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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, July to September 2020




Girl’s sight is saved thanks to Hamilton optometrist
Two West Midlands organisations chosen for prestigious healthcare programme
NHS COVID-19 app launches across England and Wales
Measure what you could save on Measuring IOPs
CHECT warns of ignorance of Childhood eye cancers
Vision Aid Overseas to close recycling scheme
RCOphth disagrees with latest NICE guideline on Cataract Services
LOOK-made in Italia produces new company video
The plan to bring Optical Bodies together by Post Code evolved in the 90's has run its course.
New state-of-the-art eye health clinic and surgical centre opens in Ipswich to help cut waiting times for patients
"64% of people unaware of blue light impact on skin" says Unilever Research.
PHN’s Monthly review of & 7-Day rolling average Covid infection Rates in UK
J&J (USA) Looking to Enroll 60,000 Participants in Coronavirus Vaccine Trial
Government creates new National Institute for Health Protection
Specsavers provides information about vision during ‘coronavision’
Irfaan Adamally takes over from John Stevenson at BABO
Auto DR Screener does the job more effectively with results in a minute!
GOC toughens up on corporate bodies registration, using the rules that have always been in force
COVID 19: Optometry Amber Phase Welsh Statement on Further Changes
Brian D Suttie Optician Case Study using Toucan Eco for Covid Cleansing
New back to school lens promotion from Essilor
New ECP Sports Day Promotion from Essilor
Roll-out of 2 new rapid coronavirus tests ahead of winter
Extended Isolation times and more travel restrictions are imminent
“It was a question of weeks or days, not months”
WALDO announces diversification into further unspecified online eyecare following on form its online CL business.
New public site from PCSE provides searchability and downloads
Don’t rely on temperature screening products for detection of coronavirus (COVID-19), says MHRA
Boots Opticians to close 48 Stores
Watch Sahra talk about Ørgreen colouring process
Novartis Withdraws Marketing Application of Dry Eye Drug Xiidra in Europe
Thank you Opchat News for your continued support of the COVID Symptom Study and for encouraging your readers to take part.
NHS Test and Trace contacts more than 130,000 people
KOMONO X Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp Fashion Department
Leicestershire coronavirus lockdown: areas and changes
OKIA receives the INTERTEK GREEN LEAF MARK CERTIFICATION as an environmentally conscious organisation for the material used in the sutainable RESHAPE™ Eyewear Collection
Read Archived News from April to June 2020



Girl’s sight is saved thanks to Hamilton optometrist

September 2020

Beth McKendrickIn a poignant story about the importance of regular eyecare for Children in National Eye Health Week ( 21-27 September 2020) Specsavers tell the story about a fourteen-year-old girl and her family from Hamilton, Scotland and have praised their optometrist – who detected signs of a tumour behind her optic nerve, ultimately saving her sight.


As the UK marks National Eye Health Week, Beth’s family shared their story to remind others of the importance of routine eye examinations.

The first signs of the tumour were discovered in 2017 at a routine eye test when Beth McKendrick was 11. She has since spent years undergoing treatment and chemotherapy – and now has finally had the good news that the treatment has been successful.

Emma Foster, store director at Specsavers Hamilton, says: “We’re telling Beth’s story, as although it is rare, it is an example of how vital it is to go for a regular eye tests – as they can detect signs of health conditions like Beth’s tumour”.

Mum Claire said: “Beth complained about a headache that was growing more painful, and because she has worn glasses since she was two, we thought she might need her prescription updated.

“We went to our usual Specsavers and I realised we were dealing with something more serious when the optometrist asked Beth to wait outside the test room, while he spoke to me.

“He showed me a picture showing a change behind Beth’s right eye. The whole thing was a complete shock to me”.

Hamilton Consulting Room The discovery meant a drastic change of plans for Beth, who had planned a sleepover with friends that evening. Instead she was referred to Hairmyres Hospital as a medical emergency. The following day, Beth was called to Wishaw General Hospital where an MRI scan confirmed her optometrist’s suspicions – a tumour was resting on the optic nerve behind her eye.

Through all of 2018 Beth had a regular series of treatments at Glasgow Children’s Hospital including a biopsy on the tumour, a gradual draining procedure and weekly chemotherapy sessions to help prevent any growth or irreparable damage to her eyesight. Beth and her family said they were very relieved to learn the tumour was benign and that the chemotherapy had been a success.

Claire added: “Beth has MRI scans every three months to monitor her eye and these will continue for the rest of her life - but it we hadn’t visited Specsavers that day, who knows what the story would have been.

“The Specsavers team were incredibly welcoming, calming and professional on the day and thanks to their quick referral, we were able to get Beth the medical attention needed in time.”

Emma Foster says: “We’re delighted and relieved to hear that Beth is much better. She’s a wonderful girl and is always so friendly and talkative whenever she comes to see us in our store.”

Two West Midlands organisations chosen for prestigious healthcare programme


September 2020

West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) has collaborated with partners from across Europe to develop UPrAIHSe, a ground-breaking skills programme which will upskill healthcare leaders.

UP-rAIHSe, a training course fully funded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) takes a team comprising senior medical, nursing, management and technology professionals through a focused programme of learning. The course covers how to co-design, procure and implement innovative technology, and how to spread its adoption.

Neil Mortimer, Head of Digital Health at WMAHSN, said: “Over the last few years of working closely with partners across Europe, we have found that our healthcare organisations face the same challenges; it can be really difficult to introduce new technologies into healthcare systems. It made perfect sense to work together on designing a leadership programme, and I know we’ll all learn from each other.”

Representatives from Hexitime, a skill exchange and timebank, and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust were selected to join applicants from hospitals in Madrid, Valencia and Rome on the programme. Together, they will take part in online tutorials and classes, and receive expert mentoring support from WMAHSN’s digital health team.

Before the pandemic, the programme was scheduled to take place across venues in the UK, Spain and Sweden. However, following COVID-19 restrictions, WMAHSN and the partners acted quickly to redesign the programme so it could be held virtually.

Applications to join the learning programme were received earlier this year from hospital organisations across Europe. Following a high number of applications from healthcare professionals keen to take part in the programme, two UK winners were selected to join the prestigious training series.

Ellen Hughes, Digital Health Innovation Manager at WMAHSN, said: “It’s fascinating to hear how organisations from different countries wrestle with the same problems that we do. We’re delighted that out of all the applications, two from the West Midlands were selected to take part and learn alongside their European counterparts”

John Lodge and Dr. Hesham Abdalla, Hexitime founders, said: “We are delighted that Hexitime has been selected to participate in such a prestigious programme, and excited at the opportunity it presents to explore collaborations with European health systems.”

Michelle Brookhouse, Director of Transformation & Engagement at UHCW, said: “At UHCW we are proud to have a forward-thinking culture and engaged staff who help to put us at the forefront of innovation in healthcare and ultimately improve outcomes for our patients.

“We are so excited to be selected to join the programme, we believe it will help us to develop our patient-centred ideas and share them with the wider healthcare community to reach a better standard of healthcare worldwide.”

The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMASHN) was created by NHS England to spread innovation and improve access to high-quality, patient-centred healthcare across the West Midlands.

Innovators from the region specialise in sectors including MedTech, Precision Medicine, Genomics and Patient Safety and over 700 sites in the West Midlands have already benefitted from innovations including GPs, care homes and trusts.

WMAHSN is one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England and plays a pivotal role in ensuring innovations are shared faster regionally, nationally and internationally. Its goal is to make the West Midlands healthier, more productive and deliver the best possible clinical outcomes for patients.

AHSNs connect the NHS and academic organisations with local authorities, the third sector and industry, and create the conditions to facilitate change across health and social care economies.

Through collaborating with partner organisations, WMAHSN is working to ensure the West Midlands' life sciences community is fully integrated, generating additional investment and giving academic institutions a competitive advantage.

NHS COVID-19 app launches across England and Wales

September 2020

NHS COVID-19 app launches nationwide to help control COVID-19 transmission alongside national and local contact tracing

Covid NHS App video

 

Take a look at the Video or click image above

Features of the app include contact tracing using Bluetooth, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues, symptom checker and test booking – with user privacy and data security at its heart
Businesses are now required by law to display the official NHS QR code posters from today so people can check-in at different premises with the app

People across England and Wales are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.

The app launches today, and after positive trials and rigorous testing is an important new tool to work alongside traditional contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the virus.

It will be available to those aged 16 and over in multiple languages. It forms a central part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme - identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.

As part of a major campaign to encourage downloads of the app a new advertisement will launch on primetime TV tonight with the strapline ‘Protect your loved ones. Get the app.’

Today the UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.

The contact tracing element of the app works by using low-energy Bluetooth to log the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.

NHS Covid app ORA G£
The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get your test results.

The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy. The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth (not GPS). These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.

The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed. No personal data is shared with the government or the NHS.

