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Optical Industry News

We separate industry news into its own section where you will find information about companies, their promotions and their personnel. International news on optically related businesses is also displayed in this section.

Companies wishing to promote their plans, personnel changes and inform the profession should send their PR to

Zoobug get Olympic licence

FMO members get Bribery Act briefing

Fabris Lane look to acquire frame company

Harrow Optical announce expansion plans

TD Tom Davies expands Shenzhen production team by over 20%

Ocuco Exhibitors only raffle creates another iPad2 owner

Optrafair TV is set to roll

South Midlands appointment for Hoya

Optisoft's new office

Frames of 2011 sought for Optra Awards

Hoya publish brochure

Hoya appoints new regional training manager

Optrafair 2011 opens online registration

FMO Christmas Lunch Set To Draw Large Optical Party

Shamir stock soars

Optrafair 75% sold

Alcon 3rd quarter sales rise 9%

Record number drawn to FMO regional meeting

Optrafair Masterclass To Maximise Show Opportunities

Stand Marketing brings 20% discount to FMO members at Optrafair 2011

Gloucester Rugby Club hosts FMO meeting

ACLM announces new product manual

BCLA encourages application for new ‘Clinical Spotlight’ category for BCLA 2011

FMO service provides 24/7 legal advice for members

Exhibitors taught to exhibit in Masterclass

Hoya launches long life coating promotion

New area sales manager at Hoya

Optrafair 2011 space selling fast

FMO promotes Carbon Trust loans

Optrafair 2011 launched

New territory manager for Hoya

FMO launches membership benefits brochure

Fabris Lane appoints new Optical Sales Manager

FMO to focus on employment law and marketing

New Operations Manager Appointed at Nidek

Dibble forms Liaison with Nidek

New Ophthalmology Business Manager appointed by Nidek

Norville Bolton – Increased UK Based Surfacing Capacity

Eurom Report calls for fresh approach and gives some signs for optimism

Neil Townsend appointed MD of Birmingham Optical Group

WECO Edge 650

KeraSoft® introduced to the Elite

FMO re-brand

FMO to form closer links with overseas companies by widening membership category

DX to host FMO meetings

BSI standards available from FMO

FMO appoints European Advisor

PROENZA SCHOULER recipient of the "CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year 2009 Award"

UltraVision beats previous records at BCLA conference

Rodenstock's new combi refraction unit

New Norville frame directory for 2009

FMO meeting to take place in Paddington

Sean Collins looks for new horizons after leaving Maui Jim

J&J at the BCLA

New ColorMatic® Campaign launched to tempt consumers

FMO attends opening of new parcel service facility

Zoobug announces Licence for official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Sunglass Collection for Children

June 2011

The Official London 2012 Sunglass Collection for children of 0-12 years of age will be launched in the UK next month, following the signing of a licence between LOCOG, the London 2012 Organising Committee and kid’s eyewear specialist Zoobug.

Zoobug Olympic LicenceThe exciting sunglass collection, manufactured under license by Zoobug in celebration of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games will be available to UK opticians for delivery before Christmas.
“Zoobug is honoured to be involved in the Olympics, having been chosen to produce their official sunglasses for children. The London 2012 Games is the biggest organised event in the world. This is huge and will make for such an exciting retail and marketing opportunity for all UK opticians in the run up and during the Games.

Each sunglass style will boast a new flexible hinge design and adjustable rubber end tips for high-level comfort, and 100% UV protective lenses. The frames are designed in popular shapes using the bright colour palette of London 2012 which is perfect for children. They are made to be safe, comfortable and durable, for children of all ages.

Decorative elements will include the Olympic and Paralympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville and the London 2012 Union Flag designs. The collection will also incorporate Team GB designs, using the red, white and blue colour palette in support of the team who will compete at the Games. Each product comes with a London 2012 or Team GB sunglasses pouch.

For further information on The London 2012 Sunglass Collection for Kids contact Zoobug on 0207 253 2527.

June 2011

Lavish hospitality and gifts within the optical industry should be guarded against to avoid challenges under the new Bribery Act, FMO members were told during a briefing on the upcoming implementation of the Bribery Act 2010 at their regional meeting in Birmingham last week.

FMO LogoMark Nevin, Head of Policy and Regulation at The FMO, FODO and ACLM. told members of the FMO Frames, Lenses and Equipment Associations that the Ministry of Justice “is not intending to prohibit normal, honest, business practice” but that companies need to be aware of any risk of bribery.

You can read the Confederation’s recent press release on our news pages as well as click to our Business Briefing page to select the full report on the 2010 Bribery Act.

FMO members also used their meeting to discuss their specific industry sectors and the opportunities and challenges which are now being met. Dedicated optical training for all levels of employees was a major talking point, and a new localised delivery service from Dx. The industry’s preferred courier service is now providing the facility for a later collection time and earlier next day service, by using 4,500 local Dx Optical Exchanges. This is designed to provide a swifter turnaround service for 86% or practices which are within 1.5km of an exchange, said James Timberlake, Dx Head of Marketing.

Fabris Lane looks to acquire frame company

June 2011

Fabris Lane, the privately owned UK frame and sunglasses company is looking to grow by acquisition and is actively seeking to purchase an established optical distribution business.

Fabris LaneTim Downes, Managing Director of Fabris Lane, explained that the long established company has recorded strong growth in its sales of private label product to fashion brands, High Street retailers and optical chains internationally, particularly throughout Europe.

“However, the time is right and we are looking to the next growth phase. We believe the most expedient path is through acquisition and we are looking to acquire a well respected company with an established sales structure, which may also licence some strong consumer brands. Being in a cash-positive position we would fund any purchase from existing resources,” he said.

“Our excellent customer service facility, extensive quality testing laboratories and fully integrated EDI and bespoke stock management warehousing, which ships thousands of frames around the world each day, supports sales into 35 countries, across 10,000 retail outlets including ophthalmic frames into France and Germany. We have the means, and desire, to bring further eyewear products to market.”

Harrow Optical Services announced expansion plans this week for frame department

May 2011

Due to a very successful Optrafair with a great number of positive leads from Harrow’s brands that received a very good reception at the show, HOS have decided to recruit sales representatives for all areas in the UK, including Scotland and Ireland to show their three main ranges.

These are:

Change Me –

An interchangeable side range with a choice of 45 stunning models in Full rim, Supra and Rimless with a choice of over 150 side designs. HOS says the range is ideal for Independent Opticians that are looking for something to distinguish themselves from the multiples and the internet.

Vistan Concept – Own Brand Eyewear

OBE enables the optician to create their Own Branded eyewear with a unique name/brand to suit their practice or location, there is a huge range of styles and frame types which are very competitively priced and finally:

i-plain –

The answer to all rimless needs with high quality beta titanium which is light, flexible and nickel-free, Innovative hinges, no screws, highly fashionable lens shapes, 2 temple design options and over 45 colours – plain, two tone or laser engraved.

Click to our job vacancy section for more information.

Visit Harrow Optical Services page

TD Tom Davies expands Shenzhen production team by over 20%

May 2011

TD Tom Davies, the award-winning British eyewear brand has increased its production workforce by 22% since December 2010 to meet the growing demand of its luxurious ready-to-wear collection and unique bespoke and couture spectacles and sunglasses. To celebrate progress, the brand invited a team of international opticians to tour the facilities and take part in an inaugural 4-day advanced training programme inside the workshop in Shenzhen.

Tom Davies WorkshopRepresenting Denmark, Holland, Malaysia, Singapore and the US, the 12 visiting Opticians had an opportunity to visit the production departments and newly renovated ground floor of the TD Tom Davies workshop during their trip in April.

The Opticians observed the advanced, highly intricate production processes developed by Tom, from the initial design and engineering process to the final Quality Control procedures at the end of the production cycle. They even took part in workshops on key stages of production, including rim wire forming, sandblasting and hand polishing.

Each visitor was also able to oversee the production of frames that they had ordered for their own customers in recent weeks. They had the opportunity to work with engineers to design and make their own TD Tom Davies ‘designer’ frames on site, a special service devised by CEO Tom Davies to give opticians the chance to be involved in the actual creation of the products they sell.

