Vision Van on its behalf. Good eyesight is vital for any road user but for an HGV driver, their livelihood depends on it. Despite this, there are still far too many drivers who ignore any weakness in their vision, weakness that may well be because of glaucoma.

“Although easy to diagnose, many drivers are nervous of making the initial approach to an optician. The Vision Van will play a vital role in conveying the message that good eye health will actually prolong a driver’s working life.”

The Vision Express Vision Van will visit towns, cities and high profile events the length and breadth of the country, fittingly beginning its journey in Ruddington, Nottingham, where the Vision Express HQ is based.

To support World Glaucoma Week, Vision Express is also offering a free eye test in any of its stores, via a voucher that can be downloaded from the 12th - 25th March.

Registrant scam alert at GOC.

March 2018

The GOC has reported recent telephone scam attempts on GOC registrants. Callers alleging to be from the ‘Clinical Standard Agency’ and conducting a survey ‘on behalf of CCGs’ have been attempting to obtain personal contact information from registrants.

If you do receive such a call, we strongly advise you not to provide any personal information. CCGs would never ask for such information in relation to a survey or the chances to be entered into a prize draw.

If you have passed on any details, or if you are concerned, you may wish to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office on 0303 123 1113.

DVLA amends website advice on cataracts and driving.

March 2018

The DVLA has updated its website in line with its ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ guide, stating that that drivers with group 1 and group 2 licences no longer need to inform them if they have cataract, as long as they still meet the driving visual standards.

However, this does not apply to Group 2 drivers with increased sensitivity to glare due to cataract, who still need to inform the DVLA

Maluma seen wearing Blackfin Sunglasses.

March 2018

Maluma, the world-famous Colombian singer, with over 30 million followers on Instagram and tens of millions of views on YouTube.

Maluma (right) has granted the publication of a selfie wearing a pair of Blackfin sunglasses (mod. SEAL ROCK BF814).


Considered one of the most impactful musical artists on the Latin American scene with a strong international connotation, Maluma has received numerous music awards and boasts prestigious collaborations with artists such as Shakira and Ricky Martin.

Fun pictures of the Plymouth Opsoc Sports Day 2018.

March 2018

Plymouth OpSoc

Louis Stone donated £25 which went towards a trophy, medals and other prizes for the winners (pictured).

A spokesman for the Plymouth OpSoc section said, "We want to shout a huge thank you to the Louis Stone company for their sponsorship and support at this year's OpSoc Charity Sports Day! We all had a brilliant day and raised a total of £202.62 for RNIB"

Shamir UK’s Driving solution for your customers

March 2018

Shamir Driving SolitionOur Vision: To ReCreate Perfect Vision for all eye correction wearers so day-to-day tasks such as driving can be comfortably completed.

Shamir’s foundations are built upon a fundamental belief in Recreating Perfect Vision for all individuals, regardless of prescription, age and lifestyle. Adhering to this, we have three lens products that are all perfectly matched for not only driving but also, a perfect every day lens.

Number One: Lens design – Shamir Autograph InTouch™

The Shamir Autograph InTouch™ meets the needs of progressive wearers, optimizing viewing comfort with special attention on comfortable sharp focus in the 40-70cm range needed for driving. When compared with Shamir Autograph Plus, Shamir Autograph InTouch offers up to 22% broader reading area with full addition and up to 21% wider intermediate area.
Offering extra viewing comfort for reading the speed dials, traffic ahead as well as easy transitions between the lens zones therefore perfect for driving.

Not a progressive wearer? Not a problem. Our Smart SVTM lenses are impressively flat and exudes style, perfect for a fashionable look whilst surpasses distinct performance for a SV lens.

Both our progressive and SV lenses can be ordered with As-Worn QUADROTM technology, taking extra measurements ensuring patients will experience the same visual acuity as they did in the optometrist’s trial frame.

