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Optical News - January - March 2012

Primary Health Net publishes news within 48 hours of receiving information under various pages. Our aim is to provide a broad coverage of all events in Optics UK, including Clinical, Educational, Political, and Business News as well as International stories from around the world.

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Something funny happen in your practice? Want to tell us about your LOC or PCT news? Tell us about your staff successes or personnel changes as well as promotions you are running. We will be delighted to publish stories that will interest others.

Don't forget to visit our Industry News, New Product Briefing, and LOC Briefings for the latest in these areas.

Rodenstock Follow the Network Trend

Ocular Surgery News Reports of Treating Aphakic Glaucoma Patients

Specsavers Search for Spectacle Wearer of the Year 2012

Optical Express Plans to Create 100 New Jobs in Glasgow

BCLA Invites Photo Competition Entries

Lords host homeless vision charity event

Online retention helps more renew on time

Optometry Tomorrow 2012 a success

Sheffield MP keeps her eyes on the road

New College President welcomed at conference

City and East London LOC adopt PHN sites

BCLA to host CL fitting course for medics

Success for Silhouette's premier points promo

New Voucher Values

BCLA workshops provide tailored sessions

Stem cell research in the spotlight

Acuvue offers free lenses for marathon runners

New company offers enhanced service software

College consults on Code of Ethics

Rodenstock customer service week

Sponsored places for BCLA conference

Optical Confederation issues guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

Causes of the "global dry eye crisis"

Importance of visual fields and overuse of new technologies

BCLA seeks new Council Members

AOP announces two day seminar

Optrafair 2013 sets ambitiuos target

BCLA fellowship deadline extended

Eye experts raise awareness about driving and vision

Why your LOC needs a public presence

LOCSU pages updated on the site

£60 per session paid to optometrists for glaucoma training in S E London

GOC Council Notes

Spectrum Thea announce further Dry Eye Seminar dates

Government sets measure of Eye Health

College accredits new higher qualifications

All change at Norville Opticians

Mee Healthcare heartened by recruitment response

Research points to connection between Learning Disability and visual impairment

BCLA announces Spring workshops

Mee Healthcare to open Health Centres

BCLA announce loyalty bonus for members

GOC retention underway for 2012/13

College research shows cause for concern over ready-made specs

March 2012

Rodenstock is committed to providing the highest levels of customer service and has now made it even easier to keep in touch.

With a presence on Facebook and Twitter, as well as its own YouTube channel, practices and consumers can keep up-to-date with the latest trends, products news and launches.

Rodenstock has also launched its own blog to share the company’s passion and enthusiasm for high-quality frames and lenses.

John Harrup, Marketing Communications Manager, said: “Rodenstock has been established since 1877 and has always put its customers first. Today’s advances in social media make it even easier to communicate across a variety of channels, sharing our latest news as well as listening to views of consumers and practices.”

Rodenstock also recently launched the world’s first spectacle lens consultation for the iPad. The app provides an illustrative demonstration of the differences and benefits of different Rodenstock products – from the conventional to the individual and from single-vision to progressive lenses.

John added: “The company is renowned for its technological know-how and is now finding new ways to keep customers and consumers informed of its activity.”

March 2012

An American surgical website suggests that from a recent study the use of combined secondary IOL placement with endocyclophotocoagulation is a novel approach to treating a subset of patients with aphakia, glaucoma who have an inability to tolerate aphakic contact lenses or spectacles.

Javaneh Abbasian, MD, and colleagues reported in a poster at the American Association for Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus meeting that reviewing a retrospective case series at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which included 11 eyes of seven patients who underwent IOL placement and endocyclophotocoagulation laser. The group provided a mean follow-up time of 16.8 months.

Children were excluded if they had undergone previous glaucoma procedures.

"Some aphakic children fail optical correction with contact lens and aphakic spectacles, putting them at risk of amblyopia and a poor visual outcome," the researchers said. "A subset of these children suffer from aphakic glaucoma, which can further complicate refractive correction and require multiple anti-hypertensive medications."

Seven of 11 eyes required no anti-hypertensive medications postoperatively, two of 11 eyes required subsequent tube shunt placement, and there were no intraoperative complications.

Visual acuity was stable or improved with IOL implantation and subsequent amblyopia therapy, the researchers said, but long-term follow-up is still needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this combined procedure.

March 2012

Actress Helen Flanagan has swapped a modelling career on the cobbles of Coronation Street for the real thing as she launches Specsavers’ nationwide search for the Spectacle Wearer of the Year 2012.

Helen FlannaganHaving grown up in front of the nation playing Rosie Webster in the long-running soap, Helen, 22, is now helping Specsavers to find ordinary people who look extraordinary in their glasses.

Helen, who has worn glasses since the age of nine, says: 'I first realised I needed to wear glasses when I couldn’t see the whiteboard at school. I was delighted as I was always nagging my mum to get me a pair. I love trying out new looks with my glasses. They bring out a different side to me.’

Since leaving Coronation Street where she was last seen on-screen in February, Helen is keeping an open mind about future projects but definitely has more modelling in her sights and maybe even treading the boards in the West End.

'I love doing photo shoots, it’s probably the only thing I had in common with Rosie. We are both really girly and like modelling.

‘I really enjoyed the 1960s-themed shoot for this campaign. I wore lots of different wigs which made me wish I had long hair again! But the best thing about this campaign is that it supports anti-bullying charity, Kidscape. Anything that helps stamp out bullying of any kind, especially if it’s for wearing glasses, is a great thing.’

Now in their fifth year of supporting Kidscape, Specsavers will donate £1 for every eligible competition entry to the charity, as well as all proceeds from a high profile auction led by Specsavers ambassador Gok Wan, which will take place at the competition final in London in October.

Specsavers founder, Dame Mary Perkins, says: ‘Helen is the perfect ambassador for us. She’s young, confident and fun and she uses her glasses to completely transform her look. She is the ideal role model for young specs wearers out there.’

Every year, Specsavers scours the UK to find the girls and boys next door who look amazing in their specs. The competition is open to men and women aged 16 and over, who are current specs wearers or wear glasses for fashion purposes. Specsavers and top London agency MOT Models will be specs-spotting this summer in city centres up and down the country.

Regional stars will earn a place on the catwalk at Britain’s biggest spectacle fashion-fest in October, with the winner receiving a one year modelling contract with MOT Models, a two week premier, all-inclusive holiday for two in Barbados courtesy of Almond Resorts and Virgin Holidays with £250 worth of spending money, a makeover with (and products by) TV celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton, a year’s supply of skincare products from Simple, a fantastic goody bag including hair and skincare products, a £150 Specsavers designer eye care voucher and the coveted Spectacle Wearer of the Year trophy.
Optical Express plans to create 100 new jobs in Glasgow

March 2012

The eye company, Optical Express, is also to open 24 new clinics in the UK and create 100 customer care jobs in Scotland. The group, which is based in Cumbernauld, already runs 180 stores across Europe, employing about 3,000 people.

The new jobs will be at the firm's call centre in Glasgow. The company said the clinics will be based in out-of-town locations where rents are cheaper. As well as laser eye surgery, Optical Express offers other health care services including cosmetic surgery. The firm said the new clinics will make eye surgery more accessible to many people.

Hugh Kerr, operations director of Optical Express said: "Our strategy is to continue to invest in our service offering to deliver the best eye care treatment solution available in the UK, whether that be spectacles, contact lenses or laser eye surgery.

"This investment and recruitment drive underscores our commitment to deliver the most technologically advanced service in the UK but also at the lowest possible cost to the consumer."

March 2012

Do you have an impressive clinical photograph to share at this year’s BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition?

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is inviting submissions for its annual photographic competition, by the closing date of 27 April 2012.

Antonio CalossiSponsored by Nikon Optical, the prestigious BCLA photographic competition takes place at the Association’s annual Clinical Conference and Exhibition and attracts entries from practitioners all around the world. Last year’s winner was Antonio Calossi of Italy with his image – ‘Advanced keratoconus shown in profile against the illuminated nasal bridge’.

Each year the overall winner receives a top-of-the-range digital camera courtesy of Nikon Optical, and all winning entries are published in the BCLA journal, Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, after the conference.

