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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, July to September 2019


Komono sees its 10th year of creating coveted accessories
General Optical Council meets 22 of 24 standards in PSA performance review
2019 SILMO d'Or Laureates celebrate in Paris
Irish eye-care waiting lists exceeds 50,000
A positive partnership with the ABDO National Resource Centre
The Regional Lead for ABDO
Contact Lens wearers in the throwaway society need to think twice about recycling
Encourage Pxs to get involved in the Eyes Wise project
College once again takes an opportunity to downplay the need for "dark mode" feature on many smart phones
Yeovil District Hospital decides against transferring 2017 “Deep Mind” agreement to Google.
National Eye Health Week 2019, awakens next week.
Deputy Chief Executive of ABDO, has resigned with immediate effect.
ABDO Response to "Which" magazine
College responds to Which Report
ABDO celebrates drive to Enviromental Friendly Management
Celebrity glasses wearer, Prue Leith chooses Booth&Bruce for Bread Week!
2019 American Academy of Optometry Resident Travel Fellowship Recipients Announced
RSM President invites the Optical Sector to join him at his section's annual dinner
Why an eye examination should make the back to school checklist
Moorfields Eye Hospital Creating Lifechanging Jobs For Young People With Learning Disabilities in London
Cardiff's winner for the Best Performance in Abnormal Ocular Conditions.
Past Optometry Leader, the now Section President at the RSM encourages the Optical Sector to turn up in force at the RSM
EssilorLuxottica bids for Grand Vision
Drivers aged 70 and over might face compulsory eyesight tests as published in The Times this week
ABDO's poll shows parents lack of knowledge on Children's Eyesight
ABDO presents Fellowship and Life memberships in London
VISION OF TOMORROW, provides eco-friendly eyewear solutions
The International Opticians Association (IOA) can announce a new French language version of its website.
First demonstrated at Optrafair Exchange this year, the Vision R-800 phoropter now will be followed by AVA lenses to accommodate its 1/100th D refraction accuracy
A Year of Balls, yes that shows the dedication and commitment that Louis Stone provides in sponsorship and networking to Optometry Universities each year
GOC erases Surrey based dispensing optician
GOC erases Swindon based dispensing optician
Twentysomething tells how eye test ‘saved her life’ after golf-ball size brain tumour detected
Eyebag manufacturers receive apology from “three-sixty wholesalers”
Southgate optician shortlisted for top national Macular Society award
Fostering greater chances for those with Sight Loss to play soccer
Association of Optometrists response to Government Road Safety Statement 2019
Essilor® Sun Solution™ No Ordinary story
AOP launches Stub it out encouraging smokers to stop putting their sight at risk
Read the archived General News from April to June 2019

Komono sees its 10th year of creating coveted accessories

October 2019

Time is a relative concept. Anton Janssens, the energetic co-founder and CEO of Komono, experiences this shifting sensation day-to-day, and year-to-year. This was especially true during this past decade, when he built Komono, the Antwerp accessories brand specialized in eyewear and watches that he founded together with Raf Maes.

As one of Antwerp’s fastest growing start-up businesses, it goes without saying that Komono came into being out of their enthusiasm, excitement and passion to create a contemporary brand. Today, Komono is an international name with a bold market position.

“Growth is great”, says Janssens, “but it was never our goal to be the biggest.” After 10 years, he’s determined to guard the pureness with which he started and keen to hold on to the fundamental values that are the essence of Komono. “Our goal is to become even better, translate who we are even more clearly. Our vision is what drives us: to create contemporary and inclusive fashion from Antwerp that pushes for progression and captures the zeitgeist.”

Daring designs and creative collaborations are what makes Komono tick. For Summer 2019, reach for the eyewear made by a selection of fashion students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, or go for the anniversary collection of watches and sunglasses with playful prints that reference some of Komono’s early hits.

Komono’s current position within the accessories scene is the result, also, of Janssens’ growing conviction that instinct is crucial. “Today, I listen to my gut feeling with more confidence”, he tells. “I don’t limit my creativity or care what others think.” When it comes to innovative or downright outré models, he’s certain: “Internationally, it’s especially those eye-catching frames that resonate.”

The making of a brand like Komono doesn’t happen overnight. “I learned that long-term success has a lot to do with how you deal with failures; how you translate them into something positive”, says Janssens.

After a swift 10 years of fast and organic growth, Janssens still continually asks himself: ‘what’s next?’. “In this business of fashion the pace is so fast, there’s hardly time to think”, he muses. “At Komono, we live in the now, with our gaze directed towards the future.”

General Optical Council meets 22 of 24 standards in PSA performance review

October 2019

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) published its annual performance review of the General Optical Council (GOC) this week, finding that the GOC met 22 of 24 Standards of Good Regulation.

The GOC failed to meet Standard 3 for Registration because the PSA identified some issues with the accuracy of its register entries regarding final fitness to practise decisions.

However, this has now been rectified. The PSA also said the GOC is still taking too long to progress cases and it therefore failed to achieve Standard 6 for Fitness to Practice.

The GOC has welcomed the PSA report, with Lesley Longstone, Chief Executive and Registrar, setting out plans to meet Standard 6. She said: “We welcome the Authority’s report and their feedback on our work to protect the public. We have endeavoured to improve the initial assessment activity we undertake at triage stage when we receive an FTP complaint, so we are pleased to see this is recognised in us meeting the relevant standard.”


October 2019

WestGroupe is celebrating World Sight Day on October 10th with Optometry Giving Sight. Each year, Optometry Giving Sight holds an international fundraising campaign that brings the global optometry community together to help end preventable vision impairment.

More than 1.2 billion visually impaired people in the world have limited access to an eye exam and a pair of eyeglasses. This figure includes millions of children who depend on their sight to succeed in school. World Sight Day, an annual awareness day, is a global call to action to bring awareness and education on eye health. Together we can make a bigger impact!

For the second year in a row, WestGroupe is partnering up with Optometry Giving Sight and The Canadian National Institute for the Blind, along with a complete list of collaborators, in a combined effort to educate the public on eye health, as well as fundraise to help people in need of basic eye care.

"WestGroupe is proud to partner with the Optometry Giving Sight Foundation and the Canadian Institute for the Blind” said WestGroupe President Michael Suliteanu. “Together, we will work towards the goal of promoting a healthy vision and educating people on the importance of maintaining eye health. We believe that everyone has a right to quality eye care services that is both affordable and accessible”.

To help inform the public, the #WithoutMySight social media campaign is a way to motivate people around the world to help end preventable vision loss and to better understand the immediate effects of vision loss and the importance of looking after your eye health. For every $5.00 raised, the foundation can provide an eye exam and a pair of glasses for someone in need.

Our Champions have all experienced vision loss at some point in their life. They want to share their stories to inspire people and demonstrate that anything is possible. The #WithoutMySight Challenge is a way to bring attention to the importance of eye health and show how vision can be taken for granted. Our Champions have succeeded in all aspects of life, as entrepreneurs, athletes and engineers. They’re a source of inspiration for anyone who needs it, which is why they’ve earned the title of being our Champions!

Starting October 2nd, tomorrow, we will introduce our Champions on social media by publishing their story videos. On October 10th, we will launch the #WithoutMySight Challenge of our Champions and collaborators to show us how it’s done! The Challenge will continue throughout the month of October to help spread awareness and educate people on the importance of eye health.

We also encourage everyone to donate to help us raise funds and to reach our goal of $5,000 by October 31stfor Optometry Giving Sight!

Follow the link to find a full list of our Champions and Collaborators here :

How to take the #WithoutMySight Challenge:

1. Choose a (safe) task you’d like to perform while blindfolded (making coffee, writing an e-mail, shooting a three pointer, preparing a snack, the options are endless!)

2. Have someone record you performing the task with your blindfold is on

3. Nominate 3 other people to take the challenge!

4. Upload and share you video on your social media accounts with the tags: @WestGroupe and #WithoutMySight and #WorldSightDay

5. Donate $5.00 at the following link and help us reach our goal!

For more information, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @WestGroupe to learn more about the initiative and how you can take the challenge and donate.

Help us raise funds and spread the word for affordable and accessible eye care because together we can make a bigger impact!

2019 SILMO d'Or Laureates celebrate in Paris

October 2019

SILMO Laureates

The jury has awarded the SILMO d'Or prizes ... Discover the 2019 winners !




Freisicht initiates a revolution in the field of natural materials.

Physically optimised in such a way that solid wooden frames can be deformed when heated by any ordinary optician and, for the first time, adjusted ergonomically to every individual physiognomy.
Wood as you know it is a thing of the past. It preserves the emotional benefits of the past and achieves the qualities of the future.

Thanks to the combination of modern technology and traditional know-how, wood can now be used like any other common material.



Mindful of health requirements for young children, Opal is launching its first bio acetate range for 2-3 year olds.
This new round, comfortable design is available in eight models for boys and girls.
The cellulose, plasticizer and colorant making up the cellulose acetate are plant-based. With no phthalates or hormone-disrupting chemicals, it is a non-toxic, anallergic material which complies with the precautionary principle concerning infants.



Marni introduces Cross (ME2632), a striking look round frame craft¬ed with a grooved rim and a metal filament around the lenses.
The frame’s chromatic allure springs from the captivating effect of the custom-made rims, which are laminated and milled to achieve an octagonal shape.

A very creative and innovative frame where geometricity and the unex¬pected play of colors make this frame very interesting yet pioneering.


Endless SummerEndless Summer SONIA RYKIEL with "ENDLESS SUMMER" L'AMY

Endless Summer is the newly reinterpreted aviator model for the adventurer women of SONIA RYKIEL.

This sunglasses lands in the desert and reminds us the beauty of contrast and material thanks to its perfect combination between metal and acetate.

Its audacious curves and shading reveal the light among its openwork lines...

More than a design, Endless Summer is a travel call to take part in RYKIEL story.


Smith by Safilo

The Attack MTB is a must-have for sports and cycling enthusiasts.

This model exists in 2 different interchangeable ChromaPop lenses featuring a magnetic temples system: the « Black ChromaPop », best for areas of high sun exposure and the « Light Amber » to ensure a total comfort in case of low light. The carbonic lense ChromaPop, light, impact resistant, filters the natural phenomenon of color overlap by the retina (between blue and green, and red and green light perception) to allow you to see more detail.



