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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, July to September 2018


New book published by popular writer an optometrist and a a member of the SMC Court.
Leading optical providers team up with sights set on better choice for drivers.
Children’s eye test rates still too low, warns national optician as it launches updated protocol to help identify eye cancer in babies and toddlers
Vista mesh lens relieves visual symptoms of Lyme disease
Tesco and Vision Express join forces to put better health in the frame.
Thea's first TV advertising Campaign.
NEHW starts today September 24th
NHS wins at Judicial Review over the use of Avastin
Perkins warns about Britain’s ageing workforce at eye health risk
FODO welcomes new NHS England Chair
National Eye Health Week plans in the making!
Drivers who fail to read a number plate when stopped by police will have their licences revoked immediately in a new crackdown.
GOC suspends Manchester based optometrist
Children’s eye health at risk as parents believe sight tests take place at school
AIO calls on Matt Hancock to address inappropriate use of taxpayers’ money to fund ‘free’ or discounted sight tests.
Happy Birthday Philip, 100 Years young today.
DVLA asks drivers to look again in new EYE 735T campaign.
La Matta: the new communication campaign 2018.
Should family-focused nursing be recognised in the UK?
Tom Davies to unveil Optical Silver 925 Collection at SILMO 2018
Stop motorists “driving blind”, government is urged and professionals are asked to put weight behind campaign.
Peer review study shows accuracy of Osmolarity Measurements key to Dry Eye Management
Vision Van revs it up a gear for driver eye health at action packed Goodwood Festival of Speed
The UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued a MedTech Innovation Briefing (MIB) on the use of the Reichert Ocular Response Analyzer G3 (ORA G3) to measure Corneal Hysteresis (CH)
Matt Hancock MP appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on 9 July 2018.
Ultra Limited entrusts Zed_Comm with its press activities for the European optics market
KAOS: The new communication campaign 2018
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) - EC Committee publishes opinion on potential risks to human health
Read the archived General News from 2nd Quarter 2018.

New book published by popular writer an optometrist and a a member of the SMC Court.

September 2018

"Window of the Soul" By David Baker

Cover of Window of the Soul

Sight is perhaps the most important of all the senses. Yet all of our visual world exists courtesy of two tiny organs, about 20 centimetres in diameter, of incredible complexity - the eyes.

But the eyes are only half the story: WINDOW OF THE SOUL traces the path of light through the intricate structures of the eye and from the eye to to the brain as light is transformed into vision.

How is it that the cornea, the 'window' of the eye is transparent and delicate, yet the structurally almost identical white of the eye is opaque and tough?
How is light focused onto the retina, and how does the retina turn rays of light into electrical signals?

Discover the answer to whether a contact lens can really go round the back of the eye, or whether a surgeon really takes the eye right out of its socket when performing an operation.

Meet some of the sometimes eccentric scientists, from Da Vinci onwards, who discovered the secrets of how the eye and vision works.

Optician, optometrist, ophthalmologist - what's all that about? Who tests your eyes, and what do all those weird tests mean? All those questions you've always wanted to ask, and some you never thought to ask, are explained in WINDOW OF THE SOUL in an easy to follow way.

The book is now published by and is on sale at the publisher, FeedARead's, website (see

In a few weeks time it will be available on the Amazon site.

Leading optical providers team up with sights set on better choice for drivers.

September 2018

AIO, Vision Express, Smart Employee Eyecare, Hakim Group and Leightons join forces for DVLA tender

Smart Employee
Drivers needing DVLA-approved eye tests could soon see their travel time reduced, and have the option to visit independent practices, as well as national retail opticians, if a bid is accepted from a unique consortia of optical companies.

The proposal, from the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO), Vision Express, Smart Employee Eyecare (part of the Duncan & Todd Group, Hakim Group and Leightons Opticians & Hearing is in response to a tender for the DVLA eye testing contract.

The group’s bid for the contract aims to offer drivers better choice and be as inclusive as possible, providing a better geographical spread across hundreds of optical practices and, as a result, limit the distance people must travel for a DVLA sight test.

Previously, patients have had to go outside of their practice for the DVLA eye test. In some cases, resulting in them having to travel long distances to their nearest DVLA-approved store for the test.

As a result, AIO has been intent on ensuring that there is a coherent and inclusive tender for the DVLA contract that provides independent practices with the option to offer the DVLA Eye test should they wish to do so.

Christian French, Chairman of AIO, said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Smart Employee Eye Care, Vision Express, the Hakim Group and Leightons to make this happen. To be clear, this is about inclusivity, and all independent providers are invited to join our tender for the DVLA test, whether or not they are members of AIO.”

A 2012 study by insurance firm RSA estimated that poor vision caused 2,874 casualties in a year, a frightening statistic and one that these optical providers involved in the tender are passionate about continuing to reduce.

Jonathan Lawson, CEO of Vision Express, said: “Since 2015 we have campaigned vociferously about the importance of good driver sight as a crucial way to improve road safety in the UK, so it is only right that we’ve joined together with like-minded optical providers to meet the needs of this DVLA tender and be at the coal face of safeguarding driver vision.

“Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and more than half of our stores can provide the specialist clinical eye health services required by the DVLA. We’re happy to team up with independent practitioners to meet the bid requirements and offer the public better choice and more convenience.”

Frances Rus, Chief Executive of Smart Employee Eyecare, the dedicated service specifically for corporate eyecare as part of the Duncan and Todd Group, commented: “Bringing our expertise in tendering, and the Duncan & Todd network in Scotland, and combining with the AIO network of Independents across the country and the fast-growing Hakim Group to bid for the DVLA contract has been a fantastic and exciting new business opportunity for us.

“The IT systems that we bring to the table will provide a seamless approach for linking up all the participating practices across the country and delivering an efficient and cost-effective solution to the DVLA. We look forward to working with the consortia in providing a first-class service for the public and the DVLA.”

The proposal is aligned to the DVLA and government’s policy to be inclusive to SME companies. By bringing together a wealth of expertise across larger brands, SEE and Vision Express as well as smaller independents, Hakim Group and Leightons, places the joint tender in a unique position to deliver in all respects.

Imran Hakim, CEO of the Hakim Group, said: “Joining up with Smart Employee Eyecare and AIO to tender for the DVLA contract allows independent practices like ours to access the DVLA contract without having to sign up individually.

“It is critical that independents start to increasingly explore new ways to collaborate in this changing landscape to make the most of opportunities like these. This isn't just about the DVLA tender, it is about the fundamental opportunity to build rapport and trust with the public.

“We have already seen how patients that leave for a service that their existing practice doesn’t offer, can have a detrimental long-term impact. This tender also means that we can hook up our IT systems and connectivity with Smart Employee Eyecare making it easy for our practices to offer the DVLA eye test.

Ryan Leighton, CEO of Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care added: “We are really pleased to be joining other leading optical organisations in submitting an inclusive tender for the provision of DVLA eye tests in a convenient way for patients. Our network of practices offers a wide range of clinical services for patients, including hearing care and it is only natural that we would wish to offer a DVLA eye test as well.”

AIO is continuing to contact all Independent practices across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to invite them to become part of the tender. Any interested practice can e-mail or call 0800 1300 486 and register their interest.

Children’s eye test rates still too low, warns national optician as it launches updated protocol to help identify eye cancer in babies and toddlers

September 2018

Vision Express calls on parents to book that all-important check-up for their offspring during National Eye Health Week

VE Kids Alert
As the UKcontinues the week-long campaign that raises awareness of eye health conditions and the importance of maintaining regular sight checks, Vision Express is optimistic that National Eye Health Week (24- 30 September) will encourage parents to take their children’s sight more seriously, amid low NHS eye test uptake rates.