Professor James Wolffsohn of Aston University, who will be judging this year’s competition along with contact lens expert Andrew Gasson, said: “If you have taken a photograph of the anterior eye over the last year that you are proud of, whether it was taken with a smart phone or a SLR camera, we want you to share it. Go to the BCLA website today to see some of the competition and be inspired.”

Visit for more information about judging criteria and how to make your submission.

The 36th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition takes place at the ICC Birmingham from 24-27 May 2012.

Lords host homeless vision charity event

March 2012

The House of Lords opened its revered doors to Vision Care for Homeless People this week, highlighting the valuable support that the UK homeless charity provides.

With more than 5,000 pairs of glasses now dispensed from the charity’s centres, the Patron Lord Filkin, CBE pointed out to Peers, MPs and optical industry guests that homelessness is becoming more of a problem and more centres are needed –

“We have found it possible to create a low cost, low overhead, service to fill the gaps in society. If the charity did not exist there would be 5,000 people in the UK who had not been helped to better vision.”

The charity’s clinics in London and Birmingham, which provide eye examinations and the dispensing of new glasses in an environment in which homeless people feel comfortable, are soon to be extended. A new centre is to open in Brighton in June and the London centres are extending their opening times, as Harinder Paul, Chief Executive of the charity explained –

“Within an hour of opening the appointment book for the centres each week most of the appointments have gone. Through largely volunteer staffing we can make a tremendous difference. Our vision is to have a centre in every city in the UK where there is a need and we are now looking northwards.”

Generous donations during the seven years of the charity’s work include support from Dx, Horizon, Shamir, Essilor, Hoya, Polaroid, Keeler, Topcon, Boots, Kent Optic, Bond Eye, Outside Clinic, Performance Finance, Thomson Software and Optometry Giving Sight.

March 2012

The General Optical Council (GOC) retention deadline for 2012/13 has now passed, with 94.9 per cent of registrants applying by the 15 March deadline. This represents an increase from 93.8 per cent last year.
This year’s retention period saw the GOC successfully introduce online retention for optical businesses. Individual optometrists and dispensing opticians renewed online for the first time last year.

Online retention has led to far more GOC registrants meeting the annual application deadline. In 2010, the final year before its introduction, just 90.4 per cent of registrants renewed on time.

Philip Hallam, GOC head of registration, said: “Online retention has made the process of renewing GOC registration quicker and easier for our registrants. Today’s figures show that last year’s improved application rate was not a one-off. We’re delighted that fewer registrants are putting their careers at risk by not applying on time.

“Missing the GOC retention deadline is serious. Those registrants who have not yet applied now face an additional late application fee, and if they have still not applied by 31 March they will be removed from the Opticians Registers. They should apply for retention immediately to ensure they can practise during 2012/13.”

For those who missed the 15 March deadline, the cost of retention has now increased to £280. A £20 late application fee is included in addition to the basic retention fee.

Registrants who fail to apply for retention by 31 March will be removed from the Opticians Registers from 1 April. They will then be unable to practise in the UK or use a protected title such as optician, dispensing optician or optometrist.

March 2012

The College of Optometrists welcomed over 270 delegates to the south coast on 18 and 19 March for its annual conference and AGM, held at the Brighton Centre in the popular seaside town.

Delegates attended over 45 lectures, seminars and workshops spanning a wide range of topics. The extensive two-day programme, which offered up to 60 CET points, saw optometrists discuss hot industry topics such as AMD treatments, infective keratitis and independent prescribing. In addition, they took part in practical workshops about clinical skills including lacrimal syringing and gonioscopy, and business skills such as appraisals.

The Charter Lecture was delivered by Professor David Henson, Professor of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of Manchester. ‘Don’t pressure me about glaucoma’ reviewed the changing role of optometrists in the detection and management of glaucoma.

The conference programme also included refresher seminars - particularly relevant to optometrists who are returning to work after a break, or those who are newly qualified and would like to reassure themselves of their knowledge.

The highlight of the social programme was the gala dinner, held at the majestic Hilton Brighton Metropole. The black tie event with an ‘End of the pier’ theme provided valuable networking opportunities for guests, who enjoyed themselves at the seaside-type stalls and dancing to a live band.

Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive of the College of Optometrists, commented, “A key aim of our annual conference is to provide optometrists with a prime opportunity to mingle with their peers and meet experts from the sector. It was wonderful to meet so many members, and get such great feedback on the conference.

We work hard to provide members with the support and information they need to thrive in their professional careers, and it was great that they could do so in such an enjoyable setting – the lovely weather certainly helped! I hope everyone who came to Brighton left inspired and positive about their continuing professional development.”

The conference also featured an extensive trade exhibition at which delegates were able to meet industry representatives and learn about the latest in product and service development. Exhibitors included headline sponsors Topcon, CIBA Vision and The Vision Care Institute® of Johnson & Johnson Medical.

Optometry Tomorrow 2013 will take place on 17 and 18 March in Nottingham.

March 2012

Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn is getting behind the wheel of a national eyecare campaign in a bid to warn the UK's 34 million motorists of the dangers of driving without roadworthy vision.

Meg, who is a passionate campaigner on road safety issues and in particular the role good vision plays in safe driving, has joined forces with the Eyecare Trust charity and Sheffield-based health insurance provider Westfield Health to promote the Eyes on the Road campaign.

The campaign aims to highlight motorists' legal obligation to ensure their vision meets the required eyesight standards every time they drive and raise awareness of new legislation due to be introduced into UK law later this year.

Meg said: "As somebody who has worn glasses and contact lenses most of my life, I am well aware of how important it is to maintain roadworthy vision.

"Everyone's eyesight naturally deteriorates with age, so it's crucial to get your sight checked regularly in case you do need glasses or a different prescription.

This campaign is a great way for people to find out more about vision and driving and what the proposed changes in legislation could mean for them.

It is also essential that Government takes the opportunity to do all it can to support drivers and make information readily available. I will continue to campaign on road safety issues in parliament to improve safety on our roads for drivers, pedestrians and other road users."

Chairman of the Eyecare Trust, Dharmesh Patel, comments: "Westfield Health and the Trust are delighted to have Meg on board with the Eyes on the Road campaign and we look forward to working with her in the coming months as we promote the importance of good vision when driving on business or for pleasure."

Dharmesh continues: "With an estimated nine million road-users driving with vision that falls below the DVLA's minimum eyesight standards we have got a big job ahead of us to educate the public and employers of their responsibilities to ensure their, or their employees, vision is roadworthy.

March 2012

Dr Kamlesh Chauhan took over from Dr Cindy Tromans as President of the College of Optometrists at the Annual General Meeting on Monday 19 March 2012, as part of Optometry Tomorrow 2012.

Kamlesh Chauhan, College of Optometrists“Having worked closely with Kamlesh over the past two years, I am delighted that he will be taking over from me,” said Cindy Tromans, the outgoing President. “His experience in training and research will be of tremendous value as the College works to increase the evidence base, and ensure optometrists are prepared to meet the challenge of offering patients enhanced services following the NHS reforms.”

Commenting on his new role, Dr Chauhan said: “I am proud to be the new President, and I look forward to building on the excellent work the College and Cindy have done in bringing eye care professionals together to provide a more integrated approach to patient care.”

Kamlesh qualified in 1990, and worked for Dollond and Aitchison and lectured at Manchester University, and now is Head of The Vision Care Institute Uk at Johnson and Johnson Medical Ltd. He has been on the College Board of Trustees since 2008, and sits on the Education Committee and the Final Assessment Panel.

Also at the AGM, David Parkins was elected as Vice President, after a five-year term as College Treasurer, and Dr Rob Hogan was elected as Treasurer.

David Parkins is a trustee of the College/AOP Benevolent fund, a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, and has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of Vision Aid Overseas.

Dr Rob Hogan is a Trustee of the College and a founder Board member of the European Academy of Optometry and Optics. He is a member of the General Optical Council.

March 2012

City and East London LOC are the latest LOC to take on bot a professional and public site hosted by Primary Health Net confirming the continued interest in LOCs educating their local public on enhanced service provision and eye care. As reported in our LOC Briefing on why LOC's should have a public web presence, many LOCs are now seeing the need to go direct to public promoting eyecare to their local populations whilst promoting local practices. The LOC hopes to have both its sites up and running for April and PHN will be assisting in promotion to local members and the local public. We will provide further reports as LOC's public presences develop.

