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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, April to June 2018


New Branding Announcement for FYSH 2018.
Bridging the gap between optometry and hospital care
FODO sister organisation responds to new NHS guideline to tackle unmet hearing needs.
GOC suspends Luton based optometrist.
BLACKFIN takes to the track at Modena, Italy.
Specsavers store opens its doors to shared care opportunities.
College launches:‘Through my eyes’ videos to demonstrate to consumers how eye conditions affect vision.
In need of a good read, Norville to the rescue.
GOC erases Conwy County based dispensing optician.
All eyes on 210th launch - Vision Express opens its final optical stores in Inverness.
Time-poor, cash-strapped NHS staff blind to importance of eye health
"Don’t risk this sight-stealing condition" Highlight this info in Glaucoma Week starting JUNE 4th!
Heidelberg Engineering’s SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module Headed to the International Space Station.
Area98 welcomes the winner of the first edition of the coco song award to the company.
Vision Van steers ‘This Morning Live’ visitors to better eye health after finding over 90% are overdue a sight check.
Poppy's parents call for a change in Law to insist that Opticians have the power to revoke driving licenses.
Co-op to sell chemists and opticians in East of England.
FODO commits to expanding primary eye care, integrating ophthalmic services and pushing for lower VAT on optical goods
City University OpSoc society enjoys an evening to remember at Royal Horseguards.
Parliamentary amendment to exempt smaller GOS providers from onerous DPO requirements fails.
GOC erases Greater Manchester based optometrist.
GOC suspends Plymouth based student optometrist
OG and Ridgway form alliance for Oliver Goldsmith Photograph Collection
1 in 4 revealed to not have eyes tested since passing driving test, as health initiative hits CV Show in Birmingham.
GOC suspends West Midlands based optometrist.
Day 4 on the Big Blind Walk with Julian Jackson.
Eddie Watson awarded FODO Life Membership.
First of new generation OCT installed at Kingston independent
College of Optometrists issues advice for hay fever suffers as soaring temperatures continued last week.
UK aid to help eliminate the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness across poorest countries in the Commonwealth by 2020
Ophthalmic Lenses Availability - New 2018 Edition published
Submissions are now invited for the 2018 Ruskell Medal and Master’s Medal.
Vision Van on road to success, with national award win for Vision Express.
LOCSU and Newmedica sign agreement on post-cataract tariffs for community optometrists.
Mykita now Product Design Champions
Social Media for Louis Stone on Instagram.
Obituary, Gerald Bryan
Read the archived General News from 1st Quarter 2018.

New Branding Announcement for FYSH 2018.

June 2018

FYSH New LogoConfidence has no competition, individuality is an expression and style is the personal signature! FYSH (formerly known as FYSH UK), the international eyewear & sunwear brand that creates innovative styles, is revealing its new branding!

FYSH is designed for the strong, ambitious, game changing women who embrace individual style. Combining the latest runway looks with the color trends of the season, FYSH eyewear features a vast array of bold colors, intricate patterns, unique constructions and shapes.

In breaking the creativity mould, FYSH eyewear is introducing the stylistic “Y” emblem into the branding, found in the FYSH logo. The emblem will be used in various ways from displays to social & digital media. The “Y” emblem will be featured as an overlay on images to create a minimalistic brand effect along with a focal point on the imagery. It will be accompanied on all Instagram stories.

The new look for the FYSH Instagram will launch on July 10th, 2018. It will portray the full vision of the brand & the women who wear FYSH eyewear. It is an empowering, global online community for dedicated women making every moment count.

The #FYSH global online community provides an inspirational, fashion-forward and conscience space for women who are #FYSHINGFORGOALS, #FYSHINGFORINSPIRATION, #FYSHINGFORSTYLES and highly anticipating #FYSHINGTOEXPLORE. FYSH social media provides travel tips, highly moving and relatable stories from women in the optical industry & around the globe.

Follow @FYSH and @WestGroupe for updates and new campaigns.

Bridging the gap between optometry and hospital care

June 2018.

The crucial bridge between optometry and ophthalmology for optimum patient outcomes is taking on a new dimension in the West Midlands.

A faster route to treatment, with ophthalmology-standard diagnostic imaging, is being spearheaded by specialist optometrist Don Williams.

Through his experiences of High Street optometry, plus several years of working in medical retina and glaucoma management with the NHS, New Medica, Ultralase, and now Healthharmonie, Don was aware of the need for good diagnostic data.

Don Williams
He set up the Edgbaston Eye Clinic six months ago and it is proving to be a highly effective conduit for treatment of a wide array of eye conditions.

“We know that so many conditions are missed, particularly what we refer to as silent conditions such as glaucoma, other ophthalmic and systemic conditions. You cannot get a good picture of what is going on with just a direct ophthalmoscope,” said Don.

Qualifying from Aston in 2004, Don continued with postgraduate qualifications in glaucoma, medical retina, refractive and cataract surgery from Ulster, whilst working for multiple opticians and eye surgery providers.

His suite of technology at the Edgbaston clinic includes the SPECTRALIS multi-modal imaging platform with MultiColor Module, BluePeak Module (blue laser autofluorescence) and Anterior Segment Module; Kowa’s Stereo 3D retinal camera; the Zeiss 840 with Goldman Kinetic visual field analyser; Keeler slit-lamp and camera with Kapture software; and the Visionix auto-refractor with corneal topographer.

Perhaps providing the template for a national care model, Don has perfected a protocol which is working very well as the interface between optometry and ophthalmology – not just in the Midlands, but with patients coming to him from far afield.

“Patients are referred by ophthalmologists and by optometry colleagues. Many eye care professionals are now recognising the importance of high standard eye care and in having the SPECTRALIS spectral domain OCT as the main diagnostic platform.”

He cites two recent examples:

“A 62 year old lady was referred by an optometrist for further investigations when she noticed the angle of the eye was rather narrow. The patient mentioned occasional headaches on waking. Gonioscopy revealed irido-trabecular contact in both eyes, and the brilliant Anterior Segment Module of the SPECTRALIS showed complete touch between iris and cornea. The patient had surgery and is doing well.”

Another interesting case involved a coach driver who had had a number of falls –

“I segmented the posterior pole for the ganglion cell layer and this was absent in the upper macular hemifield. The retinal nerve fibre layer was virtually non-existent and visual field confirmed a total inferior field defect. It was a classic case of non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy with disc involvement.”