UK government Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: We are at a tipping point in our efforts to control the spread of this virus. With infection rates rising we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology. We have worked extensively with tech companies, international partners, and privacy and medical experts – and learned from the trials – to develop an app that is secure, simple to use and will help keep our country safe.Today’s launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones.

From today certain businesses in England are required by law to display NHS Test and Trace QR codes so customers with the NHS COVID-19 app can use them to check-in. QR codes will help businesses meet their legal requirement to log contact details and allow public health leads to send alerts based on whether people have checked in at venues. So far, more than 160,000 businesses have already downloaded QR codes. Venues in Wales that are legally required to collect and keep a record of visitors will still need to do so.

The NHS Test and Trace team behind the app has worked closely with major tech companies, including Google and Apple, scientists within the Alan Turing Institute and Oxford University, Zuhlke Engineering, medical experts, privacy groups, at-risk communities and teams in countries across the world using similar apps – such as Germany, to develop an app that is safe, simple and secure.

The app has been through successful trials in the Isle of Wight, Newham and among NHS Volunteer Responders. Lessons learned have informed the final version that is launching today.

Dido Harding, Executive Chair of England’s NHS Test and Trace Programme, said: We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to engage with England’s NHS Test and Trace service. The NHS COVID-19 app enables the majority of people with a smartphone to find out if they are at risk of having caught the virus and need to self isolate, order a test if they have symptoms, and access the right guidance and advice.

The features of this app, including QR code check-in at venues, work alongside our traditional contact tracing service and will help us to reach more people quickly in their communities to prevent further spread of the virus. This is a welcome step in protecting those around us.

Simon Thompson, Managing Director of the NHS COVID-19 App, said: We have worked tirelessly to develop the new NHS COVID-19 app and we are incredibly grateful to all residents of the Isle of Wight, London Borough of Newham, and NHS Volunteer Responders, the learnings and insight have made the app what it is today. We are now ready to roll-out the app across England and Wales.

This new version is so much more than just a contact tracing app – it has a range of features which will quickly alert you if you’re at risk of coronavirus. The more people who use it, the better it works.We are confident that every person who downloads the app will be helping to protect themselves and their loved ones.

In a joint statement Apple and Google said:

We built the exposure notifications system to enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop apps to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring people can trust in the privacy-preserving design. We are committed to supporting the government’s effort to launch an app based on this technology.

As well as contact tracing, the app has a range of additional, enhanced features that will help to reduce personal and public risk from COVID-19 as part of the wider testing and contact tracing service:

alert: letting users know the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode district

QR check-in
: enabling users to check-in at a venue and alerting them if they have recently visited somewhere they may have come into contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19

symptoms:
allowing users to check if they have coronavirus symptoms and see if they need to order a free test

test:
helping users book a free test through the app and get results to know whether they have COVID-19

isolate:
if a user is told to self-isolate, a timer feature will help count down that period and access will be provided to relevant advice

How it works

When someone reports symptoms through the app, it will detect any other app users that the person has been in close contact with over the past few days, including unknown contacts such as someone they may have sat next to on public transport. The app will be able to anonymously alert these contacts and provide advice, including how to get a test if they have symptoms.

The mobile industry has committed to supporting the new app with the major operators Vodafone, Three, EE and O2 (including giffgaff and Tesco Mobile), Sky and Virgin, ‘zero-rating’ data charges for all in-app activity. This means customers will not be charged for data when using the in-app functions, or if they are directed out of the app to information on nhs.uk websites. If a customer is directed to other web pages outside of the app, this may use data from their allowance.

Customers will need data in order to download the Test and Trace app initially, this cannot be zero-rated.

In-app activity has been zero-rated by mobile operators. From the app, customers may be directed to nhs.uk websites, which have also been zero rated. However, if a user is passed from the app to websites on gov.uk, data charges will apply.

O2, Three UK and Virgin Media have zero-rated the subdomain .gov.uk for registering a COVID-19 test

Those who may not have access to the app, or the ability to use a smartphone should continue to use traditional contact tracing services provided by NHS Test and Trace or, NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect.

Measure what you could save on Measuring IOPs

September 2020

ORA G£
Grafton Optical launch the ORA® G3 Business Case Calculator and invite you to TAKE THE TONOMETRY CHALLENGE to see what you could save if you made the switch

The Ocular Response Analyser® (ORA) G3 & 7CR Auto Tonometer from Reichert offer substantial cost savings versus all other methods of tonometry.

Grafton Optical invite you to find out how much you could save if you made the switch here

• Huge cost savings versus all other methods of tonometry – take the challenge to see what you could save.

• Operate a drop free clinic - no drops, no dilation, no prisms, no disposables or consumables. Just walk in and test.

• Be confident that your readings are accurate with the Waveform Reliability Score. Minimal training is required and fast, objective results are guarenteed, independent of the operator.



ORA G£

• ORA® G3 and 7CR are the only devices that feature Corneal Compensated Intraocular Pressure (IOPcc), a better indication of the true pressure, proven to be less influenced by corneal properties than Goldmann or other methods of tonometry

• ORA® G3 is the only device capable of measuring Corneal Hysteresis (CH), shown to be a significant risk factor for glaucoma development and progression. Click here to read the NICE MedTech Innovation

Briefing on the use of the ORA G3 to measure CH is HERE

Grafton Optical is one of the UK's leading suppliers of ophthalmic instruments, equipping and servicing independent and larger chain opticians as well as Britain's hospitals.It is also one of your Free Opchats news sites longstanding sponsors. Take a look at their pages and links to their site here

CHECT warns of ignorance of Childhood eye cancers

September 2020

One third of parents say a squint is NOT a symptom of childhood eye cancer

(It’s the second most common symptom!)

32% of parents of children aged 0-6 think a squint or lazy eye is ‘definitely not’ or ‘probably not’ a symptom of childhood eye cancer*. This is despite a third of all UK children diagnosed with the rare eye cancer retinoblastoma presenting with a squint**.

The survey* was carried out on behalf of UK charity the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), which supports families of babies and children diagnosed with retinoblastoma (Rb).

As part of National Eye Health Week (21-27 September 2020), CHECT is asking opticians to ensure every new onset squint, even in very young children, is examined to rule out any serious underlying conditions.

Patrick Tonks, Chief Executive of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, said: “Retinoblastoma is a rare, aggressive eye cancer which affects babies and children under the age of six. We know squints are not uncommon in this age group, but it is crucial that every new onset squint, even in very young children, is checked to rule out Rb. If your practice does not examine babies and small children, ensure the parents understand that urgent arrangements must be made for the child to be examined elsewhere (another optometrist or ophthalmologist who does examine young children, or their GP).

Nancy Smith

If Rb cannot be ruled out, an urgent referral must be made. Around 98% of children diagnosed with Rb will survive, but more than half will lose an eye in order to save their life, so urgent referral and early diagnosis is vital to save a child’s sight, eyes and life.”


Nancy Smith pictured is one such case, read about her at the end of the news piece.





The main presenting symptoms of children diagnosed with Rb in the UK between 2012 and 2019**, were:

• Leukocoria / white glow in the eye – 70%
• Strabismus / squint – 33%
• Change in colour of iris – 12%
• Redness or swelling without infection – 7%
• Loss of vision – 7%
• Roaming eyes / child not focusing – 5%
• Absence of red eye – 1%

One child a week in the UK is diagnosed with retinoblastoma. For more information go to www.chect.org.uk/optician.

Case study: five year old Nancy Smith was diagnosed with retinoblastoma after family members noticed she had developed an intermittent squint.Read about Nancy's case here

Vision Aid Overseas to close recycling scheme

September 2020

Vision Aid Overseas has ended its recycling scheme in the UK and will no longer accept used spectacles from the optical sector.

The 10-year-old system, which used to recycle 3.2 million spectacles a year, is no longer economically viable for the charity.

RCOphth disagrees with latest NICE guideline on Cataract Services

September 2020

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is responding to the NICE rapid guideline on Covid-19 testing and the potential adverse effect on the return to routine cataract surgery.

Guidance regarding, the need for and timing of testing for COVID-19 for patients undergoing elective surgery patients, has been evolving as cataract surgery resumes in the UK. Infection prevention and control guidance is likely to continue to develop in line with better understanding of the virus and its behaviour.

The incidence of Covid-19 in the community has generally fallen considerably in most but not all areas and this incidence has a direct effect on the risk of a patient attending hospital with the disease (either symptomatic or asymptomatic). This continues to be a dynamic situation.

The most recent NICE COVID-19 rapid guideline on arranging planned care in hospitals and diagnostic services states that, in order to minimise the risk of COVID‑19 transmission to other patients and healthcare workers, people having planned care involving any form of anaesthesia or sedation should:

Follow comprehensive social distancing and hand-hygiene measures for 14 days before admission and
Have a test for SARS‑CoV‑2 within 3 days before admission and self-isolate from the day of the test until the day of admission

The RCOphth is concerned that the current wording of the NICE guidance will lead providers to mandate COVID-19 pre-operative testing for cataract patients.