March 2012

The use of coloured contact lenses in medical cases is just one of the many interesting topics to be covered during this year’s Training Day for Medics, hosted by the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA).

The 2012 Training Day for Medics is set to be one of the highlights of the 36th British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held at the ICC Birmingham from 24-27 May. Running on the Friday morning of the conference (25 May), the course is designed for medics and ophthalmologists who are keen to develop their practical contact lens fitting skills.

Following a morning of lectures and a hands-on workshop, delegates are invited to attend their choice of lectures from the main conference programme and visit the UK’s largest contact lens industry exhibition featuring more than 45 stands.

Dr Ursula VogtThis year’s Training Day speakers are: Dr Ursula Vogt, past Director of Contact Lenses at the Western Ophthalmic Hospital in London, Treasurer of the European Contact Lens Society of Opthalmologists and a BCLA Council member; Dr Sarah Janikoun, Associate Specialist in Ophthalmology at St Thomas’ Hospital London and Past BCLA President; and Andrena McElvanney, Consultant Ophthalmologist in charge of the corneal service at St Helier Hospital in Surrey, Medical Contact Lens and Ocular Surface Association Council member, and National Representative of the European Contact Lens Society of Ophthalmologists.

The programme is as follows:

09:00 Mini guide to contact lenses (SJ)
09:40 Contact lens solutions (SJ)
10:00 How to fit the irregular cornea (UV)
10:30 Coffee and hands-on workshop (all)
11:30 Therapeutic contact lenses (AM)
12:00 The use of coloured contact lenses in medical cases (UV)

Registration for the day is £150 for BCLA members and £205 for non-members if booked before 9 March 2012, and £165 and £220 respectively if booked after that date. The course is included in the full delegate package and with the Friday day delegate package.

Delegates on this course are also welcome to attend Saturday night’s Gala Dinner, which will have a Wild, Wild, West theme. Tickets at £75 per head may be purchased online at together with conference registration.

March 2012

Martin Berry Opticians in Warrington accumulated the most points from selling Silhouette frames as part of the Premier Points Promotion which ran in the last quarter of 2011. They earned 1,740 points, after selling in excess of 100 Silhouette frames in 6 months. These points allowed the team at Martin Berry to redeem an iPad2, venture photo shoot and some love2shop vouchers.

Martin Berry Opticians were one of the successful practices in this major UK and Eire customer incentive program, where over 400 Silhouette partners signed up. The incentive linked frames sold to an array of amazing, high value and highly desirable prizes.

Susan Eccles, Dispensing Optician at Martin Berry Optiticans says, “We were thrilled at receiving the top prize in the Silhouette Premier Points Promotion. As a small independent practice, this was a huge achievement for us and all the team worked very hard. Our representative, Paul Hotchkiss was a great support throughout. The style consultation day with Pauline Voce added to our success and we are looking forward to hosting another one in the Summer.”

Jeremy Lanaway, UK Marketing Manager, Silhouette UK says, "We are delighted to reward Silhouette’s partners for exceeding sales ambitions as part of our Premier Points Loyalty incentive. Choosing Silhouette first has enabled opticians to maximise the value of Rimless Eyewear for both their business and their consumers and together we can grow this rewarding category."

March 2012

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr Simon Burns): Regulations will be laid before Parliament shortly to increase certain National Health Service charges in England from 1 April 2012.

The range of NHS optical vouchers available to children, people on low incomes and individuals with complex sight problems are also being increased in value. In order to continue to provide help with the cost of spectacles and contact lenses, optical voucher values will rise by an overall 2.5 per cent.

Details of the revised charges are below.

Optical voucher values from 1 April 2012

Type of optical appliance & Value

A Glasses with single vision lenses: spherical power of ≤ 6 dioptres, cylindrical power of ≤ 2 dioptres.


B Glasses with single vision lenses:

• spherical power of > 6 dioptres but < 10 dioptres, cylindrical power of ≤ 6 dioptres;

• spherical power of < 10 dioptres, cylindrical power of > 2 dioptres but ≤ 6 dioptres.


C Glasses with single vision lenses: spherical power of ≥ 10 dioptres but ≤ 14 dioptres, cylindrical power of ≤ 6 dioptres.


D Glasses with single vision lenses:

• spherical power of >14 dioptres with any cylindrical power;

• cylindrical power of > 6 dioptres with any spherical power.


E Glasses with bifocal lenses: spherical power of ≤ 6 dioptres, cylindrical power of ≤ 2 dioptres. £64.20

F Glasses with bifocal lenses:

• spherical power of > 6 dioptres but < 10 dioptres, cylindrical power of ≤ 6 dioptres;

• spherical power of < 10 dioptres, cylindrical power of > 2 dioptres but ≤ 6 dioptres.


G Glasses with bifocal lenses: spherical power of ≥ 10 dioptres but ≤ 14 dioptres, cylindrical power of ≤ 6 dioptres.


H Glasses with prism-controlled bifocal lenses of any power or with bifocal lenses:

• spherical power of > 14 dioptres with any cylindrical power;

• cylindrical power of > 6 dioptres with any spherical power.


I (HES) Glasses not falling within any of paragraphs 1 to 8 for which a prescription is given in consequence of a testing of sight by an NHS Trust.


February 2012
Want to learn how to help your patients with dry eye and hayfever?

Would like to fit sclerals, but don't know where to begin?

Looking to get started with RGPs?

To learn these valuable skills – and more – look no further than our spring CET workshops – offering four contact lens CET points for OOs, CLOs and DOs.
Taking place from 6-8pm at the BCLA office in central London and at presenters' practices in other regions around the country, the BCLA's CET workshops offer a great introduction to new areas of contact lens practice with leading experts. As the groups are small, one-to-one tuition is guaranteed. Affiliate members welcome too, Non-members, online (affiliate) and student members may attend any workshop at a cost of £70 per session. If joining as a full BCLA member within one month of the workshop taking place – the cost will be refunded.

Registration is easy:

Register online in the events section of the BCLA website.

Workshop dates and venues:

1 March: Introduction to contemporary scleral lens practice
Jennifer McMahon and Ken Pullum, Swindon, SN3 6BB

6 March: Successful keratoconus fitting in general practice
Neil Cox, BCLA office, London W1 FULLY BOOKED

7 March: How good is good?
Ian Forrest and Tony Harknett, BCLA office, London W1

8 March: Basic RGP fitting and material selection
Martin Conway, BCLA office, London W1

14 March: Coping with hayfever and dry eyes
Susan Bowers, Coventry, CV4 9DU

Other BCLA Diary dates

28 March: Evening CET meeting, 'Developments in the treatment of ocular surface failure using cultured stem cells' presented by Dr Hannah Levis (one CL CET point) See below for full story

16 May: BCLA Faculty of Speakers member Caroline Burnett Hodd will speak at the Northern Ireland Optometric Society meeting. BCLA members may attend by telephoning Liz Gillespie on 07739 517275 or emailing

24-27 May: BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition,
ICC, Birmingham, UK (50+ CET points)

February 2012

Exciting new developments in stem cell production to treat ocular surface disease will be the focus of the next evening CET meeting for members of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA).

Guest speaker at the meeting, to be held on 28 March at 76 Portland Place, London, is Dr Hannah Levis PhD, Research Associate in the Department of Ocular Biology and Therapeutics at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Her presentation is entitled: ‘Developments in the treatment of ocular surface failure using cultured stem cells’ (one contact lens CET point).

Dr Levis said: “Researchers from the Cells for Sight Transplantation and Research Programme at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, in collaboration with UCL Tissue Repair and Engineering Centre and TAP Biosystems, have developed an innovative method of tissue production to create tissue equivalents that closely mimic the cells’ in vivo environment.

“This is very exciting because for the first time it provides a real prospect for treating patients with a blinding surface disease using a stem cell populated tissue equivalent that is simply, quickly and reproducibly prepared. I look forward to sharing these important new developments with BCLA members in March,” added Dr Levis.

BCLA Honorary Meetings Secretary, Keith Tempany, said: “With stem cell therapy increasingly in the media spotlight – such as the recent Channel 4 programme ‘Katie: The science of seeing’ [7 February] – there is no doubt that questions will be asked in practice about these exciting advances. Here is a chance for BCLA members to catch up with cutting edge research and technology – straight from the people involved – carried out in a relaxed atmosphere with like-minded people, fabulous wine and CET points. Can it get any better?”

