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Optical News - April, May, June 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.

Norville Opticians Marks National Falls Week

NEG Partners with Eyemagination

FMO Supports WSMC Training

IT Companies Keen to Exhibit at Optrafair 2013

J&J to Host Next FMO Meeting

LOCSU Announces New Optical Leads

New Faces on BCLA Council

New Director Appointments to NHS Commissioning Board

DoH Extend Consultation Deadline on Shared Decision Making

All Sports and No Play

Which? Nails Real Dangers in Eyewear Provision

Ophthalmic Telescopes Now Widely Available in States

Department of Health Announces Information Strategy

Department of Health Announce Corporate Plan 2012-13

Government Opens Up Data to Benefit Patients and GPs

WCO Says Optometrists Key to Prevention of Avoidable Blindness

GOC Consultation Response Welcomes Law Commissions Review

Success for Silhouette's Premier Points Promotion

An Invitation from Vision Care for Homeless People

BCLA Conference Report

PHN Releases Annual Visit Rates

DoH Highlight Importance of Sports and Exercise Medicine

Brulimar Revamps Site for Global Domination

Optrafair Confirm Replay Learning as CET Provider

DoH Shows Decrease in GP Referrals to Secondary Care

Linda Farrow Announces Standalone Store

NOC Opens Online Booking

OGS Announce Opportunity in Malawi

DoH Works Towards "Making Medical Tests Work for You and Offering Patients More Choice"

Marathon Cycle Raises £3k

College Updates Guidance for Code of Ethics

Bath Time for the Society of Spectacle Makers

Optical Confederation Joins Age Action Alliance

DO Amongst those Charged for Human Trafficking

College Call for Participation on Code Changes

Government Launches Free Digital Online Service for New Parents

Spectrum Thea and Topcon to run AMD Project

All Change for Chairs at Tri-AGM

Report on Confederation Open Meeting Held in Cardiff

Royal Society of Medicine announces special Optometric/Ophthalmology afternoon

New Lucentis Data

Sir Keith Pearson Confirmed as Chair of Health Education England

Bausch & Lomb to Support Charity

Daily Reports on £70 Specs from Supermarket

GOC Appoints Replay Learning to Support CET

BCLA Reveals New Strategy

Optrafair 2013 now 60% Booked

College Announce New Website to Give Free Access to Top Research

Optical Confederation Welcomes First Step for Better Vision for Drivers

Kirk Originals Hold Party to Celebrate Award

Rodenstock's New Look for Perfect Vision

UK optometrists awarded European Fellowships

GOC publishes full minutes for April 25th meeting

DoH Publishes Patient Choice Guidance for all PCTs

Rodenstock Club Awards in Prague

Health Secretary sets out objectives for NHS Commissioning Board Authority

Spectrum Thea Double Up at National Awards

PM visits Norville Optical on St George’s Day

Impressionist 3 Makes Big Bang at Science Museum

Charity Leader Set to Pedal the UK

Cream of Contact Lens Industry Prepares for BCLA Exhibition

Contact Lens Market Worth £231.1 Million in 2011

Brulimar Drives Business in Eastern Europe with Primavision Deal

Ultravision Announces Plans for BCLA

College Sponsors Visas for International Students

Mandie Lavin Appointed Permanent GOC Director of Regulation

Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust Buy 2 OCTs

LOCSU's New Pathway on Learning Disabilities

Ambassadors "Skirt with Science" to Promote Careers in Optics

LOCSU Recruiting for Next Stage of Optical Leads Project

BCLA Candidates Seek Your Votes

NICE Guidance on OHT Monitoring

New Chair for Optometry Giving Sight

Spectacle Makers Support London Homeless Centre

Rodenstock UK Increases Delivery Performance

GOC Removes 221 Registrants

VAO Creates New Website

BCLA Gearing Up for Innovative Celebrations

CET and COPE Confirmed for BCLA

Rodenstock Wins International Design Award

FMO Updates Communications

iPad App Succeeds in Upselling Premium Lenses

Optical Confederation Provides Employment Update

Norville Opticians marks National Falls Week

June 2012

A south west firm of opticians has highlighted the link between poor eyesight in the elderly and falling over in a special event to mark Age UK’s National Falls Week.

Norville Opticians which has practices across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire invited some of its older patients to attend a special event at its Cirencester premises where they were shown how impaired vision is associated with an increased risk of falling and how the risk of falling and sustaining a serious injury increases with age.

Practice Manager Jo O’Neill was able to simulate some untreated eye conditions with the use of simulator spectacles to show the effects of serious conditions such as age related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma.

She said: “As your vision has been shown to play such an important part in controlling your posture and balance when moving around it goes without saying that the elderly who are at a greater risk of falling over and seriously injuring themselves should ensure that their eyes are regularly checked as part of an overall health programme”.

She added: “Even if they have had their eyes checked, they need to be wearing their spectacles, wearing the correct ones if they have more than one pair and making sure that they are clean.

“You wouldn’t believe the state of some that we see”.

They also invited Denise Nethercott of Fit for Life who provides exercise for the older population and demonstrates how regular exercise can prevent falls by improving posture and balance in addition to muscle strength and stamina.

Denise pointed out how falls are the leading cause for hospital admissions in the over 65s.

It has been estimated that falls cost the UK government around £981million annually with £128 million being directly attributable to falls due to visual impairment.

She said: “Our population is getting older and the proportion of hospital beds being taken up by those who have fallen is increasing.

“Even disregarding the welfare of the elderly we should be doing everything we can to slow this down”.

She added: “Weight bearing exercise has been proven to be one of the best ways to maintain healthy bones.

“Any activity that supports the weight of your own body is good and can be as simple as walking or climbing stairs or more formal exercise like tai chi or dancing.”