Commenting after the trip, Murphy Chan, CEO, Eyecon Optometry Network, Malaysia, said: “Eyecon’s experience in Shenzhen was a very rewarding one. The opportunity to meet up and exchange experiences with TD Tom Davies experts from Europe and the US was truly exciting. As for the brand and its philosophy, TD Tom Davies occupies a unique position in the optical market. I was impressed by the team spirit demonstrated among the staff we met. Creating a high-end product requires extra human dedication, commitment, care and passion which does not exist in automated machines. These positive qualities differentiate the TD Tom Davies brand from other optical brands in the market. Every step of the process – from receiving orders, designing, choosing materials to the hand finishing – is undertaken with a careful approach, striving for perfection and uniqueness.”

Tom Davies selection“Every pair of TD eyewear reflects the dedication of each member of staff and is truly a work of craftsmanship, explains Edmund Teng Cheok Hong at Eyecon Optometry Network, Malaysia. “The CAD engineers are great. The software is state-of-the-art. The TD Tom Davies brand is a new selling concept in optical dispensing, not just a product. It is about the buying experience of the wearer. A TD optician is not just selling a product. He is the designer, the engineer and the architect of that piece of eyewear.”

Bryan Chin of Jamco Optical Company, Singapore underlined the care and attention paid to the creation of each and every product: “I was impressed by the amount of detailing that went into the production of each frame. Every pair is made for someone special. The running of the factory is quite different from what I had imagined. It was very clean with a nice work environment where the staff take pride in their work. To let the staff have a sense of ownership in their production is a great achievement. I also didn't realise that Tom actually makes the tools that are used to make the glasses because the tools could not be found anywhere else.

The production of the natural horn is also fascinating. The creation of different layers to create texture and colour is very impressive. This is a truly exclusive niche offer and I believe this is the future of eyewear! TD Tom Davies allows me to do more for my customers. My customers don't just see me as a regular eyecare practitioner they consider me to be a designer as well. This gives me an advantage over my competitors who sell mainstream products.”

Commenting on the highlights of the trip, Didi Cools of Cools Brillen in Holland said: “The processes used at TD Tom Davies are extremely intricate, and the people who do this work are very precise. I had expected that more of the work would be done using modern machinery and that the workforce would be considerably less. I was surprised that so much is done by hand, with exceptional accuracy. The experience I've gained in Shenzhen will be extremely useful for me to explain to the customer what the brand stands for and how it is different from the others. It was nice to see how Tom treats his staff and that everything could be seen of the production. I really appreciated the chance to design a frame myself; this is really fun to do.”

According to Pim Engelen from Deventer Brillencentrale in Holland, “It was great to visit TD Tom Davies in Shenzhen, and see how such high quality spectacles can be created by hand. I have seen mass production in the past; now I’ve seen what kind of level of specialism is needed to make a high quality frame, it is an amazing process. I was extremely surprised to see that handcrafted really means handcrafted at TD Tom Davies. Even the smallest detail was handled with extraordinary craftsmanship. I am impressed that TD Tom Davies is making it possible for opticians to offer an increasingly wider audience of customers a high quality, handmade, customized product.”

Following the success of the inaugural visit of opticians in April this year, TD Tom Davies plans to create an annual trip for advanced training on site at the TD Tom Davies workshop in Shenzhen in addition to running its programme of training sessions in London, UK.

Ocuco Exhibitors only raffle creates another iPad2 owner

May 2011

Courtney Salway, HoyaOcuco announced this week that Paul Artley of Mainline was the overall winner of the “Exhibitors Only” Raffle winning the top prize of a new iPad2 on the Monday at Optrafair 2011. Further winners of Cross Pens were Zoe Smith from Nidek and Lee Rosser from Keeler on the previous days.

The raffle for exhibitors was so popular that Ocuco has decided to run this at future trade shows. It created a good atmosphere amongst exhibitors and a little light relief in what turned out to be a very busy and successful 3 days for Ocuco.

Although the stand was designed to provide many additional demo pods for demonstration of the new Acuitas features including the very well accepted Direct Debit upgrade, we found them to be all in use for the entire show.

Ocuco also ran a seminar at Optrafair in Suite 27 with presentations on various interesting topics including Focus 2.0 Overview, providing tips on improving business, measuring KPI’s and using your PMS system to help promote business and account for VAT correctly. They also sponsored a talk by Steve Aldington in the OT Arena entitled Staff Accreditation in DR Screening.

Ocuco, the UK’s leading provider of PMS systems to Independents and groups had its most successful ever Optrafair providing more Independents with the ability to compete in the market place efficiently and enabling good service to the public. Despite a large number of smaller PMS providers being present at the show, the number of increasing Acuitas and Focus users demonstrated that practices appreciated the research and development invested in by Ocuco as well as their proven record to provide back up, assistance and training whenever requested.

Optrafair TV is set to roll!

February 2011

Optrafair TV, the means for exhibitors to catch the eye of visitors, will be rolling as soon as the doors to the Birmingham biennial show open on 9 April.

Filming of interviews and stand displays, that will have taken place before the show, and during the first day, provide the opportunity for exhibitors to use the medium to reach their target audience.

With screens running in the entrance hall of the exhibition, within viewing of the fashion quarter’s champagne bar, and alongside the Royal College of Art Gallery, they are ideally placed to capture the attention of browsers.

From just £300+vat a 20 second commercial can be made, which will run at least ten times each day, featuring the company’s graphics, logo and telephone number. Already several companies have taken slots within the schedule, aware that the footage can be added to their company website after the show.

Promoting brand awareness at Optrafair and creating a greater impact can also be achieved by other show marketing opportunities including advertising on the Optrafair website, sponsoring the CET poster trails, or carpet tiles that will lead visitors to your stand, plus strategic “You are Here” boards.

Vouchers, to be emailed to visitors before the show, will offer enticing deals and are also an opportunity for exhibitors to reach out to visitors.

South Midlands appointment for Hoya

January 2011

Courtney Salway, HoyaHoya Lens UK has appointed Courtney Salway, FBDO (Hons)CL, as Sales Manager for the South Midlands Region.

Courtney has worked in optics since qualifying in 1987 and has spent the past six years representing Essilor. His in-practice experience includes time with independent and multiple practice opticians and as an ABDO distance learning tutor.

Looking forward to developing independents’ business with existing and new Hoya customers, Courtney was drawn to the company’s cutting edge technology –
“There are so many reports of Hoya’s excellent delivery and quality. The technical engineering approach seems to be at the head of the game with freeform lenses, and the coatings are fantastic,” said Courtney.

Optisoft invests in new office and internal systems

January 2011

Optisoft has stepped up customer support since moving to new offices in York, with a new Customer Relationship Management system. This is designed to improve the Help Desk facility which now services and supports more than 1,000 independent practices throughout the UK and Ireland.

Optisoft New Office“Having moved to new open plan offices, we now have more space for expansion and it makes communication between departments much easier. That, along with the CRM system and improved accessibility of our new offices, means that we are well positioned to continue providing a quality service to our customers,” said Optisoft Managing Director, Keith Sheers.

The new offices are within easy reach by road and rail and are located on the Monks Cross North Business Park, just 15 minutes from the centre of York.

7 Alpha Court, Monks Cross Drive, Huntington, York, YO32 9WN

January 2011

Frame entries for the coveted Optra Awards, Frames of 2011, are now being sought by The FMO in preparation for the judging in March by the Royal College of Art’s fashion department, which is closely associated with new talent frame design at this year’s Optrafair.

To be show-cased at Optrafair (April 9-11), and featured on Optrafair TV, entries are invited for five categories:

*Children’s frames
*Women’s Ophthalmic
*Women’s Sunglasses
*Men’s Ophthalmic
*Men’s Sunglasses

“We are seeking the most fashionable, innovative, and inspiring frames that reflect the style of 2011 and these will be presented to an audience of thousands at Optrafair,” said Malcolm Polley, FMO Chief Executive.

The winning companies, along with runners-up, will be alerted to the fact that they have won before the show, enabling them to maximise the impact of the winning frames on their stands.

The winning styles will also be displayed alongside the RCA student’s conceptual designs in a specially created gallery, providing an enticing display of how the future of eyewear might be.

The respected fashion stylist judges, who will include Professor Wendy Dagworthy, Head of the RCA’s School of Fashion and Textiles, are likely to focus on colour, design and a look that reflects the fashion mood of the moment, when judging the frames.

The competition is open to all Optrafair 2011 exhibitors, who are allowed to enter frames in any category, with a £25 charge for each frame submission. All frames should be delivered to the FMO Offices, 199 Gloucester Terrace, Paddington, London W2 6LD by 1st March 2011.