February 2012 

Acuvue is an official provider to the 2012 Virgin London Marathon and is offering anyone training for the evnt Free lenses for 30 days if they are willing to share their story with the media.

If you are training all you need to do is contact

January 2012

A new entrant in the IT market for enhanced services arose this week to join those already vying for a new market such as the Webstar Health promoted by LOCSU and also a programme provided by Accipiter Ltd. Enhanced Service Software has offered a new IT solution by email to many LOCs as well as to Primary Health Net LOC Support.

We have been unable to make contact with either the sender of the email Mr Tom Chahar (Business Development Manager) or the owner of the website (Mr Parmjit Singh) mentioned in the email:

Mr Singh appears to own another website namely whose locations & addresses appear to be the same in three towns as those mentioned in the enhanced services promotional literature in Plymouth, Peterborough and Bromley.

Further information about Mr Singh can be found at

The company says it has developed a web-based software to deliver cost effective primary eyecare enhanced services which allow providers to navigate a secure, user friendly system, which covers all enhanced services that are currently commissioned by PCTs.

The software allows recording of clinical data in a standardised format, resulting in a streamlined and user friendly practitioner experience. There are two models available offered to LOCs, one supporting individual performers contracted for enhanced services and the other providing resource for companies elected as LTDs or LLPs to look after the interests of contracted performers.

We have been unable to ascertain the likely costs of either web based software as yet but hope to update our readers and the LOCs we advise in due course.

February 2012

The College of Optometrists invites optometrists to contribute to a review of the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct by completing a brief online questionnaire at

The aim of the review is to restructure the guidance, making sure it is relevant, reflects what optometrists want, and makes it easier for them to find what they need.

The guidance is important for a number of reasons. College members and other optometrists use it to check the standards of practice required of them. The guidance is also useful to others working in healthcare, and the General Optical Council refer to the guidance for fitness to practice cases. Patients and members of the public can also use it to make sure their optometrist is following good practice.

Josephine Mullin, Director of Policy and Strategy at the College, explains why it is important for optometrists to get involved, “We want to raise standards of optometric education and practice and we plan to involve users in reviewing our guidance. We will be consulting all those with an interest over the next 18 months. Ultimately, we want our guidance to be easily accessible, concise and provide optometrists and other users with what they need.”

Rodenstock staff "pass go" in Customer Service week

February 2012

An optics-themed Monopoly game was one of the team building exercises at Rodenstock’s inaugural Customer Service Week.

The initiative forms part of Rodenstock’s ongoing commitment to improving their customers’ experiences with the company.

Staff are continually encouraged to share ideas and suggestions to improve working procedures, and during the week, individuals were nominated by peers who felt they deserved special praise for their high levels of customer service.

Departments shared training sessions in order to understand more about the work of their colleagues, while fun activities helped build relationships and encourage team ethics. There was even a ‘Rodenstock’ Monopoly board game, mapping the journey of a spectacle order from receipt to dispatch.

Customer Service Manager Katie Watts said: “Rodenstock is continually investing in improving services to practices, including new online ordering tools and an enhanced intranet. The Customer Service Week allowed Rodenstock employees to see how each individual role within the company impacted on the service to the customer.

“Everyone got involved and it was an excellent opportunity to work with different people across the company and learn more about the work they do.”

February 2012

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is offering 100 sponsored weekend packages for its 2012 Clinical Conference, to be held at the ICC Birmingham from 24 to 27 May.

This special offer, which includes one night’s hotel accommodation and a Gala Dinner ticket for the Saturday night, is available to BCLA members and non-members alike thanks to the generosity of the event’s 40 plus exhibitors.

To be eligible, applicants must be a full BCLA member and have not attended a BCLA Clinical Conference in the past three years. Non-members may apply by first joining the Association as a full member.

Available on a first come first served basis, the weekend package includes entry to the conference on the Saturday and Sunday, one Gala Dinner ticket for the Saturday evening and 3* hotel accommodation for Saturday night. The exhibition and Exhibitors’ Pavilion, which runs from 25-27 May, is free for all to attend.

BCLA President, Shelly Bansal, said: “We are extremely grateful to our exhibitors who have made this offer possible. The annual BCLA Clinical Conference is a very special meeting that attracts eyecare clinicians, researchers, contact lens opticians, students and ophthalmologists from all over the world – there is just no other event like it. We look forward to welcoming all past and new delegates to the ICC Birmingham in May.”

Applicants for the free new delegates package must be BCLA members, registered with the General Optical Council, General Medical Council or Irish Opticians Board and a resident of the UK or Republic of Ireland. The offer is not open to students or pre-registration students and will be withdrawn once 100 delegates have registered.

February 2012

The Optical Confederation has published guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults for optical practitioners and optical practices. The guidance, developed in collaboration with the College of Optometrists and the Department of Health, sets out in a simple non-bureaucratic way, what optical staff and practices need to do. Details of common signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect are included with a simple protocol which all optical practitioners and staff can follow.

The five step protocol has been designed to assist practitioners to:

• observe and record signs
• discuss with a senior colleague if appropriate
• act as appropriate (including informing the statutory agencies)
• confirming notification to and advice from local safeguarding contacts
• noting advice received and actions.

The guidance also provides model notification forms to assist practitioners in focussing their observations and reporting to the statutory agencies as appropriate.

An online training module has been developed by Directorate of Optometric Continuing Education and Training (DOCET) to further assist optometrists when safeguarding children, available at:

DOCET is also preparing a similar module for vulnerable adults which will be released in due course.

Speaking for the Optical Confederation, David Hewlett said: “The national optical bodies are fully signed up to the principles of safeguarding but these have to be implemented in a way that also works in the context of optical practice. We have now achieved this with a simple protocol that will work for every member of staff in an optical practice ensuring that, as a sector, we can play our full part in safeguarding vulnerable adults and children without putting either them or practitioners at further risk.”

Geoff Roberson, from the Association of Optometrists added: “the Optical Confederation’s member bodies stand ready to advise practitioners, practices, the NHS and local authorities on implementing this guidance, including offering confidential advice and support to practices and practitioners in specific cases where necessary”.

Download pdf guidance

MD from Oregon explains the causes of what he described as “A global dry eye crisis”

February 2012

The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water was inquiring about in the complex links between dry eye disease, dry air, polluted humidity, climate change, indoor and outdoor environments and the need to drink more water.

During the interview, Sharon Kleyne asked Dr. Paden about the status of dry eye disease in the United States and worldwide. He indicated that the five worst US cities for dry eye are, in order, Las Vegas, Lubbock, TX, El Paso, TX, Midland/Odessa, TX and is Dallas, TX.

Outside the US, according to Dr. Paden, the situation is much worse. He said that in Argentina, the air is so bad, partly because of ozone layer thinning, that they recommend spending no more than three hours a day outdoors. Air quality is also problematic in China, India, Mexico, Brazil and Australia.

The eye's tear film, he said, has been taking a beating and the main culprit is lack of air moisture, or polluted humidity from climate change, technology and population growth. Dry air and polluted humidity increase water evaporation from the tear film.

Regarding nutritional suggestions for maintaining a healthy tear film during the dry eye crisis, Dr. Paden recommended dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard, spinach and leaf lettuce. He also recommends flax seed oil and omega-3 fatty acids.

February 2012
Over the past decade, ophthalmologists and optometrists have turned to a range of newer technologies — beyond visual field testing and straightforward fundus photography — to evaluate patients with and suspected of having open angle glaucoma.

But a new study published in Ophthalmology, January 2012, reports that increased reliance on these newer technologies as a replacement for the more traditional visual field testing and fundus photography may undermine patient care. The investigation focused on trends in eye care provider use of three methods for evaluating patients with open-angle glaucoma or suspected glaucoma: visual field testing, fundus photography, and other ocular imaging technologies.

Among these newer imaging technologies, the three most commonly relied upon approaches are confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (CSLO), scanning laser polarimetry (SLP), and optical coherence tomography (OCT) — all of which evaluate the optic nerve or retinal nerve fiber layer tissue, the structures in the back of the eye which can be damaged by glaucoma.