Acuvue OasysACUVUE® OASYS with Transitions™ is a first-of-its-kind1 contact lens that goes beyond vision correction seamlessly adapting to changing light

By automatically balancing the amount of indoor and outdoor light entering the eye,

ACUVUE® OASYS with Transitions™ helps reduce the stressful impact that light can have on patients’ eyes.

1. FDA press release: FDA clears first contact lens with light-adaptive technology, April 10th 2018.
2. JJV Data on File 2018. Definition of ACUVUE® OASYS with Transitions™ Light Intelligent Technology™




Leica Eyecare is proud to announce the launch of its new VARIOVID VOLTERRA progressive lens with ÉO-TECH® Technology.

This disruptive and revolutionary technology reduces optical aberrations by 50% to 65%.

By applying the mathematical series of Vito Volterra (Italian mathematician 1860-1940) in the calculation of lens design we have created the first " equalizer " of optical surfaces, which gives wearers the feeling of wearing single vision lenses.

The Volterra series have been mainly used in other areas (such as acoustics), but have never been used in optics.


Lumiz 100

BBGR with "LUMIZ 100"

9/10 people declare they are light sensitive.*

Depending on the physiology and the light environment, each individual can have a different level of light sensitivity.

Today, LUMIZ™ 100 is the 1st instrumented protocol that measures the level of individual light sensitivity and recommends the most appropriate visual solutions for each individual.

LUMIZ™ 100 consists of a headset for measuring light sensitivity and a protocol incorporating an innovative algorithm. It conjointly analyses the sensitivity level of the subject and the bothering light environment to recommend optimal visual solutions.



I was seduced by the intense colors and graphic lines of the solar architecture inspired by the great Luis Barragán the 1990s.

I gathered my best memories with this new collection – GRAPHIC – Metal



DIVINE model.

When seduction rimes with sophistication.

Caroline Abram presents tremendous sunglasses: delicate, yet Futuristic sensual from the inner curves, powerful with the geometrical outlines, this mask is as sophisticated as feminin.

Lightness and resistance are assured by the HDC acetate.

The stainless steel is made from a 10 step process, allowing a perfect control of its shade and resistance.

The frame comes with silicone nosepads, to ensure a personalised comfort.



VoxiOne is the innovative all-in-one device that will revolutionize the daily lives of the visually impaired and blind, in all situations, at home or on the move.

In a single product, VoxiOne offers many features that have been redesigned and improved over existing standards: electronic magnifier, OCR reading device, video magnifier, barcode reader, color identifier, smartphone, voice labeling system...

An innovation developed in France by Voxiweb, designer of solutions for the visually impaired since 2013.







Abeye Lexilens is an innovative reading aid eyewear for dyslexics.

Dyslexia makes reading difficult for 2 children per class on average. Abeye Lexilens leverages a recent scientific discovery on the probable cause of dyslexia to help dyslexics read easier and faster. Abeye Lexilens is the result of 2 years of collaborative Research and Development between Abeye and the academic laboratory that made the discovery.

Abeye Lexilens uses electronic lenses to filter out the mirrored images making the reading difficult. Lexilens provides an effect that is instantaneous, independent of nbative language, does not require any training and improves reading speed and ease in most common cases. Abeye Lexilens targets primerily children and will be available in spring 2020.

Irish eye-care waiting lists exceeds 50,000

October 2019

Irish Optometrists call for a greater role to help reduce waiting lists

Eye-care waiting lists in Ireland have exceeded 50,000 as capacity challenges in public eye-care continue to increase.

Irish Optometrists today called for a greater role in public eye-care to help address ever-worsening capacity problems.

National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures to the end of August show that 43,700 people were on the outpatient eye-care waiting list – continuing an upwards trend from 41,600 this time last year, 40,000 at the end of 2017 and 38,100 and the end of 2016.

18,700 of these people were waiting more than a year and 13,000 more than 18 months, up from 16,200 and 10,500 respectively a year ago.

Furthermore, almost 8,700 people were awaiting inpatient eye procedures at the end of August.

Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) Chief Executive Sean McCrave said Ireland’s public eye-care services need to be reformed, with Optometrists playing a significantly greater role.

“We continue to have an unusual overreliance on hospital Ophthalmology Departments. This is a flawed approach and will continue to be until it is overhauled. It cannot – and will not – meet patient demand as these ever-worsening figures show.

“Ireland can replicate a model of care which has proven successful in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. This involves a shared triaged approach with more routine public care provided through Optometrists in the community and Ophthalmologists in hospitals freed up to prioritise specialised care.”

AOI President Patricia Dunphy highlighted in particular the need to better organise Cataract surgery which accounts for a significant portion of the backlog.

“A Member survey carried out by AOI in 2019 found that waiting times for cataract surgery are five years in some parts of the country. AOI continues to call for national roll-out of the Sligo Post-Cataract Scheme (a shared approach between community and hospital services in Sligo). Sligo continues to have the shortest waiting time for Cataract surgery at just over one year.

AOI also called for the development of an Optometrist led national eye-care programme for 0-16 years olds to address major waiting times, gaps and inconsistencies in children’s services.

AOI has estimated that increasing care in the community can achieve significant savings while at the same time deliver more accessible and clinically effective services. That is because it is 50% less expensive to provide routine examinations, monitoring and care in the community than in a hospital.

For patients – swifter access means earlier detection leading to better outcomes.

A positive partnership with the ABDO National Resource Centre

October 2019

Glaskar and ABDOPositive Impact has donated a co-branded dispenser and bottles of the Glasklar lens cleaner to the ABDO National Resource Centre in Birmingham, the association’s flagship education and examinations hub.

The donation is in the reception area of the National Resource Centre (NRC) so that students and practitioner visitors can see the Glasklar dispenser when they walk in, read the information display and leaflets and take a bottle of the lens cleaner to try it for themselves.

The information leaflets explain how the Glasklar initiative encourages patient loyalty and future spectacles sales by enticing patients back into the practice when they need to replenish their lens cleaner using the dispenser bottle, which is fun to use.

The red and blue Glasklar bottles from Positive Impact were designed to match the colour branding of the NRC, with a display on the wall giving instructions and highlighting the benefits of the Glasklar system for students and practitioners who might be unfamiliar with the practice loyalty building initiative.

Pictured is Positive Impact’s director of marketing and professional services, Nick Atkins, and Matthew Stringer of the NRC. Mr Stringer said: "We first saw Glasklar at an event Positive Impact held at the National Resource Centre and were instantly drawn towards its unique look and idea.

“We got to thinking about the amount of footfall the National Resource Centre has and how we could collaborate in promoting each other. It's all looking great now and is proving very popular with our visitors."

Mr Atkins concluded: “We wanted to inject a little bit of Glasklar colour to the National Resource Centre, hoping that the bright red dispenser could grab the eye of visitors walking in and draw them closer to read a little more about how Glasklar works. Now we’ve created bottle-carrying ambassadors, not just for Glasklar but for ABDO NRC.”

New Regional Lead for ABDO

October 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is welcoming a new regional lead following Max Halford's move to become ABDO Clinical Lead.

MECs qualified Contact Lens Optician Stuart Pell has been practising for over 25 years and will become lead for South of England. Stuart has wide experience in all aspects of Optics from initially working in a lab and gaining the SMC(Tech) qualification, dispensing and managing local and larger practices and previous business start-up experience to now being a MECs qualified Contact Lens Optician with a passion for extended services and education.

The ABDO regional leads are an integral part of the policy team who help deliver the ABDO objectives on maintaining high level DO services and developing them further to provide extended services within their local areas.

Stuart Pell says: “ABDO has made large strides over the past few years promoting its members with extended services including MECs pathways and I am looking forward to helping local leads influence these advancements for the wider benefit of all ABDO members.”

Commenting on the appointment, Debbie McGill, Policy and Public Affairs lead, said: “Stuart brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, which is an asset to us and our members and will enable him to provide support and assist with development going forward.”

Contact Lens wearers in the throwaway society need to think twice about recycling

October 2019

UK throws over 750 million contact lenses down the drain or into landfill every year, damaging the environment and filling oceans with microplastics

• 97% of contact lens users are damaging the environment[1]

• 1 in 4 contact lens wearers regularly throws used lenses down the toilet or drain[1]

Info graphic on CL disposalVast amounts of plastic are unwittingly being thrown down the toilet or sink by contact lens users, potentially ending up in the oceans. New figures from Optical Express, one of the UK’s leading contact lens suppliers, suggest that over 750 million plastic lenses are being flushed down the drain or put in landfill every year. These lenses form microplastics, pollute the oceans and endanger marine life.

Almost 800 million plastic contact lenses are used by more than 4 million people in the UK each year[2] and this is having a huge, but often overlooked, impact on the environment. In a survey of over 3,000 UK contact lens users, Optical Express found that 97%[1] are damaging the environment by throwing them down the drain or in the bin, and only 3%[1] of people recycle their lenses. The survey found that people from Nottingham were the least environmentally friendly, where 98%[1] of people always throw their used lenses in the bin or down the drain. The best performing city for contact lens pollution is Bristol, but even there a shocking 87%[1] of people never recycle their plastic lenses.

Most plastic waste from the contact lenses themselves and their packaging end up in the ocean or in landfill. Once in landfill it may take up to 500 years to decompose, potentially leaking pollutants into the soil and water.

Even more shocking, more than 1 in 4 people (27%)[1] admit to disposing of their lenses via the sink or toilet – with the true number of offenders potentially higher still. The situation is even worse than had been previously thought. A similar study by contact lens manufacturer Johnson & Johnson found that 1 in 5 people (20%)[3] were flushing their used lenses down the drain.

As they go through sewage systems, contact lenses break down into smaller particles and ultimately form microplastics. These microplastics pollute the oceans and are mistaken for food by marine animals.

A recent University of Exeter study[4] found that every single seal, dolphin and whale washed up on Britain’s shores had traces of plastic in its stomach.

Optical Express is urging people to rethink their contact lens use.

Info graphic on CL disposalOne in every three (33%)[1] of the contact lens wearers who responded to its survey said they were completely unaware of the environmental impact their contacts were having. As one of the UK’s leading contact lens suppliers, Optical Express has launched a package of measures to tackle the problem of plastic pollution from lenses. The new initiative will make contact lens users more aware of the environmental impact of contact lenses and will give advice on alternatives to disposable lenses, such as laser eye or lens surgery.

