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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, April to November 2021

Vivian Bush awarded honorary membership by the AOP
GOC’s Honey Rose sanction quashed at High Court
Welsh Health Minister pledges £170m extra a year for planned care services delivery transformation
ABDO General Secretary to step down at the end of 2022
Protect your sight on Fright Night and dont give yourself a fright
More than 3 Million Pledge to Love Eyes this World Sight Day
Posthumous IOA Award for Bernard Maitenaz
New Master at WCSM
NEW Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool
Now its time for the 'Flu' Jab for PC workers
October 14th will be World Sight Day
Poll of the Nation’s Favourite (Eye) Sights Confirms We’re A Nation of Animal Lovers
OutsideClinic issues new HR wellbeing improvements
College adds weight to this week's National Eye Health Week
Eye-care waiting lists in Ireland now unacceptable at 49,000
Obituary : Maureen Hunter
Celebration of the work and forthcoming retirement of Jo Underwood
AOP says" Optics poised to reduce pressure on NHS this winter "
Number 1 spot for Ocuco
College push for better funding in vision care
Mandatory vaccinations for frontline health and care staff
AOP says "Primary care sets out ‘asks’ for Health and Care Bill "
Think tanks calls for Government to continue momentum from COVID-19 vaccination programme as winter flu season approaches
College messages for "Back to School" signs to look for
National Eye Health Week coming soon
Scottish NHS Recovery Plan announced
New WCSM scheme for early career eye health and sight loss professionals.
Diabetes in pregnant mothers linked to eye problems in offspring
AI-supported test can predict eye disease that leads to blindness
Contact Lens Usage in the New Greener World, what you need to know.
ESSILOR drive to store support
NHS England appoints first female Chief Executive
AOP campaign highlights more than half of adults fail to protect their eyes from UV
United Nations Resolution Designed to Tackle Preventable Sight Loss
World-leading College research journal increases impact
The College of Optometrists issue summer eye health tips as many plan ‘staycation’
Impressive annual results from WMAHSN reveals improvement to the West Midlands’ health throughout pandemic
Healthcare organisations call for mandatory facemasks
COVID-19 guidance for primary eye care services in England, Keep Calm and Carry On
Health and Care Bill introduced to Parliament today
ESSILOR launches New Customer Partnership programme at ‘THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT’ EVENT
Man charged after Sloane Square raid on Tom Davies Store
Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland discuss the barriers Muslim Women experience
HAPTER, A New eyewear brand bewteen Avant-Garde and Courage
NHSX publishes new data strategy
Local Government Association (LGA) responds to NAO report on test and trace
Mandating Covid-19 vaccinations in care home settings – England
College of Optometrists encourages the public to seek eye care if they have concerns about their vision or eye health
OKIA strengthens its commitment to Sustainability
MITA for World Ocean's Day
Global eye care targets endorsed at World Health Assembly
CQC launches new strategy
Inequalities in disability between richest and poorest in the UK more than tripled in past decades, new report finds
Seeing the "new-normal" through Tinted Spectacles
Responsible recycling of waste by optical and optometric professionals and their patients/customers
"TAKE TWO" Media campaign seto to drive footfall
New report shows potential to improve cataract surgery outcomes through advanced IOL data reporting
"HEALTHTECH HOUR" becomes UK Health Radio's fastest growing show ever
AIO provides guidance to its members in respect of offering ‘paid for’ DVLA Field Tests
Primary Eyecare Services progression by stealth to take over existing extended eyecare agreements comes under question.
WLC UK launches a new eye-catching website
New 'We Offer Testing to our Staff' scheme launched
SHAMIR and ALPINE F1 Team form unique partnership
College of Optometrists releases ‘Forty Years of Research’ Report
"CAN’T SEE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS" College proves the the point.
Join us at SEE,Summit on the Environment.
Covid antiviral taskforce for the Autumn
College Update on Chloramphenicol
HEIW says the "Future approach for optometry services“ paper suggests major change in Wales
@Théa the new 2021 " let's open our eyes" Campaign
Why Blue Light Protection Matters
Entrepreneur Academy launched to support health and social innovators across West Midlands
Ocean blue project & Miami beach clean up join efforts with Mita eyewear, for a more sustainable future
ABDO highlights 2 new sponsors for its 2020 "Careers in Eyecare"
900 Specsavers stores have now installed OCT
Read archived General News from January to March 2021

Vivian Bush awarded honorary membership by the AOP

November 2021

Former Council and Board member for the Association of Optometrists (AOP), Vivian Bush has been made an honorary member.

Mr Bush, who represents the fifth generation of his family in optical practice, joined the AOP in 1985 and has stood on both AOP Council and Board. He has been active across many areas of the AOP’s work including as a member of the editorial board for its journal, Optometry Today, and as treasurer, trustee and strategy lead on the joint AOP and College of Optometrists Optical Benevolent Fund.

Mr Bush said: “Playing a role in shaping the AOP has been deeply satisfying and I am proud of what has been achieved. It has been a privilege to work with board colleagues, chief executives, and the AOP staff, to implement wide ranging changes across the organisation for its members.

“Most recently, the pandemic provided a severe test of organisational resilience; we were able to look after the membership in terms of providing an outstanding level of support and education whilst, helping them through a difficult time when their incomes were uncertain.

“I am deeply grateful to the AOP for the friends it has brought me, and the lessons learned over many years. To be awarded honorary membership is humbling, and I can only thank the membership for this recognition. I am glad to have been able to make a difference.”

AOP Chairman, Julie Anne-Little, said: “We’re delighted to award Vivian with an honorary membership, given his longstanding commitment and passion for the AOP’s work and his support for colleagues and members. Honorary membership is our way of saying a special thank you for his outstanding contribution.”

GOC’s Honey Rose sanction quashed at High Court

November 2021

The High Court has upheld an appeal brought by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) against the General Optical Council’s fitness to practise committee’s sanction against optometrist Honey Rose.

Rose was given a nine-month suspension without review in December 2020. An FtP Committee had found her fitness to practise impaired by virtue of serious misconduct following a failure to spot papilloedema caused by a build-up of fluid on the brain of an eight-year-old who subsequently died of hydrocephalus.

The FtPC’s decisions are subject to review by the under The NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002. The Act gives the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) powers to refer cases to the relevant court if it considers that an FtP decision is insufficient.

The GOC commented: “We acknowledge the judgement of the High Court to quash the decisions of our Fitness to Practise Committee (FTPC) regarding the case of optometrist Honey Rose. The matter has been remitted back to the GOC for a re-hearing.”

Welsh Health Minister pledges £170m extra a year for planned care services delivery transformation

November 2021

The Welsh Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, has announced that the government will invest more than £170m extra per year in planned care across NHS Wales.

The funding will predominantly focus on endoscopy, cataract, orthopaedic and diagnostic and imaging services. The fund will open for applications from 30 November 2021.

The Minister hopes the rallying cry and additional funds will ‘build a planned care system that is bigger, better and more effective than we have seen before’.

Planned care is any treatment that doesn't happen as an emergency and usually involves a prearranged appointment. Most patients are referred for planned care from their GP.

The funding will predominantly be focused on endoscopy, cataract, orthopaedic and diagnostic and imaging services, but will also go towards cancer and stroke services.

It is on top of the £25m extra a year for emergency departments announced in July.

ABDO General Secretary to step down at the end of 2022

October 2021

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) General Secretary, Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO has announced that he will step down from his current role at the end of 2022 after more than twenty years with the organisation.

Sir Anthony Garret CBE Sir Anthony says, “Whilst I am still enjoying my role with ABDO it is clear to me that the Association is about to enter a new and exciting chapter. It is appropriate therefore that a new chief executive be appointed to oversee our future activities over the long term. I will spend the next year doing my best to ensure that my successor has the best possible platform to work from.”

The ABDO Board will discuss arrangements for finding a successor at its meeting in January 2022. ABDO President Jo Holmes FBDO says, “It is with mixed emotions that we hear about Tony Garrett’s retirement plans. ABDO has been fortunate to have his expertise over the years, especially during these turbulent times. Many have succeeded under his guidance and encouragement, and he is a mentor and friend to all. We are pleased to have plenty of time to consider a suitable replacement in the coming months.”

Sir Anthony will continue to look after the affairs of ABDO College for the foreseeable future.

Eds.View: Sir Tony has steered the ABDO boat for a very long while. I remember meeting him when Chair at FODO when he was appointed at ABDO. He has alwyas provide a calm and considered viewpoint throughout the period especially when optical bodies were reguarly at loggerheads and has raised the profile of ABDO and especially the College throughout his tenure. Optics won's seem the same without him but I am sure we he will continue to make an appearance at key times. Well done Tony.


October 2021

Occuity seals £2.85million investment to develop revolutionary medical technology with multiple clinical uses

Occuity Indigo
A Berkshire based business has received investment funding to forge ahead with its development of the Occuity Indigo, an extremely innovative non-contact, optical glucose meter. The device will allow the 4.7million people in the UK with diabetes to monitor their blood-sugar levels through a simple scan of the eye.

Occuity, the medical technology start-up, which is developing the Indigo, has raised the largest MedTech financing deal (£2.85m) on leading crowdfunding platform, Seedrs.

The original £1.8m target was reached within 24 hours of launch. The team, comprised of experts in optics, mechanical engineering, and industrial design, are also collaborating with the medical and academic world including partnerships with the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the University of Bristol.

The deal is ground-breaking for people with diabetes but caught the attention of investors because of the broad potential usage of the company’s patented optical technology for a range of conditions including glaucoma, myopia, diabetes management, pre-diabetes screening and eventually, it is hoped, the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

Occuity CEO and Co-founder Dr. Dan Daly comments: “We’re delighted to have become the largest ever MedTech raise on Seedrs with over 850 investors from 37 countries, sharing our vision. Diabetes is a growing, global problem and we believe our technology will enable health services throughout the world to monitor and screen for diabetes, improving the clinical outcomes for the hundreds of millions of people who are unaware they have pre-diabetes or diabetes. The Occuity Indigo will then make regular glucose testing easier, faster and pain-free, improving the daily lives of many millions more people worldwide.”

Design Director, Daniele De Iuliis, who - having spent 27 years as part of Apple’s Industrial Design Group - is now leading on the design of the Occuity Indigo, comments: “For too long now, the way in which we discover and monitor chronic diseases like diabetes has been routed in repetitive finger stick blood testing with all the pain, discomfort and inconvenience that brings. In contrast, the Occuity Indigo will be a discrete handheld product that will simply scan the eye to take a glucose measurement providing a pain-free 21st century solution that is long overdue.”

How will the technology work?

Diabetes Screening

• Optical confocal scanning technology allows very precise measurements of structures within the eye, to be made down to micron level.
• The scanning technology will detect the concentration of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) which build up in the eye over time.
• Invisible ‘Blue’ light illuminates the eye and the returning scattered blue light alongside green fluorescent light from the AGEs is detected.
• Coupled with machine learning techniques, the readings from this device will give an indication of whether the subject is non-diabetic, pre-diabetic or diabetic
• Taking just a few seconds, the test is completely non-contacting, so can be performed in a non-clinical setting in a pharmacy, an optician's practice, or even in a domiciliary setting such as a care home.

Glucose monitoring (Occuity Indigo)

• The Occuity Indigo will be based on the company’s core optical confocal scanning technology
• The personal use device will scan the eye’s aqueous humour within the anterior chamber of the eye
• It is non-contact, rapid and completely painless
• The aqueous humour is effectively an ultra-filtrate of blood i.e. blood with the red and white cells filtered out. This means that the levels of glucose found within it correlates very well with that in the blood stream
• As the concentration of glucose in the eye changes, the way in which light travels through the eye - the refractive index – also changes.
• With its ability to make very precise measurements, the Occuity Indigo will be able to detect this change and in turn determine the concentration of glucose in the blood.

Protect your sight on Fright Night and dont give yourself a fright

October 2021

College of Optometrists advises the public to consider their health when dressing up

College research shows that almost 60 percent of those dressing up will consider wearing novelty contact lenses*

If you are considering wearing novelty contact lenses this Halloween, you will not be alone. Research conducted by The College of Optometrists showed that almost 60 percent of those who plan to dress up as part of Halloween celebrations will consider wearing cosmetic contacts lenses*. The same research shows that only 22 percent of people would buy novelty lenses from an optometrist*; although it is illegal to sell zero powered (lenses without a prescription) contact lenses in the UK without the supervision of an optometrist, dispensing optician or doctor.

Dr Paramdeep Bilkhu MCOptom, Clinical Adviser at The College of Optometrists explains:. “If you want to wear novelty lenses this Halloween, speak to your optometrist about the lenses you can be safely fitted with. They will advise you as to which lenses are suitable for you. Your optometrist will also be able to show you how to insert and remove your lenses. Fancy dress lenses are often purchased by people who are not regular contact lens wearers, meaning they might not know how to handle and care for them properly, which can result in damage to the eye and potential sight loss.”

The College of Optometrists has issued the following advice for those intending to wear contact lenses this Halloween:

• Unlike standard contact lenses, fancy dress lenses may not be tailored to your eyes, which can increase the risk of eye health issues. Lenses that are not properly fitted, or from unreputable sources may increase the risk of contact lens-related complications such as scratching your eye or causing an infection, so it is important that any contact lenses you wear are fitted and dispensed by a qualified professional who can give you the appropriate advice on how to wear and use them safely

• If you are re-wearing contact lenses of any sort, including novelty lenses, you must make sure that they are suitable for this purpose and only within the re-use period after first opening. You should clean and disinfect them thoroughly after use with the recommended contact lens solution. Never use tap water, the wrong solution, or lick them – and if they drop on the floor don’t simply pop them back in

• You should never use contact lenses after their expiry date

• You should not share contact lenses with friends, as even quickly trying them on can lead to eye infections

• Driving with novelty lenses (even if you wear glasses over the top) may also be dangerous: if the lenses aperture does not align with your pupil they may impair your vision

• If you experience any eye discomfort when, or after, wearing any type of contact lens contact your optometrist for advice without delay.

More than 3 Million Pledge to Love Eyes this World Sight Day

October 2021

More than three million people have pledged to have their eyes tested this World Sight Day! The need for people to get their sight checked is more apparent now than ever, with the pandemic and worldwide lockdowns leading to more time spent on screens, less time spent outdoors, and missed sight exams. On a global scale, evidence shows that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. Up to one-fifth of those are at significant risk of blindness if current trends continue. So, to have so many individuals and organisations committing to more than three million eye exams is a shot in the arm for public health eye care around the world.

Global challenge

IAPB and members have worked hard over the past few months to organise ‘challenge’ eye exams at interesting locations around the world to draw people’s attention to eyes and vision. As part of the #LoveYourEyes campaign, sight tests are being carried out at some of the world’s most famous sights including Mount Everest, Tower Bridge London, Bluff Point New Zealand, Brooklyn Bridge, Mount Kilimanjaro, and more.

Global Support for #LoveYourEyes Campaign

The campaign is also being supported by The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), a non-profit trade association for the video game industry in the UK whose members include Microsoft, Esports, and Nintendo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is backing the campaign encouraging people to get sight checked and offering advice on how to #LoveYourEyes.

Alarcos Cieza, Unit Head for Vision, Disability and Rehabilitation at the WHO said: “The last year has been incredibly tough on people, and it has been tough on their eyes too. We have found ourselves spending more time looking at screens, spending less time outside, and we have also had to miss sight check-ups. However, there are a few easy things we can do to show our eyes and our loved ones’ eyes, especially our children’s, some extra care. Firstly, book an eye test. Prevention really is better than cure and an eye test often helps detect issues (beyond just your eyesight) before you may notice them yourself."

Secondly, follow the 20-20-20 rule.

This means taking a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes when using devices.

“Thirdly, encourage your child (children) to play outside regularly and spend at least 90 minutes each day outside. This will give your child a screen break and allow them to focus on different distances and spend time in natural light which can help keep your child’s eyes healthy.

“Finally, it is important to wear your glasses as instructed by your eye health professional. It isn’t true that glasses make your vision worse. They will not only help to see clearly but help prevent eyes from straining to see things.”

Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB said “The success of this year’s World Sight Day and our Love Your Eyes campaign has been unparalleled, and I’ve been delighted and proud of what we have done together.

“Every test pledged, every screening held, and every social media message sent has meant that we were able to reach more people than ever before with over 3million pledging to love their eyes. But the scale of the challenge we face is immense. The pandemic struck a massive blow to global eye health, and we must continue to act to save millions from unnecessary blindness”.


October 2021

Essilor’s new partner programme, Essilor Experts, is now live and promises to support, build, and futureproof independent optical practices.

Essilor Experts
A new online platform, EssilorPRO Portal, forms the backbone and hub of the programme for ECPs to access everything all in one place to successfully drive their practice forward.

Members will form part of an exclusive community of eye care professionals supported by regular information updates via a live newsfeed, special events and networking opportunities.

Tim Precious, managing director at Essilor Ltd said: “For generations, we have collaborated with exceptional eye care professionals who demand the latest technology and innovations. Time and again, our partners have challenged, exceeded, and reinvented vision care standards.

“As today’s world is changing at an unprecedented pace, we are evolving too. The new Essilor Experts programme will anticipate the needs of patients to help keep ECPs ahead of their competition and support their path to growth after a turbulent year.

“Essilor Experts will achieve this by driving traffic in-store, engaging patients and showcasing their expertise and improving business performance and efficiency.”

The tiered programme which offers different levels of support, has been created to drive new customers into practice, with a unique online and offline ecosystem and media campaigns to raise visibility of participating ECPs as experts.

Digital tools will help drive traffic and educate consumers on vision care via Essilor’s consumer websites. Participating ECPs will get prioritised positioning on an online store locator offering appointment booking through a Live Calendar tool.

The EssilorPRO Portal allows members to place and track the status of orders and view digital catalogues, access the marketing hub for a library of customisable support, manage appointment bookings and access product and sales training to build their learning journey.

It also showcases a new live newsfeed on the homepage giving access to instant updates.

To find out more about becoming an Essilor Expert speak to your business manager or visit

Posthumous IOA Award for Bernard Maitenaz

October 2021

The International Opticians Association has celebrated the achievements of Bernard Maitenaz in a ceremony which took place in Paris.

