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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, October to December 2018


Redfearn awarded for 40 years association with Reichert
STEPPER Shows Continued Support For Excellence In Professional Dispensing Optics
International and home grown singer puts Komono sunwear in the spotlight.
College advise on lasers as presents for Children
All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Eye Health and Visual Impairment
New research reveals live probiotics can re-balance the gut microbiome and modify immune system responses
Optician’s sought-after apprenticeship featured in new ITN programme
More distrurbing news about illegal drivers on the UK's roads.
College of Optometrists celebrates sector’s researchers at its annual Diploma Ceremony
Spectacle Makers make the most of a blue-sky day before the rain arrived at the Lord Mayor’s Show last Saturday
Daniel Williams produces a new Clinical Briefing paper for Opchat News
Dyslexics gain benefit from Vista Mesh lenses
Opchat News backs the campaign for better eye sight on the roads, and wants your signature on the petition.
Say NO to DRIVING BLIND and help by signing THE PETITION
AOP calls for tighter vision regulations for drivers
Vision Express drives awareness of the dangers of poor motorist eye health with campaign win
Life-saving CPR training debuts at Vision Express, ahead of company rollout
AOP & WCSM host discussion on The Williams Report into gross negligence manslaughter.
Vision Express pays tribute to long serving staff as 40-year milestones are celebrated
David Baker's book now available on Amazon
Secretary of State still blind and deaf to eye health and hearing.
Oldest Optical Body in the world celebrates excellence.
Get the most out of Co-branding with Younger and Transitions
Dame Rosie Winterton highlights growing demand for eyecare.
Essilor supports these "No Ordinary Women" for the Everest Expedition.
WORLD SIGHT DAY (11th October) Shines Light on poor Road Vision.
CQC publishes annual report on the state of health and social care in England
National Eye Health Week agency wants your feed back on its past efforts this year (Sept 24th) and how they could do better
ABDO highlights the dangers of unprescribed cosmetic contact usage especially with Halloween coming soon.
BLACKFIN dazzles under the skys of Florence
John McGregor installed as new Master of The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers
Read the archived General News from 3rd Quarter 2018.

Redfearn awarded for 40 years association with Reichert

January 2019

Malcolm Redfearn

At an informal “pop up” celebratory award ceremony held after 100% Optical’ s free party, Malcolm Redfearn was awarded an official plaque to thank him for his 40 years of continued help, advice and consultancy to the Reichert Company.

Malcolm who still supplies consultancy to Grafton Optical is respected for his knowledge on all things ophthalmic and optometric in the world of equipment.

The award was conceived by the workers and managers of Reichert as a thank you.

STEPPER Shows Continued Support For Excellence In Professional Dispensing Optics

January 2019

Stepper Award

Since 2001 the STEPPER Prize has awarded to the student achieving the highest mark in the ABDO Preliminary Qualifying Practical Examination.

The 2018 recipient is Adriana Stiuriuc who is a student dispensing optician at Bayfields Opticians in Harrogate.

In addition to working in practice, Adriana is studying at Bradford College.

Adriana received her award in December from Peter Reeve, Managing Director STEPPER (UK) Ltd and Julian Boysen, Business Development Manager, STEPPER (UK) Ltd.

Picture (left to right): Adriana Stiuiuc (Bayfields Opticians) and Peter Reeve (STEPPER)

International and home grown singer puts Komono sunwear in the spotlight.

December 2018

Rita Ora on stage
Rita Ora performs on stage in the AVA sunglass model made by KOMONO

British singer and actress Rita Ora wore the Ava sunglass by KOMONO during her performance at the Capital FM#s Jingle Bell Ball 2018 held at the O2 arena 8/9th December.

This style is part of the brand's Elementary Sun Collection for Spring Summer 2019. Rita performed along with Little Mix, Jess Glynne and many others to sell out audiences.

KOMONO creates contemporary watches and eyewear, designed in Antwerp. Fiercely dedicated to the Belgian tradition of quality and craftsmanship, KOMONO has made global fashion and design more accessible since 2009. Staying true to the origins of the word KOMONO (it means “small things” in Japanese), the KOMONO team shares a passion for distilling the best of culture to its simplest forms. KOMONO is the perfect blend of vision and timing.

The video of the performance can be seen here:

College advise on lasers as presents for Children

December 2018

The College of Optometrists advise anyone buying presents for children to be aware of the dangers of lasers, “If you can’t avoid lasers, ensure they are bought from a reputable retailer”

The College of Optometrists is encouraging parents to be vigilant about any toys containing lasers this Christmas. As the Office for Product Safety and Standards has advised that laser pointers are not toys, the College is reminding parents that lasers can be a danger to vision. It is warning that laser pointers are not toys and should not be given to children to play with, and that parents should only buy a toys containing a laser from a reputable retailers.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, Clinical Adviser at The College of Optometrists, explains: “Lasers used to be confined to sci-fi films but in the last few years, they have become readily available, relatively cheap and increasingly powerful. Many are marketed for children, and you may be forgiven for thinking they are nothing more than a cheap harmless novelty, However laser pointers are not toys and can be dangerous. Curious young children have accidentally shone laser pointers at their friends, or stared into the beam, resulting in eye damage.”

“Firstly don’t let your children play with laser pointers, remain vigilant check the gifts your children receive to ensure they are safe. If you choose to buy your child a toy with a laser, please make sure you buy it from a legitimate source to ensure it meets the necessary safety standards. Toys should have a CE mark on them to ensure a level of quality, but it is important you buy the toys from a trusted source to ensure the marking is genuine.”

“If you think you have looked into a laser you should consult your optometrist or GP who will test your sight, examine your eye and, if necessary, refer you to a retinal specialist. If you have it, it is useful to take the laser with you, to give your practitioner as much information as possible.”

Lasers in toys are increasingly commonplace – and can be found in toys such as guns, star pointers, lightsabers and spinning tops that project laser beams, the lasers should be class 1, less than 0.39mW strong.

However, some toys purchased from non-legitimate sources, such as online marketplaces or temporary market stalls, have been found to contain much stronger lasers, in some cases hundreds of times stronger, which can be hazardous for eyes/eye eight when viewed directly.

Laser pointers are much stronger, designed for professional use, and should never be used as a toy. These a pose a real risk to eye sight, with some as strong as 1000mW and those designed at pointing at stars up to 6000mW. If shone directly into the eye, a high-powered laser is capable of producing heat that can cause serious damage to the back of the eye in a matter of seconds. In severe cases, a burn to the retina can cause scarring, leading to permanent impairment of sight. The effects are often instant, although symptoms may progress in the hours after exposure, and recovery can take months, even in mild cases. Currently, strong lasers are not covered by the strict safety rules and regulations of the EU.

All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Eye Health and Visual Impairment, today Dec 10th

December 2018

Experts will be meeting December 10, to discuss Eye Health and Visual Impairment, in particular Vision Screening for four to five year olds.