Optical Express is asking people who wear contact lenses to consider their vision correction choices carefully. This includes considering the options of laser eye or intraocular lens surgery. Those who choose to continue to use plastic contacts are being encouraged to dispose of their lenses responsibly, and the eye care provider has placed contact lens recycling boxes in its locations nationwide.

No contact lens manufacturer currently includes information on the environmental impact of contact lenses on their packaging. As the UK’s only complete eye care provider, Optical Express has therefore decided it has to take action itself. With every pack of plastic contact lenses it sells, the company will now give consumers information on the environmental impact of lenses and advice on how to properly dispose of used lenses.

Optical Express is today calling upon other eye care practices to do likewise. The UK Government has recently taken measures to reduce plastic waste from straws and cotton buds. Their view on contact lenses is unknown.

Speaking about the eye care provider’s commitment to the environment, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express, Stephen Hannan, said:

“Everyone knows we need to take urgent action to reduce the amount of plastic we’re using in every aspect of our lives. It’s time we all took more responsibility for how our personal decisions affect the environment. We all have choices in terms of vision correction, whether that’s to wear glasses more often or get laser eye surgery, but whatever you do, don’t throw your contact lenses down the drain.”

“We’d suspected that some people were disposing of lenses down the drain, but it’s shocking to learn the true scale of the problem.

“Think of all the plastic that would be saved if the 4.2 million UK contact lens wearers chose to have laser eye surgery. Contact lenses not only have an environmental impact, but they can be very expensive over the course of a lifetime, and prolonged use increases the risk of eye infections. In the long run, eye surgery is better for the environment, better for your pocket and better for your eyes.”

Heather SuttieAs part of the company’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact, Optical Express has also enlisted “say no to plastic” campaigner and former TV and radio presenter Heather Suttie (right) . The anti-plastic bag campaign that she spearheaded a decade ago led to the Scottish Government bringing in the 5p bag levy in 2014. Speaking about her work on contact lens plastic, Heather said:

“As we all become more environmentally aware and understand the impact on the planet of our decisions and actions, we learn that as consumers, we always have a choice. Businesses have a responsibility to educate their patients and customers with information on the environmental impact of products and should offer alternative solutions where possible.”

“With 125 million contact lens users worldwide, this is a global crisis and it needs action on a massive scale.[6] Billions of used contact lenses and their packaging are causing widespread pollution and people simply don’t realise the damage. People have been flushing or binning used contact lenses and their packaging for decades, causing untold environmental damage. We need to take action now.”

“It’s great that Optical Express is taking the war on plastic seriously and I hope other eye care providers follow their lead. Through this kind of information and support, all of us can make better informed choices and start cleaning up our oceans and our beaches.”

Editor: Do our readers have any suggestions on where to put our disposable lenses as an option rather than laser surgery? Reply to

Encourage Pxs to get involved in the Eyes Wise project

September 2019

This week, as part of its 100 Voices initiative, NHS England wrote to all hospital eye services encouraging them to nominate local patients who would share their stories about the local service. NHS England has also called for experiences to be shared via its online form, with its welcome outline below:.

EyesWise is an NHS project that aims to save sight and improve lives. Since April 2018, work has been underway in hospital eye services across the country to streamline and speed up outpatient treatment for patients at highest risk of sight loss. Now we are launching the 100 Voices campaign to find out what it feels like to use those services.

If you think the NHS can learn from your experience, please tell us your story. You can write about it or upload a video or recording of yourself talking about it.

When telling your story, please focus on what you want the people in charge of hospital eye services to know about your experience of ophthalmology appointments that have taken place since April 2018.

We would like to understand things such as how good you thought communications with the service were and what it was like booking the appointment. How well did the clinic run on the day? If you have used ophthalmology services before, what changes did you notice? Please mention which service you were using when you tell us your story (for instance, glaucoma clinic).

Please don't mention the name of the hospital or any staff. There is a space on this form where we ask you to specify which hospital trust you went to: we will use that information to make sure your story reaches the right people.

We want to hear from patients, carers and people who work in hospital eye services. We will share people's stories with key staff who plan, pay for and provide services to help them take decisions as they transform eye services for the future.

We will also put stories on our website, social media, and YouTube channel, to raise awareness and encourage more people to tell their story.

If you are happy to go ahead and write your story or upload a film or recording, please click the ‘Online survey’ link below to get started. Closes end November 2019.

College once again takes an opportunity to downplay the need for "dark mode" feature on many smart phones

September 2019

In advance of the release of Apple’s new operating system IOS 13, The College of Optometrists has issued the following statement:

The ‘dark mode’ feature on the new IOS is described as ‘easier on your eyes’, and many people may already have a similar feature on their smartphones, but it’s important to know that there is no evidence that screen use causes harm or damage to the eyes. Night mode may be useful in reducing the overall screen brightness and improving screen contrast, but there is little published evidence available to say this is effective in reducing eyestrain.

If using a device at night, dark mode or night shift features may be preferable to device users.

This runs contrary to a significant number of highly regarded ophthalmologists who warn about the excessive light including blue light that these phones can emit.

Here is the College’s advice on how to avoid eye strain with smart phones and other screens:

• Apply the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. That will give your eye muscles a rest.

• Try to blink regularly

• Position your device screen so that it is between 40 and 75cm from your eyes and is held below the level of your eyes

• Use a text size that is easy to see. Make things larger if needed

• Avoid using a screen when very tired

• If you are affected by dry eye, consider using lubricating eye drops.

Most importantly, have regular sight tests and wear glasses if you have been prescribed them. If you have, concerns about eye strain speak to your optometrist.

The College has produced a special Youtube publication to spread its position on eye strain by Daniel Hardiman-McCartney here :

Yeovil District Hospital decides against transferring 2017 “Deep Mind” agreement to Google.

September 2019

"DeepMind" in 2016 said it had no intention of transferring data to its parent company, with its co-founder Mustafa Suleyman quoted by the BBC as saying: "DeepMind operates autonomously from Google, and we've been clear from the outset that at no stage will patient data ever be linked or associated with Google accounts, products or services”.

In 2018, however, Google confirmed a restructure would take place and the DeepMind health division would be transferred to its direct control, claiming the restructure would provide the resources DeepMind needed for international expansion.

DeepMind’s health division, which has worked with Moorfields Eye Hospital to use machine learning to assess eye scans, is now to be transferred contrary to its earlier promise to its parent company Google.

The change has required Google to contract directly with NHS hospitals in order to continue its work.

It has confirmed Moorfields Eye Hospital and other providers have decided to continue their collaboration but Yeovil District Hospital has opposed transference of eye information to Google.

National Eye Health Week 2019, awakens next week.

September 2019

The first PR has landed on our news desk regarding the sector's Annual Week to inform the general public about the vital importance of eye care for all.

National Eye Health Week 2019 (NEHW) runs from 23 to 29 September and will focus on promoting the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all.

The week will include daily themes which members can plan communication around – getting local people involved and raising awareness of the high quality and accessible eye care services and support they provide.

The NEHW campaign will also issue social media graphics each day which members can use.

The chosen themes for next week are:

• Monday Importance of regular eye examinations

• Tuesday Nutrition and the eye

• Wednesday Sight after 60, with a focus on the role good vision plays in falls prevention

• Thursday Diabetic retinopathy

• Fr-eye-day The Big Blink (screen fatigue) plus charity fundraising

• Saturday 28 September Children’s eye care (including myopia control)

• Sunday 29 September Smoking and sight loss

"We will be discussing how we can do better in getting this most important health message accross to the population of the UK at the Forward View: Vision and Eye Care at the RSM on October 9th. This is an opportunity to express our views on the current messages and efforts being made from many sectors in health. With 2 million people suffering from sight loss in the UK and numbers rising one has to take the view that we need more than a one week's focus." Editor.

Deputy Chief Executive of ABDO, has resigned with immediate effect.

September 2019

Barry Duncan has been on the staff of ABDO since 2011 and is a former President of the Association.

Commenting on Barry’s resignation, ABDO General Secretary, Sir Anthony Garrett, said: “Barry has played a major part in the development of the Association in recent years – particularly the reorganisation of our structure into Regions with Regional Leads – and developing a network of Local Leads.

“In addition his pioneering work on the development of a minor eye conditions services programme for contact lens opticians is a major achievement. which will grow in the years to come.

“I wish Barry every success in his future career.”

ABDO Response to "Which" magazine

September 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has responded to a new report from Which? magazine about online spectacle sales.

The magazine found that a quarter of glasses failed the tests for the following reasons: because the actual measurements were too far off what was supplied; they didn’t conform to British Standards; or the lenses were loose and could fall out or be easily rotated.

Eleven pairs of glasses drew criticism from experts for poor construction – even taking low price into account. Eight pairs had poor-quality lenses that were scratched, loose, warped or positioned badly. Two pairs had issues with nose-pad positioning and two had loose arms.

ABDO President Clive Marchant FBDO says, “The Which? report highlights the reasons why patients should not use online companies to purchase spectacle or lenses and that it could cost more than money in the long term when things go wrong. Spectacles are first and foremost a medical device to aid patients’ visual needs and if the prescription within the lenses are not correct, or if the spectacles are not fitted correctly then they are not fit for purpose. It is important to speak to a qualified dispensing optician to find the best fitting spectacles and suitable lenses to aid your visual needs. Facial measurements and facial characteristics cannot be measured properly unless you have this done face to face. Optical practices offer a variety of spectacles at a wide range of costs to meet all patients’ budgets and for some patients NHS vouchers can be issued to help towards the costs of spectacles.”

He continues, “The remote select of frame even for the most simple prescriptions is not recommended. Dispensing spectacles is a skill which dispensing opticians study for three years, obtaining a degree level qualification. Advice on appropriate eye wear can only be given after lifestyle considerations have been obtained by the dispensing optician who can them make recommendations, frames not only have to look good but they must fit the face and be suitable for the prescription glazed in them. There are thousands of lens options to consider depending on the prescription and life style needs and many measurements are required to ensure the prescription sits correctly in alignment to your eyes. The PD or pupillary distance is only one of these measurements. If the fitting is incorrect the effects can range from visual discomfort to blurred vision making you unsafe in the work place or driving. With young people incorrect fitting can induce lazy eyes or increase myopic progression. Spectacles also have to be fitted once manufactured and will require regular adjustments to ensure the correct alignment and comfort is maintained. Obviously this is not provided by online retailers. "

"Your high street practice will provide a life time of after sales service which is included in the fees paid for spectacles but will charge a fee for fitting and adjust spectacles they have not supplied. Spectacle purchase from an optical practice included professional fees for the advice and services provided by the dispensing Optician. Obviously online purchase can be cheaper but included none of the professional advice your high street practice provides.”