Picture: Exercise specialist Denise Nethercott shows Elizabeth Hartland of Ashton Keynes how to increase bone strength through exercise as part of Norville Opticians participation in ‘National Falls Week’ at its Cirencester practice.

NEG partners with Eyemaginations

June 2012

The National Eyecare Group (NEG) has become the exclusive UK agent for Eyemaginations software, offering practitioners an exciting new patient education and marketing solution.

Eyemaginations improves patient understanding and information recall through a suite of software tools that help practitioners to simplify complex topics whilst reinforcing the clinical message before, during and after the patient’s visit.

The flagship software, Eyemaginations Luma, features a library of 3D-animated visuals including narratives, trivia slides and supplier media that practitioners can use to create continuous educational loops on a PC or TV to educate patients who are waiting in the reception area or consulting room.

Featuring a one-of-a-kind chairside anatomy module called the Exam Advisor; staff members can use the draw-over-technology to be as specific as needed when illustrating condition progressions and treatment options.

Patients can also be educated with a variety of Luma Eyecare apps for the Apple iPad, including the award-winning Luma Vision Simulator app featuring on-screen drawing giving users the ability to mark up images as well as view disease progressions and point-of-view scenes side-by-side.

Eyemaginations Online is another tool that easily integrates patient education animations into the practice workflow. A web player can be added to a practice’s website showing a variety of content to boost online presence and improve patient acquisition.

NEG business development director, Phil Mullins, said: “We strongly believe that Eyemaginations can enhance any practice and will save practitioners valuable time and money. More importantly, it is the best way to educate your patients, differentiate your practice and increase your profit.”

FMO supports WSMC training with donation

June 2012

The FMO has donated £5,000 to the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, to support industry training and further the links between the two optical organisations.

Gordon Jones, WSMC Upper Warden and Chairman of the Qualifications Committee, pictured at Apothecaries Hall with FMO Chairman John Conway and Chief Executive

Malcolm Polley, commented, “Education leads to so much more confidence in the workplace and this donation helps us to promote our efforts to raise standards in training levels within manufacturing optics. We are very mindful of the costs of our courses and this donation really helps.”

Key courses which the WSMC is promoting are the Level 4 Diploma for Optical Technicians (SMC Tech), regarded at the Gold Standard in manufacturing optics; the Level 2 Certificate in Optical Customer Service Course, appreciated as an excellent introduction for all support staff; the Level 2 Award in Spectacle Glazing; and the Level 3 Award in Rimless Glazing.

FMO declares that IT companies are keen to exhibit at Optrafair 2013

June 2012

Cutting the cost of patient reminders by using email, text and out-sourced mailings from the practice management system are just one aspect that the major IT companies of optics will be promoting at Optrafair 2013 (NEC 13-15 April 2013).

Demonstrating advanced levels of technology integration and real time business intelligence to help reduce practice running costs, the IT providers are keen to provide hands-on experience for visitors to the Birmingham show.

GOS forms submitted to the NHS electronically; iPads within the practice for records and dispensing; on-line catalogues; direct debiting; and remote edging will also be high on the list for many looking to upgrade their practice IT system, believe Optrafair organisers, The FMO. Click to our Optrafair 2013 pages

J&J to host next FMO meeting

June 2012

Healthcare giant, Johnson& Johnson, is to host the next FMO meeting, providing an opportunity for the optical industry to learn more about different aspects of vision and patient choice.

Kamlesh Chauhan, Johnson & JohnsonJohnson & Johnson’s Vision Care Institute in Crowthorne, Berkshire, has invited FMO members and their guests to make use of their impressive facilities on Tuesday 16 October.

As John Conway, FMO Chairman, explained ,“We are keen to encourage all aspects of the industry and profession to work more closely together in looking at the current and future direction of vision correction. This latest FMO event, following the Institute of Director’s presentation on Budget Day, is a clear demonstration of the breadth of knowledge that The FMO engenders.”

The October FMO event will include an illustrated demonstration of the direction in eye surgery and the use of intraocular lenses, presented by Rob Morris, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Southampton University Hospital Trust, and Medical Director of Optegra.

Kamlesh Chauhan, Head of the Vision Care Institute and President of the College of Optometrists, will also brief delegates on the latest options for contact lens wearers, particularly the presbyopic.

Following a networking lunch FMO delegates will divide into their sector specific focus groups for Frames, Lenses and Technology to discuss market conditions, new standards and international news.

LOCSU announces Optical Leads appointments

June 2012

LOCSU announces the appointment of five Optical Leads to support Local Optical Committees (LOCs) in negotiating and implementing primary eye care services at a local level. Following feedback from LOCs that they wanted hands-on help to negotiate with commissioners, LOCSU embarked upon a recruitment process to find optical professionals with the specific skills and expertise this role requires.

Katrina Venerus, Director of Operations and Commissioning said, “The Optical Leads in year one were very successful in bringing LOCs together. The current pace of change in the NHS means that we now need to refocus the role of the Optical Leads to concentrate on supporting LOCs specifically where commissioning opportunities emerge. The NHS reforms provide an opportunity for us to increase the number of enhanced services across England and it is vital that we help LOCs seize the day by giving them immediate access to the help and advice they have told us they need.”

The Optical Leads who have been appointed to take this work forward are Charles Barlow, Jane Bell, Liz Greenwood, Dharmesh Patel and Zoe Richmond.

A brief résumé of each follows:

Charles Barlow has a wide experience of leadership roles within the sector including Secretary of Dudley LOC for 10 years (now Vice-Chair), former Vice-Chair Coventry and Warwickshire AOP, Dudley Low Vision Services Committee and Solihull LOC. He has also been involved in the creation of CovSolWar Regional LOC Group and Heart of West Midlands Regional Optical Committee. Charles has worked with various LOCs across the West Midlands over the past 12 months to support them in their work to develop enhanced services.

