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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, January to March 2020

First new ventilators to roll off production line this weekend as industry answers call to step up manufacturing
PHN creates permanent page to list all Optical Companies providing emergency supplies and services to practices during pandemic.
Government launches new drive on coronavirus tests for frontline NHS staff
Financial and Business Planning during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Many Drugs Already Approved by FDA May Have Promise Against COVID-19
UK launches whole genome sequence alliance to map spread of coronavirus
New technology challenge to support people who are isolating
Vaccine trials among recipients of £20 million coronavirus research investment
Newsflash 8.30 pm Monday Prime Minister calls for complete lockdown for most
Urgent Advice to all Optical Practices and Practitioners in England – 23 March 2020
Covid-19 New guidelines announced 17th March by Government
Healthcare fund to provide organisations with up to £50,000 to cultivate innovation in the West Midlands
Covid-19 creates huge demand at Louis Stone
MYKITA and Leica Camera AG announce substantial partnership
Student wins an EZ View lens at Aston Eyeball
Out of the Box Optic’s Optoversity Challenge raises £5500 for VCHP
Torrent of Covid-19 News reports confirms the need for a dedicated section on Opchat News
Campaigner teams up with Anglian Water to tackle plastic pollution from contact lenses
College offers Covid-19 advice to its members and practices
CMO for England announces 2 new cases of novel coronavirus: 28 February 2020
ABDO becomes a Youth Friendly Employer
Breaking News: MIDO 2020 Exhibition Postponed due to Italian Upsurge in coronavirus (covid-19)
LIGHTBIRD flies to the EIFFEL TOWER to take part in PREMIÈRE CLASSE 2020
Urgent Advice received from NHS England-Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for PMS providers
Increases announced in Scottish budget 20/21 for eyecare
Showing an eye for fashion, Eyewear Direct launches
Optical Express optometrists join UN’s Clean Seas campaign
Lidl withdraws spectacles being sold illegally
Cardiff University OpSoc Christmas Ball!
Outpatient eye-care waiting list continues to increase in Ireland
Dates for National Eye Health Week 2020 Announced
CMO for England statement on the Wuhan novel coronavirus
Opchat News reader has sent us his thanks and some useful tips for those experiencing gradual sight loss
Spectacle Makers Society announces a fun evening at the Barbican
Optometrist Apprenticeships- A variance of opinion
Sight loss research needs urgent investment in UK
Ocular Drug shortage announced with RCOph suggested alternatives
RCOph responds to HSIB report on unnecesary glaucoma blindness
Sight loss due to delays in eye care says alarming report
2020 the Year of Vision, it has to be
European Commission notification – EssilorLuxottica/Grandvision: Decision in February
More sight-saving surgery possible, says national report
Be kind to your eyes – 20/20 is the year to start
Read archived General News from October to December 2019

First new ventilators to roll off production line this weekend as industry answers call to step up manufacturing

March 2020

The first devices from the Government’s ventilator challenge will roll off the production line this weekend, ahead of delivery to the NHS next week, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove has announced today.

The news comes as some of the biggest names in British manufacturing race to step up ventilator supplies to help protect the NHS and save lives throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as part of the Prime Minister’s call to manufacturers.

This weekend, the first batch of the Penlon ventilator device, which has been rapidly adapted from other existing ventilator designs, will be ready for dispatch, following approval from the MHRA that it meets the necessary safety requirements.

The device is being manufactured by a consortium* including Formula 1 teams McLaren and Mercedes, Ford, Siemens and Meggitt. An initial delivery will be ready this weekend, with potentially hundreds more of that device to follow, alongside thousands more of other new devices in the coming weeks.

Other existing ventilator devices are also being scaled up, in collaboration with British and international industry, including products from Diamedica, Breas Medical and Smiths Group.

A number of other British manufacturers have also started urgent production of new ventilators, designed from scratch, following efforts from the industry and Government to rapidly increase numbers available to the NHS.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said: "Throughout our history British manufacturing has always stepped up in times of national need.
Ventilators are one of the most complex medical devices and the speed and scale that design and production is ramping up is awe inspiring.
We will do whatever it takes to ensure the NHS and social care sector has the support and equipment it needs to save lives."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: " We are doing everything we can to support our NHS staff fighting this battle on the frontline, and it’s crucial we get even more ventilators there as soon as possible.
We have seen a fantastic response from businesses to our call for a national effort - and I’m delighted these companies accepted the challenge to save lives across the country."

The Government has provided a number of letters of intent to purchase potentially thousands more ventilators with companies who have credible designs, subject to them passing the regulator and strict safety tests.

There are a number of companies involved in these devices including Plexus, Rolls Royce, GKN Aerospace, Team Consulting, Cogent, Dyson, TTP plc, Sagentia, Smith & Nephew, Cambridge Consultants, PA Consulting, Babcock, Oxford University, OES Medical, BMW, Pitlane Consortium and Kings College London.

Separately, a team led by UCL, working with Mercedes Benz, will also produce 10,000 new CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices to support affected patients, with a team from Oxford University also developing related technology, which will increase the capacity to provide oxygen to affected patients at an earlier stage in the process of the disease.

Thanks to the work of consortiums that are scaling up production of smaller manufacturers as well as the ingenuity of the biggest names in manufacturing to support the UK’s response to this public health emergency, many are coming up with new designs for this high tech medical devices in a matter of weeks, rather than months, further underlining the scale of this coordinated effort.

The Penlon device is based on elements found in their current range of CE marked products and meets the rapidly manufactured ventilator system specification. It is a fully intubated mechanical ventilator designed to provide support to critically ill patients with a range of functions including volume and pressure controlled ventilation.

PHN creates permanent page to list all Optical Companies providing emergency supplies and services to practices during pandemic.

March 2020

Covid List of manuafacturers
During the Pandemic you will be able to find a list of all suppliers and their contact details who at the time of publishing are available to provide goods, services or verbal help to practices requiring help during emergency provision.

Companies information has already been sent by the FMO for lens manufacturers as well as individuals from the contact industry.

We will add categories as we receive further details. See the page here

The page will remain during the pandemic and can be found either by using the left hand margin tabs and clicking “Dispensing Briefing” and then under it the tab “manufacturers providing services during Covid”

Or even simpler you can click on banners top and side with the same message (Example above)

If you are continuing to provide emergency support during the Covid Pandemic with goods; services or verbal help please send us your company details in the following format to

Product/Goods Type; Company Name; Town; Telephone Number; Email. to mail

We will add categories as the list expands

PHN and Opchat skeleton staff are working 7 days a week to keep the Optical Sector informed, thanks for the comments we have received, we appreciate your support. Please spread the word!

Government launches new drive on coronavirus tests for frontline NHS staff

March 2020

NHS staff will be first in line for a new coronavirus (COVID-19) testing programme being developed in collaboration with government and industry.

Government working with industry, philanthropy and universities to significantly scale up testing.

New partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific, Amazon, Boots, Royal Mail and Randox, alongside the Wellcome Trust and top UK universities to boost testing capacity for frontline NHS staff.
Dozens of universities, research institutes and companies across Britain are lending their testing equipment to 3 new hub laboratories which will be set up for the duration of the crisis. No equipment already in use for coronavirus testing or other vital work will be taken.

All current coronavirus testing and research will continue, including at existing local NHS and Public Health England test laboratories, and this new programme will add significant new capacity.
Thermo Fisher Scientific and Randox, who make the equipment, are providing extensive logistical and technical support.

The first lab is now undergoing validation which is expected by tomorrow. Once approval is given, it is expected to enter operation over the weekend, initially on a fairly small scale, and processing around 800 samples.

It will be scaled up every week from then on, with 2 other hub laboratories being stocked with equipment and opening soon.

The first samples to be processed in the labs will be taken from frontline health workers. As the labs’ capacity increases, other frontline workers will be tested. The samples will be taken at special sites set up around the country, initially in coronavirus hotspots such as London.

Work is also underway to source more of the kits needed to take samples from people - of which there is a worldwide shortage.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:" We want to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on our NHS. Healthcare staff are key in our fight against the virus and I want to ensure that any frontline NHS or care worker who has symptoms of coronavirus or who has a family member with symptoms can be tested quickly and reliably. I pay tribute to the generosity and public spirit of Britain’s universities, research institutes and companies who have lent us their equipment without hesitation."

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said: "Laboratory-based testing on this scale is a little like building the medical equivalent of a car factory. We are assembling many different parts, some of them quite specialised and hard to find, then getting them to work accurately together in a highly co-ordinated process. There are bound to be teething problems, so we cannot switch on hundreds of thousands of lab tests overnight. But we hope that soon these hub laboratories will be operating round the clock, allowing us to significantly scale up our testing"

This new service, which will be free, will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS staff need to stay at home. Those who test negative for coronavirus will be able to return to work - enhancing the capacity of the NHS and social care to treat patients and care for those in community settings, with plans for a full roll-out for health, social care and other frontline workers.

Amazon and Royal Mail will help with logistics, while Boots has been supporting initial trials by supplying volunteer healthcare clinicians as testers. It will continue this support as the testing rolls out across the UK. Testing will not be done at Boots stores and these tests will not be available over the counter or for purchase online from any retailers.

Sebastian James, Managing Director, Boots UK and ROI said:" I am extremely proud that Boots is supporting COVID-19 testing for NHS workers. Boots has been at the heart of UK healthcare for 171 years and has always come forward to support the community in times of need. We will work with the NHS to recruit trained professionals – both Boots colleagues and from the wider community.
I am sure there will be many trained healthcare clinicians and students, who will step forward to support our dedicated NHS colleagues. Drive through test locations are being defined but will be spread across the UK; they will not however be in Boots stores, allowing our colleagues to focus on supporting our patients and customers."

Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon, said: " We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we are committed to working closely with the Government to identify ways in which we can support efforts to respond to the crisis."

Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Thermo Fisher Scientific, said:" Our diagnostic test for COVID-19 will help to protect patients and enable medical staff to respond swiftly to treat those who are ill and prevent the spread of infection. This is closely aligned with Thermo Fisher’s mission - to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. In partnership with the UK government and our industry partners, we are committed to expanding the availability of diagnostic testing to prevent the spread of this virus."

Randox CEO Dr Peter FitzGerald said " We are committed to this important initiative to support NHS frontline staff. We have significant diagnostic capability and assets within the UK and, at this time of unparalleled national need, look forward to working with collaborative partners to meet the Government’s objectives."

Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome, said: Widespread diagnostic testing during a pandemic is enormously important to controlling the spread of infection. This initiative is a substantial step forward in our ability to fight this disease that will save many lives. Alongside other difficult but necessary public health measures such as physical distancing, cancelling mass gatherings, and school closures, testing is a critically important part of the response. Wellcome is extremely grateful to the government, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Amazon and Randox for joining this important partnership, and has been supporting this critical initiative.

Rico Back, Royal Mail Group Chief Executive Officer, said: " Royal Mail fully understands the devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak on families, businesses and communities across the UK. We have a responsibility to help people stay connected, especially in this crisis when many are unable to leave their home. The Universal Postal Service provides a lifeline for businesses and communities across the UK, and never more so than at this difficult time. We already deliver vital Government mail in relation to coronavirus. We are working closely with pharmacies and NHS trusts across the UK. And we are delivering many prescriptions and hospital appointments. This is of key importance for us. We will safely deliver these vital tests, a key step forward in the nation’s battle against the virus.


20.00 Hours March 26th 2020

Thank you workers of the NHSLets show our appreciation by applauding them at your front door, gate , balcony or wherever you can be seen.

Thanks for looking after us in our worst of times. While we shelter you are on the front line

Accept our claps as our appreciation.

Financial and Business Planning during the Covid-19 Pandemic

March 2020

FODO has provided a useful guide for eyecare providers who may struggle in the coming weeks and months. The information covers staff retention, tax payments both direct and indirect, sick pay and loans and grants. Click here to our Business Briefing section where you will finf more advice and then click on FODO Financial and Business Planning.

Many Drugs Already Approved by FDA May Have Promise Against COVID-19

March 2020

"as reported by Eyewire from USA"

Two new studies each suggest that dozens of drugs already approved for use in the United States may prove effective against the new coronavirus, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Computer modeling studies showed the most promising drugs included several antiviral drugs—including Darunavir, Nelfinavir, and Saquinavir—and several other types of drugs, including: the ACE inhibitor Moexipril; the chemotherapy drugs Daunorubicin and Mitoxantrone; the painkiller Metamizole; the antihistamine Bepotastine; and the antimalarial drug Atovaquone.

Read the full article.

UK launches whole genome sequence alliance to map spread of coronavirus

March 2020

The £20 million investment could help public health agencies combat COVID-19 and future pandemics.

• Government and scientific community back new genome sequencing consortium to map spread of COVID-19
• £20 million investment will allow scientists and clinicians to unlock secrets of the disease
• the genetic code could arm public health agencies and clinicians with a unique, cutting-edge tool to combat COVID-19

The government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser have backed the UK’s leading clinicians and scientists to map how COVID-19 spreads and behaves by using whole genome sequencing. Through a £20 million investment, the consortium will look for breakthroughs that help the UK respond to this and future pandemics, and save lives.

COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium - comprised of the NHS, Public Health Agencies, Wellcome Sanger Institute, and numerous academic institutions - will deliver large scale, rapid sequencing of the cause of the disease and share intelligence with hospitals, regional NHS centres and the government.

Samples from patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be sent to a network of sequencing centres which currently includes Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute, one of the world’s most advanced centres of genomes and data, will collaborate with expert groups across the country to analyse the genetic code of COVID-19 samples circulating in the UK and in doing so, give public health agencies and clinicians a unique, cutting-edge tool to combat the virus.

By looking at the whole virus genome in people who have had confirmed cases of COVID-19, scientists can monitor changes in the virus at a national scale to understand how the virus is spreading and whether different strains are emerging.

This will help clinical care of patients and save lives.

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance said:" Genomic sequencing will help us understand COVID-19 and its spread. It can also help guide treatments in the future and see the impact of interventions.
The UK is one of the world’s leading destinations for genomics research and development, and I am confident that our best minds, working as part of this consortium, will make vital breakthroughs to help us tackle this disease."

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: " At a critical moment in history, this new consortium will bring together the UK’s brightest and best scientists to build our understanding of this pandemic, tackle the disease and ultimately, save lives. As a government we are working tirelessly to do all we can to fight COVID-19 to protect as many lives and save as many jobs as possible."

The UK Consortium, supported by the government, including the NHS, Public Health England, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and Wellcome, will enable clinicians and public health teams to rapidly investigate clusters of cases in hospitals, care homes and the community, to understand how the virus is spread and implement appropriate infection control measures.

New technology challenge to support people who are isolating

March 2020

£500,000 of funding is available for technology companies who come up with digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of coronavirus.

The funding will be available to innovators who can find digital ways to support people who need help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The ‘Techforce19’ challenge aims to support those who need to stay at home for several weeks and need help. This could include people who need mental health support or who have social care needs.
Funding of up to £25,000 per company is available.

The programme is looking for digital solutions that can be launched in the next few weeks, and could include:

• providing remote social care – for example, by locating and matching qualified carers to those in need
• optimising the volunteer sector – for example, by developing tools to recruit, train and coordinate local volunteers into clinical and non-clinical workers
• improving mental health support – for example, by making it easier to discover and deliver mental health services and support
• any other solutions to ease pressures on services and people during this time

This technology will supplement existing support for those who may be most affected by staying at home for long periods of time.

The programme is being launched by NHSX and managed by PUBLIC, a GovTech venture firm. PUBLIC will not receive any payment for running this competition.

For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit

Vaccine trials among recipients of £20 million coronavirus research investment

March 2020

Trials of new coronavirus vaccine among 6 projects to receive share of £20 million.

• Trials of new coronavirus vaccine among 6 projects to receive share of £20 million
• other projects to combat coronavirus include immediately repurposing existing treatments to treat patients already diagnosed with coronavirus
• the UK is leading the scientific and medical response to the coronavirus outbreak

Six coronavirus research projects, including 2 focused on vaccination trials, will be the first to benefit from a share of £20 million in government investment, Business Secretary Alok Sharma today (23 March) announced.

Two government-backed projects will receive new funding, enabling pre-clinical and clinical vaccine trials, as well as supporting researchers to develop manufacturing processes to produce a vaccine at a million-dose scale.

Other projects receiving funding examine how existing treatments could be repurposed to treat coronavirus, developing antibodies to help target the virus, and examining how people at greatest risk of catching it could be identified.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "Whether testing new drugs or examining how to repurpose existing ones, UK scientists and researchers have been working tirelessly on the development of treatments for coronavirus."

"The projects we are funding today will be vital in our work to support our valuable NHS and protect people’s lives." Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

In the midst of a global health emergency the UK is using all its extensive research expertise to quickly develop new vaccines to target this international threat.

This investment will speed up globally-recognised vaccine development capabilities and help us find a new defence against this disease.