College responds to Which Report

September 2019

Daniel Hardiman-mccartney fcoptom, Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists, said:

“I hope consumers will take note of the independent report and Which? Magazine’s advice that people requiring complex prescriptions and varifocals are most likely to experience problems and should think twice before buying online. However, with a quarter of the pairs of spectacles they purchased online not being made to the appropriate standard, it is disappointing that they didn’t go further and make a resolute ‘Don’t Buy’ recommendation to their readers. There is no doubt that the safest place to purchase spectacles is from an optical practice on the high street, where professional advice and fitting ensures clear vision and comfortable wear.”

This report comes days after Channel 4’s Supershoppers Money Saving Special programme, which put the spotlight on online glasses suppliers, resulting in the College issuing a complaint to the programme makers, Channel 4 and Ofcom.

ABDO celebrates drive to Enviromental Friendly Management

September 2019

ABDO College is celebrating the success of a major boost to its ongoing campaign to be more environmentally friendly. By moving as much of its work online as possible, the College is saving over 475,000 sheets of paper each year.

The College’s head of operations, Steve Hertz, emphasised that the two largest areas of progress in the campaign are in the coursework and application processes. “This is the first year that all ABDO College courses will be online, meaning not only that all students will have access to the extra resources and support that the virtual learning platform brings, but with the old coursework folders being over 500 pages long, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the paper savings are enormous,” he emphasised.

“The online application system, which went live in May, has reduced the amount of paper used, not only at the College but also with the applicants themselves,” he added. “In previous years, many applications were 10 to 15 pages long by the time exam certificates, supervisor declarations, personal details and practice information were provided. Multiply this up by almost 1,000 students and once again, the impact cannot be understated.”

The move online has inspired the College to look further at boosting its green credentials. Over 9,000 plastic cups were used last year and the College is seeking to reduce that by issuing new cups for each block release student this month. “Our other major area of focus is in single use plastics, inspired by the swell of public support for the campaigns of Messer Attenborough, Fearnley-Whittingstall et al,” said Steve. “The

College drinks machines are very popular, and the number of plastic cups used is staggering, even though the majority of these cups are in fact recyclable. However, the issue of getting them to the appropriate facility has always been difficult, with so many bins around the building being general waste.

“In order to combat this issue, we will be giving every student that attends a block release with us their own re-usable, sustainably sourced, bamboo drinks tumbler cup. This will be compatible with the drinks machine and will be suitable for hot and cold drinks and available in a choice of colours. Cups and bottles will be available from reception for those students who need extras. We are also purchasing extra recycling bins to enable any appropriate bottles, containers, wrappers etc that the students bring in with them, to be disposed of more effectively,” he concluded.

One department that has been environmentally friendly for a long time is the College bookshop. Bookshop administrator, Justin Hall, explained: “All the book orders have been sent out using environmentally-aware packaging pretty much since day one. Cardboard boxes and cardboard book packages are used with bio-degradable filler chips, if required, for larger orders. This loose fill is produced from wheat or vegetable starch.

The chips resemble traditional polystyrene packing but are far better for the environment than their polystyrene counterpart. This biodegradable loose fill is odourless, dust free, biodegradable, compostable, reusable or disposable. The only thing I use that isn’t recyclable currently is the tape used to stick the boxes together, but I’m working on that one. We all need to be doing our bit to reduce how much plastic we use, for everyone’s sake.”

ABDO College will continue to look at ways to reduce its impact on the environment on an ongoing basis.

Celebrity glasses wearer, Prue Leith chooses Booth&Bruce for Bread Week!

September 2019

Prue Leith courtesy OT

Prue Leith is known for her bold frame choices...and tomorrow night makes no exception.

She has chosen our PO54 model in colour UK2012 to wear for episode 3 of the UK hit series.

We're so pleased to have such a prominent and influential glasses wearer choose our frames to wear on bread week.

A week that fans of the show will know is a key week!

Catch Prue wearing our PO54 model in colour UK2012 tomorrow night, on UK Television, Channel 4, at 8:00pm GMT.

(Image Optometry Today)

2019 American Academy of Optometry Resident Travel Fellowship Recipients Announced

September 2019

The American Academy of Optometry is pleased to congratulate the recipients of the 2019 Resident Travel Fellowship Awards. These travel fellowships will allow residents to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry, October 23-27, 2019.

Allergan Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by Allergan

Dana Rhea, OD, Northeastern State University
Corinne Wong, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Mary Chivetta, OD, University of Missouri at St. Louis
Luke Lirones, OD, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Nicole Harris, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
Elizabeth Davis, OD, Southern College of Optometry
Allison Choi, OD, Pacific University
Vincent Chan, OD, Pacific University
Jesal Haribhakti, OD, Indiana University
Sara Moses, OD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Amrit Bilkhu, OD, University of California, Berkeley
Courtney Cape, OD, University of Houston
Abigail Gonsalves, OD, Indiana University
Courtney Hongo, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Dennis Giang, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Allegra Burgher, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Skylar Williams, OD, University of Houston
Lucinda Kauffman, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Abigail Strauss, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
Carissa Hintz, OD, Pacific University
Jessica Jankiewicz, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
Madison Goodfellow, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
Kelly Morgan, OD, MS, The Ohio State University
Sydney Cooper, OD, Southern College of Optometry
Maria Adriaansen, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Elizabeth Brooks, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Vikarma Brooks, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Andrew Henderson, OD, Northeastern State University
Daisy Berisha, OD, State University of New York
Branden Shaffer, OD, Indiana University
Sohail Sakkari, OD, State University of New York
Rachel Choi, OD, University of Houston
Kimber Kenzli, OD, Pacific University
Lauren Fernandez, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Reid Gardner, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Sarah Quan, OD, PhD, State University of New York
Larissa Krenk, OD, Indiana University
Jaana Ashtiani-Zarandi, OD, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Jimmy Nguyen, OD, Nova Southeastern University
Taylor Phillips, OD, MBA, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Anterior Segment Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by the Anterior Segment Section of the American Academy of Optometry

Brittany Hoyle, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Paige Sorrentino, OD, Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry

Arizona Chapter Resident Travel Fellowship
Sponsored by the Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry

Jacqueline Yi, OD, Sierra Vista VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic

Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by CooperVision

Nicole Poon, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Christopher Albright, OD, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Thanhan Nguyen, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
Audrey Janelle-Brousseau, OD, University of Montreal
Baljinder Momrath, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Vanessa Wang, OD, State University of New York
Chelsea Bradley, OD, University of California, Berkeley
Ryan Rutschilling, OD, The Ohio State University
Mari Fujimoto, OD, Pacific University
Pooja Mahadev, OD, Nova Southeastern University
Valerie Lim, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Christina Wenn, OD, University of Houston
Duc Tran, OD, University of the Incarnate Word
Ghazal Naseri, OD, University of California, Berkeley
Joseph Isik, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
Amrit Jawanda, OD, New England College of Optometry
Jacqueline Benoit, OD, The Ohio State University
Kimberly Weisenberger, OD, The Ohio State University
Haley Italia, OD, New England College of Optometry
Kendra Phillis, OD, New England College of Optometry
Rosa (Yawen) Yang, OD, University of Waterloo
Kevan Smith, OD, Southern College of Optometry
Jessica Sun, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Matthew Lee, OD, University of Missouri at St. Louis

Florida Chapter Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Optometry

Alexandria Rawls, OD, Bay Pines VA Medical Center
Mickinzee Combs, OD, Nova Southeastern University
Lauren Nicholas, OD, Nova Southeastern University
Esther Park, OD, Nova Southeastern University

IKA Resident Travel Fellowships
Sponsored by the International Keratoconus Academy

Sophia Leung, OD, Northeastern State University
Yue Yu, OD, PhD, New England College of Optometry

Travel fellowship recipients will be recognized at the Student and Resident Awards Lunch on Thursday, October 24 from Noon to 1 PM in Valencia W415 CD in the Orange County Convention Center.

CooperVision Resident Travel Fellowships will be presented at the CooperVision booth #809 on Thursday, October 24 from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM in the exhibit hall.

The IKA Resident Travel Fellowship will be presented at the American Academy of Optometry Foundation Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, October 26 from 11:00 to 1:30 PM.

RSM President invites the Optical Sector to join him at his annual dinner

August 2019

Bob Champion MBE on AldanitiIn a move to promote and assist the optical sector into a closer relationship with the General Practice with Primary Healthcare RSM Section, Bob Hutchinson has opened his section's annual dinner to the optical sector, and their guests.

The dinner (a three-course meal with wine) follows a drinks reception at 6.15 Sept 12th at the RSMs prestigious building at 1 Wimpole Street close to Oxford Circus and Bond Street.

The After dinner speaker this year is Mr Bob Champion MBE famed for his win on Aldaniti in the Grand National following testicular cancer, winner of BBC Sports Personality and later the Helen Rollason award and founder of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

Tickets are available here at £50 per head.

“You will be joining my section Council members and friends as well as the GPs and Primary Healthcare members who are attending a 3 day conference that week. I will handing over the presidency in October at the end of my 2 year appointment.” Said Hutchinson, "and look forward to welcoming my colleagues and friends."

Why an eye examination should make the back to school checklist

August 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is urging parents to add an eye test to their back to school checklist. More common ‘to do’s’ such as a new uniform, pencil case, haircut, school shoes may seem enough but an eye test is one vital, but often overlooked, check that can make a lasting impact.
More than one in 10 children, in every classroom, are estimated to have an undiagnosed common vision problem that affects their learning and development.[i] Yet a quarter (24%) of 4-16-year-olds have never been taken for an eye examination by their parents. With 27% admitting that they waited for their child to show certain behaviours, such as sitting too close to the television, before taking them.

Many parents are unaware that regular eye tests can make sure that issues are detected and treated earlier – helping a child to achieve their best at school and socially.