Jane Bell has worked with LOCSU as an Advisor since January 2008, during which time she has assisted numerous LOCs in the development of local services. Her other roles include AOP Director, Chair of the Optical Confederation’s Primary Care Committee and Chair of Dorset LOC. Jane also sits on the Vision 2020 UK Primary Care Group.

Liz Greenwood is an Optometric Advisor working across the Humber cluster and has been a key driver in the development of community optometry based services for over 10 years. Liz has been closely involved with the development of the recently launched CORRS scheme and the Local Eye Network. Liz is a trained facilitator, coach and mentor and is in the process of completing the LOCSU Leadership for Optical Professionals postgraduate module at Cardiff University.

Dharmesh Patel has a wide range of experience within the optical sector and is an active member of Stockport LOC where he has worked on business cases for local enhanced services, and is leading current negotiations with the PCT. Dharmesh is the current Chair of Eyecare Trust’s Board of Trustees.

Zoe Richmond has worked as an Optometric Advisor to the NHS in Teeside for many years. During that time Zoe has played a key role in the development of all the current enhanced services across Tees and has been an active member of the LOC for most of her optometric career. In the past year, Zoe has worked with LOCs across the North East of England - supporting them in the development of business cases and in negotiations with commissioners.

New faces on BCLA Council

June 2012

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has welcomed four new members onto Council.

BCLA AGM 2012At the Association’s 2012 AGM, held at the ICC Birmingham on 25 May during the 36th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition, Maxine Green, Iain May, Sheetal Patel and Dr Siobhan Wren were appointed as directors of the BCLA. Katherine Reed, who had already served a three-year term as a lay member director, was voted on for a further three years.

Immediate Past President, Shelly Bansal, thanked the following retiring Council members for their services to the BCLA: Marc Bennett, Honorary Treasurer and Lay Member; Michel Guillon, Optometric Representative; Vinod Kumar, Medical Representative; Keith Cavaye, Contact Lens Optician Representative; and William Thomas, Past President.

The composition of the 2012-13 BCLA Council is as follows:

• Dr Catharine Chisholm, President
• Shelly Bansal, Immediate Past President
• Andy Yorke, President Elect
• Susan Bowers, Optometric Representative
• Maxine Green, Technical Representative
• Iain May, Contact Lens Optician Representative
• Katherine Reed, Lay Member
• Keith Tempany, Contact Lens Optician Representative
• Sheetal Patel, Optometric Representative
• Brian Tompkins, Optometric Representative
• Michael Wilkinson, Technical Representative
• Dr Ursula Vogt, Medical Representative
• Dr Siobhan Wren, Medical Representative

Sheetal bclaSpeaking about what she hoped to achieve in her new role, BCLA Council member (Technical Representative) Maxine Green said: “Simply put – I hope to continue the great work of the BCLA. Ensuring that everyone involved in contact lenses and anterior eye understands what the BCLA stands for; how it supports, leads, researches and communicates the wonderful benefits of contact lens wear.

“Additionally, I hope to help promote how BCLA members drive improvement, safety and medical, clinical and product research for the benefit of the end user – the public,” added Maxine.

BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, said: “I am delighted to welcome our new members on Council. Iain, Maxine, Sheetal and Siobhan each bring with them a breadth of experience and knowledge that will ensure the Council remains well placed to address the needs of members. Above all, they share a passion for contact lenses which lies at the heart of the organisation and its membership.”

Pictures are of the AGM, and of new Council member Sheetal Patel receiving a bottle of champagne from Shelly Bansal at the conference for being quickest off the draw in the shootout competition.

New director appointments to the NHS Commissioning Board

June 2012

Lord Adebowale, Margaret Casely-Hayford, Dame Moira Gibb and Naguib Kheraj have today been confirmed as four new Non-Executive Directors of the NHS Commissioning Board.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said, “I am delighted to announce these new appointments to the NHS Commissioning Board. All of them have a track record of success and will bring a diverse range of skills and experience to the Board. Their expertise will benefit the NHS and help ensure that patients get the high quality care that they deserve.”

Professor Malcolm Grant, Chair of the NHS Commissioning Board said, “These are appointments of the highest quality, and they bring to the NHS a wealth of experience and expertise from a wide range of backgrounds. I am pleased that we now have a full group of non-executive directors, with complementary strengths and skills, to work alongside the executive team led by Sir David Nicholson.”

The appointments will be in the first instance to the NHS Commissioning Board Special Health Authority, which was established on 31 October 2011. Its role is to make all the necessary preparations for the successful establishment and operation of the NHS Commissioning Board in October 2012 before it takes on full statutory responsibilities in April 2013.

The NHS Commissioning Board’s central role will be to drive improvement in results for patients, ensuring a fair and comprehensive service across the country. It will promote the NHS Constitution and champion the interests of patients, using choice and information to empower people to improve services.

Accountable to the Secretary of State via an annual mandate the NHS Commissioning Board is an independent statutory body, free to determine its own organizational shape, structure and ways of working.

The Secretary of State will remain responsible jointly with the Commissioning Board for promoting a comprehensive health service; and retains the ultimate accountability for securing the provision of services through his relationship with NHS bodies.

The new Non-Executives will take up their appointments to the NHS Commissioning Board Authority on 1 July 2012.

DOH extend Consultation deadline on proposals to secure shared decision-making

June 2012

The consultation on detailed proposals to secure shared decision-making and choice for patients has been extended to Friday 31 Aug.

Some organisations have expressed real interest in the consultation while stating their need for additional time to undertake discussion meetings with their members before submitting a formal response. By extending the deadline for this secondary consultation, the aim is to ensure that everyone who wishes to respond will have sufficient time to do so.