Hoya publish glossy brochure to celebrate 30 years of service in the optical industry

January 2011

We publish in PDF format the newly produced brochure in which the MD Martin Batho states”This is a highly significant year for Hoya UK, as we celebrate 30 successful years of manufacturing, innovation and sales growth, from our headquarters in North Wales.

On a global scale, Hoya Vision Care is also celebrating a remarkable success story – with an international reputation for world-class products and technologies and an international network of 46 branches in 24 countries. Founded in 1941 as Japan’s first manufacturer of specialised optical glass, Hoya Vision Care has expanded significantly in the past four decades. “

Download your copy here

Hoya appoints new regional training manager

November 2010

Joanne Copeland HoyaJoanne Copeland has been appointed Hoya Regional Training Manager for the South and is available to provide in-practice guidance in promoting Hoya’s premium lenses and coatings to regional and national accounts.

A graduate of optometry from Australia’s Queensland University of Technology, Joanne has worked in practice for several years. She is now visiting practices and training dispensing opticians, optometrists and support staff in the benefits of dispensing premium lenses.

“Hoyalux iD MyStyle, particularly, is a lens which brings tremendous patient satisfaction and if everyone within the practice from the receptionist upwards has a grasp of what it offers the patient is receiving a consistent message, and this brings good returns in terms of satisfaction and referrals. Many practices are also interested to have a broader understanding of our award winning coatings,” said Joanne.

The training, which normally takes about an hour, includes the use of the Hoyalux iD Comparison Display which compares conventional lenses with Hoya’s latest iD FreeForm technology.

Optrafair 2011 opens online registration

November 2010

Rayban LuxotticaReaching 7,500 potential optical buyers in three days, for as little as £806 per stand, has led to 80% of space now sold for next April’s Optrafair. Few companies want to miss out on the once every two years opportunity, claim show owners, The FMO.

Of the space already booked 16 stands have been allocated to overseas exhibitors who are bringing their products to the UK market and 20 companies are new exhibitors to the show, as Jenny Wright, Optrafair Sales Manager, explained –

“French and German companies, particularly, have been attracted to Optrafair 2011. They like the fact that we are the major UK show and continuing education forum, and that those who attend are serious buyers.”

“Two live theatres for CET and product promotion; the Fashion Quarter with Champagne Bar; Small Business Area; Contact Lens Pavilion; so much for optical technicians plus Optrafair TV are major draws of the show along with the easy accessibility by road, air and rail.”

With just five months to go until Optrafair 2011 opens its doors, the online registration for exhibitor and visitor passes is now live. Look out for the GO GREEN option of ordering passes and collecting them at the show entrance to reduce the carbon footprint – plan ahead and make sure the date, 9-11 April, is in your diary by visiting

Hilton PaddingtonNovember 2010

The FMO Christmas Lunch, which each year attracts a larger attendance, is to be held this year on 10 December, 1pm, at The Hilton Hotel, Paddington.

FMO members and their guests are warmly welcomed to apply for tickets for what has become a highly popular event of the optical calendar.

Due to increased numbers, and having outgrown the FMO boardroom, The FMO AGM will also be held at The Hilton Hotel, prior to the lunch on 10 December. Full details are available from The FMO 020 7298 5123.

Shamir Stock Soars Following News of Essilor Deal

October 2010

Shares of Shamir Optical Industry’s stock quoted on the (NASDAQ: SHMR shot up 16.15 percent to $14.36 on over 724K shares on Friday in response to an announcement earlier in the day that French optical giant Essilor International plans to acquire 50 percent of the Israel-based lens maker.

The closing price nearly reached the $14.5 per share price for each transaction set by Essilor, which is investing $130 million cash in the deal between Essilor and Kibbutz Shamir.

Under the terms of the agreements between Essilor and Kibbutz Shamir, the existing management team of Shamir Optical will remain in place. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, rulings, the approval of Shamir Optical’s shareholders in accordance with Israeli law and the approval of the district court of Nazareth, Israel, is expected to close in mid 2011.

Optrafair 2011 celebrates 75% space sold

October 2010

Rayban LuxotticaOptrafair 2011 is now 75% booked with space sold to UK and international exhibitors months earlier than previous shows. Optrafair owners, The FMO, believe the commitment shown by optical companies reflects the positive mood of the industry to inspire practices with cutting edge technology and enticing fashions. Frame companies have been especially eager to secure their space at next April’s show.

See our Optrafair pages

Alcon Third Quarter Sales Rise 9.0 Percent

October 2010

Alcon, Inc reported that global sales rose 9.0 percent to $1.76 billion for the third quarter of 2010. Revenue from acquisitions added 70 basis points to sales growth in the quarter, while foreign currency fluctuations reduced reported sales growth by 40 basis points.

Net earnings for the third quarter of 2010 declined 13.4 percent to $446 million, or $1.47 per diluted share, compared to $515 million, or $1.71 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2009. Reported net earnings in the third quarter of 2010 include $113 million in after-tax other operating expenses related to the change of majority ownership and merger proposal from Novartis AG. Excluding these expenses, non-GAAP adjusted net earnings would have grown 8.5 percent to $559 million, or $1.84 per diluted share, compared to third quarter 2009 net earnings. Reconciliations of reported and adjusted results for the third quarter are included in the financial tables below.

"Alcon's operational and financial performance in the third quarter clearly demonstrates our ability to combine our commercial capabilities and global scale to achieve sustainable organic growth. Once again, we have delivered high-quality results from our core operations, supplemented by strong growth from our recent acquisitions," said Kevin Buehler, Alcon's president and chief executive officer. "With the solid results posted in the first three quarters of the year, we are on track to deliver against our full-year revenue and profit guidance."

Record numbers drawn to autumn FMO regional meeting

October 2010

Record numbers were drawn to The FMO’s autumn regional meeting with more than 40 optical companies represented at the Gloucester Rugby Club venue last week.

Generously sponsored by Transitions, delegates including several new members, were welcomed by FMO Chairman Barry Dibble, who spoke of the great networking opportunities provided by the organisation.

Industry-specific discussions for the Frame, Lens, and Equipment focus groups, enabled delegates to discuss the state of the market within their sector and to share best practice ideas and learn more about new developments, from both the UK and international optical market.

FMO SpeakersA most informative outline of the structure of the optical market in Ireland was presented to all delegates by Peter Coleman, CEO of the Association of Optometrists, Ireland. Despite depressed economic conditions delegates were interested to hear that €22.50 was the statutory fee for eye examinations and €42 for government funded specs in the country of four million people. Details of how the medical card - or voucher scheme - works, was of great interest to many companies looking to enhance their business within Ireland.

“The Most Open Economy in the world” was how Peter described Ireland with delegates hearing about the extensive contact lens manufacturing and the fact that it is a market where 50% of people still use the services of an independent optician – perhaps double that of the UK.

EyeZone, a new Irish marketing initiative for Irish independent opticians was also explained, which has so far attracted 160 practices. Continuing education study days were also an opportunity for optical suppliers to raise their profile through sponsorship, explained Peter

Delegates heard from Elaine Grisdale, ABDO Head of Professional Services, who promoted the theme of” Positive Interaction Between Industry and Dispensing Opticians” – the “revenue generators for practices”.

Deborah Gigg, recently appointed Director of Training for the WCSM Education Trust outlined the new customer service qualification and proposals for specific manufacturers training, including a one day glazing course, and Level 2 for customer service training. Details of the new courses will be announced shortly.

Picture shows: Malcolm Polley, Chief Executive FMO; Elaine Grisdale (standing), ADBO Head of Professional Services; Deborah Gigg, (seated) Director of Training WCSM Education Trust; Peter Coleman, Chief Executive Association of Optometrists Ireland

Optrafair Master class To Maximise Show Opportunities

October 2010

Secrets of Successful Exhibiting: the Optrafair 2011 Master class for those planning how to maximise their investment in next April’s NEC show, takes place on Thursday 11 November at the NEC and places are booking up fast.

This is a date for all exhibitors, who are keen to draw a crowd, to put in their diary.

“Creating a buzz and ensuring that the right people are attracted to a company’s stand is not something to be left to chance. Booking the space and expecting customers to arrive is not the best way to maximise the opportunity. It is important to plan a six-month marketing campaign in the build-up to engage with the audience before the event,” said Jenny Chalmers, Optrafair Sales Manager.