In a recent survey by the AOP, nearly three quarters (74%) of optometrists had 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]. With those children often presenting with common conditions such as myopia (short-sightedness) and amblyopia, or lazy eye.

While it may be hard to spot some eye conditions, signs that parents can look out for, which could show that there is a problem, include:
• An eye appearing to drift inwards or outwards
• Difficulty concentrating
• Behavioural problems
• Headaches
• Sitting too close to the television
• Frequent eye rubbing
Commenting on the importance of eye examinations for children, optometrist Kevin Wallace, Clinical Adviser at the AOP said, “Many parents don’t realise that their child can really benefit from having regular eye tests, from an early age. We recommend that children are taken for an eye test at around the age of three, or sooner if you have any concerns. There are many tests that your optometrist can do which are designed to engage children and get an accurate assessment of their eye health. Mr Wallace added: “If your child does need glasses, wearing them as prescribed can help their sight to develop normally and achieve its full potential.”

The AOP recommends that parents take their children for an NHS-funded eye test, at their local opticians, every two years, or more often if their optometrist recommends it.

The AOP’s children’s eye health campaign, A B See, is an ongoing awareness campaign to remind care givers that sight is an essential part of every child’s development. A B See reminds parents that good vision helps their child achieve their full potential – in turn, encouraging them to make eye examinations part of their routine, like any other health check.

Children’s eye health – the facts
• Over 3.4million 4-16-year-olds in the UK have been diagnosed with a sight problem[iii]
• 13% of children have an undiagnosed common vision problem that impacts their learning and development[iv]
• One in ten (11%) parents believe children don’t need eye tests unless they start showing symptoms, like straining to see something
• One in five teenagers in the UK are short-sighted
• 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[v]

Moorfields Eye Hospital Creating Lifechanging Jobs For Young People With Learning Disabilities in London

August 2019

An innovative partnership is transforming the lives of young people with learning disabilities in London.

Ten students have recently graduated through the collaboration between DFN Project SEARCH and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with four graduates already in full-time employment.

1000 young people have now graduated and secured full-time employment through DFN Project SEARCH programmes in the UK.

DFN Project SEARCH CEO Maura Lynch said: “Our partnership at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital is changing lives for the better.”

MoorfieldsAn innovative partnership is helping to change the lives of young people with learning disabilities in London.

DFN Project SEARCH is working with Moorfield’s Eye Hospital to transform the employment prospects of young people with learning disabilities and autism.

The Moorfields Eye Hospital DFN Project SEARCH programme first began in September 2018, providing interns with a one-year transition to work programme in their final year of school or college.

Other on-site programme delivery partners include supported employment services Kaleidoscope Sabre, City & Islington College (CANDI), London Borough of Islington Council, and MoveForward.

The students are based full-time at Moorfields Eye Hospital and have three department rotations throughout the 12-months as they gain 800 hours of skills acquisition and study for an employability qualification.

The programme offers total workplace immersion, facilitates a seamless combination of employability skills instruction, career exploration and hands-on training through a series of job rotations within the host business.

The programme also includes a full-time onsite teacher and Job Coach employment specialists to support the students in making a successful transition from education into full-time employment.

Ten students have recently graduated through the programme at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, with four already securing full-time employment.

Job roles span care home assistants, kitchen porters, medical packing and domestic services for the NHS.

DFN Project SEARCH aims to change lives for young people with learning disabilities by helping them get great jobs.

Its locally managed programmes are a proven way of helping young people with learning disabilities get long term careers as well as helping businesses and organisations get a more inclusive workforce.

There are now over 60 local partnerships across the UK, with over 1,000 young people with learning disabilities being given a pathway into work already. Another 12 schemes are planned by the end of 2019.

DFN Project SEARCH Director and Programme Specialist Anne O’Bryan said: “Our vision is to ensure that everyone with a learning disability or autism spectrum condition can attain high-quality employment in their local area.

“The partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital is meeting this objective, bringing students competitive and transferable job skills, and the ability to achieve meaningful employment, which is truly life-changing.

She added: “The recent graduation has shown how successful the partnership has been in its first year and we will continue to work closely with all of our project partners and the wider business community to ensure that young people in the area with learning disabilities are given the opportunity to get a good job.”

Robert Brooks, Strategic Workforce Development Manager, Moorfields Eye Hospital said: “Having completed our first academic year of the programme it’s been great to see such success so early on. Our partnership with DFN Project SEARCH has made us aspire to get even more young people with learning disabilities meaningful jobs and all of us at Moorfields Eye Hospital are proud to see our interns progress through the programme and gain confidence at work.

“It was amazing to meet our interns’ families on graduation day and hear from them about the wider impact of the programme, especially the role it has played in transforming their lives by finding purposeful employment.”

Debbie Robinson and Steve Parr of Kaleidoscope Sabre, said: “The Graduation ceremony was a unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the ten amazingly talented and committed young people who completed the programme and in doing so, exceeded their own personal goals by some considerable margin.”

“This Project SEARCH partnership is definitely one that has not only worked but thrived because of the full commitment of each partner. A special thanks to the host employer Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for welcoming our interns with open arms and providing them with a huge confidence boost from the very first day.

“Special recognition also goes to the commitment of our young interns’ families for their amazing support. It’s been a great first year with fantastic outcomes for all ten graduates who are now embarking on the journey of a lifetime shaped by long, successful jobs and careers.”

Emma Lord, City and Islington College Project SEARCH Tutor, said: “Over the past nine months I have worked alongside the interns and it has been a pleasure to watch them graduate knowing that they will go on to become valued and skilled employees within their chosen field. The strength of the partnership, alongside the incredible support from the host business, has made this project highly successful.”

Vincenza De Falco, Progression Coach, DFN MoveForward Programme said: “I was delighted to see these young people graduate and being a key partner has been such a rewarding experience. Project SEARCH is a proven programme that works brilliantly well, and I have been so impressed by the on-site team including Rob from Moorfields.

“It just shows you what amazing outcomes can be achieved when people come together for a common cause. The interns have all been amazing and I have every confidence that they will all do well in the world of work.”

Cardiff's winner for the Best Performance in Abnormal Ocular Conditions.

August 2019

Chloe White

CONGRATULATIONS! Last month, Cardiff University Optometry graduate, Chloe White was awarded the Louis Stone £75 prize and certificate for ‘Best Performance in Abnormal Ocular Conditions'!

Pictured is the Louis Stone (Optical) Managing Director, Paul Gaba presenting Chloe with her certificate at the Cardiff Optometry School Graduation Ceremony.

Past Optometry Leader, the now Section President at the RSM encourages the Optical Sector to turn up in force at the RSM

August 2019

RSM Forward ViewBob Hutchinson current President at the RSM for GPs and Primary Healthcare urges his fellow professional colleagues to show in force their interest and their undoubted value in improving sight in the UK.

“No other day in my long career can I remember an optical event being so full of keynote speakers that will educate and enliven practitioners with new updates on sight care. We have speaking on the day almost all those who control our profession, our services and our commissioning under one roof. “said Hutchinson

He continued ” The events act as stimulators for us to return back to our practices after networking with old friends and new acquaintances, gaining fresh ideas as takeaways and providing a platform for us to all have our say in the future planning and strategy in the fight for a better quality eye health and vision.”

The RSM has made sure that all Optical professionals and Allied Health workers in primary care will pay a reduced fee of £70 for the entire day and the awards drinks evening. The RSM is an exciting venue in Central London offering membership and accommodation.

Take a look at the event and program here where you can also book online and select from the many workshop choices.

To Book now, Please be aware that you will need to register if you have not done so before on the RSM website before booking this event.

After registering please search events for 'forward view' to return to the event page and book. Otherwise please sign in here.

EssilorLuxottica bids for Grand Vision

August 2019

Financial markets comment on EssilorLuxottica expansion plans - The Financial Times and other global financial news agencies confirmed this week that EssilorLuxottica had agreed to acquire GrandVision from HAL Optical Investments for €7bn. If approved by competition authorities in Europe, the acquisition would add 7,200 new stores to the EssilorLuxottica portfolio and significantly increase its presence in the European retail market.

Drivers aged 70 and over might face compulsory eyesight tests as published in The Times this week.

August 2019

The Department for Transport (DfT) published its ‘Road safety statement 2019: a lifetime of road safety’ on 19 July, setting out the importance of good eyesight.

The DfT report noted that it would consider whether “there may be a case for mandatory eyesight tests at 70 and at three-year intervals thereafter, to coincide with licence renewal”. In order to inform its decision, it has also announced there will be “a research programme and literature review, in partnership with DVLA, to assess how far poor vision is or may itself become a road safety problem in the UK, and if there is a requirement for a new vision test to identify drivers who pose a collision risk.” (see paragraphs 2.67-2.69, page 31)

The announcement has since attracted significant media attention, with the BBC reporting this week that in 2018 more than 4,600 drivers aged 70 and older had their licences revoked because of their eyesight according the DfT and in the past five years there had been 37 deaths and 1,100 injuries in crashes where uncorrected or defective eyesight was a contributing factor.

ABDO's poll shows parents lack of knowledge on Children's Eyesight

August 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is sharing new results of a consumer survey which highlights a worrying lack of knowledge from some parents regarding their children’s eye health.

As the start of the new school term approaches, Dispensing Optician Daryl Newsome, a Board member and examiner with ABDO has appeared on radio stations up and down the UK encouraging parents to act in August and book a sight test for their child.

The radio interviews focussed on the latest ABDO research with over 2,000 UK parents with children aged 0-11, which revealed that as many as 1 in 3 parents (33%) think their kids should have their eyes tested for the first time when they start school. 1 in 7 parents surveyed actually believe that children need to be at least 5 years old before they can have their eyes tested.

More findings from the survey showed that 1 in 5 (20%) parents believe children need to be able to read in order to get their eyes tested. In fact, there are tests charts with pictures and shapes, and ways for the optician to assess a child’s vision even if they can’t cooperate. Worryingly, the last time this question was asked of parents in 2015, this figure sat at 15%, suggesting a general decline in knowledge over the last half decade.

Daryl says, “ABDO uses radio as a way to reach out to consumers every year. It is five years since we last focussed on children’s eye care, and it is disappointing to see that parents are still lacking knowledge about how best to look after their children’s eyes. During the interviews I spoke about signs that may indicate a child’s eye health is not developing as it should, reminded parents that c can have a sight tests, free of charge via the NHS, and explained that August is the ideal month to do this before they return to school.”