The findings, reported by Joshua D Stein M.D. M.S, a glaucoma specialist at the University of Michigan W.K. Kellogg Eye Center, and his colleagues emerged from a study of claims data of 169,917 individuals with open-angle glaucoma and 395,721 individuals suspected of having glaucoma aged 40 years and older enrolled in a national managed care network between 2001 and 2009.
“Over the past decade, we found a substantial increase in the use of newer ocular imaging devices and a dramatic decrease in the use of visual field testing in the management of patients with and suspected of having open-angle glaucoma by ophthalmologists and optometrists,” says Dr. Stein. “Our results indicate that the odds of a patient undergoing visual field testing decreased by 36% from 2001 to 2005, by 12% from 2005 to 2009, and by 44% from 2001 to 2009. By comparison, the odds of undergoing testing using the newer ocular imaging devices increased by 100% from 2001 to 2005, by 24% from 2005 to 2009, and by 147% from 2001 to 2009.”

Dr. Stein notes that, “Until these newer imaging devices can be demonstrated to identify the presence of open-angle glaucoma and capture disease progression as well as more traditional methods do, providers should use these devices as an adjunct to; not a replacement for; visual field testing and fundus photography." Such findings suggest that greater efforts need to be made to educate eye care providers about the importance of visual field testing in glaucoma management.

The report acknowledges that several factors are likely contribute to the recent shift to newer technologies. The newer imaging procedures are painless, can be performed quickly, require little patient cooperation, do not rely on subjective patient input, and often can be obtained without dilation of the patient’s pupils. By comparison, visual field testing takes longer to perform, requires more patient effort, and is largely subjective.

Financial incentives may also drive use of these newer technologies. Since the imaging devices are expensive to purchase, the more tests eye care providers order, the quicker they can recoup equipment costs and eventually generate revenue.


February 2012

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is seeking new Council members to help shape the future of the organisation.

Nominations are now invited for new members to join the Council at the Association’s 2012 AGM, to be held at 6pm at the ICC Birmingham on Friday 25 May.

There are vacancies for two lay members – one with legal expertise and one with financial expertise. These positions are open to non-members outside the profession. Additionally, the BCLA is seeking to welcome onto the Council: two contact lens opticians, one optometrist, one medical representative and one technical representative.

Council members offer guidance on education and professional and industry developments, for the long-term benefit of BCLA members. The Council meets five times during the year, including one offsite strategy meeting.

BCLA President, Shelly Bansal, said: “The BCLA relies on its Council members to help it promote excellence in contact lenses, and grow BCLA membership among all disciplines. If you think you can help develop the Association, then why not stand for election to the BCLA Council?”

The closing date for nominations is 1 March 2012.

February 2012

This will be the first CET event in the Association of Optometrists' prestigious new central London offices and education venue. The event will focus on optometry as a specialist area with sessions targeted at therapeutics, prescribing rights and the contrasts between UK and US patient care pathways.

14 COPE and GOC Specialist points (O/AS/SP/IP) applied for. The seminar will run from 28 - 30 April 2012

February 2012

Growing attendance figures by 15% is the target for the next Optrafair, which will run from 13 to15 April 2013, FMO organisers announced at the national show launch this week.
Setting an ambitious plan to increase visitor numbers to the NEC, Birmingham, event – which have been relatively consistent for several shows – will be achieved by initiatives to encourage both the profession and industry to invest some time in visiting. An enhanced Optrafair website, regional targeting of visitors, greater use of social media and closer integration with the other optical bodies are all key objectives of the 2013 visitor strategy.

Already the largest CET event, once again in discussion with OT Live, the 2013 Optrafair will also embrace ABDO. The dispensing opticians’ organisation is to stage its AGM alongside Optrafair highlighting further movement towards a closer association.

Increased, and more targeted, marketing will address specific sectors of the industry to ensure that all recent product launches and advances in technology are brought to the attention of every lab, independent practice, multiple and optical business in the country.

“Held just once every two years, every optical business in the UK should be represented at the show – it is a great way to source the means to enhance business, with well over 200 inspiring exhibitors,” said FMO Chief Executive, Malcolm Polley.

New for 2013 is the National Window Dressing Competition designed to engage practices from Lands’ End to John O’Groats, and East Anglia to Ireland. Suppliers and practices throughout the country are to be invited to take part in a series of regional heats in the months building up to the show. The final Window Dressing Challenge will be staged at Optrafair and the winning windows will be tantalisingly placed at the show entrance. Setting an inspiring mood, visitors will be able to pause and see the opportunities for creating an award winning showcase on their own High Street.

February 2012

The deadline for applications for 2012 Fellowship of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has been extended to 30 April to allow members more time to apply.

Since the scheme was launched in 2006, a total of 133 professionals from the international community of contact lens industry and practice have become BCLA Fellows following viva voce assessment at the annual BCLA Clinical Conference.

The Fellowship scheme allows members of all disciplines who show high esteem in contact lenses and the anterior eye to use the affix FBCLA – but there’s more to BCLA Fellowship than that.

For 2011 BCLA Fellow, Maria Markoulli, who works as Project Manager at the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Australia, applying for BCLA Fellowship was her chance to share the BCLA’s “vision and passion”.

Maria said: “I have great respect for the work that the BCLA does to educate and train practitioners, to disseminate research and support researchers. I share this vision as well as the BCLA’s passion for contact lenses and the anterior eye. I felt that by becoming a Fellow I could demonstrate my commitment to this research field and join the ranks of others with similar interests.

“Being a BCLA Fellow means that I am part of an international community with a common interest. These are colleagues from different fields with whom you may share thoughts and ideas, and they often become part of the support network that enables us to achieve so much in the research arena,” added Maria.

Ian Cameron of Edinburgh-based Cameron Optometry, who also gained BCLA Fellowship in 2011, commented: “Our contract with the NHS for providing specialist contact lens services in our area is a significant element in our business. Fellowship of the BCLA gives external validation of my commitment to the highest standards of contact lens practice, which is recognised by our contractors and my peers.”

Noted US optometrist, lecturer and author, Dr Arthur Epstein, explained what gaining BCLA Fellowship in 2011 means to him: “Contact lenses are not only life changing for our patients, but they are a glue that binds together an international community of experts and educators. The BCLA is extraordinary example of this collegiality and commitment to furthering both science and clinical excellence in this eyecare subspecialty. Fellowship of the BCLA, and being recognised by esteemed colleagues, not only reflects a commitment and accomplishment within our field but it is also a tremendous honour.”

February 2012

The College of Optometrists appears on BBC Breakfast to offer eye health advice for motorists

Figures released today reveal that more than one in five people in the UK have not had a sight test in the last two years. The College of Optometrists took part in a BBC Breakfast TV show to offer advice to the public about the importance of regular sight tests.

Research shows that drivers who require glasses or lenses often do not wear them while driving and on average, make two journeys a week without them.

Commenting about the findings on this morning’s BBC Breakfast show, Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, Vice President of the College of Optometrists, said: “It is important to have regular sight tests, especially for people who drive and find they are experiencing problems with their vision. The College recommends those over the age of 40 have an eye examination every two years but if there is an existing history of eye problems in the family, or you notice changes in your eyes or sight, it is always advisable to visit your optometrist as soon as possible.”

Watch the interview at

January 2012

LOCs can now take control of the message they want to portray to the public, decide on their specialities, and improve sight test uptake for their members.

In our LOC support pages you will find a new discussion document on how LOCs can now take control of sending out health messages to their local patients without resource to the rather clunky NHS choices.

We report on several successful LOCs who have taken control of their own healthcare marketing.

January 2012

PHN is pleased to announce that it has now updated the LOCSU pages on its site in line with the new LOCSU website. Information has been updated and links provided through to the LOCSU website where appropriate. All LOC Committee members can access the secure LOCSU pages on this site by registering here.

January 2012

NHS South East London has sourced funding for lectures on glaucoma and workshops in applanation tonometry to increase the uptake of Glaucoma Refinement by optometrists across S.E. London.

Lectures from Glaucoma Specialist Consultant Ophthalmologists from Kings, Queen Mary’s and St Thomas’ will be given covering all aspects of glaucoma diagnosis, along with workshops to develop skills in applanation tonometry. The lectures will be repeated on several occasions and at a variety of venues in February and March. CET points will be available and registered optometrists who are performers in any of the 6 SE London PCTs (Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich) will also be eligible for an out of hours payment of £60 for each evening session.