Bernard MaitenazBernard Maitenaz made a ground-breaking contribution in developing Varilux, leaving an enduring influence on the optical profession and making a lasting and permanent mark on the visual well-being of spectacle wearers around the world.

The ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries from the world of optics, as well as Benoit Maitenaz and Alban Maitenaz, son and grandson of Bernard.

The IOA is a forum for optical professionals, partners in the optical sector and educators, dedicated to the enhancement and development of the optical profession around the world with 18,500 members in over 40 countries.

Elaine Grisdale, Director of Development for the International Opticians Association said, “We are all here because we share much affection for Bernard, and this is under-pinned by a real sense of gratitude. He is special to both opticians and presbyopes throughout the world and probably even more important to presbyopic opticians!

“I am proud to be able to hand over the award – the IOA’s Special Recognition award in memory of a truly great man. Bernard never underestimated the work of the optician - they were the last piece of his Varilux jigsaw.

“Bernard was an innovator, and his innovation was something that has revolutionized people’s lives along with the whole sector. It has made the whole of the optical sector infinitely more interesting. Varilux added to the technical accomplishments of professionals worldwide – it was a joy to be able to use our skills, to take more complicated measurements, to choose the frame that would be the best adapted for the lenses and to be able to recommend a more effective vision solution to our patients.”

The IOA Special Recognition Award citation reads – “This certificate has been awarded to Bernard Maitenaz in recognition of his groundbreaking and enduring influence on the optical profession and to the visual well-being of spectacle wearers around the world.”

New Master at WCSM

October 2021

Ian Davies takes office as Master of The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

Ian Davies Master of WCSM
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers this week installed its new Master for 2021-22. Ian Davies is an optometrist by training who, after a successful career in the international contact lens industry, now works as a vision care sector consultant and keynote speaker. As Master, he will become an Honorary Vice-President of the charity Vision Foundation.

Commenting on his plans for the year ahead, Ian Davies said “Becoming Master of this Company is a great honour. The Company brings together people from every discipline in vision care. I want to harness that talent and use my Mastership to promote the need for eyecare in the young, better job opportunities for the vision impaired and the wide range of career opportunities that exist across the vision and sight loss sectors .”

Members of the Company will be taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Parade in the City of London on Saturday 13 November 2021, as “People of Vision”, demonstrating the many different professions and organisations involved in eye health care.

The new Master will be assisted during his year of office by Upper Warden Nigel Haig-Brown and Renter Warden Liz Shilling (also known as Liz Tomlin, lead orthoptist at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital).

NEW Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool

October 2021

All the talk is about sustainability in the run up to the SEE Summit on the environment for the optical community, but what’s the step YOU should take to become more sustainable? Whether you are an employee, locum, business owner or manufacturer, you can use the NEW Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool was lunched at the event on 4 October.

Developed by ABDO’s Working Group on the Environment, in collaboration with organisations across optical community, the Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool is an easy-to-use way to assess where you are right now and find key activities to make your working life, your practice and/or your business more sustainable.

Daryl Newsome is chair of the working group and ABDO Vice President. He says, “Everyone working in the optical industry has a part to play. If you are an employee you can work towards saving energy and water in practice every day as you go about your job. You can make sure you reuse items which would otherwise have been thrown away, such as saving scrap paper for notes. If you are a manager or business owner the tool gives you plenty of ideas too, and could be the first step towards your own sustainability strategy.”

The Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool starts with a questionnaire, and you then receive weekly emails outlining changes you can make, focussing on themes such as recycling, saving energy, travel, and how to reuse, refill, repair and recycle. All the tips are focussed on the optical industry, making this a unique and useful way for optical professionals and their teams to make a real difference.

Once you have worked through the weekly tips you can go back to the questionnaire and see how much progress you have made. Daryl Newsome adds, “Sustainability is a journey, and we know that the Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool will help everyone move closer to a truly sustainable optical industry, something that will benefit the planet now and long into the future.”

Now its time for the 'Flu' Jab for PC workers

October 2021

The NHS will fund flu vaccinations for primary eye care teams for the first time.

NHS England has confirmed additional funding to vaccinate all eligible primary care contractors and their frontline staff, including locums, for this influenza season (1 September 2021 to 31 March 2022).

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published advice on the coadministration of flu and COVID-19 on 14 September, and where it is operationally practical COVID-19 and influenza vaccines may be co-administered, although the COVID-19 booster vaccine programme should not disrupt or delay the deployment of the influenza programme.

Both programmes are important for individual and public health, especially over winter 2021 to 2022

October 14th will be World Sight Day

October 2021

World Sight Day – time for change

This year, World Sight Day theme is #LoveYourEyes.

The theme is defined by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), which leads on World Sight Day campaigns.

ECOO has drafted this article to mark the day and support you in raising awareness about eye health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also preparing for World Sight Day on 14 October. WHO says: “Unoperated cataracts and uncorrected refractive error are the leading causes of vision impairment. Other causes such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, infectious diseases of the eye, and trauma, however, cannot be ignored and need to be addressed.”

Alan Tinger, FODO Director, said: “We are fortunate to have a world-class primary eye care service in the UK. That is why uncorrected refractive error and unoperated cataracts are not the leading causes of vision impairment here. On World Sight Day, we should celebrate primary eye care in the UK and all the benefits this delivers for patients, the NHS and wider society.

“However, there are real challenges on the horizon. Our hospital eye care service cannot meet growing needs. This lack of capacity means people with glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye conditions are at an increased risk of preventable sight loss. Primary care stands ready to help hospital sector partners. All that is needed is a commitment from the NHS to commission to new pathways of care to meet the needs of our ageing population.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also preparing for World Sight Day on 14 October.

Poll of the Nation’s Favourite (Eye) Sights Confirms We’re A Nation of Animal Lovers

September 2021

Watching our pets beats looking at our partners in a poll of the nation’s favourite (eye) sights conducted to mark FrEYEday, a National Eye Health Week initiative, designed to get people taking better of their eyes.

Our vision is so important, which is why it’s no surprise 83 percent of us say it’s the sense we’d least like to lose. And, when asked about our favourite (eye) sights, watching our ‘children play’ came top, closely followed by looking at a sea-view and watching our be-loved pets at number three.

The sight of our partner trailed in at number five in the poll. Other favourites included scenic views such as the rolling countryside and the sunset, whilst sports fans voted seeing their team score and frazzled home workers admitted they couldn’t wait to see the clock strike 5pm on a Friday.

While we all cherish our eyesight, we’re not always good at looking after it. An incredible 50 percent of sight loss is avoidable. “So it’s vital that we get back into the habit of having routine sight tests and making healthy lifestyle choices” says David Cartwright chair of Eye Health UK the charity responsible for National Eye Health Week.

David continues: “There were more than four million fewer sight tests conducted in 2020 than 2019 so I’d urge anyone whose missed a routine eye check recently to book one, as early detection of chronic eye conditions is crucial to prevent unnecessary vision loss.”

Lifestyle choices pose another big threat to eye health. Regardless of your genetic predisposition, diet, weight, activity levels, alcohol consumption and whether or not you smoke can all affect your chances of suffering poor eye health, including the four main causes of sight loss – macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts.

However new research conducted for National Eye Health Week found awareness of the link between lifestyle and eye health is low.

Just a fifth of us (20%) are aware that physical activity can impact eye health, almost two thirds (63%) of us are oblivious of a link between weight (BMI) and eye health, whilst fewer than 4 in 10 of us are aware of a link between smoking and eye health, when in fact smokers are up to four times more likely to lose their sight than non-smokers

OutsideClinic issues new HR wellbeing improvements

September 2021

OutsideClinic launches new employee wellbeing strategy in mission to be the best place to work in optics and audiology

Lynda Oliver OC

OutsideClinic, the UK’s leading provider of home eye care and hearing services, has launched a new employee wellbeing strategy in a drive to become the employer of choice in optics and audiology.

It follows the appointment of a taskforce team, led by the company’s head of HR, Lynda Oliver, which is leading the exploration, implementation and roll-out of the company’s wellbeing strategy, with the support of Cirencester-based wellbeing social enterprise, Tasting Colours, who are dedicated to making wellbeing tangible, progressive and quantifiable, enabling everyone to thrive.

The company’s new strategy is centred on working together to create an environment and workplace where everyone can reach their potential and thrive.

It is being informed by the findings of an organisational-wide assessment, run by Tasting Colours, into current levels of wellbeing within the company and how these can be increased.

As part of the new strategy, the company is pledging to provide all employees with the tools and services to empower them to reach their potential, as well as working to create an environment where people can be happy to work, consistently perform at their best, with transparent and open working practices.

The drive to become the industry’s employer of choice comes as the Swindon-headquartered company looks to significantly grow its 300-strong team across England, Scotland and Wales following a 50% rise in demand for its domiciliary services - with owners, Optimism Health Group, aiming to create a £100m turnover business in the next five years.

To meet increasing demand, the company plans to grow its 86-strong team of optometrists by almost 50% over the next nine months, while it is also looking to recruit 12 audiologists and over a dozen support team staff.

Richard Gibson OC MD
Speaking about the launch of the new wellbeing strategy, OutsideClinic’s managing director, Richard Gibson (left), said: “Since acquiring OutsideClinic in November 2020, Optimism Health Group has driven transformative change within the business, helping us to create a modern workplace and to place even greater focus on our culture and the wellbeing of our exceptional team.

“We know that our people are the difference when it comes to us delivering extraordinary care to thousands of patients every week and we’re committed to doing everything possible to foster an open and supportive culture where everyone can thrive and realise their full potential.
“With this aim in mind, we chose Tasting Colours to work with and support our wellbeing agenda by creating a taskforce, led by our head of HR, Lynda Oliver, to take on the responsibility of championing wellbeing across the organisation, ensuring all colleagues are well-supported and equipped for success in everything they do.”

As part of its strategy, the company is piloting Tasting Colours’, scientifically proven, six-week-long wellbeing programme with up to 30 employees from across the business, with Tasting Colours working directly with these employees to increase wellbeing, build personalised wellbeing plans and boost the motivation required to thrive and sustain change.

Each employee’s wellbeing score was identified prior to the pilot beginning, with any changes to this score measured on a regular basis over the course of the six-week programme. If successful, both in terms of engagement and delivering a positive impact on wellbeing scores, the company plans to roll out Tasting Colours’ wellbeing programme across the business.

Lynda Oliver, head of HR and wellbeing (image top right) , said: “As a long-standing employee and head of HR, I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to drive this agenda for change as part of OutsideClinic’s mission to be the best place to work in optics and audiology.
“There’s nothing more important than the wellbeing of our hundreds of employees, and we also know that leads to better care for the 100,000 patients we see annually. I’m looking forward to working with my task force team colleagues to put wellbeing at the centre of everything we do as a company.
“Our pilot programme has only just begun but early indications suggest it is already having a hugely positive impact on the wellbeing of participants, which is very encouraging, giving us real confidence that we have the right processes in place.”

Lynda is being supported in her role by wellbeing champions Yvonne Hanley (payroll, pensions and HR manager) and Mike Neale (finance director), with further champions to be appointed from across the business over the coming months.

OutsideClinic is already a supporter of the Mindful Employer Initiative and signed up to their Charter which helps employers to take a positive approach towards mental health at work, and the company aims to build on its work to date in this area as part of its new wellbeing strategy.

It is also working to raise awareness of the often lesser-known career opportunities that are available in optical and audiology domiciliary care, with the company recently creating a series of short videos spotlighting the work its optometrists do and the many benefits that come with a career at the forefront of domiciliary eye care. These include not having to work weekends, unlike high street opticians, and having access to the very latest, state-of-the-art equipment and peer support.

You can watch the videos and find out more about the roles available at OutsideClinic by visiting

College adds weight to this week's National Eye Health Week

September 2021

College of Optometrists encourages the public to consider visiting their optometrist, if needed, during National Eye Health Week

Research published by The College of Optometrists to mark National Eye Health Week has shown that only 14 percent of people would visit an optometrist as a priority when thinking about taking care of their body1. However, a separate poll commissioned by the College showed that 31 percent of people noticed their vision get worse since the COVID-19 induced pandemic2, and 44 percent believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their eyesight2.

The poll also showed strong recognition of the term ‘optometrist’ with 83 percent of respondents identifying optometrists as an expert in eye health. Recognition was lowest in those aged 18-34, with 30 percent of respondents unable to make the connection between an optometrist and eye health.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser at the College said: “These statistics show us that sadly many people are not prioritising their eye health at a time when they may have concerns about their vision. We know from polls that people may have had concerns about the safety of visiting an optometrist in the past, but please be assured that optometrists are open and are safe to visit. Your practitioner will ensure all the appropriate safety measures are in place.

“It is very important that if you feel your vision has deteriorated or if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes, such as them becoming red or painful, you should contact your local optometrist. We know that people believe that spending more time in front of screens during lockdown has worsened their vision. You might have increased your exposure to screens working from home, video calls and more television, and it can be tiring for your eyes. The good news is that this is unlikely to cause any long lasting harm to your vision.”

Eye-care waiting lists in Ireland now unacceptable at 49,000

September 2021

Optometrists can unlock delays in public eye-care

The waiting list for eye-care remains unacceptably high at 49,000 – as Optometrists today said they can help to reduce delays in public eye-care.

National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) figures to August 2021 show that almost 41,200 people were on the outpatient eye-care waiting list. Almost 19,000 were waiting more than a year and 14,800 more than 18 months.

Furthermore, almost 7,800 people were awaiting inpatient eye procedures.

Optometry Ireland (formerly the Association of Optometrists Ireland, AOI) President John Weldon said there are deliverable opportunities to reform eye-care – to have patients seen quicker and at less cost.

“As the HSE has to manage healthcare budgets with the additional pressures COVID-19 has created, there is an opportunity to address this in eye-care through greater use of Optometrists.

“Citizens’ eye health is being compromised due to ongoing and unacceptable delays. Much of the resource needed to increase capacity in eye-care is already in place in Optometry. There are 300 practices and 700 practitioners all across the country who are highly trained, have state of the art equipment and have capacity to provide more services.

“We encourage that a greater role for Optometrists be given more discussion by the Department of Health and HSE. In Ireland Optometrists are not engaged with and utilised as much as in other EU countries.

“It is less costly for people to have their routine needs managed at their Optometrist than Hospital Ophthalmology service. The highly successful Sligo Cataract Scheme in the North West involving a greater role by Optometrists, has resulted in greatly reduced waiting times in that region.

“With approval from the HSE, Optometrists can also carry out greater prescribing to help with the care of chronic eye conditions in the community.

“The reform that we propose makes sense on every level. It can reduce waiting times, is cost-effective, makes services more accessible to patients and better uses a resource that is already in place,” Mr Weldon said.

Optometry Ireland welcomed ongoing developments in children’s eye-care for Optometrists to take charge of routine State eye examinations and care for children aged 8+. This has already commenced in a number of regions, and the profession called for a timeline and urgent roll out to all regions.

Mr. Weldon concluded by saying that approximately 40% of Optometrists have either trained as COVID-19 vaccinators, or were in the process of completing the certification.

“The door is open for Optometrists to play a greater role in public vaccination programmes. We envisage a future when people can receive vaccinations at their local certified Optometrist, similar to at a GP practice or Pharmacist.”

Obituary : Maureen Hunter

September 2021

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Maureen Hunter, nee Callender, former editor of OT from 1990-2006. Maureen died last week at the age of 78 after a brave battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Maureen Hunter
Maureen was very well known and popular in the optical profession and industry. She was renowned for her exceptional kindness and her active support of many optical organisations. As well as producing OT for the AOP, her Fleet-based company, Word & Images, produced newsletters for SightCare and the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, which she became a member of, and was active in the charity, Vision Aid Overseas.

Maureen previously published a Scottish optometry magazine and was chosen by the AOP to develop OT, which she took from an eight-page newsletter based in Scotland to a glossy, full colour 50-70 page fortnightly magazine based near London. An avid supporter of optical education, Maureen pioneered the first online CET and the OT bookshop which was present at optical shows and conferences.

Former deputy editor of OT for 17 years, Robina Moss, now owner of Forward4Business, said: “I owe my 21 years in optics to Maureen, who was an exceptional boss. She didn’t just create a loyal and hard-working OT team, she made you part of her family. As well as making her staff financially secure, she made you feel part of something special. Every staff birthday was celebrated and if anyone was having personal troubles, she was so supportive.

“There are many in optics who will always remember Maureen’s kindness. My heart goes out to her family at this sad time.”

Former OT business development manager, Sarah Bradley, said: “I first met Maureen in 1985 when she was the PR consultant for the Red Cross in Scotland where I worked. She was a very special lady, very intelligent and motivated.

“Maureen was a woman who had a passion for optics and was such an inspiration. She took pride in every publication that she was responsible for and treated every person she encountered with complete respect, regardless of their circumstances. She was a giant in her field.”

Former OT managing editor, Nicky Collinson, now editor of Dispensing Optics, said: "I worked alongside Maureen for 12 years. She was my first editor and taught me, not just the arts and crafts of impartial, truthful journalism, but how to always put the reader first.

“A successful businesswoman who balanced work with fun and family, Maureen's serene Scottish manner and sense of humour charmed all those who met her. She inspired me as a woman and a journalist. My heartfelt condolences to her sons Chris, Nik and Rod, her five grandchildren and all of Maureen's family and friends."

Eds note: I knew Maureen through the time I was at FODO and Chair and later when we started Primary Health Net now some 15 years ago and if anyone could be said to be the voice of the AOP and independent optics it was certainly her. In optometric journalism she was a legend in her time. God bless. (BH)

Celebration of the work and forthcoming retirement of Jo Underwood

September 2021

An event was held at ABDO College on 14 September to mark the retirement of ABDO College’s founding principal, Jo Underwood, who has stepped down after 21 years.

Clive Marchant FBDO, Chair of the ABDO College Board of Trustees, says, “Twenty-one years ago, Jo joined ABDO College as principal and the College’s first employee, with zero students! Twenty-one years later we approach four figure numbers of students studying at ABDO College every year, from optical assistant, FBDO diploma and degree courses along with contact lenses and low vision honours courses, all achieving consistent, outstanding results. Jo and her team have achieved so much in the past 21 years. Jo should be very proud of all she has achieved.

Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO, ABDO General Secretary for the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, says, “It would be impossible to adequately say thank you to Jo Underwood for all that she has done and achieved since becoming the founding principal of ABDO College. Her leadership, dedication and enthusiasm are legendary and she has created a first-class team at Godmersham which is rightly seen as a world class and innovative centre of excellence. The whole Association and the College trustees hold Jo in the highest possible regard and everyone wishes her all the very best for the future. She leaves her role with the love and great affection from her friends and colleagues”

Jo Underwood says, “I am so grateful for being given the fantastic opportunity to bring ABDO College into existence in 2000, and become what it is today. It has been a real privilege. Not many people, particularly in education, get to start with a clean slate, no-one to live up to, no set processes to have to follow, no staff team already in place. It certainly produces headaches at times but the journey has been one that I have loved. I thank all ABDO College staff, both past and present for their huge commitment to this dream and for making it what it is today and to the College Trustees for their confidence in the team. It has been a magnificent and joyous journey that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. My thanks go out to everyone who attended my retirement party and all those who sent me messages on my retirement.”

AOP says" Optics poised to reduce pressure on NHS this winter "

September 2021

AOP responds to Government’s Winter Plan for England
The Government today unveiled plans for managing the impact of COVID-19 in England, including contingency measures if the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed this winter.

Responding to the announcement, Adam Sampson, Chief Executive of the Association of Optometrists said: “All the way through the pandemic our members have stepped up to support the NHS in delivering vital eyecare to patients – freeing up capacity across NHS departments. Frontline health and care workers in hospitals will be under pressure to respond to COVID-19 and flu if numbers rise rapidly this winter. Our highly skilled workforce is poised to help protect the NHS by taking on work which can be done outside hospitals.

“Optometrists have a proven track record providing services that mean patients get access to the care and treatment they deserve. Our members who are based on the high street are in a unique position to offer community-centric eyecare that is easy and convenient for all. Utilising eyecare professionals in this way is a vital tool to reduce waiting list times for all NHS patients who need eyecare”.

During the pandemic, the COVID-19 Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES), which provides extended eyecare services in the community, was widely commissioned and has been shown to successfully reduce pressure on hospital eye departments across the UK, as reported in Nature.

Number 1 spot for Ocuco

September 2021

Ocuco included as one of Ireland's Best Managed Companies for 2021

Ocuco has been named as one of Ireland's Best Managed Companies 2021. The company, which demonstrated superior business performance for the fourth year, was recognised at a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday, 8 September. The awards programme is led by Deloitte Ireland, in association with Bank of Ireland.

Journeyman Matthew Spiers
Commenting on the award, Leo Mac Canna, Ocuco CEO, declared: "To be included as one of Ireland's Best Managed Companies for a fourth year running is a testament to the outstanding performance of our management team. It's extraordinary to look at what the Ocuco team has achieved in such an adverse year. Together, we managed to receive a €40m finance boost, launched a sustainability program neutralising our carbon emissions, received an ISO 27001:2017 certification, and had one of our software products recognised as being best in-practice. Receiving this award once again confirms the competence and professionalism of our team."

Mac Canna explained that the framework provided by Deloitte provides an excellent foundation for examining management strategy and significantly contributes to Ocuco's worldwide presence.

Ireland's Best Managed Companies Awards programme promotes and recognises excellence in Irish/Northern Irish owned and managed companies and is the only award scheme on the island of Ireland that considers a business' performance from every perspective. Entrants to the programme compete for the designation in a rigorous process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices and the strategy, capability, innovation, culture and financial performance of their companies.

Harry Goddard, CEO, Deloitte Ireland and judging panel member, commented: "This year's winning companies had robust strategies in place before the pandemic, which enabled them to respond comprehensively to the changing situations they found themselves in. With no sector untouched by the impact of COVID-19, many companies remained committed to ensuring that they did not fall into the trap of doing things like they had always been done, just because that had worked in the past; in fact, many companies took the extraordinary challenge as an opportunity to develop and improve processes."

Nikki Canavan, Senior Director, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking and judging panel member said: "Over the last number of years the companies in the Best Managed Companies network have shown huge strength in the face of disruption and uncertainty. This year in particular – a year that tested Irish businesses like never before – the judges noted the commitment, bravery, resilience and tenacity of the applicant companies."

Ocuco, a long term sponsor of your free and independent Opchat news, written by ecps for ecps is the leading provider of OmniChannel solutions to the eyecare retail, optometry, ophthalmology and lab markets worldwide.

Ocuco leads the UK and Irish optical markets with their flagship products Acuitas and Innovations.

College push for better funding in vision care

September 2021

Royal College welcomes extra NHS funding and warns of workforce pressures

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) has welcomed extra funding for the NHS to tackle the elective surgery backlog and that the government had identified delays in cataract surgery as a particular concern.

The RCOphth said: “Delays to cataract surgery can have a significant impact on a patient’s ability to retain their lifestyle, independence, and caring responsibilities and could lead to falls and other preventable accidents.”

The RCOphth has also called for long-term investment in the ophthalmology workforce to meet future patient needs.

Professor Bernie Chang, RCOphth President, said: “The commitment to more funding to tackle backlogs will be a relief for ophthalmologists and other eye healthcare staff battling long waiting lists. Too many patients are waiting too long for ophthalmology services, with over half a million people now waiting for treatment.”

He added: “An increase in the supply of ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals is needed given we know that patient demand will rise significantly. This huge challenge can only be addressed by effective long-term workforce planning in addition to infrastructure and IT investment.”

Mandatory vaccinations for frontline health and care staff

September 2021

Consultation about frontline health staff vaccination policy must include optometry

The Government has launched a consultation on proposals for mandating COVID-19 and flu vaccinations for frontline health and social care workers in England.

Responding to the announcement, Adam Sampson, Chief Executive of the Association of Optometrists said: “During the pandemic our members have shown time and time again the vital role they play providing face-to-face patient care. As such, any proposal that considers whether frontline staff in health and wider care settings in England should be required to have COVID-19 and flu vaccines must include optometry.

“Under the current proposal, we understand that hospital optometrists will be required to have the COVID-19 vaccination, if they haven’t already, and we will be looking at the detail of the proposal to understand how this will be extended to optometry in the community. As a part of the primary healthcare family, all optical staff were made a priority group for early vaccination for COVID-19, so it is likely that if the proposal is supported, there will be a case to support the roll-out to those providing face-to-face eye care in the community as well.”

“We know the majority of our members asked for the same protections as frontline healthcare staff including access to PPE, altered working conditions and early access to the vaccine, and a large majority of the UK adult population have already chosen to be vaccinated. While encouraging uptake of the vaccination is the best way of protecting people, particularly the vulnerable, from COVID-19, we also accept that there are disparate views, and the implementation of any decision that makes vaccination a condition of deployment will need to be handled with sensitivity. We will be looking to hear from all members to help inform our response.”

The consultation follows a recent decision that will require professionals entering care homes to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 11 November, unless exempt.
Launched on 9 September, the consultation runs for six weeks. Staff, healthcare providers, stakeholders and patients are encouraged to participate. The AOP will provide a response, following consultation with all members.

AOP and FODO join OFNC to say "Primary care sets out ‘asks’ for Health and Care Bill "

September 2021

AOP calls for essential primary care representation in Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs)

The UK Government has set out reform plans for the NHS in England. As the Health and Care Bill enters committee stage, representative bodies across NHS primary care are setting out ‘key asks’ to ensure integrated care happens through engagement with primary care providers at all levels.

The AOP, as part of the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC), has given our view on what is needed for optometry.

Adam Sampson, AOP Chief Executive, explains: “The new design framework for NHS integrated care systems offers important opportunities that optometry must capitalise on. More consistent commissioning of extended eye care services is a prime example of improved patient care and better use of the highly skilled, practitioners in optics. But it is essential that optometry has a place at the table to input at a strategic level in order to create real transformation, reduce pressure on the NHS, and deliver robust and sustainable eyecare for all.”

In February the AOP flagged potential risks around the reforms relating to GOS commissioning, and we continue to work with others in the sector to manage those risks.

The AOP published our Strategy for Optometry in June 2021, which set out our view of the future of optometry to provide consistent and efficient eye care across the UK.

David Hewlett, FODO Director, said: “As FODO members are aware, NHS England has confirmed to the OFNC that General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) will remain a national contract with terms, fees and grants continuing to be negotiated nationally. Therefore, our focus has been on ensuring the new legislation delivers on the promise of delivering more integrated care outside hospitals.

“NHS England’s proposed new structures are still very ‘acute dominated’. The Bill sessions so far have been notable for the absence of any discussion about the role of primary care at strategic levels in shaping the new systems and care models. A lone GP on the Integrated Care Board will not cut it. This omission has driven the primary care representative bodies to come together in an unprecedented way to call for greater primary care representation (in its fullest sense, including optics) on Integrated Care Partnerships where local health and care strategies will be developed.”


Think tanks calls for Government to continue momentum from COVID-19 vaccination programme as winter flu season approaches

September 2021

A new policy briefing published today by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC) and commissioned by MSD, calls for the UK Government to learn the lessons of the COVID-19 vaccination programme ahead of the upcoming flu season:

• Inequalities in vaccination uptake remain prevalent: As is typically the case with flu vaccination, uptake of the COVID vaccine has varied between regions of the UK – ranging from a high of 85% in the Southwest of England to a low of 65.7% in London. Meanwhile, uptake of the COVID vaccine has been has also been 27% lower among those who identify as Black Caribbean compared to those identifying as White British.

• The impact of COVID on attitudes to routine vaccinations remains unclear: Provisional data from the UK 2020/2021 flu season shows that uptake of the influenza vaccine among older people surpassed the WHO’s 75% target for the first time. However, it is uncertain whether complacency will reverse this trend once COVID is no longer causing a public health emergency.

• A lack of accessible health data continues to hinder vaccination delivery: There are currently at least 21 different electronic systems for keeping medical records in use by NHS Trusts across the UK, and as many as 23% of these bodies still use paper records.

To raise awareness vaccines and their benefits as the NHS gears up for the impending winter flu season, ILC calls for:

• The NHS to employ community champions, such as religious leaders, teachers and celebrities, to disseminate targeted immunisation messaging to marginalised groups.

• Healthcare workers to encourage individuals to get their flu vaccination during other routine appointments or even deliver them at these times, including at the same time as COVID vaccination top-ups – if proven to be safe and effective.

• All individuals to be granted access all their personal flu vaccination records via the NHS app as well as through an easy-to-access web-based portal.

To improve access to the flu vaccination programme, ILC argues:

• Individuals should be able to book and manage their flu vaccination appointments online.

• All flu vaccination appointments should be offered at home when necessary.

• Community pharmacists, school nurses, care workers and midwives should be given a greater role in delivering flu vaccinations.

Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Chair of the APPG on Health, said: “The COVID-19 vaccination programme has allowed the nation to tentatively recover from the worst global pandemic in our lifetimes but there is more to be done to address inequality in take up and misinformation so that the most robust response possible for all sectors of society is achieved".

Liam Hanson, Communications and Engagement Officer at ILC, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has showcased the value of immunisation as a tried, tested and cost-effective method of prevention in the most brutal way possible.

While the COVID vaccination programme has been successful in many ways, we can’t afford to get complacent. Inequalities in access, a lack of awareness of the benefits of routine vaccinations, and a lack of accessible health data have all acted as barriers to uptake.

Government now has an opportunity as well as a duty to learn the lessons of the pandemic and apply them to other vaccine-preventable diseases, most pressingly influenza as we approach flu season.”

College messages for "Back to School" signs to look for

August 2021

Back to school: The College of Optometrists highlights key signs to detect potential issues in your child’s vision

College research has revealed that up to 23%1 of parents had never taken their children for a sight test

As children return to school, The College of Optometrists is urging parents to look out for key signs to detect potential problems in their children’s vision after research revealed up to 23%1 of parents had never taken their children for a sight test.

These signs include:

• having one eye turn in or out (this may be easier to spot when they are tired)
• rubbing their eyes a lot
• watery eyes
• clumsiness and poor hand-eye co-ordination
• avoiding reading, writing or drawing
• screwing up their eyes when they read or watch TV
• sitting very close to the TV, or holding books or objects close to their face
• having behavioural or concentration problems at school
• blurred or double vision, or unexplained headaches.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists, says: “Taking children for a sight test can be crucial in identifying conditions, such as lazy eye (amblyopia) when a child’s vision does not develop properly, or a squint (strabismus), when the eyes look in different directions.

Both can be treated successfully if detected at a young age. In the younger years especially, it is important parents can recognise the signs of a child struggling to see clearly, or experiencing changes in their vision. As shown by our research, a massive 23% of parents have never taken their child for a sight test, and if problems go undetected, it could have an impact on their child’s development, achievement at school, and daily life.

Whether or not you suspect an issue with your child’s vision, it’s always important to get the health of their eyes checked and follow the advice of your optometrist.”

All optometric practices are following government guidance, and optometrists are taking the appropriate infection prevention control measures to ensure each patients visit is safe.

National Eye Health Week coming soon

August 2021


This year’s National Eye Health Week (NEHW) will take place from 20 to 26 September and will as usual promote the importance of good eye health and the need for regular eye tests for all. If you want to get involved click here to reach the anually updated Vision Matters website.

Scottish NHS Recovery Plan announced

August 2021

The Scottish NHS Recovery Plan sets out key ambitions and actions to be developed and delivered now and over the next 5 years in order to address the backlog in care caused by the pandemic and to meet ongoing healthcare needs for people across Scotland.

The plan highlights the way in which eye care services are delivered, with a focus on managing significantly more patients in the community instead of in hospital. One goal stated is to reduce demand for acute services – freeing up capacity in the acute sector.

The Scottish Government has also said it will invest £2 million annually for “a range of innovative projects, including a new National Low Vision service for visually impaired people provided by accredited community optometrists and dispensing opticians; enabling more complex anterior eye conditions to be managed by Independent Prescriber optometrists; and stable glaucoma and treated ocular hypertension patients to be discharged from hospital into the management of accredited community optometrists.

There is also a commitment to invest £200,000 to pilot enhanced community audiology services, and we aim to develop community hearing services that are on a par with primary care services by the end of this parliament.

You can delve into the whole report here

New WCSM scheme for early career eye health and sight loss professionals.

August 2021

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers launches new scheme for early career professionals

The oldest optical organisation in the world has launched a new scheme this week for early career eye health and sight loss professionals.

The Journeyman scheme is new for 2021 and is aimed at people of any age who are within their first few years of working in any optical profession or in the sight loss sector. It gives more people the chance to get to know the organisation at an earlier stage, get involved and eventually move up to full membership of the Spectacle Makers’ Company. The cost is a one-off £30, valid for up to five years and people can join the scheme online via the Company’s website.

Learn more about the history of Journeymen and their role here. (

An online launch event on Tuesday 21st September 2021 at 6.30pm will showcase the best in the future of eye health including Tom Broughton, entrepreneur and founder of Cubitts and Reena Chopra, optometrist and medal-winning AI researcher.

The event is open to all those interested in joining, bursary award winners and recent Freemen of the Company. It is free to attend. You can register for tickets via Billetto: (

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers is the oldest and best-connected optical organisation in the world with over 900 members, spanning 35 different professions and 12 countries. Its purpose, which has stayed the same for almost 400 years, is to support better vision for all.

Journeyman Matthew Spiers
The Spectacle Makers’ Charity gives over £70,000 each year in grants to organisations helping people with vision problems here and abroad and special bursary and ophthalmology awards to support young professionals across the UK starting their careers in eye health.

The Company’s Master, Huntly Taylor FBDO, said he would encourage early years professionals in any optical discipline to give the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers a try:

“ This scheme makes it easier for people in the first few years of their career to get involved and explore their part in supporting better vision for all. In the last 2 years half of our new members have been under 40 and our online events have attracted people living and working far away from our home base in London. We are looking forward to expanding our reach and welcoming an even more diverse group of people into the Spectacle Makers’ family.” (image Matthew Spiers left with Master Huntly Taylor )

Further Details

Contact: Helen Perkins, The Clerk, 020 7236 2932/07802 177685
Website: Email:

Diabetes in pregnant mothers linked to eye problems in offspring

August 2021

New study reveals that children of mothers with diabetes during pregnancy have an increased risk of eye problems

A new study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) finds that mothers who have diabetes before or during their pregnancy are more likely to have children who go on to develop eye problems.

The research is by Dr Jiangbo Du, State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China, and Dr Jiong Li, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, and colleagues. It analysed the associations between maternal diabetes before or during pregnancy and the risk of high refractive error (RE): conditions in which there is a failure of the eye to properly focus images on the retina.

RE is one of the most common forms of visual impairment and includes both long and short-sightedness as well as astigmatism. Collectively these conditions are the second most common form of disability globally, and while low-degree REs can be corrected optically using spectacles or contact lenses, more serious high-degree REs can develop into severe and irreversible visual impairment that can reduce an individual's quality of life.

In recent decades there has been a rapid increase in the prevalence of RE, indicating that non-genetic factors may play an important role in its development. An increased tendency to perform close-up work such as using computers for long periods, as well as a lack of outdoor activity has been established as the main acquired risk factors for low and moderate RE development in school-age children and young adults. The causes of high RE defects, however, are still not fully understood.

Earlier research has shown that individuals with severe RE may have congenital eye defects before birth, suggesting that the conditions to which the fetus is exposed in the uterus may play a role in the development of more serious RE in later life. Maternal hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) during pregnancy may lead to elevated fetal blood glucose levels, which can damage the retina and optic nerve and may lead to changes in the shape of the eyes that ultimately cause RE.

The authors believed that exposure to the effects of maternal diabetes while in the uterus could negatively affect the development of the fetus and lead to high RE in later life. They also anticipated that the most pronounced associations would be observed among mothers with diabetic complications since they usually represent more severe cases of the disease.

The team conducted a population-based cohort study using several Danish national medical registers and incorporated the details of all live births in Denmark from 1977 to 2016. Follow-up began at birth and continued until the first high RE diagnosis (where applicable), the death of the subject, their emigration, their 25th birthday, or the end of the study period on 31 December 2016, whichever came first. Mothers were considered to have diabetes if they were diagnosed with the disease either before or during pregnancy, and those with pre-gestational diabetes who had developed problems relating to their condition were grouped according to whether they had one or multiple complications.