The 6 projects receiving funding today are supporting and encouraging the UK’s world-class researchers and experts to speed up coronavirus research including developing new vaccines and treatments. Alongside the clinical trials, other projects include:

• repurposing existing therapies. Patients being treated by the NHS for coronavirus are taking part in a new clinical trial to test existing therapies developed for other conditions such as HIV. These therapies might help improve patients’ recovery
• developing antibodies that target coronavirus. Researchers are aiming to develop a new coronavirus therapy by developing antibodies that target the disease – doing so will help treat a range of coronavirus infections and help people’s immune systems recognise the disease and destroy it
• testing approved drugs. Researchers will test around 1,000 approved drugs on cells in laboratory conditions to determine if they might be able to treat the disease
• answering urgent questions relating to coronavirus. Scientists will collect samples and data from patients diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK to answer important questions including which peoples have a higher risk of severe illness, the best way to diagnose the disease, how their immune systems are coping, and closely monitoring the effects of drugs being used. The data could help control the outbreak and improve treatments for patients

Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said: " The UK is home to incredible scientists and researchers who are all at the forefront of their field, and all united in their aim; protecting people’s lives from coronavirus."

The announcement made today reflects the vital work being undertaken by our scientists to help develop vaccines and treatments. This research could herald important breakthroughs that will put the NHS in a stronger position to respond to the outbreak.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: " The world faces an unprecedented challenge in our efforts to tackle the spread of COVID-19 and it is vital we harness our research capabilities to the fullest extent to limit the outbreak and protect life."

Alongside the world-leading research overseen by the NIHR, these new 6 projects will allow us to boost our existing knowledge and test new and innovative ways to understand and treat the disease.

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport said: " These studies will be critical to finding better ways to treat and manage COVID-19, which we hope will help to save lives, protect the more vulnerable, and support the development, trials and in due course the scale up of production of much-needed vaccines. We will continue to support new proposals for research and innovation that will help the UK and others to tackle the pandemic caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2."

Today’s announcement builds on the UK’s world-class expertise and capability in global health and infectious disease, and supports the government’s efforts to save lives, protect the vulnerable and support the NHS.

It follows £30 million of new government funding for the National Institute for Health Research to enable further rapid research into COVID-19, and an additional £10 million to increase Public Health England’s ability to test people and monitor the virus, announced in the Budget (11 March).

Newsflash 8.30 pm Monday Prime Minister calls for complete lockdown for most

March 2020

No one should leave home unless


For food or pharmacy and restrict the number of occassions
To look after someone with health conditions
or they are absolutely required to work as key workers and cannot work from home

All Non food and other retails shops an electrical stores must close tomorrow 24th March

This statement from Boris Johnson came after the OFNC story below and it is still unclear whether the closure of shops will affect optical practice. Or whether they can be used to continue with urgent eye care (not sight testing) or not.

We will reach out to find you further information.

Urgent Advice to all Optical Practices and Practitioners in England from OFNC– 23 March 2020

March 2020

Coronavirus / COVID-19


We realise that so far there has been less clarity for the eye care sector from NHS England than in the other UK countries and that Government messaging about risk has changed significantly as the crisis has unfolded.

OFNC is therefore issuing this advice to the sector in England setting out

• that providers should no longer be offering or providing routine sight tests even as a matter of clinical judgement as previously
• that providers should be focusing on contingency plans to provide essential and urgent eye care to those who need throughout the crisis without putting staff at risk
• that this does not mean all practices should remain open if this is not possible and those that can may well operate on a remote consultation/advice only basis
• initial thoughts on the meaning of ‘essential’ and ‘urgent’ in this context which many change over time.

The national optical representative bodies (ABDO, AOP and FODO) have now issued/are issuing guidance for their members in line with this advice.

The OFNC (which is comprised of the national representative bodies) is in close touch with NHS England-NHS Improvement, DHSC, the College of Optometrists, the GOC and LOCSU, all of whom are sighted on this advice.

We hope to shortly to receive further advice from NHS England-NHS Improvement about necessary contractual and financial support to sustain essential and urgent eye care over the coming weeks and months.

National Situation

In the meantime, we are all operating in extremely difficult and rapidly changing circumstances in responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As in any crisis, our priorities must be the safety of patients who need essential or urgent eye care and eye care colleagues and the wider public, and ensuring that no unnecessary eye health burdens fall on other parts of the NHS and social care which are already stretched.

OFNC and the national optical bodies are in constant contact with the government and NHS England-Improvement and our advice is based on the latest evidence and advice from Public Health England, the government’s chief scientific and clinical advisers, the College of Optometrists, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the ABDO.

The country is now moving fully into the late Delay Phase of the pandemic and the Prime Minster has advised that a total shut down of normal social functioning may be necessary to slow the spread of the virus.


Pending further advice from NHS England, which is expected urgently including about NHS financial and contractual support, practices will be making contingency plans to deliver essential and urgent services to their patients and others who need it –by phone or as remotely as possible whenever possible and clinically appropriate to do so.

During this stage of the crisis, all routine sight-testing should be postponed to prevent the virus spreading. In all other cases, scrupulous hygiene and disinfection regimes should be adhered to including the basics of frequent, thorough (20 second) handwashing, frequent surface disinfection and sneezing/coughing etiquette.

Not all practices will be able to remain functioning throughout the crisis owing to factors beyond their control such as staff absences through travel restrictions, staff themselves in at risk groups that have to self-isolate.

Others will be looking to how they can most safely and effectively provide essential and urgent eye care services.

This may involve

• remote working
• consolidation of sites – whilst maintaining capacity to sustain social distancing, e.g. staggering appointments to minimize number of people in the practice at any one time
• rostering staff to minimise essential travel, footfall and social contact at work
• networking IP optometrists
• postponing non-essential sights tests (note key workers and other groups might be in particular may need of essential eye care, especially in the event of a prolonged lock-down period)
• dealing with most eye care issues via telephone or video calling
• implementing social distancing between staff and patients as much as possible
• implementing social distancing between staff at all times (e.g. including commuting, lunch breaks etc)
• thinking about how to advise other healthcare workers who may be able to access high risk patients who have eye issues in locked-down locations such as care homes
• regularly checking the College of Optometrists website for changing clinical advice and Q&A. You can access the College of Optometrists website here
• using the flexibilities about posting spectacles and contact lenses and making safety, judgements about using recently expired prescription and contact lens specifications on the balance of risk to ensure people can continue to use spectacles and contact lenses whist avoiding all unnecessary travel
• knowing local contingency arrangements for seeking ophthalmology advice and how and where to refer patients who do need urgent ophthalmological care (e.g. retinal detachment, wet AMD, closed angle glaucoma)
• ensuing staff recognise that their own health and safety is the top priority (otherwise we will not be able to help patients and the public in need)
• ensuring staff know that, if they have any doubts about safety (e.g. potentially aerosol effects of non-contact tonometry) or any other procedure, they should not perform it but should inform the patient and note the record with reason (annotating COVID-19). You can access GOC professional regulatory guidance about professional practice during the crisis here
• supporting staff mental health and wellbeing during the crisis as they may well have serious worries about loved ones, supplies and finances outside work
• understanding that a practice which has closed its doors to walk-ins but which is answering enquires from patients and the public (even by a skeleton staff working from their own homes) is still providing essential and urgent eye care services.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

At present PPE is not advised for eye health practitioners working in primary care settings who should only be seeing asymptomatic or COVID-19 negative patients and then rarely face-to-face.

Nevertheless, we are in close touch with government, public health bodies, supply chains and the College of Optometrists about this. PPE is currently being prioritized for the highest risk specialties, including ENT. It is unlikely therefore that PPE for optical practice will be prioritized in the short-medium term, despite requests.

However, if official guidance on the use of PPE in primary eye care settings changes, new guidance will be issued and PPE resources distributed to ensure effective coverage across the health service.

If evidence and official guidance on the use of PPE in primary eye care settings change, we will issue further advice. We will also inform you if supply pressure ease or priorities change.

Practices and practitioners should take these factors into account in implementing this guidance. In particular, staff should not perform procedures where they could be at risk and should note patient records accordingly (annotated COVID-19).


Depending on the effectiveness of public health measures, of which this advice is part, the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis could continue for a matter of months rather than weeks. Our job as health professionals is to ensure that as far as possible people continue to have access to high quality essential and urgent eye care and advice especially the isolated elderly, keyworkers and children whilst, at the same time keeping, ourselves safe using remote advice and consultation wherever possible.

This advice is intended to help practices and practitioners do that.

If the crisis worsens, this may involve working as part of local NHS planning networks or community essential services hubs and may include colleagues volunteering for shifts to fulfil these roles.

OFNC is grateful to all the dedicated care workers in the eye health sector who are keeping the population well and supported through this crisis.

Further Information

We will continue to issue advice as the situation evolves and, hopefully, in time continues to improve.

Covid-19 New guidelines announced 17th March by Government

March 2020


New guidance to stay at home for 14 days if someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 is the focus of the next stage of a public awareness campaign launched by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock today.

The new guidance will set out that individuals will still be asked to self-isolate for 7 days from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms but any individuals in the household will now be asked to self-isolate for 14 days from that moment as well.

If other members of your household develop symptoms, however mild, at any time during the 14 days, they must not leave the home for 7 days from when symptoms started.

The new phase of the campaign will build on the existing TV, radio, online, digital and billboard adverts currently visible all over the country. These reinforce the importance of washing your hands more often and for 20 seconds, and ask people to self-isolate for 7 days if they develop a high temperature or a new continuous cough, however mild.

Government has taken the further measure of asking whole households to isolate because it is likely that people living with others will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

The Prime Minister also today set out a number of social distancing measures to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of coronavirus. For those who remain well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition, they are advised to limit their social contact where possible, including using less public transport, working at home and considering not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.

For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.

The government’s public awareness campaign offers clear, practical advice so people can play their part in preventing and slowing the spread of the virus.

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves remains washing their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in a bin and wash your hands.

The awareness campaign also reiterates the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

It also urges people with any symptoms to avoid contact with older and more vulnerable people.

Only if symptoms become worse should people use the NHS 111 service. To ensure the phone service is readily available to those who need it, where possible people should use the 111 website rather than calling.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister published a ‘battle plan’ for tackling the disease in the UK, which sets out plans for a range of scenarios. Last week, the Prime Minister confirmed the UK has moved into the second stage of this plan, the ‘delay’ phase.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

Coronavirus is the biggest public health crisis we have faced in a generation, and we will do whatever is necessary to protect our elderly and most vulnerable people and keep the public safe.

This is an unprecedented situation and it’s so important for each of us to rally together and do our bit to protect ourselves and each other, as well as our NHS, from this disease.

Washing hands regularly for 20 seconds or more remains the single most important thing each of us can do, but we now also need to ask everyone in a household to stay at home if anyone in their home shows symptoms.

Combating this virus will require a huge national effort. We must do all we can to save lives, protect the NHS and keep the most vulnerable people in our society safe.

PHN has its own updated dialy page for Covid-19 plus a link to get the up to date county by county stats and the rising daily graph.

Healthcare fund to provide organisations with up to £50,000 to cultivate innovation in the West Midlands

March 2020

West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) has today (5th March) opened the applications for its 2020 Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Health Innovation Fund. The fund was developed in partnership with MidTECH Innovations and Mercia Asset Management (MAM), to support start-up businesses in the healthcare sector from across the region.

Applicants have the opportunity to be awarded convertible loans of up to £50,000 as well as access to future investment capital, invaluable mentoring workshops from industry experts and access to a network of key contacts within the NHS and healthcare sectors to support the development of their ideas.

The fund, which is being led by Peter Dines, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Life Sciences at Mercia, is open to applications from SMEs who are currently collaborating with a West Midlands based NHS organisation.

Move it or Lose it, an organisation which provides FABS (flexibility, aerobic, balance and strength) exercise classes to older adults and those with long term health conditions, was awarded the loan in 2017.

The number of over 65s in the UK is steadily increasing and will likely form a quarter of the population by 2037. With the average person now spending approximately 16 of their later years in poor health, finding viable solutions to improve health and wellbeing in later life will also help lessen the burden on our healthcare providers.

Move it or Lose it received funding to develop technology and routes to market to help educate and enable older adults to take control and monitor their own activity levels, thereby reducing demand for clinical services.

Joe Robinson, Director of Research and Innovation at Move it or Lose it said: “The fund has helped provide us with the capital needed to increase our service offer, which otherwise would not have been possible. Through this scheme the company has been able to grow and reach more older people helping them live healthier, happier and more active lives.”

Tammy Holmes, Head of Innovation Exchange at WMAHSN said: “We are thrilled to announce the return of the SME Innovation Fund and be in the position to support businesses dedicated to transforming healthcare landscape of the West Midlands.

“To date, the scheme has successfully supported over ten SMEs, helping them bring their ideas to life and spark great collaboration between innovators and NHS organisations.

“We can’t wait to see what innovations organisations in the West Midlands have to offer and work together to help make sure our region is healthier, more productive and delivering the best possible clinical outcomes for patients.”

For more information around the SME Innovation Fund application process and requirements or to submit an application, please visit:

Covid-19 creates huge demand at Louis Stone

March 2020

Louis Stone Optical have received unprecedented demand for several products due to the current Coronavirus situation.

Slit Lamp Breath Guards from Louis Stone
Managing Director Paul Gaba has refused to follow the role of several online companies who are charging high prices for these products.

“We have a reputation built over 70 years supplying the optical industry and will not take advantage of our customers and their patients.”

“It is currently integral that opticians use these breath shields when operating slit lamps - they have a duty of care not only to their patients, but to themselves."

Slit Lamp Breath Guards from Louis Stone

Louis Stone have sold over 600 universal slit lamp breath shields and have another 1000 arriving by 26th March.

Demand has also been high for slit lamp chin paper, tonometer tips that can be used for contact lens work (and in case the patient’s eye needs to be touched during examination), and sterile wipes for instruments.

Louis Stone are expecting another delivery of these items shortly with possibly some face masks.

Other items in demand have been their white tailor-made lab coats and lab jackets (as research has shown that some patients like this form of dress when being examined) and frame trays with covers (several opticians are using these instead of practice wall displays and domicilliaries normally have open trays when testing in nursing homes).

Practitioners and intersted parties can view the daily announcements from updates on PHN's Covid-19 pages.

MYKITA and Leica Camera AG announce substantial partnership

March 2020

Mykita and Leica
The partnership will bring the highest level of German engineering to the world of eyewear.

MYKITA and Leica announce their collaboration between two industry leaders of German engineering, design and quality made in Germany – a partnership defined by its shared commitment to holistic product development, pioneering technology and precision craftsmanship.

The joint enterprise launches with a debut collection of sunglasses set to raise the bar for high end functional design and optical quality on the eyewear market.

The MYKITA | LEICA collection is defined by its reduced, functional design focused on superior performance. Developed exclusively for the collaboration, the lenses are the central feature and differentiating functional element.

The collection will be available in MYKITA Shops and selected Leica Stores from June 2020.

Student wins an EZ View lens at Aston Eyeball

March 2020

Aston Eyeball winner
The Aston Eyeball sponsored by Louis Stone took place on the 12th February 2020,one of the students won an EZ VIEW lens provided and made for Louis Stone.

Azhar Mahmood pictured said "I am delighted to win the excellent lens which I will be able to use in clinics and practice in the future”.

The Aston University Eyeball Societycommented,

“We are extremely thankful for Louis Stone for sponsoring our eyeball and helping it make it a special event we were delighted to work with you. We look forward to working with yourselves in the near future.'

Out of the Box Optic’s Optoversity Challenge raises £5500 for VCHP

March 2020

Hertfordshire students sweep the board at 4th annual event

Optoversity Winners
Hertfordshire University’s third year optometry students swept the board at the 2020 Out of The Box Optics Optoversity Challenge, beating two teams from City University, and others from Anglia Ruskin and Bradford Universities.

The team of four not only achieved the highest marks in the day of multiple challenges to test their optometric knowledge and skills, but they also raised the most amount of sponsorship. Vision Care for

Homeless People is delighted with the £5,500 raised – with half of the sum coming from the Hertfordshire students’ supporters. Top fundraiser was Kiranpreet Rajbans who gained £1232 in sponsorship.

Top scoring participant of the day for clinical knowledge, and ability to deal with unexpected optical situations, was Hertfordshire student Rebekah Young. Together with her team Rebekah took first place in the inter-university competition.

“We are so happy to put Hertfordshire on the map, and proud for our tutors. We put in a lot of effort – not just for Optoversity challenge but for everything, and it is great to have won,” she said.
The Hertfordshire team pictured left to right: Kiranpreet Rajbans, Rebekah Young, Emma Saunders and Esha Malik.

It is the first year that Hertfordshire have entered the event – now in its 4th year – and hosted by Anglia Ruskin University. Organised by Out of The Box Optics, it is part of the company’s third year optometry student mentoring programme which encourages the students to excel.

Gajan Singh Seehra, Director of Out of the Box Optics, explained; “We set up Optoversity Challenge to stretch and inspire pre-reg optometry students. We have created different scenarios that they will encounter in practice, unusual pathologies, language barriers, and the weird and wonderful things they are likely to confront in dealing with the public. The event tests not just their clinical skills but also their compassion and adaptability for any situation. The training courses that we run throughout the year mirror the challenges of this event.”