This can significantly limit the restoration of routine services in some areas whilst the benefit of this guidance in asymptomatic patients remains unclear.

We are in discussion with NICE to address this concern and with recommendations to provide clearer guidance. The preferred guidance should allow ophthalmologists and providers to locally determine the safest, most reliable and efficient pathway for patients undergoing cataract surgery.

The guidance must provide safe but practical recommendations for similar short local anaesthetic procedures whilst not restricting access to care.

Some eye units are not testing all cataract surgery patients (topical anaesthesia) with no reported adverse effects on patients and staff of COVID-19 transmission

Patient symptoms – no symptomatic patient should undergo elective surgery of any description

Patient’s age, sex and whether they are from a black, Asian or other minority ethnic group, or have any underlying conditions that could increase their risk of getting COVID‑19 and of having a severe illness

Local community Covid-19 rates

Individual surgeon’s and surgical team’s characteristics and risk profile

Local availability of, and patient access to, testing

Likely patient journey time ie time spent in the hospital

Whether the unit utilises a green site/ green pathway; standalone theatres or a very clear blue/ green separation reduces the risk to patients

Read the new NICE guidelines here

LOOK-made in Italia produces new company video

September 2020


Look Italia Video An off-screen voice, emotional and captivating background music. Then the images one after another, clear and strong.

The new LOOK-made in Italia institutional video tells the story of a company that for over forty years has been producing eyewear using material, which in the knowing and expert hands of people who every day research, design and create, is transformed and takes shape. A link to the territory that stimulates the creativity of a company which is considered as home here because it has all the emotions that make a family.

The video gives a taste of what happens in this factory of wonders, moving in time with its departments like a finely tuned automobile. From the selection of materials to customer service, everything is interconnected seamlessly by a common denominator: passion, which has always been the guiding force behind the company's values.

These same values were built from a constant commitment to research and innovation, an excellence which transforms and evolves, looking forward with the aim of always satisfying, day after day, the needs of those who will be wearing these small masterpieces. Because every frame communicates the beauty of a Country and the history of LOOK-made in Italia, a company that since 1978 has been producing eyewear, exclusively in Italy at the foot of the Dolomites, in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

But with this video the company also wants to send a clear message: transparency, reliability and sustainability are the elements that make the difference in a globalised panorama where traceability is already an increasingly relative concept, to the detriment of a product's originality.

"At LOOK-made in Italia we are what you see, as simple as that. And we can look you straight in the eye to confirm it, no compromise”.

Watch the video here

The plan to bring Optical Bodies together by Post Code evolved in the 90's has run its course.

September 2020

During the 90's there was much discussion and debate brokered by the WCSM past and late Master Sir Richard Meyjes DL, FRSA, FInstD, CIMgtto to try to unite the then disparate optical bodies and much hard work went into regular meetings with all the invited bodies sitting and discussing the possibility of sharing one building. The buzzword in those days was the "toilet factor". Separate bodies sharing the same building in defined areas but meeting in the communal areas.

After years of discussion the informal resolution vote was finally lost. To my memory (Ed and participant) the College believed it wrong to be associated with membership bodies, ABDO were indifferent and the AOP wanted their own building. FODO and the FMO were keen that all should join.

And so, it was that the College and AOP acquired their own buildings but FODO and ABDO and the FMO joined forces and moved to 199 Gloucester Terrace near Paddington.

Some had the idea that such a move especially if it had of contained all membership bodies and both examination colleges might had eventually meant a slimming down of costs to members and more importantly provided a singular line of approach to the Government.

If anything looking back at the period even with the later formation of the loosely branded Optical Federation to which the College still remained outside but included the ACLM among the five there has not been a coming together of minds on all issues.

In fact, the debacle over the split of optical exhibitions, Optrafair (now defunct) and 100% Optical proved that Optical Bodies wish to retain their identity and purpose and of course their membership and income.

Now the Covid pandemic has struck and the London commute has ended. Providing all three Gloucester Terrace residents to reconsider the value of owning a prestigious building in Central London.

Remote working has strangely been the catalyst to this disentanglement of the 3 bodies concerned. When originally it was conceived with the opposite design of "closeness" now "remoteness" has become the main driver and one hopes a significant reduction in fees to their members.

There are of course many other additional bodies that exist and require fees, not least the BCLA, AIO and the Behavioural Optometrists who were either not around in the 90's or not invited to the discussions.

So, it was last Friday evening that the FMO and later ABDO and FODO sent us the jointly approved text printed below.

"Optical sector organisations unveil plans to sell headquarters"

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), FODO and FMO have announced plans to sell their joint London headquarters as part of modernising operations. The three associations are to switch to remote working and flexible onsite offices across the UK on a long-term basis.

Tony Garrett, ABDO General Secretary, said: “199 has been a great joint venture between the sector’s leading optical bodies, but the Covid pandemic means we are bringing forward our plans to work differently beyond the traditional London headquarters model. We will all continue to work closely together as we move to new ways of working through and beyond the pandemic.”

He continued, "The ABDO Board has therefore agreed that for the foreseeable future the Association will no longer maintain an office in London. Most headquarter functions will transfer to the ABDO’s National Resource Centre (NRC) in Birmingham and the remaining activities will be undertaken at Godmersham Park in Kent."

" The NRC is easily accessible from all over the UK, which will enable members to attend meetings and events. It is close to the motorway network and has ample free car parking facilities so it is possible, if required, to avoid public transport. The NRC will become home to the ABDO Board.

The ABDO Board will decide how to reinvest the proceeds of the sale of ABDO’s London base in due course, but the intention will be to provide some extra revenue for the Association at this very difficult time.

Harjit Sandhu, Managing Director FODO, said: “We have had longstanding plans to work in a more agile way while representing providers across the UK and Ireland. This new operating model will allow us maximum flexibility to meet the needs of members in the years ahead, including remote working and using office space across the UK and Ireland.”

Stuart Burn, Chair FMO, added: “With all our organisations shifting to remote working and making use of locations outside London, now is the right time to rethink the London HQ model. We will continue to work closely with ABDO and FODO and use the ABDO National Resource Centre in Birmingham, which is available for the profession to use for bigger occasions.”

ED Perhaps, we will never know if this was an opportunity missed or one that really never existed.

New state-of-the-art eye health clinic and surgical centre opens in Ipswich to help cut waiting times for patients

September 2020

Newmedica

A new eye health clinic and surgical centre which is set to significantly reduce waiting times for eye surgery in Ipswich and the wider county has just opened.

Newmedica Suffolk offers treatments for a range of eye conditions including cataract surgery and YAG laser, and patients can be referred for NHS treatment or self-refer for private consultations. This will help to ease the pressure on local NHS waiting lists, which have come under additional pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newmedica is one of England's leading independent providers of NHS-funded ophthalmology services, and the state-of-the-art facility is being run by three directors with close links to local health services in Suffolk. Newmedica’s vision is a society where everyone can get access to free or affordable world class treatment for advanced eye conditions without any unnecessary delay or worry.

The ophthalmology clinical directors at Newmedica Suffolk – Raj Hanspal and Usman Hussain – are both highly-qualified and experienced ophthalmology consultants, and are well-known locally from their work at West Suffolk Hospital. They are joined by operational director Rosemary Smith. The trio met while working at the same hospital in Bury St Edmunds and decided to open the centre together, offering patients more choice in where they can receive NHS and private treatments.

And one patient who has already experienced the safe and efficient service offered by the clinicians at the clinic and surgical centre is local woman Mrs Kathleen Johnson-Cooper. Sadly she lost her husband in May, and had been feeling especially isolated during lockdown because she had been unable to drive while awaiting cataract surgery.

Kathleen Johnson Cooper She said: “Mr Hanspal was my surgeon, and he and his team were fantastic throughout. Before my surgery I was bumping into things a lot at home and was constantly bruising my arms, so to be able to see so much better is wonderful. I love the roses in my garden, and am looking forward to seeing them bloom again now as the colours will be so much more beautiful.
“The operation was not anything to be frightened of, and it did not hurt at all. The team really put me at ease and I could not believe how quick it was. I am looking forward to getting my other eye done. ”

The eye health clinic and surgical centre is based at London House on Hadleigh Road, Ipswich. Patients can be referred by their optician, GP, or other medical professional for NHS treatment.

Rosemary, the operational manager said: ‘We are delighted to be open and are ready and waiting to serve the people of Suffolk. We know that the pressures placed on the health service by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to people waiting far longer than they ideally should have done for treatment, and we are pleased to be able to alleviate some of the burden on local NHS services.’

Newmedica Team ‘Given the fact that the virus is sadly still with us, we have adopted even more stringent measures to protect our patients and staff than we would have done in the past. We want to reassure everyone thinking of using our services, or of referring a patient to us, that we are doing all that we can to provide a safe and efficient experience which should lead to a better quality of life.’