The latest NHS statistics show that while the number of eye tests children are taking on the NHS have increased year-on-year, from 19.2% to 20% in 2017/18, overall, the numbers are low in comparison to levels of almost 24% in 2002/3.

To help combat the problem, Vision Express, who has long been campaigning for children’s eye health to be reprioritised, has taken its own steps to raise awareness of maintaining good eye health practices, from a young age. This has been achieved through the creation and distribution of ‘my first eye test’ videos, which show the step-by-step process parents and their offspring can expect during each stage of a sight check. Plus, its high-profile backing of the Association of Optometrists’ (AOP) A B See campaign.

The national optical retailer has long-partnered with the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust – helping to drive awareness of the rare eye cancer retinoblastoma, which affects babies and toddlers. To date, it has raised more than £500,000 for the charity, to help families affected by the condition.

VE Kids Alert Vision Express was also the first UK opticians to roll out a protocol for its team to follow to ensure a quick and effective referral if retinoblastoma is detected. This Friday (28 September), to coincide with National Eye Health Week’s ‘Children’s day’ theme, it is also relaunching an updated version of the retinoblastoma (Rb) protocol.

Thanks to its campaigning, Vision Express has seen a major surge in the number of free NHS eye test vouchers being used for children aged seven and under, across its network of almost 600 stores nationwide.

Jay Ghadiali, Director of Professional Services at Vision Express, said “It’s unnerving to see that children’s eye test rates in 2017/18 are still so low – with only one child in five taking advantage of their free NHS eye test. We know from talking to parents there is still a lot of confusion around whether check-ups in school are still mandatory – in most cases they’re not.

That means, the onus is on them to make eye tests for their children, as routine as going to the doctors or dentists – it’s important to remember that the children themselves won’t know whether they need glasses without a visit to the optician.

“Healthy eyes are crucial to childhood development, with experts estimating that around 80% of learning is visual. Our expert optometrists are trained to make the eye test child-friendly and tailor it to their individual needs – and thanks to our new Rb protocol, the identification and referral of the devastating eye cancer will hopefully be a lot quicker.”

Vista mesh lens relieves visual symptoms of Lyme disease

September 2018

Visual symptoms of Lyme Disease – just one aspect of the debilitating illness – are being relieved by the innovative spectacle lens, Vista Mesh.

Elisa JoyceEElisa Joyce, 34, has suffered with multiple health problems since contracting Lyme Disease 21 years ago. Reading was extremely challenging, looking at a computer screen often resulted in an attack of vomiting, while migraines, motion sickness and vertigo were daily occurrences. Her optometrist’s suggestion to try a Vista Mesh lens, where the fine filter is barely visible, has brought a dramatic change -

“I went to my optometrist and tried a number of filters, especially for Blue Light filter but they didn’t make any difference. They suggested Vista Mesh and I popped on a sample pair:

It was instant and I just shrieked ‘Jesus, I can see’ – I didn’t realise just how affected my vision had become. They provide dramatic visual relief. It seems visual processing problems are not uncommon with neurological Lyme Disease.

“Looking at the computer screen had been so intensely painful – I suddenly became aware of the extent of the problem when it improved. It doesn’t seem as if anyone really knows why the lenses work, but the effect of the fine mesh is dramatic. I was astounded by the difference the lenses seem to make to my vision. I had found it extremely uncomfortable to drive in poor light due to painful glare and had extreme sensitivity to strip lights and PC monitors after just a few minutes of use.

“I have near 20/20 vision but I appear to find it extremely unpleasant to process everyday visual stimuli. The lenses make it a lot less challenging, and painful to simply see.”

At least 3,000 cases of Lyme Disease are diagnosed in the UK each year, but the belief is that many more are undiagnosed as it is such a complex condition –

“I went through a host of incorrect diagnoses during a 15 year period, including chronic fatigue. I went from being a near County athlete to collapsing and not being able to walk or talk: My mother described me as a breathing corpse for three years. My multiple problems led me to seek care abroad and five years ago Lyme Disease and Babesia were diagnosed. Lyme disease is a multifactorial problem. As a result of the time left untreated a huge number of complex neurological and autonomic nervous system problems developed – Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, for example.

“The Lyme Disease test is very unreliable with many false negatives, consequently, I consider myself perversely lucky to have had an accurate result that is recognised by the Centre for Disease Control. I was eventually treated in New York, as in Upstate New York and Maine they are riddled with Lyme Disease, and am now enrolled on a US Clinical Trial where I am still being treated for Lyme Disease, as a bacterial infection, and for Babesia as a parasitic infection.

“Sadly I found that treatment is devastatingly inadequate in the UK, but it is much more treatable if diagnosed correctly in the early stages before it can cross into the brain and other organs. Through conversations over the years it strikes me that an animal would get better treatment in the UK – the best informed people on Lyme seem to be vets, but at last I seem to be getting somewhere now.”

Norville, the Gloucester-based company which supplies the Vista Mesh lenses, is delighted with the relief that has been provided via Elisa’s optometrist –

“It is very gratifying to our team to learn of such positive outcomes for a variety of conditions. It is doubly gratifying as this is the first time we have had such feedback regarding relief from the symptoms of Lyme Disease, as normally reported cases mention migraine, sensitivity to light flicker, night driving issues and motion sickness,” said Director Frank Norville.

Tesco and Vision Express join forces to put better health in the frame.

September 2018

National Eye Health Week 2018 sees announcement of national optician growing Tesco partnership

The UK’s 17million Tesco Clubcard holders are being encouraged to put an eye test at the very top of their shopping list, as the supermarket giant teams up with Vision Express.

Announced this National Eye Health Week, the deal, which comes into effect on 3 October 2018, will offer £10 eye tests to everyone with a Tesco Clubcard at any Vision Express store nationwide.

With more than 2 million people in the UK living with preventable sight loss, and fears that a further half million will lose their sight by 2020, the long-term partnership hopes to encourage people to have a regular eye test.

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: “We know that 13.8 million adults in the UK don’t have their eyes checked regularly despite the NHS recommendation of every two years, and that indicates a growing long-term problem of sight loss in this country. We are trying to highlight the message that a regular eye test is crucial to safeguarding vision for life.

National Eye Health Week Tesco and VE“This year to improve convenience for our customers, we expanded our Vision Express stores to within over 200 Tesco supermarkets and we’re pleased to be working with them to boost their customers’ health and wellbeing by offering a discounted eye test for £10, to all customers who present their Clubcard when attending an eye test in any Vision Express store across the UK.”

Tash Whitmey, Tesco Membership & Loyalty Director said: “Clubcard is one of the ways we say thank you to our customers and we’re delighted to offer our members a little help in partnership with Vision Express. We know eye health is important to our customers and we hope they take up this offer to receive a discounted eye test, just by simply showing their card.”

To celebrate #EyeWeek, Vision Express will also be taking its sophisticated, eye-catching Vision Van on the road to give out the essential health check for free. The Van has already visited Coventry on Monday 24 September and Northampton on Tuesday 25 September and is due to visit:

• High Wycombe Eden Centre (HP11 2DQ) on Wednesday 26 September
Glaucoma is thought to affect more than 5,500 residents, with the same figure showing at risk of AMD.

• Salisbury Guildhall Square (SP1 1JH) on Thursday 27 September
Surpassing the national average, over 4,200 in Salisbury are believed to have glaucoma, with 11.5% of the local population displaying risk factors for AMD (4,783 people).

At the end of National Eye Health Week, the Vision Van will be stationed at the British Touring Car Championships at Brands Hatch to educate drivers on the importance of regular eye tests.

The high-tech mobile testing unit will be open from 9.45am on each day and passers-by will be invited for a comprehensive free eye test. To follow the #VisionVan visit:

Thea's first TV advertising Campaign.