The authors analysed both the occurrence of high RE in offspring and the specific type of eye problem. Out of 2,470,580 live births included in the study, 56,419 (2.3%) were exposed to maternal diabetes with 0.9% and 0.3% being type 1 and type 2 pre-gestational diabetes respectively (meaning diabetes already present before pregnancy), and 1.1% involving gestational diabetes.

The proportion of births to mothers with diabetes increased over the study period from 0.4% in 1977 to 6.5% in 2016 and diabetes was associated with the mother being older, more educated, having had more pregnancies, and being more likely to live alone.

During the follow-up period, high RE was diagnosed in 533 offspring of mothers with diabetes, and 19,695 offspring of those without the disease. Exposure to maternal diabetes was associated with a 39% greater risk of high RE compared to unexposed offspring.

The researchers observed a difference in RE risk between type 1 and type 2 forms of diabetes with rates of high RE compared to unexposed individuals being 32% and 68% higher respectively. In addition, children of mothers with complications arising from diabetes were twice as likely to have eye problems, compared to an 18% increase in high RE risk in children of mothers who had no complications from the disease.

The authors say: "It was interesting to observe that hypermetropia (long-sightedness) occurred more frequently in childhood and myopia (short-sightedness) was more frequent in adolescence and young adulthood."

They suggest that the difference might be due to the natural process of emmetropisation in which the eye changes shape during early childhood to achieve normal vision by becoming less long-sighted, and which could correct most hyperopia in early infancy over time. In addition, they point out that the increasing number of years and intensity of school education could increase the risk of myopia from early childhood to young adulthood.

The strengths of this study are that it used high-quality data covering the whole Danish population over a long follow-up period, thus minimising the possibility of selection bias and recall bias. Availability of sociodemographic and medical information enabled the team to adjust for a wide range of factors which could influence the studied medical outcomes, and the large sample size allowed them to investigate details such as the specific types of RE involved.

The authors say: "In this nationwide population-based cohort study, we observed that children born to mothers with either pre-gestational or gestational diabetes were at an increased risk of developing high RE in general, as well as specific types of high RE, persisting from the neonatal period to early adulthood. Children born to mothers with diabetic complications had the highest risk of high RE."

The researchers suggest: "As many REs in young children are treatable, early identification and intervention can have a lifelong positive impact. Although the 39% increased risk is a relatively low effect size, from a public health perspective, considering the high global prevalence of REs, any tiny improvement in this low-risk preventable factor will contribute to a huge reduction in absolute numbers of these eye conditions."

They advise that early screening for eye disorders in the children of mothers with diabetes may play an important role in maintaining good eyesight health.

Information from Diabetologia

AI-supported test can predict eye disease that leads to blindness

August 2021

In a study reported by Imperial College

DARC Imperial College A new eye test can be used to predict a condition that can lead to blindness, according to a new study.

In a clinical trial of 113 patients led by researchers at Imperial College London and UCL, retinal imaging technology called Detection of Apoptosis in Retinal Cells (DARC) was able to identify areas of the eye that were showing signs of geographic atrophy (GA) - a common condition that causes reduced vision and blindness.

The researchers believe that this technology could be used as a screening test for GA and help advance the development of new treatments for the disease. At present, a lack of detectable early symptoms and predictors of disease means that it is difficult to identify GA early enough to avoid any vision loss, and GA is often diagnosed at a late stage.

Age- related macular degeneration (AMD) is the commonest cause of blindness in over-55s and GA is an advanced form of AMD. GA affects 700,000 people in the UK and the incidence is expected to double in the next 25 years. GA develops over several years and can result in progressive and irreversible loss of sight. Although there is no cure, early detection is very important because there are potential treatments that could prevent severe vision loss, or slow the disease’s progression, such as eye injections and tablets.

The new study found that DARC was able to predict new areas of GA growth three years in advance.

The study is published in Progress in Retinal Eye Research.

Contact Lens Usage in the New Greener World, what you need to know.

August 2021

Would you like to learn more about how contact lenses impact the environment, and discover what you should be telling patients who want to minimise their environmental impact yet still wear contact lenses?

Book to attend the inaugural SEE Summit on the Environment on 4 October 2021 and you can hear from Sarah Smith, an optometrist working with Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester.

In response to growing concerns about climate change, consumer awareness and behaviour is changing. Daryl Newsome, ABDO’s Vice President says, “Contact lenses offer a safe and convenient form of vision correction, but patients may increasingly ask their practitioner about how ‘green’ their lenses are.”

Sarah Smith will be reporting on figures relating to the amount of waste that a range of modalities of contact lens wear generate. She will discuss opportunities for responsible disposal of lenses. In the session she will also report on steps that manufacturers currently undertake to minimise the environmental impact of contact lens manufacture.

Practitioners attending the online event can discover how best to promote and communicate a positive message around environmental sustainability to contact lens wearers.

The SEE Summit aims to promote environmental sustainability in the UK optical sector and contribute to the government’s goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It takes place in the run-up to the COP (Conference of the Parties) climate change summit in November 2021.

The event is supported by the BCLA and ACLM as well as a host of other optical organisations. (See note 3)

Running from 7-8.30pm, the event offers a packed agenda with inspiring speakers talking about how they have moved towards environmental sustainability in practice and in manufacturing. Attendees will also receive practical advice on the changes that can be made at work.

Visit to book.

ESSILOR drive to store support

August 2021

Drive Traffic to store by Essilor
As official partner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Essilor Ltd has released a supporting drive-to-store communication toolkit for ECPs to maximise traffic to their stores in the run up and during the racing event on 21-22 August.

Essilor established a three-year strategic partnership with race organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and through this partnership, aims to promote the importance of optimal vision on the road.

The communication toolkit comprises personalised in-store and online assets including social media carousel posts, website banners, window vinyls and videos for ECPs to maximise exposure of the event.

Tim Precious, managing director at Essilor Ltd said: “The kit will help ECPs capture racing enthusiasts and communicate vital messages around the importance of good vision on the road for all drivers, whether you’re a professional racing driver or not.

“It allows ECPs to gain visibility amongst current or potential patients, and followers on social media to help prompt drivers to book an eye examination, increase footfall in-store and boost business for our independent business partners.”

Over the next three years, the partnership will involve numerous joint initiatives on the topic of “24-hour vision” through both trackside events and public awareness.

Essilor will continue to offer its expertise to correct and protect the vision of racing drivers and everyday motorists, improve precision and field of vision, adjust to levels of brightness and weather conditions, reduce fatigue, and adapt to night driving – all factors that significantly influence reaction times on the road.

Crizal Drive lenses are specifically adapted for driving, they are available in clear and Transitions XTRActive for drivers wanting the ultimate combination.

NHS England appoints first female Chief Executive

August 2021

Amanda Pritchard has been appointment Chief Executive Officer of NHS England when she takes up the role on 1 August. She said: “I am honoured to lead the NHS, particularly as the first woman chief executive of an organisation whose staff are more than three-quarters female.”

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid and Lord David Prior, Chair of the NHS England Board, welcomed Amanda’s appointment. Lord Prior said: “She could have had no better preparation for the role than serving as the NHS’ Chief Operating Officer during the greatest health emergency in its history.”

Experience appears to have won favour.

AOP campaign highlights more than half of adults fail to protect their eyes from UV

July 2021

The Association of Optometrists is launching its SPF for your eyes campaign, advising the public to protect their eyes like they protect their skin by wearing CE marked sunglasses in all seasons.

The AOP’s latest Voice of Optometry research shows that almost a quarter of AOP members surveyed see up to nine patients every month with an eye disease linked to UV exposure – with 15% seeing more than 20 in the same period.

Optometrist and AOP Clinical Editor, Ceri Smith-Jaynes said: “While most people know that the sun causes skin damage, few realise it is just as damaging to their eyes – increasing the chances of developing conditions such as premature cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Our SPF for your eyes campaign is about highlighting how the public can reduce the risk and also provide them with simple, effective tips that they remember and use.”

Using sunglasses with UV protection significantly reduces the risks. Yet in a public poll only 46% claimed they owned a pair and of those who did, 24% admitted they only sometimes checked UV protection when choosing a pair to buy. Although, over 55s are more health conscious – with three quarters always checking the UV filter before purchasing.

Despite an estimated 80% of UV damage happening before the age of 18[i] only a quarter of parents safeguard their children’s eyes by always putting sunglasses with UV protection on them – with a third admitting they rarely or never do.

Ms Smith-Jaynes added: “A key message of the campaign is that UV can also be damaging on dull days so it’s good to get in the habit of wearing sunglasses and thinking about giving your eyes full UV protection in all seasons – not just on bright, sunny days.”

The conditions optometrist AOP members report seeing the most are pinguecula and pterygium, age-related macular degeneration and premature cataracts. Other less common conditions included basal cell carcinoma and photokeratitis.

The AOP is launching its SPF for your eyes campaign on Tuesday 27 July,
Key data

• Only 46% of adults in a public poll own sunglasses with UV protection[ii]
• Two fifths (40%) of the public are unaware that too much UV exposure contributes to sight threatening conditions such as cataract, age-related macular degeneration and eye cancers
• A third of parents (31%) admit they never safeguard their children’s eyes with sunglasses
• Association of Optometrists advise protecting your eyes as you protect your skin – wear CE marked sunglasses in all seasons

Top tips for protecting your eyes against UV damage

1. Wear sunglasses which carry the CE quality mark, even if you are using contact lenses with a UV filter, because this will help protect the skin around your eyes, as well as the eye itself. Make sure children wear sunglasses too; their pupils are bigger than adults’, making the risk of sun damage much higher[iii]
2. Choose sunglasses that sit closer to the eye and wrap-around, blocking out more light
3. Check that your prescription lenses include a UV filter, for everyday protection
4. Wear a wide-brimmed sun hat for more protection
5. Never look at the sun directly – even if it’s just for a few seconds

United Nations Resolution Designed to Tackle Preventable Sight Loss

July 2021

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted Resolution A/75/L.108 committing the international community to eye care for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030.

Sight loss is calculated to cost the global economy $411 billion in productivity each year.

The resolution is the first agreement designed to tackle preventable sight loss to be adopted by the United Nations and enshrines eye health as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The resolution was passed unanimously by all 193 countries of the United Nations. It sets a target for vision for everyone by 2030, with countries set to ensure full access to eye care services for their populations, and to make eye health part of their nation’s journey to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The resolution creates new expectations for international financial institutions and donors to provide targeted finances, especially to support developing countries in tackling preventable sight loss. And for the United Nations to incorporate eye health into its work, including through UNICEF and UN-Women.

The resolution calls for new targets on eye care to be included in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at its next review.

The plan will mean that by 2030, the 1.1 billion people globally living with sight loss, will have access to support and treatment. But, campaigners say, only if governments and international institutions act now to fulfil their new commitments.

“This is a landmark development by the United Nations General Assembly, clearly defining the need for treating vision impairments and preventing future sight loss worldwide,” said Daniel McBride, President of CooperVision. “In becoming a Global Patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness last year, we believed the organization had the capacity to advance universal access to eye health—including bringing greater awareness and action to the growing prevalence and severity of myopia in children. IAPB’s role in this momentous resolution, which is also aligned with CooperCompanies’ support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, deserves applause from across the entire eye care spectrum. It’s up to all of us to help fulfill what the agreement sets out—industry, practitioners, institutions and governments alike.”

H.E. Ambassador Aubrey Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, and founding co-chair of the United Nations Friends of Vision group said: “An eye test for a child can be the difference between inclusion and or exclusion; A pair of prescription glasses, the difference between access to information and seeking a livelihood and not. Corrective eye treatment, the difference between improved sight and total loss of sight. The gift of sight for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss is within reach if we ensure world leaders deliver on this moment.”

H.E Ambassador Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and co-chair of the Friends of Vision, said: “The adoption of today’s resolution on vision is a watershed moment in global efforts for vision care. We were honoured and pleased to lead this resolution together with fellow Friends of Vision Co-Chairs, Antigua and Barbuda and Ireland.

World-leading College research journal increases impact

July 2021

Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, the world’s top-ranked optometry journal, has significantly increased its key journal citation metrics.

Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (OPO) – the research journal of The College of Optometrists – continues to prove to be a vital home for publishing new, high-quality research in vision science and optometry. For the seventh year in a row, OPO retains its position as the top-ranked optometry journal in the world.

OPO is a leading international interdisciplinary journal that addresses basic and applied questions pertinent to contemporary research in vision science and optometry. It publishes original research papers, short communications and reviews and is read by optometry, ophthalmology and vision science researchers, educators and clinicians concerned with the development, use and restoration of vision.

The journal’s impact is evidenced by the 2020 Journal Citations Reports (JCR), recently released by Clarivate Analytics, and in new rankings from Scopus, Elsevier’s abstract and citation database. The data shows an increase in OPO’s impact factor (IF), which measures the average number of times articles from the previous two (or five) years are cited in scientific and social science journals in a given year. The IF is a useful metric for measuring the strength of a journal by how often its publications are cited in scholarly literature.

Professor Mark Rosenfield, Editor-in-Chief of OPO, said: “OPO strives to publish cutting-edge research targeted towards all members of the optometric and vision science community around the world.”

The new data/rankings are listed below:

• 3.117: 2-Year Journal Impact Factor, an increase of 19% from 2019
• 3.328: 5-year Journal Impact Factor, a 7% increase from the previous year
• For the seventh consecutive year, OPO is ranked first (1/10) in Optometry (2020 Elsevier Scopus rankings).

Michael Bowen, Director of Research at The College said; “We are delighted to see that OPO continues to prove its value and importance within vision science and optometry on a global level. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all how important research is when determining the best course of action in unprecedented circumstances. This year, we have published a range of significant articles, including the latest evidence on treatments for myopia control, a survey on the prevalence of mental health conditions and wellbeing of optometrists, and an analysis of diversity in global ophthalmology and optometry leadership. We are proud to know that our output is being read and highly respected.”

All members of The College of Optometrists have access

The College of Optometrists issue summer eye health tips as many plan ‘staycation’

July 2021

College warns eyes need protection from the sun, both in the UK, and when further afield

As schools break up, and many people prepare to set off on their summer holidays, The College of Optometrists has issued tips to remind the public that your eyes need to be protected, even if you are not travelling to a hotter country.

Dr. Paramdeep Bilkhu MCOptom, Clinical Adviser at The College of Optometrists explains: “The summer is finally here and hopefully this lovely weather will continue for the many people who will be spending time outdoors in the UK. It is important to remember that your eyes will need to be protected when you are out in the sun; exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light has been linked to sight-limiting eye conditions including cataract and macular degeneration. It is especially important for parents to protect their children’s eyes, as they are more susceptible to UV rays due to their larger pupils and clearer lenses. The good news is that good quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat can give you the protection your eyes need.”

The College has issued the following advice to safeguard eye health and vision over the summer months:

• If you’re spending more time outdoors, make sure you and your children have good quality sunglasses with UV protection. Look out for the British Standard (BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013), the CE or UKCA mark
• Hats are not just a fashion accessory, they are also a great way to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun! Add an extra layer of protection this summer by wearing a hat with a wide brim or a sun visor to keep your eyes comfortable
• Watertight goggles are a great way to protect your eyes while swimming. They can help shield your eyes from infection causing microbes often found in pools. If you wear contact lenses, we recommend you take them out before swimming.
• There is evidence that encouraging children to spend time outdoors could reduce the onset of myopia (short sightedness) so do try make sure they have some time playing outside each day.

The College has developed an eye health poster for members to highlight the different ways summer sun can affect vision and exacerbate eye conditions. The poster can be downloaded here.

Impressive annual results from WMAHSN reveals improvement to the West Midlands’ health throughout pandemic

July 2021

The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) has released its annual impact report, sharing statistics and case studies to highlight some incredible healthcare innovations that have come out of the West Midlands during what has been the most challenging year in history for the UK’s health and care system.

2020 was a year of transformation for the WMAHSN with key achievements including 671 sites using innovations across the West Midlands, 500 patients benefitting from a new Emergency Laparotomy pathway and 15,906 being diagnosed with heart conditions and bringing in over £4 million worth of investment.

While supporting on the UK’s efforts against the pandemic meant that many of the network’s programmes and priorities needed to be adapted or realigned over the past 12 months, the WMAHSN has remained committed to improving the region’s health and wealth, working more closely with partners than ever before, and identifying three key areas to transform patient care: improving population health, transforming patient safety through innovation, and enabling economic growth.

Key innovations highlighted in the report are:

• Guidance on how to safely switch warfarin to DOAC therapy in patients that are prescribed long-term anticoagulation medication. The WMAHSN supported local teams across the West Midlands in identifying patients who needed to switch medication and make sure they could do so safely. This led to an increase in confidence of anticoagulation nurses and pharmacy professionals and reduced the burden on local anticoagulation services by switching to drugs which can be more easily prescribed and managed long-term.

• Transfer of care around medicines (TCAM) to Care Homes through implementing the direct referral of discharged residents to pharmacy teams which provide services to care homes. This resulted in direct support for care home residents, enabling them to receive accurate and timely administration of medicines after discharge from hospital throughout the pandemic, while pharmacy teams were unable to provide home-based medicines optimisation that patients needed.

• Supporting on the England-wide implementation and adoption of HeartFlow, a non-invasive, cardiac test for stable symptomatic patients with coronary heart disease. One of the main benefits of using HeartFlow is that it allows Doctors to get more information about a patient’s condition quicker which helps with more efficient clinical decision making.

• Facilitating the development of the Maxi-Magni Card, a handheld magnifier lens and safe solution which enables staff wearing PPE to read small print, without the need for glasses, helping to make life easier on the front line.

The impact report demonstrates the WMAHSN’s ability to respond rapidly in the most challenging of times, making a real difference for patients and service users across the West Midlands.

For the remainder of 2021 and going into 2022, the WMAHSN is focusing on strengthening relationships with regional partners and focusing efforts on developing programmes for key themes such as cardiovascular disease prevention, mental health resilience, remote monitoring, and digital transformation, aiming to deliver significant improvements to patient outcomes and economic growth for the region.

Tony Davis, Director of Innovation & Commercial at the WMAHSN, said: “We are confident that the WMAHSN will continue to positively impact on the health and wellbeing of patients and populations at a local, regional and national level, as we emerge from what has been a challenging year for all and step forward into what could be the most innovative period the sector has ever seen.”