Never one to stop learning Don is just taking his IP exams and studying for his Ophthalmic Doctorate at Aston. He is looking to use the SPECTRALIS, and perhaps the OCT Angiography Module in his doctorate to examine the different layers of the retina or retinal vasculature. He also believes that this non-invasive way of picking up wet AMD will be increasingly significant with the ageing population.

“The SPECTRALIS is the gold standard OCT so it makes it much easier to compare findings with consultants. All the ophthalmologists that I work with expect a good clinical practice to have a SPECTRALIS as part of their diagnostic arsenal.”

He added –
“I love the clinical aspect of my job and know that I can manage my patients with confidence, and refer with confidence to either NHS or private consultants.”

FODO sister organisation responds to new NHS guideline to tackle unmet hearing needs.

June 2018

FODO's sister organisation, the National Community Hearing Association (NCHA) welcomed the publication by NICE of a new NHS guideline to tackle unmet hearing needs.

The new guideline encourages people with hearing difficulties to access care sooner. It also recognised that that hearing loss is a major public health issue. Furthermore, the guideline calls for pressure on hospital-based ENT services to be reduced by referring patients with impacted earwax to audiologists (including those working in optical practices) and other trained health care professionals.

David Hewlett, NCHA and FODO Chief Executive said: “This guideline is very welcome. There is now not a single credible institution in the UK that does not recognise adult hearing loss as a major public health issue. We have interventions that work but historical distortions in our systems are failing to support as many people as we could. It is unjustifiable for hospitals and GPs to be seeing millions of patients each year that do not need medical care given that we have a skilled audiology workforce which could be doing more to help deliver sustainable models of care out of hospital and closer to home.”

The full response can be found on the NCHA website here.

GOC suspends Luton based optometrist.

June 2018

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

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct in relation to amending a patient’s records following a sight test.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Anne Johnstone, said: “The Committee was satisfied that, albeit that the Registrant’s alteration of Patient A’s records could be viewed as a single act or omission, the nature and consequences of the Registrant’s acts or omissions fell far below the standards to be expected of a registered optometrist and were sufficiently grave to amount to misconduct. "

“Whilst the Committee accepted there was no evidence of any concerns regarding the Registrant’s clinical practice… [he] was unable to say why he acted as he did or to accept his primary motivation was quite simply to protect himself. The Committee therefore concluded that there exists a risk of repetition and that a finding of current impairment on public protection grounds is necessary.

“The Committee considered that to suspend the Registrant would reflect the severity and gravity of the misconduct and that the Registrant has brought the profession into disrepute.”

Mr Hussain has until 10 July 2018 to appeal his suspension. If no appeal is lodged, the suspension order will take effect on11 July 2018.

BLACKFIN takes to the track at Modena, Italy.

June 2018

Special edition eyewear for the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Cup and the Modena 100 Ore rally

Stelvio Cup at Modena and BlackfinBlackfin, the brand of titanium eyewear entirely designed and produced in Italy is partnering two major events in the motor sport world: the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Cup and the Modena 100 Ore rally.

The first event, on 17 and 18 May, is the official Alfa Romeo showcase in which over 70 cars from the manufacturer with the famous snake logo have followed a route that in just one day has taken them from the Bormio mountains to the Monte Carlo coast.

For the occasion Blackfin has presented the drivers with a free pair of Silverdale BF828 sunglasses personalised with the wording "Blackfin for Alfa Romeo".

From 5 to 9 June, the show moves on to the Modena Cento Ore, the famous 100-hour rally reserved for historic racing cars which takes place both on the racetrack and in special road trials closed to normal traffic.

An exciting new programme is planned for the 2108 edition. The cars will leave from the Monza race track then make their way to Modena via Parma and Forte dei Marmi combining the dizzying thrills of the Varano and Mugello racetracks with the magnificent landscapes, exclusive locations and gastronomic delights of the various stops on the way.

These drivers too will be receiving a pair of Blackfin sunglasses, the Silverton BF827 model personalised with the wording “Blackfin for Modena Cento Ore”.

All the sunglasses will be presented in an exclusive Blackfin gift box together with the Blackfin book telling the story of the Neomadeinitaly brand.

Specsavers store opens its doors to shared care opportunities.

June 2018

Specsavers in Hemel Hempstead are improving patient care in their local community with their new SPECTRALIS SPIRIT, which was installed in May 2018. The store recently moved to new premises in Hemel Hempstead to increase the number of services they provide, which now include OCT, enhanced optical services and hearing care – “We have gone from five test rooms to nine, plus we now have a dedicated hearing care room and have expanded our team to 48 members of staff”, explains Daniel Harris, Optometrist Director, Specsavers Hemel Hempstead.
Spectralis placed in latest Secsavers opening
There were several considerations for the store when choosing which OCT to purchase, so Daniel took advice from another local optometrist, “I am the Vice Chair of the Hertfordshire Local Optical Committee (LOC), so when I was considering which OCT would be best for our store, I spoke to Wendy d'E Vallancey, who is an independent optometrist and Chair of the Hertfordshire LOC. She has a SPECTRALIS at her practice, Aves Optometrists, and is extremely happy with it, so she had no hesitation in recommending the SPECTRALIS to me.”

Clinical credibility and the opportunity to take part in shared care schemes with local ophthalmologists was also a key consideration in their decision to purchase the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT –

“The Clinical Director, Shane Abbas Bhimani, and I will shortly be completing our Independent Prescribing qualifications and Shane has completed the Professional Certificate in Glaucoma. This will enable us to provide a greater number of clinical services to our patients. The challenges the NHS face with an aging population are considerable, so we need creative solutions. We believe we are perfectly placed to take part in shared care schemes with ophthalmologists that will improve the patient experience and relieve pressure on the hospital, particularly as Specsavers are now partnered with Newmedica, who are one of the leading providers of NHS-funded ophthalmology services in England. The OCT will enable us to refine our referrals and reduce unnecessary trips to hospital for the patient, whilst ensuring patients who do need to be referred receive the right treatment at the right time. For all of this we needed to choose a hospital-grade OCT and the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT was the clear choice as it is highly regarded by ophthalmologists and offers the clinical credibility and quality of images that we need, whilst being really easy to use.”