September 2018

National Eye Health Week
Thealoz® Duo eye drops, one of Thea Pharmaceuticals leading brands is launching its first TV advertising campaign today.

The 20 second advert focuses on the symptoms dry eye sufferers experience, highlighting how Thealoz Duo® offers a unique combination of ingredients that are clinically proven* to relieve these symptoms, without the need for preservatives?

The advert goes through the most common symptoms and why consumers need to consider a preservative free solution. The advert can be seen at

ThealozThe TV ad kicks off wider Thealoz® Duo brand activity across social media and online.

Point of sale for Opticians and Pharmacies is available through the Thea Sales Team.

The advert will be on air throughout the rest of September until 14th October in the ITV Central Region. The campaign follows an incredibly successful year for the Thealoz® Duo and Thea as they have been celebrating their 10th year anniversary supporting the UK with investment in education and innovation in eye health. Thea’s aim is to bring the most advanced formulations in eye care and unique preservative free products to patients.

Today also marks the launch of the new Thea consumer website – which also goes live, its objective is to explain common eye conditions, support patients with a simple symptom checker and drive patients to their nearest Thea stockist.

Doan, S. M. et al. Acta Ophthalmologica (2015); 93: S255.
Snibson, G.R. et al. Cornea (1992); 11(4): 288-93.

NEHW starts today September 24th.

September 2018

National Eye Health Week
Today sees the start of National Eye Health Week which follows an exceedingly large newspaper advertorial within the Sunday Times with help from the backing of Specsavers and the RNIB.

This double the normal yearly spread was the most accurate and readable account of the parlous state of eye health in the UK as things stand.

It highlighted the key objectives of prevention, cure and promotion of new products to help with sight loss. With detailed graphs it showed how many suffer from sight loss of which almost half could be rectified or assisted by intervention.

It also validly asked the question, “Why with such a high profile in the High Street, Opticians are not attracting those whose sight is in danger and why around 25% of the population has never had an eye examination.
High profile celebs have also added their account of loss of sight and the importance of regular eyecare.

The Sunday Times supplement this year is without fault where as in the past we have taken issue with the allowance of online contact lens advertising being seen alongside the copy, this year is a great step forward.

In fact, the entire copy should be plagiarised (legally!) into a document and podcast that is more accessible to the whole population, subsidised by the Government if they are really concerned about sight loss.

A great start to this year’s NEHW. Good luck to all those identifying with this week’s cause.

Read this week’s Raconteur:

NHS wins at Judicial Review over the use of Avastin

September 2018

The ability to save over 500 hundred million pounds arises from a judicial review over the use of Avastin, a much cheaper alternative to Lucentis.

The drug companies Bayer (Avastin) and Novartis (Lucentis) were arguing at the review against the use by the NHS of unlicensed drugs.

Avastin is already recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and costs around £28 per injection compared with £561 for Lucentis. Avastin is, in the UK, only currently licensed for Cancer Treatment.

However NICE in January already accepted that Avastin was safe to use for “wet AMD”.

Mike Burden, President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists said: "Licensing laws are designed to protect patients from poorly regulated unproven drugs, but it is the drug companies' responsibility to apply for a licence."We are treating 40,000 new diagnoses of wet AMD annually - the saving could amount to £500m a year. This amounts to one district hospital being built annually."

David Hambleton, of NHS South Tyneside CCG, said the ruling would result in a rethink for NICE and the MHRA, the UK's drug regulatory body."I think at least we've got some real legal clarity now, so both of the bodies - NICE and the MHRA - will need to look at what their guidance says."Now they have the option of allowing the use of so-called 'off-label' drugs."

In contrast, Dr Sheuli Porkess, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor to The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said:"This extraordinary judgement potentially undermines the regulation of all medicines and by doing that, neither patients nor doctors have clarity on what information to trust."

Its a win win for those suffering with Wet AMD whose treatment as we know has often been severely restricted due to costs involved and who have lost sight through a lack of on-time injections.

Perkins warns about Britain’s ageing workforce at eye health risk as NEHW nears (24th September)

September 2018

The record number of older people in employment in Britain are being urged by a Specsavers and RNIB campaign to make their eye health a priority as pension entitlement ages increase.

Office for National Statistics figures record more than 1.2 million Brits over the age of 65 working , with a further 500,000 expected to be in employment by 2030 .. Additionally, RNIB data shows that the over-65s are almost twice as likely to develop an eye health condition , such as glaucoma or cataracts, that could significantly hinder their ability to do their job effectively. However, RNIB and Specsavers research shows that one in four people are not having an eye test every two years .

Doug PerkinsOptometrist of more than 50 years Doug Perkins, 75, jointly runs Specsavers and is still passionately involved in driving the optical industry forward. He adds: ‘Britain’s baby boomers are finding a new lease of life in the workplace. I know how important it is to keep healthy as the years advance, which of course includes regular eye tests’.

To encourage this ageing workforce to prioritise their eye health and to help support National Eye Health Week (24-30 September) a new multi-million-pound marketing campaign has launched. ‘Don’t Lose the Picture’ – delivers the stark message that sight loss could leave you relying on a bland summary of a vivid image, instead of enjoying the picture in all its colour and meaning.

RNIB Interim CEO, Eliot Lyne, said: ‘With the right support, people with sight loss can continue working, and if you’re an employer, RNIB and other organisations can help you to properly support a member of staff who is losing their sight.

‘Advances in technology mean that blind and partially sighted people can now overcome many of the barriers to work that they have faced in the past, and government schemes, like Access to Work, mean that many of the costs can be met.’

According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Eye Health and Visual Impairment’s See the Light report , which determined that more needs to be done to make eye health a priority, the number of people in the UK that will be affected by sight loss is predicted to increase by more than 10% by 2020 , rising to more than 40% by 2030, due largely to our ageing demographic.

The cost this is having on the economy is also continuing to increase – having risen from £22 billion in 2008 to £28 billion in 2013, with predictions it could reach £30.8 billion by 2020.


• 25% of people are not having an eye test every two years as recommended by the College of Optometrists
• The number of people aged 65+ in employment in the UK in 2018 is 1,224,000.
• The rate of employment of people aged 65+ in 2018 is 10.4% - estimates show there will be 1,712,000people aged 65+ in employment by 2030 – a change of 488,000.
• Sight is the nation’s most precious sense by far; 10 times more people (78% of people) said sight was the sense they fear losing most compared to the next most popular sense, smell (8%), followed by hearing (7%).
• Almost a quarter of people are ignoring the first signs of sight loss; despite complaining of not being able to see properly 23% of people have not visited an optician
• More than 80% of people are not aware that an optician can spot the early signs of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the UK
• People put their boiler before their eye health; half of UK adults have their boiler serviced once a year, over a third renew their mobile phone contract every two years, while 50% of UK adults last had their eyes tested more than a year ago or never
• Research suggests Brits check their teeth more often than their eyes; 42% visit the dentist once every six months (equating to four times over twice years) while 25% of UK adults haven’t had an eye test in the past two years or at all

FODO welcomes new NHS England Chair

September 2018

Lord PriorThe Department of Health and Social Care has that Conservative peer Lord Prior of Brampton will take over from Sir Malcolm Grant as Chair of NHS England later this autumn. Lord Prior was previously a health minister under Jeremy Hunt, with responsibility for productivity (May 2015 to December 2016), Chair of the Care Quality Commission (2013 to 2015) and is currently chair of University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Welcoming the appointment of Lord Prior of Brampton as the new Chair of NHS England, FODO and NCHA CEO David Hewlett said: “As a previous minister for NHS productivity, Lord Prior may be more interested in the solutions we have to offer the NHS in terms of community eye care, hearing and ophthalmology than previous incumbents.