“Setting objectives, and fully exploiting the opportunity with creative ideas to drive marketing activity, making the stand more enticing and ensuring that the show lasts through the following months, is the key to success,” she added.

Keynote speaker will be Austin Hawkins, a director of the Association of Exhibition Organisers, who has led tremendous growth in a number of trade shows. The training day will cover -

Planning your way to exhibition success

The essential guide to planning your exhibition presence includes:

- Setting objectives
- Designing your stand to meet your objectives
- Do’s and don’ts of stand design
- Delivering the wow factor!
- Stand staff check list

Lights, camera action!

The doors of the exhibition hall open and thousands of people rush in, but what are the do’s and don’ts of staff behaviour:

- Open questions
- Body language
- See, hear, listen, speak
- Stand staff personal qualities
- The successful encounter
- Understanding your visitor
- Securing the lead
- Common failings

Reaping the rewards

The essential guide to following up show leads

Cost is £75 + vat for FMO members including buffet lunch
Cost is £95 + vat for non-FMO members including buffet lunch

Stand Marketing brings 20% discount to FMO members at Optrafair 2011

August 2010

Shell Clad Stands at OptrafairImpactful stands at Optrafair are now even more affordable thanks to the 20% discount negotiated for FMO members on personalised marketing panels from show supplier, Shell-Clad.

Dramatically more eye catching than posters and banners, the printed modular panels also remove the need for pop-ups which clutter the exhibition space, particularly with stands that start from just six metres² –

“The number one rule of attending an exhibition is creating impact. Companies need to make sure their stand is more eye-catching than all of those around it,” said Guy Wrench, Director of Shell-Clad.

“You can transform your exhibition presence with a strong visual message, waste no floor space and most importantly re-use the panels many, many, times,” he added.

To find out more about shell schemes, and Shell-Clad which needs several weeks to prepare, at Optrafair contact Jenny Wright 0121 767 3309

Gloucester rugby club hosts FMO regional meeting

August 2010

FMO meeting at Gloucester Rugby ClubGloucester Rugby Club’s newly refurbished stadium is the venue for the Autumn FMO regional meeting, which takes place on Thursday 14 October.
Sector specific meetings on frames, lenses and equipment will be held in the morning to discuss the current state of the market and after lunch guest speakers will bring a new dimension to the business of finance and insurance in optics, plus an update on Optrafair 2011.

“Working together the optical industry can make significant progress in advancing eye care and we urge optical companies, large and small, to send along a representative to find out more about the excellent guidance and networking opportunities that the FMO provides,” said FMO Chairman, Barry Dibble.

While the morning sessions, starting at 10.45am are for FMO members only, the afternoon presentations, commencing at 2pm, are open to non-FMO members. To reserve a place contact The FMO 020 7298 5123.

ACLM announces new product manual

August 2010

The 2010 edition of the product manual of the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers has now been published. It lists technical details for all the contact lenses, solutions and materials produced by ACLM member companies, and covers the overwhelming bulk of products available in the UK. It has become an essential product guide and handy reference for contact lens practitioners.

This year there are plenty of new products – nearly 40 - and even more alterations or deletions. Readers can easily keep up with the latest developments by obtaining a copy of the Year Book every year. Probably the best way to subscribe is by Direct Debit which secures a 25% discount every year, and also guarantees being among the first to receive the latest issue automatically. Practitioners can download the order form from the Home Page of the ACLM website at Alternatively, join the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and receive a free copy of the Year Book as part of the membership package.
Visit or call 020 7580 6661 to join.

August 2010

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has introduced a new ‘Clinical Spotlight’ category of submissions for BCLA 2011.

In addition to the current call for clinical workshops, the Association is inviting submissions of continuing education/professional development sessions for presentation at its 2011 Clinical Conference and Exhibition to be held on 26-29 May at Manchester Central, Manchester.

“The new Clinical Spotlight category has been developed with contact lens and eyecare practitioners in mind,” explained BCLA President Elect and Conference Programme Committee member, Dr Catharine Chisholm. “We are inviting practitioners to submit proposals on topics that are relevant to clinical practice today, providing conference delegates with valuable take-home ‘pearls’ to apply in their day-to-day practice.”

Groups or individuals are invited to submit proposals for a two-hour Clinical Spotlight session on any topic relating to contact lenses and/or the anterior eye. Proposals should comprise one-and-a-half hours of continuing education presentations, followed by a 30-minute Q&A period.

The deadline for submissions is 24 September 2010. Successful applicants will receive a conference voucher worth £100 for each speaker, which can be used towards their 2011 full delegate fee.

For further, detailed information on conference submissions, including submission forms, visit the Events section on the new-look BCLA website at

FMO service provides 24/7 legal advice for members

August 2010

24 hour access to personal and commercial legal advice is a telephone call away for FMO members, who are entitled to use the FirstAssist service for all of life’s headaches. The valuable service, which is free of charge to FMO members, is being highlighted as one of the great value added membership assets.

FMO First Assist“The most common calls we receive are about employment questions, and there has been an increase of debt calls due to the economic climate, but our team of experts also have specialist knowledge of property rentals, health and safety, small tax issues, motoring problems and issues with neighbours,” said Janet Pressley, FMO Account Manager at FirstAssist.

“We have a team of experts sitting in our Hinckley offices, handling calls day and night, so if something is troubling you at 4am there will be someone at the end of the telephone to speak to,” added Janet.

FirstAssist is a leading provider of telephone advice services and has over 30 years’ of experience – much within the major corporate, commercial and healthcare sectors. The legal advisors can assist with a wide range of commercial and personal legal issues from employment, contract and property to intellectual property, offences under the Road Traffic Act and consumer rights.

FirstAssist lawyers are drawn from private practice, the Bar, and in-house legal departments. HR professionals within the Department come from both the public and private sector having specialised in a wide range of areas in their time. FirstAssist’s legal department is accredited by the Law Society in the provision of training for its members of staff and provide regular training sessions to all members of the Department.
FirstAssist holds ISO 9001-2008 and Investors in People status.

Exhibitors taught to exhibit in Masterclass

July 2010

FMO announces masterclass for all exhibitors with reductions in cost for FMO members. The class entitled Secrets of Successful Exhibiting: is aimed at those planning how to maximise their investment in next April’s NEC show, and takes place on Thursday 11 November at the NEC.

NEC OptrafairThis is a date for all exhibitors, who are keen to draw a crowd, to put in their diary.

“Creating a buzz and ensuring that the right people are attracted to a company’s stand is not something to be left to chance. Booking the space and expecting customers to arrive is not the best way to maximise the opportunity. It is important to plan a six-month marketing campaign in the build-up to engage with the audience before the event,” said Jenny Chalmers, Optrafair Sales Manager.

“Setting objectives, and fully exploiting the opportunity with creative ideas to drive marketing activity, making the stand more enticing and ensuring that the show lasts through the following months, is the key to success,” she added.

Keynote speaker will be Austin Hawkins, a director of the Association of Exhibition Organisers, who has led tremendous growth in a number of trade shows. The training day will cover

Planning your way to exhibition success

Lights, camera action!
The doors of the exhibition hall open and thousands of people rush in, but what are the do’s and don’ts of staff behaviour:

Reaping the rewards
The essential guide to following up show leads

Hoya launches long life coating promotion

July 2010

Hoya competitionHi-Vision LongLife, the world’s toughest anti-reflection coating available, is now supported with an exciting “healthy long life” themed scratch card promotion in which every sale wins.

Highlighting the durability of the internationally award-winning Hoya coating* the new promotion is open to all Hoya’s independent and prescription labs customers.

“Any orders placed with a Hi-Vision LongLife coating during July and August will receive a guaranteed winning scratch card. The prizes include Wii fit games consoles, balance boards, Ipod Shuffles and thousands of Love 2 Shop vouchers or One4All vouchers for our Eire customers,” said Rachel Edwards, Hoya Marketing Assistant.

Focusing on a ‘healthy long life’, the activity-inspired prizes reflect the superb performance of Hoya’s coveted coating.

All winning Scratch cards must be returned to Hoya by 20th September 2010 when all of the prizes will be dispatched.

New area sales manager at Hoya

June 2010

Victoria Spencer of HoyaHoya has appointed Victoria Spencer as Area Sales Manager for the North-East, following nine years of optical experience as a branch manager.