Daniel had previous experience with the SPECRALIS when his wife was imaged on the platform recently and the high resolution images and unique TruTrack Active Eye Tracking technology caught his attention, “My wife suffers from posterior uveitis and has been imaged on the SPECTRALIS a few times. The resolution of the images is fantastic, and they are not affected by eye movements. The ability to track tiny changes in the eye to within 1 micron over time was one of the main reasons we chose the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT. Visual field tests aren’t always dependable but being able to demonstrate true loss of retinal nerve fibre layer tissue over time really gives us the edge in glaucoma diagnosis, particularly in those patients where you are just not sure what is going on based on their eye pressures and visual fields. Knowing the eye tracking system is so accurate gives me confidence that I am seeing real change over time. I love looking at the images; I saw a patient who had recently had surgery on their retina and seeing how the retinal layers had been affected in such detail was amazing. You simply don’t get that degree of detail on a fundus photo.”

The purchase of the SPECTRALIS SPIRIT comes with a comprehensive training package from Heidelberg Engineering to include operator, interpretation and front of house training. Daniel has been impressed with the quality of service they have received, “The training has been really good. Even our non-technical members of staff have picked it up very well and have already started training other members of staff themselves. We are really fortunate to be located in the hometown of Heidelberg Engineering UK and it is nice to know that they are literally down the road if we require support, and that we have such easy access to the courses at their training centre."

We thank Heidelberg Engineering for their continued support allowing us to provide the sector with independent news for free.

Take a look at the Heidelberg Page with links to their own sitehere

College launches:‘Through my eyes’ videos to demonstrate to consumers how eye conditions affect vision.

June 2018

The College of Optometrists has launched a series of short videos to demonstrate how various conditions affect a person’s vision. The series, ‘Through my eyes’, includes a number of short videos on some of the most common eye conditions; age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma and flashes and floaters. They aim to increase public awareness and understanding of these conditions, especially among patients, their families and carers.

The videos on AMD, cataracts and glaucoma demonstrate how the conditions progress, by showing how a patient sees other people or the pages of a book or a view of the park. College members can download the videos from and embed them on their practice websites.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, Clinical Advisor for the College of Optometrists, says: “We hope the videos will raise awareness of these conditions among those most at risk, as well as their family and carers. By showing how these common conditions can effect vision, we aim to encourage those with signs and symptoms to visit an optometrist so that they can be diagnosed, and their condition managed, as early as possible. The videos are also a useful tool for optometrists to use with their patients, or when delivering presentations in the community.”

The ‘Through my eyes’ series of videos launches today (31 May) and can be viewed on the College’s public information website, which provides clear, helpful news and information on eye health care.

The message being : If you are concerned that you are experiencing any of the symptoms described should visit their optometrist.

In need of a good read, Norville to the rescue.

June 2018

Norville Companion 11th Edition has now been published.

After more than a year’s toil, readers will notice and understand why so convoluted task!

Norville have drawn a line under Edition 11 of their Companion publication which is now downloadable on

It reflects the current fixation with UV and blue light and provides transmission/absorption data on many of the prime lenses linked to this fascinating and critical topic.

GOC erases Conwy County based dispensing optician.

June 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to erase Ian Williams, a dispensing optician based in Conwy County, Wales, from its register. He will now be unable to practise as a dispensing optician in the UK.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct, relating to encouraging customers to make claims on an insurance policy by confirming that their glasses were broken when they were not, ordering glasses for himself without paying, and dispensing contact lenses to children that did not have a prescription.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by James Kellock, said: “The Committee...considered that Mr Williams had deliberately acted dishonestly on more than one occasion in the workplace. It further considered that Mr Williams’ acts amounted to a pattern of behaviour and had breached fundamental tenets of the profession and brought the profession into disrepute. Regarding insight, the Committee...determined that he has failed to show any insight into his dishonest behaviour. He had expressed no remorse for his actions in general...or demonstrated any understanding of the nature of his dishonest conduct or the potential consequences.

“A finding of current impairment on public protection grounds is necessary, given the absence of any remediation and given that the Committee has found there is a risk of repetition of allegations 1-4. The Committee was in no doubt that…given the seriousness of the misconduct identified, including dishonesty...public confidence in the profession would be seriously damaged if a finding of current impairment was not made.

“The Committee determined that the behaviour found proved was fundamentally incompatible with being a registered professional. There were serious departures from the standards expected of Mr Williams. He abused a position of trust and encouraged others to be dishonest. The Committee determined that his dishonesty was at the higher end of the scale. There was a persistent lack of insight. In these circumstances the Committee directed that his name should be erased from the register.”

Mr Williams has until 28 June 2018 to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate suspension order.

All eyes on 210th launch - Vision Express opens its final optical stores in Inverness.

June 2018

VE opening in Inverness
CEO Jonathan Lawson officially opens final ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ stores

Following an intense project that has seen Vision Express launch more than 10 stores a week inside Tesco supermarkets across the UK and Ireland, the final ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ stores have officially opened, with a celebration in Inverness.

The two newly integrated Inverness stores, located within the Tesco Extra outlets at Inshes Retail Park and Eastfield Business and Retail Park, were unveiled to local residents this week, with help from Vision Express CEO, Jonathan Lawson.

The openings complete a mammoth re-branding schedule, which began in early 2018 and has seen 210 optical outlets open inside Tesco Extra supermarkets across the England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – from Helston to Dover, Haverfordwest to Great Yarmouth, Belfast to Inverness. The national optical retailer has also opened a brand-new store in the new Tesco Extra in Liffey Valley, Ireland.

Over 30 young eye cancer survivors, representing charity partner the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), and 45 local MPs and Mayors have joined optical teams across the country, performing official ribbon cuttings to unveil the results of the re-brand to the public.

Jonathon Lawson VEDerek Thomas, MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, was on hand to help cut the ribbon at the new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ store in Helston and revealed he couldn’t recall ever having his eyes tested. “The reality is that whatever age we are, it’s important we look after our eye sight so following my visit to Vision Express, I’ve been challenged to book an eye test, which is something I’ve not previously considered,” he explained.

Image right:L - R - Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson, integration project lead Rebecca Warren and operations director Neil McGowan

Celebrations have also been led by ambassadors from Brake, the Stroke Association, Macular Society and International Glaucoma Association, as well as VIP guests including cycling Olympian Bryan Steel.

“It is a momentous achievement to have opened over 200 stores in such a short period of time, and it’s been fantastic to welcome our new team members into the Vision Express family,” said Jonathan. “The rebrand hasn’t come without its challenges, but I am very happy, and proud, to say it’s been a huge success.