Healthcare organisations call for mandatory facemasks

July 2021

Healthcare organisations from across England have written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for face masks to be mandatory in healthcare settings.

From July 19 it will no longer be mandatory for the public to wear face coverings when visiting a pharmacy, dentist, hospital, shop or other establishment in England.

The letter is signed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England (RPS), the British Medical Association, British Dental Association, Royal College of Nursing and the College of Optometrists. It calls for mandatory use of face masks, social distancing and regular handwashing by the public to stay in place past July 19 in all healthcare settings.

As well as this, the signatories want to see the use of appropriate respiratory protection for staff in health and care settings continue, alongside improvements in ventilation wherever possible.

Thorrun Govind, Chair of RPS in England, said: “Using masks in healthcare environments means staff and the public are taking steps to protect each other from Covid-19. It should, therefore, remain mandatory that they are worn past July 19.

“Despite some pharmacies being in retail environments, they remain a healthcare setting and have been relied upon to support and protect the public over the past 18 months.

“We are therefore calling on the Government to make a decision to support and protect pharmacists and healthcare professionals, as well as the public.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of BMA Council, said: “Scrapping the remaining restrictions next week – when a significant proportion of the population still has not been fully vaccinated – will give this deadly virus an opportunity to retighten its grip; pushing infection rates up, increasing hospitalisations and people ill with long-Covid, risking new vaccine-resistant variants developing, and putting more lives at unnecessary risk.

“While the Government has said it will continue to encourage the wearing of face coverings after the 19th, within the same breath ministers confirm that masks will not be mandatory. This is contradictory and shows the Government absolving itself of responsibility while heaping pressure on the public, confused by mixed messaging of the highest order. Ministers must now reassess the decision to lift the remaining restrictions on July 19. Until then, we urge the public to continue taking every precaution by wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and meeting outside where possible.”

British Dental Association Chair Eddie Crouch said: “No health professional should be left struggling to manage patient expectations come Monday.

“After all the mixed messages we need government to be crystal clear that face coverings will remain in place to protect the public and staff.”

Jude Diggins, Interim Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases shows that we have some way to go before being free from the pandemic. Using face masks, social distancing and handwashing must continue if we are to continue to protect the population.

“It is important to recognise that nursing staff are more vulnerable than the general public as they work closely with patients who may have contracted COVID-19. To keep them safe, they must be provided with and supported to use the highest level of protection through the use of FFP3 masks where necessary and in all environments.”

Colin Davidson, President of The College of Optometrists, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the provision of eye care in primary and secondary care, and we, optometrists, did everything we could to minimise the risk of visual loss by maintaining essential eye care services.

"We know how hard people have worked and how overwhelmed everybody across the health and care sector have been, and we cannot praise enough practitioners who have rapidly adapted their service delivery since the pandemic started, and the ingenuity displayed to continue to practice safely and effectively. Our responsibility now is to continue to ensure that all health and care staff receive the support and protection they deserve when providing care to their patients.”

Read the full letter here.

COVID-19 guidance for primary eye care services in England, Keep Calm and Carry On

July 2021

Following the publication of England's COVID-19 summer 2021 and the Prime Minister’s follow-up statement on 12 July, the government has stated that health and care settings in England should continue to maintain appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) measures. The Chief Medical and Chief Scientific advisers have also stated that the pandemic is not over and they expect an extremely high prevalence of COVID infections until at least the end of August.*, #

Optical sector bodies support the need to maintain robust IPC measures. We will continue to monitor updates to public health advice and support NHS England/Improvement (NHSEI) to update the Optical standard operating procedure as the situation evolves. Optical practices should therefore continue to follow the College’s Amber guidance and the NHSEI Optical SOP.

This means that on 19 July practices should continue to:

• follow current IPC guidance, including PPE
• ensure social distancing remains in place for optical settings
• maintain patient triage and prioritisation 
• sanitise frames
• maintain good ventilation throughout the practice

These measures will help minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission and give the public confidence that they can access eye care safely. 

Patient use of face coverings and social distancing are the two areas that members have asked us to provide further information on and this is set out below.

Social distancing

The NHSEI SOP refers to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on making your workplace COVID-secure. The HSE continues to advise that where possible you should keep people 2 metres apart. If this is not viable, keeping 1m apart with risk mitigation is acceptable.

Patients’ use of face coverings

The OC recommend that patients and the public should continue to wear face coverings when on practice premises and including when receiving eye care.

The NHSEI’s SOP advises that where a patient does not want to use a face covering you should take all reasonable steps to identify practical working solutions with the least risk to all involved. This involves undertaking a risk assessment which should consider, for example:

• request the patient wears a mask, for close contact care only in the test room or dispensing area

• booking the person into a quieter appointment slot or one in a separated area, or with another member of staff if the original staff member is at high risk or uncomfortable seeing patients without a mask

• providing care via a remote appointment supported within the GOC amended statements

If you have any questions, please contact your representative body. The optical bodies have also created FAQs to help with scenarios in which patients cannot or will not use a face covering.

Do practice staff still need to wear face masks?

Yes, all members of the practice team should continue to follow the IPC guidance and wear appropriate PPE, including the sessional use of fluid resistant surgical masks (FRSM).

Do I still need to sanitise sample frames after patients or customers have tried them on?


How can I promote ventilation?

Open doors and windows where possible and leave the consulting room door open between appointments. Ensure extractor fans are working and turned on in all areas of the practice.

What approach should I adopt in my practice to manage situations when a patient cannot or will not wear a face covering?

We recommend the following approach to ensure consistency across all practices in England. 

• Ensure you have a clear and readily available policy that sets out your position on patients wearing face coverings within the practice and make patients aware of this in advance of appointments.
• This policy should set out how to provide eye care to people who cannot wear a face covering, by making reasonable adjustments. 
• Ensure that policy is consistent with equalities legislation, and if you are unsure seek advice from your representative body.
• Ensure this policy explains that the practice is a healthcare setting and face covering use is recommended by the NHS for the benefit of all patients, and due to the prolonged close proximity that is required.
• If a person forgets their face covering, it is good practice to supply one for them to wear.  
• If a person is unable, or declines, to wear a face covering the practice should follow a risk-based approach to determine whether and how they can meet the patient’s needs (see above).
• Wherever possible practices should try and accommodate all patients who are unable or who choose not to wear a face covering, to ensure every person has access to the eye care they need. 
• If, as a result of individual risk assessments, there is no one in the practice team who is able to examine patients who are not wearing a face covering, the practice may be in a position where it is unable to meet that patient’s needs.

In this situation the practice should explain the situation and refer the patient to another local provider. You should keep a record of when you do this, and the reasons given to the patient. Having this arrangement in place locally should be agreed in advance with other local practices.

Health and Care Bill introduced to Parliament today

July 2021

New proposals to build a modern health and care system that delivers better care for our communities are being introduced in Parliament today

The Health and Care Bill builds on the proposals for legislative change set out by NHS England in its Long Term Plan, while also incorporating valuable lessons learnt from the pandemic that will benefit both staff and patients.

The government is committed to delivering world-class care for patients and this Bill will help deliver that by building on the NHS’ own proposals for reform to make it less bureaucratic, more accountable, and more integrated in the wake of COVID-19.

These changes are vital to help the NHS build back better from the pandemic. In February 2021, the government set out its proposed plans and its introduction in Parliament today follows extensive discussions with NHS England, the Local Government Association and the health and care sector to refine this blueprint.

COVID-19 has reinforced the need for closer collaboration between the NHS, local authorities and care providers to provide more joined up working, and staff and patients have rapidly adopted new technologies to deliver better care. But at times in recent years the legal framework has made this more difficult, as it was not designed with this type of collaboration in mind.

The Bill will ensure each part of England has an Integrated Care Board and an Integrated Care Partnership responsible for bringing together local NHS and local government, such as social care, mental health services and public health advice, to deliver joined up care for its local population. Clinicians, carers and public health experts will be empowered to operate collaboratively across health and care, as part of plans to tackle inequalities and level up health across the country. The Bill will also introduce measures to tackle obesity and improve oral health.

It will dispose of unnecessary bureaucracy that has held the health service back so that health and care staff can focus on patients, not paperwork, and ensure the system is able to flex to changing needs in the years to come. It will ensure NHS England is more accountable to government, and by extension Parliament, while ensuring the NHS retains everyday operational and clinical oversight.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“The astonishing response of our health and care services to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit fast-forward on some of the bold changes the NHS set out to deliver in its Long Term Plan and shone the spotlight on other areas that require change to achieve better care for our communities.

“To help meet demand, build a better health service and bust the backlog, we need to back the NHS, as it celebrates its 73rd birthday this week, and embed lessons learned from the pandemic. This will support our health and care services to be more integrated and innovative so the NHS can deliver for people in the decades to come.”

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive:

“This Bill contains widely supported proposals for integrated care, which have been developed and consulted on over recent years by the NHS itself. They go with the grain of what our staff and patients can see is needed, by removing outdated and bureaucratic legal barriers to joined-up working between GPs, hospitals, and community services. In doing so, these pragmatic reforms build on the sensible and practical changes already well underway right across the NHS. And by enabling mutual support between different parts of the local health and care services they will undoubtedly both help tackle health inequalities and speed the recovery of care disrupted by the covid pandemic.”

Key measures include:

The NHS and local government coming together to plan health and care services around their patients’ needs, and quickly implement innovative solutions to problems which would normally take years to fix, including moving services out of hospitals and into the community, focusing on preventative healthcare.

The development of a new procurement regime for the NHS and public health procurement, informed by public consultation, to reduce bureaucracy on commissioners and providers alike, and reduce the need for competitive tendering where it adds limited or no value. This will mean staff can spend more time on patients and providing care, and local NHS services will have more power to act in the best interests of their communities.

A package of measures to deliver on specific needs in the social care sector. This will improve oversight and accountability in the delivery of services through new assurance and data sharing measures in social care, update the legal framework to enable person-centred models of hospital discharge, and introduce improved powers for the Secretary of State to directly make payments to adult social care providers where required.

Supporting the introduction of new requirements about calorie labelling on food and drink packaging and the advertising of junk food before the 9pm watershed to level up health across the country. The pandemic has shown the impact of inequalities on public health outcomes and the need for government to act.

ESSILOR launches New Customer Partnership programme at ‘THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT’ EVENT

July 2021

Essilor Ltd has launched a brand-new Customer Partnership Programme, ‘Essilor Experts’, at a recent virtual event hosted by broadcaster and presenter, Clare Balding.

Hundreds of independent eye care professionals tuned in for the inspiring one-hour special online webinar, ‘The Future is Bright’, at 6pm on Wednesday 23 June, which featured a panel of Essilor’s vision care experts discussing the state of the optical market.

Clare Balding at Essilor Event In an address to viewers, Clare Balding explained that after months of pandemic restrictions, where two out of three spectacle wearers were overdue an eye test and left with “burnt out” eyes from the Covid Zoom boom, Essilor now believes the future is bright for opticians.

Managing director, Tim Precious, who headed up the panel discussed reasons to be hopeful with key topics including consumers coming out of lockdown more focussed on their health than ever before and homeworkers shopping locally offering the opportunity for ECPs to attract a younger patient.

The panel agreed that current market conditions require two things right now, visibility and differentiation. It answered questions on harnessing new trends using digital media to drive consumers in store, advanced technology to provide an enhanced measuring service, and personalisation to meet consumer demand and gain customer loyalty.

Tim Precious said: “With the economy forecast to grow by seven per cent this year, we are already seeing our customers experience a really strong bounce back.

“We are incredibly positive about the year ahead and our new customer partnership programme forms a critical part of the support we will be providing to ECPs.

“We are combining our collective strengths, our Essilor assets and the premium quality of an independent optician’s expertise to create ‘Essilor Experts’.”

Essilor Experts bring together digital ‘drive to store’ campaigns to attract patients in store and allows ECPs to offer a personalised optical experience via state-of-the-art optical equipment to provide the most accurate eye examination possible.

Alongside this, ECPs will receive full support from a bespoke Essilor team and gain access to an exclusive online community with fellow opticians.

A new Companion Progressive Web App will allow members to track a patient’s optical journey to better understand their needs and boost satisfaction.

A series of five state-of-the-art roadshows will take place across the UK for ECPs interested in joining the programme.

‘The Future is Bright’ broadcast airs again on 8 July at 12.30pm. To register for a pass visit

Man charged after Sloane Square raid on Tom Davies Store

July 2021

A man has been charged with burglary following the raid at Tom Davies’s Sloane Square store on 9 June.

Cruella by Tom Davies


The raid, which was captured on CCTV, saw two masked men break into the store and take hundreds of pairs of Tom Davies glasses, including six frames made for the recently released film ‘Cruella’ which were due to be auctioned off for charity.

‘Cruella’ is the 12th Hollywood film Davies has worked on. Initially called in to create frames for just The Baroness (played by Emma Thompson), he ended up providing glasses for nearly every cast member – a total of 120 frames.

Following the raid, Davies released CCTV footage of the incident and put up posters - under the headline ‘WANTED! #TomDaviesTheft’ - on lamp posts around London, appealing for the return of the glasses.

The posters said: ‘If you are offered any sunglasses with "TOM DAVIES FOR CRUELLA" engraved on the inside arm, please can you let us know @tdtomdavies. Our store was broken into on 9 June at 2am and hundreds of frames were taken.

‘The thieves probably didn't know they had also stolen glasses recently made for the film Cruella which were due to be auctioned off for charity.
‘These distinctive frames have a far bigger value at a charity auction than to the criminals who vandalised our store and will struggle to sell them.
‘If you are offered any of these frames or have any information you can share, please let us or the local police know. If you have the glasses in your possession, we will swap them for a pair of Tom Davies sunglasses. Unless you’re one of the thieves, in which case we will happily hand you
over to the authorities.’

On hearing the news that a man has been charged, Tom Davies said: ‘We’re hugely grateful to the police for acting so swiftly.

‘The incident was horrible for me and my staff, but we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of people all around the world who’ve heard this story. We’ve been inundated with messages of goodwill from friends and complete strangers – one lovely elderly lady in a care home even sent us a £10 note to help compensate for our loss. We’d like to thank everyone who’s been in touch for their tremendous support.

‘We’re still missing hundreds of pairs of glasses. Our offer to swap any returned Cruella frames for a pair of Tom Davies sunglasses still stands. Hopefully the sequel to this story will be a happy one.’

Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland discuss the barriers Muslim Women experience

July 2021

Lack of knowledge and the stigma that can surround disability are two topics that will be discussed by a new group set up by leading national sight loss charity RNIB for Muslim women who are blind or partially sighted.

The Muslim Sisters Group is holding a series of fortnightly online sessions that will let women from across the UK discuss their personal experiences of sight loss and the barriers and challenges they have faced, along with a chance to share tips and information.

Topics will include individual living skills, personal hygiene, well-being, health education, cultural attitudes to disability as well as marriage and relationships, fashion and beauty, and learning about Islam.

Mumtaz Unis, community development officer with RNIB Scotland, based in Edinburgh, said: "The topic of being blind and visually impaired isn’t discussed much within the Muslim community. For some it’s seen as a taboo subject that’s never addressed. For others, there’s rarely an opportunity to learn about how to manage your visual impairment or be independent."

Sight loss is rarely discussed within the Muslim communities because it can be overshadowed by stigma and stereotypical attitudes towards a disability, says Mumtaz. "This is often the result of behavior, beliefs, and a way of living that is passed down from one generation to the next.

"Stigma can label a person by their illness where they are no longer seen as an individual but as part of a stereotyped group. Stigma can often originate from people’s perspectives and cultural behaviours. In previous generations, individuals were told to behave in a certain way because it was how they behaved with their parents. Lack of knowledge and support leads to reduced confidence in quality of life for the individual. Visual impairment and dealing with issues around stigma needs to be addressed.

"This is why, we’ve created this eight-session UK-wide Muslim Sisters group for ladies to come together and feel part of a community to ask questions and share tips on the above topics. This group is held fortnightly and has participants attending from all around UK, bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise."

HAPTER, A New eyewear brand bewteen Avant-Garde and Courage

July 2021

Prime Line Cutting-edge design and bravery to experiment: HAPTER presents its eyewear line, an innovative manufacturing project within the eyewear independent design landscape.

All optical frames and sunglasses by HAPTER are manufactured through an innovative production method that lead to full manufacturing independency of the company, fusing raw, artisanal materials like rubber and fabrics, on industrial-like surgical stainless steel.

Combining retro-inspired elements with advanced technical solutions, HAPTER glasses are the result of a conceptual study between aesthetics and functionality in which industrial design and craftsmanship find the dream balance.

Wiry Line by Hapter
Materials are coupled through a patented fusion process, a method that respects the natural inclination of the materials themselves. The research is expressed in the smallest details, up to the patented 8-GON hinge, in stainless steel like the frame structure: a particular geometric shape, the combination of an octagon and a square which, hooked to the metal teeth on the temple, by them is embraced and locked. A technical solution that guarantees a reliable rim-lock closure and a perpetual functioning of the temples, thanks to the direct friction of the materials.

HAPTER universe is expressed through different eyewear lines, all united by the brand's cutting-edge DNA.

PRIME LINE: (top right) the first representation of HAPTER, and in some ways the purest and minimal interpretation. Aesthetically refined and technically sophisticated, these are optical frames that embrace the brand’s basic values: functionality and essentiality.

High Line  by Hapter HIGH LINE:(left) HAPTER concept rises to a sophisticated architectural design, combined with large volumes and decorative elements, for those looking for un-conventional luxury in large optical frames or sunglasses.

WIRY LINE: (upper right) experimentation reaches another milestone. The combined material is taken to the limit, in a surprising contrast between the thinnest, technical surgical steel, and a scent of the artisanal rubber, reduced to the minimum, to create a new generation of ultra-light, hybrid design.

Icons by Hapter

ICONS LINE:(right) the reference line in which aesthetics, style, craftsmanship and mechanics reach a new dimension in an avant-garde, fashion vision. Geometrical shapes with sharp and angular cuts, alternating with sinuous and round curves.

Each frame HAPTER is the creation of a new figure who works alongside the designer: the post-industrial artisan.