The eye health clinic and surgical centre is following all current Government guidelines in order to keep patients and staff safe, and enhanced safety measures will be in place to give added reassurance to those being treated and their families.


The team will carry out telephone consultations wherever possible, but if patients are asked to attend the surgical centre then all patients will be questioned about their health and proximity to anyone who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. Patients who will need to attend theatre will be asked to self-isolate prior to their procedure, in accordance with NHS guidance.

On the day of surgery, patients are asked to remain in their car until called into the clinic where they will be met with the clinical team in the required PPE. All necessary diagnostic tests are undertaken using state of the art equipment, and if possible are completed on the same day as any necessary procedures or surgery to reduce the number of face-to-face attendances required. All this will be explained to patients prior to their appointment.

The surgical centre is easy to find with clear signage, visible from the road. There is free patient parking on site and the centre is fully wheelchair accessible to patients.

Further information about the services and treatments available can be found on the Newmedica website: www.newmedica.co.uk.

"64% of people unaware of blue light impact on skin" says Unilever Research.

September

Two in three (64%) people are unaware of the effect that blue light can have on their skin, Unilever has found[1]. We want to help people “beat the screen blues” by raising awareness of the negative impact that blue light has on skin – not just on our faces, but on the rest of the body too.

Unilever logo on the entrance of deodorant factory in Jiutepec Mexico
With 60%[2] of people now spending more than six hours a day in front of a digital device, five working days can have the same impact on the skin as spending 25 minutes in midday sun without any protection.

How blue light effects skin health
The blue light emitted from screens not only affects the skin but can also disturb our biological clocks. Blue light can penetrate the skin far deeper that UV light, passing through the epidermis and dermis to the subcutis layer.

It can induce both immediate and persistent pigmentation, which can still be present after three months. In addition, these rays can inhibit melatonin generation, increase stress hormone levels, and excite nerves, which in turn disturbs sleeping pattern and circadian rhythm. 30 hours of exposure to blue light from smartphone or laptop screens can increase the inflammation level in skin cells by 40%[3].

Samantha Tucker-Samaras, Global Vice President Science & technology, Beauty & Personal Care explains: “Long-term exposure to blue light has the potential to have a significant negative impact on people’s wellbeing, and we’re concerned people are simply unaware of the risks. It is highly likely that exposure to blue light has increased this year, as many previously office-based workers have increased their time in front of a screen, as face-to-face meetings have moved to virtual. People should be looking for skincare products loaded with antioxidants, as well as niacinamide and zinc oxide. Limiting screen time also helps, not only for our overall skin health, but our general wellbeing too.

“Unilever’s 5,000 experts across the world work to bring science and innovation insights to products which benefit people’s health and wellbeing, and we have a duty to let people know how best to protect themselves from the impact of blue light exposure.”

How to Beat the Screen Blues
To protect against blue light, Unilever’s scientists recommend using products which include ingredients that minimise or neutralise blue light, as well as restore skin. Look for products which include the following ingredients:

Products with optics minimise visible light to prevent skin tanning. For example, BB cream is scientifically proven to minimise the effects of blue light by 80%.
Zinc Oxide, which creates a protective barrier for the skin.
Vitamin C protects and recovers skin cells from blue-light-induced oxidative damage.
Vitamin B6 combats visible-light-induced antioxidant depletion and effectively suppresses oxidative stress caused by visible light.
Niacinamide restores skin surface cells from blue-light-induced oxidative stress and provides strong protection against skin damage caused by blue light.

The Times also reported today about the possible effects of Blue Light on eyes with the production of free radicals.

Furthermore exposure to Blue Light is also believed to be a greater issue for people with darker skin. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that Blue Light may increase the risk of hyperpigmentation in medium to dark skin.

PHN’s Monthly review of & 7-Day rolling average Covid infection Rates in UK

September 2020

PHN 7-Dy rolling covdi infection rates August

On the week that School Children return to school in England, the UK has seen as continuing rise in infection rates. Midway through August it appeared we had stemmed the tide in rates but latterly there have been many days where the increase has been larger than rates seen in June.

How much the return of School Children will affect September’s results will no doubt be evident in our next monthly bulletin.

It will be up to us all to be vigilant and there are now concerning signs that the key messages are beginning to either be forgotten or misunderstood against the backdrop of the Government asking City workers to head back in to town.

You can view the daily reported Gov.UK figures and PHN 7-Day rolling averages on our pandemic hub here.

We are reliant on the Government publishing these figures daily and the past month has shown many late publications, erroneous additions and missing information.

J&J (USA) Looking to Enroll 60,000 Participants in Coronavirus Vaccine Trial

August 2020

Ad26.COV2-SCoronavirusCOVID-19COVID-19 a Vaccine by Johnson & Johnson

First Word published news of a phase 3 trial Johnson & Johnson is planning to get under way in September to test its coronavirus vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S is looking to recruit up to 60,000 participants globally, the company confirmed Thursday.

The targeted enrollment, first reported on the ClinicalTrials.gov database, would make it double that of other studies that have either started recently or are expected soon for COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca, Moderna, and an alliance between Pfizer and BioNTech.

Johnson & Johnson recently initiated a phase 1/2 trial of Ad26.COV2.S in healthy volunteers in the US and Belgium. According to the government database, the randomized phase 3 study will see participants administered either a single dose of Ad26.COV2.S or placebo, and will track rates of COVID-19 characterized moderate-to-severe symptoms between the two groups.

The trial will be conducted with healthy adults aged 18 years and older at nearly 180 locations in the US across 28 states, including those with high transmission rates such as Texas, Florida and California, which will each have multiple study sites. It will also be conducted in eight other countries where transmission rates are high, including Brazil, Chile, the Philippines and South Africa, according to the database.

Representative populations

While it is unclear why Johnson & Johnson is planning a much larger late-stage trial than other companies, spokesman Jake Sargent said it wants “to enroll a robust number of participants who are representative of those populations affected by COVID-19,” as well as to determine the safety, efficacy, durability and optimal dosing regimens of the vaccine. Sargent indicated that recruitment has already started, and “we are using epidemiology and modeling data to predict and plan where our studies should take place and expect that to be finalised soon.”

The study will follow the subjects for more than two years, although Johnson & Johnson might have a preliminary read-out by the end of this year, a company executive has said. If results prove the vaccine works safely and the US government clears the vaccine, Johnson & Johnson plans to make its first batches available for potential emergency use in early 2021, the spokesman said.

Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson signed a $1-billion contract with the US government to supply 100 million doses of Ad26.COV2.S for the US, which also has an option to acquire additional doses that would be sufficient to vaccinate up to 300 million people.

The company also recently agreed an initial sale of 30 million doses to the UK and has wrapped up exploratory advance purchase talks with the EU as well.

Government creates new National Institute for Health Protection

August 2020

A brand new organisation whose primary focus is public health protection and infectious disease capability is being established by the government.New organisation to focus on rigorous science-led approach to public health protection

Institute will boost UK’s ability to deal with and recover from COVID-19 and meet health challenges of the coming winter

The organisation will be formalised and be operating from spring 2021

The National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) will start work immediately, with a single command structure to advance the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From today it will bring together Public Health England (PHE) and NHS Test and Trace, as well as the analytical capability of the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) under a single leadership team. This is the first step towards becoming a single organisation, focused on tackling COVID-19 and protecting the nation’s health.

In order to minimise disruption to the vital work dealing with the pandemic, the organisation will be formalised and operating from spring 2021.

The new organisation will support local directors of public health and local authorities on the frontline of the COVID-19 response.

The responsibilities of the NIHP will include:

NIHP local health protection teams to deal with infections and other threats

support and resources for local authorities to manage local outbreaks

the COVID-19 testing programme

contact tracing

the Joint Biosecurity Centre

emergency response and preparedness to deal with the most severe incidents at national and local level

research and reference laboratories and associated services

specialist epidemiology and surveillance of all infectious diseases

the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards

global health security

providing specialistic scientific advice on immunisation and countermeasures

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: To give ourselves the best chance of beating this virus once and for all – and of spotting and being ready to respond to other health threats, now and in the future – we are creating a brand new organisation to provide a new approach to public health protection and resilience.

The National Institute for Health Protection will bring together the expertise of PHE with the enormous response capabilities of NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to put us in the best possible position for the next stage of the fight against COVID-19 and for the long term.

I want to thank all my brilliant colleagues at Public Health England, the NHS, the Joint Biosecurity Centre, local directors of public health and their teams, contact tracers, diagnostics experts, epidemiologists, infection control teams, and every single person who has contributed to the national effort to get this deadly pandemic under control over the last 8 months.

I would like to personally thank Duncan Selbie for his leadership of PHE bringing together 70 different agencies, pursuing ground-breaking work on tackling obesity, promoting health improvement and leading PHE, in what has been an exceptionally challenging time. I am looking forward to continuing working with him as a leading figure in the global, public health agenda.