This will be held at the House of Commons from 4pm to 5pm; main speakers will be Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology and NIHR Senior investigator Juhnoo S Rahi, head of optical services - Karon McCarthy and Dr Leonora Weil, public health registrar. This session will be Chaired by the APPG Co-Chair, Lord Low.

There will also be a review meeting with the NHS England on the following day, December 11 to review progress on the APPG Report – Seeing the Light.

FODO’s David Hewlett who was instrumental in drafting the recommendations, will be attending to represent the Optical Confederation and Alan Tinger for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

New research reveals live probiotics can re-balance the gut microbiome and modify immune system responses

November 2018

New research published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics demonstrates that ‘good’ bacteria in the live probiotic SymproveTM can successfully reach and colonise the gut, where they go on to change the existing gut flora. They are also capable of modifying immune response.

Researchers found that all bacteria in Symprove survived the stomach acid to reach and colonise the gut. The activity of the bacteria in this study were observed using a novel Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME) and used donor bacteria from healthy humans. This allows researchers to closely monitor bacteria through in-vitro simulation of the human gut, without the need for invasive procedures and measurements.

The bacteria in Symprove were tested to see if their colonisation would help feed the gut microbiome through the production of lactate. The microbiome has been identified as a disease modifier and an essential part of immunity.

Simon Gaisford, Professor of Pharmaceutics at University College London says, “We’ve been able to show that delivering viable and active bacteria to the gut impacts the healthy bacteria in our bodies in a way that we’ve not seen before. The diversity of the donor microbiotas clearly changed for the better and importantly the effect was sustained week-on-week. We saw that the addition of Symprove reduced inflammatory markers and raised butyrate levels. If we can make a healthy microbiome healthier, the potential to improve conditions of dysbiosis is incredibly exciting.”

The addition of the probiotics in Symprove to the microbiotas of healthy human donors changed the proportion of bacterial groups in the gut flora, which generated a significant increase in butyrate – a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) which is critical to health and wellbeing.

Addition of Symprove also increased the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-10, while reducing the inflammatory chemokines IL-8, MCP-1 and CXCL10, which are associated with inflammatory conditions and viral infections.1. The data showed that feeding the microbiome results in changes to the gut flora as well as a positive anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory effect.

An increased abundance in beneficial bacteria such as firmicutes and actinobacteria were also observed after adding Symprove bacteria into the simulation containers. A lack of these bacteria in the gut is associated with several health conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome.

“As more research looks at the microbiome and its relationship with general health, the positive impact of specialised water-based probiotics will become more widely acknowledged. The data suggest that the main benefit of probiotics is their ability to support the existing flora within the microbiome to help ‘re-balance’ it,” says Barry Smith, Symprove Limited Founder and Chairman. “Our research over the last 20 years has pushed to understand more about the microbiome and the essential role it plays in our overall health. This new research demonstrates the impact live and active probiotics can have on the body beyond the gut. It is incredibly exciting that leading academics are recognising the impact of feeding the microbiome. We all have a microbiome, and in many cases, we just need to help the bacteria that are already there.”

Optician’s sought-after apprenticeship featured in new ITN programme

November 2018

Vision Express’ commitment to young talent development features in ‘Learning for Life’ programme by ITN Productions

An in-demand apprenticeship scheme by Vision Express continues to accept ambitious youngsters – and has now joined forces with ITN Productions and the Association of Colleges (AoC) for a programme championing the benefits of skillsbased learning.

Esther Slade at VEThe optician’s coveted apprenticeship scheme, which accepts over 100 candidates per year, is showcased in the flagship programme called Learning for Life, which is introduced by national newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.

Premiered at the AoC annual conference this week, it features key industry interviews and news-style reports, alongside sponsored editorial profiles. Vision Express shares a number of its apprentice success stories, such as Esther Slade who is the first former apprentice to be appointed a store manager and Rahul Ruparell, who is working towards becoming a qualified optometrist. They both completed a 13-month long apprenticeship, graduating with a qualification in Optical Retail.

Vision Express Head of Learning and Development, Matt Burton, said: “There’s a cast iron business case for us recruiting and developing apprentices, and that’s why we’ve invested in expanding the programme with our advanced Level 3 pathway in addition to our Level 2 Apprenticeship in Optical Retail. It is a fundamental part of our talent strategy because we know that our apprentice graduates are more likely to stay with the company long term. We can provide great opportunities that most retail businesses would struggle to replicate and we’re proud to have an environment that cultivates fresh thinking, with support for candidates on every step of their journey.”

Kate Glasby, Human Resources Director at Vision Express said: “Taking part in this programme is a great example of our continued passion for apprenticeships as a critical talent pipeline for our business. We are fully committed to further investment into apprenticeships, continuing to ensure the highest quality of the programmes we deliver for those who join us.”

The Vision Express apprenticeship can lead to further development, whether management or training to become a dispensing optician. Vision Express store manager Esther Slade, who took part in the film, said: “There’s a lot of support and a lot of learning, so I feel that I had a deeper understanding of what I was doing when I went into store. I felt like I hit the ground running. As part of the apprenticeship, you’re learning and getting paid at the same time so you’re getting the qualification whilst on the job – I think that’s invaluable.”

Vision Express is currently looking for great candidates for the Level 2 apprenticeship programme and more information can be found at:
You can view the ITN programme here:

More disturbing news about illegal drivers on the UK's roads.

November 2018

Nearly 3 MILLION UK motorists feared to be driving illegally - new research drives case for scrapping 20m sight test

One in five – 7.6 million UK licence-holders - haven’t had any vision check since reading a number plate at 20m when passing their driving test

More than half of drivers (52%) confess to not always wearing their glasses/lenses. 81% of UK drivers flout voluntary sight requirements, failing to have an eye test every two years

Findings from comprehensive eye tests conducted by a leading optician on over 1,000 UK residents have revealed that one in five – which equates to 7.6 million licence-holders - haven’t had any vision check since reading a number plate at 20m when passing their driving test.

In a bid to scrutinize the 20m test as a worthwhile indicator of roadworthy sight, Vision Express carried out the number plate check, and then gave the same individuals comprehensive eye tests on its high tech, mobile ‘Vision Van’ as it toured the UK earlier this year.

Crucially, while only 1% of the public failed to read a vehicle registration plate from 20m, 2 in 3 (65%) were found by optometrists to be wearing an incorrect prescription.

Worse still, 52% of motorists confessed to not always wearing their vision correction while driving, with optometrist analysis showing that 7% - 2.8 million licence-holders - were putting lives at risk by getting behind the wheel because their vision unaided was either below the legal standard to drive, or borderline.

The findings throw weight behind the ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ initiative, led by Vision Express in collaboration with the Police, industry bodies and road safety charities, which is urging policymakers to introduce mandatory checks of visual acuity every 10 years for UK motorists.