The consultation proposes a model of shared decision-making all along the patient pathway, which should be relevant irrespective of patients’ conditions, their clinical pathway or progress along it. The model indicates where patients would be expected to have more say in decisions about their care in primary care; before a diagnosis; at referral to secondary care; and after a diagnosis had been made.

It asks a small number of focused questions to seek views on:

 whether we have identified the right areas as well as the right levers for making sure our proposals will give patients more opportunities to make shared decisions about their care and treatment, all along the pathway
 whether our proposals are realistic and achievable
 whether we have missed any key issues
 whether we have identified the right means of delivering our proposals.

Respond to the online consultation below:

All sport and no play?

June 2012

With the Olypics around the corner is seems appropriate that the DOH should announce Games4Life, a new campaign to inspire the nation to get active during this year’s summer of sport which was launched this week by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

The campaign will build on the excitement of the sporting activities taking place this summer and will encourage millions of people to get involved and get active. This summer there will be over 1,200 hours of sport on TV, which is an average of 13 hours a day. New research shows that 93 per cent of us will be tuning into some of this coverage during the next three months.

The survey also shows that over half of us will snack on crisps, four in ten adults will drink alcohol and one in five will eat a takeaway whilst watching. In a bid to get the nation up off the sofa, Games4Life will be encouraging everyone to fill out a simple activity check questionnaire in return for a tailored Games4Life activity pack to keep both adults and kids active during the summer months.

The innovative campaign will bring ideas and inspiration to the public’s fingertips via the Change4Life website, which is full of fun, easy and free ways for everyone to get moving. And for families, there’s a new mobile app – the Fun Generator – that will equip parents and families with over 100 indoor and outdoor activity ideas for kids of all ages.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said, “I’m looking forward to watching what is shaping up to be an exciting summer of sport on TV, beginning today with the first England football match in Euro 2012. But we know that playing sport can be as much fun as watching it and we want to help people make the most of opportunities to get active.

That is why we are launching Games4Life: to inspire us all to get off our sofas and try some activity ourselves.”

Sally Gunnell, former British Olympic Champion and mother of three, said:

“Major sporting events on TV always inspire people to try something out but we sometimes don’t make it past the front door because we’re not sure where to start. It’s great that this campaign strikes while the iron’s hot and gives people encouragement to get active this summer.

I’ll certainly be looking out for my Games4Life questionnaire and will be filling it out for my whole family.”

Around 2.6 million activity packs have already been distributed to 7,500 schools across the country with lesson plans for teachers and take-home activities for children to use throughout their summer holidays.

ASDA, Aldi and JJB have also pledged their support for the campaign and will promoting the campaign through events, sports related offers and promotional material.

Local Authorities and Change4Life supporters are also getting involved in supporting Change4Life and will be distributing over four million questionnaires to local communities. The campaign will be supported by TV, digital, press advertising and social media activity.

Which? investigation finally nails the real dangers in eyewear provision today

June 2012

Buying cheap glasses online could be dangerous for your eyes, a new Which? investigation has found.

Which? researchers bought 36 pairs of glasses from 13 online retailers and 15 pairs failed expert tests carried out by a panel of optometrists. Of the 15 that failed, 10 pairs had lenses that failed the British standard. In a separate investigation, researchers attempted to buy contact lenses online without a valid prescription.

Thirteen out of 15 retailers investigated sold contact lenses to researchers without seeing a prescription, which is unlawful. By law, online sellers must confirm a buyer has a valid contact lens prescription by either seeing it, or checking with the optician who supplied it.

Asda Opticians and The Contact Lens Shop were the only two online retailers that rightly refused to sell contact lenses to researchers.

Thinking of something more complex? Try buying varifocals (no line lenses) online!

Five online companies sent Which? researchers varifocal specs without asking for additional vital measurements. Measurements such as the inter-pupillary distance (PD) for each eye and the vertical pupil position are vital for the wearer. Without these measurements tasks such as driving or walking up and down stairs could be dangerous as you could be driving through the part of a lens providing reading vision. Which? states that at the very least, an online company should ask you for additional information such as a photo of you wearing the frames to enable them to take these measurements, but in all fairness you cannot measure distances of a millimetre or less using a photo with no scaling on it!

How about high prescription orders on line?

Ten of thirty-six pairs of glasses were given borderline passes by their experts. This was because the online companies didn't have the measurements to ensure the correct distance from the pupil to the glasses lens.
This is very important in higher prescription glasses. Without these measurements the wearer will not get the best quality of vision from their glasses.

Which? says if your prescription is +/-5 or above, you may want to think again about buying online unless you can subsequently get the glasses checked by an optometrist.

Which? Concedes that buying online for lower simple prescriptions may not pose as big a problem but British Standards recommend that any powers above +/- 2.00 need a correct centration of lenses that need correct measuring of pupillary distance.

Unlawful online contact lens sales

Which? researchers ordered contact lenses online from 15 companies without an adequate legal prescription. Thirteen companies sold lenses to their researchers. This is potentially unlawful practice and the regulator, the General Optical Council, has asked to see their findings. One company also sent lenses for the wrong prescription and brand.

Surprisingly to Which? Online is not always cheapest for contacts

A Which? researcher shopped for a three-month supply of Cibavision Dailies Aquacomfort Plus lenses. They found them on the high street from £84.

Online, we found them for £75, but prices were as much as £101 from one company, including shipping, handling and insurance charges. And at we know of many bundled deals that reduce the cost of lenses and the necessary checks as well as cheaper complimentary specs which will always need to fulfill the vision solution package. Buying online will eventually costs more which is why the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers contend that only 15% of purchases are made on line including foreign purchases.

Which? Admits that online purchases leave the purchaser with no automatic right of redress

Although prescription glasses may cost less online, they are made to your specification so there's no automatic right to a refund if you're unhappy. If you buy glasses on the high street you will be able to return them depending on the company's returns policy. The optical profession is proud of its low complaint numbers whilst it provides a robust complaints ombudsmen which has no control over online unprofessional and unregulated sales.