For the ageing population of this country, the epidemic of myopia amongst the young, people on waiting lists with age-related hearing loss and people going blind for want of NHS hospital capacity, this is something devoutly to be wished and which FODO, the NCHA and our partners will actively pursue. “

National Eye Health Week plans in the making!

September 2018

National Eye Health WeekAs plans for the UK’s biggest promotion of vision and eye health are announced organisers are urging the optical profession to get involved in National Eye Health Week and use it as a platform to promote how looking after your eyes has benefits beyond how well you can see. It can help you consider your diet and encourage you to quit smoking for example.

David Cartwright, chair of Eye Health UK, the charity responsible for organising the National Eye Health Week (NEHW) campaign explains: “NEHW provides a unique opportunity for everyone involved in optics to join forces and inspire people to take positive steps to protect their sight – last year 58 per cent of opticians said they saw an increase in the number of sight test bookings during, and immediately after, the Week.”

This year’s campaign, which takes place between 24 – 30 September, will again focus on a different theme each day of the Week.

David continues: “Focusing on a different daily theme gives us a chance to keep refreshing our communications and reach out to some of those groups most at risk of avoidable sight loss.”

Activity to support the Week will include a video produced in collaboration with the NHS as well as resource packs containing everything you need to promote the benefits of good eye care to your local community and raise the profile of the optical profession.

Resources can be downloaded from the Vision Matters website

Ed: As soon as we know the daily plan we will let you know.

Drivers who fail to read a number plate when stopped by police will have their licences revoked immediately in a new crackdown.

September 2018

As reported in the National Press and Media today (Monday 2nd) drivers who fail to read a number plate from 20m (65ft) away when stopped by police will have their licences revoked immediately in a new crackdown.

Three forces in England are planning to test every motorist they stop in a bid to clamp down on drivers with defective eyesight.

Police say data from the tests will be used to improve understanding of the extent of poor driver vision.

The forces taking part are Thames Valley, Hampshire and West Midlands.

Officers can request an urgent revocation of a licence through the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if they believe the safety of other road users will be put at risk if a driver remains on the road.

Under current rules, the only mandatory examination of a driver's vision takes place during the practical test, when learners must read a number plate from 20 metres.

After a person has obtained a licence, it is up to them to inform the DVLA if they develop vision problems.

Sgt Rob Heard, representing the police forces taking part in the campaign, said: "Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences."

He warned that officers will be carrying out eyesight checks "at every opportunity". The power to revoke licences was introduced in 2013 under Cassie's Law, named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who died when an 87-year-old man lost control of his vehicle in Colchester, Essex.

It later emerged he had failed a police eyesight test days earlier, but a legal loophole meant he was allowed to continue driving.

The College of Optometrists reacts to police plans to test drivers’ eye sight. In a comment from Dr Susan Blakeney, Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists, she said:

“We welcome the plans for three police forces to test the eyesight of drivers they stop. People should have their eyes tested regularly by an optometrist to check they can see clearly and are safe to drive, and to ensure that any eye diseases they may have can be caught early so they are less likely to lose their sight.”

GOC suspends Manchester based optometrist

August 2018

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for optometrists and dispensing opticians, has decided to suspend Nasir Butt, an optometrist based in Manchester, 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, relating to dishonestly falsifying a patient’s record, failing to carry out an appropriate examination and failing to record a number of matters in the clinical notes.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Rachel O’Connell, said: “The dishonesty in this case is particularly serious. To falsify a clinical record is a matter of the utmost gravity. The Committee has concluded that the registrant’s fitness to practise is currently impaired on public interest grounds as well as on grounds of public protection.

“The Committee was satisfied that a 12 month period of suspension was sufficient to send an appropriate message about the importance of honesty as a fundamental requirement of the profession.

“The Committee decided to impose an immediate order of suspension on the basis that such an order was necessary for the protection of the public and was otherwise in the public interest.”

Mr Butt has until 12 September 2018 to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate suspension order.

Children’s eye health at risk as parents believe sight tests take place at school

August 2018

Children are missing out on vital eye health care because parents believe their children’s vision is tested at school.

A report[i] released by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) shows that more than half (52%) of parents with school age children thought their child would have a full sight test at primary school.

Yet, sight tests are not offered routinely at schools throughout the UK, which could mean that many children are suffering with undiagnosed eye conditions, despite there being a ‘window of time’ for treating certain issues.
The study also showed that nearly three quarters (74%) of practising optometrists have seen children in the past year who had vision problems that could have been treated more successfully if they had been diagnosed at an earlier age[ii].

However, a quarter (24%) of 4-16-year-olds had never been taken for a sight test by their parents.
Over a quarter (27%) of parents admitted to waiting for their child to show certain behaviours before taking them for a sight test, such as sitting too close to the television or holding books close to their eyes.

While one in seven (14%) admitted to only booking a sight test when their child told them they were having trouble seeing.
Optometrist and Clinical Advisor for the AOP, Farah Topia explained: “The AOP’s research demonstrates that unfortunately there is a huge gap between what most parents think is provided, and the eye health care that children actually receive at school, through vision screening. Many parents also don’t realise that there is a window of opportunity to treat certain eye conditions which is why many practitioners are seeing children come in, with a condition that could have been treated much more effectively, had they been seen earlier.

“It’s important to remember that conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye as it is often known, can have a detrimental impact on social and academic development as well as career options, later in life. This is why, the AOP is advocating that parents take their children for a sight test, which is NHS-funded for those below the age of 16 – as it’s the best way to make sure conditions are picked up and treated early”.

Ms Topia added: “As a rule of thumb, it is good for children to have their first sight test around the age of three, but children can have a sight test at any age, if a problem is suspected.”

Cost also played a part: one in 10 (10%) parents wrongly believed they must pay for sight tests for under 16s and the overwhelming majority (83%) would be more inclined to book a sight test for their child knowing that it is funded by the NHS.

Key data:
• Over 3.4million[iii] 4-16 year-olds in the UK have been diagnosed with a sight problem
• 13% of children have an undiagnosed common sight problem that impacts their learning and development[iv]
• Nearly all optometrists (94%) believed parents should receive more information about their children’s eye health through schools, GP surgeries, health visitors and the personal health record book[v]
• The majority of optometrists (88%) were aware that many parents were unsure to what extent their child's eyes are tested at school
• One in ten (11%) parents believed children don’t need sight tests unless they start showing symptoms, like straining to see something[vi]
• One in five teenagers in the UK are short-sighted[vii]
• One in 50 children will develop amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye. Amblyopia can become more difficult to treat as a child grows older so it’s important to get their vision checked early[viii]
To raise awareness of the importance of vision for a child’s development, the AOP is launching its A B See campaign – designed to help make sure children achieve their full potential.

As part of the campaign, the AOP is recommending that parents take their children for an NHS-funded sight test, at their local opticians, every two years, or more often if their optometrist recommends it.

This press release has been widely reported in National Media.

AIO calls on Matt Hancock to address inappropriate use of taxpayers’ money to fund ‘free’ or discounted sight tests.

August 2018

The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) has written to Matt Hancock, the new Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care to call for changes in which the GOS1 fee can be claimed in respect of eye tests.

AIO has proposed that Government stipulates optical outlets cannot claim a fee for an eye examination or sight test from GOS public funds that exceeds any sight test fee advertised or offered to the public by that outlet or associated group. In practical terms this means the Contractor shall not demand or accept from PCSE the payment of any fee or other remuneration in respect of any item of service:
86:1 which has not been provided under the Contract; or

86.2. for which another claim has already been submitted to PCSE; or

86.3 which exceeds the lowest advertised sight test or eye examination fee offered by the Contractor.