Number Two: Material – Shamir Blue Zero™

Shamir’s Blue Zero lens material reduces intake of HEV (High Energy Visible), more commonly known as blue light. Its lens clarity ensures comfortable vision in all light conditions, whilst maintaining optimal visual acuity, also eliminating unsightly and annoying blue residue apparent on other products attempting to block blue light.

Having a material that absorbs blue light when driving is an absolute must to help reduce glare. With the increase of technology, blue light is now incorporated in Xenon headlights, used by popular car brands. Blue Zero™ is suitable for everyone and recommended for wearers of prescription or plano lenses. It also provides UV protection by effectively absorbing harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Number Three: Coating – Glacier Plus™ UV

The coating holds the most comprehensive UV protection for the eyes, blocking both incoming and rear surface reflected rays. It provides improved anti-reflection features to protect eyes from being dazzled therefore increases your visual comfort behind the wheel. Its other qualities include; anti-static, repels dust and durability.

Shamir’s driving solution provides comprehensive visual protection as well as excellently clear visual acuity with Shamir’s Blue Zero™, Autograph InTouch™ and Glacier Plus™ UV coating. Enjoy driving, feel 17 again.

Ducati sponsors of the MotoGP Motorcycle World Championship, wow MIDO with their new styles.

March 2018

Ducati sunglass rangeThe launch was epic creating loads of great noise and brand interaction says Tyron Dawkins, National Brand Manager.

More importantly the product is awesome and extremely well made both in ophthalmic & sunglass styles.

Ducati have also introduced 2 new spring hinge technologies with Ducati Motors to compliment the ranges that has been beautifully designed by famous creator Sebastian Brusset (renowned head designer for TAG eyewear).

The brand focus & goal is to empower the high street & keeping Ducati off the web and in the practice.

The Ducati/Motorbike world is massive and there will be some seriously big interest in the range.

Looking back the Ducati-Oakley range was the best one they ever did so there is likely to be cross-pull between the brands.

MP visits Hemel Hempstead company to promote world glaucoma week

March 2018

Mike Penning MP Sir Mike Penning MP marked the start of World Glaucoma Week (11-17 March) when he called into his Hemel Hempstead constituency company Heidelberg Engineering which provides scanning technology for advanced eye health checks.

Sir Mike had his eyes examined on the SPECTRALIS Optical Coherence Tomographer which can reveal the first signs of eye disease years before they might become apparent to the patient. He was delighted to learn that he showed no signs of developing glaucoma – a leading cause of preventable blindness.

Krysten Williams, UK Director of Heidelberg Engineering explained, "Sir Mike has highlighted the need for a regular eye health check as glaucoma has no obvious signs in the early stages of the disease. As pressure builds in the eye, the optic nerve can be irreversibly damaged, but the patient is not normally aware of this happening. The patient may not even notice vision loss because the brain cleverly compensates for any missing information. This is why regular screening is so important.”

Sir Mike toured the company’s training centre, met staff and learned about the company’s mission to support a sustainable healthcare model that devolves early detection and monitoring of eye disease into the community. This would facilitate treatment at the right time to combat avoidable sight loss.

“As Sir Mike has a keen interest in healthcare, it was a great opportunity to discuss the effects of vision loss and the tremendous opportunities to use the latest image management technologies to reduce the growing burden of an ageing population on the health service with distributed care models,” added Krysten.

Sir Mike said, “It was fascinating to visit Heidelberg Engineering and learn about how their advanced scanning technology is helping prevent blindness through identification of patients with the early stages of glaucoma. I would encourage everyone to have regular eye checks whether they think they need new glasses or not!”

Mike Penning is pictured with Chris Mody, (right) Director of Clinical Affairs, Heidelberg Engineering UK

Essilor and Luxottica merger approved by EU Commission.

March 2018

Essilor and Luxottica announced this week that their proposed merger has been cleared by the European Commission without conditions.

The EU is one of the jurisdictions where antitrust approvals are a condition precedent to the closing of the transaction.

To date, the transaction has also been unconditionally approved in 13 other countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan.

The finalisation of the deal is planned for the first part of 2018, after obtaining all necessary authorisations.