Initial results show that the radio day reached over 28 million consumers UK wide.

ABDO presents Fellowship and Life memberships in London

August 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians has presented Life Memberships to Keith Cavaye, Angela McNamee and Alan Paine in recognition of their contributions to optics. Professor Kate Springett of Canterbury Christ Church University received an Honorary Fellowship.

The presentations took place at a dinner held in London on 24 July, in front of the ABDO board and trustees. The presentations were made by Association president Clive Marchant FBDO. Clive says, “This was a very special event, and it was a privilege to be able to present these prestigious awards to people who have truly contributed to the development of the profession in many ways.”

Former ABDO College lecturer Alan Paine was recognised for his contribution and dedication to optical education, as a teacher and examiner to optical technicians, dispensing and contact lens students and as a dispensing and theory practical examiner, contact lens theory examiner and WCSM theory and practical examiner.

Contact lens optician (CLO), Keith Cavaye, was honoured for his contribution and dedication to the advancement of contact lens practice, not least as a member of the ABDO board, representing the profession on various committees, his involvement in the dispensing theory exams and his support in managing the contact lens practical exams and contact lens examiner training.

Angela McNamee, who also received Life Membership, was honoured for her contribution and dedication to the Association as a dispensing theory and practical examiner, a member of the contact lens practical examining team, her contribution to the minor eye conditions services project for CLOs and representing the profession on various committees. The board particularly recognised Angela’s contribution to the board and her services as a trustee and chairman of the ABDO College trustees.

Professor Kate Springett, former head of the School of Allied Health Professions at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), was presented with an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of her work pioneering the foundation degree and degree programmes that were set up in collaboration between CCCU and ABDO College.

VISION OF TOMORROW, provides eco-friendly eyewear solutions

August 2019

Vision of Tomorrow sketchesAfter successfully debuting at MIDO and VISION EXPO EAST, Vision of Tomorrow presents a new 100% eco-friendly eyewear material made from PET plastic bottles

Aligned with global environmental policies aimed to decrease the production and the consumption of plastic, Vision of Tomorrow (VOT) fosters the use of a new eyewear material made from 100% recycled water bottles

The material offered by VOT to all those clients that are interested in developing green collections is made from PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) that is a synthetic material derived from oil or natural gas. It is 100% recyclable and does not lose its core properties during the recycling process. Also, it can be transformed many times and employed to manufacture prestigious products. PET is a safe, light and flexible material. A growing number of international sport and fashion brands have started to employ PET in the production of some of their products.

VOT on the occasion of MIDO 2020 will launch its own eyewear collection made of this eco-friendly eyewear material made from recycled PET plastic bottles.

Nora and Fabio “At a global level, the impact of plastic production and its inefficient disposal is causing catastrophic environmental effects. If plastic production levels stay the same, plastic volume is expected to increase fourfold by 2050.

" For this reason industrial politics must take a new direction and eyewear companies should do their part, too. This awareness involves us, too. For this reason we commit to offer materials in line with both environmental and customer needs, a customer that is more and more interested in buying green products. “ affirms Fabio Ferracane. (image Right with Nora)

These data lead the ophthalmic industry to reconsider their production methodology, because Planet safeguard is not a Vision of Tomorrow, but a vision of today.

Founded by Fabio Ferracane, the CEO that manages the company together with Nora Cabrera, the COO and creative director. Vision of Tomorrow (VoT) is an eyewear consulting company provides integrated services to advise and support brands, manufacturing companies, distributors and retail chains in their business activities.

The International Opticians Association (IOA) announces a new French language version of its website.

August 2019

The International Opticians Association (IOA) can announce a new French language version of its website thanks to generous sponsorship from Essilor.

The website now has the option to choose your language, extending the reach of the IOA beyond opticians in English speaking countries.

Fiona Anderson, IOA President, says, “In the past transactions of the IOA have taken place in English but we realise that optics is a global profession. We are delighted to be working with Essilor who have sponsored the French version of the website which will allow opticians in many more countries to access the growing range of information and education on the site.”

Elaine Grisdale, IOA Development Director says, “Given that French is widely spoken in many countries where the need for vision correction is high, this partnership is crucial in allowing us to expand our language offer thanks to Essilor’s sponsorship of the French translation of the IOA website. In doing so, we will both further broaden our audience and respond to our growing and diversified membership base.”

Olga Prenat, Global Director of professional relations, Essilor International says, “Essilor is proud to support the IOA in accelerating and enhancing the development of the optical profession around the world with the aim of promoting world class eye care quality vision. The translated website will allow to reach more opticians and build a stronger global network of Eye Care Professionals. The IOA website is an excellent platform to share the best practices, inspire and inform opticians about new trends.”

The move from the IOA is only the first step in a strategy which will see its website available in a growing range of languages in coming years. To find out more visit

First demonstrated at Optrafair Exchange this year, the Vision R-800 phoropter now will be followed by AVA lenses to accommodate its 1/100th D refraction accuracy

August 2019

Reinventing refraction at Essilor Instruments, and now the precursor to the most exciting story in Lens Design

Vision-R-800Essilor Instruments launched Vision-R 800 at Optrafair 2019 promising a new era of refraction through a digital phoropter that offers continuous power changes to ensure far more accurate, reliable prescriptions. It has received some very exciting testimonials for early adopters who have recognised the simplicity in refracting all types of patients of all ages. The changes in power including the astigmatic component are so fast and silent with the one fluid filled lens that the patient recognises immediately sight changes making for much easier decision making by them.

Not only does it make the practitioners work easier but it also makes for a much improved prescription with its "never before obtainable accuracy"

The VR800 enables professionals to reach a more accurate refraction through its ability to control power at 0.01D and includes “smart programs” enabling the refraction procedure to be delegated ensuring patients the best refraction. It is much faster than traditional methods, releasing time for complex cases, binocular vision examinations and patient care.

It contains a breakthrough technology in a patented, automated optical module powered by digitally-controlled motors. It provides simultaneous and instantaneous changes of sphere, cylinder and axis, to reach the final refraction more directly and faster, instead of examining these components individually.

Continuous power variations mean sphere and cylinder values can vary continuously by 0.01 D increments, while most phoropters work in steps of 0.25 D. Back cameras measure vertex distance accurately to control the exact refraction value.

It is designed to simplify the procedure for practitioners, with a series of user-friendly ‘smart tests’, cameras to check the patient’s position and electronic measurement of the near vision chart location.

Head of Instruments Paul Cumber said: “We are reinventing refraction. The old era, where subjective refraction techniques led to an estimate of the prescription, with inaccuracies accumulating, will give way to the new era of digital infinite refraction.

Vision R 800 from Essilor
“In the future it will be possible to leverage the full potential of the digital surfacing technology used for lens manufacturing.

“Thanks to user-friendly ‘smart-tests’ the refraction process becomes very easy and refraction time is greatly reduced, freeing up valuable time for the optometrist.

“The patient has a wider field of vision when looking through the Vision R 800 thanks to its thin and compact design compared to traditional phoroptors. The patient also feels less fatigued thanks to a quicker sequence of tests and a shorter examination time. The Vision R 800 makes differences easier to perceive and as a consequence, responses are easier to give.

Vision R-800 provides stimulus for the new AVA lenses from Essilor expected to be available from around October in single vision and progressive X lenses.

Lenses in 0.25D progressions have stood as the only available option since standards began but now with the aid of the Essilor Vision R 800 we can digitally refract to 1/100th D and with the latest polishing lab machinery available in Essilor's "state of the art" ARTline manufacturing at Thornbury, the accurate refraction and accurate lens have finally been united.

Read about other Essilor News:

60 Years of Celebration for the Varilux History

New MD at Essilor commits to Future Proofing Independent Practitioners in UK

A Year of Balls, yes that shows the dedication and commitment that Louis Stone provides in sponsorship and networking to Optometry Universities each year

July 2019

Favours from Louis Stone
Thousands of students from Optometry universities in the UK have benefitted from the expertise and money Louis Stone have applied to sponsor activities or to create memorable annual events that they can share and remember throughout their professional careers.

Cardiff Op Soc Favours

Louis Stone has understood the importance of networking with the future professionals that will provide the troops to fight against further sight loss in an ageing population. Below shows the genuine expression of thanks from the student organisers.


The Cardiff Optometry Society thanks Louis Stone once again for their kind donations for the raffle and table decorations at our annual EyeBall (held on April 13th). As you know, we are raising money for Guide Dogs UK and Maggie’s Club, and with the success of the raffle, we raised over £1,800 in just one night! This wouldn’t have been possible without your kind donation, and we really are grateful.

Favours from Louis Stone

We had over 260 people attend the ball in City Hall, and we had an amazing evening to celebrate the end of the year.

Our photograph shows the raffle winner, Isobel Adams, (centre of the image) many thanks again for your support. Isobel has said, 'Just want to first of all thank Louis Stone for sponsoring our eyeball once again this year.

Thank you very much for the donation of the Indirect Slit Lamp Lens as a first year I can’t wait to start using it in clinics in the future'.


Image shows from left to right: Zaman Sachedina, Natalie Moore, Michelle Wright, Ewan Ramsay.

City Eyeball

"I am very excited about winning because it is an opportunity to learn to use this lens that I’ve never used before! I love that it’s pink, it matches my personality perfectly!" - Michelle Wright (pictured) City University Eyeball Raffle Winner.

‘We were honoured to have Louis Stone sponsor us and donate an indirect slit lamp lens to our raffle. We held this years annual eyeball at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington. It was a lovely night shared with 115 students and members of staff. We all enjoyed a delicious three course meal, followed by an awards ceremony and finally ended the night off with a dance.

As a society we want to host more events and hope to expand the number of members attending our events, allowing the society to become much more social than previously.’ - City University OpSoc


"On behalf of the Glasgow Caledonian University Eyeball Committee, I wish to extend my gratitude for your kind donation towards our charity raffle. We had a total of 180 vision science students and lecturers attend the Eyeball at the Grand Central Hotel on the 19th May. We are pleased to say that your contribution helped us raise a massive £1,320 for our chosen charities.


All of the money raised will be donated to Reverse Rett, Scottish War Blinded and The Visual Research Trust.