Promoting the extensive support that Hoya offers to independents who wish to differentiate their practices, Victoria has much experience in dispensing and maximising sales.

“The quality of our lenses, short delivery times, backed with superb sales and business support, are key benefits of using Hoya,” said Victoria.

“I am particularly keen to promote the Hoya PNX 1.53, a lens which is extremely tough with high impact resistance. It comes with a two year anti-breakage guarantee and is fantastic for rimless, supras and children’s glasses,” she added.

OPTRAFAIR 2011 space selling fast

June 2010

A record-breaking 40% of space has been reserved by companies wishing to exhibit at Optrafair 2011, just a month after the order book opened.

Never before has so much space been reserved so long before the show opens, reflecting the importance which the industry attaches to the biennial event and its role in launching new products and creating awareness of market advances.

Optrafair Shell SchemeFirst priority for bookings has been given to 2009 exhibitors who were offered first refusal on their previous stands. The floor space has now been opened up to new exhibitors, many of whom are interested in the specialist areas of the show.

“For as little as £1,000 companies can have a presence at Optrafair, and we have a choice of shell schemes which enable companies to walk onto the space knowing that all costs are covered. The Fashion Quarter and Contact Lens Pavilion are also attracting a lot of interest,” said Jenny Chalmers, Optrafair Sales Manager.

The stand packages start at £145pm² for space only, while the standard shell scheme, which brings walls, carpet and name board is priced at £168pm². Additional options are available with the premium shell scheme, which includes an electrical supply within the total price, and the premium plus shell scheme which includes an electrical supply and furniture budget.

“Companies may also like to look at exhibiting within the Fashion Quarter, Small Business Area and Contact Lens Pavilion. Many of the stand options have been designed to make exhibiting easy with little more to do than bring the products along and lay them out. We are creating a real opticians’ market with far greater opportunity for smaller companies to exhibit,” added Jenny.

FMO Promotes Carbon Trust Loans as a mean to invest in green technology

June 2010

Optical businesses wanting to invest and make the most of new energy saving technology should explore the opportunities of interest free Carbon Trust Loans, believes The FMO.

FMO promotes carbon trust loansProviding loans of between £3,000 and £100,000 for energy saving advances, Carbon Trust Loans are currently available over a one to four year period. Funding is confirmed for the financial year to March 2011, but will be subject to budgetary changes after this period.

“Government money is committed to this scheme until March 2011, but there are limited funds and those interested in exploring the loans should not delay. The scheme has been extremely successful with new technologies particularly for heating and lighting with biomass boilers being a popular choice for loan-financed purchases so far,” said Pierre Dufour, Head of Loans, Carbon Trust.

The Government funded loans to cut energy bills and finance new equipment are part of a national plan to cut UK emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

Open for Business - Optrafair 2011

May 2010

Get the best for less! Companies wishing to secure the best spaces at Optrafair 2011 are now able to reserve their stands, with an enticing 20% discount off the listed prices for FMO members.

Optrafair 2011 LogoThe FMO’s biennial show of all that is new in the world of optics, will run from 9-11 April 2011 at The NEC, Birmingham. Combining unrivalled opportunities to meet the entire optical community under one roof, with the chance to see world class technology and the most advanced CET, the show is geared to lift the industry well and truly out of recession.

“Ideally timed, Optrafair 2011 will see all the deferred purchases coming to market, with a tremendous amount of pent-up demand for new technology in the lab and in the dispensing room, not to mention the desire to see the latest in frames, sunglasses, lenses and contact lenses,” said FMO Chief Executive Malcolm Polley.

With a comprehensive package of three levels of shell schemes, space only, and specialist interest areas, the show provides a wealth of opportunities to exhibit from just under £1,000. In addition, CET and show sponsorship opportunities, plus Optrafair TV, offer more scope to reach the thousands of decision makers who visit the show. Rolled out for the first time in 2009, a greater number of TV screens will be placed around the entrance and exhibition halls to entice visitors to learn more about the products and services on offer.

“Optrafair is the largest optical show in the UK and our experience in staging this exhibition and in embracing the whole of optics ensures that it is an event not to be missed. Customers from across the spectrum of our industry come to the show to buy and those who do not attend certainly miss out,” added Malcolm Polley.

New NW Territory Manager appointed by Hoya

May 2010

Mark Culshaw - Hoya Territory Manager NWHoya Lens UK has appointed Mark Culshaw, FBDO, as Area Sales Manager for the North-West.

Mark, who started his career in optics as a laboratory technician and later qualified as a dispensing optician at City and East London College, is delighted to have joined the company.

“Hoya is exactly the company for which I want to work. The fantastic, market leading, service reputation was key to me joining Hoya. My territory, which stretches from Liverpool to the Lake District, is relatively small and enables me to give greater time to my customers,” said Mark.

Having spent five years in lens sales in the North-West, and several years as a senior dispenser with both a multiple practice and small independent group, Mark understands the market well.

“The Hoyalux iD MyStyle has generated a tremendous amount of interest, particularly since winning Optical Product of the Year. It is a lens which factors in the patient’s previous lens option and their lifestyle for time spent on near work, golf, reading, and so on. Our point-of-sale material and Hoyanet have been of great interest and I look forward to introducing these tools to more Hoya lens users.”

FMO launches membership benefits brochure

April 2010

The FMO provides a vital link between manufacturing optics and the profession, and the FMO, has just released a new brochure which explains the benefits of membership.

Advances in diagnostic and spectacle manufacturing technology, understanding compliance with European and world standards, relevant legal and insurance advice, the long established Bad Payers’ List, networking, optical training, and discounted rates on a number of service providers are all part of the FMO benefits package.

“Most importantly, The FMO provides the opportunity for members to appreciate the bigger picture of optics. Our regional meetings around the country are highly valued for bringing optical suppliers together, sharing camaraderie and learning more about other aspects of the industry in which we work,” said FMO Chairman, Barry Dibble.

“With three specific focus groups for frame suppliers, lens suppliers and equipment suppliers, and of course, the leading biennial trade show, Optrafair, The FMO has a firm finger on the pulse of optics,” he added.

Recently launched was an overseas membership category for companies around the world who would like to benefit from the expertise within The FMO.

April 2010

Sean Collins, who has extensive experience in the UK market, has joined Fabris Lane as Optical Sales Manager.

FMO, 199 Gloucester TerraceSupporting independent practices is the primary focus for Sean and he is delighted to use his previous experience within optics to promote this leading UK eyewear company.

“Fabris Lane has a great heritage as a dedicated eyewear design house, and is completely focused on creativity, quality and service. I am committed to bringing these benefits of an independent producer of eyewear to UK opticians”

Fabris Lane are recruiting a sales force of seven to provide support, backed up by good supply and service.

“One of the delights for me in joining Fabris Lane is the positive attitude of the company. We are looking to build strong partnerships with independents, whose opinions we value greatly in the development process of our product and support material” said Collins.

Fabris Lane is scheduled to spend £1m on consumer marketing and advertising in leading fashion titles within the next twelve months which will ensure a higher profile for the brand.

Sean who came to optics from an artistic background previously worked for Maui Jim, Marcolin, Safilo and OWP.

FMO to focus on Employment Law and Marketing

February 2010

FMO, 199 Gloucester TerraceThe FMO spring meeting, to be held on Wednesday, March 10, will bring together the specific interest groups that focus on frames, lenses and technology where current market conditions and developments will be discussed.

Relevant optical presentations on marketing, with a guest speaker from The Institute of Marketing will be made. Discrimination and Employment Law will also be discussed with advice from industry experts.

“Our growing membership greatly values the support that joining forces with others within the industry brings. Gaining knowledge about other aspects of the market and keeping up to date with new technology is extremely important and the FMO is well placed to provide this support,” said Malcolm Polley, FMO Chief Executive.

To be held at the FMO’s London offices at 199 Gloucester Terrace, Paddington, the day commences at 10.45am.

To register please call 020 7 298 5123 or email

New Operations Manager appointed at Nidek

February 2010

Birmingham Optical’s commitment to after sales care and customer support is enhanced with the appointment of Lisa Field as Operations Manager, with responsibility for overseeing servicing and client care for Nidek technology.

Lisa Field, NidekWith twelve years’ experience within the company, mostly in customer services, Lisa is well placed for the important role. Having started her optical career sixteen years ago in independent practice she understands the demands and need for an efficient response from suppliers.