If you bought your glasses on the high street and you've got a complaint, you can contact the Optical Consumer Complaints Service. It offers a confidential mediation service to try and get an agreement between patient and optician but cannot offer advice.

Ophthalmic Telescopes now to be more widely available in States

VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc., developer of the first FDA-approved ophthalmic telescope implant indicated to improve vision in patients with end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), announced in California the expansion of its CentraSight(TM) provider teams nationwide.

VisionCare's telescope implant is integral to the CentraSight treatment program, which helps patients follow the steps necessary for proper diagnosis, surgical evaluation and postoperative care. The telescope implant improves visual acuity and quality of life for those living with the most severe form of AMD and can help seniors become more independent and re-engage in everyday activities.

“Medicare patients who cannot be helped by available AMD therapies now have hope for improved vision and quality of life," said Henry L. Hudson, M.D, who was a principal investigator in the pivotal trial for FDA approval and lead author of VisionCare's FDA clinical trial outcomes publications. "For decades ophthalmologists had no answers for these patients. We are excited that the telescope implant is now available to this underserved patient population and to be the first provider team in our state to provide this to a Medicare patient."

Medicare provides coverage to patients in states across the country for eligible beneficiaries with the most advanced form of age-related macular degeneration - end-stage AMD. The eye disease is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss and legal blindness in older Americans. Patients with end-stage AMD have central blindness in both eyes that is uncorrectable by glasses, drugs or cataract surgery.

DOH announces “Information strategy” to give people more control over their care

June 2012

The Department has published its information strategy – The power of information – which sets a ten-year framework for transforming information for the NHS, public health and social care. The focus of the strategy is on improving access to information, including a commitment that people will be able to access their GP records online by 2015.

Other ambitions are for test results to be available electronically and that people will be able to book or re-arrange their medical appointments online.

Within the strategy the Department has identified dozens of case studies from across the country where GPs, hospital trusts or suppliers are ahead of the game in delivering services in this new way.

Department of Health announce Corporate plan 2012-13

June 2012

The Department of Health’s Corporate plan sets out our priorities for the year ahead. The Department’s enduring purpose is to achieve better health, better care, better value: working to help people live better for longer.

Now that the Health and Social Care Bill has become law, the Department has a firm platform on which to build clarity about the future direction of the health and social care system as a whole.
The plan groups the Department’s activity into six priority areas:

 Better health; Better care; Better value relate directly to DH’s enduring purpose and capture the key business priorities for the Department for this year to April 2013
 Successful change, delivering the transition to the new system – picks up the work the DH does and its accountability for making this happen
 Working with our partners – builds on what the DH does now and recognises that in the new system the Department will be working differently
 Transforming the DH itself – is about the DH’s journey to develop its capability.

The plan is also built around how the Department will support the Secretary of State to deliver his five strategic objectives:

 a patient-led NHS
 delivering better health outcomes
 a more autonomous and accountable NHS
 improved public health
 reforming long-term and social care.

Click this link to see plan

Government opens up data to benefit patients and GPs

June 2012

Data published for the first time today will help patients choose the right GP surgery and help GPs and the NHS to make improvements to the way they do things.

Data on over 8,000 GP practices in England will be used to form a new measure of patient experience for each surgery based on things like:

• How convenient it is to get an appointment;
• The length of time you have to spend waiting in reception;
• What the opening hours are like; and
• Whether the doctors and nurses are good at explaining things and listening to patients.

Each GP surgery will get a score out of ten, and this will help patients to choose which surgery to register with as well as help drive up standards within the profession. This data will be based on patients’ responses to the GP Patient Survey.

WCO states that “Well trained optometrists are key to the prevention of avoidable blindness”

June 2012

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has advised the World Health Organization that well trained optometrists who can provide a range of care, including refraction and routine medical eye care, are a necessity in the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

Responding to the WHO discussion paper on the development of the action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment 2014-2019, WCO also stated that eye care professionals from a range of disciplines must work closely to improve eye and vision care around the world.

Tone Garaas-Maurdalen, WCO President, commented: “With a limited number of qualified professionals and insufficient financial support for eye care in many parts of the world, the various eye care professions must recognise and act on the need for a co-ordinated approach to vision care in order to make the most of these resources.By sharing information about successful and cost-effective tools and programmes we can really make a difference in the fight against avoidable blindness and visual impairment.”

The WHO discussion paper was published following a consultation on the current action plan. WHO will draft the 2014-2019 action plan for consideration to the World Health Assembly in 2013.

Optometrists from around the world will be sharing ideas to tackle avoidable blindness at Advancing Optometry Worldwide, its conference in Chicago taking place from 24-26 June this year. Link is

GOC consultation response welcomes Law Commissions review

June 2012

The General Optical Council (GOC) has welcomed the Law Commissions review of UK healthcare regulation in a consultation response published today.

The GOC supports the broad approach proposed by the Law Commissions of a single overarching legislative framework for healthcare regulators.

The proposed changes could make it easier for the GOC, and other regulators, to introduce rule changes. Currently, particularly for fitness to practise rules, primary legislation change is often required. This can be time-consuming and affected by uncertainty such as political change.

GOC chief executive and registrar Samantha Peters said, “The Law Commissions’ proposals have generally found an appropriate balance between flexibility and consistency. A simplified, modern and nimble legal framework will help us to respond faster and more effectively to developments in optics, regulation and wider healthcare.”

The GOC plans to review its current role in regulating both students and optical businesses, but supports the flexibility that the Law Commissions’ proposals will bring.

Samantha Peters explained, “We believe that the time may be right to reassess our current role in regulating students. We’re aware that student registration imposes some significant costs on students, training providers and the GOC, and we will examine our current system with an open mind.