“My appreciation goes to everyone who has been involved in the rollout programme – the store teams, regional managers, and everyone at our Support Centre – who have worked unbelievably hard to plan and execute this massive piece of work at such an incredible pace.

“I would also like to thank all the special guests and VIPs who have given up their time to help open our new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ stores and raise awareness of eye health.”

The Inverness optical stores both showcase a purple-infused rebrand being introduced across the entire Vision Express chain, designed in line with the company’s refreshed corporate brand identity. The re-brand delivers a refreshed logo and striking purple and green colour decor, featuring bright sofas and wooden flooring, offering a modern, inviting and vibrant environment to encourage customers to feel at ease.

Jonathan added: “This has been a hugely exciting time for us all and with fresh and inviting new branding, which is perfectly aligned to our ‘Vision.Taken Seriously’ ethos, we’re pleased to now be able to offer our personalised and thorough vision expertise in convenient locations to residents across the country.”

Time-poor, cash-strapped NHS staff blind to importance of eye health

June 2018

VE interest in eye health in NHSAhead of the annual NHS conference in Manchester (13 June 2018), a poll of NHS workers has revealed that hard-working employees are too time pushed and cash-strapped to take care of their own wellbeing.

The research[1], conducted for Vision Express among over 2,000 active NHS staff, found that:

• 1 in 3 don’t have a regular eye test, and 2% haven’t had an eye test in more than 10 years

• 40% of NHS staff who are parents are not giving their children regular eye tests either – despite tests for under 16s being free.

• Of those who need prescription lenses to drive, around 1 in 4 confessed to getting behind the wheel without their glasses/contacts

• 63% of respondents cited cost as the primary factor dissuading them from having regular eye tests, with half saying it’s difficult to find the time to go to an optician

Despite neglecting their eye health, the survey revealed that NHS workers rank a trip to the optician as more important than dental or hearing checks.
Jay Ghadiali, Director of Professional Services at Vision Express, said: “What this research tells us is that even those who work in the healthcare industry and are educated about the importance of check ups, aren’t actually getting them. It’s a huge issue because half of all sight loss is preventable – and an eye test can help detect a range of underlying conditions, such as risk of stroke, high cholesterol and even cancers.”

The poll found that 2 out of 3 of NHS employees were aware that an eye test is recommended every two years. However, 45% weren’t aware that smoking doubles your chances of losing your sight through macular degeneration.

Jay added: “There’s clearly a job still to be done on raising awareness about the importance of a regular eye test. It’s also crucial we remove barriers to getting this essential health check. While we can’t offer NHS employees more time in their day, we hope that now Vision Express is within 210 Tesco Extra supermarkets nationwide, its more convenient than ever to pop in and get tested.

Our mobile Vision Van continues to tour the UK offering free eye tests at major events and locations where we know that eye test uptake is particularly poor.”

"Don’t risk this sight-stealing condition" Highlight this info in Glaucoma Week starting JUNE 4th!

June 2018

“Misdiagnosed glaucoma almost cost me my sight” – Palmers Green resident, Sheryll Karpel, thanks optometrist who helped her after the condition went undetected for three years.

This National Glaucoma Week (4-10 June 2018), the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is highlighting the importance of regular eye health checks in detecting sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma – warning that the signs often go unnoticed.

Sheryll Karpel, from Palmers Green, suffered what she thought were optical migraines only to discover that she had an eye condition which could have permanently damaged her eyesight. Now she is reminding others to have regular sight tests to help safeguard their vision and raise awareness of glaucoma.

Ms Karpel frequently visited her GP over a three-year period: “I was suffering terribly with these regular attacks. I would be in awful pain for hours and the only thing that helped was laying down.

When I listed the symptoms to my doctor, like headaches and coloured halos, I was told that I had optical migraines but every treatment I tried didn’t work.” Ms Karpel’s attacks became more frequent, from every three months to every three days.

Following a massive glaucoma attack, it was discovered, at a hospital examination, that Ms Karpel had closed-angle glaucoma – a condition considered a medical emergency that can rapidly damage the optic nerve: “My intraocular pressure, the fluid pressure inside the front part of my eye, was up to 60mmHg which I was told, in many cases would have caused permanent damage and I could have lost my sight – that outcome would have been devastating.” Ms Karpel needed emergency laser treatment at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital to make holes in the iris to reduce her intra-ocular pressure.

After the diagnosis and surgery, Ms Karpel registered with a local north London optometrist at Harley Bain Opticians. Ms Karpel said: “Although the procedure was successful, I had post-op complications – inflammation and retinal oedema. The prescription in my eyes was now so different that it made my vision very blurred and I often felt sick and dizzy. These symptoms, on a daily basis, became unbearable which is why I decided to visit a local practice.”

To help alleviate these symptoms, AOP member and optometrist, Harley Bain prescribed temporary eyewear while Ms Karpel awaited surgery on her left eye. Describing the difference it made, Ms Karpel said: “I was completely taken aback by the time Mr Bain took to make sure that I came away with glasses that really helped me – he spent over an hour examining my eyes and asking lots of questions. After struggling for so long, it was a huge relief to have that level of care.”

Speaking about her condition, Mr Bain said: “It might not have felt like it, but Ms Karpel is actually very lucky to be making the recovery that she is. Glaucoma is a very serious eye condition – it’s one of the leading causes of severe sight impairment. Unlike open-angle, or chronic, glaucoma, where symptoms develop slowly over time, closed-angle glaucoma can occur very quickly and if left untreated causes severe and permanent damage to your vision.”

Karen Osborn, Chief Executive from the International Glaucoma Association (IGA) said: “Glaucoma is the name given to a number of eye conditions. People with angle closure glaucoma will know that there is something wrong with their eyes and seek help, unlike the more common form of glaucoma in the UK which is primary open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma has no obvious early symptoms and is why we stress the need for regular eye health checks to take place throughout life. All too often we hear from people who are distressed to realise that the sight they have lost cannot be recovered, and that an eye health check could have detected glaucoma earlier”.

Ms Karpel added: “My experience demonstrates why it’s just so important to have regular sight tests. It’s easy to take your sight for granted but looking back, if I’d talked to an optometrist about my symptoms sooner, it may have been picked up earlier and the outcome would have been much better.”

National Glaucoma Week is taking place 4-10 June 2018. To raise awareness of the condition, the AOP is launching a new video, ideal for sharing on social media, to highlight key symptoms.