A professional with exceptional manual skills and full involvement in the entire production process, able to work side by side with modern machines, challenging and creating with them unique pieces, in processes that lead to the qualitative enhancement of the material, avoiding all those polluting and inefficient practices of traditional eyewear production.

The final result is exceptional glasses, the result of a process of contemporary micro-craftsmanship that brings the concept of exclusivity to extremes.

NHSX publishes new data strategy

June 2021

A new Data strategy will support delivery of patient centred care

Patients to have better access and greater control over their health and care data under new proposals

Records will be shared between systems to allow faster, more specialised treatment

Plan will help power vital research to discover new treatments and insights to save lives

The way data is used across health and care sectors is set to be transformed, giving patients control of their health data and enabling staff to save more lives through improved care and treatment.

The draft strategy ‘Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data’ published today by NHSX builds on the ground-breaking use of data during the pandemic with privacy and security of data at its core.

Under the proposals, patients will easily be able to access their test results, medication lists, procedures and care plans from across all parts of the health system through patient apps, such as the NHS App, by ensuring data is shared safely and more effectively across the system. By improving their access to data, people will also be able to manage appointments, refill medications and speak with health and care staff when needed.

The strategy aims to break down data barriers and give patients confidence that health and care staff have up-to-date medical information, regardless of the care setting, enabling clinicians to make quicker, more informed decisions to deliver better treatment. Improving data collection and the way NHS systems work together will mean staff spend less time collecting and looking for information they need, so they can spend more time with those they are caring for to focus on looking after them.

Local Government Association (LGA) responds to NAO report on test and trace

June 2021

Responding to a National Audit Office report on test and trace in England covering the period November 2020 to April 2021, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

“Councils have been leading the local response to the pandemic across the country, complementing the national test and trace system by setting up their own local contact tracing partnerships and successfully tracing many hard-to-reach cases.

“As this report highlights, local authorities’ involvement in testing and tracing has increased significantly but challenges remain, including the need for greater data sharing to help them deal with localised outbreaks.

“Coronavirus will be with us for many months and years ahead. Councils with their public health responsibilities want to play their full part in helping to design a test and trace strategy for the medium and long-term which keeps our communities safe.

“With the necessary resources, data and personnel councils can respond swiftly to any future local outbreaks or variants.”

Mandating Covid-19 vaccinations in care home settings – England

June 2021

Following its consultation on whether to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for staff in care home settings, the government has concluded that, in England, it will require any professional visiting a care home to be vaccinated.

The Government has said this will apply to healthcare workers but will exclude those that have medical exemptions and those entering to assist with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work; and those under the age of 18.

To mitigate the risk of staff shortages, the government said it had included a 16-week grace period, providing time for people to receive both vaccination doses.

The government has also said it will provide more support to key members of the workforce who might be “more vaccine-hesitant”, including women of childbearing age, people from BAME groups and those with concerns about the vaccine based on religion or belief.

To address concerns about inadvertent breaches of data protection law, the government said it has “inserted a provision in the regulations so that a service provider may process information provided by a person wanting to prove their vaccination status, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018”.

College of Optometrists encourages the public to seek eye care if they have concerns about their vision or eye health.

June 2021

31% of Brits noticed their vision get worse since the pandemic1, a marked increase from 22% when surveyed in June 20202

44% believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their eyesight, increased from 27% in June 2020

28% believe their eyesight has become worse because of prolonged time spent indoors.

New research from The College of Optometrists has shown that almost one third of adults in Britain (31%) have noticed their vision get worse since the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdowns.

Although almost half of those polled (44%) believed that their eyesight has worsened due to increased time in front of screens, many did not take action because they didn’t think the problem was serious enough (29%) or because they were concerned about catching COVID-19 when visiting the optometrist (25%).

Clinical adviser Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom said: “We polled adults about their vision after the first lockdown in June 2020 and again in April 2021, and have seen a marked increase in those worried about their eyesight. It is very important that if you feel your vision has deteriorated or if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes, such as them becoming red or painful, that you should contact your local optometrist. We know many people are concerned about the safety of visiting an optometrist (45%), but please be assured that optometrists are open and are safe to visit. Your practitioner will ensure all the appropriate safety measures are in place.

“The research also showed us that many people believe that spending more time in front of screens has worsened their vision. You might have increased your exposure to screens with working from home, video calls and more television ,and it can be tiring for your eyes. The good news is that this is unlikely to cause any long lasting harm to your vision.”

The research also revealed:

21% of people struggle with everyday tasks due to problems with their eyesight

38% feel that life would be more fulfilling if they could see better

45% think they should get their sight tested more often that they do.

The College has issued five top tips on avoiding eyestrain.

The 20-20-20 rule. Give your eye muscles a rest. Every 20 mins, look at something 20 foot away, for 20 secs

Remember to BLINK regularly

Have your screen BELOW eye level and between 40 to 75cm away

Make your text size BIGGER to make it more comfortable to read

Use lubricating DROPS if your eyes get dry.

OKIA strengthens its commitment to Sustainability

June 2021


In celebration of 2021 #WorldOceanDay, OKIA renews its commitment to more sustainable production.

The company’s production line is one of the FIRST EYEWEAR production sites in China to be certified by Global Recycle Standard (GRS) in 2021. GRS is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions.

“We are proud to announce this new achievement which represents a step forward in our sustainable commitment in the eyewear industry” says Jacky Lam, Managing Director of Okia Optical “Since 2019 we first launched our up cycled plastic bottle collection RESHAPE(TM) with our #millionbottleschallenge; in 2021, over THREE MILLION bottles are recycled into eyewear. We continue to prevent millions of bottles from going into the landfill or ocean by giving used water bottles a second life (in fact, a brighter life!)”.

For more information on opportunities to get involved with our vital work, please visit our website here at

MITA for World Ocean's Day

June 2021

Yesterday, June 8th, the World Ocean Day was celebrated. It was established in 1992 during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Gables by MITAThe goal is to raise people's awareness and educate them to be aware of how the oceans are crucial to life in our planet.

The oceans cover more than 70% of the earth's surface, host 80% of the world's biodiversity and produce about 50% of the oxygen present in the atmosphere. They also play a significant role in climate moderation and CO2 absorption.

To celebrate this day, MITA presents the GABLES style; a sunglass of the new release COLLEZIONE 2: featuring a wide and squared front in a deep blue color like the ocean itself and havana temples to remember the rocks and the variety of the seabed.

Helping to clean the oceans of pollution is the challenge that MITA carries out everyday thanks to its collection of glasses made of sustainable materials. All plastic styles - as well as accessories - are produced using plastic bottles: 5 water bottles = 1 frame, 2 water bottles = 1 case and 1 water bottle = 1 cleaning cloth.

MITA EYWEAR is the brand of Vision of Tomorrow (VOT), the consulting and service company in the eyewear industry born from the twenty +years of experience of Nora Cabrera (COO) and Fabio Ferracane (CEO). MITA is the union between MI in Miami, where Vision of Tomorrow is based, and ITA as ltalia.

A name that represents a bridge between the melting pot stylistic culture of the American Magic City and the concepts of Italian craftsmanship and design.

Global eye care targets endorsed at World Health Assembly

June 2021

WHO Global Vision Targets

The 74th World Health Assembly has approved global targets for effective coverage of refractive error and cataract surgery to be achieved by 2030.

The aim is to improve access to refractive correction and cataract surgery for millions of people. Global experts acknowledge that interventions “that address the needs associated with uncorrected refractive error and unoperated cataract are among the most cost-effective and feasible health interventions available.”

Alan Tinger, FODO director, said: “We are fortunate in the UK to have a world-leading primary eye care service, with excellent access to eye care that can manage refractive error and cataracts.

The World Health Assembly again reminds us of the major public and population health benefits of primary eye care and GOS, which effectively corrects refractive error and remains one of the most cost-effective and feasible health interventions available.”

Globally, more than 800 million people have distance impairment (i.e. myopia and hypermetropia) or near vision impairment (i.e. presbyopia) that could be addressed with an appropriate pair of spectacles.

An estimated 100 million people have moderate-to-severe distance vision impairment or blindness that could be corrected through access to cataract surgery.

Read the World Health Assembly outcome

CQC launches new strategy

May 2021

The CQC has launched an ambitious new strategy based on extensive consultation with the public, providers of health and social care services, charities and partner organisations.

CQC’s purpose of ensuring high-quality, safe care won’t change, but how it works to achieve this will. The new strategy is set out under four themes:

• People and communities: regulation that is driven by people’s needs and experiences, focusing on what is important to them as they access, use and move between services.
• Smarter regulation: a more dynamic and flexible approach that provides up-to-date and high-quality information and ratings, easier ways of working with CQC, and a more proportionate regulatory response.
• Safety through learning: an unremitting focus on safety, requiring a culture across health and care that enables people to speak up and in this way share learning and improvement opportunities.
• Accelerating improvement: encouraging health and care services, and local systems, to access support to help improve the quality of care where it’s needed most.
Running through each of these themes are two core ambitions:
• Assessing local systems: giving the public independent assurance about the quality of care in their area
• Tackling inequalities in health and care: pushing for equality of access, experiences and outcomes from services.

Read about the new strategy here

Inequalities in disability between richest and poorest in the UK more than tripled in past decades, new report finds

May 2021

A new report published today by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC), drawing on a research project led by Newcastle University, finds that ill health and disability have been on the rise in recent decades, while the proportion of life spent in good health has declined. The report argues there is need for urgent action to support people to live not just longer, but healthier lives as part of the Government’s plans to build back better from the pandemic.

The report, drawing on research led by Newcastle University and funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust, finds that many measures of life expectancy have improved over the past decades:

• Estimated overall life expectancy at birth has increased for both men and women: from 72.9 years in 1990 to 79.2 years in 2017 for UK men, and from 78.5 years in 1990 to 82.7 years in 2017 for women.
• Both genders have seen increases in total time spent in good health. Between 1990 and 2017, healthy life expectancy at birth grew by 4.4 years for men (to 68.5) and by 2.7 years for women (to 70.0).
• Between 1991 and 2011, men gained 1.7 years of independent life, and women gained 0.2 years.

But while there have been increases in life expectancy and time spent in good health over the past decades, these gains haven’t kept up with those for general life expectancy. In other words, ill health and disability have been increasing while the proportion of life spent in good health and free from disability has been declining.

Moreover, ILC’s report highlights that changes in life expectancy haven’t been equal:

In 2019, the UK Government set a target to deliver five additional years of healthy life for all by 2035, which was confirmed in the Conservative Party manifesto ahead of the 2019 general election and reaffirmed in a speech by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in February 2020.

There was already scepticism that these goals could be achieved ahead of the pandemic and they’re now likely to be re-evaluated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as indicated in the Government’s response to a recent House of Lords committee inquiry into the feasibility of the target.¬¬

To deliver on the UK Government’s manifesto pledge and its renewed focus to “build back better”, ILC argues that urgent action is needed to invest in preventative health interventions, such as vaccinations, screening and early detection of disease, alongside a greater focus on targeting under-served communities most affected by the pandemic.

Dr Brian Beach, Senior Research Fellow at ILC and report author, added:

“Increased longevity is a success story, but the opportunities that stem from this will not be maximised if the extra years are spent in poor health or with increased levels of disability and dependency. Our new report – unfortunately – provides further evidence that the UK’s position in this respect is worsening, with gains in overall years outpacing gains in healthy years.”

“Moreover, the research reinforces the lessons that have been made stark through the course of the pandemic – that socioeconomic inequalities remain prevalent, with the least advantaged members of society suffering from worse outcomes. A key finding here is how the most advantaged have seen improvements while the least advantaged saw little change.”

“As the UK moves into recovery from COVID-19, political pledges to ‘build back better’ will only be fulfilled if policies actively reduce the kinds of inequalities that have grown since the financial crisis over a decade ago.”

Prof Carol Jagger, AXA Professor of Epidemiology of Ageing, Newcastle University, argued:

“Although the widening inequalities we found are concerning, our project also highlighted that some progress has been made over the 20 year period in respect of the disabling consequences of long-term conditions.”

“Though a greater proportion of older people reported the majority of conditions in 2011 compared to 1991, the gains in life expectancy at age 65 for people with long-term conditions were mostly years free of disability. This was also true for older people with multiple long-term conditions.”

“So early diagnosis, as well as effective treatment could help older people with long-term conditions slow down the progression of these conditions and reduce their disabling effect.”

Seeing the "new-normal" through Tinted Spectacles

June 2021

Transistions CampaignStep into spring: Transitions Optical supports the rebound of UK stores during the warmer season with a new strong media plan.

Spring is all around us, and it is time to enjoy light and life at its fullest! In the current scenario it is key to showcase to eye care professionals the benefits of promoting Transitions® lenses. To achieve this purpose, Transitions Optical is excited to announce its strong 2021 media presence starting from May. This campaign is expected to reach over 90 million people, supporting optical staff bringing consumers back in-store after lockdown.

To maximise traffic to stores, Transitions Optical has a multi-channel approach regarding its consumer media presence: a 5-week connected TV campaign - broadcasted on Virgin Media TV, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV, SKY, BT Sport, and STV - will be further amplified by a 4-week digital campaign in June including online videos on YouTube, targeted presence on social media (Facebook and Instagram), and also targeted display adverts, along with paid search ads and additional social media activities throughout the year.

The aim of this consumer campaign is to attract permanent glasses wearers of all ages and reach them on their most used platforms. Consumers with an interest in optics are also targeted to drive traffic into store. Opticians, be ready to welcome existing and new wearers!

Alongside this campaign, Transitions Optical is also targeting eye care professionals with a 4-week burst on social media, especially LinkedIn. Starting in May, the campaign provides them with key benefits, reasons, and tools to recommend Transitions lenses to more of their customers.

Transitions campaign


Highlighting the multifaceted nature of Transitions Lenses, the TV spot showcases the versatility of the lenses for indoors and outdoors use and show that Transitions lenses are for all: different personalities, lifestyles and age groups can benefit from them: teenagers, millennials, baby boomers, sporty, fashion-forward, business-focused… offering individuals visual performance, protection, and style – all in one accessory.

This TV spot emphasises the latest innovation of Transitions® Signature® GEN8™ with its large choice of tints: beyond the iconic colours (brown, grey and graphite green), GEN 8 is also available in 4 trendy Style Colours - amethyst, sapphire, emerald, and amber.

Transitions campaign


Starting in May, some dynamic videos will show the magic of Transitions lenses on the most popular social media platforms!

Transitions campaign

This campaign is a great opportunity for ECPs as it facilitates their recommendation to a wider audience of spectacle wearers. Supporting point-of-sale and digital assets are available to eye care professionals now.

Over the past 15 years, Transitions Optical has continually invested in multimedia to build awareness of its light intelligent lenses and to encourage spectacle wearers to consider their benefits, while asking and enlisting eye care professionals’ feedback. This is how Transitions became the number one spectacle lens consumer brand, in terms of awareness. It is also the number one eye care professional recommended photochromic lens brand globally.

Responsible recycling of waste by optical and optometric professionals and their patients/customers

June 2021

As part of World Environment Day, 5 June 2021, ECOO highlights the role of European opticians and optometrists in supporting and promoting sustainability.

World Environment Day places a special emphasis on creating a good relationship with nature. World Environment Day also launches the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.

Optometrists and opticians are providers of primary eyecare, embedded and engaged with their local communities. The optical/optometrist supply chain is multi-faceted and involves a range of different actors, materials and stages that have an impact on the environment. ECOO recognises that this offers many opportunities to help the planet and foster ecosystem restoration through the way optical/optometric practices manage waste, in particular plastic, and how they guide their customers/patients in their communities.

Some key areas where plastics enter the environment include used contact lenses, plastic bags which frames are delivered in, spectacles cases, dummy lenses, patients’ own outdated spectacle frames and lenses, micro particles of plastic washed out with the water of edging machines, packaging from products and Personal Protective Equipment. In addition, simple things like turning lights off at night and reducing the practice’s carbon footprint are also important ways that opticians and optometrists can help the planet. Cleaning the environment is everyone’s responsibility with opticians and optometrists keen to play their part to restore the ecosystem.

To mark World Environment Day, ECOO announces a new active workstream to provide guidance and foster awareness about sustainability to its members throughout Europe. ECOO will be looking to strengthen alliances with professional bodies, manufacturers, opticians, optometrists and business owners in the sector, joining forces in this important work to protect the environment. As a first step, ECOO is supporting the Euromcontact campaign “Contact Lenses: See Green”.

"TAKE TWO" Media campaign seto to drive footfall

May 2021

Take Two Media campaign from Essilor

A new “drive to store” digital media campaign has been launched by Essilor Ltd to support independent ECPs participating in its Take Two multi-pair lens promotion.

The campaign, which is set to run over a six-week period from the end of May, plans to push half a million consumers to the store locator on, allowing them to book an eye test at their local independent optician.

Advertising messages will be delivered across digital platforms including a “Take Two” display advert on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, alongside a “See More, Do More” video campaign for Varilux lenses.

Tim Precious, managing director at Essilor Ltd said: “Our drive to store campaign is expected to be viewed 55 million times across the digital channels with messaging that will influence and incentivise consumers, encouraging them to think about their eyes, book an optical appointment and take up the multi-pair lens promotion with our Independent business partners.

“We believe this will play a key role in driving footfall into independent opticians this summer and helping to boost business for our Independent business partners.”

Once a consumer clicks on a digital ad they will be directed to their local optician. Users can then use the live calendar to book or request an appointment from an ECP on the store locator.

Point of sale packs are available to maximise the Take Two promotion in practice.

New report shows potential to improve cataract surgery outcomes through advanced IOL data reporting

May 2021

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) recommends eye care centres monitor their own data to identify how their use of Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) affects the rate of a post-operative cataract surgical complication known as Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO).

New analysis of over 600,000 cataract operations suggests that there is considerable potential to reduce PCO and reduce costs. Clinics could take steps to make better informed decisions on procurement, by improving data collection and moving to utilisation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) across their whole eye service.

Analysis of the RCOphth National Ophthalmology Database (NOD) Cataract Audit dataset – which includes 601,084 cataract operations performed by 2,566 surgeons in 58 eye care centres – revealed vast variation in observed post-cataract PCO rates between different contributing centres and different IOL materials and designs, such as the higher observed PCO rate in IOLs with a hydrophilic component.