You can now book your place on this series of Glaucoma Lectures and Workshops for eye health professionals in South East London. Organised via the South East London Glaucoma Repeat Measures Project you can visit here to make your booking. A list of events is below and on the PHN Events Calendar. Priority will be given to practitioners who perform (however infrequently) in the PCTs listed above.





Wednesday 22nd February

Workshop 18.00-19.00
Lecture 19.00 – 20.45
Workshop 2 20.45-21.45

St Thomas’ Hospital
Ridley Clinic

Wednesday 7th March

 Workshop 18.00-19.00
Lecture 19.00 – 20.45
Workshop 2 20.45-21.45

Institute of Optometry
Lecture Theatre
Workshops: Room 3 clinics,%20UK&FORM=MMREDR

Friday 9th March

Workshop 1  18.00- 19.00
Workshop 2  19.00-20.00

Linklaters Optometrists
120 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DQ

Tuesday 13th March

Workshop 1  18.00- 19.00
Workshop 2  19.00-20.00

Coton & Hamblin Optometrists
11 Wellington St, Woolwich
SE18 6PQ

Wednesday 21st March

Workshop 18.00-19.00
Lecture 19.00 – 20.45
Workshop 2 20.45-21.45

Bickley Manor Hotel & Restaurant
Thornet Wood Road
Bickley, Kent, BR1 2LW

Friday 23rd March

Workshop 1  18.00- 19.00
Workshop 2  19.00-20.00

Coton & Hamblin Optometrists
11 Wellington St, Woolwich
SE18 6PQ

Tuesday 27th March

Workshop 1  18.00- 19.00
Workshop 2  19.00-20.00

Linklaters Optometrists
120 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7DQ

For further information please e mail, or contact either Charles Greenwood on 020 8776 5000, or Gordon Ilett on 07850797136.January 2012

New public consultation to be launched in March

CEO’s report to Council:
Law Commission Review and CHRE performance report
At the January meeting of Council, Samantha Peters, Chief Executive and Registrar delivered an update to Council which included a progress report on the forthcoming Law Commission’s Review of healthcare regulation. This work is likely to dictate the shape of healthcare regulation for years to come, and a public consultation will be launched on 1 March 2012. The key issues for debate that will affect the GOC include: the future of business regulation, the regulation of students training to become optometrists and dispensing opticians, and the scope of the GOC’s regulatory reach.

The GOC submitted its annual performance review for 2011-12 to the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) in December. The CHRE’s concluding annual performance review of the GOC and all other healthcare regulators is due to be published in June. Following a separate CHRE review of regulators’ cost-effectiveness and efficiency, they will publish an interim report on their findings across the board in due course.

GOC prepares for implementation of new FTP Rules

The GOC announced plans to carry out further consultation with stakeholders on an amendment to its Fitness to Practise Rules. The GOC will consult on one proposed change, which will result in case examiners, rather than the GOC’s Registrar, reviewing decisions not to refer registrants to the fitness to practise committee. This follows the Council’s decision in September 2011 that the rules should be amended in this way in response to stakeholder feedback. It is anticipated that the new fitness to practise rules will be fully implemented in 2013. The Council aims to agree plans for the transitional period in April 2012. As part of the new rules, the GOC will be recruiting up to 12 case examiners to include optometrists, dispensing opticians and lay people. Further details of the recruitment timetable will be announced in the coming months.

CET: update on the new scheme for 2013
This is the final year of the current CET cycle, and from January 2013 there will be a new enhanced CET scheme in place for all fully-qualified registrants. As part of this new scheme, in September 2010 Council considered the possibility of an additional six yearly requirement for registrants to undergo a clinical skills assessment in order to determine their continued fitness to practise. To establish whether this addition to CET requirements would be proportionate, the GOC has commissioned research to analyse the costs and benefits of a clinical skills assessment. Council will consider the findings in March.

The GOC website has also now been updated to include a specific section dedicated to enhanced CET. The site includes all of the up to date information, fact sheets about peer discussion and distance learning requirements and FAQs. Further information will be added over the coming months, including video footage of peer discussion groups, a series of podcast interviews and a toolkit with example cases, discussion topics and approval criteria for each of the available modes of learning.

Draft budget for 2012/13

The Council noted the draft budget for 2012-13, based on the lower retention fee of £260, as agreed at the November 2011 meeting of Council. As a result of a number of efficiency measures, the GOC reported that it had achieved over £250,000 of efficiency savings in this financial year, despite inflation running at over five per cent. It is anticipated that further savings will be achieved in the future from the Council’s ‘invest to save’ programme. Council reaffirmed its commitment to offering value for money and efficiency, whilst fully delivering on the GOC’s public protection remit.

The GOC announced that its next meeting will be held on Thursday 22 March 2012 at 10.30, venue to be announced.

January 2012

Spectrum Thea announce a number of seminars within their Dry Eye Project, which have been highlighted in our events calendar. They take place on 20th February at the Marriott Worsley Oark Hotel and Country Club, and on the 13th March at the Heritage Motor Centre. You can also download the booking form from here.

{The calendar of events is a free service open to all our readers to advertise their events during the year}

January 2012

The optical bodies, The Optical Confederation, LOCSU along with the College have commended government for making the first ever national commitment to tackle preventable sight loss.

Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Improving outcomes and supporting transparency, published this week, sets the national public health priorities for England and includes a measure of eye health. The indicator will measure the number of people losing their sight from the three main causes of preventable sight loss: glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. Without action it is estimated that there will be 2.45 million people living with sight loss in the UK by 2020 and 4 million by 2050. Half of all sight loss is preventable.

Speaking on behalf of Optical Confederation, David Hewlett said, “We have been stressing the priority of eye health through the UK Vision Strategy Partnership for some years now as well as highlighting the vital role that the nation’s optometrists and dispensing opticians play, with hospital colleagues, in improving sight and preventing visual impairment through early detection and treatment. This indicator will provide the focus that has previously been missing for NHS commissioners and Joint Health and Wellbeing Boards to work together, and with us, to tackle these public health challenges. The government is to be congratulated for recognising that the current levels of avoidable blindness are not acceptable and for taking action to tackle them.”

Dr Cindy Tromans, President of the College of Optometrists which recently brought eye care bodies together to publish An optical sector strategy to improve ophthalmic public health, also welcomed the Government’s decision. Dr Tromans said, “The Government has set us all a great new challenge. Working together with the NHS and local authorities, optometrists can make today’s announcement a real turning point in the fight against preventable sight loss.”

As part of the Optical sector strategy, the Local Optical Committee Support Unit is working with all stakeholders to develop an Ophthalmic Public Health Network for launch later this Spring. The virtual network will bring together all those working on or interested in ophthalmic public health including NHS commissioners, Joint Health and Wellbeing Boards, providers, public health experts and academic departments. It will encourage the sharing of expertise and innovation to improve ophthalmic health outcomes across the whole population.

January 2012

Following the launch of the College of Optometrists’ Higher Qualifications Framework and learning outcomes for the Glaucoma Certificate and Higher Certificate, the College is pleased to announce that it has accredited the first two certificate courses in Glaucoma.

City University and Cardiff University are the first providers to have their courses accredited.

Jacqueline Martin, Director of Education at the College, commented: “The accreditation follows an extensive review of the College’s Higher Qualifications and we are delighted that we are able to work in partnership with course providers to offer optometrists a more flexible and supported route to study.”

The College has started work on producing the learning outcomes for qualifications in Low Vision with the aim of accrediting a course in this area by the middle of 2012.

January 2012

It was “all change” this month as Norville Opticians with practices across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire moved a number of dispensing managers between practices in anticipation of the retirement of Barry Stygall from Thornbury.

Barry & Daniel, Norville OpticiansBarry has been with Norville Opticians for more than 30 years and has managed its Thornbury practice for around half of them. He has been replaced by Daniel Read who managed the practice in Bishops Cleeve.

Barry said: “Across my career I have worked for just two companies and I reckon that in that time I have dispensed about 100,000 pairs of spectacles. Not bad eh?”

Daniel Read has been replaced at Bishops Cleeve by Bernie Lahiffe who joined Norville Opticians in 1995 as a receptionist. Since then she has been studying hard and last year she qualified as a Dispensing Optician. Bernie was manager of the Norville Opticians practice in the Charlton Kings area of Cheltenham.