For more information about glaucoma and treatment options, read the AOP’s patient leaflet and the IGA’s leaflets on closed angle glaucoma and open angle glaucoma.

Heidelberg Engineering’s SPECTRALIS OCT2 Module Headed to the International Space Station.

May 2018

NASA has been conducting research on the effects of microgravity on vision using the SPECTRALIS imaging platform since 2013.

NASA with HeidelbergHeidelberg Engineering, a privately-held imaging solutions company focused on advanced diagnostic instruments for eye care professionals, announced the continuation of the SPECTRALIS space odyssey as the SPECTRALIS imaging platform with the company’s next-generation OCT2 Module is headed for the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA launched the SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module to the ISS aboard the Antares 230 Cygnus CRS OA-9, also known as Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 9E on May 21, 2018 from Wallops Island, Virginia. The device will be installed on the ISS in late 2018.

“The SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module uses patented TruTrack Active Eye Tracking,” said Ali Tafreshi, Director of Clinical Research for Heidelberg Engineering. “The technology uses a second laser beam to actively track the eye during OCT scanning to effectively ‘freeze’ the retina and avoid motion artifacts. With this technology, a precise OCT image can be captured, even if the subject blinks or moves.”

NASA’s researchers have used the SPECTRALIS OCT to investigate the effects of a microgravity environment on vision since 2013. While the existing device continues to function normally on the ISS, a next-generation SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module will optimize acquisition speed and capture more complex scans, while considering use of additional modalities such as OCT angiography*, anterior segment imaging, ultra-widefield fundus imaging and MultiColor.

“Upgrading to the OCT2 Module allows NASA to gain greater understanding of Space Flight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (SANS), a condition astronauts commonly experience as a result of space flights,” said Alex Huang, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. “SANS can cause unilateral and bilateral optic disc edema. In association with the edema, globe flattening, choroidal and retinal folds, refractive error shifts, and nerve fiber layer infarcts have also been noted.”

This research is expanding the exploration of ocular pathology in space and on Earth. “The SPECTRALIS OCT2 module will allow us to image deeper structures in the eye that are affected by long-term space flight such as the posterior optic nerve head anatomy and the choroidal blood supply to the retina.” said David M. Brown, MD, the retina specialist on the NASA SANS

Research & Clinical Advisory Panel and a retinal surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. “Understanding changes in these structures will be critical for future long-term missions to Mars and have applicability to terrestrial research on both retina disease and glaucoma.”

*The SPECTRALIS® OCT Angiography Module is available only in certain countries. It has not been cleared by the FDA for use in the United States. Check with your country’s contact person for details on local availability.

Area98 welcomes the winner of the first edition of the coco song award to the company.

May 2018

Rosella LeanzaRossella Leanza, the winner of the first edition of the Coco Song Award, was welcomed in Pavia di Udine (Udine, Italy), where she embarked on an experiential journey at Area98’s headquarters.

To her great satisfaction, the student of the four-year degree course in Fashion Design, who undertook a distance internship with Area98 during which she was accompanied in the production of the sunglasses prototype that she designed, has finally got to know at first hand the company that produced the fruit of her artistic imagination.

“After months of distance work, it was really exciting to be welcomed at Area98’s headquarters to observe and experience at first hand the company that allowed me to achieve my creative challenge,” commented Rossella Leanza. "Immersing myself in the daily life of the company and talking to its design team – in particular to creative director Elisio Tessaro, who gave me a deep insight into the Coco Song brand – have been unique experiences that have enriched me professionally and as a person.”

Lie Feng
Elisio Tessaro, Art Director of Coco Song, added: “Rossella has committed herself in an extraordinary way, in part thanks to the support and coordination of the teachers at Harim, but we did not expect her to be so full of talent and enthusiasm. Giving her this experience was also an immense satisfaction for us. I also believe that the visit was very constructive for Rossella, as it gave her an insight into technical and commercial aspects related to the eyewear world that often revolutionize initial ideas and colors.”

Rossella Leanza won the first edition of the Coco Song Award – a competition promoted by Area98 in collaboration with Harim Accademia Euromediterranea to offer young design talents the opportunity to give their own interpretation of the Coco Song collection – with the “Liè féng in colours” project.

Inspired by the art of ceramics, which during the Song dynasty reached the peak of refinement becoming one of the greatest expressions of the oriental culture of the time, Rossella Leanza’s glasses evoke the cracks produced after firing pottery thanks to special acetate processing. Presented in bold shades, this unique texture has been combined with two-tone sun lenses to create a very striking accessory that, despite its originality, remains faithful to the philosophy and strengths of the Coco Song brand.

“Liè féng in colours” will be produced in a limited edition by Area98 and will be available on the market from August 2018.

Vision Van steers ‘This Morning Live’ visitors to better eye health after finding over 90% are overdue a sight check.

May 2018

VE Vision VanVision Express is urging the UK to take better care of their eye health, after over 90% of visitors to its Vision Van at ‘This Morning Live’ were revealed to be overdue an eye examination.

Almost 80 people took advantage of the national optical retailer’s free eye test offer on board the Vision Van, as it opened its doors at the NEC Birmingham on Thursday 17th – Sunday 21st May for this year’s ‘This Morning Live’ event.

The initiative also worryingly revealed almost 1 in 10 had never had their sight checked prior to their Vision Van visit – including 24-year-old Laura Scott from Wrexham. “I’ve been putting off having my eyes tested because I just never have the time and have never got around to it,” she explained.

“I’ve been having a few problems with my eyes lately, such as headaches and being able to read things from a distance so I thought I’d come and get them checked on the Vision Van. I found out I need to wear glasses as I’m short-sighted – the equipment on board is amazing.
“I’d tell others not to put off having their vision checked because you never know – you could be suffering for no reason.”

Walsall resident, Grant Thomson also required a new prescription following his eye test. The 26-year-old said: “I took the chance to have a free eye test as I don’t always get the chance to go for an eye test on my day off. My last one was two and a half or three years ago, so it was quite handy to be able to get them checked today.

“The outcome of my examination was better than I expected, and it was great to get a few things cleared up about the issues I’ve been having, such as dryness in the eyes and watering.”

Grant and Laura were two of almost 70% who were found to be in need of a new prescription following their eye test on board the Vision Van, with almost one in five admitting to not having had their sight checked since passing their driving test.