The analysis is published today in a report by RCOphth. The authors are Paul Donachie, John Buchan, and John Sparrow. This work was made possible with funding from Alcon, who are supporting the NOD programme.

PCO is a complication which can occur months or years after cataract surgery. PCO occurs when a cloudy layer of scar tissue forms behind the lens implant; this can cause blurred or hazy vision or glare from lights. PCO is estimated to occur in roughly one in five eyes that have cataract surgery and is usually treated by Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (YAG) laser surgery.

Although there were multiple surgical and ocular factors found to influence the risk of PCO YAG, none of these alone can account for the vast variation in observed PCO rates in the report. However, better monitoring of performance of IOLs to reduce complications could result in fewer clinic visits by patients, freeing up resource in the ophthalmic workforce. Fewer YAG capsulotomy surgeries conducted could reduce the current annual £8 million NHS expenditure1 on these corrective procedures and improve patient outcomes.

John Buchan, NOD Cataract Audit Clinical Lead and consultant ophthalmologist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust explains:

“The extent of variation that we found suggests that there could be substantial benefits to patients and to the NHS from further work to identify the IOL’s or other modifiable risk factors that impact PCO rates in individual centres. Reductions in the incidence of PCO YAG could benefit thousands of patients, by avoiding YAG laser surgery thus reducing hospital visits, improving patient outcomes and liberating NHS resources”.

Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure in the UK, with around 472,000 carried out in the NHS (England and Wales). It is also cost effective and highly successful in providing patients with improved quality of life.

The report recommends that individual eye care centres should:

Compare PCO rates for different IOL’s utilised within the same centre to identify IOLs (and other modifiable risk factors) which minimise the rates of PCO.
Investigate measures to improve data collection, including moving to utilisation of EMR across their whole eye service including any community-based follow-up.

Recognise the false economy for NHS providers to opt for less expensive IOLs with higher rates of PCO, given the negative effects on patients (who are often elderly) and the average cost to the NHS of the YAG laser capsulotomy needed to correct PCO.

Key findings:

The overall post-operative one-, three-, and five-year PCO rates in patients for whom follow up data was available were 4.0%, 18.0% & 31.2% respectively.

About half of the centres have a single preferred IOL model which they use in >90% of cases.

The strong association of centres with IOL models coupled with the very large variation in PCO rates between centres, introduces a great deal of uncertainty about the source of variation in the observed PCO rates.

Therefore, this analysis of RCOphth NOD cataract audit data cannot definitively state that any individual IOL put the patient at higher risk of developing PCO.

Consequently, the RCOphth NOD cannot advise changes in clinical practice regarding which IOL to use.

Read the RCOphth Feasibility study of Post-cataract Posterior Capsule Opacification Report 2021

"HEALTHTECH HOUR" becomes UK Health Radio's fastest growing show ever

May 2021

HealthTech Hour on UK Health Radio has officially become the stations’ fastest growing show ever, surpassing half a million listeners in less than 6 months and reaching almost 50,000 every show, as the UK embraces the HealthTech boom.

• HealthTech Hour reached over half a million listeners in less than 6 months
• On average the show is tuned into by almost 50,000 every week
• Upcoming guests include Dr Dan Bunstone from Push Doctor, Sam Shah from Numan and Dr Umang Patel from Babylon Health

HealthTech Hour sees Steve Roest, CEO & Founder of PocDoc, speaking to the founders, leaders, clinicians and investors who are driving the HealthTech revolution and are at the forefront of healthcare innovation.

Previous guests include Dr Nick Taylor CEO of Unmind, the global leader in digital mental health services in workplaces, Dr Kate Bunyan Chief Innovation Officer of leading virtual GP provider Dr Care Anywhere, Dr Sarah Jarvis and Kate Newhouse Chief Operating Officer of Kooth, the UK’s leading digital mental health provider.

The show’s success reflects the nation’s growing obsession with health-related news stories over the past 18 months, which has also seen a surge in health degree applications and record investment in HealthTech companies both from private investment and public funding.

As CEO of PocDoc, which is backed by the NHS Digital Accelerator as “HealthTech set to transform the NHS,” Steve is uniquely placed to be able to bring together the founders, leaders, clinicians and investors who are driving the HealthTech revolution on the show.

Steve Roest, HealthTech Hour host said: “We are thrilled that an idea we had a few months ago has now not only become reality but has taken off more than we could ever have believed. The public have a clear interest in health technology and the future of healthcare in this country, we hope to now kick even further on and bring some of the leading figures in health and technology from across the world onto the show and deliver fantastic content and interviews for our listeners.”

HealthTech Hour can be listened to live here , while all previous episodes are also available to listen again.

AIO provides guidance to its members in respect of offering ‘paid for’ DVLA Field Tests

May 2021

The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) has issued guidance to its members in respect of providing DVLA Esterman Field Tests for their patients.

AIO is satisfied from a legal perspective that there is no basis in law for the DVLA to reject a Field Test undertaken by a qualified and registered optometrist, that is paid for by the patient.

In correspondence with the DVLA, AIO has established that full medical evidence has to be supplied to the DVLA and the guidance issued to members today sets out what AIO believes to meet the requirements set out in statute.

Dr Christian French, Chair of AIO commented ‘we have been rather surprised that the DVLA has almost seemed resistant to AIO’s initiative to give patients the option to pay for their own Field Test rather than visit a Specsavers store. Surely this should be every patient’s democratic right, on top of which it is saving taxpayers money.

Rather bizarrely, one point of resistance in correspondence with the DVLA stated ‘We do not routinely accept field tests from customers own optometrists due to the identity check element.’ That there should be an issue over identity in respect of a patient that has been with a practice for years, if not decades is surprising and AIO has asked for clarification on this issue. Logic would suggest that there would be much greater concerns in respect of identity for a patient visiting a Specsavers store for the first time.’

AIO is continuing its challenge with the Ministry for Transport, and through the Competition and Markets Authority in respect of the award of the DVLA contract in November 2019.

Primary Eyecare Services progression by stealth to take over existing extended eyecare agreements comes under question.

May 2021

In an open letter from the Chair of Croydon LOC (published at the end of story) criticism is laid at the door of the Primary Eyecare Services Ltd (PES) for a lack of collaboration over a procurement process that saw the very efficient and local Complete Ophthalmic Services (CIC) Ltd lose its 7-year tenure of the Croydon area contract as a community interest provider which followed the original ccg contract with individual local contractors.

Chris Kerr (Chairman) emphasises the fact that Croydon which has provided its own in-house service recognised as a highly successful operation and praised by Moorfields which it successfully integrated with in 2019 has lost the contract because of the strategic interests of countrywide growth of both Moorfields and the PES.

He also complains of a complete lack of collaboration between PES and Croydon LOC. PES is an associated company with LOCSU Holdings Ltd and shares directors and optical leads within LOCSU.

Although like all LOCs Croydon contributes to LOCSU it has always remained outside of LOCSU’s original PECS in which from its early days Croydon proved that individual LOCs could successfully work with CCGs and Moorfields without a need for a PEC provided by LOCSU.

There are other very successful LOCs who did not take on a LOCSU PEC with a nominated LOCSU member on the board.

PECS which became regionalised and later a national company in the form of Primary Eyecare Services Ltd at the behest of LOCSU have an increasing interest in subsuming other contracts.

Some LOCs have remained with a (primary Eyecare company (PEC) but remained independent of the LOCSU Holdings PES.

Both independent and individual LOC integrated service providers must fear the shadow of a takeover by procurement by PES as it must be conceived as the median plan for LOCSU/PES directors to consolidate and create a national hold on extended eye care services.

There has always been a school of thought that a national plan for community eye services governed by LOCSU does not always reap benefits for all LOCs. For example, it used to be mooted that closer understanding, local knowledge and working closely in sharing data provided better financed benefits to the practices and better focused data for the primary/secondary care professionals to share.

Central agreements, on the other hand, have a risk of lost local negotiations, dumbed down agreement levels and poorly financed agreements purely on averaging down across communities.

The questions that need to be asked is what is better for the public and the other stakeholders in the main the practices that are doing the work that has allowed this service improvement to happen in many but not all areas.

Whilst PES claims that its intention is not to make profits it has said that it intends to retain the profits to enable it to continue to develop its services and presumably enable it to spend further cash on more upcoming procurement processes. That alone will put the successful independent providers under greater strain to try to retain what their LOC members have been happy to support for many years, 11 in the case of Croydon.

We understand that when any surplus monies were made by Croydon’s CIC that its practitioners all shared in benefits such as equipment upgrades and certification. That won’t be the case going forward.

A more sanguine view would be that LOCSU’s PES will assist the weakest of LOCs by funding from those more successful. Perhaps that’s what the majority want but large corporation and business intervention has taken a hard knock in recent years because they lack flexibility and local knowledge.

What is surprising is that this change could not be resisted by Croydon. Maybe with the forthcoming legislation for new ICS in reducing the requirements to the tender processes in healthcare the changes might have saved them. But others should be aware.

Given that Moorfields had been wholly satisfied with the process they took over at Croydon from the CCG one wonders what was the catalyst for prompting change in its service provider provision other than the knowledge that both PES and it (Moorfields) has visions of country wide domination.

The letter from Croydon in Full:

Dear Colleague

Press release

Croydon LOC regrets to announce that its community interest provider company, Complete Ophthalmic Services CIC, is no longer running the Croydon Community Ophthalmology Service.

Despite running a successful service, most recently as an integrated service under Moorfields, a procurement was run in late 2020 and the contract awarded to Primary Eyecare Services (PES), a company whose only member is LOCSU. Chris Kerr, Chair of the LOC commented, “It is extremely disappointing that, having been involved in this Croydon service for over 11 years developing it into what has widely been acknowledged as an exemplar service, a decision has been made in Moorfields’ strategic interests rather than in the interests of all stakeholders in Croydon. Furthermore, I am extremely concerned at the lack of collaboration within the optical sector that has allowed this situation to arise. In the recent NHS White Paper, Government has raised concerns with regard to the competitive tendering process in the NHS. Regrettably, the Croydon Community Ophthalmology Service has become an unwitting casualty of this process”.

Yours sincerely

signed when received
Christopher Kerr

Chairman Croydon LOC


Please refer to our latest story on received complaints on non-payment/delayed from PES to practice contractors. News separately received.


WLC UK launches a new eye-catching website

May 2021

WLC Logo A brand-new trade website has been unveiled by lens manufacturer, WLC UK, for eye care professionals and optical staff to order stock.

The new site has added visual appeal and is more functional to use. A new blog offers insights and tips to help ECPs connect with their patients and acts as an information hub for promotions and product information updates.

Phil Emerton, site manager at WLC UK, explained how the company is committed to supporting its customers with the best service and after months of hard work and planning, is delighted to share the new more user-friendly website.

“Our goal was to enhance the user’s experience and make information about our products and ordering processes more easily accessible, accurate and up-to-date and we are pleased that the new website achieves this,” he said.

“It is now more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and more functional for users who want to order products, check for updates and navigate their way around the site.”

New 'We Offer Testing to our Staff' scheme launched

May 2021

A new sticker scheme will allow businesses to easily show they are testing their staff regularly.

New sticker scheme launched allowing UK businesses to display their offer of free testing for staff alongside materials promoting use of the NHS COVID-19 app to check in customers and visitors

Alongside the vaccine rollout and checking in with the NHS COVID-19 app, regular testing is at the heart of plans to reopen society and the economy, helping to prevent the spread of variants

A new scheme for businesses offering workplace testing for staff through NHS Test and Trace has been launched across the UK. It will show customers, employees and the wider public the businesses that are going the extra mile to keep their staff and the public safe.

In addition to workplace testing, business owners and staff should all follow essential behaviours such as ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air’ and, where applicable, checking customers and visitors in using the NHS COVID-19 app.

Businesses that offer rapid workplace testing to staff, either through on-site testing or workplace test collection, will be able to download posters and stickers to demonstrate their offer for free, regular testing to their employees keeping people safe.

More than 122,000 businesses have signed up for free workplace testing already, using free government-supplied rapid test kits from NHS Test and Trace. All organisations that registered before 12 April and self-declared their involvement are eligible for the scheme.

Participating firms will be able to access digital assets including stickers and posters from Tuesday 11 May, and can be accessed by participating firms online via the online ordering platform.

SHAMIR and ALPINE F1 Team form unique partnership

May 2021

Shamir sponsor Alpine F1 team Shamir Optical Industry, a world-leading developer and producer of high-performance lenses, and Alpine F1 Team are delighted to announce an innovative new partnership that will see Shamir become Alpine F1 Team’s optical performance partner.

This collaboration, initiated by FUSE France (Sport marketing agency of Omnicom Media group), aims at improving the visual quality and safety of every Race Team member and, ultimately, their collective performance.

The partnership is a natural expression of Shamir and Alpine's shared values of leading technologies, innovation, high performance, fast reaction, precision, safety and great teamwork.

The Shamir-Alpine F1 Team partnership will create the first ever vision performance lab in Formula 1, providing high performance ophthalmic assessment for Alpine F1 Team and Alpine Academy drivers as well as the pit crew, pit wall and personnel at Alpine F1 Team’s bases in Enstone and Viry-Châtillon.

Research and development will be a cooperative endeavor and both Alpine and Shamir engineers will investigate new technologies to improve racing and safety performance, focused on vision, including reduced glare goggles and coloured visors and anti-fog lenses for the pit crew helmets, amongst other innovations.

Alpine F1 Team track team, as well as personnel in its two HQ in Viry-Chatillon, France, and Enstone, UK, will benefit from accurate ophthalmic follow-ups, while being equipped with Shamir's most advanced safety equipment and lenses aimed at improved visual performance.

Shamir back Alpine F! Team

Reflecting its new standing as technical partner, Shamir's logo will now appear on Alpine F1 Team equipment, such as mechanics' helmets, garage doors, and so on.

Cédric Journel, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Alpine: “We are delighted to welcome Shamir on board. Visual excellence is a much-underexplored area in our sport and we look forward to exploring new avenues with Shamir, an ophthalmic industry leader, to improve performance through visual tools and processes. They share our drive for constant improvement and there is huge scope to collaborate on many creative and innovative new technologies that will initially help our team but also consumers across the world.”

Antoine Magnan, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Alpine: “We are proud to introduce Shamir as our vision performance partner. One of the pillars of our commercial strategy is to match with best-in-class brands to explore new solutions. Formula One offers a unique laboratory for brands to push the boundaries of their technology and develop new processes and materials to enhance Alpine F1 Team performance that can also be applied in the real-world to consumers. It is an exciting partnership, full of potential to explore areas of human performance not yet analyzed in Formula One.”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director, Alpine F1 Team: “Excellence in Formula One arises from excellence in every area, from every person, and vision is often overlooked as a key performance differentiator. We have seen from many different sports, such as skiing and rallying, that if an individual can focus precisely, without distraction from glare, blurring and flare, it allows them to perform better. Shamir develops world-class innovative ophthalmic technology and we look forward to exploring many different avenues with them.”

Yagen Moshe, Chief Executive Officer, Shamir: "We are proud to be associated with this great brand and happy to apply our expertise in support of Alpine F1 performance. We believe our partnership will allow Shamir to express its passion for innovation and continue developing unique and leading products. A wonderful collaboration such as this, with a leading team in one of the top performance sports, represents for us a great opportunity for furthering the Shamir mission - Improving quality of life by improving vison."


May 2021

The wait is finally over: NIRVAN JAVAN's new campaign #SEETHEWORLD – THE SHOW introduces the multifaceted richness of this world and celebrates a cosmopolitan, modern society embracing different perspectives.

#seetheworld campaign

The campaign serves as an extension of the concept #SEETHEWORLD and the invitation to see the world with one's own eyes.

#SEETHEWORLD – THE SHOW: A symbol for diversity

Walking through life with an open mind and experiencing the world in its endless diversity. With the current campaign #SEETHEWORLD – THE SHOW, Zurich-based lifestyle brand NIRVAN JAVAN offers a deeper insight into their cosmopolitan approach.

In #SEETHEWORLD – THE SHOW this philosophy is shown through the gathering of different characters from all over the world who come together in a unique place to celebrate life and the multifaceted richness of this earth. They all are modern cosmopolitans and represent the diversity of our planet.

#seetheworld campaign

A journey throughout the year with different destinations

#SEETHEWORLD – THE SHOW will join us throughout the upcoming year. Each character represents a collection and metropolis within the NIRVAN JAVAN universe and creates a thematic spotlight over the year. London, Tokyo, Paris, Chicago and Rome – all those cities will be highlighted and are once again drawing attention to the diverse impressions that the brand gathers on its stylistic journey around the globe. The campaign video forms therefore the opening of this multifaceted campaign.

#seetheworld campaign

"The campaign #SEETHEWORLD – THE SHOW and the story behind it is truly special to me. After a long and intensive process, we are very excited to invite every single one of you to this show and take you with us on a journey around the globe." Nirvan Javan, Creative Director

#SEETHEWORLD – THE SHOW its collections, as well as the character and their personal stories, can be followed throughout the year on the brand's website, as well as its social media channels.

Watch the video:

College of Optometrists releases ‘Forty Years of Research’ Report

May 2021

The College of Optometrists has published a report reflecting on the history and impact of its research work and funding. The report, which was compiled to celebrate 40 years since the formation of the College, details how it’s research awards, support and collaboration have impacted on knowledge, practice, and defining the profession.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research for the College says, “We are so proud to launch this report to our members, looking back on projects of all sizes, which have truly helped to shape the profession in important ways. The report demonstrates how the College has invested over five million pounds in optometry, optics, vision science and eye health sector public policy research. "

"Research forms the foundation of clinical and professional practice and we are pleased to be have developed the profession’s knowledge and supported the development of clinicians, academics, researchers and teachers of future generations of optometrists. I hope the report interests our members, and they are proud of what they have achieved as a profession through their College. We really hope it may be a source of inspiration for future researchers at all levels.”

Some key highlights from the report are included below:

• Approximately £400,000 has been invested in Research Fellowships since 2008
• The College has awarded over 70 Postgraduate PhD Scholarships
• More than 350 research funding awards have been made
• Over £235,000 has been awarded by the Small Grant Scheme since 2008, for more than 30 practice-based research projects, across all 12 regions of the UK represented by College Council
• The College has collaborated with over 40 partner organisations including universities, hospitals, eye heath care sector bodies, independent researchers
• In the past 10 years, the College has awarded over £50,000 to 60 Research Excellence Award winners, based at research institutions from more than 10 countries, across four continents.