At a summit attended by a consortium including road safety charity Brake, industry bodies and Government advisors earlier this month, Vision Express tabled its preliminary data, urging MPs to take action to scrap the controversial 20m test.

Vision Express has been campaigning for changes to sight standards for drivers since 2015 under the banner ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’, following Government statistics revealing that around 3,000 road casualties each year are down to poor driver vision.

Vision Express director of professional services, Jay Ghadiali, said: “There is no question that road casualty figures with vision identified as a causal factor are hugely underreported. We believe the annual 3,000 figure is the tip of the iceberg, and sadly the issue of sight is only raised when there is yet another fatality, like in the case of Cassie McCord or Poppy-Arabella Clark.”

The Vision Express results corroborate research by industry regulator AOP this month, which reported that 44% of optometrists have examined patients who drive with vision that falls below the legal standard . A separate poll, by the DVLA, found that 50% of motorists were unaware of the minimum sight standards needed for a licence.

Vision Express recently collaborated with Brake and the Police on a roadside trial, which stopped over 1,000 motorists at random in Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands, and asked them to complete the 20m check. Its results are due to be announced in early 2019.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake said: “Good vision is fundamental to safe driving and yet our current licensing system does not do enough to protect us from drivers with poor vision. We urge the Government to look at updating the existing 20m number plate test and implement more stringent measures, ensuring that everyone who drives on our roads has a safe level of vision.”

Jay added: “I am convinced beyond any doubt that the current testing regime is inadequate. Even more data is on the horizon on this issue, but we cannot sit on our hands and allow drivers to continue to flout their legal responsibility to ensure their sight is adequate to drive. We already have robust research to show the scale of the problem of poor driver sight and it must be acted upon.

“The 20m test was devised in 1937 – we now have sophisticated ways of testing vision that makes the number plate check obsolete. We’re calling for it to be stopped and replaced with mandatory eye tests every 10 years to coincide with licence renewals, and we’ll continue to gather the data to convince the Department for Transport and policy-makers that this is vital.”

For Road Safety Week 2018 (19-25 November) Vision Express is introducing the 20m test into its flagship Oxford Street branch - and hopes to collate further evidence that passing the check is not a robust indicator of good visual acuity.

The Vision Express ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ campaign has won multiple awards for its efforts in raising awareness of the dangers posed by motorists with poor vision. It secured a breakthrough commitment in November 2017, with the DVLA introducing an eye test reminder to driving licence renewal notices. But, it is not enough says Jay Ghadiali. Vision Express is calling on the Government to explore ways to make the driver eyesight testing regime in the UK more effective by:

• introducing a full eyesight test (including peripheral vision) for all new drivers
• introducing a mandatory eye test requirement for all drivers every 10 years to coincide with the renewal of the photo card driving licence
• exploring how the eye testing regime can better reflect eyesight deterioration as drivers age
• spearheading awareness-raising initiatives emphasising the importance of good driver eye health.

The Vision Van, which has visited over 40 cities and events nationwide over the past nine months, will be in the Midlands for Road Safety Week. Prompted by DfT statistics showing that the West Midlands has the highest rate of road casualties in the UK. The Van will also journey to Nottingham-based bus company Sharpes and national cycle brand Raleigh. Follow its journey at:

Gavin Paxton Take a look at this case study:

A 32-year-old retail associate Gavin, (pictured right) from Whitley Bay has been learning to drive for several years, yet failed the 20m test when the Vision Van was in Newcastle in October.

Despite only having an eye test two years ago, the Vision Express optometrist noted that his prescription was outdated – and he was getting behind the wheel illegally.

He confessed that he had struggled to read road signs but his instructor had never prompted him for any vision check to ensure he was safe to drive.

Gavin is calling for better education for instructors, and for a vision check to be carried out on day one of learning, to flag any sight issues that could affect driving.

See here for Gavin’s story:

Opchat News has been actively backing VE's campaign as well as the National Petition for Government action. Have you signed it yet. Click here to read the story.

College of Optometrists celebrates sector’s researchers at its annual Diploma Ceremony

November 2018

George Giles Prize
The College of Optometrists recognised the achievements of some of the sector’s leading researchers in the field at its annual Diploma Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster in London last Tuesday.

Four optometric researchers were presented with the College’s Research Excellence Award for their contributions across a variety of areas:

• Dr Nicola Logan MCOptom was awarded the Neil Charman Medal for Research for her work on the mechanisms of myopic eyes.

• The George Giles Postgraduate Research Prize was presented to Dr Nilpa Shah MCOptom for her research into the improvement of measurement of visual function in clinical settings, which gave rise to the development of the Moorfield’s Acuity Chart. Pictured left.

• Professor Robert Hess was awarded the Bernard Gilmartin OPO Award, along with his co-authors, for their paper, ‘Binocular vision in amblyopia: structure, suppression and plasticity’, which looked at recent studies about the structure, measurement and treatment of binocular vision in observers with strabismic, anisometropic and mixed amblyopia.

• The Philip Cole Prize for excellence in practice-based research was presented to Jasleen Jolly MCOptom for her work on biomarkers in retinal disease.

College President, Professor Edward Mallen MCOptom, also welcomed over 300 newly qualified optometrists to the profession at the ceremony, as well as recognising outstanding achievement through the presentation of Higher Qualifications, Fellowships by Portfolio, Life and Honorary Fellowships.

New Graduates
Speaking at the event, Professor Mallen MCOptom, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “It is such a pleasure to honour and celebrate the success of those who have made a significant contribution to the profession and practice of optometry through the awarding of Fellowships, Research Excellence Awards and Higher Qualifications. It’s also great to welcome so many young and talented newly qualified members to the profession and celebrate the start of their new challenging and rewarding career.”

Sehrish Khalid MCOptom, who received her membership diploma at the ceremony said: “The diploma ceremony has been so lovely and it’s been great to celebrate our achievements. It’s great to be a part of the College, to be recognised as a new member of the profession and to hear the inspiring speeches.”

Spectacle Makers make the most of a blue-sky day before the rain arrived at the Lord Mayor’s Show last Saturday

November 2018

Spectacle Makers having fun and making a point

It’s the first time since 2007 that the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers have been invited to take part in the Lord Mayor’s Show and this is a special year for the Company as this year the SMC has a Spectacle Maker Liveryman in the Aldermanic  Sheriff of the City of London, so this was an ideal opportunity to get publicity for eye health.

This was the 803rd annual Lord Mayor’s Parade and the Lord Mayor Charles Bowman was replaced by Alderman Peter Estlin, who will be the 691st Lord Mayor of London. He rode in the procession in the Gold State Coach.