“Our recent roll-out of the CMS support, which brings immediate access to more than 200 highly trained engineers for our customers, has been fantastic. Response times have increased dramatically with customers mostly seeing an engineer within 24 hours.

“We are the first optical company to have taken this route and are delighted that it has brought such a wide range of highly skilled experience throughout the UK, with the engineers all going through our own Nidek training programme,” she said.

Dibble forms Liaison with Nidek

1st November 2009

Birmingham Optical Group has recently announced its first co-management partner, Barry Dibble of Dibble Optical Supplies, as part of its five year business plan for the UK and Ireland. Nidek’s full range of diagnostic and edging technology, Oculus, CSO and Frastema products will now be available from Barry’s company in the south-east region.

Barry Dibble and Chris TylerBarry’s background in manufacturing optics and extensive knowledge has been widely welcomed by Birmingham Optical CEO, Chris Tyler.

“I first brought Barry into optics in the late 1980s, when we established Nidek in the UK, so it is very fitting that we are working together again with this tremendous technology. I have great respect for Barry’s understanding of the demands of the market, his technical knowledge and the regard with which he is held in manufacturing optics. We are delighted that he is to partner us in this joint venture, where he will have a particular focus in the south-east of the country,” said Chris.

Confident of Nidek’s continuing innovation, Barry added:

”It is a real pleasure to work with a company that is looking to the future. While others have stagnated, Nidek’s research and development has been fantastic, hence the international reputation that the company holds.”

Key product for the joint venture is the Nidek RS 3000 advanced OCT system, providing great ease of use, tremendous speed, and results that move practices into new realms of clinical excellence.

New Ophthalmology Business Manager appointed by Nidek

30th October 2009

AlfredoAlbertoNidekNidek‘s advanced technology for ophthalmologists is set to take a higher profile in the UK with the appointment of an internationally experienced business manager who has worked with Nidek innovation for more than 20 years.

Alfredo Alberto, Nidek UK Ophthalmology Business Manager, is part of the company’s expansion and has been warmly welcomed by Chris Tyler, CEO of Nidek UK. “Alfredo brings an international understanding of what is driving the most advanced ophthalmology markets. He is very familiar with the technology produced in both the USA and Japan and this experience is highly valued,” said Chris.

Support is an important priority, as well as having the most advanced technology, believes Alfredo. “I am keen to promote and support the technology that is best placed to enhance the most exacting clinical skills. At Nidek we are looking to enlarge our range of products and the vital after sales service.”

Norville Bolton – Increased UK Based Surfacing Capacity

October 2009

Norville Directors are pleased to announce the up-scaling of Norville’s Bolton laboratory to an extended shift operation. At a time when more Rx lens production would seem to be moving to overseas sources, Norvilles believe UK customers require quality and quicker service lens deliveries. Frank Norville added “that for 35 years our Bolton location has benefited from a dedicated and skilled local workforce. We are delighted to announce that we have been able to find positions for a complete team of redundant BBGR Manchester surfacing staff who bring with them a total of 103 years of surfacing experience. These new team members will bring an increased tempo to Bolton operations under Martin Walters Branch Manager and the established management team of Sandra, Helen, Bernie & Becky.”

Norville Bolton as a specialist protection spectacle lens centre is particularly experienced at producing Polycarbonate and lately Trivex lenses. The installation of additional equipment enables all resin surfacing capacity to be increased supplemented by the installed WECO robotic edging equipment ensures Norville Bolton retains its reputation as a leading North West Rx Laboratory.

A fresh approach to sales and marketing, to deal effectively with new patterns of consumer behaviour, called for by European optical leaders in the light of the worst economic slump in the history of the industry, has been endorsed by the FMO.

Antoni Olivella“We are facing a new world scenario where effort, talent, and reaction capacity must play an even more crucial role than ever before: the economic map has been redrawn. New pricing policies, new approaches to advertising, new ways of brand development and ways of regaining profitability are required. We must be efficient when it comes to our processes and organisational structure to improve our delivery times, to be quick to react, said Mr Antonio Olivella, Chairman of EUROM 1, the collective European optical body.

Speaking at the 2009 EUROM 1 Convention in Athens, he said: “A year ago at the FMO-hosted assembly in Windsor we foresaw a difficult future ahead, but the reality has surpassed all predictions. As people prioritise their consumerism the optical industry has seen a decrease in activity with remarkably fewer consumers buying our products. Particularly hard hit are products priced over €120.

“Sunglass sales have fallen by up to 40% as consumer stay with what they have, and yet 75% of Europeans with corrective lenses do not own prescription sunglasses. Conversely, the average European woman owns seven pairs of shoes,” he added.

The frames sector has been less affected than the sunglass market, Mr Olivella reported, but manufacturers still have to accept contracted consumption as people buy less and retailers reduce their inventories to increase liquidity. In the first quarter of 2009 European lens sales dropped by 14%.

“The equipment sector is demonstrating the worst performance in terms of contraction of turnover due to difficulties in obtaining financial backing; the reduction in the numbers of new optical outlets and the decline in modernisation in existing practices. We evaluate the slump in this sector to be between 25-40%, an unprecedented drop in our industry,” he added.


However, there are signs for optimism according to Olivella who listed that:

*21% of consumers are reported to have increased their spending and have not considered cutting down, according to the Boston Consulting Group

*There is more than $115billion of optical business to be fulfilled, according to the World Health Organisation

*There is a huge potential market from the new eyesight test for drivers, with approximately 40m drivers in Europe with poor, or no, correction at all

“This is a moment of prime opportunity to reinforce our business activity. This is a moment to approach Brussels with a strong voice and the join forces and collaborate with other related organisations,” added Mr Olivella.

EUROM 1 also drew attention to the opportunities:

*A major lens manufacturer estimates that 450m Europeans have not visited an optician for three years. In the world today there are 2 billion presbyopes and in 20 years time there will be 3 billion

*In a world where 1 billion people are connected to the internet 60% suffer some form of vision fatigue

*In France, typical of many countries, 30% or drivers have non-corrected vision defects, meaning that 1m people would be prohibited from driving

EUROM’s activity within the past year has included lobbying Brussels, ensuring that EUROM 1 is recognised as a responsible European organisation; counterfeiting has been a major focus with new initiatives emerging for greater co-operation and greater protection of the optical market. It was reported that the French government had launched a campaign against counterfeiting and French customs had recently seized 6.5m products including 4,000 pieces of eyewear which had been destroyed.

In the months ahead EUROM 1 will mainly focus on drivers’ vision and intends to look at the cost of car accidents and the benefits of the new driving licence. Internet sales of eyewear and UV protection will also be important topics. The organisation has been strengthened by a new member: the Dutch optical organisation, NAB.

New at the top of BOG

Neil Townsend has been appointed Managing Director of the Birmingham Optical Group, promoted from Operations Director.

Neil TownsendNow in his 14th year with the Group, Neil was part of the Management Buy Out in 2006 and is committed to improving customer service and aftercare for the company’s Nidek and Oculus customers.

His broad understanding of manufacturing optics follows experience, starting 21 years ago, as Production Manager for Phillips Optical; General Manager of Norville’s specialist Gloucester laboratory, followed by the move to the Birmingham Optical Group.

“We are proud to have built the company up to be one of the largest suppliers of ophthalmic surgical and diagnostic equipment. In addition our highly respected retail and industrial lens edging systems have produced record trading figures year on year since the MBO. As a shareholder I have a great commitment to ensuring that we exceed the expectations of our customers. We are very proud to be the exclusive UK distributors for Nidek and Oculus equipment and we are striving to give the very best service that is possible,” said Neil.

The Weco Edge 650 brings new technology to labs

Versatile and compact, the new WECO Edge 650 is designed to integrate into an existing lab, combining fast and efficient drilling, grooving, milling and chamfering, says distributor, Buchmann UK.

WECO edge 650Suitable for all lens materials including polycarbonate and Trivex lenses, it allows the operator to select the individual parameters based on material and coating, as Buchmann UK Technical Director Malcolm Smith, explained:

“Working with high index materials has never been easier. It leaves you in control with the ability to adjust any of the settings to your preference although it will automatically adjust the groove depth and width according to each frame.”