“We’ve received feedback from nearly 4,000 opticians in a market test in Europe that Essilor and Luxottica would not gain market power to harm competition,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The deal between Luxottica, the world’s biggest eyeglass frame maker, and Essilor, the world No. 1 lens maker, would create a company that would make products for various well-known brands such as Oakley and Ray-Ban.

Cosium appoint Business Development Manager for Cosium UK.

March 2018

Colin HurstCosium whose head office is in Versailles, France; have an incredible portfolio of optical practices in Europe and this year are bringing their expertise to the UK market, opening offices in the UK and appointing a Business Development Manager to oversee a smooth rollout.

Colin Hurst has worked in the PMS industry for 14 years, 12 of which were at See20/20 (purchased by Ocuco in 2014).

Various roles throughout his career have helped him understand the customer’s needs and requirements of their practice management software and why it is important to adapt the software as the industry changes.

“I am very excited to be appointed Business Development Manager for Cosium UK and I am really looking forward to help expand the company over the next few years. “ said Colin.
“What makes Cosium different is the company’s innovative approach to both optical and audio software. It will bring new and fresh ideas to the UK market. Introducing such ideas like the Digi-Hub which offers integrated fitting measurements (heights, PD, lens size), Virtual try-on (VTO), RFID, chip card readers, and much more.”

If you thought all PMS systems were the same you are in for a big surprise with Cosium’s giant steps forwards in integrating all the work processes when you visit them at Optrafair 2018. Come and visit them and meet Colin on stand D12.

Here’s a quick taster of what Cosium provides to the modern practice. Click here to view Cosium's product on YouTube.

Cosium will be joining our sponsors this month ready for their Optrafair presence.

GOC suspends Wolverhampton-based optometrist from its register.

February 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Gagandeep Thiarra, an optometrist based in Wolverhampton from its register for a period of six months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by virtue of misconduct relating to falsifying patient records during an assessment.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Ian Crookall, said:

“The Committee finds that the admitted facts found proven represented a serious departure from the standards expected of a registrant. There was a deliberate falsification by the registrant of patient records in an attempt to obtain [his pre-registration] qualification.

“However the Committee recognises that this was an isolated incident and, whilst serious, did not cause actual harm to the patient in question. There was no evidence of repetition of the behaviour and the Registrant had developed insight into his actions.”

The Committee concluded that the serious nature of the misconduct was such that public confidence would be undermined if a finding of current impairment was not made.

A period of six months suspension was therefore felt sufficient to protect the public interest and send a clear message that such conduct was unacceptable. Mr Thiarra has until 19 March 2018 to appeal his suspension.


February 2018

Ricky Martin

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

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

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

Model: BRUNSWICK BF761 is being worn by Ricky Martin.

OFNC issues comment on eye test fees.

February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Bryony Pawinska, FMO CEO resigns.

February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

February 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 2018

“Oh My Mood” chooses Liverpool as its launch pad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A FABULOUS FIFTH 100% OPTICAL full show overview

January 2018

Crowds at 100% OpticalSTOP PRESS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Essilor Bespoke and Swissflex stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Story on FODO's division for Hearing NACH

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

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

Competition demonstrated young British talent to an international market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Main Story on A1

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

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

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

See Charities Page and Julian Jackson's Story.

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

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

January 2018

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2018

The Fabulous Fifth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's in the bag

January 2018

Plans to extend carrier bag charge to smaller businesses

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

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

OBE for John McGreggor founder and Chairman of Contamac.

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enrich Life, that's Shamir's motto.

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The process:

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

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

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

For further information please contact our customer service team

Complete glazing service launches February 2018

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queen Rania pictured wearing MYKITA and Ricky Martin wearing Blackfin.

January 2018

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

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

She is pictured here visiting the Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan

Ricky MartinRicky Martin in Blackfin sunglasses

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

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

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

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

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Read the 100% Insider for further news here.

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

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

Past Master Brian Mitchell, Obituary.

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Mitchell was 82.

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

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The guidance can be found here:

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

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

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