Fifty spectacle makers and their friends who volunteered for the day took them from Bank along Fleet Street and then via St. Pauls back to along the embankment to Aldwych. This year’s format was changed with no firework display but instead there were two family zones in Paternoster Square and the Bloomberg Arcade.

Lighting fireworks this year might have been some achievement given the rain that fell after the parade in London, but that wasn’t to mess with the Spectacle Makers big day for they had a trick up their sleeves that many both in the procession and the huge crowds would have offered a fair penny as the rain arrived at the end of the procession, you guessed, umbrellas.

Spectacle Makers at Lord Mayors show

The umbrella design showing large eyes with differing colour irises turned out a winner on the day and attracted lots of attention as well as envy later. In fact, they became a focus of attention for the crowds and helped the Spectacle Makers get over their point that everyone should look after their sight.

The BBC coverage just about got their umbrellas in shot before cutting out, as they ran out of time, but the walkers had a lot of engagement with the crowds, prompting them to read the letters on the Ishihara boards and talking to them along the way so the SMC is hopeful that at least some people will have been inspired to go and book an eye examination.

SMC Umbrellas
A spectacular day fitting for the Spectacle Makers and it didn’t rain on the SMCs parade with DOs, ophthalmologists, trainees of all disciplines and a lasting memory of the College of Optometrists Liverymen leading the way home.

Take a look at the whole Lord Mayor’s experience on YouTube here If you want to skip to the Spectacle Makers part of the procession skip to the 56th minute of the parade.

The experience is just one of many that being a Freeman of the Spectacle Makers provides. Many events are arranged each year for those in the company which has expanded its intake in recent times as well as increasing the number of Livery places available.

Its events are not London centric and occur throughout the year all over the UK and given space available Freemen can bring their friends along to the events. Take a look at the Spectacle Maker’s website here

Daniel Williams produces a new Clinical Briefing paper for Opchat News

November 2018

Entitled “Seven Tips to make providing a Low Vision Service profitable” it joins his series now making five short educational and interesting blogs on living with sight loss and how practitioners can make a difference.

The titles are:

Cuts to Low Vision Services

Keeping abreast of assistive services

Supporting Low Vision Patients who can no longer drive

My Guide Dog in his shining armour

Seven ways to make Low Vision Services pay

You can find them all and other clinical briefings on our Clinical Briefing Menu Page always visible on our left tabs on our home page. Click Here

Dyslexics gain benefit from Vista Mesh lenses

November 2018

Dyslexics and those with visual processing challenges are experiencing positive results with Vista Mesh spectacle lenses, opticians around the country report.

Jeremy Salmon
The added benefit for image-conscious youngsters is that the lenses appear like normal specs, which ensures greater compliance with wear, says Henry Sessions of Scarborow Opticians in Felixstowe.

“Many of the youngsters do not want to be seen in coloured lenses, and so we are using more and more Vista Mesh for these patients. We find that the reading rate is just as good – and sometimes better – than when they are wearing coloured lenses. For those who have trouble with skipping lines, or letters jumping about, the lenses can bring a tremendous benefit, particularly at times of intense studying. Vista Mesh is proving to be very good for all kinds of visual stress, and particularly for teenagers who do not want to be too conspicuous,” he said.

Henry Sessions, who is a Dispensing Optician, believes that Vista Mesh bring a significant benefit for 85% of this category of patient and that the lens has become “a real mainstay” of the practice with several pairs dispensed each week – sometimes as plano and others with an array of prescription powers.

Peter Sanders of Eyecare Opticians in Berkhamstead, agreed and said “It is a brilliant lens when the patient presents with visual stress. I have had a number of dyslexic and dyspraxic patients and we go through all the tints, with little reaction and then when we get to Vista Mesh there is often a Eureka moment: one patient shrieked “I can see!”, and another said “Someone’s put the lights on”.

" One lad had been written off as a hopeless case at school, but with Vista Mesh we tripled his reading speed – it was that dramatic. The lens relieves many of the problems of visual stress – not just for reading but for some behavioural problems too.”

Patients in Oxfordshire are also enjoying the benefits of the lens for visual processing problems including migraine and dyslexia, as Jeremy Salmon, Director of Robert Stanley Opticians, explained, “Both children and adults can respond very positively to Vista Mesh. Sometimes there is little difference in the reading help provided by Vista Mesh and coloured filters, but the main advantage where children are concerned is that the lenses look normal. For youngsters it makes wearing their specs a lot more acceptable.”

Opchat News backs the current drives for better eye sight on the roads, and wants your signature on a National Campaign petition.

November 2018

Opchat News queries why the whole profession and industry are not highlighting the risks of poor eyesight while driving.

Over the last 6 months regular readers will have seen from parts of the profession and industry efforts to promote better eyesight whilst driving and the call for the tightening of regulations on driving and sight.

Numerous news stories about the dangers of driving with poor vision have been published and over the past months Opchat News and other sector journals and the National Media have run stories.

Poppy Arabella Clarke killed by a motorist with defective visionOne sad story, but not alone highlights the sad loss of Poppy-Arabella Clarke, a 3-year old killed by a pensioner who has already been told not to drive, which we published on Opchat News in the summer. (pic right)

Scrolling down below this story you will see a number of news items relating to the same topic.

One, a National Campaign requiring signatures on a government petition assisted by one large National Optical Industry player, is still much in need of more signatures to cause government to act.

The deadline is the 12th December 2018 and still 6000 are required.

Another campaign run by Vision Express” Eye test save lives” throughout this year has won an award, the CIPR PRide awards for best Transport or Automotive Campaign.

We have been discussing this inhouse at PHN the noted success of both campaigns in bringing this important issue to the attention of the public. But we wonder why with our professions’ presence on the high street and its community care locations it has not used its ability to create a much deeper impression and understanding on particularly older drivers and their families.

The number of optometrists, dispensing opticians and practice assistants who daily try to improve the sight of 19 million patients each year must surely have an opportunity to inform families and friends about the importance for drivers’ eye checks especially the elderly.

The same also for the manufacturers who could run safety campaigns among their workers to spread the word and encourage them to join in the campaigns and sign petitions.

So, it’s a conundrum, why do we not see more signs and posters about drivers in practice windows? Why was such a campaign not the foremost every day issue in the NEHW campaign? And how can we better get behind the campaigns that exist?

Do we as professionals fear being linked with a campaign that might appear to stem from self-interest? Surely not the stakes are too high for the 3000 who are thought to be injured each year on our roads.

And so, we congratulate those with driving campaigns and those behind the petition for government changes.

The 6000 signatures needed to keep the National campaign alive are less than our weekly readership on Opchat News!

ED: Make a difference today and please sign the petition that Opchat News supports, it has just over a month to gain another 6000 signatures. to add to the 4000 already collected. If you are a true professional in vision care and look after the public interest a simple click here and a short online form will do the trick.