The NIHP will be a new organisation whose primary focus is to ensure we have the best capability to control infectious disease and deal with pandemics or health protection crises. It will take on existing UK-wide responsibilities and it will work with local government, the NHS and the devolved administrations to ensure we have the strongest possible health protection system for the whole of the UK. It will build on the existing strong working relationships between the 4 nations of the UK, including on data-sharing, alert levels and border issues.

It will report directly to the Health and Care Secretary and support the clinical leadership of the 4 UK chief medical officers.

The government is immediately bringing together PHE, NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre under the interim leadership of Baroness Dido Harding, with a single command structure and operating model to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

This builds on the joint work already being done by PHE and NHS Test and Trace, including the JBC, in response to COVID-19.

Specsavers provides information about vision during ‘coronavision’

August 2020

With the number of people working from home in the future expected to double, the likelihood that we will be spending more time than usual looking at screens is bad news for the nation's eyes.

Dry eyes and eye strain

Increased laptop use, constantly checking mobiles and unwinding in front of the TV in the evening adds up to a lot of screen time in a 24-period.

But eyes are not meant to work in this way. Giles Edmonds, Clinical Services Director, says: ‘Our eyes are not designed to be fixed on a single object for a long period of time. When we focus on our screens, especially smaller format laptops, tablets or smart devices, eyes become stressed and strained. Our research shows that eye strain has seen a spike during Covid-19 restrictions as lifestyles have changed.

33% of people surveyed in Specsavers customer panel in July said they had noticed a change in their eyesight. Half (49%) reported being more health aware as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but around 80,000 were unable to attend routine appointments during lockdown restrictions.

So we are focusing our eye health advice campaign on tips to prevent eye strain and irritation with some simple tips.’

Giles says: ‘This includes the eye strain symptoms that people should look out for: eye discomfort, headaches, burning or itchy eyes, watery or dry eyes, blurred or double vision and increased sensitivity to light.’

The consumer advice from Specsavers is:

Rest your eyes - Follow the 20:20:20 rule: look up from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Looking into the distance helps relax the focusing muscles of your eyes, which in turn reduces eye fatigue.

This rule is also important for parents who have children spending a lot of time on screens, whether playing games or home schooling online. Monitor how much screen time they have each day and make sure that they have regular breaks.

Reduce glare – Reflections on your computer screen can cause glare and lead to eye strain. Try reducing this by attaching an anti-glare screen to your monitor or windows to avoid external light shining onto the screen.

Stay hydrated – It’s also good general health advice to keep your water bottle topped up, particularly when you are stuck indoors, the weather is particularly hot, or if you have air-conditioning, as good hydration can help avoid dry eye.

Irfaan Adamally takes over from John Stevenson at BABO

August 2020

Irfaan Adamally at BABO
The British Association of Behavioural Optometrists (BABO) has announced that Irfaan Adamally, has been appointed Chairman in succession to John Stevenson.
BABO is a network of highly qualified and motivated optometrists offering vision therapy, a growing discipline which focuses on how vision affects human performance. It has been shown to be helpful in improving binocular vision disorders, the way children learn and in acquired brain injuries such as post-concussion.

Irfaan Adamally states: ‘I am honoured to take on the role of Chairman of BABO from John who has done much to establish Behavioural Optometry as a recognised and respected Optometric discipline. BABO is also part of a wider International community of vision therapy organisations and John has travelled extensively as Chairman of BABO to represent the UK in Behavioural Optometry. We are all extremely grateful to John’.



John Stevenson commented: ‘I have really enjoyed my time as Chairman of BABO and working with the dedicated and growing number of optometrists in the UK, and internationally, offering vision therapy treatment. I know that Irfaan will now take BABO and the clinical discipline of behavioural Optometry to the next stage in the UK. I wish him well, and of course offer him my full support.’

Irfaan added: ‘The need for behavioural Optometrists is a growing one with some patients having to wait up to 6 months for care from an accredited Optometrist. One of BABO's goals during my tenure is to create programs that allow us to meet that need. I want to build on the work John has done to continue increasing the awareness of what we can do in the UK, increase the number of accredited Behavioural Optometrists in the UK, and collaborate with researchers to translate clinical experience into publications that allows us to improve the way we work and help our patients.’

Auto DR Screener does the job more effectively with results in a minute!

August 2020

Eye Art by EyenukEyenuk, Inc., a global artificial intelligence (AI) medical technology and services company and the leader in real-world applications for AI Eye Screening, announced last week that it has received 510(k) clearance (K200667) by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to market its EyeArt® autonomous AI System for diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness among American adults.

EyeArt is indicated for use by healthcare providers to automatically detect more than mild diabetic retinopathy (mtmDR) and vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy (vtDR) in eyes of adults diagnosed with diabetes who have not been previously diagnosed with more than mild diabetic retinopathy.

EyeArt is the first FDA cleared autonomous AI technology that can detect both mtmDR and vtDR in one test, in primary care and eye care settings. In addition,

EyeArt is also the first FDA cleared autonomous AI technology that has diagnostic outputs for each eye of a patient.

"EyeArt autonomous AI System can now enable safe, effective, and equitable diabetic eye screening at convenient point-of-care locations, with AI results available in less than 1 minute.”

GOC toughens up on corporate bodies registration, using the rules that have always been in force

August 2020

The GOC will be writing shortly to a small number of corporate body registrants to ensure that GOC registrants make up a simple majority of directors on the board (i.e. at least one more registrant than any other type of director).

This follows a routine review of corporate body registrants by the GOC against Companies House records.

The GOC will give registrants 28 days to rectify any issues, followed by a statutory 28 days’ notice of intention to deregister if a simple majority of registrants has not been implemented.

Corporate Bodies should be aware that under the Opticians Act 1989, protected titles including “Optician(s)” cannot be legally used without GOC registration

COVID 19: Optometry Amber Phase Welsh Statement on Further Changes

August 2020

The Welsh Government wrote to all optometry practices in July to provide additional guidance as we progress through the current Amber Phase.

Further changes within the Amber Phase are detailed below. In the meantime, the prioritisation guidance and PPE arrangements remain in place.

Domiciliary Services

The routine recall of patients and the re-introduction of domiciliary eye care services will commence in the Amber Phase, as detailed in the July correspondence (domiciliary eye care services from 17 August).

Please find attached further guidance and procedures for domiciliary services and the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) Return to Work selfassessment document.

For providers of domiciliary services who have not yet completed the return to work document, please ensure this is completed and returned to NWSSP prior to providing services, as detailed in the documentation.

Financial Support

Changes will shortly be made to the monthly payments based on practice activity data submitted for analysis.

Optometry practices have continued to be supported with an average NHS monthly payment since March 2020; however, as progress is made through the Amber Phase, practice activity is increasing, indicating a resumption in services.

Therefore, providers should prepare to return to the usual payment administration process, following the timeline below:

1. Payment period 28/07/2020-24/08/2020 Average NHS payment to all practices.

2. On 10/08/2020 to recommence submission of all NHS claim forms (GOS/EHEW and LVSW) for payment of, and related to, patient examinations on or after 10 August.


 Practices to continue to provide weekly activity data up to and including week commencing 24/08/2020 and then this process will cease coinciding with when the average payment will cease.

 Payment will be made for all claims processed from 10/08/2020 3. Payment period 25/08/2020-24/09/2020

 Average NHS payment will cease

 Payment will be made for all claims processed from 25/08/2020 in the usual way based on submission of claims during this time period.

 Payment will be made for outstanding claims processed from 10/08/2020 4. Payment period 25/09/2020-27/10/2020

 Payment will be made for all claims processed from 25/09/2020 in the usual way based on submission of claims during this time period.

 This usual administration payment process will continue going forward.

GOS and WECS Forms

The suspension of patient signatures on GOS and WECS claim forms submitted by optometrists for payment by NWSSP will continue during the period 10/08/20 to 01/10/20 of the Amber Phase. Instead, optometrists are to write on all forms, where a patient would ordinarily sign: “COVID-19”

NWSSP will undertake an additional level of checking during the period 10/08/20 to 01/10/20 to provide assurance to the Welsh Government that services have been provided. In the meantime, the Welsh Government and NWSSP will work with other key stakeholders to review the process (suspension of signatures) as we move through the recovery process.

The Welsh Government continues to monitor the situation across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world and there are no certainties. I would therefore expect practices to continue to work with Optometry Wales to consider current and future adaptations to service delivery to accommodate what will be the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future.

The Welsh Government continues to work closely with Optometry Wales, the Welsh Optometric Committee, Health Board Optometric Advisers, NWSSP and Health Education and Improvement Wales, whilst navigating through the pandemic, and we will contact you with information as the situation evolves and further changes within the Amber Phase are required.