“It’s important that the legislation allows us, and other regulators, the flexibility to adapt to changes in the sector, and we hope the new legislation will do that. But it’s equally important that any changes to current arrangements are necessary, proportionate and do not create unnecessary costs or disruption for the sector.”

“How optical businesses are regulated also merits further exploration in the context of the review of our legislation.”

In the coming months the GOC intends to commission research into the optical business sector. The GOC will consult extensively with stakeholders before proposing any changes to how optical businesses are regulated.

Samantha Peters added, “This review will be vital for the future shape of healthcare regulation and I’m delighted with the extent to which the optical bodies and patient groups have also engaged with the process.”

Success for Silhouette's Premier Points Promotion

June 2012

Peters Opticians in Newmarket accumulated the most points from selling Silhouette frames as part of the Premier Points Promotion which ran in the first quarter of 2012. They earned 1,740 points, after selling in excess of 100 Silhouette frames in 6 months. These points allowed the team at Peters Opticians to redeem an iPad2, Tom Tom, Thomas Sabo bracelet, Golf Balls and travel bags.
Peters Opticians were one of the a few 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.

Mr Zivtins, owner of Peters Opticians says "Our staff have always been fond of Silhouette with many sporting a pair of their own. We were delighted to hear about our achievement with the Premier Points Promotion, the loyalty of our customers towards Silhouette played a large part in our success."

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."

An Invitation from Vision Care for Homeless People

June 2012

First Base in Brighton is to be the latest focus for Vision Care for Homeless People, with an opportunity to find out more about volunteering at the new centre on 25 June.

Will Pearce, Vision Care for Homeless PeopleFor several years the charity has been providing a comprehensive eye examination, as well as new spectacles when needed, to homeless and other vulnerable people. Well over 5000 eye examinations and spectacles, all completely free of charge, have been provided via the five clinics.

With four centres in London and one in Birmingham, the sixth is to be Brighton, which will officially open its doors in September.

“As a charity we rely on goodwill to be able to provide our service. We are fortunate to have received some generous donations, which have provided equipment, supplies and funding to cover running costs, but we also need the support of the local optometrist and dispensing staff to volunteer their time,” said Will Pearce, the Charity Co-ordinator.

To find out more about volunteering in Brighton do come and visit First Base on 25th June at 7pm at the following address: First Base, St Stephen's Hall, Montpelier Place,Brighton,BN1 3BF.

Light refreshments will be provided. RSVP to

Sun shines on 36th BCLA Clinical Conference

May 2012

A total of 1,203 visitors from 45 countries attended the 36th British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition at the ICC Birmingham last week (24-27 May).

As the UK finally basked in the glorious mid-summer sun, contact lens professionals, academics, clinicians, students and industry partners flocked to the city of canals for an action-packed four days of education, business, networking and socialising.

BCLA PresidentThe Association welcomed 1,060 registered delegates in addition to 143 visitors who came just for the three-day exhibition, which was supported by 167 industry representatives from around 50 companies. On the opening day of the exhibition alone (Friday 25 May) 695 people were scanned into the hall to view the stands and learn about the latest innovations at the popular Exhibitors’ Pavilion.

Speaking about the new choice of venue after the conference Gill Narramore, Group Operations Manager of Premium Exhibitor UltraVision, said: “It’s always a bit of a gamble trying a new venue but the ICC Birmingham was a great success. I didn’t hear any negative comments from any delegates or other exhibitors – in fact just the opposite – everyone was raving about it.”

Around half of this year’s delegates were from the UK (484) with the largest overseas contingents coming from the USA (110) – followed by France (54), Sweden (37), Italy (36), Denmark (32) and Germany (28). The conference also saw its first ever delegates from Costa Rica and Swaziland.

For 2012, the Association was able to welcome around 100 first-time delegates to enjoy a complimentary weekend package thanks to the generosity of all exhibitors. At a special reception prior to the Gala Dinner outgoing BCLA President, Shelly Bansal, encouraged guests to make the most of their BCLA membership, including a new conference loyalty discount scheme.

The BCLA conference is renowned for its fantastic social programme and this year was no exception. At Johnson & Johnson Vision Care’s Patron’s Party and dinner on the Friday evening, guests enjoyed a talk by inspirational speaker Miles Hinton-Barber. Around 800 guests attended this year’s Wild, Wild, West themed Gala Dinner, with cowboys, cowgirls and Indians whooping it up at the New Bingley Hall.

Announced at the Gala Dinner were 19 new BCLA Fellowships, a mark of esteem in the field of contact lenses, which allows recipients to use the letters FBCLA after their names.

New BCLA Fellow, Marco Tovaglia of Italy, commented afterwards: “Many thanks to the BCLA and conference organising staff for a wonderful few days. I’d like to thank in particular Shelly Bansal, Professor James Wolffsohn and Amin Khan for the extreme courtesy that was dedicated to me during my Fellowship application process. It is fantastic to now be a Fellow of the BCLA.”

Past BCLA President, William Thomas, who stepped down from the BCLA Council at the 2012 AGM as he retires from the industry, was awarded an Honorary Life Membership.

Speaking as she begins her year in office, new BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, said: “I am delighted to become President of the BCLA and it will be an honour to serve the Association and its members. I hope the coming year will be as fruitful as the last – with a truly memorable conference of 1,060 registered delegates enjoying an exciting, innovative programme, a major milestone with our journal Contact Lens and Anterior Eye gaining an Impact Factor thanks to the hard work of its editor, Dr Shehzad Naroo, and some very insightful evening CET meetings and workshops.

“In the year ahead I hope to lead the BCLA in taking our online offering to a new level and developing innovative business and educational resources for practitioners just starting out in contact lenses, as well as those wanting to build further their contact lens business. I would like to see the BCLA become the focal point for the whole contact lens community.”