Gajan praised the students for taking part and promoted the idea of supporting Vision Care for Homeless People as they move forward in their careers –
“We all make choices about the skills and privileges that we have: volunteering your skills is probably the most fulfilling thing you can do.”

Torrent of Covid-19 News reports confirms the need for a dedicated section on Opchat News

March 2020

PHN has created a new and singular tab on all things Covid-19.

Covid 19

The page will be updated on a daily basis whenever news arrives. As the page will remain for the long term, we will also index specific information important to primary care and its workers, so you can locate it simply and quickly.

If you have other verified knowledge we will be happy to receive them at

You will find the page on the left of the screen titled Covd-19 Briefings or click any of a number of dedicated banners on the site.

Campaigner teams up with Anglian Water to tackle plastic pollution from contact lenses

March 2020

Presenter and environmental campaigner Heather Suttie has teamed up with Anglian Water to reduce marine litter and prevent blocked sewers. She’s calling on people to stop throwing their contact lenses down the sink or toilet. These lenses form micro-plastics and pollute the oceans and endanger marine life.

Heather Suttie OE
Heather, a leading figure in the “Say No To Plastic” movement, is backing Anglian Water’s “Keep It Clear Campaign” – urging people to only flush the 3 Ps – pee, (toilet) paper and poo, to help stop blockages, sewer flooding and pollution. The campaign highlights the damage caused by items such as lenses, wipes and sanitary products being disposed of incorrectly.

Heather is asking people who wear contact lenses to firstly stop wearing them, or if someone must, recycle them and look at more sustainable alternatives. The former presenter is now working with Optical Express to raise awareness of this issue after research from the eye care provider found that, in 2019, more than 750 million contact lenses were washed down the drain or thrown into landfill by Brits and this pollution volume is increasing every year.

Heather Suttie said: “Similar to the 4.2 million current daily users of contact lenses across the UK, I wore them every day, but I never thought about the amount of plastic I was creating and throwing away. I want people to think about why they wear lenses and if they do, make sure they dispose of lenses properly, so they don’t end up down the drain, polluting our oceans. That’s why I’m joining Anglian Water in urging people to think twice about what we throw down toilets or sinks.

“Contact lenses and their packaging are single-use plastics and we know that plastic is polluting our waterways and doesn’t degrade in landfill. If we want to protect marine life, we need to switch to plastic-free alternatives or make sure our used lenses are recycled. I’m delighted that Optical Express are leading the way in highlighting this global issue and offering all contact lens users in the UK and Ireland the opportunity to do the right thing, with specialist recycling boxes in all their stores.

Optical Express Recycle Team“Optical Express optometrists and ophthalmic surgeons can also give specialist advice on the range of alternative vision correction options for patients concerned about single use plastics. For many, laser eye or natural lens replacement surgery offers a more sustainable and more cost-effective long-term solution.”

Rachel Dyson, Anglian Water’s Behaviour Change Programme Manager, said: “We would urge anyone who wears contact lenses to never flush them down the toilet or wash them down the sink. They are made from a plastic material which will break down into smaller microplastic pieces as well as add to the likelihood of combining with other unflushable items, like baby wipes and sanitary products, they can cause blockages. Even if they are put in the bin, they are still left in landfill, so we totally support Optical Express’ campaign to encourage specialist recycling drop off points and increased awareness.

“Blockages caused by unflushable items mixed together cost Anglian Water over £19million a year and we estimate around 800 tonnes of unflushable items are being flushed every week in the East of England region. We would like to remind people to not put anything down toilets unless it is pee, poo or (toilet) paper.”

All contact lens wearers, not just patients from Optical Express can recycle their used lenses and packaging in specialist recycling boxes in Optical Express clinics across the UK.

College offers Covid-19 advice to its members and practices

February 2020

Covid=19 information guides
NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued a new coronavirus (COVID-19) standard operating procedure (SOP) for primary care optical settings in England.

It is intended to support primary care teams to implement the PHE guidance COVID-19: interim guidance for primary care by explaining the actions an optical practice should take in managing patients who they suspect may have COVID-19.

Please note that will be NHS England’s preferred means for communicating key guidance and resources to practices.

Practices that don’t have an email address will need to register for one - details on how to do this are included in the SOP.

The key points in the document are: the full details are to be found in full in the story following this story.

• the preparations each optical practice should make
• how to register for a account for you and your practice
• information practices should give to the public about the virus, including practice posters
• what to do if you think a patient has COVID-19
• how optical practices should perform isolation and decontamination.

Updated guidance

Standard operating procedure for primary care optical settings
College provides FAQs

Do I need to wear a surgical mask when examining healthy asymptomatic patients?

No. Face masks are not currently recommended for routine use in primary care optometry. The current national approach in England is to identify, isolate and contain. As such follow normal infection control procedures, for every patient, at every appointment:
▪ hand hygiene
▪ respiratory etiquette
▪ good disinfection practice including cleaning hard surfaces.

What should I do if a patient identifies as being at risk of having COVID-19 in the consultation room?

If COVID-19 is considered possible when an appointment is already in progress, assess a suitable and safe point to bring the consultation to a close, withdraw from the room, close the door and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Refer to the relevant national guidance for next steps.

What if a patient requires an emergency ocular appointment for a sight-threatening condition and they have COVID-19?

They should call NHS 111, who will direct them to a regional centre who can provide the eye care, in an environment equipped to manage the infection control risks. Primary care should not be seeing patients who have COVID-19.

If the patient is in your practice, advise them to contact NHS 111 from an isolated consulting room. If a healthcare professional is required to enter the room to offer assistance or support the 999 assessment, they should wear disposable gloves, disposable plastic aprons and fluid-resistant surgical face mask.

Should I place the poster up on my practice door?

Yes. The poster is designed to help protect your staff, reduce the risk of spreading the virus and ensure business continuity. All other primary care (pharmacy, dental and GP) settings have been asked to display the poster, so the public should be familiar with it.

Is there any training available so I can become more informed about COVID-19?

The World Health Organisation provides a free online course for healthcare professionals which takes about an hour to complete. It may be useful for each practice lead to complete this training, but it is not compulsory.

CMO for England announces 2 new cases of novel coronavirus: 28 February 2020

February 2020

Chris Whitty CMO UK
Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, announces:

Two further patients in England have tested positive for COVID-19.

The virus was passed on in Iran and the patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres at the Royal Free Hospital.

The total number of cases in England is now 17. Following confirmed cases in Northern Ireland and Wales, the total number of UK cases is 19.


We remind all primary care practices of the Government's Interin Advice on dealing with Covid-19

1. Main principles

Identify potential cases as soon as possible

prevent potential transmission of infection to other patients and staff

avoid direct physical contact, including physical examination, and exposures to respiratory secretions

isolate the patient, obtain specialist advice and determine if the patient is at risk of COVID-19

Currently, if COVID-19 infection is seen in the UK, it is most likely to occur in travellers who have recently returned from specified countries and areas. Therefore, an accurate travel history is an important part of identifying potential risk. See Public Heath England’s (PHE’s) guidance for assessing possible cases.

2. Actions to take

Patients booking in by telephone or online who meet the case definition should be directed to NHS 111.

An unwell patient with a relevant travel history should be identified when they book in at reception and immediately placed in a room away from other patients and staff. If COVID-19 is considered possible when a consultation is already in progress, withdraw from the room, close the door and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Avoid physical examination of a suspected case.

The patient should remain in the room with the door closed. Belongings and waste should remain in the room. The patient and any accompanying family should remain in the room with the door closed.

Advise others not to enter the room.

If a clinical history still needs to be obtained or completed, do this by telephone.

If entry to the room or contact with the patient is unavoidable in an emergency, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in line with standard infection control precautions, such as gloves, apron and fluid resistant surgical mask (FRSM) and keep exposure to a minimum. All PPE in full should be disposed of as clinical waste.

Should the patient need to use the toilet, they should be allocated a WC for their sole use. Instruct the patient to wash their hands thoroughly after toileting, and return directly to the room they have been isolated in and close the door. The toilet should be taken out of use until cleaned and disinfected following the decontamination guidance.

Ask the patient to call NHS 111 from their room, on their mobile (use GP surgery landline if mobile unavailable).

When a telephone interview is being conducted with a patient located elsewhere (for example at home) and it is determined that COVID-19 is possible (based on the PHE criteria for a possible case), then a face-to-face assessment in primary care (including out-of-hours centres and GP hubs) must be avoided. Instead, call the local secondary care infection specialist to discuss safe assessment, if hospital care is being considered, if not refer to NHS 111.

3. Patient transfers

If the patient is critically ill and requires an urgent ambulance transfer to a hospital, inform the ambulance call handler of the concerns about COVID-19.

In all other instances, the case must be discussed with the hospital first so that they are aware that COVID-19 is being considered and the method of transport to secondary care agreed.

Patients with suspected COVID-19 should be instructed not to use public transport or taxis to get to hospital.

Following the patient transfer, the room should be closed and should not be used until further advice is provided by the local HPT.

4. Environmental cleaning following a possible case

Once a possible case has been transferred from the primary care premises, the room where the patient was placed should not be used, the room door should remain shut, with windows opened and the air conditioning switched off, until it has been cleaned with detergent and disinfectant. Once this process has been completed, the room can be put back in use immediately.

4.1 Preparation

The responsible person undertaking the cleaning with detergent and disinfectant should be familiar with these processes and procedures:
collect all cleaning equipment and clinical waste bags before entering the room
any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of as single use items
before entering the room, perform hand hygiene then put on a disposable plastic apron and gloves

4.2 On entering the room

Keep the door closed with windows open to improve airflow and ventilation whilst using detergent and disinfection products

Bag all items that have been used for the care of the patient as clinical waste, for example, contents of the waste bin and any consumables that cannot be cleaned with detergent and disinfectant
remove any fabric curtains or screens and bag as infectious linen

Close any sharps containers wiping the surfaces with either a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1000 parts per million (ppm) available chlorine ( or a neutral purpose detergent followed by disinfection (1000 ppm

4.3 Cleaning process

Use disposable cloths or paper roll or disposable mop heads, to clean and disinfect all hard surfaces or floor or chairs or door handles or reusable non-invasive care equipment or sanitary fittings in the room, following one of the 2 options below:

use either a combined detergent disinfectant solution at a dilution of 1000 parts per million (ppm) available chlorine ( or a neutral purpose detergent followed by disinfection (1000 ppm
follow manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants

Any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of as single use items

4.4 Cleaning and disinfection of reusable equipment

clean and disinfect any reusable non-invasive care equipment, such as blood pressure monitors, digital thermometers, glucometers, that are in the room prior to their removal
clean all reusable equipment systematically from the top or furthest away point

4.5 Carpeted flooring and soft furnishings

If carpeted floors or item cannot withstand chlorine-releasing agents, consult the manufacturer’s instructions for a suitable alternative to use, following or combined with detergent cleaning.

4.6 On leaving the room

discard detergent or disinfectant solutions safely at disposal point
all waste from suspected contaminated areas should be removed from the room and quarantined until patient test results are known (this may take 48 hours); if the patient is confirmed to have COVID-19 further advice should be sought from the local HPT

Clean, dry and store re-usable parts of cleaning equipment, such as mop handles remove and discard PPE as clinical waste perform hand hygiene

4.7 Cleaning of communal areas

If a suspected case spent time in a communal area, for example, a waiting area or toilet facilities, then these areas should be cleaned with detergent and disinfectant (as above) as soon as practicably possible, unless there has been a blood or body fluid spill which should be dealt with immediately. Once cleaning and disinfection have been completed, the area can be put back in use.

You can download the full pdf here for primary care optical practices

ABDO becomes a Youth Friendly Employer

February 2020

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has achieved the Youth Friendly Employer mark, showing an employer is invested in recruiting and supporting young people.

This gives a great opportunity for careers in eye care to be in the spotlight for young people. It will be of benefit to both ABDO and Youth Employment UK in spreading useful careers information in this growing sector.

Laura-Jane Rawlings, CEO at Youth Employment UK spoke to the ABDO senior team at their annual meeting last week about the benefits of the collaboration. She also handed over ABDO's certificate of membership to ABDO President Clive Marchant.

Commenting on this move Nick Walsh, ABDO’s Sector Skills Development Officer, said: “For many younger people, the prospect of choosing a career option can be daunting and sometimes the options presented may not inspire. Within the world of optics there are so many career options open that people may not be aware of, so working with Youth Employment UK with their amazing reach, including over 1 million visitors to their website in 2019 by students and parents, will help to make eye care a new consideration for those who may not have previously thought of this.”

Laura-Jane Rawlings, said, “We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with ABDO to encourage young people to find out more about careers in eye care and eye wear. ABDO’s ongoing strategy to educate and engage young people in the sector demonstrates a real commitment to youth friendly practice.”

She continues, “The Youth Friendly Employer Mark is a seal of quality and commitment attributed to employers and organisations who are actively working to provide professional development and opportunities for young people.

This move is just one part of ABDO’s ongoing strategy to encourage young people to find out more about careers in eye care and eye wear.

Breaking News: MIDO 2020 Exhibition Postponed due to Italian Upsurge in coronavirus (covid-19)

February 2020

Due to the sudden upsurge in Northern Italy of confirmed coronovirus cases Mido announced today that this years show expected February 29th to March 2nd has been postponed till the early weeks of June 2020.

Giovanni Vitaloni, president of Mido, said: ‘We took this decision out of respect for the current alarming situation and for our exhibitors and visitors. As this health crisis is developing in Italy, we could not but choose to postpone Mido’s 2020 edition. We immediately defined and selected a time-frame within the year which could meet the needs of the eyewear industry at a national and international level.

‘We are aware that this decision will require industry professionals, exhibitors, buyers, press members, opticians and everyone working for Mido, including our staff, to reschedule their attendance, with a significant impact on all internal organisations.

‘It will be a two-fold effort as we are just a week away from the show, but we cannot honestly think of celebrating our 50 years when the world – and our country now in particular – is experiencing such an international crisis.

‘We trust though that, for the very nature of the current situation, which is alarming and continuously evolving, our exhibitors and visitors, the media and everyone involved will understand our decision. Our sense of responsibility as business people, but most of all as human beings, towards our families, our children, our colleagues, has compelled us to do something that we would have never wanted to do, especially for this special edition, the year of our 50th birthday.’

PHN will update you as soon as dates are released

LIGHTBIRD flies to the EIFFEL TOWER to take part in PREMIÈRE CLASSE 2020

February 2020

Lightbird in Paris Fashion Show
From February 28th to March 2nd the brand from Belluno will be guest at one of Paris' main international exhibitions dedicated to fashion accessories.

LIGHTBIRD, after the exciting victory of the Silmo d'Or Première Classe 2019, returns to the French capital as a guest at Première Classe, the leading international fashion accessory and ready-to-wear fair held during Paris Fashion Week.

From February 28th to March 2nd LIGHTBRID makes its debut at the international accessories fair, proposing a selection from the first Light_Matter collection, including the awarded women's sun model PLANET.

During Première Classe F/W 20 more than 450 brands will be present and about ten thousand visitors are expected - including buyers, designers, journalists and enthusiasts from all over the world - a prestigious opportunity to present LIGHTBIRD's design and technological innovation 100% Made in Italy.

"I am obviously pleased and honoured by this invitation, in such a prestigious setting and international reference point, which sees the participation of hundreds of top-level brands. A Parisian event focused on the latest and upcoming trends and innovations in fashion accessories, a thread that fits LIGHTBIRD's character very well", said designer Corrado Rosson.

The Bellunese start up displays in the wonderful Parisian setting of the Jardin desTuileries on Stand Tuileries 268BIS.

Urgent Advice received from NHS England-Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for PMS providers

February 2020

NHS England has asked the Optical Confederation to distribute the following alert to all optical practices, clinicians and staff to communicate to their patients and the public via booking systems and patient facing media.

It is based on latest advice from Public Health England. A similar message is being communicated to other primary care professions.

Please do not book an appointment or attend your practice if you’ve visited or travelled through mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand and have symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath within 2 weeks of returning, or if you have symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath after being in contact with someone with a confirmed case of coronavirus also known as COVID-19.

Please call NHS 111 instead.

Practitioners can add this to their communications with patients, social media and to recall information.

Increases announced in Scottish budget 20/21 for eyecare

February 2020

The GOS budget will increase from £108.4m (2019-20) to £109.5m (2020-21), representing a one percent increase according to the draft Scottish budget,

Optometry Scotland reports that to ensure regular, free eye examinations of high quality are available to all Scottish residents, the Scottish Government is continuing to invest in General Ophthalmic Services (GOS). In 2020-21, the estimated budget for providing GOS will be £110 million.

Evidence suggests that there is increased demand for GOS, with the number of primary and supplementary eye care examinations in Scotland steadily increasing between 2006-07 and 2018-19.

Evidence also suggests that people are less likely to attend an eye examination if they live in a more deprived area. Of those people who attended a primary eye examination in 2018-19

The Scottish Budget 2020-21 also sets out priorities for primary care which it notes is “the cornerstone of the health and care system” and getting it “right is therefore vital to improving health of the nation and the sustainability of the whole health and care system”.