‘This Morning Live’, based on the popular, multi-award-winning TV programme, took place this month at the NEC Birmingham for the second time after launching last year, with more than 200 brands across beauty fashion, food and drink exhibiting.

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: “Maintaining a regular eye health routine is essential for safeguarding good sight and keeping on top of your general health. That’s why our Vision Van is so important – taking eye tests to the public and taking cost out of the equation.

“This Morning is a much-loved TV show and has a dedicated nationwide audience, so by reaching out to viewers and visitors with this all-important health message, we hope, to drive home to more people the importance of having your eyes checked every two years.”

Poppy's parents call for a change in Law to insist that Opticians have the power to revoke driving licenses.

May 2018

Poppy Arabella Clarke

The parents of a three-year-old girl run down and killed by a pensioner who was told his eyesight made him unfit to drive have launched a campaign to change the law.

Poppy-Arabella Clarke’s parents formally began their campaign as new research revealed that 82 per cent of people agree medical professionals should legally have to report drivers who are unfit to get behind the wheel.

This survey shows the public's overwhelming support for changing the law. They urge Parliament to take the case of Poppy-Arabella seriously to prevent such a devastating tragedy occurring again.

Poppy-Arabella died when John Place drove into her and her mother Rachel after driving through a red light. He had been told by two optometrists that his eye sight was so poor that he was unsafe to drive and was jailed for four years last year.

Not only did he disregard this information and continue to drive but he also was found driving without the aid of his spectacles.

Research carried out by law firm Slater and Gordon, who represent Poppy-Arabella’s parents, overwhelmingly supported their call to change the law to protect people from unsafe motorists, including more stringent and regular eye tests.

The survey of more than 2,000 people was carried out by the law firm after representing a number of clients killed or injured by medically unfit drivers.

Only 22 per cent of those surveyed knew that doctors and optometrists do not have to report their patients to the DVLA when they are medically unfit to drive.

Poppy-Arabella’s mother Rachel, who was seriously injured in the crash in which her daughter died, said: "We love and miss little Poppy so very much, our hearts and those of her friends and community broke the day she died. She was, and always will be, so very loved.

"We waited for the green man to be illuminated, checked both ways and crossed correctly, to be struck on the crossing by Mr Place who failed to stop. Mr Place had failed his eyesight test weeks earlier whilst wearing his glasses and then did not put those glasses on the day he drove through the red light, having left them at home. I woke up in the gutter to the realisation that my little girl was lying inches away from me devastatingly injured. Little Poppy-Arabella died later that evening.

"It has taken us over a year and a half since Mr Place was sentenced to gather the strength to help launch this campaign in Poppy’s memory. It is crucial that the Government creates a law to put the responsibility on medical professionals to report drivers who cannot see well enough or have other medical issues that deem them unfit to drive, to the DVLA. It is only by doing this that such a terrible tragedy can be prevented from happening again.

"Poppy-Arabella was a gentle soul and incredibly kind. It is truly very, very sad that her life was taken from her. We would now urge everybody to write to their local MP or the
Prime Minister to support the campaign to change the law.”

Poppy-Arabella’s father Phil said: “Having been told that, even with glasses on, his eyesight was far below any standard of road worthy capability, he decided to drive and extinguished the life of our kind, caring and quite wonderful little girl. This has left our family devastated and heartbroken for the rest of our lives.

“If this law had been passed when the optometrists knew Place was unfit to drive his car, they would have had a legal obligation to inform the DVLA. Then perhaps Poppy-Arabella would still be here with us today and Rachel would not have suffered such terrible injuries.

“This survey shows the public's overwhelming support for changing the law. We urge Parliament to take the case of Poppy-Arabella seriously to prevent such a devastating tragedy occurring again."

The research found one in seven of those questioned knew somebody they believed was unsafe to drive for medical reasons, but still get behind the wheel. While 36 per cent took action to prevent their loved one from driving straight away over a third did nothing to stop them.

Concerned relatives say they have fought with family members and friends over whether they should drive or not, carried out chores for them so they didn’t get behind the wheel and even hidden their car keys.

One in 12 of respondents said they suffered from a medical condition that was currently causing them problems with driving, while a further one in eight said they had a condition that they thought would cause them difficulties with driving in the future.

Richard Langton, a specialist serious injury lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which represents the family, said: "Time and time again we see tragic cases like that of Poppy-Arabella, where people are either killed or maimed by motorists who should never have been on the road.

“This deadly legal loophole, where medical professionals are not obliged to tell the DVLA about motorists who are unsafe to drive, but also feel they are unable to because of patient confidentiality, simply has to be closed to prevent more unnecessary and pointless deaths. We call on the Government to listen to what happened to Poppy-Arabella, take note of our research and what the public has had to say and introduce a law that would save many lives.”

More than eight in 10 believe that everyone should have an on obligatory eye test at the age of 70 while a third believe all motorists should have to retake their driving test at the same age.

This survey shows the public's overwhelming support for changing the law. We urge Parliament to take the case of Poppy-Arabella seriously to prevent such a devastating tragedy occurring again.

But it is not just the over 70s who should have regular eye tests, with 84 per cent of people saying that all motorists should have regular examinations, with almost a quarter believing drivers should undergo one every year.

Almost four in 10 feel that the current eye test for the driving test exam – being able to read a number plate from 67ft or 20 metres – is insufficient and should be updated.
Poppy-Arabella’s mum Rachel added: “Poppy-Arabella left her home on the day happy and excited to see her friends at nursery. She never got there. It is our hope that with the results of the survey and support of the public, this campaign will create the necessary law to protect lives and prevent tragedy.”

See our story "The Profession needs to Act!"

Co-op to sell chemists and opticians in East of England.

May 2018

As reported by BBC Look East news, the Ipswich-based East of England Co-op is selling off its opticians and pharmacies.

The company said despite investment in the 11 stores, they were not making enough money.

It said it hoped to transfer the businesses as going concerns and so "protect the positions of our colleagues".
The National Pharmacy Association said trading conditions across England were "exceptionally tough". It blamed government funding cuts and inflated wholesale prices for medicines.

Six pharmacies, three in Ipswich and one each in Felixstowe, Stowmarket and Saxmundham will go.

There are five opticians affected: in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Lowestoft and Clacton and Stanway over the border in Essex.

In a statement, the East of England Co-Op said: "Market conditions have meant these businesses have struggled to make a sustained positive contribution, despite significant investment.
"As a result of this we have placed them on the market for sale."