Say NO to DRIVING BLIND and help by signing THE PETITION

November 2018

Campaigner for Driving BlindThe national campaign to stop UK motorists ‘driving blind’ and save lives is winning support from optical, road safety and political leaders and media, but opticians are being urged to sign the petition before the December 12 cut-off deadline.

The Driving Blind Campaign is petitioning the Government to act to cut road accidents caused by drivers with defective vision, a behaviour pattern linked to 3,000 casualties every year. It needs 10,000 signatures for politicians to respond and is approaching the 4,000 mark.

It follows the high-profile killing of toddler Poppy-Arabella Clarke at a pelican crossing by a driver with poor vision, and it calls for legislation requiring drivers to be tested by an optical professional before their driving test and at licence renewal applications, instead of the “hopelessly inadequate” number plate test.

Campaign spokesman Nigel Corbett said: “We’ve campaigned in the high streets and consumer media on saying NO to Driving Blind. The public are shocked to discover they are sharing busy motorways with people who have never had their eyes properly examined, and have universally signed the petition.


“They want drivers to have to prove that their eyes are roadworthy before they get behind the wheels of a lethal machine.

“But we need more petition signatures so I’m urging every British optical professional to sign it and ask colleagues to sign. Also, practices can download posters from our website and use them in-store and invite patients to sign.

“They should also promote support for @DrivingBlindUK on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #DrivingBlind.

Optical Assistant holding a slefie station for the campaignCampaign supporters have explained why they are “saying NO to Driving Blind”. Viscount Simon, formerly vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transport Safety, said: “The British public is serious about making roads safer by stopping people driving blind. A serious political re-think at the highest level is now required.”

Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath and one of the first to sign the petition, said: “It is madness that UK regulations for drivers’ eyesight are among the weakest in Europe and rely on self-regulation and reporting. The UK test ignores other essentials like peripheral vision.”

Police and road safety veteran Martin Cooke and campaign supporter said: “As a police officer I dealt with a number of totally unnecessary crashes caused entirely by drivers’ bad eyesight.”

Corbett added: “The DVLA is relying on drivers self-reporting and self-regulating their vision despite evidence showing that often eye-exams are neglected.

In September 2018 three police forces ran road side eye tests for a month. West Midlands Police confirmed that one in twenty drivers tested during that time were unable to pass the current, basic vision screening test to read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres.

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) who are supporting the campaign warned that roadside tests show drivers can fall below the required standard as their eyesight changes, often without realizing it.

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.

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 World Health Organisation has declared poor eyesight as a main risk factor in road crashes.

Opchat News backs the call for our sector to join in and sign the petition here. Any doubts then read our earlier story we told in the summer about Poppy's sad death caused by a driver with poor eyesight.

AOP calls for tighter vision regulations for drivers

November 2018

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is inviting practitioners to get involved in its second Don’t swerve a sight test driving and vision campaign ahead of Road Safety Week (19-25 November). The campaign, which in 2017 attracted significant national media interest, highlights the importance of regular sight tests for motorists and calls for a change in the law that would see all drivers required to prove that their vision meets the legal standard at least every 10 years.

The campaign has been developed from the AOP’s Voice of Optometry member insight research which found that nine in 10 optometrists believe that the current sight requirements for a driving licence are insufficient. The 2018 survey, which included over 1200 practising optometrists, also found that 44 per cent of respondents had seen a patient, in the past month, who had vision below the legal standard, yet continued to drive against advice[1].

An additional public poll commissioned by the AOP found that:

• Around half (47 per cent) the public agreed that the laws on vision for driving should be more rigorous – compared to just four per cent who believed they need to be relaxed
• Of those who want more rigorous laws – half (49 per cent) believed a compulsory sight test should be part of a licence being granted, and a quarter (26 per cent) wanted motorists to have a sight test at least every 10 years
• Nearly nine in 10 (86 per cent) regular drivers would be happy to have their vision checked every five years or more frequently
• However, one in 20 (six per cent) admitted they’ve doubted whether their own vision is good enough to drive yet have done nothing about it
• Nearly nine in 10 (86 per cent) of regular drivers would be happy to have their vision checked every five years or more frequently
• Shockingly, one in 10 (12 per cent) of the regular drivers survey would continue driving as normal if told their vision could not be corrected to meet the legal standard, while 42 per cent would continue to drive in some capacity, such as cutting back on short journeys or only driving locally
• A quarter (27 per cent) of the public would do nothing if they knew a friend or family member who continued to drive with poor eyesight

The campaign is being supported by Gillian Jones, whose father, Ambrose Skingle, was killed in 2012 by a driver with vision below the legal standard for driving. Ms Jones said: “I know some people don’t want to have a sight test because they don’t want the bad news that they have to stop driving. I’d like them to think of the consequences, both to themselves and to others. I think most people would feel awful knowing they were responsible for taking a life. Drivers have got to look at the bigger picture.”

Optometrist and AOP Professional Advisor, Henry Leonard said: "It is shocking that so many drivers are overlooking the importance of good vision. Sight loss can often be gradual, and people may not notice changes that could affect their ability to drive. This campaign is about reminding drivers that regular visits to their optometrist are the best way to make sure they meet the legal standard for driving and help make our roads safer.”

As part of the campaign, the AOP recommends that drivers get a sight test every two years, to maximise their eye health and make sure they are road safe. The AOP is calling on the optical sector to support the campaign by using materials in the campaign pack including a patient advice video and leaflet, and a template letter to raise this issue with their local MP.

More information about the campaign is available from

ED: Make a difference today and sign the petition that Opchat News supports, we have just over a month to gain another 6000 signatures. to add to the 4000 already collected. If you are a true professional in visioncare and look after the public interest a simple click here and a short online form will do the trick.

Vision Express drives awareness of the dangers of poor motorist eye health with campaign win

November 2018

‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ campaign takes gold at CIPR PRide Awards

An eye health initiative has beaten off stiff competition at this year’s CIPR PRide awards for best Transport or Automotive Campaign, as Vision Express sets its sights on political change around sight standards for drivers.

VE Marketing Campaign win The PRide Midlands award celebrates the success of Vision Express’ ‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ campaign, debuted in 2015 to raise awareness of good eye health to safeguard UK roads, working alongside road safety charity Brake and the Road Haulage Association during Road Safety Week.

The initiative was influenced by research, which points to a potential safety crisis for Britain’s five million-plus population who drive for work, revealing that driving over 25,000 miles a year is reportedly the third most dangerous job in the UK, behind deep sea diving and coal mining.

Aiming to raise awareness amongst MPs, Vision Express lobbied Government to consider vision problems a major contributor to traffic accidents – securing a breakthrough commitment in November 2017, with Government announcing plans to work with the DVLA to include an eye test reminder when motorists renew their driving license.