Priorities include starting to discharge low-risk glaucoma and treated ocular hypertension patients out of hospitals into the management of community optometrists, helping to build hospital capacity from January 2021.

Optometry Scotland has been congratulated on keeping eyecare high on the Scottish Government's agenda

Showing an eye for fashion, Eyewear Direct launches

February 2020

Eyewire Direct
Eyewear Direct launched 30 ophthalmic frames and 12 new sunglass styles at 100% Optical in London last month (25-27 January).

The main launches were in the Italian-manufactured Rédélé range, which is designed in Los Angeles. The distinctive artwork is inspired by LA and helped to create a busy and successful show for Eyewear Direct.

The eyewear campaign was shot at a Los Angeles landmark, Goldstein House, which was owned by an icon of the fashion world, eccentric billionaire James F. Goldstein, before he donated it to a museum.

The 16 new Rédélé frames are offered in five colours each. A talking point at the London show was the craftsmanship of the frames due to the TR2R material used. Flexible and ultra-lightweight, TR2R also benefits from being more like an acetate in its use of colour.

Some of the latest styles are now offered in three layers of colour not two as before thanks to a new manufacturing process which took a year to develop.

Tonal beta titanium temples are also a feature of Rédélé, with bi-colour temple tips and end pieces adding interest. Italian acetate had been requested by practitioners and is now a part of the new collection.

In one style the eyewear designer was in Portugal and was inspired by an electric blue statue, so he used the distinctive colour as an accent colour on the temples.

“I am delighted that Eyewear Direct is able to bring Rédélé to the UK market,” said the company’s managing director, Brett Waugh. “It’s Italian craftmanship and material quality, at such an accessible price, make it amazing value for money.

“To have launched Rédélé’s new Mazzuchelli acetate frames and sunglasses at 100% Optical gave our customers the opportunity to be the first in the world to buy this new part of the collection.”

Celebrity favourite, Hook London, which celebrates a passion for fashion and music, saw the launch of eight new sunglass styles at 100% Optical. It means that the brand’s best-selling frames are now available in sunglass styles, each available in a choice of three colours.

Hook London sunglasses can be seen on the star of the LA crime drama The Fix, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Other celebrity wearers include singers Grace Jones, Nicole Scherzinger, Paloma Faith and Pixie Lott.

Eyewear Direct’s launches at the event included four new ophthalmic frames in its own Ashton Riley range, which is named after Mr Waugh’s son.

It was the first time that the company had exhibited at 100% Optical. “We had a great show. We saw lots of our existing customers and had much interest in our new launches,” said Mr Waugh. “We took many orders and saw the beginnings of relationships with lots of new customers, which is just what we had hoped for.”

Optical Express optometrists join UN’s Clean Seas campaign

February 2020

Optical Express CL disposalHundreds of optometrists and eye care clinicians have pledged to stop using a range of single-use plastic products in a bid to tackle the dangerous levels of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

Staff from across the UK and Ireland at Optical Express, the UK’s only complete eye care provider, have signed up to the United Nations’ Clean Seas Campaign. Launched in 2017 by the UN Environment Programme, the Clean Seas Campaign aims to create a global movement to tackle single-use plastics. It shines a light on specific causes of marine litter, such as plastic pollution generated by the cosmetic and personal care industry.

The campaign exposes how personal care products, washed into the world’s waterways via our bathrooms, are a major source of the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic litter which end up in the oceans every year. It highlights wet wipes, cotton buds and contact lenses as common causes of plastic pollution, encouraging people to find sustainable, ocean-friendly alternatives.

Optical Express staff have been signing up to the Clean Seas Campaign amid growing concern about the environmental impact of contact lenses, after research commissioned by the company showed that over 750 million plastic lenses end up in the oceans or landfill in the UK every year. Academic experts and environmental campaign groups have also spoken out about the harm plastics cause to the natural environment, urging people to dispose of contact lenses and their packaging responsibly.

The United Nations Environment Programme Clean Seas Campaign notes:
“Many people are not aware of just how much plastic is hidden in their beauty and personal care routine. Take a look at your bathroom. When contact lenses are thrown in the toilet or sink, they enter waste-water treatment plants, where they can easily enter the oceans and be ingested by marine life.”

Heather Suttie, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Optical Express, said: “I’m incredibly proud of all the Optical Express staff members who are joining the fight against single-use plastic by cutting out unnecessary plastic products. Many of the single-use plastic products which are so damaging to our environment can be found in our bathrooms, so it’s vital that initiatives like the UN Environment Programme are focusing on this form of plastic pollution. The damage caused by personal care products such as contact lenses has been underestimated in the past, but as our research has shown, it’s a significant source of plastic waste which we all need to do more to cut down on.”

David Moulsdale, Optical Express CEO, said: “This action by Optical Express staff forms part of our wider work as a company to increase public awareness of environmental issues and improve our own green credentials. Specialist contact lens recycling stations have been made available in all Optical Express clinics, and our expert surgeons have pledged to fully inform patients about the potential environmental impact of their eye care choices.”

Dr Dannielle Green, Director of the Applied Ecology Research Group at Anglia Ruskin University, said:"When animals such as worms, crabs and oysters eat microplastics it can cause them to lose weight, reproduce less and generally be less healthy. We need to prevent plastic from entering the environment. Used contact lenses and their packaging should be disposed of responsibly and recycled. Used contact lenses should never be flushed down the drain."

Paul Wallace, Campaign and Social Innovation Manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Marine and coastal litter is a significant concern to people all across Scotland. And, we all need to consider the impact of not disposing of items correctly. Whether it is a contact lens flushed down the toilet, or a drinks bottle or crisp packet carelessly chucked on our streets, they can all end up polluting our rivers and seas. We all need to think and act differently to reduce our impact on the environment."

Lidl withdraws spectacles being sold illegally

January 2020

Lidl has stopped the sale of multifocal reading glasses in stores across the UK, following concerns raised by registrants and action by the GOC.

Multifocal lenses are used in spectacles to accommodate multiple prescriptions into a single lens. Legally, multifocal spectacles can only be sold in accordance with a valid prescription.
Kiran Gill, Head of Legal, said:

“We are pleased that Lidl UK has stopped selling multifocal spectacles. After we contacted them, they promptly issued notices to all of their stores, and they have now removed these spectacles from sale.

Tackling illegal optical practice is an important part of our work to protect the public, and we work collaboratively where we can with other organisations. Our collaboration with Lidl has highlighted the importance of reaching out to larger organisations to clarify our role and remit.

We encourage anyone with concerns about the illegal selling of contact lenses or spectacles to contact us so that we can investigate and take appropriate action.”

Cardiff University OpSoc Christmas Ball!

January 2020

Cardiff Ball raffle winner

The ball took place on December 12th at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House. Sponsored by Louis Stone the event made almost £500 for charity with Guide Dogs UK and UCAN Productions Maggie’s Club, the charities being selected. 

Menna Eloise, 2nd year Cardiff OpSoc student who won a slit lamp indirect 78D lens courtesy of Louis Stone, in the raffle at the event thanked the organisers. She said, 'Thank you Louis Stone, I can’t wait to use this in my clinics when I get back after Christmas!’ 

Future plans for the society include further social/RAG events, sports and awards evenings and Opfest! 

This was the biggest Christmas ball that Cardiff OpSoc has ever had, and Louis Stone looks forward to even bigger events in the future.

Outpatient eye-care waiting list continues to increase in Ireland

January 2020

Optometrists call for greater role to improve public eye-care

Outpatient eye-care waiting lists continued to increase in 2019, as Optometrists today called for a greater role in providing public eye-care.

Latest National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures to the end of 2019 show that 41,200 people were on the outpatient eye-care waiting list – continuing an upwards trend from 40,600 at the end of 2018 and 39,800 in 2017.

Almost 17,300 of these people were waiting more than a year and 12,000 more than 18 months, up from 16,200 and 10,500 respectively a year ago. Furthermore, more than 7,700 people were awaiting inpatient eye procedures.

Association of Optometrists (AOI) Chief Executive Sean McCrave called for better eye-care to be an election issue.

“Major delays in diagnosis and treatment are compromising eye health throughout the country. In the South West people can be waiting up to five years for Cataract surgery.

“There are 700 community based Optometrists across Ireland who are trained, skilled and have the necessary equipment to make better public eye-care available.

“We have an unsustainable over-reliance on providing public eye-care in Hospitals and HSE Clinics which clearly do not have the capacity to meet demand.

AOI is calling for public eye-care services which Optometrists can provide to be increased including a new ‘National Children’s Eye-care Programme’, which is Optometrist led and ‘National Roll-out’ of the Sligo Post Cataract Scheme.

The ‘Sligo Scheme’ is a proven approach being delivered in the North West. It involves greater collaboration between Sligo hospital and Optometrists – and the region has the shortest waiting time for Cataract Surgery (which accounts for a significant volume of the capacity problems).

It is also 50% less expensive to provide appointments in the local community at an Optometrist than in Hospitals and AOI has shown how waiting times can be eliminated while saving up to €32m.

Mr. McCrave highlighted the impact poor services are having on people. “Loss of vision impacts greatly on independent living and can lead to the need for carers, care homes, mental health services and unemployment benefits.

“Delivering more public eye-care in the community, including a greater role for Optometrists, would greatly improve eye health in Ireland. It would bring Ireland into line with services in other European countries and put in place a sustainable model of care for the future.”

Dates for National Eye Health Week 2020 Announced

January 2020

Eye Health UK today announced that National Eye Health Week (NEHW) 2020 will take place 21 – 27 September.

Building on the success of the 2019 campaign – which enjoyed support from over 3,000 organisations including the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England – this year’s campaign will once again focus on raising awareness of the simple things we can all do to look after our eyes and help prevent avoidable sight loss.

David Cartwright, Chair of Eye Health UK, the charity responsible for running the Week, said: “We hope to encourage everyone with an interest in vision and eye health to come together this September to promote engaging eye health messages and create a public health campaign that has a positive and tangible impact on the nation’s eye health.”

National Eye Health Week has gained significant momentum over recent years and is now a firm fixture in the public health calendar.

Highlights from NEHW 2019 included the production of a comprehensive supporter resource pack; the publication of Vista magazine; a nationwide poster campaign; the launch of an online vision simulator giving people a glimpse of what it’s like to live with four common causes of sight loss; the publication of eye health supplements in the national press; a comprehensive media relations campaign (generating 218 Million opportunities to see positive eye health messages); a social conversation with a reach in excessive of 66 Million and The Big Blink – an initiative aimed at improving eye health in the workplace.

One in four UK adults say they remember seeing, hearing or reading something about eye health during the Week. Of these three quarters (74%) say they were encouraged to take better care of their eyes, doing things like booking an eye examination (37%) or quit smoking (7%).

Sixty per cent of optical practices responding to the NEHW19 supporter evaluation survey reported an increase in sight tests in and around the Week.

David Cartwright continues: “National Eye Health Week achieves a great deal on limited resources and has built strong foundations on which to leverage the ‘prevention’ ‘agenda and significantly raise the profile of optics. To fulfil the potential of National Eye Health Week requires substantial investment, so watch this space for future funding appeals.”

To join the NEHW supporter mailing list or for information about sponsorship opportunities and other ways you can get involved in National Eye Health Week 2020 please email

CMO for England statement on the Wuhan novel coronavirus

January 2020

Statement from the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, on Wuhan novel coronavirus.
Published 24 January 2020

The COBR met today to discuss the situation in Wuhan, China, and elsewhere in Asia. I updated on the current situation, the preparedness of the NHS, and possible next steps.

I am working closely with the other UK Chief Medical Officers. We all agree that the risk to the UK public remains low, but there may well be cases in the UK at some stage. We have tried and tested measures in place to respond. The UK is well prepared for these types of incidents, with excellent readiness against infectious diseases.

We have global experts monitoring the situation around the clock and have a strong track record of managing new forms of infectious disease. We have access to some of the best infectious disease and public health experts in the world from around the UK.

There are no confirmed cases in the UK to date.

We have been carefully monitoring the situation in Wuhan, China, since the beginning of the outbreak and are now implementing our planned response.

A public health hub will be set up in Heathrow from today. This consists of clinicians and other public health officials, in addition to existing port health measures.

The World Health Organization has rightly responded quickly and China has introduced strong public health measures.

Opchat News reader has sent us his thanks and some useful tips for those experiencing gradual sight loss

January 2020

Elmer George from a resource for all Elders writes saying, "I want to thank you for making it easy for those of us with a visual impairment to find information that makes life a little easier. You’ve shared so much wonderful info on your site, and I especially like the clinical briefings page .

Elmer has added some more and appropriate briefings to assist our profession and the primary care teams to understand and provide useful information with those losing site for whatever reason.

How to Adapt Your Home if You're Blind or Visually Impaired

Home Fire Safety for People who are Blind/Low Vision

The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Home for a Service Dog

House Hunting with Vision Loss

The Process of Adjusting to Vision Loss

How to Make Life Easier and Safer for Seniors with Low Vision

6 Early Warning Signs of Vision Loss

Elmer has cataracts which have progressed quite a bit over the last few years, and says it’s frustrating to have his vision fade.

Click to our clinical briefing pages to see each of Elmer's selected articles.

Spectacle Makers Society announces a fun evening at the Barbican

January 2020

The Eye – A History

Wednesday 20 May 2020 18:00-20:30 Temple Suite, Thistle City Barbican EC1V £22.00 per person

The Society invites you to join members of the Society at the Thistle City Barbican, Shoreditch,120 Central Street, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 8DS for a lecture by Professor Joanna Bourke, Gresham Professor of Rhetoric, exploring the politics of scientific theories about eyes.

No professional optical knowledge is necessary so feel free to bring friends and family. There will be something for everyone and we have plenty of room so please do invite your guests to join us for what promises to be an informative and fun evening.

From ancient times to popular self-help books today, eyes have been viewed as 'windows to the soul'. The interpretation of eye shape and colour have been used to distinguish between different degrees of 'civilization', to identify personality traits, and even to detect terrorists.

Please arrive at 18:00 to take your seats for the presentation at 18:30, light refreshments will be provided.

The event will end at around 20:30.

To reserve your place(s), please:

(1) email confirming numbers and the names of all attending; and

(2) send your payment of £22 person no later than 29 January 2020 Please pay to The Spectacle Makers’ Society account. Sort code: 23-05-80 Account number: 10385113 Reference: [LECTURE/[surname]

Cheques are also acceptable. Cheques should be made payable to ‘The Spectacle Makers’ Society’ and posted to the office address at the top of this letter. Any surpluses will be used to help the Company’s charitable work.

Optometrist Apprenticeships- A variance of opinion

January 2020

If you were one of a large group who voted with your finger on the keyboard in response to the Apprenticeship of Optoms you might want to read and reflect on the submissions of the bodies you financially support.

Responses to the consultation on an optometrist apprenticeship standard have been submitted and you can consider if your position has changed since our earleir stories.

Here are 3 of the submissions on the optometrist apprenticeship standard from the following sector organisations:

The AOP’s letter opposing the proposal

College of Optometrists’ analysis and call for a pause to allow further discussion

FODO’s analysis of the proposal, policy background and key questions for the Trailblazer Group

Here are the AIO members responses taken by polling, printed in full:

AIO calls for current Apprenticeship plans to be shelved.

Clear majority of AIO members oppose apprenticeships in optometry.

The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) today revealed the results of a member survey on the subject of apprenticeships in optometry.

The AIO Council decided that before taking any position on this controversial subject it should first poll its members, and from a neutral position. An on-line survey was issued to all members in December together with a briefing document that was designed to inform but not lead members views. A healthy 40% of members responded to the poll and 73% of those that responded opposed the introduction of apprenticeships. 15% were undecided and only 12% favoured the introduction of apprenticeships.

AIO Head of Secretariat Mike Ockenden commented ‘the findings of our survey show a clear majority of members do not favour apprenticeships in optometry, and many of the free form views that were expressed by members echoed many of the concerns raised by The College of Optometrists. Until such time as the ‘Trailblazer’ Group has been able to address these concerns to the satisfaction of the profession, the current plans for apprenticeships should be shelved.’

AIO is engaging with other stakeholders and groups that share the same view as the majority of members of the Association to ensure that the message from the profession to those driving the apprenticeship agenda is crystal clear.

Sight loss research needs urgent investment in UK

January 2020

In a letter to the Guardian, leading ophthalmologists, researchers and the eye research charity Fight for Sight call on the government to develop a national plan to fight blindness and to address the critical research funding gap.

The group writes that sight loss can “affect anyone at any time and it is on the increase” and that there is a need to invest more in research to develop new universal treatments, including exploration of new gene therapies and stem cell treatments.

They argue that only 1% of UK grant funding goes to eye research and this does not reflect the burden of disease and impact of sight loss, including the adverse impact preventable sight loss can have on “people’s mental health and ability to work, increasing costs on health systems and infrastructure”.

These assumptions on Vision Research Funding are of no great surprise and were highlighted at the Vision UK and RSM GP with Primary Healthcare Section's joint meeting last October. Planning is now underway for the second joint conference again at the RSM in October 2020 the day proceeding World Sight Day where it is hoped to shine the spotlight on the funding deficit.