For the sake of clarity, the Association has also suggested that GOS1 claim forms include the statement:

“No claims can be made for GOS sight tests for sums greater than the practitioner’s lowest advertised sight test price.”

Clearly this does not stop opticians offering ‘free’ eye tests, just that the Government and taxpayers will not be paying for them.

Christian French, Chairman of AIO commented: ‘it is not right that taxpayers’ money is being used to fund what are being described as ‘free’ eye tests for the public, when patently they are not free if the Government is paying for them. Ultimately what we are seeking is transparency in terms of who is paying for sight tests on the High Street. We have proposed a meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss our proposals’

In its letter, AIO has taken the opportunity to endorse the Optical Confederation (of which AIO is not a member) call for moving non-emergency services into community optical practices to help avoid sight loss and save the NHS a considerable amount of money.

Happy Birthday Philip, 100 Years young today.

August 2018

Dr Philip ColeFounding President of the College of Optometrists celebrates his centenary

Today Dr Philip Cole OBE FCOptom, Founding President of the College of Optometrists, celebrates his 100th birthday.

Dr Cole became a member of the British Optical Association in 1944, served on the College Council from 1980-1996, worked as the College’s professional adviser from 1984-1995, and remains an esteemed member of the profession, and a College Fellow.

Philip has been a strong supporter for practice-based research and foresaw the benefits to the profession from supporting the development of its academic members and researchers in particular. He was also an advocate of the development of the College’s postgraduate research funding programme.

The College’s Practice Based Research Award is named the Philip Cole Award, in recognition of his advocacy for developing optometrists as researchers, and his position as the Founding President of the College of Optometrists in 1980. Philip is also the co-author of the first volume of the History of the College of Optometrists (1980–1998), in which the early years of the College’s support for research is documented.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research at the College, said: “We are really pleased to see Philip celebrating his centenary. The College owes him a great deal, and this is a chance to remind members of the commitment he has given to the College and the profession, especially to fostering research within optometry in the UK.”

Prof Bruce Evans FCOptom, who runs the practice that Philip Cole founded over 70 years ago, said: “Dr Cole’s pursuit of clinical excellence established an ethos that still defines our practice today, and his influence is still felt in the broader profession. As in his work at the College, Philip’s foresight and leadership have influenced generations of optometrists. We all wish Phil congratulations and our best wishes on his 100th birthday.”

DVLA asks drivers to look again in new EYE 735T campaign.

August 2018

On Monday the DVLA launched a national eyesight awareness campaign, encouraging drivers to take the ‘number plate test’ to meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving.

While this is to be welcomed and a reminder to drivers of the importance of ensuring their eye sight is good enough to drive, it is regrettable that the DVLA still uses the number plate test, rather than requiring drivers to have a regular full sight test.

Their full text reads, simply:

"Drivers will be encouraged to take the ‘number plate test’ - a quick and easy way to check they meet the minimum eyesight requirements for driving. By law, all drivers must meet the minimum eyesight standards at all times when driving - this includes being able to read a number plate from 20 metres.

The campaign is reminding the public that they can easily check their eyesight by taking the 20 metres test and is pointing out some ways to quickly identify 20 metres at the roadside.

It is advising that 5 car lengths or 8 parking bays can be an easy way to measure the distance.

The campaign is encouraging anyone with concerns about their eyesight to visit their optician or optometrist for an eye test.

Dr Wyn Parry, DVLA’s Senior Doctor, said:" The number plate test is a simple and effective way for people to check their eyesight meets the required standards for driving. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to work out what 20 metres looks like at the roadside - this is typically about the length of 5 cars parked next to each other - and then test yourself on whether you can clearly read the number plate. It’s an easy check to perform any time of day at the roadside and takes just a couple of seconds.

" Having good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so it’s really important for drivers to have regular eye tests. Eyesight can naturally deteriorate over time so anyone concerned about their eyesight should visit their optician - don’t wait for your next check-up."

ED: Its an easy way in seconds because it tells you so little about your eyesight limitations!!!

La Matta: the new communication campaign 2018.

July 2018

La Matta 2018
Bewitching, mysterious, fascinating: here is the female protagonist of the new communication campaign signed La Matta, the unmistakable brand of Area98 that has always stood out for its ability to interpret extravagance "with style".

A modern and sensual woman who gives voice to her femininity and, through a real game of metamorphosis, to her "animal instinct". Now her hair takes on the appearance of a leopard’s or a zebra’s fur or peacock feathers, reflecting the animal inspiration of a pair of glasses designed for those who love to express their personality with determination and elegance.

The protagonists, in the faces of the women represented as well as in the models of the collection, are the colors: bright, intense and decidedly bold, they give a deliberately exuberant look not only to the patterns reproduced on the women’s hair, but also to the eyes and lips of the La Matta woman, and they harmoniously mix in with the appealing nuances - sometimes iridescent - of the acetates.

Thanks to exclusive motifs and precious goldsmith-inspired decorations, the frames exhibited in the new campaign brighten the look of the woman who wears them and make her emerge from the black background of the images: a striking chromatic contrast that once again evokes the ever-changing, enigmatic nature of the La Matta personality.

A sophisticated range of colors, unexpected combinations, sinuous shapes: everything in the new shots, La Matta wisely captures the essence of feminine seduction and the eclectic soul to which the brand aims to appeal.

Should family-focused nursing be recognised in the UK?

July 2018

Nurses are being asked if the concept of ‘family nursing’ should be formally adopted in the UK, to help the growing number of carers who look after sick relatives.

The philosophy of ‘family-focused nursing’ is embedded into several health systems around the world, such as in some states in the USA, where relatives are actively recognised as partners in giving and planning care to chronically-ill people.

But the type of nursing that has developed in the UK has tended to focus on the individual rather than the whole family, although some nurses do try and extend their support to the relatives. Where that happens, it is often the result of initiatives taken by individual nurses.

Researchers now want to hear what people in the nursing profession think about the idea of family-focused care being formalised in the UK.

They say there is little information about nurses’ attitudes to family-centred care and would like to hear views on questions like:

• Do nurses feel they have time to support the family?

• Would it place additional stress on an already overstretched nursing profession?

• Would it actually decrease the workload?

The study is being conducted by a consortium of nurses in the UK and Ireland and they are asking nursing colleagues to respond to an online questionnaire, click here

It takes about 10 minutes to complete and respondents will remain anonymous.

Veronica Swallow, Professor of Child and Family Healthcare at the University of Leeds and co-lead of the project, said: “Family-focussed nursing is implicit in a lot of the work nurses do but it is a concept that is not necessarily widely recognised by policy makers.”

“The result is no-one is accountable for looking after the welfare of carers of chronically ill relatives.Caring for a loved one who is ill has a major impact on the carer. They can experience psychological stress, become ill themselves and may have to give up work. The carers often feel under-valued. This has a major effect on carers’ quality of life.”

According to the 2013 State of Caring survey, 84 per cent of unpaid carers say the pressure of looking after an ill relative was taking a toll on their health. Two thirds felt the lack of support was resulting in illness.
Professor Swallow added that caring for carers was vital for the delivery of effective healthcare, because family members were often the ‘glue’ between the healthcare team and the patient, sometimes providing round-the-clock support.

She (VS) said: “If no one is looking out for the carer, providing guidance and support if they are struggling, then the costs of looking after the sick relative will come back to the NHS. So it makes sense to ensure carers are also being looked after.”

The results of the survey will be used to see if online resources can be created to provide nurses with more information about family nursing.

According to the 2011 Census, 5.4 million people in the UK provided unpaid care for a friend or family member.

Tom Davies to unveil Optical Silver 925 Collection at SILMO 2018

July 2018

Optical Silver 925
British brand Tom Davies announces its participation in this year’s Silmo show from September 28th to October 1st 2018.