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: “Five million drivers (14%) acknowledge driving with less than perfect vision and road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year. With these statistics in mind, we wanted to launch a campaign targeted at motorists, including those who drive professionally, to encourage them to take their eye health seriously. We have been overwhelmed by the positive impact of the campaign.”

‘Eye Tests Save Lives’ has recently been shortlisted for its first public affairs award for Best In-House Consultancy Collaboration at the PRCA Public Affairs Awards 2018.

This adds to an award-winning year for the optician and comes as Vision Express prepares for Road Safety Week 2018 (19th -23rd November). The national awareness week will see Vision Express’ state-of-the-art Vision Van embark on a nation-wide tour, targeting poor eye health hotspots – offering free eye tests to the public.

Life-saving CPR training debuts at Vision Express, ahead of company rollout

November 2018

Heartwize at VEWith out-of-hospital cardiac arrests topping 60,000 every year, Vision Express upskills team with resus and defibrillator training

The harrowing experience of a Vision Express director, whose father had a cardiac arrest at a Leicester gym and was given CPR to save his life, is behind a move by the optician to introduce emergency resuscitation training to employees.

Director of Professional Services, Jay Ghadiali, has championed the initiative after his dad, Shanti Ghadiali, 70 from Leicester, had his life saved at the hands of a member of the public. Jay was among the first to undergo the resuscitation and defibrillator training, delivered by Heartwize at the Vision Express Nottingham headquarters.

Vision Express teamed up with the award-winning Leicestershire Heartwize Programme, who deliver practical resuscitation training in secondary schools and businesses. Using a style of teaching known as the ‘Chain of Survival’, Vision Express staff were brought up to date with the skills required to potentially save someone’s life.

The optician’s state-of-the-art Vision Van, which tours the UK offering free eye tests to the public at major events and city centre locations, is set to be equipped with a defibrillator too, and the team trained to use it. One will also be stationed at the company’s Tech Centre, based in Nottingham.

Heartwize at VEIn the UK there are 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually, yet bystander CPR is attempted in only 50% of cases. It is reported that more than 3,000 lives could be saved in the UK every year if people had CPR skills, with St John Ambulance estimating that only one in ten people in the UK survive a cardiac arrest that occurs outside of hospital.

Jay Ghadiali said: “This initiative is very important to me. Luke Morgan, a gym manager at Evington Leisure Centre essentially saved my father’s life by confidently carrying out CPR. It is genuinely a highlight of my career to be able to introduce this initiative in the workplace, with a chance to save more lives, and I’m delighted to see the enthusiasm from the Vision Express team to take part in the training.”

The hands-on training was developed by cardiologist colleagues Dr William Toff, Associate Professor at the University of Leicester and Dr Doug Skehan, from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Dr Skehan said: “It’s very important to build confidence with CPR and especially using equipment like defibrillators. We aim to make individuals feel capable to respond to such emergencies that can happen to anyone and anytime.”

The scheme is being introduced as part of a commitment by Vision Express to improving community healthcare, which has included a recent collaboration with supermarket chain Tesco to offer £10 eye tests to all Tesco Clubcard holders at any Vision Express store nationwide.

AOP & WCSM host discussion on The Williams Report into gross negligence manslaughter.

November 2018

The Williams Review at the AOPThe Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) and The Association of Optical Practitioners (AOP) arranged a discussion evening at the AOP offices to discuss the recent publication of The William Report into gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare.

Henrietta Alderman, AOP CEO welcomed an audience from across the healthcare professions which included regulators, practitioners, legal advisers and expert witnesses.

Don Grocott, a past master of the WCSM chaired the discussion which followed remarks made by the report’s author, Professor Sir Norman Williams and Ian Stern QC.

While details of individual cases could not be discussion, a lively discussion ensued with particular emphasis on ensuring consistency in decision making across professions, the role of reflective learning journals in proceedings and the selection of expert witnesses as being representative of the environments within which cases arose.

In thanking the AOP for their hospitality and the speakers for their frank and engaging perspectives Mr Grocott added “The multi-disciplinary nature of this discussion is exactly the kind of event that The Spectacle Makers are able to facilitate with our broad membership and we are delighted to see such a high level of engagement and interest from across the healthcare sector”.

[Photo shows, from left to right, Professor Sir Norman Williams, Don Grocott and Ian Stern QC during the discussion session]

Vision Express pays tribute to long serving staff as 40-year milestones are celebrated

October 2018

Peter Jackson at VEAs Vision Express celebrates its 30th year of trading this month, it has honoured 88 longest serving team members, who together have reached milestones totalling an impressive 1,690 years.

Peter Jackson, an optometrist at Vision Express' New Milton store and Julian Treharne, manager of the Bridgend store were both celebrated for reaching 40-year landmarks – beginning their careers before their stores became part of the Vision Express family.

Peter, who is set to retire at the end of this year, left university in 1978, and went straight into optics. He said: "It's been a great company to work for. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family and stepping up my ministering to young families in the area through my church."

Julian, who qualified as a dispensing optician in 1978, added: "It been an absolute pleasure to work for such a progressive and forward-thinking company as Vision Express."

The Long Service Awards is an annual event to reward employees who have achieved 15 years of service or more. In 2018:

• 5 people reached their 30-year milestone
• 12 marked 25 years with Vision Express
• 25 individuals achieved 20 years in employment at the company – including four from the same store, in Berwick Upon Tweed
• 44 members of staff celebrated 15 years of service

Vision Express HR Director, Kate Glasby paid tribute to the long-serving staff. "Our employees are what makes our company the success it is today, and we are delighted to recognise their loyalty and hard work." she said. "We’re very fortunate to have such dedicated and experienced staff who really make a difference every day and, as we celebrate the company’s own 30-year milestone, our thanks and congratulations go to each and every one of them."

David Baker's book now available on Amazon

October 2018

David Baker Sen Court Assistant at SMC and Author"Window of the Soul" A Brief Exploration of the Human Eye. Is now published and available at Amazon found at this link:

Here: Window of the Soul

Busy as we are at PHN we have read through the first chapters of the book and find them a real page turner even for us optometrists. It is well written and contains information that is a good guide to families who want to know more about eyes and how they work or in many cases don't work.

Even for those trained in Optometry one can't resist reading through the detailed but easily understood information on vision, turning each page to see if our knowledge is fully reported, and it sure is.

This book should stimulate the public to better understand how eyes work and would easily grace any practice either in the reception area or to sell on as a useful reference book on eyes in the home or as an education aid..

Highly recommended. Read our pre published story here

Secretary of State still blind and deaf to eye health and hearing.

October 2018

Secretary of State Matt Hancock addressed the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) on 19 October.

Commenting on the speech, FODO CEO, David Hewlett, said: “Although, as usual, his speech was mostly about GPs, everything he said applies equally well to other primary care services and he did at least on this occasion also mention pharmacists and dentists. Let's hope that by next year we have broken through the traditional NHS invisibility and inaudibility barriers.”