Brian D Suttie Optician Case Study using Toucan Eco for Covid Cleansing

August 2020

A fresh perspective: how one optician has introduced a sustainable cleaning system to help combat COVID-19

Brian D Suttie is a Chesham-based optical practice that has been established for over 20 years. The company believes in the continuity of care, not only in its service and product offering but in maintaining a retail environment that is safe and clean for their patients, customers and staff.

A practice that strives for sustainability, Brian D Suttie needed to respond to the workplace guidelines for COVID-19 to ensure they could reopen, implementing a new cleaning regime that would help make the practice ‘COVID safe’.

Toucan Eco Cleaning at Suttie Opticians
Chetan Gudka, owner and optometrist at Brian D Suttie, explained: “As part of an Optometrist forum, one of the areas we’ve been discussing with regard to reopening safely is the disinfecting and sanitising of our practices. From the consulting room equipment which include chin rests, head supports, and our own instruments, to the frames in the dispensing area that our patients will try on.

“We wanted to find a multipurpose solution that can be used to safely disinfect work stations, hands, equipment and frames safely, as part of increased hygiene protocols. The question of using certain products on our equipment which comes into contact with skin has concerned me and we were keen to avoid alcohol, bleach or hydrogen peroxide sanitisers. It needed to be an effective, antiviral cleaning system that would be suitable for both clinical and retail environments.”

Toucan Eco Cleaning at Suttie Opticians
After researching chemical-free cleaning solutions online, Chetan discovered Toucan Eco. The multipurpose disinfectant cleaner that’s made from just salt and water, and uses electrochemical activation to produce hypochlorous acid – an effective solution that’s already being used by the dental industry for disinfection.

The solution kills up to 99.999% of microorganisms, including those harder-to-kill than the coronavirus. What’s more, with a gentle pH of around 8, Toucan Eco is both effective and safe to use on areas and products that come into contact with human skin.

One of the benefits that appealed to the practice was Toucan Eco’s ability to create their own disinfectant solution on-site, refilling reusable spray bottles and, in turn, eliminating plastic waste from the single-use bottles that chemicals are often supplied in.



Chetan said: “We all need to take responsibility for the environment; as a practice we’ve been looking at various ways to improve our sustainability over the last few years. We have introduced more eco-friendly products such as frames made from recycled plastic from the ocean, and refillable lens cleaning solution containers to reduce plastic waste. We also recycle used contact lenses and their packaging for customers.

“With Toucan Eco, we’ve been able to implement a cleaning regime that’s effective and safe, while reducing our impact on the environment. Not only does this eliminate our need to purchase cleaning chemicals, it also reduces the single-use plastic bottles that those chemicals come in.”

With a site measuring 940 sq. ft, Steve Courtney, Toucan Eco product lead at Robert Scott, recommended the Toucan Eco III model. This is a worktop unit that allows users to create one litre of solution at a time, which can be used for up to seven days.


Toucan Eco Cleaning at Suttie Opticians
Chetan continued: “We apply the solution from atomiser spray bottles and use microfibre cloths, which are laundered each day and reused to save on disposable products. I’d say that for most small businesses the Toucan Eco III is the ideal product. You can make one litre of the solution at a time and when you run out you simply make more.”

At the current rate of usage, the practice estimates that by comparing the cost of the unit against the chemical sanitiser it was purchasing, the team expects to make a total saving of £500 - £700 per year and 100 less single-use plastic bottles.



In addition to the cost-saving and sustainability benefits that Toucan Eco brought to Brian D Suttie, the team also praised the non-toxic formula that is safe for staff and visitors.


Divia Gudka, practice manager, added: “We’re extremely pleased with the results from Toucan Eco so far. The non-toxic solution is very easy to make and provides fantastic cleaning results in both our clinical and retail areas. Patients have commented how soft the sanitiser is on the skin, unlike alcohol-based products, and really liked the concept of the solution and how environment friendly it is.

“Finding a non-toxic product that we can confidently use around customers handling contact lenses or spectacles was so important to us. To have an ecologically and environmentally friendly disinfecting and sanitising solution on tap, has allowed us to provide a safe and clean environment for patients and staff.

“It has provided peace of mind in the current climate and allowed us return to treating patients with the same level of service we’ve always offered in a practice that is protected against COVID-19.”

New back to school lens promotion from Essilor

August 2020

Take Two Multi pair from Essilor Essilor Ltd has enhanced its “Take Two” multipair promotion for Independent ECPs to offer to families of children heading back to school.

Parents can now choose any Crizal lens and get their child’s pair for free, selecting from the Airwear junior range with Crizal Easy UV or Crizal Prevencia lenses.

New point of sale is available to promote the offer and entice customers through the doors including window posters and leaflets.

Tim Precious, managing director at Essilor Ltd said: “Our promotion will encourage families to visit their local optician before children head back to the classroom after what’s been an extra-long period away for many pupils.

“It will also support and drive sales for ECPs by attracting new and existing customers through their doors and give them an extra competitive edge on the high street.”

Poor vision impacts every aspect of a child's life, from learning and confidence, to social interaction. This inspires Essilor Ltd to help to run vision screening days at local schools near its head office in Thornbury.

“The feedback following an event is always incredibly positive, and we’ve helped many children with undetected eyesight problems through this initiative and our support for the Vision Aid Overseas school programme. This latest multipair incentive helps to remove another barrier to vison correction in children,” added Tim.

The Take Two parent and child multipair offer runs from 1 August until 30 November.

New ECP Sports Day Promotion from Essilor

August 2020

Transitions Game Board
Essilor Ltd has launched a new sports day board game incentive for Independent ECPs to play and claim rewards this summer.

Optical staff compete by collecting sporting activity stickers every time they place an order for a pair of Varilux Transitions Crizal lenses, during the three-month promotional period which kicks off on 1 August.

With five stickers to collect for each activity including tennis, swimming, cycling, gymnastics, and athletics, and an extra boost for completing all five sticker sets, there is also the chance to win the star prize sticker worth £500 of gift vouchers.

Tim Precious, managing director at Essilor Ltd said: “We’re extremely excited to launch our fabulous new board game as a way of thanking ECPs for their continued support.

“There’s never been a better time to recommend Varilux lenses with Transitions and Crizal as more patients look for a solution for eye health and protection during the summer months.

“We hope our nostalgic school-style sports day initiative will not only act as a sales incentive and boost revenue for optical practices, but also offer some light-hearted fun and healthy competition for our ECP business partners.”

A full sticker set collected is worth £10. If all five sets are completed, the value increases to £75. Complete the board with the value booster sticker and this increases to £150. If the ECP receives a star prize sticker, they win an additional prize worth up to £500 even if board is not completed.

Extra boards are available via customer services and full terms and conditions apply.

Visit www.ecp.essilor.co.uk

Roll-out of 2 new rapid coronavirus tests ahead of winter

August 2020

Both tests will be able to detect COVID-19 and other winter viruses in just 90 minutes

New tests will hugely increase testing capacity ahead of winter, delivering fast results that will help to break chains of transmission quickly

Millions of ground-breaking rapid coronavirus tests will be rolled out to hospitals, care homes and labs across the UK to increase testing capacity ahead of winter. The tests will enable clinicians and NHS Test and
Trace to quickly advise on the best course of action to stop the spread of the virus.

Two new tests – both able to detect the virus in just 90 minutes – will be made available to NHS hospitals, care homes and labs.

The 2 tests will be able to detect both COVID-19 and other winter viruses such as flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The tests do not require a trained health professional to operate them, meaning they can be rolled out in more non-clinical settings.

This will help to further strengthen the coronavirus response this winter, arming both clinicians and NHS Test and Trace with the ability to distinguish between COVID-19 cases, which have specific self-isolation requirements, and other winter viruses.

The 7 day rolling day average remains for the third day in a row static at 753 form Gov UK figures on the PHN Covid Hub, CovoidjoinZoe Covid Sympton Study estimates 2110 daily infections accross the UK.

Isolation times just extended and more travel restrictions are imminent

July 2020

7-Rolling Average

As Government extends isolation times for the infected from 7 to 10 days and a crack down on further travel looks likely, we look at the figures.

On the PHN Covid hub we have been tracking daily reported positive infection rates since May 1st, 2020.

The National news has for most of this period focussed on the daily death rate and the rolling average death rate over a 7-day period.

It seemed sensible to us to focus on the primary cause of illness and death, that being those infected.

As treatment is adapted and improves and the second wave appears to affect a younger cohort this will affect the death rate numbers, with a sincere hope that less of those infected will die.

Our rolling 7-day infection average has shown that there is a definite rise in infections over the last 2 weeks and it has hit the highest total yesterday of an average of 29 new infections over the last 7 days per day.

This is a snapshot of our daily Covid Hub information published today.

Visit reguarly here

PHN 7 day rolling infection rate 726 new infections per day (7 day rolling) (+29 on yesterday) The highest Daily Increase this month!