The Louis Stone Eyeball Raffle Winner: Rheagan Lang - 3rd Year Orthoptics Student, said ‘I am very grateful to have won the prism bars, and I cannot wait to use them in clinic whilst I’m on my summer block placement!’

Once again, the Eyeball was our biggest, best and most successful event of the year!

We are very grateful for each and every contribution to the event - namely the raffle prize and table favours kindly donated by Louis Stone. Hopefully, we can now all enjoy a nice long summer before we return to our studies and work to ensure that the Optics Society remains the biggest and best society at Glasgow Caledonian University!



“Yet again, we are extremely thankful to Louis Stone for providing us with favours and fantastic prizes for our Graduation Ball which was held at Dunblane Hydro on May 30th.

On behalf of the Optics Society and everyone graduating in optics from GCU this year, we would like to say a big thank you for all sponsorship and prizes received!

Image of our Louis Stone prize winner, Gregor Cairns with his flippers. He says he is delighted with his prize and is looking forward to using them in practice when his pre registration year starts!'


UWE Recipeient

‘Chioma, winner of the raffle prize kindly donated by Louis Stone!

Chioma attended our ball as a guest and begins her journey with UWE Optometry in September!

UWE students are extremely thankful for your donation which helped to raise £285 for Guide Dogs UK’

‘Thank you Louis Stone for your generous donation. The lens will come in handy as I commence the Optometry course at UWE in September’ - Chioma, Raffle Winner

GOC erases Surrey based dispensing optician

July 2019

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

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of misconduct relating to his serious and sustained abuse of position towards a junior member of his staff.
In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Rachel O’Connell said:

“The Committee considered that a fundamental tenet of the profession was an obligation to uphold professional standards of behaviour particularly in the workplace and in relation to more junior members of staff.
The Registrant had clearly violated this fundamental tenet and had brought the profession into disrepute.

“The Registrant’s conduct involved the abuse of a senior position and the mistreatment of an employee in a more junior position. It not only involved inappropriate remarks but also physical touching.

“In the Committee’s view, the sustained misconduct in this case showed evidence of harmful deep-seated personality and attitudinal problems; in particular, because the misconduct was sustained over several months.

“The Registrant’s misconduct was and is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration and the Committee has concluded that the only proportionate outcome is an order for erasure.”

Mr Bowles has until 15 August 2019 to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate suspension order.

GOC erases Swindon based dispensing optician

July 2019

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

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by reason of his convictions for the offences of theft and false accounting.

In making the decision, the Committee, chaired by Sara Fenoughty said:

“The Committee agreed that the Registrant’s offences were extremely serious. They involved a systematic and protracted breach of trust by the Registrant by misusing a company credit card to buy personal items and making false refunds for customers. The dishonest course of conduct only came to an end when what he was doing was discovered.

“The Committee had no doubt that the need to uphold proper professional standards and public confidence in the profession would be seriously undermined if a finding of impairment were not made in the particular circumstances of this case.

“The Committee was satisfied that the Registrant’s convictions and the facts giving rise to them are fundamentally incompatible with continued registration and that erasure from the register is the only sanction which is sufficient to sustain public confidence in the profession.”

Mr Backhouse has until 7 August 2019 to appeal his erasure.

Twentysomething tells how eye test ‘saved her life’ after golf-ball size brain tumour detected

July 2019

Kettering graduate is recovering from SIX surgeries following referral

A 23-year-old university graduate is on the road to recovery after her life was ‘turned upside down’ due to a golf-ball sized brain tumour.

During a celebratory trip to Tunisia with her parents to mark the end of her university studies, Rhiannan Harris noticed she could see clearer with sunglasses than with her regular glasses. Also struggling with headaches around her eyes, when back in the UK she booked an eye test at her local Vision Express store at Newlands Shopping Centre, Kettering.

Rhiannan Rhiannan, a graduate who studied forensic science, explained: “I was due for an eye test anyway and given my symptoms I suspected my prescription needed updating - I never imagined there would be anything seriously wrong when I went for my appointment.”

Following a thorough eye examination, Pardeep Chohan, optometrist and franchise owner at Vision Express Kettering found a build up of pressure behind Rhiannan’s eye, which had caused her optic nerve to swell. Pardeep immediately referred Rhiannan to Kettering General Hospital for further testing and a head CT scan. Doctors initially believed there was a fluid-filled cyst on her brain and began a four-hour surgery to drain it, however the op turned into a nine-hour procedure after they discovered it was in fact a benign brain tumour.

Rhiannan commented: “The process of going from a routine eye test, to having an emergency hospital referral and then being told I needed life-saving surgery left me totally numb. It was when I sat down with my parents and talked about it that the gravity of the situation sank in. My life had been overturned in less than 24 hours. I was told that if it had been left any longer treatment might have been impossible, so I honestly can’t thank Vision Express enough for spotting it and referring me so quickly.”

Rhiannan’s care was transferred to Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital’s specialist oncology department where she had six surgical procedures to remove and manage the tumour.

“I was told that during my first operation to initially remove as much of the tumour as possible, I effectively died twice, my heart stopped, and I wasn’t breathing,” Rhiannan continued, “I was in intensive care for two days and complications meant I had to have further surgeries.”

Rhiannan is recovering at home with her parents, dealing with the after-affects of her surgery, which has impacted her speech, balance and co-ordination and left her having to re-master basic bodily skills.

Pardeep said: “Rhiannan was incredibly fortunate to have the tumour detected when it was – if it had been left any longer the tumour could have spread, and treatment would have been incredibly difficult. Rhiannan’s experience proves just how important it is to seek professional care if you notice any change in your sight. Any irritation, black dots, flashing lights, pain or pressure must be explored for any early diagnoses to be made and effective treatments to be put in place.”

Rhiannan, who hopes to begin a masters course in forensic genetics and human identification later this year said: “It’s been a tough time, but you have to stay positive. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve got through the hard bit, so I’ve given myself twelve months to get back on my feet, and then I’m going to move forwards and continue to focus on my studies.

“I would like to apply my learning to help in disaster situations and I’m also planning to take up karate again. I previously enjoyed success as a teenager at the National Karate Championships. You could say this experience has re-ignited my desire to fight!”

Rhiannan continues to be under the care of the oncology units at Oxford John Radcliffe Hospital and Northampton General Hospital, where she has regular check-ups.

Eyebag manufacturers receive apology from “three-sixty wholesalers”

July 2019

During the period 2016-2018 we (360) have offered for sale warm eye compresses containing flax seeds for the treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.

We acknowledge that Professor Teifion Emlyn James is the owner of European Patent EP (UK) no.1838262 for a medical device for use in treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), the device comprising a flexible receptacle containing seeds of the plant Linum usitatissimum, for example flax seeds, and the owner of EU trade mark registration no. 10922243 EYEBAG.

We apologise to Teifion Emlyn James and to his company The EyeBag Company Limited for the sale of our eyemask products containing flax seed, which we have since removed from sale and for any use of the EYEBAG mark in relation to the sale of products not originating from The EyeBag Company Limited.

Southgate optician shortlisted for top national Macular Society award

July 2019

A dispensing optician from Southgate has been shortlisted for a top national award from a leading sight loss charity.

x Jayshree Vasani
Jayshree Vasani is one of the nominees for this year’s Macular Society Awards for Excellence. Dispensing optician Jayshree has been shortlisted in the Optician or Optometrist of the Year category, which is open to practitioners working in any environment, such as a high street business, hospital or local society, who provide outstanding services to people with macular disease.

Jayshree has been a dispensing optician for three decades, qualifying in 1989. She divides her time between working in practice at Skye Optometrists in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, and in several roles for the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO). She is an ABDO practical examiner, assessing the work of trainee opticians. She is also a practice visitor for the organisation, helping to ensure that dispensing opticians are trained to sufficient standards and providing appropriate advice and care to customers.

Jayshree is also ABDO’s sub-regional lead for London, which sees her working with a range of healthcare professionals to explore any examples of best practice which could be used successfully in the eyecare sector. In addition, Jayshree has been a sessional optician for the RNIB for almost 10 years.

Most recently, Jayshree has been working alongside patient advocate Daniel Williams, founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy, to deliver ‘Seeing Beyond the Eyes’, a nationwide roadshow aimed at giving eyecare professionals a greater knowledge and understanding of sight loss and patients’ needs.

To date, Jayshree has helped deliver 54 roadshows, training around 3,800 professionals in the process. It was Daniel who nominated Jayshree for the Optician or Optometrist of the Year award.

Jayshree said: “Daniel did tell me he’d put my name forward to the Macular Society for one of its awards, but I didn’t really think anything of it. It was a nice surprise to find out I’d been shortlisted though; I’ve long been impressed with the way the Society engages with its members and the information and support it provides, so I’m very pleased to have been shortlisted.

“I still enjoy being in practice, but a huge part of what I do now is making sure that our sector continues to give patients what they need. Many conditions can have common touch points – diabetes, for example, can lead to sight problems and other health conditions. So understanding how other healthcare professionals approach certain conditions, and seeing if we can apply anything they are doing to help people with sight loss, is a key area of focus and one that can have enormous potential benefits.”

Jayshree will find out in the next few weeks whether she has been chosen as one of the winners. If successful, she will be presented with her award at the Macular Society’s national annual conference, which takes place at the Leonardo Royal London Tower Bridge Hotel in London, on Saturday 21 September.

Now in its 11th year, The Macular Society Awards for Excellence is run by the charity to celebrate the inspirational work done to provide services and care for people with macular disease all over the UK.

Optician / Optometrist of the Year is one of four honours handed out by the charity as part of the awards. There are also prizes for Clinical Service of the Year; Rising Star of the Year, and a Chairman’s Award for Volunteering.

Jayshree said: “Technology has made low vision cool and sexy – people are amazed by what you can do with smartphones and apps and the benefits they can have for people with sight loss. And the technology is getting better and better all the time, and at such a rapid rate, so it’s really exciting to think what may come next.

“It’s essential for me to stay up to date with any new gadgets and equipment that can help visually-impaired people, so I try to get to any events where I can see them in action if I possibly can. I love the networking, listening to what others are doing and sharing ideas. Learning should never stop, whatever you do.”

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said: “The commitment and dedication Jayshree has shown in caring for people with macular disease, and all that she does to help increase the skills and knowledge of her fellow professionals, is clear from the tremendous feedback we’ve received about her work.