The NAPC has published road maps to Primary Care Home participation for pharmacy and dentistry professions. The FODO Group is working hard on a similar road map for eye health and hearing.

You can access Matt Hancock's full speech here

Oldest Optical Body in the world celebrates excellence.

October 2018

Wiseman Memorial PrizeThe Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers – the oldest optical body in the world, founded nearly 400 years ago – celebrated excellence this week with an awards ceremony for those who have invested time in optical training.

The London ceremony took place at Apothecaries’ Hall, the longstanding home of the Spectacle Makers. Laboratory manager Daniel Hunter-Pike, from Gravesend in Kent, was awarded the coveted Wiseman Memorial Prize* for achieving the highest marks of the year in the practical exam of the challenging SMC Tech Level 4 qualification. This training, and resultant exam, tests the ability to take a prescription and interpet this into the very best spectacle lens for optimum vision. He was praised for his hard work and dedication.

Daniel, who has worked in optical manufacturing for 27 years said it was quite a commitment but that he is delighted to have achieved such success –

“The training has helped a great deal with my daily work and given me extra confidence. I now know why something works, rather than just that it does. I understand the principles of all the lenses, and I am now passing on that knowledge to all the others in the lab.”

*This award is made annually to commemorate the highly respected optical manufacturing pioneer of the C20th, Max Wiseman.


October 2018

We received news of the death of Professor Jean-Claude Hache with a great deal of sorrow.

A doctor of science, neuro-ophthalmologist and professor in ophthalmology, he was the first in France to develop a visual function exploration department at the CHRU of Lille, which is still providing invaluable services in the fields of healthcare and learning. His research was characterized by a diversity of approaches, from the most fundamental to the clinical and to technology transfer.

But beyond his research, Jean-Claude Hache was also a man of commitment, always eager to contribute his work to a number of institutions. A close collaborator and friend of Guy Charlot, he created SILMO ACADEMY and was its Chairman until 2017.

The two men – both honest, sincere, direct and enthusiastic – shared the same energy for improving the view of their contemporaries, as well as for building bridges between professionals, and in particular those that they grouped under the acronym 3O: Ophthalmologists, Orthoptists and Opticians.

An open-minded man with a straightforward style who remained accessible, Jean-Claude Hache was one of the foremost spokespeople for the scientific optical field. He lectured the world over and was the author or a number of international publications recognised for their pertinence.

The members of the SILMO Board of Directors and the SILMO Academy coordination team, extend our warmest condolences to his spouse, children, grandchildren and entire family.

He has left a profound impression on his students, colleagues and friends.

And form colleagues at the SILMO Academy

Jean-Claude Hache left us with “certitude”, discretion and trust. That was his way. We would have liked to have been by his side for his last terrestrial voyage, but he probably preferred not to disturb his friends all over the world.

By asking to postpone the announcement of his departure, he once again demonstrated his attentiveness, consideration and understanding for other people, for which we knew him. We appreciated the clear, firm, productive stances that he took on each of the subjects to which he was committed.

Just as he investigated the functional analysis of vision, and just as he enthusiastically taught his students, he will now explore the great beyond for his family and friends. Surely he will express his thoughts and will watch over those who are still on the journey.

He was the Chairman of Silmo Academy for many years, and he appreciated pragmatic, convivial education.

We were very close and had been devoted to each other since the beginning of our careers, and he passed along Silmo Academy to my care.

We’ll see you again Jean-Claude, you will be with us. Christian Corbe (Chairman of SILMO ACADEMY)

Get the most out of Co-branding with Younger and Transitions

October 2018

Co Brands With Transitions

Transitions’ brand rejuvenation has made photochromics desirable to a wider group of everyday glasses wearers.

As a result of our effective rejuvenation we are frequently asked about co-branding options.

Co-branding is possible, but to retain the power of each communication it is essential that all examples are approved by the Transitions team.

Please submit all co-branding requests to your Younger representative to approve with Transitions.

Take a look at the branding requirements at Younger here

Dame Rosie Winterton highlights growing demand for eyecare.

October 2018

Dame Rosie Winterton visited Bell Brothers Opticians in Doncaster as part of ongoing campaigning work by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) to highlight the importance of eye health care and utilising the highly skilled teams that are working in optical practices.

Dame Rosie said, “It was good to visit Bell Brothers Opticians and hear about eye health care and the services which are available in local practices. I understand that research shows that there has been a 37% increase in eye clinic attendances in the UK over the past 10 years, and that demand is growing year on year.

“Early detection is key and there are free National Health Service sight tests available to those at increased risk of eye disease or likely to be deterred from seeking private tests on grounds of cost. I would strongly encourage everyone to ensure they get their eyes tested and see a qualified optician.”

ABDO member Antony Rigby from Bell Brothers Opticians said: “We have been proudly providing eye care in Doncaster since 1931. We are happy to welcome Dame Rosie Winterton MP to our practice to promote issues relating to eye health and the impact of supplying accurately fitted spectacles and contact lenses. We have seen many changes over the years, but more recently, an increasing number of ill-fitting spectacles and visual problems from eyewear bought online.”

Debbie McGill of ABDO added, “We welcome the opportunity to have Dame Rosie visit one of our member’s practices within her constituency. This enabled us to show Dame Rosie the various eye health care delivered in optical practices, which can help alleviate the pressures in hospital Ophthalmology departments. We also discussed the importance of spectacles being fitted properly by a Dispensing Optician and the need for patients to attend regularly for after care when wearing contact lenses.”

The ABDO College kindly sponsor your Opchat News to assist in Free Distribution to the Optical Community. Take a look at what the College offers here

Essilor supports these "No Ordinary Women" for the Everest Expedition.

October 2018

WomenEmpowermentEverest Expedition

Everest with EssilorSix Nepalese women ascended the highest summit in the world, Mount Everest, in order to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality in Nepal, and to fight against human trafficking.

This adventure required that they prepare both physically and mentally: the team had to face extreme and unpredictable weather conditions.

Though most of these women grew up in mountainous regions, a long period of preparation was still necessary to prepare them to confront this harsh climate, the lack of oxygen, thin air and extreme temperatures.

Once they reached the summit, the team was able to enjoy the majestic, panoramic view from the top of Mount Everest. “We felt that we reached heaven; truly, we felt like we were inheaven”, they said.

Everest with Essilor
KanchhiMaya is the first Tamang woman to ever reach the top of the world. She’s also the first woman to climb Mount Everest for a social cause.

"For many Nepali women and girls, there is an invisible Everest between their homes and the sports field. I have climbed Everest to empower women who are climbing their own mountains."

KanchhiMaya Tamang is a goodwill ambassador for UN Women Nepal, a UN organization founded in 2010 to make advances in women’s rights worldwide.

Essilor Sun Solution was proud to support these no ordinary women during their adventure!