Following the successful launch of silver 925 sunglasses earlier this year, Tom Davies has designed new optical frames featuring a combination of natural horn and silver 925.

This collection will be launched in January 2019.

The Tom Davies team will be hosting a press preview of the new precious metal collection during Silmo.

The Tom Davies stand will be located at Hall 5L 089.


July 2018

Driving Blind Campaign

BATH politicians and residents have launched a national campaign to stop UK motorists ‘driving blind’ in a new grassroots public safety movement starting in Milsom Street, Bath.

July 2018

They said it is shocking that UK drivers can pass their test without having a full examination to prove their eyes are roadworthy, then drive for the rest of their lives unpoliced, controlling “a ton of metal”.

The Driving Blind campaigners are lobbying the Government to take direct action to cut road accidents caused by drivers with defective vision, a behaviour pattern linked to 3,000 casualties every year. It is backed by a nation-wide petition.

It follows a number of recent fatal accidents linked to defective vision including the death of three-year-old Poppy-Arabella Clarke at a pelican crossing. She was killed by a pensioner who admitted he had not seen the red light or the pelican crossing and had previously been advised to stop driving by an optician.

Bath optician Mike Killpartrick and campaign spokesman Nigel Corbett are presenting a new manifesto for a change in legislation to legally require drivers to be tested by an optical professional before their driving test and at licence renewal applications.

Backed by local MP Wera Hobhouse and Martin Cooke who is a member of GEM executive council, all of the campaigners were in Milsom Street promoting the petition in Bath before launching it in the rest of the UK.

“The only test of a driver’s visual capacity is a basic vision test by a non-medically qualified driving test centre employee and this only considers their ability to read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres and ignores other essentials such as peripheral vision,” said Corbett. “Road safety should start with good vision and current procedures lack any medical rigour to substantiate that most people are visually fit to drive.”

DrivingBlind Facebook postcard
 Campaigner Suzanna Johnson Says NO To Driving Blind pictured right.

The ‘Road Safety Starts with Good Vision Manifesto’ will be presented in the House of Commons this autumn, in a bid to bring the UK into line with countries like Italy, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Serbia and Turkey.

Mike Killpartrick, who has been running free eye examinations for Bath drivers at the Ellis and Killpartrick practice, said: “We will test drivers’ visual acuity and peripheral vision. We know that one in four people have never had their eyes tested since passing their driving test, and vision changes are easy to miss until it is too late.

“But what we want is signatures on the Driving Blind petition. The UK’s driving vision test procedures are unchanged since they were introduced in 1937 when there were far fewer cars on the road. My clients know this is a public health disaster, affecting other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and are pledging their support.”

Wera Hobhouse MP said: “I’m proud that Bath is at the forefront of launching this nation-wide movement. I’m sure most Bath drivers are very responsible about their driving vision, but why must we share the roads with others who are less aware?

“I’m supporting the campaign for statutory vision screening for all drivers during their driving life. It is madness that UK regulations are among the weakest in Europe and rely on self-regulation and self-reporting”.

Leader of Bath & Northeast Somerset Council, Tim Warren, is also supporting the campaign and added: “There are heart-breaking stories of deaths directly caused by drivers with unfit vision, often after drivers were advised to stop driving. We know that everyone in Bath will support this grass-roots movement, and that the rest of the UK will then follow. Then Government will have to debate this Cinderella issue.”

Bath and North East Somerset ranked second from the bottom in the UK for road safety performance in a 2017 study by the Road Safety Foundation. Out of 78 counties, it ranked at position 77.

DVLA figures indicate that nearly 50,000 motorists had their licence revoked or refused between 2012 and 2016 due to poor vision. A 2014 study by the road safety pressure group, Brake, showed that 1.5 million UK motorists had never had their eyes tested.

To sign the Driving Blind petition visit

Stop motorists “driving blind”, government is urged and professionals are asked to put weight behind campaign.

July 2018

A new national campaign to stop UK motorists ‘driving blind’ is being launched by Essilor Ltd, with support from the Association of Optometrists (AOP), independent opticians, MPs and activists.

Driving Blind Campaign
The Driving Blind Campaign is petitioning the Government to take direct action to cut road accidents caused by drivers with defective vision.

Optical professionals are being asked to support the campaign by signing the petition and promoting it to colleagues, patients and MPs.

Campaign spokesman Nigel Corbett from Essilor will present a manifesto for new legislation that requires drivers to have their sight tested by an optometrist before their driving test and at every subsequent licence renewal application.

“The UK allows most new drivers to control a fast moving ton of metal, when the only assessment of their visual capacity is a basic vision test conducted by a non-medically qualified driving test centre worker, which only considers the driver’s ability to read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres,” said Corbett.

“In theory, they can then drive for the rest of their lives without ever having to prove their vision is fit for purpose. We need drivers to provide evidence from an optometrist that their eyes are roadworthy before they get their licence and then at regular intervals over their driving career.”

Drivers’ vision standards shown on the website state the required levels of visual acuity measured by a ‘Snellen scale’ adding the required ‘field of vision’ which ‘can be tested by opticians’, Corbett said. “This is not enough. Tests must be mandatory, and done by an optometrist to ensure professional rigour. We know sight worsens with age yet we allow people to self-assess their eyes are fit to drive.”

Corbett will present his Road Safety Starts with Good Vision Manifesto in the House of Commons. It requires new drivers to have a sight test, with an optometrist, with follow-up tests every decade up to the age of 70, then every three years. It calls for test results to be supplied with licence renewal paperwork.

Corbett said in its current form, the Government is failing to meet its own regulatory requirements. The road-safety figures, he adds, make sobering reading.

It has been estimated that there are 3,000 casualties on UK roads every year where poor vision is a key factor according to the RSA, which Corbett said “is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as many drivers will not admit their poor vision caused an accident due to the potential consequences.”

AOP Professional Adviser, Henry Leonard said: “Eyesight is not always recorded as a factor at a road traffic accident but we believe the UK system creates unnecessary risk for road users. The current law relies on self-reporting and an initial number plate test – a practice that falls behind almost every other European country. The AOP is keen to see this rectified – we believe that all drivers should prove that they meet the legal requirement when they apply for a licence and then every 10 years, at licence renewal.

“We know from studies that poor vision has a detrimental impact on reaction times and there have been numerous tragic cases that were likely avoidable, had a robust system been in place. Because sight changes can be gradual, often people won’t realise that their vision has deteriorated over time or they may self-regulate – driving less, more slowly and where they are familiar. This is why the AOP advises everyone has a sight test every two years as a way of ensuring that they meet the legal driving standard – often an optometrist will be able to help them to reach this standard if they don’t.”

AOP research in 2017 revealed that more than one in three optometrists had seen a patient in the previous month who had vision below the legal standard, yet ignored advice and continued to drive. Its 2017 consumer poll showed that 30% of current road users had doubted whether their vision was adequate, yet continued to drive.

Figures obtained from the DVLA indicate that nearly 50,000 motorists had their licence revoked or refused in the period from 2012 to 2016 due to poor vision.

The World Health Organisation declared poor eyesight to one of the main risk factors for road crashes. A global study by the University of Milan has claimed that sixty per cent of motoring accidents are a result of visual processing errors.

A Brake study in 2014 showed that 1.5 million UK motorists had never had their eyes tested. A Direct Line study in April 2016 revealed that 37 per cent of people had not had an eye test in the previous two years.

The new Driving Blind campaign follows several high-profile cases in 2017 where poor vision was a factor in fatal accidents.