As of 9am on 29th July, there have been 15,478,728 tests, with 301,455 people have tested positive.

As of 5pm on 28th July, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 45,119* have died. (*Not Updated by Gov.uk as from 15th July.)

Deaths as reported by in News were Total 45961 and increase of 83 (28th July)


Covid Symptom Infection Map
The Covid Symptom Study, which we encourage all professionals to join and download to a smart phone at https://covid.joinzoe.com/ also shows similar findings but their extrapolation from the 4 million plus contributors as always shown a 3 x higher level of expected infection than the Government figures.
Todays Covid Zoe infection map (left) and Infection numbers and key to map (right)

Covid Symptom Infection Map Key



Interestingly their infection map for localised areas not only confirms the hot spots now under local lockdown but did so earlier than was acted upon.



It also appears that those areas that missed much of the earlier infection now seem to be rising above those areas that didn’t.


Could this be a factor of relaxation, loss of compliance, immunity levels or susceptibility, we may never know.


We do at least this time know we have to act ahead of the next phase and not as before 2 weeks behind it.





Please consider joining the Covid Symptom Study and also encouraging your patients to do so and spread the word.. https://covid.joinzoe.com/

“It was a question of weeks or days, not months”

July 2020


8-year-old girl’s life saved thanks to trip to opticians

Hollie-Leigh Creighton after papilloedema
Holly Creighton, an eight-year-old girl from Leigh was unknowingly at risk from a potentially fatal brain tumour, after a trip to her local Specsavers revealed she was suffering from severe raised pressure in the brain.

Kelly Morris, Holly’s mum, said she had no idea how serious it was: ‘She had been complaining of mild headaches and sore eyes for about four weeks.

‘She then went through a spell of being sick two or three times in the morning and feeling so dizzy she couldn’t lie down. Then she’d feel better over the course of the day. ‘At first I thought it was a bad case of hayfever. Then, when her eye turned inwards, I started to wonder if it could be a lazy eye and I knew we had to do something about it.’

On a Thursday in early June, Kelly decided to book an appointment at her local opticians, where they were still taking emergency appointments.

Rumit Patel, store director at Specsavers Leigh who saw Holly said: ‘Kelly was worried as Holly had been showing some pretty extreme symptoms for a child, such as nausea and vomiting.

‘When they came in, Holly couldn’t stop crying and when I asked her why, she said her eyes really hurt. She wouldn’t be away from Kelly so I said she could sit on her mum’s lap while we did some initial tests.

‘During the pre-test, which is when we take pictures of the back of the eye, I could immediately tell something wasn’t right. ‘I compared the pictures with some that we had taken at her last test in November and the changes were extremely worrying.

‘Although her eyesight itself was fine, she was showing signs of end-stage papilloedema – essentially raised pressure in the brain which causes the optic nerve to become swollen.’

Papilloedema is an extremely serious, potentially fatal, condition which normally affects middle-aged women and is very rare among children. Rumit continued: ‘In my 15 years as an optician, I’d never seen anything as serious as this in someone so young.I had to take myself out of the store for a walk down the high street, as I was just in pieces. I kept thinking how I was going to try and explain this to Kelly.’

Kelly said that when Rumit came back, she could tell he was very distressed: ‘Rumit told Holly she could go and watch some TV in the other room while he explained to me what he suspected.’

Rumit emailed Leigh Infirmary asking for an emergency referral, attaching the pictures he’d taken of the back of Holly’s eye.

Leigh Infirmary then immediately referred Holly for a CT scan at Wigan Infirmary for preliminary testing.

Kelly continued: ‘At Wigan, they confirmed it was in fact a tumour at the back of Holly’s brain. I went to pieces. I called my mum to tell her the news and I just fell to the floor. ‘When you hear your child has a brain tumour, a million questions run through your mind – how serious is it, will she be ok – everything.’

An ambulance then took both Holly and Kelly to Manchester Paediatrics Hospital, where Holly had an MRI scan and had a cannula inserted.

At 6 am Friday morning, Holly went in for an operation. By Monday morning, Holly was sitting up in bed and by Tuesday she was walking around and climbing stairs.

Kelly said: ‘If it wasn’t for the scar, you would never have known what had happened, Holly’s taken it completely in her stride. If it was me, I would still be in bed!

‘She had the surgery in less than 24 hours after we had the appointment at Specsavers – I think I’ve only just started to process what could have happened.

‘From what the doctors and Rumit have said, it was a question of weeks or days, not months, before she would have died from this.‘Everyone – Rumit, the staff at Leigh, Wigan and Manchester hospitals – have just been brilliant.’

Holly is now making a full recovery at home but she’ll continue to undergo testing at Christie’s and Manchester Eye Hospital.

Rumit added: ‘My niece is eight-years-old and the whole time, I just couldn’t stop thinking about her. Holly and her mum are both amazing. They’ve since come back into store to see me with some cakes and it was wonderful to see them both - Holly’s eye is completely back to normal.

WALDO announces diversification into further unspecified online eyecare following on from its online CL business.

July 2020

Waldo
Following an immensely successful three years since inception, more than £9 million in funds-raised and effective expansion into 27 countries, direct to consumer eye care brand, Waldo is diversifying its offering with a move from solely contact lens provider to a holistic eye care company, with plans to triple its revenue in 2021.

Now serving over 180,000 customers worldwide, Waldo is adding new product launches to its roster of direct to consumer products, with the launch of its Blue Light Glasses and homeopathic Hydration Drops to secure founder and CEO, Ashleigh Hinde’s, position as an innovator and leader within the optical industry.





"Whilst Waldo’s contact lenses will remain as the core product, including the UK’s first ever vitamin contact lenses, Waldo is diversifying its range broadly, with both quality and ease for the consumer at the core of the product launches." says Ashleigh Hinde, founder and CEO of Waldo.

He aims to ask relevant questions of the eyecare sector such as:

• How online eye care can merge with the offline traditional eye care offering to better support consumers

• Why the optometry industry needs to modernise to respond to consumer demand

• The future of digital healthcare and how the introduction of tech can positively affect traditional health industries

In essence Waldo is elevating its direct to consumer offering in 2021.

ED: WALDO were due to exhibit at the now defunct Optrafair 20/20 which is a lost opportunity to find out more. Opchat News will reach out to them for more substantial information.

New public site from PCSE provides searchability and downloads

July 2020

Primary Care Support England (PCSE) has launched a new public-facing website that will allow people to search for optometrists and OMPs on the Performers List for England. The tool also allows advanced search options and the ability to download search options as an Excel sheet. Click here

Don’t rely on temperature screening products for detection of coronavirus (COVID-19), says MHRA

July 2020

Warning that thermal cameras and other such “temperature screening” products, some of which make direct claims to screen for COVID-19, are not a reliable way to detect if people have the virus.

The Agency is telling manufacturers and suppliers of thermal cameras that they should not make claims which directly relate to COVID-19 diagnosis, and is reminding businesses to follow Government advice on safe working during COVID-19.

Graeme Tunbridge, MHRA Director of Devices, said: Many thermal cameras and temperature screening products were originally designed for non-medical purposes, such as for building or site security. Businesses and organisations need to know that using these products for temperature screening could put people’s health at risk.
These products should only be used in line with the manufacturer’s original intended use, and not to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms. They do not perform to the level required to accurately support a medical diagnosis."
"We are reminding anyone selling these products not to make claims which directly relate to COVID-19 diagnosis. If they fail to comply, we will take formal enforcement action"
.
Products which the manufacturer claims are intended for screening for COVID-19, or fever-like symptoms, would be regarded as medical devices and regulated by the MHRA.

There is little scientific evidence to support temperature screening as a reliable method for detection of COVID-19 or other febrile illness, especially if used as the main method of testing.

Temperature readings from temperature screening systems will measure skin temperature rather than core body temperature. In either case, natural fluctuations in temperature can occur among healthy individuals.
These readings are therefore an unreliable measure for detection of COVID-19 or other diseases which may cause fever. Furthermore, infected people who do not develop a fever or who do not show any symptoms would not be detected by a temperature reading and could be more likely to unknowingly spread the virus.

The MHRA recommends that businesses and workplaces follow the government advice on safe working during COVID-19, as well as implementing scientifically reliable methods of testing for COVID-19.

Boots Opticians to close 48 Stores

July 2020

Boots Opticians
In a day of wholesale cuts in retail presence on the High Street, with news of John Lewis closing 8 stores we hear of news closer to home.

Namely Boots Opticians are to lose 48 High Street stores, announced by Boots today.

At present we have not been told of the 48 locations affected.

Other jobs will be affected in Boots Stores and staff losses are likely to reach 4000.

Watch Sahra talk about Ørgreen colouring process

July 2020

Sahra from Ørgreen
A KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOUR from Ørgreen

Rooted in the simplicity of Scandinavian design, the new Acetate mini-collection combines timeless styles with the modern touch of bold and unique colors.