The WECO Edge 650 provides:

*Unlimited option of standard angle drill holes
*Rectangular function for blind and elongated holes
*Adjustable contour grooving and chamfering
*Smooth mode and Groove Clean mode
*Adjustable edge cycles
*Sense touch keyboard
*High Curve mode for 8 base frames (optional)

“In chamber drilling and edging not only increase productivity and accuracy but also eliminate the risk of manual drilling. All of the options available on this model leave you in complete control,” added Malcolm.

KeraSoft® introduced to the Elite

5th September 2009

KeraSoft® Silicone Hydrogel contact lenses, for Irregular Corneas including Keratoconus, continues to receive international recognition from Ophthalmologists. At a recent Ophthalmic Conference more than 140 Syrian Ophthalmologists were introduced to the various features and benefits of KeraSoft®.

KerasoftThe KeraSoft® family has been developed by UK based contact lens manufacturer UltraVision. The lathe-cut Silicone Hydrogel lenses provide increased comfort, corneal health and improved vision to patients suffering with a variety of conditions related to Irregular Corneas, Keratoconus and Post-Laser treatments.

UltraVision’s Syrian Distributor, Fouad & Diab Zaza Trading Co., attended the 33rd Ophthalmic Conference and showcased the KeraSoft® family to the elite of Syrian Ophthalmologists and key academic personnel. His Excellency, Dr. Rida Saed, the Minister of Health for Syria also visited the stand, which is deemed a great honour, and commented on the good impression he received from the product and wished Fouad & Diab Zaza Trading the best of luck.

Diab Zaza commented “The most significant discussion was around the capability of a soft lens to manage Keratoconus related problems. Opticians in Syria are used to treating these kinds of patients with GP lenses, and were pleased with the excellent performance of the KeraSoft® family of contact lenses when comparisons with GP lenses were made. Finding positive results and feedback in the marketplace leaves us very optimistic for the future of KeraSoft® in our market”

KeraSoft®3 and KeraSoft® IC are carefully designed to enable even the most complex irregular corneas to be fitted successfully; making these life-changing contact lenses for many wearers. The benefits of good levels of vision combined with high comfort levels mean that patients who have previously only been able to wear their GP lenses for short periods of time, are now able to wear contact lenses providing them with quality vision for up to 18 hours a day!

FMO long term supporters of PHN provide new logo

1st September 2009

This year the FMO has re-branded and produced a new logo which has been added to their page on this site. The re-branding is one of a number of new initiatives that are being rolled out this year at the FMO.

FMO to form closer links with overseas companies by widening membership category

24th August 2009

The UK’s Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO) is launching an overseas membership category following requests from international companies wanting to know about developments in UK optics.

Malcolm Polley“Manufacturing and frame distribution news, standards and benchmarking are all of great interest to many of our overseas colleagues and for those who would like a closer view of how the optical market operates in the UK they have a chance to join and benefit from our vast pool of experience,” said Malcolm Polley, FMO Chief Executive.

The FMO’s membership of EUROM 1, the collective European optical body, and its close links with optical lobbyists in Brussels, are of particular interest to many companies wishing to enter the UK market.

Excellent networking opportunities of the FMO are supported by a host of member benefits:

  • The Bad Payers’ List
  • Discounted rates on British Standards for optical appliances
  • EC Reporting
  • Equipment, lens and frame focus groups
  • Market data
  • Optical standards data

5th August 2009

Keeping the world of optics moving is the theme of the FMO’s autumn meeting, to be held on 8 October at DX’s new north London distribution facility.

dx parcelGiving FMO members the opportunity to see and hear how the optical distribution company fulfils its deliveries each day to keep the optical world moving, the Staples Corner centre boasts state of the art technology for tracking parcels throughout the UK and Europe.

Commencing at 11am with the FMO’s frame, lens and equipment divisions meeting together, this will allow the group to keep abreast of market developments in each sector.

The DX tour, with the opportunity for questions, will be followed by lunch.

Places are limited, so reserve your space by calling the FMO: 020 7298 5123

BSI standards available from FMO

24th July 2009

BSI Standards for all optically related products are now available at a discounted rate for FMO members. Spectacle lens tolerances, eye protection for leisure activities including skiing and racquet sports, sunglass lenses and optical instruments all attract BSI standards to which suppliers and distributors of optical goods must adhere.

“As part of the FMO’s commitment to extend member benefits we have negotiated discounted rates for the purchase of all optically-related standards which includes all specifications and test methods. This includes the latest on the important aspect of nickel release for coated frames,” said Malcolm Polley, FMO Chief Executive.

FMO appoints European Advisor

16th July 2009

Andy Hepworth appointed to FMOThe FMO’s team of specialist advisors has been strengthened with the appointment of Andy Hepworth of Essilor UK as a consultant on European matters, particularly for new legislation relating to medical devices.

“Andy’s acceptance of the role will be for the benefit of the entire optical community as he helps us to keep up to date with new legislation. It is excellent to have someone with such a good knowledge of both the profession and the optical industry,” said Malcolm Polley, FMO Chief Executive.

As Professional Relations Manager at Essilor, and with a degree in optical management, Andy is in touch with the needs of practice.

“Through the FMO I plan to keep optical manufacturers, including in-practice glazers, up to speed with the Medical Devices Directive,” he said.

17th June 2009

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, of Proenza Schouler, are the recipients of the "CFDA Accessory Designer of the Year 2009 Award".

This is the third time Proenza Schouler has been honored with a CFDA Award. Proenza Schouler was the recipient of the "Swarovski Perry Ellis Award" in 2003 and the "CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award" en 2007.

UltraVision beats previous records at BCLA conference

16th June 2009

Despite the apparent world-wide recession, the BCLA’s recent 33rd Annual Clinical Conference and Exhibition proved to be one of the busiest so far for Premium Exhibitor, UltraVision. “We had a record number of visitors to our stand this year and were delighted with the interest shown in all our leading products”, commented J Keith Lomas, UltraVision Group CEO.

Ultravision stand at BCLAUltraVision showcased their world-leading KeraSoft® lenses, including the popular KeraSoft®3 SiH contact lens for Keratoconus. KeraSoft® IC, for all irregular corneas, the latest addition to the KeraSoft® family was introduced at the show and drew a lot of attention from both UK and international delegates. HydroWave® proved to be very popular with visitors, along with UltraVision’s full range of lathe-cut SiH lenses for Hospitals.

Keratoconus Consultant, Lynn White, presented a 15 minute workshop on the benefits of Silicone Hydrogel lenses for Keratoconus. The talk was very well attended and generated further interest in the ever popular KeraSoft® range of lenses.

Gill Narramore, UltraVision Group Operations Manager said “We were delighted to receive delegates to our stand from many countries across the world with representation from Hospitals, High Street practices and Academia. Our professional and friendly staff enjoyed catching up with our customers, taking the opportunity to gather feedback and discussing new ideas regarding our full range of products and services.”

Opticians….No need to stoop any more

5th June 2009

Rodenstock raises its Combi Refraction Unit to new levels

Rodenstock Combi 100 and 200 refraction units have been raised to new levels with the added feature of electronic height adjustable tables.

Rodenstock Combi Refraction UnitFor optometrists who like to have an easy to use central working platform with everything at their finger tips, this new enhancements allows all the tests to be performed while the optometrist is standing, without having to stoop to operate the instruments.

Explained Buchmann UK Sales Manager, Paul Hampshire, “This development will be good news to many optoms who prefer to complete much of the eye examination in a standing position. The Rodenstock Combi units have always catered for a variety of situations with chairs that can swivel, recline, move backwards and forwards. They now have the option of the table having electronic height control. Of course, it can be used while the optom sits, too.”

Designed to the highest standards, the affordably priced Rodenstock Combi units feature a deluxe motorised chair with an integral halogen lamp in an aesthetically pleasing design. They are complemented by Rodenstock slit lamps, keratometers and a full range of ophthalmic instruments.

Zoomify your way around the new Norville 2009 Frame Directory

4th June 2009

Norville Frame Directory 2009Norville’s new 82 page frame directory, bringing together a host of new designer names and some firm favourites. The new directory has the latest fashion frames from BEBE for fashion conscious young women, elegantly sparkling jewel looks from Laura Ashley and a host of exciting designer names including Jeff Banks and STVDIO ranges from one of the UK’s best known male designers, Vera Wang the refined celebrity designer with a penchant for posh frocks.