FODO commits to expanding primary eye care, integrating ophthalmic services and pushing for lower VAT on optical goods

May 2018

At FODO's annual strategy meeting, the FODO Group Board and industry leaders met to review eye health needs and to plan how we will support members to expand primary and community services in order to meet growing demand for high-quality eye health services, both within and outside of hospitals.

Looking ahead with confidence and energy, we committed to more primary eye care, to integrate ophthalmic services across boundaries to meet public needs and to push for lower VAT on optical goods to help patients.

The event was launched with a review of the growing application of artificial intelligence in eye care, led by Professor James Wolffsohn of Aston University, followed by forensic analysis of the operating environments and trends for eye health both within and outside of the NHS, in the Irish health service and across sensory impairment.

City University OpSoc society enjoys an evening to remember at Royal Horseguards.

May 2018

The OpSoc Ball105 attendees were at the very luxurious The Royal Horseguards Hotel on April 20th in Embankment overlooking the Thames. The tickets allowed entry into the raffle, so no extra money was raised, but we will be calculating any excess to see if we can contribute to VAO after the society's balance is settled> OpSoc took part in a VAO fundraiser earlier in the academic year.

The raffle was won by Nabiha Dattu, a final year student, City University. She said, “I am really grateful to have won the lens racks from Louis Stone it was the one piece of equipment I felt was missing and really wanted before I started pre-reg. Can't wait to start using them on little kids!”

“Plans in the future for the OpSoc society have grown a lot this year thanks to our new Students' Union setup, making registration really easy. As such, there's been a fair amount of interest from prospective new committee members, who will be looking to continue the close partnership with Louis Stone! The EyeBall is definitely a staple event of any Optometry Society (OpSoc) and as such will feature next year.”

“We're also looking to collaborate with other OpSocs across the country to bring about OPFEST 2019, bringing together new future optometrists for a large national social - watch this space!' said Ali Yasen, Finance Officer, City University

Image shows:
President Jagriti Jyoti, prize-winner Nabiha Dattu, Communications Officer Zaynah Korimbocus, Finance Officer Ali Yasen

Parliamentary amendment to exempt smaller GOS providers from onerous DPO requirements fails.

May 2018

Despite calls from many professional bodies involved in Primary Care who backed an amendment to the Data Protection Bill which was debated in parliament on Wednesday ahead of the introduction of the GDPR on 25 May, the requests went unheard. The amendment, which failed, would have exempted primary care providers from the definition of a ‘public authority’, thus avoiding the requirement to appoint of a data protection officer (DPO).

Unfortunately, although the Government expressed “sympathy” with primary care providers affected by the DPO requirement, it chose to reject the amendment, arguing that health data protection was paramount and that it did not seem unreasonable for those processing such data to meet the proposed requirement.

Our professional leaders concerns about the impact of the Data Protection Bill on primary care providers and reasons for supporting amendment 19 are explained in a joint statement with the British Dental Association (BDA), the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) here.

"We are extremely disappointed with the Government’s position and thank members who supported the amendment. We will, of course, be following up with DCMS, the lead government department, to make our case and will make sure you are kept informed of any relevant developments," said a spokeman form FODO.

GOC erases Greater Manchester based optometrist.

May 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to erase Jonathan Gains, an optometrist based in Bury, from its register. He will now be unable to practise as an optometrist in the UK.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct relating to the misleading and dishonest amendment of patient records in addition to issuing prescriptions and prescribing and recommending new glasses that were not clinically indicated.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Ian Crookall, said: “The Committee was satisfied that the registrant’s misconduct was a serious departure from the relevant professional standards with the potential for serious patient harm. The registrant had abused his position of trust. There were repeated errors which the registrant sought to cover up dishonestly. The Committee has also concluded that the registrant has displayed a persistent lack of insight into the seriousness or consequences of his actions.”

“Balancing all of these factors and after taking into account all the evidence before it, the Committee determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction is that of erasure.”

“The Committee considered that this order was necessary to protect the public, mark the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession and to send to the public and the profession a clear message about the standard of conduct required from members of the profession.”

Mr Gaines has until 31 May 2018 to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate suspension order. The erasure will take effect 1 June 2018.

GOC suspends Plymouth based student optometrist

May 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Courtney Lee Jones, a student optometrist based in Plymouth, from its register for a period of twelve months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct. The registrant, who worked as an optical assistant, was dishonest in that he removed a manual from his work, retained it at home without asking the owner’s permission and intended to keep the manual. In addition, he removed £10 from a charity box located at his work and only returned it once he was aware its removal was discovered.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Pamela Ormerod, said: “The Committee considered that the facts found proved in the allegations were deliberate and amounted to a pattern of dishonest behaviour. The Committee considered that the registrant had abused trust, attempted to conceal his wrongdoing and brought suspicion on his colleagues. Further, the Committee considered that the registrant’s actions were for financial gain.”

“The Committee was in no doubt that the registrant’s past actions did bring the profession into disrepute and given the seriousness of the misconduct identified, including dishonesty, that public confidence in the profession would be seriously damaged if a finding of current impairment was not made.”

“In the particular circumstances of this case the Committee considered that whilst some risk of repetition remained it was not such a significant risk that a suspension order would not adequately protect the public.”

Mr Jones has until 28 May 2018 to appeal his suspension. If no appeal is lodged, the suspension order will take effect on 29 May 2018.

OG and Ridgway form alliance for Oliver Goldsmith Photograph Collection

May 2018

OF Photographic Collection
Oliver Goldsmith and David Ridgway are pleased to announce that they have agreed a joint distribution to handle the new Oliver Goldsmith Photograph Collection of spectacle frames for the UK market,  by creating a premium division within Ridgway Optical Supplies Ltd.

The Photograph Collection is designed in London and made in Italy.

To see the Photograph Collection, please contactRidgway Head Office

1 in 4 revealed to not have eyes tested since passing driving test, as health initiative hits CV Show in Birmingham.

May 2018

VE Vision vanVisitors to Commercial Vehicle Show at NEC urged to take advantage of free eye tests

A healthcare initiative by Vision Express, offering free eye tests from the Vision Van at the CV Show in Birmingham, has revealed:

• 26% had not had an eye examination since passing their driving test

• 81% were overdue an eye test

• 17% had never had their eyes tested

• 62% required a new prescription

Guests and exhibitors at this year’s Commercial Vehicle show were warned of the dangers of not looking after their eye health after over 80% of visitors to the Vision Van were found to be overdue an eye test. Worryingly, 26% - 1 in 4 - confessed to not having had a vision check since passing their driving test.