The report also includes key outcomes from a number of key research projects including The Enhanced Scheme Evaluation Project (ESEP), Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction Project (NICER) and The Prevalence of Visual Impairment in People with Dementia (PrOVIDe) project, amongst others.

It also details the success of a range of member benefits that are produced by the research department, including research journals, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (OPO) the top-ranked optometry journal in the world, and Optometry in Practice (OIP), supported by engaging podcasts, which keep optometrists up to date with current research and developments in optometric practice.

The report can be read, in full, on the College website:

To contribute to the Research Fund, visit the College’s donation page:

"CAN’T SEE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS" College proves the the point.

May 2021

- Beloved British children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been re-released with entirely BLURRED text and illustrations to highlight the importance of children’s eyesight –

• The College of Optometrists has re-released one of the best known and most popular works of English literature fiction - Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - with entirely blurred text and illustrations

• The Blurred Edition has been commissioned as part of a public awareness campaign, after research1 revealed that up to 23% of parents don’t take their children to get their eyes tested

• The out of focus novel can be downloaded from

The classic 1865 novel by Lewis Carroll has today been re-released by The College of Optometrists in entirely blurred text, to raise awareness of the importance of children’s eye health. The new release named ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Blurred Edition’ has been launched after new research reveals that up to a fifth (23%)2 of parents have never taken their children to get their eyes tested.

Every single word of Carrolls’ classic, including the original illustrations by John Tenniel are out of focus in this newly released blurred edition. As Alice herself thinks: “what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?” - in this case, while the book cannot be read, its use is to reflect the deteriorating eyesight of many of our children and how the much-loved book could appear in their eyes.

Indeed, where iconic characters like the Cheshire Cat, Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit have lingered in sharp focus in the memories of millions, in this blurred edition these friends and foes in Wonderland appear on the page as little more than fuzzy shapes.

For parents that do get their children’s eyes tested, the most common reasons for visiting the optometrist are due to children commenting on things being blurry, not being able to see the board at school, and sitting too close to the television (18%). Noticing that their children don’t enjoy reading is also a reason for taking a trip to the optometrists for 9% of parents. When it comes to their own eyesight, almost one third (31%) of adults have noticed their vision get worse during lockdown, and 40% believe their eyesight has markedly deteriorated in the past two years.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser for The College of Optometrists comments: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Blurred Edition hasn’t been published for people to read, but instead for the public to consider what it could be like for a child living with deteriorating eyesight. Reading is so important for a child’s development, but to read well, you need to be able to see clearly. We’re committed to encouraging people to get their sight checked regularly and we hope this blurred classic will help illustrate what it’s like to not be able to see everything in focus. We need to alert people to the importance of taking care of their children’s eye health as well as their own.

“Things to look out for in toddlers and young children include having one eye turned in or out, rubbing their eyes a lot, watery eyes, clumsiness and poor hand-to-eye co-ordination, avoiding reading, writing or drawing, screwing up their eyes when they read or watch TV, sitting very close to the TV, or holding books or objects close to their face. Having behaviour or concentration problems at school, blurred or double vision, or unexplained headaches are also factors to look out for. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to book an appointment with an optometrist for your child.”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Blurred Edition’ will be displayed in the College Museum. Although the museum is currently closed, when it re-opens, visitors can look through the illegible pages of blurred text themselves to understand the importance of eye health and eye examinations. The online version can be downloaded from

All optometric practices are following government guidance and optometrists wearing PPE, to ensure each patient visit is safe. If you have any concerns about your vision, book an appointment with your local optometrist, you can find a directory of College members on our patient website:

The College has created a series of patient-focused videos related to COVID-19 and eye care:

• What to expect when you visit your optometrist:
• How to prevent your glasses from fogging up when wearing a face mask:
• How to avoid dry and uncomfortable eyes when wearing a face mask:

Join us at SEE,Summit on the Environment.

April 2021

On Earth Day, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is calling on everyone across the optical professions and industry to save the 4th of October 2021 for the inaugural SEE Summit on the Environment.

ABDO formed a working group at the start of 2021 to address Social, Ethical and Environmental (SEE) issues with the aim of working across the industry to increase awareness and engagement. As part of this project, ABDO is calling on practice owners, professionals and manufacturers to take part in a launch event to promote environmental sustainability in the UK optical sector and contribute to the Government’s goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The event will take place in the run-up to the COP climate change summit in November 2021 and will highlight the importance of environmental sustainability and inspire change by sharing good practice case studies and providing practical advice.

ABDO Vice President Daryl Newsome says, “We all recognise the importance of climate change and pollution. Many different organisations within optics are making great efforts to make our industries and professions environmentally sustainable. ABDO would like to play its part by bringing together individuals and organisations to support and recognise their efforts and achievements and to share best practices in an impartial and collaborative way.”

The event is supported by the OSA. Stuart Burn, Chairman of the OSA says, “The OSA is delighted to be a part of the first SEE Summit in October where optical bodies can help shape a better future for our planet. This fantastic initiative will bring positive change and lasting effects to the optical sector and the environment we inhabit.”

ABDO’s working group is also looking to develop a network involving professional bodies, manufacturers, practice owners and practitioners, all of whom can work together to highlight good practice and raise awareness of the importance of this issue.

If you have environmental initiatives you would like to showcase in the run up to or at the event, please email

If you would like to be involved in or support the event, email

If you would like to attend: save the date: Monday 4 October 2021 from 7 to 8.30pm. An announcement will be made when bookings open.

Covid antiviral taskforce for the Autumn

April 2021

Government launches COVID-19 Antivirals Taskforce to roll out innovative home treatments this autumn

The Antivirals Taskforce will identify treatments for UK patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stop the infection spreading and speed up recovery time.
A new Antivirals Taskforce has been launched by the government to identify treatments for UK patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stop the infection spreading and speed up recovery time.

The taskforce will search for the most promising novel antiviral medicines that can be taken at home and support their development through clinical trials to ensure they can be rapidly rolled out to patients as early as the autumn.

The taskforce will also look at opportunities to onshore the manufacture of antiviral treatments.

The aim is to have at least 2 effective treatments this year, either in a tablet or capsule form, that the public can take at home following a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to someone with the virus.

This will be another vital tool to combat any future increase in infections and limit the impact of new variants, especially over the flu season later this year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The success of our vaccination programme has demonstrated what the UK can achieve when we bring together our brightest minds.

Our new Antivirals Taskforce will seek to develop innovative treatments you can take at home to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. These could provide another vital defence against any future increase in infections and save more lives.

College Update on Chloramphenicol

April 2021

The College has produced an update to the summary of product characteristics (SPC) for the Prescription Only Medicine (POM) form of chloramphenicol 0.5% multi-dose eye drops.

This relates to a change in posology, where it can now only be given to adults and children over 2 years of age.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are reviewing the evidence for this change. We will notify members regarding the outcome of this review. In the meantime the Collge have temporarily updated the Optometrists' Formulary.

This change does not apply to the SPCs for chloramphenicol 1% eye ointment (POM), or chloramphenicol 0.5% minims eye drops (POM), which can be given to adults and children over 1 month old. However, as the minim form also contains the same boron based excipients as the multi-dose eye drop form, we recommend that this too should not be used in children under 2 years old.

The posology for the Pharmacy only (P) form of chloramphenicol (multi-dose eye drops no more than 0.5% and 10ml pack size; eye ointment no more than 1% and 4g pack size) which can be sold or supplied directly to patients remains unchanged, where it can only be given to adults and children over 2 years old. The P form is licensed only for the treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis.

HEIW says the "Future approach for optometry services“ paper suggests major change in Wales

April 2021

Health Education and Improvement Wales heralds the biggest change in primary care optometry in Wales in a generation”.

HEIW appointed two optometrist clinical fellows for the first time in 2020:

• Tim Morgan, former Optometry Wales vice-chair, is leading developments to enable “optometrists to contribute in health prevention, involving the patient in decision making and providing advice” as part of the planned new contract. “Tim is also analysing how optometrists can provide sustainable healthcare, ensuring cost analysis of service delivery whereby financial costs, person impact costs and environmental costs are all considered as a whole.”

• Sarah Schum, community optometrist, is leading a workforce data analysis.

Dr Nik Sheen, clinical lead at Cardiff University, Director at WOPEC and eye care transformation lead at HEIW, is “providing the education and development input with the aim of upskilling optometrists and supporting them when they take on additional clinical roles and, crucially, enabling them to become more adept at managing and accepting clinical risk.”

Read the report here

@Théa the new 2021 " let's open our eyes" Campaign

April 2021

Thealoz@ Duo Dry Eye drops, Thea's leading dry eye brand is repeating its successful TV advertising campaign.

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

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

The TV ad kicks off wider Thealoz@ Duo brand activity online.

Point of sale for Opticians and Pharmacies is available through the Thea Sales Team or by contacting the Thea order line on 01782 381698 or

The advert will be on air nationwide on ITV3 from April the 6th for 11 weeks, and via the Sky Adsmart channel in London exclusively from the 1 st of May through to the 31 st of May.

The campaign is designed to support Théa's pharmacy & optometry customers, who have had a tough year throughout the pandemic and highlight Dry Eye to consumers, particularly with screen use on the rise, which can often be particularly hard on your eyes.

Thea's aim is to bring the most advanced formulations in eye care and unique preservative free products to patients.

Further information about Théa's eye care range can be found on the Thea consumer website —

Why Blue Light Protection Matters

April 2021


Transitions against Blue Light Light is all around us, and it is essential for our health and wellbeing. However, some lights can be harmful, causing eye fatigue and eye strain or affecting our mood and sleep patterns.

Did you know?

• 78% of wearers are more likely to purchase a product that provides harmful blue light protection after receiving a simple statement on blue light.1
• This percentage increases even more with millennials, with 85% claiming they would be likely to purchase.1

In the past year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for protection, including eye protection, has increased even more:

• 86% claimed that protecting their health and their family’s is more important than ever2
• 70% thought that protecting their eyes is more important than pre-pandemic.2

This, associated with more time spent indoors and in front of screens has resulted in more awareness about harmful light and an increased need to protect the eyes:

• 75% said they want UV and harmful blue light protection.2

Transitions against Blue Light



Transitions® light intelligent lenses™ offer an always-on protection, indoors and out, as they block 100% uv rays and help filter harmful blue light.

Entrepreneur Academy launched to support health and social innovators across West Midlands

April 2021

The Meridian Health and Social Care

The Meridian Health and Social Care Entrepreneur Academy is launching this month (April 2021) which aims to support health and social care innovators across the West Midlands.

The Academy is being led by West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) and will be supported by the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). The new Academy will see a programme of activities launched to identify entrepreneurs within health and social care and develop their healthcare solutions, while addressing current priorities within the West Midlands.

The Academy has two entry points; an intensive, free boot camp that allows attendees to explore entrepreneurship and develop transferable skills. This will be open to all health and social care professionals within the Black Country & West Birmingham STP and registration will be managed through Eventbrite.

An additional six-month, on-the-job workforce development programme will also provide health and social care professionals with the commercial skills, knowledge and experience needed to successfully develop and spread innovative solutions to the health and social care challenges being faced across the West Midlands. Applications will be managed through Meridian and will be open from 1st April 2021.

Tammy Holmes, Head of Delivery (Innovation and Commercial) at WMAHSN and creator of the Entrepreneur Academy, says: “There is no better place to find new ideas and enthusiastic individuals than in the organisations at the forefront of delivering patient care and looking after our communities.”

“WMAHSN is pleased to be working with the Black Country and Birmingham STP in offering both clinical and non-clinical healthcare professionals, from the NHS and from valued social care organisations, the chance to develop their ideas and confidence around healthcare innovation, to really make a difference in the region.

“Helping people achieve their dreams and making their ideas a reality is something I'm personally passionate about. I’m excited to meet the NHS entrepreneurs of the future.”
The academy will launch April 2021 with the first Meridian Entrepreneur Boot Camps taking place in May 2021 and the first cohort of the Meridian Entrepreneur Programme starting in June 2021.

Ocean blue project & Miami beach clean up join efforts with Mita eyewear, for a more sustainable future

April 2021

The green eyewear brand along with these two no profit organizations hopes to create environmental awareness with this new campaign of ocean pollution clean up.

Ocean Blue MITA beach Cleanup Project For MITA - the eyewear brand made with PET plastic from bottles thrown into the ocean - environmental sustainability is not only our company philosophy, but our real and concrete commitment as a brand.

Hence the collaboration with two major American non-profit organizations dedicated to the environment and the protection of the seas: Ocean Blue Project and Miami Beach Clean Up. Both associations promote beach and water cleaning campaigns from plastic and waste through the involvement of volunteers and educational programs aimed at citizens.

Ocean Blue Project based in Oregon, aims to make oceans, beaches and rivers pristine and self-sufficient ecosystems again; where wildlife and human communities can coexist and thrive. The project is developed thanks to the direct commitment of local communities and administrations able to mobilize and coordinate resources aimed at educating the younger generations to respect the natural environment.

With similar activities and with the same purpose. Miami Beach Clean Up was founded by Sophie Ringel, a resident of the metropolis who started collecting garbage on the Miami beaches with the aim of making it a clean and welcoming place for citizens and tourists, but mainly to protect its marine fauna. Sophie's commitment and enthusiasm has grown to the point of being able to involve City officials, local Police Department Officers, students, teachers and professionals all united to protect the environment.

In addition to financially supporting the two associations, the MITA team participates as a volunteer in the clean up activities of the beaches, with the aim also to raise awareness of customers, followers and friends. MITA's commitment is also manifested in further concrete help: the company donates 2% of the value of each sale to either organization, where the consumer gets to choose at the time of purchase, which of the two associations they would like their donation to go to.

"MITA EYEWEAR was born with the aim of creating a movement of environmental responsibility within the eyewear industry. Our models are made with recycled materials, the lenses are biodegradable and the packaging is eco-sustainable. We are proud of the collaboration with Ocean Blue Project and Miami Beach Clean Up, an important opportunity to join forces to protect our oceans and our Earth "said Fabio Ferracane, CEO of Vision of Tomorrow.

MITA EYEWEAR is the brand of Vision of Tomorrow (VOT), the consulting and services company in the eyewear sector born from the twenty-year experience of Nora Cabrera (COO) and Fabio Ferracane (CEO).

MITA is the union between MI of Miami, the city where Vision of Tomorrow is based, and ITA like Italy. A name that represents a bridge between the melting pot stylish culture of the American Magic City and the concepts of Italian craftsmanship and design.

ABDO highlights 2 new sponsors for its 2020 "Careers in Eyecare"

April 2021

Careers in Eyecare, the cross sector initiative to highlight the range of careers in eye care and eye wear, has received a boost as two significant companies come on board as sponsors.

The award-winning campaign, which was launched by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) in 2020, is now sponsored by Specsavers and Stepper (UK) Limited.
Nick Walsh of ABDO says, “Careers in Eyecare was born from a desire to do more to raise awareness of all of the great career opportunities available in our sector. Ensuring that we have a future pipeline of new talent will keep the sector buoyant and fresh. Support from these great forward-thinking sponsors helps us to increase the range of help and resources that we can offer to students, teachers and careers advisers. We look forward to working with them and any other companies who would like to become sponsors too.”

Lucy Knock Early Careers Manager says "Specsavers is delighted to work with ABDO on the Careers in Eyecare Campaign, which we hope will inspire more young people to become opticians. We're keen on sharing the hidden secrets of the fantastic opportunities we have in our industry and in particular our role as STEM employers - for people who love science and technology, but also want to work in a caring environment. We look forward to sharing all the amazing ways we change people's lives with a career in eyecare."

Peter Reeve, Managing Director Stepper (UK) limited says, “Delivering comfort and fit that delights spectacle wearers requires good product and the best dispensing skills, so encouraging professionalism in eyecare early in a career delivers the best possible outcomes for all. Stepper is supporting Careers in Eyecare so we can work together with parents, schools and careers advisers to let more young people know about the amazing range of roles available in design and manufacture of eyewear, with career routes available for those who like engineering, craft and design as well as those who are interested in science, technology and healthcare.”

900 Specsavers stores have now installed OCT

April 2021

Ensuring the latest optical technology is accessible to as many people as possible

Specsavers has today announced its 900th store location in the UK and Ireland to install an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as Selby in Yorkshire. The technology is used as part of Specsavers’ most advanced eye test.

The landmark has been achieved four years after the company announced the commitment to a £35 million pound investment. Since 2017, Specsavers stores have been installing OCT scanners, backed up by an extensive training and mentoring programme for all optical colleagues.
This nationwide rollout allows most Specsavers optometrists to work with OCT technology.

Mo Basharat at Specsavers Selby Mohammed Basharat, who has been the ophthalmic director in Selby for 19 years said all the store’s optometrists had completed a seven-module training course to work with OCT.
‘We are so pleased to be able to offer this technology to the Selby community and enhance the customer experience. The team have loved using it and the feedback from customers so far has been brilliant.
'It also helps relieve pressure on the NHS because it reduces the number of referrals we need to make.'

Paul Morris, Specsavers Director of Professional Advancement adds: ‘Using this remarkable technology alongside the data we collect in our clinical outcome report, we are able to ensure our clinicians deliver the very best care in their communities by being aware of key metrics from their clinics such as recall and referral rates. This allows clinicians to reflect on their practice like never before and opens up multiple opportunities for continuous
professional development.

Specsavers clinical services director Giles Edmonds says: ‘Together with our partners, we’re totally committed to making a positive difference to the lives of everybody – and OCT is part of this.’
‘Having OCT available nationwide is great news for customers who love the fact we use the latest technology and it’s also great news for optometrists who want to advance eye care by working with OCT. The completion of our national rollout is proof of our investment into innovating optometry’. 

More than 4,000 optometrists have completed the online training to work with OCT, from an overview of the technology to disease progression analysis.
OCT is offered when booking an eye test to people aged 25 and over, or if clinically indicated. The £10 charge for an OCT scan is additional to the standard eye test fee.

Pictured: Mohammed Basharat at Selby


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