Read Fight for Sight full story on Opchat's Charity Pages

Ocular Drug shortage announced with RCOph suggested alternatives

January 2020

The College of Optometrists has announced there is a temporary shortage of cyclopentolate minims.

Bausch + Lomb, the manufacturer, said the supply disruption is due to a shortage of the active pharmaceutical ingredient and more should become available mid to late January.

The College advises practices to work together locally and those that have a surplus look to supply local practices experiencing shortages.

The College suggests an alternative is postponing cycloplegic refraction for low risk groups for a couple of weeks and prioritising stocks for children at a higher risk of a deviation or amblyopia. It adds: “Where a cycloplegic refraction is indicated, you should ensure it takes place, but use your professional judgement to determine the best way to achieve this.”

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has published a note on using alternative cycloplegics here.

RCOphth responds to HSIB report on unnecesary glaucoma blindness

January 2020

The investigation has correctly identified a fundamental lack of capacity within hospital eye services to deliver glaucoma monitoring and treatment, exacerbated by inappropriate referrals, risk adverse behaviour, lack of glaucoma specialists and lack of continuity of care caused by locums.

The Investigation has made a number of important recommendations. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, as part of its review of workforce, has already identified the need to undertake a review of the whole glaucoma pathway to ensure the efficient delivery of optimal care, and will work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that this is done as soon as possible. The recommendations related to risk stratification and monitoring of outpatient performance are important, but do not address the fundamental issue of a lack of capacity.

The most recent ophthalmology workforce census revealed that there are just under 1500 consultants, of which approximately 10% are filled by locums. It also identified over 40 unfilled consultant posts, but this is almost certainly a significant underestimate because hospitals do not always advertise posts if they know there will be no applicants. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists believes that too few doctors and allied health professionals (who support the work done in outpatients) are being trained to meet current demands, let alone the 40% predicted increase in demand over the next
20 years.

This is an issue that can only be solved with the support of Health Education England.

The capacity of ophthalmology departments is also critically compromised by a lack of physical space in which to work.

The Royal College of Ophthalmology is looking to NHSE to find a sustainable solution to this problem that is consistent with the NHS Long Term Plan.

Sight loss due to delays in eye care says alarming report- an additional 22 people a month suffering unnecessary blindness

January 2020

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has revealed the “devastating” impact of delays and pressure on national glaucoma services.

In a new report, the HSIB warns that delays to follow-up appointments for glaucoma patients leaves them at risk of sight loss. It highlights the case of a 34-year-old who lost her sight because she waited over a year for follow-up appointments.

About 22 people a month now suffer from severe or permanent sight loss due to delays in care. The HSIB acknowledges that the lack of timely follow-up for glaucoma patients is a national issue across the NHS.

The investigation also validated longstanding concerns raised by the eye health sector that there is inadequate capacity in the Hospital Eye Service (HES) to meet demand for glaucoma services. It also reiterates the urgent need for “better, smarter ways of working“ to “maximise the current capacity”.

The national safety agency has made safety recommendations which prioritise appointments “to ensure that those most at risk of sight loss aren’t delayed and that the scale of the problem is continually highlighted and monitored at a national level”.

Keith Conradi, HSIB’s Chief Investigator, said: “Glaucoma is the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness. We know that the delay to appointments once patients are diagnosed exacerbates the risk of sight loss in patients across England. Our case highlighted the devastating impact; our patient has suffered immeasurably, living with the effects each day, including not being able to see the faces of her young children or read books to them.

“Despite some national recommendations being made 10 years ago, this continues to happen and will only worsen as the population ages – a 44% increase in the number of people with glaucoma is predicted by the year 2035.

“Our investigation offered an independent view on why current systems and processes have not adequately addressed the problem. It identified learning that can positively influence practice across the NHS. By highlighting the pertinent issues, our safety recommendations direct organisations to make changes to help reduce the burden on hospital eye services, and lessen the personal loss and distress suffered by patients and their families.”

Alan Tinger, Director of Regulatory Affairs at FODO, said: “This is a longstanding and unacceptable scenario, as over 10 years ago national recommendations were made to address similar root causes but people are still suffering from avoidable sight loss. We have long called for action to transform eye care services and by offering more NHS care in primary and community care settings it will be possible to liberate capacity in secondary care for the highest risk patients and those that need access to consultant led care as soon as possible.”

Mike Burdon, president of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said: “The HSIB report and the recommendations are extremely welcome and must not be overlooked. With demand for ophthalmic services predicted to rise by more than 40% over the next 20 years, urgent action is needed, and we look forward to working with NHS England and other key stakeholders to the transformation of ophthalmic services to safeguard the sight of patients.”

Helen Lee, RNIB Policy and Campaigns Manager, said: “This report has brought vital attention to a serious and dangerous lack of specialist staff and space in NHS ophthalmology services across the country. We know that thousands of patients in England are experiencing delays in time-critical eye care appointments, which is leading to irreversible sight loss for some. But, suggestions on how to tackle the problem have been continually ignored.

“Without immediate action, the situation will only continue to deteriorate as the demand for appointments increases. RNIB urges full and immediate implementation of the recommendations set out in this report to improve the capacity, efficiency and effectiveness of ophthalmology services.”

2020 the Year of Vision, it has to be!

Jnauary 2020

David Hewlett, President of the European Coalition for Vision (ECV) and FODO Director, has written to all MEPs to engage them in raising the profile of eye care in 2020, the Year of Vision.

The ECV has set out how regular eye examinations help ensure eye conditions are diagnosed earlier and how this improves the efficacy of treatments, helping reduce the prevalence and impact of avoidable sight loss. In 2020 the ECV has confirmed it will publish three seminal reports:

• a Eurovision project report (supported by the European Commission) on the self-reported vision problems of EU citizens in the context of demographic, socio-economic, other health determinant and access factors

• two reports on the prevalence and scale of vision loss prepared by the international Vision Loss Expert Group (VLEG) which produces the principal estimates for vision loss which underpin the IAPB Vision Atlas.

With each publication providing data on individual countries and in Europe as a whole, this will allow benchmarking within the WHO European Region and between the region and other regions of the world.

The ECV has called on leaders across the board to prioritise eye health within strategies and regulations on health, education, employment and road safety. We will keep FODO members up to date on work by the ECV in our newsletter throughout 2020.

European Commission notification – EssilorLuxottica/Grandvision: Decision in February

January 2020

After EssilorLuxottica (ESLX.PA) announced that it would buy Dutch opticians group GrandVision (GVNV.AS) for up to 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion) the European Commission (EC) has issued a notification that it intends to start sending Requests for Information (RFIs) to competitors, customers, suppliers, and other interested third parties during early January. Mostly the Commission will want to understand what, if any, impact this deal might have on:

• wholesale supply of ophthalmic lenses

• wholesale supply of frames

• wholesale supply of sunglasses

• the market for the supply of ophthalmic machines

• the optical retail market.

The EC intends to rule on the deal by 6 February 2020.

More sight-saving surgery possible, says national report

January 2020

GRFT ReportA national report into ophthalmology services recommends all trusts perform routine cataract surgery in 30 minutes or less, allowing even more patients to have vision-restoring treatment.

Making the best use of hospital theatre time allocated for routine cataract surgery will enable more patients to be treated, and more quickly, according the latest national report from the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.

A new national GIRFT (getting it right first time) report finds that if more eye care is delivered closer to home, with improvements in referral management and more efficient use of secondary care, patient access and care could be improved while saving the NHS £64m per year in England alone.

GIRFT is a national programme designed to improve care within the NHS by reducing unwarranted variation and sharing best practice, and its latest publication focuses on ophthalmology as one of the busiest specialties in the NHS, carrying out 6% of all operations and booking more than 7.5m outpatient appointments across 120 trusts. The authors also point out that as the population grows older, demand for eye care is predicted to increase by more than 50% over the next 20 years.

Cataract patients without complications could also receive their follow-up care closer to home via optometrists in the community, without the need to return to hospital.

FODO’s David Hewlett said: “We welcome this important report by leading ophthalmologists. It is a key step in improving efficiency and starting to address the current challenges in the hospital eye service. It also shows just what we might achieve if we put patients first and transform services and given the service improvements for the people we serve and the scale of savings for the NHS, we as the community of eye care providers, are duty bound to make change happen”

He added, “This however is just the start as, in isolation, GIRFT will not be enough to deliver the shift in care the NHS Long Term Plan envisages or go anywhere near meeting the coming ‘surge in need for eye care’, which both WHO and GIRFT have identified. New thinking and new models are required for that, including about how we train our eye care workforce, which will build on this excellent start. Our members are already contributing to that thinking and will be looking to provide even more leadership in 2020 – the Year of Vision.”

Professor MacEwen, who led the review team, said: “Even very small changes to practice have the potential to make a big difference to capacity in ophthalmology, not to mention to large numbers of patients with the three most common sight-threatening conditions.”

Click here to download a copy of the report

Be kind to your eyes – 20/20 is the year to start

January 2020

Choose eye health for your New Year’s resolution and make it the one you won’t break

• A fifth (21%) have not had a sight test within the last two years but regular checks protect sight by making sure eye conditions are picked up and treated early
• Over one million people in the UK are living with avoidable sight loss.
• As well as an eye health check, a sight test can detect signs of general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure

Losing weight, more exercise, saving money and learning a new skill all make the top 10, but keeping to your New Year’s resolutions is conspicuously more difficult than it seems.
Around 30% of us will make a New Year’s resolution but according to research, over half of the UK (66%) will last a month or less, while 80% of people give up on their resolve by the end of March.[

This is why the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is challenging the public to keep just one resolution in 2020 – to have regular sight tests.

Speaking about the value of sight tests, optometrist Roshni Kanabar, Clinical and Regulatory Adviser at the AOP said: “Eye health is one of the easiest resolutions you can make and keep –and the benefits are huge. Regular sight tests can’t promise 20/20 vision, but they will make sure that any problems or symptoms of eye disease are picked up early and it could end up saving your sight. At least 50% of all sight loss is avoidable so having checks, regularly, is the most important thing you can do to protect it.”

Other New Year’s resolutions that are kind on your eyes

1. Stop smoking
Many people are unaware of the link between smoking and eye disease. Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing eye diseases, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

2. Eat healthily
Eating a healthy, balanced diet reduces your risk of eye disease. Include lots of omega-3 fats, found in oily fish, and lutein, found in dark-green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Vitamins A, C and E are also helpful, so eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

3. Wear prescribed glasses
Many eye and vision problems develop or increase as we get older. Contrary to the myth, wearing glasses and contact lenses doesn’t make your eyesight worse – they help your eyes work more efficiently.

4. Wear sunglasses

Sunshine may seem a distant memory at this time of year but as well as making your vision more comfortable, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV light. When choosing sunglasses, you should always make sure that they carry the CE or British Standard marks.

Launching on 27 December, the AOP’s 20/20 eye health campaign, which includes posters displayed in opticians, GP and dental surgeries nationwide, reminds people to have a sight test every two years, or more often if their optometrist recommends it.

NHS sight tests are available for children under 16, those aged 60 or over, and other key groups. As part of the campaign, the AOP has produced patient leaflets explaining who is eligible for NHS-funded sight tests in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Podcast record set by RNIB Connect Radio

December 2019

An award-winning radio station staffed mainly by people with sight loss is celebrating Christmas early this year as they get set to pass the magic 1,000,000 mark of podcast downloads.

RNIB Connect Radio, based in Glasgow but with listeners around the world, was launched by sight loss charity RNIB in 2007 as Europe’s first radio station for and by blind and partially sighted people. It also has satellite studios in London and Cardiff.

The station’s podcast feed is made up of features, interviews and information on living with a sight condition, as well as episodes of the popular shows ‘Tech Talk’, all about accessible technology, and ‘Read On’, the audio-book show.

Station manager Yvonne Milne said: ‘As a charity, RNIB has reached a huge number of people with a whole range of information that we wouldn't manage to reach otherwise. One million pieces of information about a whole range of issues concerning sight loss have been downloaded. For a community radio station, this is immense. I wouldn’t think any other community radio station is getting these kinds of numbers or reach.’

Tech Talk was recently recorded at TechShare Pro where presenters sat down with technology companies including Google, Amazon, Sony and BT Sport. Read On regularly hosts top authors and audio-book narrators and has an exclusive hour-long chat with John Le Carre coming soon.

On reaching that magical number, Yvonne said: ‘RNIB Connect Radio aims to be a one-stop shop for people who are looking for all kinds of information about living with sight loss, whether it be practical solutions to accessibility or hearing the stories of other blind and partially sighted people. I want to thank all our listeners for their support the station and we look forward to providing loads more interesting content in 2020.’

The station broadcasts on Freeview 730, on smart devices and on 101FM in the Glasgow area, and delivers a 24-hour mix of music, news and information. Most of the presenters have sight loss themselves, so are speaking with authority on the subjects they discuss.

The station’s awards include a silver prize in the Sony Radio Academy Awards and praise for producing "some of the most moving and well-produced human-interest content the judges had heard in a long time".

Right now, it has a daily advent calendar, urging listeners to text SANTA to 70456 to donate £5 to RNIB.

Producer at the station, Robert Kirkwood said, "I've been watching the podcast numbers tick up over the past few months and realising we'd hit a million just before Christmas was a great present we all can share."

Around 170,000 people in Scotland are living with significant sight loss and two million across the UK.

Optical Express and Marine Conservation Society team up to tackle plastic pollution from eye wear

December 2019

Optical Express on the beach
Optical Express, the UK’s only complete eye care provider, is teaming up with the Marine Conservation Society, the UK’s leading marine charity, to protect our oceans and marine life from plastic pollution.

Optical Express will be working with the Marine Conservation Society to tackle plastic pollution by cleaning beaches across the United Kingdom. The Marine Conservation Society’s beach cleaning programme, Beachwatch, has been running since 1994 and forms a vital part of the charity’s work to protect some of our best-loved marine wildlife.

Staff at Optical Express launched the beach cleaning partnership this week at the Clevedon Pier beach area in Bristol, where the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Heather Suttie, tackled plastic litter with a team of local staff members. The group’s colleagues at Optical Express clinics across the entire country are now set to follow suit, joining and organising a series of beach cleans planned throughout the UK in 2020.

To date, the Marine Conservation Society’s beach cleans have removed over 11 million pieces of litter, helping to fight back against the tide of plastic pollution. At this year’s Great British Beach Clean, which is run every September by the charity, over 10,000 volunteers worked together to remove 10,833kg of litter in one weekend.

According to data from the volunteers, there were, on average, 558 items of litter on every 100 metres of beach that were cleaned and surveyed in the UK, with plastic and polystyrene pieces the most common litter items found.

Mis-flushed items – plastic products which enter the world’s waterways via our bathrooms – are a significant source of marine plastic pollution, making up 8.5% of all beach litter. Contact lenses and contact lens packaging are a major contributor to this form of plastic pollution, and research carried out by Optical Express suggests that at least one in four people dispose of used contact lenses by flushing them down the toilet or sink.

Optical Express on the beach Heather Suttie, Optical Express’ Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, said:

“We all must try to eradicate single use plastic when we have alternative choices and we must dispose of plastic responsibly. I was shocked by the items we found on a recent beach clean near Bristol. As an organisation we are committed to taking part in more beach cleans across the UK and Ireland as it's something many of us here at Optical Express want to support.”

David Moulsdale, Optical Express Chief Executive, said:

“The Marine Conservation Society does incredible work protecting our precious oceans and beaches, so it’s a privilege to team up and support their efforts. Whilst cleaning up plastic pollution is a vital part of this work, our real aim should be to cut down on the amount of plastic products we use in the first place. I’d encourage everyone to look carefully at the single-use plastic products they use and consider replacing them with more sustainable, ocean-friendly alternatives.”

Anne Thwaites, Corporate Relationships Manager, Marine Conservation Society, said:

"Some of our most iconic marine wildlife is under threat from litter in our seas, with hundreds of species accidentally eating or becoming entangled in drifting items of waste. Marine litter is also dangerous for people and damaging to tourism and our fishing industries. We all have a part to play in turning the tide on litter. It is fantastic to hear that MCS business member Optical Express have organised their own beach clean as part of our fight against marine litter in the UK."

Sad news of Linda Pope's death has reached us last week

December 2019

Linda Pope

It is with the greatest sadness that the death of Linda Pope is announced.

She died on Monday 2nd December, aged 70.

All thoughts are with her husband, Roger, and all the family at this very sad time.

For many years Linda had her own practice in Hawkhurst, Kent.

Rita Ora seen wearing the "ASH SUNGLASS" by KOMONO

December 2019

Rita Ora in Komono Sunglasses


Singer and actress Rita Ora wore the Ash All Black sunglass by KOMONO on the set of Twist.

This style is part of the brand's SS19 collection.

Papal Blessings for the International Opticians Association

December 2019

Pope Francis and Elaine Grisdale The International Opticians Association has received blessings from the Pope as Director of Development Elaine Grisdale was granted an audience alongside optician Alessandro Spiezia and Amelie Morel, President of SILMO.