Details of the latest Polaroid sun collection. Further additions to the Columbia range as well as new contemporary styles within their own Norville Collection range. Including Microlite rimless, an extension to the popular Superlite range which features “Grillamid” a lightweight material perfect for rimless spectacles.

All individual frames are available to be viewed at and by using the zoomify digital imaging feature they can be examined in high detail.

For your copy call 01452 510332

FMO June meeting to take place at Paddington after rescheduling date

2nd June 2009

Optical companies wishing to know more about the benefits of FMO membership are invited to come along to the June 23* meeting, which is to be held in Paddington, London.

Where is the internet heading? will be one of the issued discussed by IT specialist Simon Butterworth along with the latest update on computer viruses and internet security. Also, Patrick Myers of Myers La Roche will be making a presentation “The Optical Market in Recession” and handling questions from the audience.

These industry-specific speakers add to the value of FMO membership, reflecting the breadth of market related knowledge that is available from the leading trade association.

Closed FMO member sessions will start at 11.00am on 23 June and, following lunch at 1.00pm, the presentations will commence at 1.50pm, at 199 Gloucester Terrace, Paddington.

FMO members should reserve a place, or perhaps you should find out more about joining, please contact the FMO on 020 7298 5123.

Sean Collins looks for new horizons after leaving Maui Jim

Maui Jim logoSean Collins, UK Sales Director of Maui Jim UK, is seeking fresh challenges in high performance sunglasses, following the successful establishment of the coveted brand in the UK.

Sean drew on his previous experience with Safilo sunglasses and Marcolin to set up the successful Maui Jim UK operation in 2003.

“I have the drive and enthusiasm to make things happen. A lot of companies are wondering about their future direction in the current market and I am in a good position to help them. I know the sunglass market very, very, well and the focus on customer care is paramount,” said Sean.

Take a spin on the Acuvue Stand, relax and learn it's all happening at the BCLA with J & J

14th May 2009

As published in our BCLA preview section Johnson & Johnson Vision Care are proud to be one of the inaugural Patron sponsors following 20 years of continual support to the Association. The Company will be delivering a series of presentations and workshops, focusing on themes that matter to Eye Care Professionals: innovation, education, eye health, patient retention and market insights.

One such presentation comes thanks to THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE™, recently opened in the UK, which will share valuable insights into the optical professions based on recent research, both from an Eye Care Professional and consumer point of view. It focuses specifically on continuing education and training needs and patient perceptions of the eye care professions, forming part of the Friday night reception.

Ian Davies, vice-president of THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE™ says, “We are looking forward to sharing this exciting new data with Eye Care Professionals at BCLA. We know that education is very important to practitioners and through sharing valuable insights into what they feel is needed, we will offer solutions to help further improve patient satisfaction.”

In addition to sharing this new research, the Friday night reception will also support the amazing work of the British Heart Foundation by making a generous £25 donation to the charity on behalf of every delegate who attends. Douglas Rouse from the British Heart Foundation will be attending to accept the donation and to highlight how the funding will help them continue the valuable and life-saving work that they do on a daily basis.

Throughout the weekend, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will also be hosting further educational events for delegates. The Patron’s Showcase and Presentation sessions will reveal pertinent new data on a range of topics and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will also be sharing their insights into how to retain patients and encourage good all-round eye health. The Patron’s Presentation will take place in the Exchange Auditorium at 10.30am on Friday 29th May, while the Patron’s 60-Minute Showcase will be in the Exchange Hall at 1.00pm on Saturday 30th May.

The theme of this year’s Patron’s Presentation is entitled “Driving Patient and Practitioner Satisfaction”. Ian Davies, Peter Ivins and David Ruston will be speaking about Johnson & Johnson Vision Care’s key priorities of innovation, education, eye health, patient retention and market insights. Exciting new research on patient loyalty will be presented. Additionally forthcoming product innovations and, new business support initiatives will be highlighted. There will also be a section of the presentation discussing THE VISION CARE INSTITUTETM and its educational programme.

The Patron Sponsor’s Showcase presented on the Saturday will reveal the latest insights into astigmatism and will be led by Karen Walsh, Anna Sulley and Paul Chamberlain. This lunch and learn session will review some of the latest research regarding the correction of astigmatism and soft toric lens design and performance. The research will also reveal new findings looking at the effects of eye movements, gravity and oxygen consumption and will include patient feedback regarding current contact lens options for astigmatism.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will also be opening their doors to the ACUVUE® lounge again this year, giving delegates the chance to relax, catch up with colleagues and enjoy the complimentary refreshments. For those looking for a bit more action, delegates should visit the ACUVUE® stand (No. 61), featuring a human gyroscope and showing that the new ACUVUE® OASYS™ for ASTIGMATISM lens will ensure that patients never miss a moment!

New ColorMatic® Campaign launched to tempt consumers

14th May 2009

Rodenstock have announced a National consumer advertising campaign for Rodenstock ColorMatic®, the fast fade-back photochromic,

There are almost 1,000 practices signed up to enjoy the photochromic promotion, and consumer awareness is higher than ever. The campaign is expected to further boost demand for this advantageously priced lens.

ColormaticFor some longstanding ColorMatic lens users this year has seen a marked increase in dispensing, as Charles Arnold, Dispensing Manager of Richard C. Arnold Opticians in Midhurst and Cowplain, explained -

“We always do very well with ColorMatic because it is such a great price point but so far, this year, we have dispensed three times the number of ColorMatic lenses over last year. It is significantly more affordable than other options and we have dispensed it to children as young as 14 through to all ages,” said Charles Arnold.

Like others, Arnolds began promoting the benefits of ColorMatic lenses to patients in February.

Rodenstock’s recent research reveals that 94% of photochromic wearers would select this lens option again and Rodenstock is keen for practices to extend this level of satisfaction to a wider market. The promotion, which runs until the end of September, includes the 1.67 option.

“Bringing relaxed vision in all light conditions, this is the fastest photochromic on the market. The pricing provides the opportunity to upgrade patients to higher index materials. Once patients have experienced higher index lenses they are unlikely to return to a 1.5 lens,” added Debbie.

Thanks to Rodenstock’s photochromic manufacturing process, ColorMatic lenses enjoy an enviously high aging resistance of up to three years.

Brown, grey and green ColorMatic lenses return to a totally clear state while ColorMatic Contrast Orange retains a residual tint for sports use.

100% UV absorbing, they can be promoted to patients for their comfort of vision and protection against the risks of cataracts and photosensitivity. Also suitable for driving, they can be supplied with Solitaire TopCoat®, Rodenstock’s easy to clean anti-reflection coating.

Eye catching posters, show cards, images for in-practice plasma screens and patient mailing leaflets are available from Rodenstock.

FMO attends opening of new parcel service facility

14th May 2009

The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians was delighted to attend the opening of DX’s new north London facility that handles thousands of optical parcels every day.

DX, the FMO’s preferred service, is the UK & Ireland’s leading independent mail and courier company, and FMO members enjoy preferential rates for using the service. The latest addition to the DX network, near Staples Corner, represents an investment of £750,000 and was officially opened by three of DX’s long standing customers; Malcolm Polley of the FMO, Jeremy Dawe of the US Embassy and Jonathan King from Mailsource UK Ltd.

Malcolm Polley ScanningThe 35,000 square feet service centre is the fourth largest in the DX network and handles around 45,000 mail and parcel items per night. It has enabled DX to consolidate the operations of two previous service centres and to reconfigure its operational infrastructure in and around London, improving both service levels and route productivity.

Explained Mike Stone, DX Chief Operating Officer - “We will continue to improve the existing services we offer to our customers and also have the capability to take on additional volume and add new services as customers’ needs change.”

DX has developed a close partnership with the optical sector, providing distribution and courier services for over 20 years, and ensuring that stock and customer orders reach retail outlets in time and in good condition. For example DX delivers up to a quarter of a million items per year for Vision Express; with 99% of deliveries arriving the next working day. DX also serves wholesalers and laboratories such as The Wholesale Lens Company (WLC), distributing lenses, frames and other retail materials to practices nationwide, often providing multiple collections each day.

“DX serves the large retail chains as well as providing the vital link in the supply chain between laboratories and independent retailers. This new centre represents a significant investment by DX in the relationship they have with the optical sector,” said Malcolm Polley, Chief Executive of the FMO.

Malcolm Polley is pictured scanning parcels and with a plaque to commemorate the opening.

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