“She really has made an incredible difference and it’s only right that her efforts have been recognised with this richly-deserved nomination.”

Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. The disease can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces. Many people affected describe losing their sight as being similar to bereavement. There is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50.

Fostering greater chances for those with Sight Loss to play soccer in Scotland

July 2019

An open day event in Glasgow on Sunday, July 28th, will give people with sight loss a chance to play football and explore whether there is enough demand to set up regular games in Scotland.

The event will take place at Drumoyne Football Club in Govan from 1 to 3pm. and is still open for people of all ages and all levels of sight loss.

Jordan Boyd, senior community executive with the Rangers Charity Foundation, will lead the session, explaining how specially adapted footballs that give audio-cues can help players who have sight loss.

Mr Boyd said: "The Rangers Charity Foundation is delighted to be part of the event and hope that this will be the starting point for a lot of visually impaired people to take part in football."

The open day is being run in partnership with sight loss charity RNIB Scotland. One of its members, Neil Atkinson from Livingston, has actively pushed for such an event. Neil (20) has the sight condition Stargartd, which affects his central vision.

"As a life-long supporter, I wanted Rangers to be the club in Scotland to help me grow participation in visually impaired football," Neil says. "So, at the start of the year, I contacted them and found they had recently started a small club for visually impaired children through their Charity Foundation.

"Also, as a volunteer for RNIB Scotland, I was keen to use the reach of the charity to grow the interest. This is what has led to this partnership between Rangers Football Club, RNIB Scotland and the Scottish Football Association.

"The aim of this initial session is to bring together people with visual impairments who would be interested in playing football and gain feedback on the types of sessions or groups they would like to take part in, whether that is youth football, walking football groups, or even a competitive Futsal club like the one I currently play for."

'Futsal' is a variant of the game played in teams of five, with one goalkeeper and four outfield players. It takes place on a hard-course surface with a firmer ball that bounces much less than a regular football. "The game is very technique and skill-focused and played at a high tempo," explains Neil, "meaning you have a lot of touches on the ball. It is much more suited for people with a visual impairment as the ball rarely leaves the ground and long-distance sight is not hugely necessary due to the court being much smaller than a football pitch."

There is a British Partially Sighted Futsal League but all the teams all currently based in England. Neil is the only Scottish player in it after joining Blackpool-based North West Scorpions, the closest team, in 2016. "After travelling down to play for the first time, I realised it was exactly what I was looking for," he said.

Neil Atkinson Neil hopes the open day on Sunday will prompt more interest in Scotland. "We are really excited about the session and looking forward to meeting the participants and getting to find out what they are looking for going forward," he says.

* for further information, please contact Dan Meikle at RNIB Scotland on 0131 652 3145 or email

Neil's story Back Row 3rd from Left above

I lost my central vision due to Stargardt’s Disease which means my colour perception is very poor. I am unable to see with much clarity or detail so recognising faces and reading is very difficult. In terms of football, it can make it difficult to determine between my team mates and opponents if the shirt colours are similar, and also means I can’t see which of my team mates is in possession of the ball or looking for a pass. So this means I rely on adaptations such as listening for the ball to determine where it is, judging by the sound of the ball what direction it may be traveling and how fast.

I currently play for a visually impaired Futsal team called North West Scorpions in Blackpool, who compete in the British Partially Sighted Futsal League. The league is made up from teams that are all based in England, and, so far, I am the only Scottish player.

I joined the team in 2016 after playing mainstream football all my life for Murieston United, West Calder and then Polbeth until amateur level.

I started my football journey when I was about four or five playing Soccer-5s, then going on to play seven-a-side and eventually eleven-a-side as a teenager.

My experience of playing mainstream football as someone with a visual impairment was very positive. I was lucky to play for some great teams, meet many great friends, and loved playing against the best teams in Scotland in my age-group for over ten years, winning the West Lothian County Cup and reaching the final of the Regional Cup for the East of Scotland and the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup.

I am very proud to have been able to compete against fully sighted players and not stand out as someone with such significant sight loss.

At the age of 17, still playing youth football, I decided to look for a way that I could play some sort of visually impaired football. Unfortunately, I found out pretty early there was no VI football set-up in Scotland. This led me to trying Goalball, a great sport for people with sight loss, which is played with a large ball with a bell inside, goals at either end of an indoor court with the aim of rolling the ball past the opposition team into their goal to score a point and win the game.

However, I wanted to find a way that I could continue to play football. Fortunately, I attended an open day held by Disability Sport Scotland where I found out about the British Partially Sighted Futsal League down south, and the North West Scorpions as the closest team to myself in Scotland.

When I joined the league in 2016 there were two divisions of teams, a top 'A Division' and a second-tier 'B Division'. My first season ended with us winning the B Division and being promoted to the A Division along with a league cup win. The success continued for the club in season 2017/18 with another league cup win, finishing second in the league and reaching the FA Cup Final. However the most recent season proved to be our most successful as we managed to win the league for the first time in the club’s history, along with winning another league cup and brilliantly winning the FA Cup to round off an amazing year for the club.

After experiencing the success of the league down south for myself I have the ambition to grow visually impaired football in Scotland as I firmly believe there is enough people living with sight loss in Scotland who would want to play football in an environment which supports their needs.

Association of Optometrists response to Government Road Safety Statement 2019

July 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomes the Government’s commitment to consider mandatory eyesight tests for older drivers, set out in The Road Safety Statement 2019 published today.

The report and action plan, released by the Department for Transport, addresses a host of road safety issues including medical fitness to drive. It rightly highlights the importance of good eyesight for road safety. It pledges a research programme and literature review, in partnership with the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency, to assess poor vision as a UK safety problem. And crucially, it says the Government will consider the case for a new vision test for drivers over the age of 70, and then at three-year intervals when they renew their licence.

The AOP is a strong advocate for change to the current eyesight requirements for motorists, which are some of the weakest in Europe and put all road users at risk. The AOP’s Don’t swerve a sight test campaign calls for a change to the law, to require drivers to have a comprehensive vision check to prove their vision meets the legal standard when they first apply for the licence, and whenever they renew their licence.

Commenting on the statement, Deputy Chair of the AOP, Dr Julie-Anne Little said: “It’s reassuring to see the Government taking practical steps through a committed road safety action plan. We’re pleased it takes a full view – looking at all the key issues that can impact road safety, including the importance of good vision for driving.”

Dr Little added; “It’s particularly welcome that the Government is now committed to consider making sight testing part of the licence renewal process. That is a significant shift, and one that we have long called for. Changing the rules so that drivers have to get their vision checked regularly will save lives on the road.”

Under existing UK law, drivers must undergo an initial number plate test when taking a driving test, then complete a self-declaration for renewing their licence. This means a 17-year-old who can read a number plate from 20 metres away when they take their test, may continue to drive with no further checks for the rest of their life.

Essilor® Sun Solution™ No Ordinary story

July 2019

The new no-ordinary story from ESSILOR® SUN SOLUTION™

Essilor Big Story
The students Anne and Marie-Eve decided to travel across Latin America for six months by bike to support business creation through solidarity financing

Essilor® Sun Solution™, the Essilor Group division dedicated to plano sun lenses, is ready to announce the new No Ordinary story "6.000 KM for microfinance".

This is a “No ordinary” sport experience but with a special message related to human rights: Anne and Marie-Eve are two French students who decidedto devote their gap year to travel 6.000 km from Colombia to Argentina and meet Micro-Credit organizations and project owners in order to support local poor people to access business creation through solidarity financing.

The Story

Traveling across Latin America by bike and supporting business creation through solidarity financing?

This is the challenge accepted by Anne and Marie-Eve, both of whom have devoted their gap year to this project. Solidarity financing consists of providing access to credit to those excluded from the usual and formal financial services. It’s credit based on trust because Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) do not require a bank guarantee. This credit is granted to people who want to start their own business; MFIs then offer to assist and train them.

For six months, Anne and Marie-Eve traveled more than 6,000 km by bicycle between Colombia and Argentina.
They went to meet microfinance institutions and micro-entrepreneurs to promote this very effective financing solution. Thanks to this means of transport, they were able to meet typical local communities, share, discover the world and learn about themselves and others.

This project took place in four stages: identifying local institutions specialized in microfinance; supporting entrepreneurship by providing financial support; meeting with institutions and entrepreneurs and, finally, sharing their stories.

A real challenge for these two go-getters! Discover their No Ordinary story.

Check the pictures and watch the video about this extraordinary story:
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AOP launches Stub it out encouraging smokers to stop putting their sight at risk

July 2019

Stub It out
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is today warning that millions of smokers in the UK are putting themselves at increased risk of blindness or sight impairment by continuing with the habit.

This comes as almost all (96%) optometrists surveyed as part of the AOP’s annual Voice of Optometry panel say they examine a patient every month who has eye disease that they believe is the result of smoking.

Despite this concern among the AOP’s optometrist members, only a fifth (18%) of the general population recognise the connection between smoking and poor eye health. This is compared to 76% who link cancer and smoking; 66% who link it with heart disease and 64% who recognise the connection between bronchitis and smoking.

It’s feared that those putting their sight at risk through smoking is also a much larger issue, as one in five (21%) of the public admitted they had not had a sight test in the last two years – with almost half (40%) explaining they did not feel the need to go because their vision seemed fine.

The AOP is reminding people that it’s never too late to benefit from stopping smoking, despite over half of the public (51%) saying they aren’t sure whether long-term smokers would see an improvement in their eye health if they quit.

An additional 11% believe there would be no improvement as the damage has already been done.

Optometrist and AOP Head of Clinical and Regulatory, Henry Leonard said: “Smokers are up to four times more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration[iii] – the leading cause of sight loss in the UK and twice as likely to develop conditions which can lead to glaucoma and cataracts. There are of course numerous health reasons to stop smoking but we hope that highlighting these additional risks will give many smokers who are considering quitting, that last little push.

“Whether you are a smoker or not, it’s important to visit your optometrist regularly to have a full eye health check – so any conditions can be identified and treated early.”

The AOP is launching its national Stub it out campaign on 2 July. An outdoor advertising campaign will be rolled out in areas that have some of the highest levels of smoking in the UK including London, Glasgow and Manchester.

As part of the campaign, the AOP are calling on the sector to support by downloading and sharing materials from the Stub it out campaign pages,


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