The International Opticians Association (IOA) is a non denominational organisation which welcomes members of all faiths and none.

Meeting the Pope along with Elaine was optician Alessandro Spiezia who is the recipient of the Special Recognition Award from the IOA, a recognition to his over 50 years of commitment, professionalism and dedication to the profession, which was presented at SILMO in 2019.

Alessandro has been the optician to a number of Pontiffs, most recently Pope Francis. He said, “Francesco welcomed us with his smile as if we were his children. This serene and friendly face will be the image that we will always carry with us and that will help us to overcome all difficulties. For me, it is a great honour to be able to share this with special friends and family who share a love for the profession to which I have dedicated my life.”

Director Elaine Grisdale FBDO FAAO explains, “We were delighted to be given the opportunity to meet Pope Francis and talk to him about the valuable work that the IOA does to raise standards in eye care and eye wear around the world. I would like to thank Alessandro Spiezia for his organisation and kind invitation for this once in a lifetime experience.”

"Photo credit: Foto ©Vatican Media"

Smart Home Technology Increases Access and Independence for Blind and Partially Sighted people

December 2019

Daniel Williams, Founder of Visualise Training and Consultancy, looks at how smart home technology can be life changing for blind and partially sighted people

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it brings welcome channels of communication and independence for people with visual impairments. The latest development is Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) – better known as smart home technology, which uses internet-connected devices to interact remotely with your electric appliances and systems, at home or away. Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and other personal electronics can be used.

Most people with low vision love the thought of speaking, especially when you can avoid squinting or fidgeting with fingers to do things and this is the great advantage of smart home technology - you speak, it does the task!

Speak up please

Smart Telephone

For a blind person, the simple, everyday action of locking a door, fiddling to get the key to fit and activating an intruder alarm with the correct digits, is a real fumble. As for adjusting your home lighting when you have low vision, it’s a constant battle to get it right in each room with seasonal and daily light fluctuations.

Not so with smart lighting; locking up is one command and getting just the right level of light for you in your home is a breeze. Your voice will instruct the exact shade of white you require, with minimal glare and you can pre-set with a single command or let motion sensors automatically activate.

Blowing hot and cold

What setting do you leave your heating on when you’re away from home? Too low and pipes might freeze and burst, too high and you’re wasting money and energy; and then the weather changes.

For a blind person, it’s a performance adjusting anything but if you can just say what you want to change or pre-set, it’s so much easier – “Turn my heating to 19 degrees”- simple, efficient and you don’t even have to say please! If you’re worried about an icy winter or a dodgy pipe, just speak. For those muddling times trying to remember whether you left the iron on or not, a sensor can inform you if you have left an appliance on by mistake.

Music and audio books made simple

Smart Headphones
Music is often an important part of life for many blind people and audio books are a must-have. Instead of trying to locate your favourite tracks or books on your device or wait until you arrive home from work to find and play, just use your voice assistant and ask for whatever song, artist or audio book you like. Why not have them playing in whatever room you like, timed for your arrival home or on command? Relaxing, without all that access bother, is bliss.

The phone is a visually impaired person’s best friend. But even with a decent screen-reader tool or keyboard location dots, it can mean trial and error. Far easier to put in a request to ‘Call my optician’ or ‘Call Sam or Dad or whoever’. With a voice search system, you can tell it to dial up a local service such as an eye clinic, leisure centre, gym or other organisation and be connected in seconds.

What’s in the news today?

Smart Telephone

Keeping up with the news can be hard if you have low vision and especially if you can’t read Braille or reading large print and glare causes problems and checking before an outing if you need to take a brolly, a sun hat, or both, is a daily British dilemma! So, to get random facts, figures and information from the internet or ask about a local business service with your smart home technology voice control, just say the words.

Appointments for today

Appointments and reminders for the eye clinic, GP or optometrist can be the bane of a visually impaired person’s life too. They are often not sent to you in large print and it’s too easy to be forgetful, so connect your calendar to your voice friend and you can be reminded in advance and get a nudge when it’s time to next book in.

MHRA alert: Phenylephrine 2.5% supply disruption

November 2019

The MHRA has issued a supply disruption alert:

Minims phenylephrine 2.5% eye drops will be out of stock from the end of November 2019 until early January 2020

Minims phenylephrine 10% eye drops will be out of stock until early January 2020.

This is caused by an active pharmaceutical ingredient shortage.

Caledonian Optical celebrate SMC tech highest exam results

November 2019

Caledonian Optical Caledonian Optical lab technician, Keith Milne, is celebrating being awarded the highest marks in the SMC Tech (Level 4) exams – the most challenging test of spectacle lens manufacturing.
Keith, 38, who works at the company’s Elgin lab, has received the annual Wiseman Memorial Prize, which has been given since the 1950s, in recognition of excellence in this qualification.

He started work on the exams more than two years ago, as he explained, “I started at the lab 12 years ago and my boss trained me up, but I was keen to have something on paper as an official qualification. They were very happy and sponsored me through the course. The first year was OK, once you had got year head around doing maths again. The second year was a bit more challenging, but the workload was fine with doing my job as well.”

Keith particularly enjoyed the section on coatings: “The way they work, and the maths behind it, plus the pros and cons. It's not something I put much thought into beforehand. Also, how compensated powers come about. Whatever part of the SMC (tech) course you are doing, if you work in a lab, you can apply the knowledge the very next day.”

Caledonian Optical has five labs throughout Scotland and supports the glazing requirements of the 50+ shops of the Duncan and Todd group of opticians.

“My bosses were thrilled with the result and are hoping it will start a gateway for people to come forward, who would also like to do the course. Since I passed I have been promoted to company trainer and will be mentoring other lab technicians in the group. We are starting to roll out remote tracing to the shops too, so I will be getting about and training the teams on how it all works. The exam has really opened up quite an opportunity for me.”

Optometrist apprenticeship degree standard update, everyone is encouraged to read the full story.

November 2019

In the government initiative to open up access to degree level qualifications in health and other high-skill sectors, a trailblazer group has been exploring with the Institute of Apprenticeships a four-year optometrist degree course based on the apprenticeship model. The Institute of Apprenticeships is now consulting on progress so far. The consultation is open until 9 December. The College is a member of the trailblazer group.

Despite the live consultation a separate petition was launched against the concept of the apprenticeship route to optometry this week as reported in the next story on Opchat News.

This has been supported by almost 11000 signatories and has prompted the College of Optometrists to issue a statement explaining its role on the trailblazer group to ensure “existing high qualification standards and learning experience” would be upheld and that it would also “protect patient safety”.

It also published more detail on apprenticeships and FAQs to help inform the sector and encouraged people to respond to the formal consultation.

Within this (full explanation here) it states:

An optometrist degree apprenticeship in England could enable employers to invest in developing the profession, providing that its development and implementation uphold the quality of optometry education and professional practice and therefore ensure patient safety. Through direct involvement, including via the optometrist degree apprenticeship trailblazer group, the College can seek to address these imperatives.

The College stresses that an optometrist degree apprenticeship must do the following:

  • Uphold high standards of learning and development for entry to the optometry profession, including in ways that protect patient safety and public interest
  • Provide the depth, breadth, level and quality of professional learning required to become an optometrist
  • Prepare apprentices/future optometrists for safe, effective optometry practice across the sectors and settings in which the profession practises
  • Contribute to optometry’s responsiveness to changing population, patient, service delivery, workforce and professional development needs
  • Align with strategic developments in optometry workforce development, including by helping to realise the profession’s potential for meeting increasing population and patient demand for safe, timely, accessible high-quality eye health services
  • Align with plans for regulatory changes relating to optometry education, including new threshold requirements for full registration as an optometrist with the General Optical Council
  • Contribute to widening participation, social mobility and entry to the profession from all parts of society.

Readers are advised to read the full College Statement which discusses many more far reaching changes to the direction as forseen by the College and make a decision on whether to back or not the petition after obtaining a full understanding of the general direction and trend that is being considered in education and regulation for the future.

FODO has stated its support for the College's sensible position given there is no risk to patient safety and the GOC has already made clear there will be common standards for all routes to registration.

Harjit Sandhu of FODO said, “The College of Optometrists is right that no apprenticeship programme could be approved if it presented lower standards or a threat to patient safety. We, like the College would encourage all members to read the detail and respond to the formal consultation process which closes on 9 December”.

Almost 11000 signatures and rising has been achieved in a petition against a discussed apprenticeship scheme to create more optometrists

November 2019

The petition aims to reach 15000 in number as many of the profession show their distaste at the mooted possibility of apprenticeship courses for optometrists in the UK.

It sets out the following arguments:

With recent changes in the way optometry is provided in the UK, moving from only a handful of universities a dozen and rising. Many in the profession feel the barrier to entry is being lowered year on year allowing for poorer quality candidates to enter the field. This devalues the profession lowering the public perception.

The next step in this demise of the profession is an apprenticeship scheme which will irreparably damage the public's perception of what it means to be an optometrist. The length and breadth of training completed by current optometry students going through three intellectually challenging years at university (four in Scotland) followed by a hands on pre-registration year of full time work familiarising oneself with the practical aspects of the job, building communication skills and knowledge.

All while studying towards a comprehensive set of exams to cover all competencies of an optometrists' role. This mode of study ensures a well rounded health care professional, able to take on ever more of the strain of the NHS with further educational advancement such as professional certificates and independent prescribing along with shared care schemes.

With all these new responsibilities and expanding scope of the optometrist the public are starting to understand the value in having well trained optometrists to look after their sight and eye health. It would be tragic if this good work was reversed by an apprenticeship.

Other professions such as pharmacy have rightly defended their prestige and rejected similar proposals let's not be the first to fall.

It's time to stand-up for ourselves and ensure the job we love is still viable in decades to come. We need to lift up each other to see the profession as a whole flourish!

The Late Michael Potter has his passion he demonstrated for Optics commemorated at ABDO College

November 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) commemorated former Head of Marketing Michael Potter in a short ceremony to unveil a new set of display cases at ABDO College in Godmersham last week.

Alison Potter
Michael Potter
(1955-2018) joined ABDO as Head of Marketing in 2007 following a successful career in both retail and manufacturing optics.

Michael qualified as a Dispensing Optician in 1977. He was passionate about optics and the skills and dedication of his colleagues.

He had a successful period in high street optics before enjoying a long career with Rodenstock UK.

He created fresh branding for both ABDO and ABDO College, and brought a level of detailed professionalism to his work which has set new high standards which will endure for years to come.

The display cases, along with a plaque detailing Michael’s contributions, were unveiled by Michael’s wife Alison at a ceremony in front of ABDO staff and members.

General Secretary of ABDO Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO says, “ Michael’s contribution to the profession cannot be overestimated, his part in the development of both ABDO and ABDO College is unrivalled and his love of the art of spectacle design is reflected in the collections housed in these two cabinets.”

Michael was also a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.

ABDO Graduation day at Canterbury Cathedral

November 2019

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) celebrated the graduation of 318 dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians last week at Canterbury Cathedral.

The annual ceremony is a time-honoured tradition where graduands approach the dais one by one to be congratulated by the ABDO President. The ceremonial handshake indicates the moment when graduands become graduates and become a full part of the profession of dispensing optics. ABDO President Clive Marchant, and Huntly Taylor, Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, both addressed the graduands and their families and supporters who were also in attendance.

Clive Marchant said, “I was delighted to receive all who graduated at ABDOs annual graduation ceremony in Canterbury cathedral. It’s wonderful to see the consistent high volume of newly qualified dispensing opticians which further demonstrates the consistent demand for DOs. Despite the numbers graduating each year there are areas of the UK which report a severe shortage of DOs.

“It was also a pleasure to receive all who had gained higher qualification in contact lenses, the number of which have increased considerably in recent years. I hope they will not only provide contact lens fitting and aftercare but progress to the provision of Minor Eye Condition Schemes. It’s also impressive to see many who graduate from overseas, illustrating the demand globally our gold standard FBDO qualification.”

Prizes were awarded as follows

The Essilor Prize: Awarded to Kirsten Mason for the highest mark in Units 1a and 1b Preliminary Qualifying Examination.

The Stepper Prize: Awarded to Sarah Owen for the highest mark in Unit 2 Preliminary Qualifying Examination. Presented by Peter Reeve, Managing Director, Stepper.

The Association of Optometrists Prize: Awarded to Adam Robson for the highest mark in section A of the Final Qualifying Practical Examination. Presented by Henrietta Alderman MBA Chief Executive, Association of Optometrists.

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers Prize: Awarded to Natalie Skulskyj for the highest mark in section B of the Final Qualifying Practical Examination. Presented by Huntly Taylor FBDO Master, The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.

The Millmead Optical Group Prize: Awarded to India Webb for the highest aggregate mark in section C of the Final Qualifying Examination. Presented by James Conway CEO, Millmead Optical Group.

The Rodenstock Prize: Awarded to Rachael Bailey for the highest mark in section D of the Final Qualifying Practical Examination. Presented by Steve Beaty ICT Programme Manager, Rodenstock (UK) Ltd.

The National Eyecare Group Optinet Prize: Awarded to Cyntia Zabee for the best Preliminary Qualifying Portfolio. Presented by Phil Mullins FBDO Operations Director, PK National Eyecare Group Ltd.

The FMO Derek McLaren Memorial Prize: Awarded to Adam Robson for the highest UK student mark in the Final Qualifying Examination. Presented by Christine McLaren BSc FCOptom on behalf of The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians.

The MAPO Prize: Awarded to Chang Chai Wei for the highest international student mark in the Final Qualifying Examination. Presented by Edmund Teng FBDO President, Malaysian Association of Practising Opticians.

The British Contact Lens Association Prize: Awarded to Donna Munro for the highest aggregate mark in the Theory Examination, Certificate in Contact Lens Practice.

The Bailey Prize: Awarded to Jay Hughes for the highest mark in the Contact Lens Certificate Qualification.

The Alcon Prize for Excellence: Awarded to Nicholas Page for the best candidate in the Practical Examination, Certificate in Contact Lens Practice.

The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers Prize: Awarded to Steven Alexander for the highest aggregate mark in sections 2, 3 & 4 of the Practical Examination, Certificate in Contact Lens Practice.

The Contamac Prize: Awarded to Arron Brown as the best student on the contact lens distance learning course. Presented by Jenny Wiegold HR Executive, Contamac.

The Elvin Montlake Prize: Awarded to Kirsty Gibson for the highest combined mark in LVA Theory Examination.

AVA technology from Essilor offers ultimate high vision precision

November 2019

AVA Logo
Essilor Ltd has announced the launch of AVA (Advanced Vision Accuracy), an integrated solution made possible by the introduction of the Vision-R800 phoropter by Essilor instruments.

The integration combines breakthrough refraction technology to make the prescription more precise with premium lens designs to create the most advanced vision experience for the wearer.

The Vision-R800 offers subjective refraction in 0.01D steps with instantaneous changes of sphere, cylinder and axis at the same time to offer unparalleled accuracy. The precise Rx can then be delivered through Essilor’s premium digital lens designs: Varilux X series, Varilux Physio 3.0 and Eyezen. The wearer will benefit from the full potential of their unique vision rather than the standard 0.25D.


There are a range of purchase options available including rental and lens commitment packages. Each purchase comes with a fully funded marketing support package which is completely personalised for the ECP.

UK managing director Tim Precious said: “Essilor research shows that 95 per cent of the population have more sensitive vision that the current correction steps of 0.25D allow for. This new lens calculation system now targets 0.01D prescription in each lens optimisation point.

“We are challenging vision correction standards that have been used for over a century. We have analysed over 100,000 vision parameters over five years of research to create this solution.

“We are improving the entire experience of eye examinations and empowering opticians to tell patients that they are getting the precision that they deserve.”

Essilor is offering independent eye care professionals the opportunity to try the equipment for one week with no obligation. The equipment will be delivered and fully fitted in the practice. Full training and support will also be provided.

AOP research shows tougher laws still needed on vision for driving

November 2019

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is encouraging optical professionals across the sector to support this year’s Road Safety Week (19-25 November) by sharing it’s Don’t swerve a sight test campaign resources.

The call comes in response to the AOP’s most recent Voice of Optometry survey findings which reveal an increase in the number of motorists being asked to stop driving because of the risk they pose to themselves and others – up 2% on 2018. Almost 40% (37%) of optometrists[1] in the UK have seen as many as two patients in the last month who continue to drive despite being told their vision is below the legal standard.

The Don’t swerve a sight test campaign, first launched in 2017, calls for a law change that requires all UK drivers to have a comprehensive vision check to prove they meet the legal standard when they first apply for their licence and then every 10 years thereafter, or more frequently after 70. UK regulation on the issue remains among the most relaxed in Europe.

Optometrist and AOP Head of Clinical and Regulatory, Henry Leonard said: “What many might perceive as a small increase is deeply disappointing and has frightening consequences. We are seeing a rise in the number of people who have a disregard for how important good vision is for driving ability and it’s impacting the safety of the individuals who use our roads.”

An estimated 2900 injuries on our roads each year are caused by drivers with poor vision.