In turn, Bernie is replaced by Sandra Wellfair who also started out as a receptionist when she joined the company ten years ago. Until now she has been a Dispensing Optician in the Gloucester practice having also qualified last year. The move to Charlton Kings is her first managerial position.

Norville Opticians Managing Director Adrian Street said: “Unless he wins the lottery Barry won’t actually be retiring until November and until then we hope he will wind down gently by providing backup around the company. We wish Barry the very best of luck as well as Daniel, Bernie and Sandra in their new posts.”

Picture: Dispensing Optician Daniel Read (in suit) has taken over the running of the Norville Opticians Thornbury practice from Barry Stygall who is due to retire later this year

January 2012

Mee Healthcare Centres report receiving an unprecedented number applications for the future roll out locations (a three figure response) from optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical assistants Mee Healthcare has had to ramp up its HR department to cope with the demand.

Bob Hutchinson, Chief Business Development Officer, for Mee Healthcare described the measure of interest as heartening and proof that Mee has struck a chord. “When I was first asked to help out in this exciting project, I was struck by the determination of the CEO (Dr. Lese) to make a difference in primary care and for it to be different for those who wish to partake in this innovative healthcare project. Reading through many of the applications they all resonate with the same sense of hope for something different from careers professionals have been offered in the past, and I will make it my duty to ensure that that sense of purpose remains achievable.”

As reported by PHN two weeks ago Mee Healthcare aims to provide integrated healthcare centres around the UK in community settings where access and convenient times are available to the public at large. Dependent on the needs of the community, location and space but of most importance the availability of professionals who are like minded in better professional care, the centres will be developed to contain a blend of Optometrists, DOs, Dentists, GPs and Nursing staff.

“We will expand as factors allow us as we are here for the long journey, so we hope those that see our mission as a new beginning or a new start whatever position they currently hold will express an interest for us to keep them on file and investigate the areas that they can provide services to us.” said Hutchinson.

See PHN Recruitment pages

January 2012

Although there is considerable research evidence that visual impairments are more common among people with learning disabilities, there is no national monitoring of the number of people with learning disabilities who have visual impairments. Neither is there robust epidemiological data on the prevalence of visual impairments in people with learning disabilities in the UK.

Given so, RNIB and SeeAbility asked Professor Eric Emerson and Dr Janet Robertson of the Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) at Lancaster University to estimate the number of people with learning disabilities and sight difficulties in the UK using prevalence rates from a major study in the Netherlands.

This has given us for the first time, estimates of the population of people with learning disabilities and seeing difficulties (blindness, partial sight and refractive error) in each of the four countries of the UK.

Emerson and Robertson presented two sets of estimates in their report, those based on the estimated population of adults with LD known to the statutory services, and a higher estimate of all people with learning disabilities. Because they had to estimate the 'true' prevalence of learning disabilities in the UK, and to use prevalence rates taken from the Netherlands to estimate the number of people with learning disabilities and visual impairment, Emerson and Robertson advise that there is a degree of uncertainty in these estimates. It is possible that the true figures are higher or lower than the figures presented in their report.

Key findings for blindness and partial sight

• There are estimated to be over one million people in the UK with a learning disability
• Adults with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to be blind or partially sighted than the general population
• An estimated 96,500 adults with learning disabilities (including 42,000 known to the statutory services) are blind or partially sighted
• The estimated prevalence of blindness and partial sight in the adult learning disabilities population is 9.3% This means that nearly one in 10 adults with learning disabilities is blind or partially sighted
• An estimated 40,600 people with learning disabilities aged 20 – 49 (including 25,390 known to the statutory services) are blind or partially sighted
• The estimated prevalence of blindness and partial sight in people with learning disabilities aged 20 - 49 is 6.5% meaning that over 6 in 100 people with learning disabilities aged 20 - 49 are blind or partially sighted
• An estimated 10,480 people with learning disabilities aged 20 – 49 (including 7,570 known to the statutory services) are blind
• For people aged 20 - 49 the estimated prevalence of blindness in the learning disabilities population is 1.67% i.e over 16 in 1000 people with learning disabilities aged 20 - 49 are blind

Key findings for refractive error

• An estimated 579,000 adults with learning disabilities (including 122,000 known to the statutory services) have refractive error (6 out of 10 people with learning disabilities need glasses)
• An estimated 53,300 adults with learning disabilities (including 19,000 known to the statutory services) have severe refractive error
• An estimated 22,200 adults with learning disabilities have severe myopia (one in 50 adults with learning disabilities have severe short sightedness)
• An estimated 31,100 adults with learning disabilities have severe hyperopia (three in 100 adults with learning disabilities have severe long sightedness

Overall health messages from the research

There are about 1 million adults in the United Kingdom with a learning disability and people with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to have serious sight problems than other people. People with severe or profound learning disabilities are most likely to have sight problems.

People with learning disabilities may not know they have a sight problem and may not be able to tell people. Many people think the person with a learning disability they know can see perfectly well.
6 in 10 people with learning disabilities need glasses and often need support to get used to them.

People with learning disabilities need to have a sight test every two years, sometimes more often. Regular sight tests and wearing glasses helps people stay healthy and get the most from life.

January 2012

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has announced its spring CET workshops line-up – each worth four contact lens CET points for contact lens opticians, dispensing opticians and optometrists.

Free for BCLA members and costing just £70 per workshop for non-members, online members and free student members* – the BCLA’s ever-popular CET workshops provide hands-on tuition with some of the UK’s most experienced contact lens practitioners. Subjects to be covered this spring include hay fever and dry eye, scleral lens practice and keratoconus fitting.

Workshops take place during the evening, from 6-8pm, at presenters’ practices around the country, as well as at the Association’s offices in London W1. Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis – and are limited to a maximum of 12 attendees to guarantee individual tuition.

Susan BowersThe workshops are:

• 6 March: ‘Successful keratoconus fitting in general practice’ with Neil Cox, BCLA office, London
• 7 March: ‘How good is good?’ with Ian Forrest and Tony Harknett, BCLA Office, London
• 7 March: ‘Introduction to contemporary scleral lens practice’ with Ken Pullum, Swindon
• 8 March: ‘Basic RGP fitting and material selection’ with Martin Conway, BCLA office, London
• 14 March: ‘Coping with hay fever and dry eyes’ with Susan Bowers, Coventry

Workshop presenter and BCLA Council member (Optometric Representative), Susan Bowers, commented: “BCLA workshops are a must for all those seeking to enhance their expertise in contact lens practice. Learning secrets and new strategies from the experts, combined with hands-on tuition in an informal setting, will equip attendees with all the tools they need to build a thriving and highly skilled contact lens practice.”

The BCLA announced that those who take out full membership of the Association within one month of attending a workshop will have their fee refunded.

January 2011

Mee HealthcareNews broke this week, embargoed until today, of a new entrant on the primary care landscape, including an optical dimension. The company, Mee Healthcare plans to open in locations with proven footfall, and where quality clinically motivated staff present themselves.

Mee Healthcare centres will provide a range of primary care services dependent on the needs of the population in each area. In some centres this will mean professionals from optometry, audiology, dentistry, GP services, and nursing will be working under the same roof.

Gail Lese - mee HealthcareDr Gail Lese, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mee Healthcare announced the development of integrated healthcare clinics across the UK in the forthcoming years. The multi-million pound development is to be funded by the Allele Fund, of which Dr Lese (Doctor of Medicine) is the founder member.

Dr Lese commented, “It is a tremendous honour and pleasure to work to make sure that every person has access to high quality and affordable healthcare. As a medical doctor, I have worked to help make sure that integrated healthcare, with an emphasis on high quality care provision and prevention, customer service, convenient locations and opening hours are available.”

The initial opening is expected in March in Leeds and in the following months plans are being consolidated for centres in Cambridgeshire, and in the shopping centre at the Stratford Olympic village. Other towns in the early roll out are highlighted on the Mee Careers page to be found on the PHN recruitment page.

Lyn PriceThe Mee Healthcare board is chaired by Dr Lese and will consist of a number of industry leading professionals, including: Peter Price-Taylor as Development Chief Operating Officer, Bob Hutchinson Chief Business Development Officer, and Lyn Price as Chief Clinical Officer and Clinical Director. Ms Price will also be the Director for Clinical Studies on the See Mee Board.