In March 2017, a Sutton Coldfield pensioner, John Place, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for killing toddler Poppy Arabella Clarke as she crossed the road with her mother. He told police that he had not seen the red light or the pelican crossing. Place had previously been advised by his optometrist that his vision was not adequate to continue driving.

Peter Scriven was jailed for three years after killing a 65-year-old pedestrian in November 2017. He had never been for a sight test, was blind in one eye and when tested, could only read a number plate at a distance of no more than three metres.

Newport man, Nigel Sweeting, 50, was jailed in May 2017 after colliding with a motorcyclist on the M4. He had been advised not to drive by his optometrist in the months leading up to the accident.

Corbett’s manifesto would bring the UK into line with countries like Italy, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Serbia and Turkey, where drivers are tested every 10 years and at five, three or two-year intervals as they get older.

It also calls on employers to test the vision of company car users who hold group one licences and who can do as much mileage as group two drivers.

Corbett said there is huge public demand for change with surveys by the charity Brake and others showing that up to 87 per cent of the public want compulsory sight tests for drivers every 10 years and up to 86 per cent support new drivers being tested by an optometrist.

“We need many drivers to re-think their behaviour here, but for pedestrians, children, cyclists and other road-users, legislation is the best route.

“Contact me and the campaign team to get involved”, said Corbett. “We need social media support, blogs, and local publicity to promote the petition”.

DrivingBlind Facebook postcard
The DrivingBlind Facebook postcard left with "Opticians saying No"

DrivingBlind Facebook postcard
 And the Twitter postcard right

Twitter and Facebook: @DrivingBlindUK #Drivingblind

Above are some social postcards you may like to use too. One says ‘Say no to #DrivingBlind…’ and the other says ‘Opticians say no to #DrivingBlind..’


Peer review study shows accuracy of Osmolarity Measurements key to Dry Eye Management

July 2018

Latest study published in peer-reviewed journal, Cornea, regarding the accuracy of the I-PEN® Tear Film Osmolarity System.

i-pen from GraftonAvailable in the UK though Grafton Optical, the I-PEN® measures tear osmolarity by using electric impedance measurements. The Cornea study was designed to test the accuracy and reliability of this novel handheld osmolarity system for measurement of osmolarity of a NIST traceable solution.

The study confirms that the I-PEN®, when used with an adaptor for in vitro measurements, provides accurate, precise, and reproducible results.

The device allows clinicians to perform osmolarity measurements in a rapid manner, with readings obtained in less than 4 seconds. There is no requirement for calibration because the device is auto-calibrated with each use, and there is no requirement for sample transport, thus avoiding the inherent temperature effects associated with other devices on the market.

I-Pen from Grafton
The study notes that in addition, the measurements performed by the I-PEN are not affected by tear film volume variations, which may occur in patients with very severe dry eye. Because the measurement with this device is conducted in vivo, by simply touching the palpebral conjunctiva with the single-use sensor for a very brief time, the variability introduced for a precise tear film sample is eliminated.

The study concludes that the I-PEN Tear Film Osmolarity System, when used in vivo in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, should provide precise and reproducible results.

Grafton Optical CEO David Thickens commented “This study has shown that the handheld I-Pen Tear Film Osmolarity System is accurate, repeatable and results can be attained in a few seconds, without the disadvantages of other measurement methods. Tear film osmolarity is one of the most important markers for dry eye as specified by the TFOS DEWSII report.”

Read the study in full here.

Vision Van revs it up a gear for driver eye health at action packed Goodwood Festival of Speed

July 2018

Guests put to the test in classic car eye exam at adrenaline-filled event

Shocking 90% of Vision Van visitors at Goodwood found to be overdue an eye test

VE at GoodwoodPetrolheads and car enthusiasts were the latest group to be targeted in Vision Express’ Eye Tests Save Lives campaign, as its state of the art Vision Van joined the action at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Vision Express’ Vision Van was set up amongst the throng of supercars, vintage vehicles and need for speed machines at this year’s festival, taking place at the Goodwood Estate in Chichester – offering free eye tests and raising awareness of the potential dangers of driving without roadworthy vision. Guests at Goodwood were encouraged to take a seat in a classic MG Roadsr and take the test to determine whether their vision was legally roadworthy.

Of the 80 visitors tested on the Van over the four-day event, it was revealed that 90% were overdue an eye test – with over half needing a new prescription and 11 admitting to not having their eyes tested since passing their driving tests. Seven had never had their eyes tested before, while eight had not had their eyes tested in over ten years.

Vision Express is on a mission to safeguard the UK’s roads by raising awareness of the importance of eye tests for drivers after its research found 1 in 4 adults are not having regular eye tests and the only mandatory vision check regarding motoring is reading a registration plate from 20 metres away as part of a standard driving test. As well as getting their eyes checked, passers-by were invited to take a seat in a classic MG Roadster and test whether they had road-legal vision, by shouting out the letters on a typical Snellen eye chart, located at the minimum legal length of 20 metres away. Those who passed the test were waved away with a green flag,

those not passing the exam were shown the dreaded black flag and encourgaged to hop on the van for a free, comprehensive eye test.

VE at GoodwoodVan visitor Phil King hadn’t had his eyes tested in so long, he confessed to not being able to remember the date of his last test. The 44-year-old said: “My working hours are always the wrong time to go into a store and get an eye test, so it was good to be able to take advantage of the Vision Van at Goodwood. It’s something I’ve needed to do for a while, especially as I’ve had only had one eye test since passing my driving test a long time ago. It’s taken me less than half an hour - but it’s a lifetime with your eyes.”

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is held every year at the Goodwood Estate in Chichester and is one of the world's biggest motorsport, car and motorbike celebrations. It brings together the most iconic motoring brands, including Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche, and famous racing stars, for an adrenaline-filled weekend of stimulating exhibitions, action-packed circuit racing and new car showcasing. This year’s event marked its 25th anniversary, with hundreds of cars and motorbikes descending onto the tracks and the Red Arrows taking to the sky, to wow the crowds.

Emma Walsh, vlogger and presenter, who took advantage of a free eye test onboard the Vision Van said, “It was great to visit the Vision Van on behalf of #EyeTestsSaveLives at Goodwood as it’s so important for motorists to have their eyes tested and keep roads safe. As someone who’s always behind the wheel, filming videos for YouTube and often working off a screen – I personally know the importance of keeping your eyes healthy, and visiting the Vision Van is a great vehicle for offering free eye tests and educating people on the importance of good eye health behind the wheel.”

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson, who attended this year’s event, commented: “It was great to take our Vision Van to the famous Goodwood festival and have some fun while still highlighting the importance of maintaining regular eye tests.

“Studies tell us that around 3,000 road casualties every year are down to people driving with below par vision and we have long been campaigning to raise awareness around the link between good eye health and safer roads. With such a captive audience of car enthusiasts, it was the perfect platform to drive home our ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ messages

The UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued a MedTech Innovation Briefing (MIB) on the use of the Reichert Ocular Response Analyzer G3 (ORA G3) to measure Corneal Hysteresis (CH)

July 2018

ORA G3 from Graftong
Grafton Optical highlight the recent publication of NICE MedTech Innovation Briefing (MIB) MIB150 focused on the use of the Reichert ORA G3, exclusively available in the UK from Grafton Optical.

The MIB reports that the technology described in the briefing, the Reichert Ocular Response Analyzer (ORA) G3, can be used to measure Corneal Hysteresis (CH), shown to be a significant risk factor for glaucoma development and progression.

The briefing notes that the ORA G3 is currently the only device capable of measuring Corneal Hysteresis and unlike other tests, it does not require contact with the eye, specialist training or the use of eye drops.

The device’s intended place in therapy is to diagnose and manage suspected glaucoma or to monitor established glaucoma. The ORA G3 would be used in addition to standard care, specifically ophthalmic tests including Goldmann applanation tonometry.