Catharine added: “On behalf of the BCLA Council, I would like to thank Immediate Past President Shelly Bansal for his commitment and passion over the last two years. He has done an amazing job and has left some very big shoes to fill.”

Andy Yorke, Managing Director of Topcon UK and past BCLA Council member (Technical Representative), is BCLA President Elect.

The 37th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition will take place at Manchester Central, UK, from 6-9 June 2013.

Primary Health Net releases annual visit rates and top visits for year, for public and professional sites

May 2012

Professional site shows 25% increase in visitors over year

New features & tools in “Find my Optician” launched this month on public site

Public Site

Highest ranked Optical Education Site in UK (Alexa) and it improved its ranking position by 13% over the last year.

There are over 800 pages on the public site which received 638,000 visitors last year, averaging around 1700 each day.

Almost 600,000 visited the top 500 pages on the site, almost 50,000 members of the public each month gathering information about eyecare and eyewear and searching for optical practices in their area.

43 pages within their top 100 pages are eyecare and eyewear information pages which over the year are visited daily by over 600 members of the public. (See the separate document for complete visit information and top 30 page list)

Over 26,000 people each month searched for opticians practice details in their area. Once again the appetite for information on home visits made the “England Home Visit Opticians” listing the number one search. Opticians providing Home Services not on the list are missing a key marketing opportunity. The top 30 searched areas, regions and companies are listed in the main document.

Each area within the top 30 based around PCT areas on average received 8000 searches each month.

From this month practices will be able to select from a brand list, any of the frame, lens, contact lens and solution brands they regularly stock. They will also be able to market any professional specialities they provide. All these indicators plus location details will be searchable by the public from the complete UK practice database.

With the launch of this multi brand selection on the database this month Opticians will have a very cheap method of reaching their local community and those trying the 3 month free trial will find their practice details at the top of the search list viewed by the public.

Practices can register their brands and specialities on line for a free 3 month trial and PHN will charge a one off publication fee to update the details within a week of just £10. Go to our online form.

Professional Site and hosting portal.

A regular fortnightly update is sent to those who have registered free informing the regular readership of over 7000 of the latest news and retained information that will help businesses grow in the optical sector. The site over the year has shown an ever increasing readership which has increased by over 25% this year with their visits now exceeding 333,000 for the year, an average of nearly 28,000 per month.

The portal also hosts many secure LOC sites and recently has expanded the number of LOC public sites enabling information about enhanced services to be available to the public in their community for the first time.

The site reported on hundreds of news events and stories over the year and the top read story was about Mee Healthcare. The top 20 information and news pages are listed in the main document.

Read the full report on top mylocaloptician and PHN stories

DoH highlights importance of sport and exercise medicine outlined in new guide

May 2012

A new guide on sport and exercise medicine (SEM) outlines how it delivers improved quality of care and productivity.

SEM is the first new medical specialty for more than 25 years and its establishment was a London 2012 Games bid commitment.

‘Sport and Exercise Medicine: A Fresh Approach’ emphasises the importance of SEM in chronic disease management, the prescription of exercise to those patients with co-morbidity, the diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal injury and the education and training of allied professionals in these skills.

NHS SEM services are available now and SEM doctors have been trained to deliver them. SEM services are flexible and can be delivered in primary, secondary and intermediate care settings as well as in public health.

Click here for full report on Sport & Exercise Medicine

Found in Translation: Brulimar Revamps its Website for Global Domination

May 2012

Howard Librae, BrulimarBrulimar Optical Group has re-launched its website in response to international demand, adding five additional versions in popular European languages. In addition to English, the site is now available in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian.

The overhaul stems from Brulimar’s growing appeal across international markets, with the group recently announcing new distribution deals in the Ukraine and Poland, following a significant partnership with GV Global in India in 2011.

Howard Librae, managing director of Brulimar, said: “We are seeing a marked increase in global demand for iconic British lifestyle brands such as our Pineapple, Lee Cooper and Bench eyewear collections. The availability of our website in these widely-spoken languages reflects our commitment to capitalising on the strength of international sales.”

“We are very pleased with the initial feedback we’ve had from customers, and anticipate a significant increase in revenue from online transactions,” he adds.

Optrafair confirms replay learning as CET provider

May 2012

Optrafair 2013, the most important optical gathering of the year, will feature an unrivalled programme of clinical CET and business-focused lectures on how to maximise opportunities on the High St, thanks to the latest show announcement.

Peter CharlesworthReplay Learning, a leading optical CET provider, has joined forces with Optrafair owners, The FMO, to create an inspiring three day educational programme for next April’s national show.

Peter Charlesworth, Optometrist Managing Director of Replay Learning is delighted to be linked with Optrafair, which will take place at The National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham

“We are thrilled to be working with such a well respected and professionally managed show. We will be offering a breadth of education at Optrafair on both clinical issues and the most advanced technology. OCT, therapeutics, dry eye and nutritional supplements are just a few of the subjects which many practices are keen to hear more about and Optrafair is the forum to find out how to gain the most from these business opportunities.”

Under the banner “Optrafair Replay Learning Education Theatre” the programme will embrace international speakers bringing the latest advances in eye care to the UK. The purpose built arena, which seats up to 150 delegates at a time, is to be within the heart of the show and will be an important magnet for many to attend, believes The FMO. A greater than ever emphasis is to be given to the need for exhibitors to make presentations about finance and taxation, IT, Practice Management, and fashion styling.

The announcement reinforces the comprehensive nature of Optrafair, where optical businesses, professionals, associations and charities come to exchange views, insights into technology and best practice.