Mee Healthcare aim to provide the multi-disciplinary healthcare centres, in convenient locations where access is easy with extended business hours for client convenience, and where the majority visit regularly for shopping.

The first centres have completed the design stage and the procurement of the best possible, state of the art equipment for all professionals along with paperless practice IT technology; thereby enhancing patient care and quality.

Dr Lese continued, “This is a unique opportunity for the very best professionals to work collaboratively amongst the professions to serve the public”.

Peter Price-TaylorPrice- Taylor complimented Dr Lese on her determination to make a difference in health care in the UK with NHS and Private healthcare provided under one roof for the convenience of many. “I am confident that within a short time many professionals will be looking at the Mee Healthcare approach to Primary Care as the way forward in providing the best all round healthcare quality and service. We will ensure that every possible attention is paid to customers who will be provided with best in class healthcare at every level of the organisation.”

Mee Healthcare says that its unique USP will be in its “whole health” policy with trained staff available to offer advice across the primary care spectrum.

Bob HutchinsonBob Hutchinson in the role of CBDO explained “This is one of the most exciting projects I have been asked to undertake in the 35 years of a very busy and successful career in Optics. Those who have known me during my business and optical political life will be aware of my passion for improved detection and better outcomes in optics backed by a quality provision of exciting eye wear to entice the public to take greater care of their sight. Encouraging professionals to relate to each other’s roles, cross refer and take on additional services will be made much easier under one roof. Primary Care under the new NHS needs an innovative investment like Mee Healthcare to raise recognition of the importance of eyecare. This is not the first integrated service in the UK and I am sure many more will follow Mee Healthcare’s lead in the future.“

Mee Healthcare intends to significantly invest in its staff and its staff training programme for the assurance of high quality care provision to clients and the professionals’ development. A significant component of the Mee healthcare platform is the emphasis on professional training and development. Plans are already in progress to provide appropriate and quality training to all the professional roles needed to provide an integrated service to the public in a suitable model environment. Mee promises to equip every centre to the very best standard currently available to allow quality referrals between the professions where possible within the centres and is looking for staff that has a clinical bias and want to make a difference to healthcare uptake in the future.

Mee healthcare information will be available under Health Centres and already is under Recruitment in our suppliers guide with further links to their website. There is also information about job opportunities in our recruitment section.

January 2012

The 36th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition will take place at the ICC Birmingham from 24-27 May 2012. This is NOT a Bank Holiday weekend.

The BCLA announce that booking lines are now open for the 2012 Clinical Conference and Exhibition, being held from 24-27 May at the ICC Birmingham. You can visit the conference section on the BCLA website to book online and for information about speakers, the exhibition, venue and the social programme.
They also have some great news for their loyal members: “if you have been a BCLA member for two or more years consecutively, and you book by 9 March, you can receive up to a 45 per cent discount off the full delegate rate.”

‘Competing for Excellence’ is this year’s theme and an abundance of CET lectures, workshops and exhibitors' presentations will be offered as always. Highlights include first-ever sessions on contact lenses and sport, anterior eye and nutrition, and new Clinical Grand Rounds – based on the popular Ellerbrock Presents Grand Rounds of the American Academy

January 2012

Optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical businesses can now renew their GOC registration for 2012/13. The retention fee for 2012/13 has been reduced for the second year in a row, to £260, as a result of the Council’s continued cost savings.

Registrants can log on to the MyGOC section of to apply for retention in just a few minutes. Business registrants (bodies corporate) can now use the online system for the first time, following its successful introduction for individual registrants last year.

Philip Hallam, GOC Head of Registration said: “Registration is an important legal requirement for optical professionals and businesses. I’d encourage all registrants to apply without delay.

“Applying online only takes a few minutes and the feedback we received from registrants last year indicated that the vast majority found it a quick and easy process. This year we’ve introduced the online system for businesses as well, so all our registrants can benefit from applying electronically.”

Practitioners with a total gross income of less than £12,000 per year are eligible for the GOC’s low income fee of £160. They must apply for the reduced fee by 1 February 2012, by completing the application form on the GOC website, prior to completing their retention application online.

Any practitioner who does not apply by the 15 March 2012 deadline will face a £20 late application fee. Registrants who have still not renewed their registration by 31 March 2012, including payment of the late fee, risk removal from the registers after 1 April 2012. They will then be unable to practise in the UK, or use a protected title such as optometrist or dispensing optician, until they have been restored to the register.

January 2012

The results of research commissioned by the College of Optometrists shows that many ready-made spectacles are not of appropriate quality to match the advertising around them.

Following the publication of a Which? report on ready-made reading glasses in October 2010, the College commissioned Professor David Elliott at Bradford University to carry out some further research in this area based on a much larger sample size. The original Which? report pointed to some potential issues with the quality of ready-made spectacles, and possible discrepancies between the standards claimed by the manufacturers and those actually found in the glasses tested for their report.

Although the Which? report highlighted an issue that was of interest (and if their findings were accurate, concern) to members and the public, the conclusions were based on a sample of 14 ready readers, which opened the findings to question.

After assessing over 300 ready readers from a wide range of high street stores, with costs ranging from £1 to £32, Professor Elliot’s team found that:

• Just over half of all ready-made spectacles used in the study provided the optical standards required of them by the relevant British and European Standard.
• Higher-powered ready-made spectacles were more likely to have errors (+3.50DS).
• The quality of these ready-made spectacles could be easily improved by the use of more appropriate inter-pupillary distances for the work they are intended for.

The team at Bradford ran a range of tests on the spectacles. They examined each pair’s quality in terms of:

• how closely they met their advertised specifications
• the positioning of the lenses in the frames
• whether the frames positioned the lenses in such a way that the distance between the focal centres of the lenses was likely to fall within the range for average distance between pupils in the UK population.

Professor Elliott’s report on this research will be published in the research journal of the American Academy of Optometry (Optometry and Vision Science) later this year.

College research shows cause for concern about ready-made spectacles

GOC retention now underway for 2012/13

BCLA announce loyalty bonus for members

A new entry into high street optics with an accent on healthcare

BCLA announces spring CET workshops

New research backed by SeeAbility and the RNIB at Centre for Disability Research points to connection between learning disability and visual impairment

Mee Healthcare is heartened by recruitment response

It’s all change at Norville Opticians as Barry hands over the reins (or should that be ‘frames’?)

College accredits new Higher Qualifications

Spectrum Thea announce further round of Dry Eye Seminars

General Optical Council provides PHN with Jan 26th Council Notes

£60 per session paid to optometrists for glaucoma training in S E London

LOCSU pages updated

Why your LOC needs a public presence

Eye experts raise awareness about driving and vision

BCLA Fellowship deadline extended

Optrafair 2013 sets ambitious target

The AOP, in partnership with SECO International, announce a 2-day CET seminar focusing on therapeutics and optometrist prescribing

New Study published in the January edition of Ophthalmology emphasizes the importance of visual field testing for patients with open-angle glaucoma and questions the overuse of new technoloigies

Sponsored places offered for BCLA Clinical Conference

College consults on the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct

Acuvue offers free lenses for 30 days to train for their sponsored Marathon 2012

And there’s more from BCLA.... Stem cell research in the spotlight

BCLA provides Workshop sessions tailored to your needs

Success for Silhouette’s premier points promotion

BCLA to host contact lens fitting course for medics

City and East London LOC the latest to adpot PHN sites

Sheffield MP keeps her eyes on the road

Optometry Tomorrow 2012 a success in Brighton

Online retention helps more registrants renew on time

Optical Express have announced that 100 new customer services jobs will be created at the company's call centre in Glasgow

Specsavers search for Spectacle Wearer of the Year 2012

Ocular Surgery News reports on treating Aphakic Glaucoma Pxs

Rodenstock follow the network trend

Government prioritises eye health and the fight against preventable sight loss

BCLA seeks new Council members, can you help develop the BCLA?

Confederation issues guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

New company offers Enhanced Service Software to LOCs and Enhanced service providers formed as Ltd companies and LLPs

New Voucher increases laid before Parliament for April 1st

New College President welcomed at Brighton Optometry Tomorrow conference

Calling all hot shots ......BCLA invites photo competition entries

Internet Inks
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