Like a kaleidoscope, constantly creating different patterns, Ørgreen succeeds in manipulating the lightness and depth of acetate into an ever-evolving collection of modern styles and fascinating color combinations

Watch the video here

Novartis Withdraws Marketing Application of Dry Eye Drug Xiidra in Europe

July 2020

Novartis has decided to withdraw its marketing application seeking approval of dry eye drug Xiidra (lifitegrast) in Europe. The decision comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the drug’s benefits did not outweigh its risks.

Novartis pulled the application on June 18 after the EMA considered that the effectiveness of Xiidra was not demonstrated across different symptoms of dry eye disease. The EMA stated that “Although some effect was seen in the reduction of eye dryness, the improvement was not considered clinically significant.”

The EMA also noted that there were no data on the effect of long-term treatment with Xiidra despite eye dryness being a chronic disease.

Source Eyewire News

Thank you Opchat News for your continued support of the COVID Symptom Study and for encouraging your readers to take part.

July 2020

The recent lockdown of Leicester has highlighted the need for earlier hotspot detection, particularly as lockdown measures are eased and life begins to return to 'normal'.

It is thanks to your ongoing supporters daily logging that we are now able to detect potential new COVID hotspots in the UK.

With COVID Symptom Study data now flagging up potential hotspots, it will allow for greater surveillance and more focussed testing that could detect new outbreaks much earlier.

To do this successfully, we need more people to join us by using the app each day.

Please continue to spread the word about the app with friends, family, and your local community.(Ed Happy to do so, please join here )

New app features

The newest update of the COVID Symptom Study app includes a number of new features:

• The ability to enable notifications to remind you to log directly from the 'Thank You' screen of the app if you don't currently have them enabled

• A new question on blood types

• Improved COVID test entry questions

News and research updates

Please add to the 4 million responders already logging in for 5 minutes every day

NHS Test and Trace contacts more than 130,000 people

July 2020

More than 130,000 people at risk of unknowingly spreading coronavirus have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

The weekly NHS Test and Trace statistics have been published, showing that more than 130,000 that may have otherwise have been at risk of unknowingly spreading the virus have been reached and asked to self-isolate

Weekly statistics have been developed to include test turnaround times, demonstrating that the time it takes for results to be delivered has been significantly reduced

Improvements to testing and tracing continue, so that we reach more people at risk of spreading the virus as quickly as possible, with 87% satisfied with the service

Statistics covering the fourth week of operation (18 to 24 June) of the new NHS Test and Trace service were published on Thursday 2 July.

The fourth set of data demonstrates that in one month of operation, more than 130,000 people who may have been at risk of unknowingly spreading the virus have been reached by the service and asked to self-isolate.

Further information on the work of all 3 tiers of contact tracers within NHS Test and Trace is also included, demonstrating that fewer cases are having to be escalated through the tiered system to health protection teams as complex cases.

The data shows that those testing positive outside of complex settings are providing tracers with a higher number of contacts.

Testing turnaround times will now be included in weekly statistics on NHS Test and Trace, showing the speed at which tests are returned in the first month of the service’s operation. Data from 28 May to 24 June shows significant improvements in the time it takes to deliver results, with tests at drive-through and mobile testing sites delivering the fastest results. By the 24 June, 96.7% of tests at mobile sites, and 98% of tests at regional test centres were being returned the day after the tests were taken.

Improvements in the speed at which test results are returned is the result of extensive work to develop the NHS Test and Trace service, including increased numbers of collections of swabs at test sites, more mobile testing units traveling to hard to reach areas and new tools to unpack swabs quickly at Lighthouse Labs.

Home testing kits can now be posted using any of the 30,000 Royal Mail priority postboxes, collected throughout the day. Satellite testing at care homes has also been improved to return 73.9% of tests the day after tests were taken.

To reach more people at risk of spreading the virus further, NHS Test and Trace has also changed the times at which potential contacts will be called, based on data showing that people are more likely to respond to the service at particular times of the day.

These extensive efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus will continue over the coming months, to further improve the service and the speed at which positive cases and contacts are informed.

As a result, a recent customer feedback survey, conducted by Public Health England and with 30,213 respondents, showed that 87% of cases and contacts who completed the NHS Test and Trace system were either very satisfied or satisfied with the system. Only 3% reported being dissatisfied with the service.

Executive Chair of NHS Test and Trace, Dido Harding, said: The data published demonstrates the tireless efforts underway to continue to improve NHS Test and Trace. We have seen significant improvements in the time it takes to process test results, an important step to rapidly reach the contacts of those testing positive and ask them to self-isolate to prevent them spreading the virus further. I am very grateful to all those who have played their part and responded so well to the service.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, get a test immediately. You can be confident that you will receive your result quickly, with NHS Test and Trace reaching out to you if you test positive to help you identify your contacts and protect those around you. I urge anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow the advice they receive".

KOMONO X Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp Fashion Department

July 2020

After a successful first edition, KOMONO is proud to renew its partnership with the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. KOMONO worked together with three master students in the creation of a pair of sunglasses linked to the students’ personal work. The result is an outspoken collection that bolsters the fresh vision of tomorrow’s top designers.

Annemarie Saric


KOMONO x Annemarie Saric

Inspired by the concept cars of the late 70s and their aerodynamic qualities, Annemarie Saric’s futuristic-looking proposition features a shaped lens and intricate temple detailing. Formed by a cut-out and collage technique of vintage car parts, the glasses are characterized by their highly sculptural effect.

Annemarie Saric

KOM-S2238




KOMONO X Annemarie Solid Grey (right)


Karolina Widecka


KOMONO x Karolina Widecka


Investigating the duality between a fragile appearance and an extreme shape, Karolina Widecka proposes a capsule drenched in superstition and symbolism. Inspired by ex votos and Mexican religious art, the glasses function as a token of protection for its wearer with its ‘broken glass’ upper bar.

Karolina Widecka



KOM-S2242


KOMONO X Karolina Ash Smoke (right)




Florentina Leitner

KOMONO x Florentina Leitner


Florentina Leitner took to the 60s and its psychedelic art to create a pair of glasses that have been stretched and liquified to a vertigo or spiralling effect. Paying tribute to the art icons of those days such as Peggy Guggenheim, the capsule is a modern reinterpretation of the avant-garde eyewear of yesteryear.



KOM-S2235



Florentina Leitner
KOMONO X Florentina Crystal Pink (right)

The collection will be made available, starting from July 2nd, through komono.com, KOMONO flagship stores and selected retailers for a suggested retail price of 199 euros.

On the initiative of the students, part of the proceedings of this sale will go to Survived and Punished, a US-based organization who supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence who have been incarcerated or targeted by law enforcement.

Leicestershire coronavirus lockdown: areas and changes

July 2020

Leicestershire Lockdown Map  hspace=
Areas of Leicestershire that are included in the localised coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown and what this means.

On 29 June, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock set out the local action being taken in Leicester following a surge in coronavirus cases in the area.
This morning, the local councils set out the following areas of Leicestershire that are included in the localised lockdown:



in Blaby District:

Braunstone Town (including Fosse Park)
Glenfield
Glen Parva

Leicester Forest East (east of the M1)
Thorpe Astley
in Charnwood:
Birstall
Thurmaston
all areas of Oadby and Wigston

See latest information and advice on coronavirus for Leicester.

OKIA receives the INTERTEK GREEN LEAF MARK CERTIFICATION as an environmentally conscious organisation for the material used in the sutainable RESHAPE™ Eyewear Collection

June 2020

RESHAPE™ OKIA strengthens its commitment to sustainability and has recently been awarded the Intertek Green Leaf Mark, a consumer product and systems verification that confirms your environmental claims have been independently verified and can thus be used to enhance the marketability of your product.

The certification comes as a result of the company’s development of BIO-RPET, a revolutionary material that embraces the 3R eco concept (recycle / reduce / recover) and takes form in RESHAPE™, an upcycling eyewear collection crafted exclusively from 5 water bottles to produce 1 pair of eyeglasses.

The RESHAPE™ collection is made of 100% recycled PET material, a petroleum-based product that is globally known as safe, lightweight and flexible. This material is also 100% BPA free and allows the production of frames with a high impact resistance. The upgraded version of RESHAPE™ can ultimately break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass after a 5-year biodegradation process.

With the Intertek Green Leaf Mark, manufacturers can provide business clients and consumers with the confidence that the environmental claims concerning their product(s) have been verified by an international, independent third-party testing, auditing and certification body in terms of Biodegradability, Recycled Content and ECO Claim (referred to verifying the chemical components).

RESHAPE™ represents not only a marvellous success for OKIA but also a great milestone in the sustainable eyewear industry and the Green Leaf certification is an additional goal in its virtuous path toward a better world, raising the company’s profile as an environmentally conscious organization.

 

 
 
 
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