VE Vision vanThe Vision Express Vision Van was stationed at the NEC Birmingham for the 2018 show from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th April, to raise awareness of eye health by offering free eye tests to industry experts.

It was revealed that a shocking 81% of those who took advantage of the free eye test initiative were overdue a test, with 62% requiring a new prescription after testing.

The Commercial Vehicle Show is held every year in Birmingham, attracting professionals from the road and transport industry from across the globe – including regular HGV drivers. Despite this, it was discovered that 17% of those who came to see the Vision Van while at the exhibition had never had an eye test.

Oli Willson, 34, from Loughborough, came on-board the van for a free eye test due to recently experiencing discomfort in one eye, but admitted to never having his eyes tested before. “I’ve never had a test because I’ve always thought my vision was alright, but I’ve recently been having a twitch in one eye, so it was great that I saw the van at the show today, in a place that I wouldn’t have expected, which actually made me do it.”

He added: “I think the van is a great idea as we have such busy lifestyles now. With things such as work and children, trying to get in to do simple things like an eye test is always difficult. I didn’t know what to expect due to never having had one before and I asked quite a lot of questions, but the test was good, and the team was great. The process was explained well and it was easy. It’s good to know that there are no problems and I’ll be having regular tests now as I’m getting older.”

Fellow visitor to the van, Alistair Couper, was given a referral by the on-board optometrist due to minor pressure behind the eye. The 52-year-old, who had travelled from Halifax in West Yorkshire to the show, said: “I’m exhibiting at the CV Show and one of my staff told me about the Vision Van. I was having some discomfort and pain in my eye and I was due an eye test, so it was the perfect opportunity. It was over a year ago since I’d last had an eye test.

He added: “I’ve been given a referral letter for the doctor for a blood pressure check, which is very useful. I’m delighted that I came on-board today – it was a very professional service and I would encourage all of my staff to get regular eye tests, especially as they’re high computer users.”

Vision Express launched its brand new Vision Van at the beginning of the year, and the high-tech mobile eye testing facility is journeying across the UK to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining regular eye tests, especially for drivers.

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: “‘Our Eye Tests Save Lives campaign specifically targets drivers, to encourage them to consider if their sight is up to scratch before they get behind the wheel. Statistics indicate that around 3,000 road casualties every year are down to people driving with below par vision – so it is a significant road safety issue. We are committed to addressing it by attending events such as the CV Show and offering free tests on the Vision Van. And the great news is that policy-makers are now supporting our message, with the DVLA including reminders about getting an eye test in the photo licence renewal letters it sends out.”

Richard Burnett, CEO at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), one of the CV Show's three partner organisations, added: “The CV Show is one of the largest transport industry events of its kind and exactly the right audience for Vision Express to reach out to –professional drivers and motoring enthusiasts, plus hauliers, operators and manufacturers – with the crucial message about the importance of regular eye tests.

“For many visitors driving is an integral part of daily life and for some it’s their livelihood. It’s staggering that Vision Express found that almost a fifth of visitors to the Vision had never had their eyes tested, so we know there’s still a very important job to be done to make the UK’s roads safer.”

GOC suspends West Midlands based optometrist.

April 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Sanjiv Sharma, an optometrist based in the West Midlands, from its register for a period of three months.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct. The Registrant, who worked as a locum for a supermarket chain, was dishonest by taking five beer glasses, provided as a free gift for customers buying a promotional pack of beer, when he did not buy the corresponding promotional packs of beer.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Ian Crookall, said: “The Committee accepted that the transactional value of the goods was small, but that was beside the point. Any misconduct, however trivial, by a registered optometrist had the potential to damage the reputation of the registered person and also the profession. The public rightly expect the highest standards of personal conduct from registered professionals."

The Committee decided that any sanction must be proportionate to the level of risk posed by the Registrant, in this case the risk to the public interest and the upholding of regulatory standards.

The Committee was satisfied that an appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case was to impose a period of suspension. Balancing the public interest in marking the gravity of dishonest misconduct in a registrant whose insight was incomplete even after a period of two years, the Committee determined that a period of three months suspension was appropriate.”

Mr Sharma has until 20 May 2018 to appeal his suspension. If no appeal is lodged, the suspension order will take effect on 21 May 2018.

Day 4 on the Big Blind Walk with Julian Jackson.

April 2018

4 Wednesday 02/05/18 Lostwithiel, Cornwall Launceston, Cornwall 24.7 B3254

Big Blind WalkYou can check out what Julian is achieving each day by viewing the tracker attached to him. Click here

Yesterday, joined by locals and Dr. Roberts.

"It was a long slog from Truro to Lostwithiel, a mixture of busy roads and wonderful trails across the countryside." said Julian.

"Again we experienced such a positive reaction from passers by who gave us donations!Dr Sarah Roberts joined us for some of the way – Please do visit here" Sensing Nature

You can view the entire route here . Julian would love you to join him on any part of his walk, why not send representatives from your practice on the day he's passing by, take pictures and send them to us who will forward them on to @bigblindwalk. Get your practice name in print both here and on the public sight.

PHN is a media partner of the Big Blind Walk. Good luck Julian.

Eddie Watson awarded FODO Life Membership.

April 2018

Eddie Watson
Former FODO Director Eddie Watson was awarded our prestigious Life Membership award for long and outstanding service to FODO and the optical sector this week.

Eddie served two stints as a FODO Director between May 2007 and November 2017 and retires this week from Boots Opticians after 38 distinguished years in optometry.

We would like to thank Eddie again for his endeavours, and wish him a very happy and hard-earned retirement!

[Pictured (l-r) – Former FODO Chair Paul Carroll presenting Eddie Watson with his award]

First of new generation OCT installed at Kingston independent

April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2018

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

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

Photo credit: The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ophthalmic Lenses Availability - New 2018 Edition published

April 2018

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

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

• Manufacturers’ data

• Lens data files

• An availability index

• PPL corridor length and fitting heights

• Materials, tints and coatings

• Lens engravings list

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

Order your copy here

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

April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2108

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mykita now Product Design Champions

April 2018

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

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

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

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


April 2018


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Social Media for Louis Stone on Instagram.

April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Obituary, Gerald Bryan

April 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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