WORLD SIGHT DAY (11th October) Shines Light on poor Road Vision.

October 2018

Essilor is shining a light on road safety on World Sight Day, on October 11 2018.

Blackfin at FlorenceIt is calling on drivers to “put vision first” and improve their vision habits before driving to cut the risks of collisions and deaths.

They are adapting this international campaign to help independent opticians with in-store posters and social media campaign packages and a new message.

Corporate social responsibility director Nigel Corbett said: “Our message to drivers is that we all share the same roads, yet poor vision is an area of unaddressed disability with massive public road safety consequences from drivers whose eyes are not fit for the road or who are simply a victim of dangerous winter glare.

“We are urging drivers to adopt three habits - to check their vision regularly, to wear appropriate glasses and to protect their eyes from glare.

“We are using the October timing to educate drivers about the increased risks of glare and accidents in the early morning and late afternoon when the sun is low on the horizon, and during the longer hours of darkness when 85% of drivers experience dangerous reflections on glasses from oncoming headlights, traffic lights and street lamps.

“Our message will be that drivers should also check that their lenses or sunglasses protect them from glare, on the grounds of safety as well as personal comfort, and we predict an uplift in people asking about this, and about vision examinations.”

Follow the campaign on social media @ECP_Essilor #PutVisionFirst

CQC publishes annual report on the state of health and social care in England

October 2018

The annual assessment of health and social care in England is available to download on line.

Titled the "State of Care" it looks at the trends, shares examples of good and outstanding care, and highlights where care needs to improve.

Visit the CQC website now to get your copy of the report.

National Eye Health Week agency wants your feed back on its past efforts this year (Sept 24th) and how they could do better

October 2018

NEHWwould like to say a massive THANK YOU to those taking part in National Eye Health Week 2018. Your support helped make this year's campaign the most successful yet as we threw the spotlight on eye health and the importance of having regular eye tests.

We're now planning for 2019 and would love to hear your views about this year's awareness week. You can share your thoughts using the supporter questionnaire link below.

National Eye Health Week Supporter Feedback

Filling in the questionnaire takes just a minute or two and will provide valuable feedback that we'll use to shape future campaigns. The survey will close at midnight on 14 October 2018.

ABDO highlights the dangers of unprescribed cosmetic contact usage especially with Halloween coming soon.

October 2018

As we approach Halloween, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is encouraging consumers to take more care when using cosmetic lenses as part of their Halloween costume. New research from ABDO reveals Brits have a concerning lack of knowledge when it comes to looking after their eyes.

The survey of 2,000 women revealed that over half (54%) of respondents did not know that a contact lens could cause damage to the eye if not correctly fitted and 56% did not think it was important to seek professional help when purchasing lenses. Perhaps even more worryingly, 61% of those asked would buy lenses from a non-medical source such as an online retailer or marketplace, fancy dress shop or even a market-stall.

Commenting on the dangers of using coloured contact lenses, ABDO Board member and Contact Lens Optician Daryl Newsome FBDO R CL SMC(Tech) says, ‘An ill-fitting contact lens could starve the cornea of oxygen which can cause the cornea to temporarily go cloudy if the lens is worn for a short period or even cause severe and sight threatening reactions if the lens is left in too long.’

Latest estimates report that the worldwide cosmetic contact lens industry will be worth over $1.3 billion by 2024[i]. With growth in the entertainment sector’s dramatic make-up driving consumer trends, cosmetic contact lenses as a key part of a Halloween costume is a trend that is set to continue.

ABDO’s research also found as many as 61% of Brits did not know that incorrectly fitted contact lenses can cause permanent damage to the eyes and over a third, 38%, would go and see a GP instead of an optician to resolve eye soreness and discomfort, despite the fact opticians are often best placed to deal with minor eye conditions.

Daryl Newsome has some advice on who the best person is to seek help from if you have a problem:

‘Visiting a suitably qualified and experienced eye care professional for the contact lens fitting coupled with good advice regarding wearing schedules and lens care products is critical to the happy and successful use of any contact lenses including novelty Halloween lenses.

The law in the U.K. stipulates unqualified people are not allowed to supply the public with lenses without a written and signed copy of a contact lens specification. Novelty shops and market traders that do this are breaking U.K. law!

If you wouldn’t buy prescription medicines from a market trader because you know this is wrong, why would you risk your eyesight buying unknown products from an unregistered seller who won’t be able to teach you how to insert and remove the lenses, let alone deal with any consequences if anything should go wrong?’

‘Don’t let fun be a reason to compromise your eyesight! Visit a professional you can trust.’

This October, don’t risk your Halloween costume becoming permanent, take proper care of your eyes.

The facts:

• Cosmetic Contact Lens rapidly growing to become a $1bn global industry
• ABDO warns of dangers of not taking proper precautions
• 61% of Brits would buy contact lenses from a source other than an optician

BLACKFIN dazzles under the skys of Florence

October 2018

An exclusive cocktail dedicated to the titanium eyewear brand

Blackfin at FlorenceThe breath-taking terrace on the sixth floor of Florence’s Hotel Westin Excelsior, with the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and Brunelleschi’s cupola in the background lighting up the city skyline, provided the backdrop for the exclusive Blackfin cocktail party held on 23 September to mark DaTE.

The event was organised by the company to tell the emotional story of the brand’s evolution in the world of luxury.

The minimal display featured a limited number of products with a highly evocative approach, making way for all the grandeur of this exceptional location. It was a unique opportunity to celebrate Blackfin together with the finest opticians and potential new clients, including LuisaViaRoma, the famous luxury online retailer on which Blackfin will be making its debut with a capsule of sunglasses for the coming spring/summer season.

The evening also provided the opportunity to officially present Blackfin’s two new managers to the 130 hand-picked guests: Mario Viel, Global Commercial Director, and Simone Favero, Marketing Manager, two key figures in the international development process the brand is experiencing in its third phase.

John McGregor installed as new Master of The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

October 2018

John McGregorJohn McGregor was installed as new Master of the Spectacle Makers Company on Wednesday 3rd October 2018 during the company’s annual service of thanksgiving, remembrance and rededication at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street.

Following the service, a lunch was held at the historical Apothecaries Hall attended by visiting Masters of City Livery Companies and guests from across the world of optical and vision.

In his address John talked about the importance of regular eye examinations in preventative eyecare and the role that a multi-disciplinary company like The Spectacle Makers could play in promoting good eye health.

John is a chemist by training. He founded Contamac Ltd in 1987 as a contact lens polymer manufacturer.

He now chairs the company whose product range has expanded into the development of biocompatible polymers for specialist contact lens production and interocular lenses.

Twice awarded Queen’s Awards, in 2012 for enterprise and in 2015 for innovation, John was awarded OBE in the Queens 2018 Birthday Honours list.

Read about John McGregor here


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