What the public say on driving and vision

• Around half (47%) of the public agree the laws on vision for driving should be more rigorous
• Of those who want more rigorous laws – half (49%) believed a compulsory sight test should be part of a licence being granted and a quarter (26%) wanted motorists to have a sight test at least every 10 years
• Nearly nine in 10 (86%) regular drivers would be happy to have their vision checked every five years or more frequently
• Nearly a fifth (17%) of regular drivers admitted they have never self-checked their own vision by reading a number plate as suggested by the DVLA’s recommendations[3]
• One in 10 (12%) motorists would continue driving as normal if told their vision could not be corrected to meet the legal standard, while 42% would continue to drive in some capacity, such as cutting back on journeys or only driving locally
• One in 20 UK motorists admit they’ve doubted their own vision yet done nothing about it
• A quarter (27%) of the public would do nothing if they knew a friend or family member who continued to drive with poor eyesight

Practitioners can support change by sharing the resources available on the AOP’s Don’t swerve a sight test campaign pages,available here

Read about the Aquitain Challenge in the series by Essilor *Sun Solution

November 2019

Edgar and Aurélien are two young French students. Committed to protecting nature and passionate about surfing, last summer they traveled 260 km on foot along the Atlantic coast of France in order to collect rubbish and raise awareness about damage to the environment.

Essilor® Sun Solution™, the Essilor Group division dedicated to plano sun lenses, announces the new No Ordinary story "Aquitain Challenge" which involves two young French students - Edgar and Aurélien - who walked from the beaches of Le Verdon-sur-mer to those of Anglet in one month last summer in order to collect rubbish, raise awareness about damage to the environment and participate in scientific research on microplastics.

Edgar and Aurélien
Spending most of their time close to nature and the ocean, this duo is confronted with the contamination of wildlife and flora each time they go surfing.

A year ago, the two friends created their association, 4P Shore and Seas, to combine their passion for surfing with their commitment to the environment and their scientific knowledge. The association’s goal is to participate in cleaning up the world's coastlines while increasing awareness among the population through rubbish collection events on beaches.

“Last year we were on two different continents, Europe and South America, Aurel on the Atlantic Ocean and me in the Pacific Ocean, and we realized that in both there was a lot of contamination. So, after that all we had left was to ACT and we created our organization and this walk for the earth” Edgar said.

Pollution has a significant impact on flora, fauna and sedimentation, as well as the quality of waves. So it was important to Edgar and Aurélien to take part in protecting the planet if they wanted to keep on living their passion. To combine surfing and rubbish collection, they built their own eco-designed trolleys. They have various compartments and contain provisions, food, clothing, photo equipment, large bags for garbage, etc.

Throughout their journey, they picked up the rubbish that they encountered along the way or in areas of high contamination. Edgar and Aurélien had also set a goal of raising awareness among the population. They organized three rubbish collection sessions.

To face this challenge, appropriate technical equipment was required. Their sun lenses were the subject of particular attention and w.r.yuma frames were the perfect choice. Indeed, this brand is the first in the world to use 3D printing and recycled plastic to make eyewear. On top of this, the sun lenses featured E-Sun™ Polarfun™ by Essilor Sun Solution polarized sun lenses, the must-have technology to face a month of walking on beaches.

Together, they walked 260 km, across the sand, between Le Verdon-sur- mer and Anglet, while pulling eco-friendly trolleys that they designed themselves. These trolleys were customized to meet their needs: they had different compartments and contained provisions, clothes, photo equipment, and large sacks to hold the rubbish collected, etc.

Throughout their journey, they collected and weighed the rubbish that they found along the way or in polluted areas.

As well as these collection sessions, they also participated in scientific research on microplastics by taking samples and analyzing them using rigorous protocols.

You can take a look at their challenge here by watching the video about this extraordinary story:here

"Health Matters" recent edition re: Rough Sleeping

November 2019

A recent edition of Health Matters focuses on the scale of rough sleeping in England, the causes and consequences of rough sleeping (including the links with poor physical and mental health, prevention and effective interventions) and relevant calls to action.

Ill-health can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness, although it is not always identified as the trigger of homelessness. For example, ill-health may contribute to job loss or relationship breakdown, which in turn can result in homelessness.

Homelessness can be seen as a measure of our collective success in reducing health inequalities, with rough sleeping the most extreme and damaging to health. Reducing homelessness will contribute to a reduction in health inequalities and improvements in a wide range of health outcomes.

The government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy, published in 2018, commits to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending it by 2027. The strategy states that achieving this ambition will require central and local government to work collaboratively and innovatively with business, communities, faith and voluntary groups and the general public.

Cross-government working is essential in preventing and relieving rough sleeping, as well as ensuring that ill health is not a cause of or barrier to, people moving away from rough sleeping. At a local level, this involves collaboration between the NHS, local authorities, social care and housing services.

Rough sleeping and its causes

Homelessness and rough sleeping

The definition of homelessness is not having a home.

You are experiencing homelessness if you have nowhere to stay and are living on the streets, but you can experience homelessness even if you have a roof over your head. Homelessness does not just refer to people who are experiencing rough sleeping.

The following housing circumstances are examples of homelessness: people without a shelter of any kind, sleeping rough people living in hostels, shelters, refuges or other temporary circumstances, for example in institutions people staying temporarily with family and friends (‘sofa surfing’) and people who are threatened with eviction people living in unfit housing or extreme overcrowding

For the purposes of conducting rough sleeping street counts and evidence based estimates, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) defines people who sleep rough as:

People sleeping, about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) or actually bedded down in the open air (such as on the street, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters or encampments).

People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as stairwells, barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or “bashes” which are makeshift shelters often comprised of cardboard boxes).

The definition does not include:

people in hostels or shelters
people in campsites or other sites used for recreational purposes or organised protest

This definition is used for the purpose of rough sleeping estimates.

However, policy, programmes and services currently being developed, designed and delivered recognise that people move in and out of periods of rough sleeping. Rough sleeping can be a transitory state, and many experience a ‘revolving door’ cycle, moving in and out of short-term accommodation.

This edition of Health Matters will focus specifically on people experiencing rough sleeping, including those who may move in and out of short-term accommodation, who experience some of the most extreme health inequalities.

The causes of homelessness and rough sleeping

The causes of rough sleeping are typically described as either structural or individual. Structural explanations locate the causes of homelessness in broader forces, and individualist explanations focus on the personal vulnerabilities and circumstances of those who experience rough sleeping.

Homelessness is often the consequence of a combination and culmination of these factors, which can be interrelated and reinforced by one another.

Causes and relationships between these factors vary across the life course.

New Edinburgh art exhibition highlights Progressive Sight Loss in Artist

November 2019

Alan McIntyre

A new exhibition by an artist who is progressively losing his sight has opened in Edinburgh.

'Unseen Trails: Journeys made Visible' is a collaboration between Alan McIntyre and Crossing Countries, a Scottish social enterprise that provides opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to volunteer in Durban, South Africa.

The overarching theme is how people navigate their environment and what they leave in their wake.

Alan (47) is registered blind due to the sight loss condition retinitis pigmentosa. In his earlier exhibition, 'White Stick Trails', he aimed to capture impressions of his own emotional and sensory experience and incorporate these into his art.

"I am reliant on the signals from my white stick," he explains, "and by taping a marker pen to it I was able to trace my way around objects on a paper path.

"In my current exhibition, I'm showing different works, which include a set of abstract multimedia and map collage water-colours. There will also be small charcoal abstract 'swell-paper' drawings inspired by the 'White Stick Trails' drawing. 'Swell-paper' produces a raised line that can be felt."

Alan McIntyre
Alan and fellow artist Jean Cathro, the founder of Crossing Countries, previously worked together on 'White Stick Trails'.

This summer they took the idea behind Alan’s work to Bobbi Bear, a human rights organisation which helps sexually abused children, and Mason Lincoln Special School in Durban. The blind and visually impaired students there copied Alan’s technique, for many their first opportunity to experience and create art.

The result is 'Imizwa Yobicuko: The Pulse of Creativity', the second strand of this month's exhibition in Edinburgh.

"The works from Crossing Countries are multimedia," says Alan. "They are tactile versions of the way the learners 'see' their school and its grounds. These works are made to be touched by visitors so they can experience art with more than their visual sense.

"Art is often not allowed to be touched, but this exhibition expects it, and, in being touched, the works will change and the visitor becomes part of the creation."

* 'Unseen Trails: Journeys made Visible' is at Gallery 3, St Margaret’s House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE until November 30th.

University of Herts looks forward to prize giving evening

November 2019

Louis Stone EveningLouis Stone held an optical exhibition at the University of Hertfordshire on Wednesday October 30th.

Equipped with their colourful Volk lenses (which come with a 10 year guarantee) as well as the famous Oculus UB 4 and UB 6 trial frames, and other essential pieces.

The Louis Stone evening was inundated with students.

Meeting many students on the evening with really interesting background stories, such as one who went into optometry following civil engineering and another gentleman who had decided upon optometry after a previous background in tiling.

Louis Stone Evening
A raffle was held for a £50 Louis Stone voucher and the winner was Jason Cherry who was thrilled to receive it.

Louis Stone love hearing feedback like this and really pride themselves on being a friend of optical students all over the world!

Clare Gaba, Head of Marketing & Communications is looking forward to attending the Herts student prize-giving on the 21st November to give prizes to a handful of students who are winning Louis Stone awards for their special achievements.

New Lookkino Red-Dot Campaign, because creativity is child’s play!

November 2019

Inspired by International Dot Day, celebrated every year on September 15th, LOOK made in Italia launches Red-Dot, the new marketing campaign to promote the Lookkino line.

It all began on September 15, 2009, when illustrator Peter H. Reynolds published "The Dot", a picture book that explored the basic themes of courage, creativity and self-expression. Today, creativity takes center stage worldwide with more than 10 million children in 180+ countries celebrating Dot Day.

The theme of the dot runs through the new campaign. In it, two children – a little boy and a little girl – find themselves in an abstract setting, sparsely populated with timeless objects – “pop” products from the recent past and symbols of Italian design. Iconic, fanciful chairs, cabinets and household appliances – like the Eclisse lamp by Artemide, the Cubo Brionvega radio and flexible shapes from the

Tato di Baleri Italia collection – become the objects with which the children interact, giving free rein to their creativity through play, which allows them to understand and express their own personalities.

All thanks to Lookkino eyewear, designed to offer the younger set a trusted ally in their discovery of the world, a helping hand in their new experiences of serene growth. Colorful, whimsical and unique, these frames are finely crafted, down to the smallest detail, suitable for play and ideal for any and all creative and learning activities.

Eyewear in the Lookkino line are designed and crafted entirely in Italy by Look made in Italia.

Nirvan Javan are: CALLING EUROPE.

November 2019

Nirvan Javan
After a successful start in Switzerland, NIRVAN JAVAN is now searching for partners within the European market.

NIRVAN JAVAN, the eponymous brand of designer and experienced optician, Nirvan Javan, has consistently expanded within its first three years.

The upcoming brand is already present in over one hundred stores throughout Switzerland and is working towards its first distribution partnership between opticians in France and Germany. This recent success over the summer led to a favorable collaboration with BELDONA – the Swiss market leader in lingerie and swimwear. The designer speaks to the brand’s success and growth:

"The brand’s development has grown at a constant rate. My team and I feel very satisfied with the evolution of this eyewear project, born from my passion for design and my profession
as an optician. It was a successful launch, but we are just getting started." said the designer owner.

The product portfolio of the Swiss brand is currently comprised of 26 high-quality optical frames, available in up to seven color variations, as well as five exclusive sunglass models equipped with licensed Zeiss lenses. NIRVAN JAVAN EYEWEAR is continuously being developed and optimized. This fall, additional pieces will accompany the brands timeless collection, followed by expanded novelties set to launch in spring of 2020.

The brand’s strategy places great importance on visual communication. The images from the photo shootings and the video clips of the campaigns – all directed by the designer himself provide a deeper understanding into world of NIRVAN JAVAN. With a precise and balanced brand image, allowing NIRVAN JAVAN EYEWEAR to be well staged at the point of sales.

Recently the brand’s philosophy and passion exhibited itself at the 2019 edition of the HALL OF FRAMES in Zurich, Switzerland. Nirvan’s essence, characterized by the love for detail and the pursuit of perfection, should now also be brought to life on the European stage.

With this in mind. CALLING EUROPE. The brand is currently looking for distributors and partners who want to become part of the success story within the European market.

The next international appointment for NIRVAN JAVAN will be at the OPTI 2020 trade show in Munich, Germany from 10 to 12 of January 2020.


November 2019

Matthew McConaughey
Oscar-award-winning actor, Matthew McConaughey was photographed wearing Blackfin on September 7th while attending a Texas Longhorns vs. LSU Tigers football game at the Darrel K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.

The actor was spotted wearing the Zabriskie aviator style with slightly squared lenses, part of the Blackfin Razor line, that takes the technical perfection of Blackfin frames to even thinner and lighter extremes.

Zabriskie sunglasses are crafted from a thin (1mm) beta titanium sheet using sophisticated micro-mechanical processes.

Style: Blackfin Zabriskie black frames with Luminar mirrored, gradient grey sun lenses. BF876. Col 1102

Read about Zabriskie Suglasses in our new products section here

Image supplied by Blackfin by Getty

World Health Organization Challenges Optometrists to Address Global Vision Care Deficiencies

November 2019

Giving their first presentation on the World vision report, the organization addressed thousands at the joint meeting of the American Academy of Optometry and World Council of Optometry.

In an address to thousands of optometrists, vision care professionals and optometry students in Orlando on Wednesday, Dr. Alarcos Cieza of the World Health Organization (WHO) challenged the profession to help improve the availability, affordability and quality of vision care in underserved communities and developing nations around the world.

Her address was the inaugural public presentation of the first ever World report on vision by WHO that identifies a profound need for potentially life-changing vision care among 2.2 billion people on the planet who suffer from vision problems, more than 1 billion of them with an impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed.

The report highlights disparities of care in developed and developing countries, in urban and rural centers, among younger and aging demographics and between affluent and impoverished populations. “We hope the eye care sector feels the same urgency for action that we at WHO feel,” Dr. Cieza said. “Eye care is very, very often not part of a health care strategic plan.”

The WHO World report on vision also anticipates a growth in the number of people worldwide suffering from myopia or nearsightedness.

In 2010 myopia affected approximately 27% of the world’s population. By 2050 with an aging population and a global increase in the incidence of diabetes, that number is expected to climb to 50%.

The report identifies multiple reasons for the disparity such as inaccessibility of care including lack of universal health coverage, lack of integration into the health care system and in many countries, an uncoordinated and unregulated workforce.

Tim McMahon, OD, FAAO, American Academy of Optometry board president-elect says the organization accepts the challenge and will put its weight behind developing solutions. “The optometric community has the opportunity and obligation to address the issues raised in the World Health Organization’s report. In the coming months, we will discuss how we can do that,” he said.

Scott Mundle, OD, president of the World Council of Optometry concurred, “We recognize the need that has been identified and as yet unmet. Optometry is well-positioned and prepared to work collaboratively towards a solution to these global eye health care issues.”

The Academy is a North American based association with a global reach, serving over 13,000 optometric professionals and students. The organization’s goal is to improve optometric practice through lifelong learning with education and research. The academy is perhaps best recognized for its coveted Fellowship program (FAAO) signifying adherence to the highest standards of professional competence in vision care.

Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry is drawing more than 8,000 optometrists, ophthalmologists, vision care professionals, students, support personnel and media to Florida to discuss the latest optometric developments, trends and strategies.

The World Council of Optometry is pleased to partner with the Academy this year to bring awareness of international optometry and the various eye care challenges globally.

Eye-DNA announces a major update to version 1.8 including a Digital Dispensing System for it's retail Kiosks.

November 2019

3DNA Retail application
New frame designs and new material provide the updated options for its Digital Dispensing System adding a brand new self-serve scan app and two new customer journeys.

The first, Wizard Mode, is a streamlined version that simplifies the experience via step by step process.
The second, Magic Mode, automatically presents shape variations based on lifestyle and fashion preferences and what styles are trending in the market.

The Digital Dispensing System is a self-serve option to relieve short-staffed opticians, so patients can easily and conveniently arrive at the design they like best. At the conclusion of the process an optician is summoned to finalize details and confirm lens selection.

New frame collections enable the kiosks to see all the design variations made locally and ones made by other opticians in the network, providing a continual feed of fresh designs.

3DNA now offers new materials and combinations including 18Kt Gold, Sterling Silver with Platinum Plating, and combinations thereof, for luxury clientele.

Organic materials can now be combined with pure carbon fiber and buffalo horn, increasing the combination options.

BMJ publishes a new study about AMD, findings show a risk to sight

November 2019

Delays in obtaining appointments and a lack of awareness about age-related macular degeneration (AMD) symptoms poses a risk to sight according to a study published in BMJ Open Ophthalmology.

The first large-scale nationwide study examined the help-seeking behaviours of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

It included questions about how AMD was first detected, initial symptoms, the time taken to seek help and reasons for any delay.

The study found only 32 per cent of patients reported being able to self-detect symptoms and 64 per cent of those that did sought help promptly.