ORA G3 from GraftongThere are over 700 publications about Corneal Hysteresis in the peer reviewed literature. The MedTech Innovation briefing focused on evidence summarised from 5 observational studies, 4 in the US and 1 in Korea, including a total of 635 adults recruited from glaucoma clinics, showed that lower levels of Corneal Hysteresis are associated with and predictive of the development and progression of glaucoma.

The results of all 5 studies suggest that corneal hysteresis is associated with the development and progression of glaucoma.

Three studies also showed correlations between corneal hysteresis and corneal central thickness, and 2 studies showed correlations between corneal hysteresis and intraocular pressure, but in all cases the Corneal Hysteresis measurement was more significantly associated with development and progression of glaucoma than the other risk factors.

In a prospective observational cohort study* of 199 adults (287 eyes) with suspected glaucoma in the US, Susanna et al. noted that CH measurements at baseline were significantly lower in people who developed glaucoma compared with those that did not (9.5±1.5 vs 10.2±2.0 mmHg, p=0.012). Each 1 mmHg lower CH was associated with a 22% increase in the risk of developing glaucoma during follow-up (HR=1.22, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.41, p=0.013). In multivariable analysis, adjusted for age, IOP, CTT and PSD, CH was still predictive of glaucoma (HR=1.20, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.42, p=0.039).

ORA G3 from Graftong
Grafton Optical CEO David Thickens commented “We are delighted that the Reichert Corneal Hysteresis technology and IOP/cc measurement have been assessed by NICE and that the MedTech Innovation Briefing has now been published. We have seen unprecedented demand for this fast, accurate method of measurement, especially within a virtual clinic setting. We are now seeing clinicians incorporate this technology in their clinics to maximise space, time and cost savings for the NHS.”

Read more about NICE’s findings here:

MIBs are objective information on device and diagnostic technologies to aid local decision-making by clinicians, managers and procurement professionals.

They are NICE advice, designed to support NHS and social care commissioners and staff who are considering using new medical devices, and other medical or diagnostic technologies.

The briefing will help avoid the need for organisations to produce similar information locally, saving staff time and resources. MIBs are commissioned by NHS England and produced in support of the NHS 5-Year Forward View, specifically as one of a number of steps that will accelerate innovation in new treatments and diagnostics.

*The study recruited a relatively large group of people but in a non-UK setting. Adults with suspected glaucoma were included. The patient population in other studies are people with established glaucoma.

Grafton Optical are long term sponsors of your free Opchat Pages, see there company information here.

Matt Hancock MP appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on 9 July 2018.

July 2018

Matt Hancock
He was Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from 8 January 2018 to 9 July 2018. He was previously Minister of State for Digital from July 2016 to January 2018.

He fills the space left by the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt the longest ever Minister at the helm at the Health and Social Care department.

Matt Hancock is the MP for West Suffolk, having been elected in the 2010 general election. From 2010 Matt served as a backbencher on the Public Accounts Committee and the Standards & Privileges Committee. Matt entered government in September 2012 and has served in a number of Ministerial Roles, including for skills and business, and as Paymaster General. He oversaw the expansion of apprenticeships, and championed the digital transformation of government.

From July 2016 he served at DCMS as Minister of State for Digital and was responsible for broadband, broadcasting, creative industries, cyber and the tech industry.

Before entering politics, Matt worked for his family business, as an economist at the Bank of England, and as Chief of Staff to the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. He holds degrees from Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Matt is married to Martha and has three young children. He is the first MP in modern times to win a horse race, having raced to victory at the Newmarket July Course in August 2012. He is an avid cricketer and plays for the Lords & Commons Cricket team. Matthew once played the most northerly game of cricket on record, and succumbed to frostbite en route to the Pole. He retains all his fingers

The Secretary of State is responsible for the work of the Department of Health and Social Care, including: overall financial control and oversight of NHS delivery and performance
oversight of social care policy

Ultra Limited entrusts Zed_Comm with its press activities for the European optics market

July 2018

Ultra Limited – an eyewear brand owned by the Italian company, 450 S.r.l, which has made uniqueness, craftsmanship and colour its hallmark – has chosen Zed_Comm to carry out its European press activities for the optics sector.

Founded in 2014, Ultra Limited has developed a completely new concept in the design and production of eyewear, which has rapidly spread to various international markets. The brand hand crafts frames for sunglasses and prescription glasses in Italy, with a unique combination of colours.

Cutting-edge technologies are combined with the extraordinary manufacturing expertise of the Cadorina district to create the Ultra Limited frames, which come to life after a process that lasts 41 days. The assemblage of 12 acetate plates in different shades allows to obtain endless colour mixes, making each model impossible to replicate. The temples and lenses of each Ultra Limited model can also be customised with logos, words or signatures, to add even more uniqueness and exclusivity to the eyewear.

With business offices in Milan and Verona, Zed_Comm has been operating for 25 years as a public relations agency. In addition to the traditional services of press office, external relations and advertising consultancy, the agency also offers communication services, organisation of events and marketing strategies able to ensure visibility and high levels of performances.

The experience gained in the reference sector with various customers in the optics world and its innate versatility make Zed_Comm the ideal partner to carry out Ultra Limited’s press and PR activities, which also include cross-cutting and original communication ideas.

KAOS: The new communication campaign 2018

July 2018

All the irreverent energy of KAOS, a young brand with a unique character produced by Area98, explodes in the new campaign images.

Full-color shots in which bizarre masculine and feminine faces are literally "shaken up" by a spring to ironically contextualize gritty frames, designed for the audacious and cosmopolitan minds of those who love to live strong emotions and who are always on the move.

What is most striking is the lively and dynamic character of the elements represented: from the hair to the eyebrows, from the eyes to the lips, every detail of the faces that are the protagonists of the new campaign comes to life in the most unexpected shades and, thanks to the "shaken up" effect given by the swaying movement of the spring, contributes to recreating that unmistakable "apparent chaos" that inspires the brand.

An unexpected mixture of sensations originates from these amazing chromatic contrasts, reflecting the most authentic inspiration of KAOS and the ingredients that have made it successful over the years: creativity, transgression and passion. And it is in this totally unconventional context that the new frames are being presented, as always designed not to go unnoticed. The decorations - unusual, sometimes risky - are highlighted by exuberant colors that are reflected in the details of the photographed faces, giving rise to a decidedly innovative and extravagant form of expression.

In fact, KAOS is not simply a collection. It is an identity that loves to have fun, to play with colors and shapes and to experiment with the extravagant, without ever giving up quality and fashion.

Those who wear these frames want to be noticed, they want to stand out and they are far from the norms of banality. And the choice of representing the brand image through these shots of extreme originality is far removed from the traditional rules.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) - EC Committee publishes opinion on potential risks to human health

July 2018

Last week, The European Commission and its Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) published its final Opinion on the potential risks to human health of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). The Committee has conducted a review of the published research concluding, amongst other things, that:

• There is no evidence of direct adverse health effects from LEDs in normal use (lighting and displays) by the healthy general population.

• Children have a higher sensitivity to blue light. Although emissions may not be harmful, blue LEDs (between 400 nm and 500 nm), including those in toys, may be very dazzling and may induce photochemical retinopathy, which is a concern especially for children below three years of age.

• Older people may experience discomfort from exposure to light such as blue LED displays.

• There is a low level of evidence that exposure to light in the late evening, including that from LED lighting and/or screens may have an impact on the circadian rhythm. However, it is not yet clear if this disturbance of the circadian system leads to adverse health effects. Since the use of LED technology is still evolving, the Committee believes that it is important to closely monitor the risk of adverse health effects from long-term LED use to the general population.

Read the full final report here



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