The study also found that 27 per cent of patients whose initial diagnosis was delayed, for example they couldn’t get an appointment, had potentially treatable wet AMD requiring urgent treatment to prevent vision loss.

The authors of the study have recommended increasing population awareness of AMD symptoms and improving access to AMD services and support.

Further reading

A memorable day at Apothecaries’ Hall for awardees and New Freeman

October 2019

Anna Horwood with Master WCSM

Apothecaries’ Hall built in 1672 after the Great Fire the surrounding provide a suitable background for new Freeman and those achieving certificates and diplomas for thie hard work.

Robert Dufton
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) celebrated the development of skills and careers at all levels at its annual Presentation Ceremony in the historic Apothecaries’ Hall in London on 17 October.

The Company awarded certificates and diplomas to 19 students able to attend from independent practices around the country out of around 130 who had taken the examinations in England and Wales.

For the first time Specsavers who run their own courses independent of the WCSM joined in on the day to welcome its first group of successful spectacle maker apprentices.

David Burt OBE Award
presents the shield he created and made to SubhashTo end the ceremony 16 new Freemen were admitted to WCSM.

The new Freemen come from across the optical world and include:

Haydn Dobby, lecturer at ABDO College,
Anna Horwood, Professor of Orthoptics at Reading University, (top left)
Laura Devine, an international immigration solicitor and attorney, (3rd left)
Dr Sunni Patel of major pharmaceutical company Allergan, (lower right)
Harro Lotz, founder of the European Club Inter-Optiques (left)
Robert Dufton, CEO of Moorfields Eye Charity. (Top right)

David Burt OBE Award
presents the shield he created and made to Subhash

The Master Spectacle Maker, Huntly Taylor, said; “The Annual Presentation Ceremony is a real highlight of the year. People from all sorts of backgrounds come together to enjoy their special day with us and it’s a great opportunity to share experience.

Dr Patel

How we learn and how we train is changing fast. School is for life and we hope the successful candidates today will carry on learning and develop their own hugely rewarding career. With an ageing population and 50% of the world predicted to be myopic by 2050 there is plenty still to be done.”

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) is the oldest optical body in the world. Over four centuries they have been supporting those who work in optical careers with the aim of preventing and treating vision impairment.

The Clerk announced the winner of the Max Wiseman Award who unfortunately couldn’t make the day being in the Seychelles at the time. The winner was Keith Milne of Duncan and Todd Opticians.

As the WCSM has now withdrawn its accredited qualifications for optical assistants with the last main sittings for WCSM examinations at Levels 2 and 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at SCQF Levels 5 and 7 in Scotland in December 2019 and a number of resits, this might be the penultimate or even the last of these awarding days. See previous Opchat Story (Jan. – March 2019.)

However the ceremony could continue in a different format assisted by other training institutions and companies like Specsavers joining as well as a new Freeman admission day.

Major award made to IGA Development Manager at Optical Conference

October 2019

The David Burt Award was made at the RSM for the first time in front of the 190 delegates who attended the first annual joint meeting of the RSM GP with Primary Health Care section and Vision UK.

David Burt OBE Award
presents the shield he created and made to Subhash

David Burt OBE was a past Chairman of the General Optical Council who steered the statutory body through a major review modernising it in 90's.

The award is given to an individual or team working within the vision, eye health and sight loss community who can demonstrate a project, in research or improved methodology and practice in assisting in the cause of reducing sight loss in the community, that has made a significant improvement in the sector.

and The winner is

Subhash Suthar a development Manager at the International Glaucoma Association

Around 200,000 Muslims in the UK suffer either from Glaucoma or suspected high intraocular pressures and many stop using their drops during Ramadan, a with potential sight loss problems


As development manager Subhash engaged the Muslim Council and the Muslim population in understanding that they could continue to take them either side of fasting each day and could also learn to instil them whilst creating punctal occlusion with a finger thus keeping the drops within the eye.

Image from left to right: Subhash Suthar, Nigel Clarke (Chair Vision UK) and David Burt OBE.)

Free AOP membership for newly-qualified optometrists

October 2019

Optometrists that qualified this year are being offered an exclusive free trial from the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

The free trial, which applies to the AOP’s Newly-Qualified grade, is designed to welcome individuals who have just qualified to the profession.

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman said: “Starting out in a career is exciting but it can also be filled with many unknowns and challenges along the way. We want our members to have peace of mind and a few less things to worry about when embarking on that journey. Our services are developed with the individual at the centre – protecting and supporting them at every stage of their career, wherever they work. That’s why we’re keen to highlight our unrivalled benefits package which gives members confidence in their everyday work life.”

The AOP provides an expert employment law advice service, including union support, alongside wider legal, clinical and regulatory advice and support. In the last year, over 5000 members turned to the AOP team of in-house experts for guidance.

The newly-qualified free trial applies to those who qualified in 2019 but haven’t yet upgraded their membership from the AOP’s Pre-registration grade, or new and lapsed newly-qualified members. The trial is part of the AOP’s autumn member recruitment campaign.

Poll carried out for Mental Health Day October 10th coinciding with World Sight Day

October 2019

Mental Health Poll




Louis Stone conducted a poll on their Instagram stories specifically for their optical industry followers in order to ascertain through this sample, a percentage of people in the industry who believe they have suffered from mental health issues no matter how 'small' or large-scale, from minor stress through to depression.

The results shown by the infographic, show that after over 100 people entered that a shocking 75% answered 'yes' to having had mental health issues.

This goes to show that a number of people in the industry have gone through or are going through mental health difficulties but should know that they are not alone in this. provides many helpline numbers for anyone that needs support.

WHO addresses its first ever World Vision Report

October 2019

World Health Organization to Address its First Ever World Vision Report Next Week During the American Academy of Optometry Conference in Orlando

American Academy of Optometry prepared to step up to vision care challenges identified in WHO report. Will be a major topic at Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) just released its first ever world report on vision, identifying global “significant challenges” in vision health. Today, the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) announced a commitment to rise to those challenges.

The first step will occur during the joint meeting of American Academy of Optometry and World Council of Optometry taking place October 23-27, 2019 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The meeting, known as Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry, will feature a plenary discussion on Wednesday, October 23 at 10:00 am featuring leaders from WHO and AAO. That session and the entire meeting are open to credentialed media.

AAO is a North American based association with a global reach, serving nearly 12,000 optometric professionals and students. The organization’s goal is to improve optometric practice through lifelong learning with education and research, and is best known for its coveted Fellowship program (FAAO) signifying adherence to the highest standards of professional competence in vision care.

The World report on vision says 2.2 billion people have some form of vision impairment, of whom 1 billion have an impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed. The report anticipates a growth in those numbers over the next few years and calls for stakeholders including eye care practitioners and policymakers to help shape a global agenda on vision to help stem the crisis.

AAO Board President, Dr. Barbara Caffery believes the report will be crucial in uniting the entire vision health community to address the problem. “Optometrists and all of the disciplines within vision care have the skills and opportunity to bring about profound change around the world,” she said. “We believe this report will galvanize the issue and trigger a coordinated effort. At AAO, we are ready to step up and fight this battle.”

The WHO report identifies universal vision coverage, standardization of practice methods and a global disparity in quality of care among a series of barriers to world-wide vision care improvement. As one of the world’s leading vision care membership and advocacy associations, AAO accredits optometrists and inspires the highest standards of evidence-based care, a critical component of WHO’s path forward.

“The American Academy of Optometry is in a unique position to help educate and train the workforce that can solve this problem. We will also help push for the standardization of care while we advance the inclusion of optometry into standard practice where it is not currently recognized,” said Dr. Caffery. “AAO is ready to put the full weight of our organization behind this global effort.”

The World report on vision will be a defining topic throughout Academy 2019 Orlando and the 3rd World Congress of Optometry next week. The meeting will draw more than 8,000 optometrists, ophthalmologists, vision care professionals, students, support personnel and media to Florida, to discuss the latest optometric developments, trends and strategies. The Wednesday, October 23 Plenary session at 10:00 am will focus on the report and begin to define how optometrists can play their crucial part in addressing its findings.

Over the coming months, AAO will hold discussions and develop strategies to raise awareness and address the findings of the WHO report while defining a path for members to share their talents. “Our members are well trained and highly skilled,” said Dr. Caffery. “We have the ability to affect significant change for vision-impaired people around the world and we are committed to doing it.”

Tele eye examination streamed via 5G ready for NHS trial

October 2019

Peter Thomas, ophthalmologist and director of digital innovation at Moorfields, and his team reported delivering the world’s first tele-examination of an eye in 4k resolution over 5G broadband.

The ophthalmology team hopes the technology will allow telemedicine in eye care in the future and now plans to launch the technology as part of NHS Improvement’s pilot in the next few months.

World Sight Day .......October 10th

October 2019

Benefits regular tests will be highlighted at the World Sight Day which follows the RSM and Vision UK Forward View: Vision and Eye Health Conference on the previous day 9th October

These must be amplified to get the message out about regular eye testing..

Many organisations are taking part in the largest eyecare conference this year at the Royal Society of Medicine (Oct 9th) with over 170 attendees now registered. It is still possible to register on the day.

On this World Sight Day (WSD), 10 October, the next day, FODO will join eye organisations across the UK in encouraging people to visit their local optician for an eye test.

The message will be conveyed strongly at both at the conference and on World Sight Day on the 10th October.

This year’s WSD aims to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye tests in maintaining good sight, identifying early signs of health issues such as diabetes and treating people promptly.

Find out more about WSD here

Grafton Optical gains Product of the Year award nomination

October 2019

IdraGrafton Optical’s IDRA Ocular Surface Analyser by SBM Sistemi nominated for Product of the Year at the AOP Awards 2020, celebrating excellence in optics. Experience the next generation in fully automated, ocular surface analysis with IDRA.

Grafton Optical are excited to announce that the IDRA Ocular Surface Analyser by SBM Sistemi has been nominated in the Product of the Year category at the AOP Awards 2020. AOP members can place their vote in this category here.

The IDRA Ocular Surface Analyser is the world’s first comprehensive diagnostic system for high quality tear film analysis.

IDRA allows detailed structural analysis of the lipid, aqueous and mucin layers of the tear film composition and allows the operator to identify not only the quality and quantity of a patient’s tear film but also the type of Dry Eye disease present.

IDRA’s intuitive user software efficiently integrates the following complex examinations and allows for quick and detailed examinations, providing the user with easy to read ‘traffic light’ result reports.

• Auto-interferometry

• Tear meniscus height measurement

• Auto-NIBUT (non-invasive break up time)

• BUT staining test

• Blink rate

• Meibography and 3D Meibomian Gland imaging

• Bulbar redness classification

• Pupillometry

• White to white measurement

• Cylindrical dandruff, demodex and blepharitis analysis

• Surface pattern visualisation

• Lifestyle questionnaire

• Hyperaemia classification

• Grading comparisons

• Report generation

Grafton Optical CEO David Thickens commented “IDRA’s extensive features allow clinicians to show their patients how different treatment approaches can benefit them and demonstrate quantifiable improvements throughout their treatment journey. We are very excited to announce IDRA’s nomination as Product of the Year at the AOP Awards which reflects the innovation and success of this landmark instrument, and the impact that it is having on the diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye disease amongst opticians and clinicians .”

Louis Stone Prize-giving takes place at Plymouth University.

October 2019


A big thank you from all the optom students

‘Thank you once again for supporting our prize giving event says the OpSoc secretary. "

"Signe was really pleased to receive her vouchers, and the mug of course! "

Attached is a photo of Signe receiving her prize with Professor Paul Artes at Plymouth University.

Louis Stone were thrilled to donate the prize for 'Best Overall Performance in OPT 503 Paediatric and Binocular Vision' to Plymouth University recently which Signe collected on the night.

BLACKFIN once again sparkles under the sky and charms of Florence

October 2019

The titanium eyewear brand hosts an exclusive DaTE cocktail party

FlorenceThe magnificent 6th floor terrace of the Hotel Westin Excelsior in Florence was once again the setting for the exclusive Blackfin cocktail party held Sunday, September 22nd during the DaTE exhibition.

The event was so successful last year, the titanium eyewear brand decided a repeat was in order. At the only DaTE “off-site” event on the calendar, the company offered a stirring narration of the brand’s luxury evolution.

With the Palazzo Vecchio tower and Brunelleschi dome in the background, the beauty and excellence that have traditionally inspired the product were metaphorically visible in the breathtaking beauty of Florence from high above the city’s skyline. A still-life image of the kind of authentic Italian beauty inherent to the neomadeinitaly concept, the brand’s motivating philosophy.

“Florence was not a random choice” – remarks Nicola Del Din, Blackfin CEO – “DaTE is the quintessential eyewear event and, with this party, Blackfin wanted to celebrate the broader meaning of excellence, understood as quality, beauty, character, ethics, all the values that set neomadeinitaly apart. For us, it was a continuation of the show, both in terms of relationships with our existing clients and partners, as well as our new business contacts. We invited prospective clients to the event so they could experience the emotional content and uniqueness that are the Blackfin brand, conveying our company’s underlying values. It was a way to share a cultural approach with them, as well as our optician customers and partners, in other words, with those who are, above all, friends”.

In fact, our partnership with LuisaViaRoma, the well-known online luxury retailer, grew out of a similar event last year that led to the creation of a capsule collection sold exclusively through their channels.

Official presentation of the Fall/Winter collection in Italy – a market with a 22% share of the company’s overall revenue – was also a highlight of the event, while the minimalist, suggestive installation let the rooftop view speak for itself. Filippo Pustetto, recently named global sales manager, was also officially presented during the evening.

New Master for 2019-2020 at WCSM installed last week

October 2019

Master Huntly Taylor

Huntly Taylor FBDO installed as new Master of The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

Huntly Taylor FBDO was installed as new Master of the Spectacle Makers Company on Wednesday 2nd October 2019 during the company’s annual service at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street.

Following the service, a lunch was held at the historical Apothecaries Hall attended by visiting Masters of City Livery Companies, senior representatives from The Association of Dispensing Opticians and guests from across the world of vision correction.

Commenting on his appointment Huntly said, “Having been coming to Apothecaries Hall since receiving my Freedom of The Company in 1995 I am very proud to become Master”.

Huntly is a Dispensing Optician who established his own practice in Brighton in 1993.

He was a founder director of the Eyecare Information Service and for many years served on the council of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.

Huntly chaired the Board of Trustees of ABDO College at Godmersham in Kent and his support of optical education also manifested its self as he served as a Trustee of the WCSM Educational Trust.

New Optical Express clinic and treatment centre opens in Dublin

October 2019

Eye care experts Optical Express have opened a new clinic and treatment centre in Dublin, bringing the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies in eyecare to the city. Clinicians and patients alike at the clinic will have access to the latest generation of corneal, lens and retinal diagnostics plus operating microscopes and state-of-the-art lasers to correct vision, all manufactured by industry giants Johnson & Johnson Vision and Carl Zeiss.

Optical Express in DublinPreviously based in Wellington Road in Ballsbridge, Optical Express has relocated to Tallaght in the west of the city, and officially opened this month. The new clinic is within easy reach of the M50, building on Optical Express’ aim to be Europe’s most accessible eyecare provider.

Providing a range of vision correction services, the new clinic will offer every patient a complimentary consultation for laser or lens surgery. The detailed consultation includes a comprehensive eye health check, utilising state-of-the-art technologies, which allows for a determination of each patient’s candidacy for laser or lens surgery. For those patients found to be suitable candidates, information on the life changing benefits, including the potential results after treatment, will be outlined.

In addition, the Tallaght clinic features a contact lens and associated packaging recycling box, reflecting Optical Express’ ongoing commitment to minimising the environmental impact of its operations. This is available for use by all contact lens wearers, not only Optical Express patients, in order to reduce the impact microplastics have on the environment. Staff are also available to discuss alternative, more sustainable vision correction options, including laser or lens replacement surgery.

Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express, said:

Staff at OE in Dublin
“Offering a first-class experience to our patients is always our main objective, so it’s fantastic to be working in state-of-the-art facilities at the new clinic. As well as having the latest Johnson & Johnson Vision and Zeiss technologies available for clinical assessment and vision correction treatments, the clinic’s Ophthalmic Surgeons and Optometrists are amongst the most experienced in Ireland at delivering clinical care and carrying out life changing treatments. Access to clinical care, advanced technologies and the experience of our team are just some of the reasons why we undertake more vision correction procedures as a group than any other provider in Ireland. We encourage anyone who has an interest in improving their vision without the hassle and risks of treatments such as contact lenses to come for a consultation.”

David Moulsdale, Optical Express, Chairman and CEO, said:

“We’re delighted to have taken the next step in our commitment to investing in Ireland with the opening of this excellent new clinic in Dublin, Tallaght. The benefit of this €2M investment will be evident to all patients. This is a facility like no other in Ireland and will provide many more patients access to all of our treatments. This major investment forms part of our long-term plan that will provide many new jobs for local people in Ireland and additional revenue for local businesses. As we continue to expand and invest, we’re aiming to retain and attract the very best local talent, and are recruiting for a variety of roles, including optometrists and managers, across Ireland.”

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


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