DoH provides evidence for the quarter ending 31 March 2012 showing decrease in GP referrals to secondary care

May 2012

Outpatient Referrals and attendances

The number of GP referrals made has decreased by 165,000 (1.4%) to 11.5 million and the number of other referrals made has increased by 325,000 (4.8%) to 7.1 million compared to 2010/11. This is most likely proof positive that other primary health care agencies, optics among them have been given the role of more appropriate intervention.

It is a shame that a measure of this appropriateness in referral is not surveyed in the statistics. Neither do the stats declared show separated out secondary specialty numbers.

First attendances at consultant outpatient clinics have increased by 63,000 (0.4%) to 16.9 million and total attendances increased by 842,000 (1.6%) to 52.8 million compared to 2010/11.

Did not attend (DNA) rates for first outpatients appointment was 8.4% compared to 8.6% for 2010/11.

Linda Farrow announce the opening of its first stand-alone store, “The Linda Farrow Gallery”, located in Hong Kong

May 2012

Linda FarrowWith a long tradition of commitment to design and quality, the Linda Farrow Gallery follows the same concept. A uniquely design aesthetic approach to luxury eyewear; The Linda Farrow Gallery was created on this concept, the design marks a new experience and is entirely identifiable to Linda Farrow. The Linda Farrow Gallery boutique plays with texture and light on a large scale with the use of contrasting materials from dark textured slate, pale off white stone partnered with stainless steel hardware. The main concept of the boutique is based around the columned walls that are injected with bespoke display cases finished in suede, glass and gold stainless steel hardware to display the collection of optical frames and sunglasses in a luxurious environment. These units have their own integral lighting and serve as a rich contrast with stone and slate column walls. The play of light, stone and slate materials within this shop together with their now signature bespoke furniture pieces give The Linda Farrow Gallery boutique a truly new adventure that should not be missed.
Additionally Linda Farrow has collaborated with Charles Anastase to create custom made uniforms and Yamuna Dexter to compose music exclusively for the boutique.

Linda Farrow has been manifesting Asian fashion for many years and our new Hong Kong store presence is set with the aim in mind to continue to support and celebrating Asian fashion.

Having cooperated with Puyi Optical, the leader of eyewear group in Hong Kong and Asia, the Linda Farrow Gallery definitely offers the market with the finest selections of eyewear and professional optical service.

Prabal Gurung a partner in the new enterprise commented, "Linda Farrow has been such a wonderful partner for us. We're walking into our fourth season collaborating with them and excited to see how our relationship continues to build. We definitely see longevity here.”

National Optical Conference 2012 opens Booking online

May 2012

The National Optical Conference 2012 (NOC), which is organised by the AOP on behalf of LOCSU and the Optical Confederation, will offer Local and Regional Optical Committees the chance to find out the latest news on enhanced services, as well as have the chance to hear from renowned speakers on the development of local primary eye care services. This year’s NOC, which is sponsored by Topcon, offers a range of events and forums that would be of interest to both new and more experienced LOC and ROC members. Confirmed speakers include:

• Ben Dyson, Director of Policy Commissioning and Primary Care for the Department of Health
• Jim Barlow, Optical Lead for NHS Commissioning Board Implementation Programme
• Dr Richard Oliver, joint Clinical Director at Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group
• Edna Robinson, National Lead for NHS Networks

As last year, one space is available for every LOC and ROC free of charge and all are encouraged to book early. To find out more or to book your place visit and click on the advertisement.

Delegates are also able to attend the AOP awards dinner on Thursday 18th October. The event will be on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th October 2012 at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham

OGS announces recruitment opportunity in Malawi

May 2012

OGS have advised us that their founding partner, the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE) has vacancies for 2 short-term faculty appointments at the School of Optometry at Mzuzu University in Malawi (Africa). The details are:

• Minimum qualification: 4 year optometry degree
• Language: English fluently spoken and written
• Availability: 1st July - 15th September 2012 (preferably for full period)
• Costs: ICEE will provide travel costs / accommodation / remuneration as per credentials
• For more info or to apply (send CV):

DoH works towards “making medical tests work for you & offering patients more choice”

May 2012

For the first time, patients will now have more choice about where, when and how they receive some of the most common medical tests. New proposals published today outline how patients will be able to choose where they receive essential tests, including blood tests and heart scans.

From April 2013, patients will be able to pick somewhere closer to home or near where they work, instead of having to go to the nearest available option. They will make these decisions in partnership with their doctor, who can help advise them on which choice would be most appropriate for them.

Alongside more choice, an important change will be made to the system that GPs and patients use to choose which hospital for their treatment – Choose and Book – by including detailed waiting times information on the system. Patients and their doctors will get a better sense of how long they may wait for treatment, which will support them in deciding what hospital they go to.

These new plans are outlined in Liberating the NHS: No decisions about me, without me, which details how more choice is being made available to patients throughout the health service over the next few years. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says, “Our NHS reforms are all about making life easier for patients. We will make medical tests work for you, not the system, by allowing you to choose where it will be most convenient for you to go. By giving you information about how long it will take for you to wait to be treated you will be able to choose the hospital that best meets your needs. No two people are the same, and that’s why our plans will offer patients more personalised care, ensuring that “no decision about me is made without me.”

Today, the Department of Health is also launching a consultation on our plans to empower patients to have more choice over where, when and how they will be treated in the NHS. It outlines how patients, their carers and their families will have more of a say in their care.

This will be supported by moves to open up NHS information to the public, make sure patients can see their own information online, and book GP appointments – as well as hospital bookings – in a convenient way.

A marathon epic UK Cycle Ride raises £3k and added awareness for charity

May 2012

A mammoth 920 mile cycle ride, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, with stop-offs at eight regional opticians, has raised more than £3,000 for Vision Care for Homeless People.

Elaine Styles, the Charity’s chair, took ten days off from her work at Moorfields Eye Hospital and at Specs of Kensington to complete the trek with 70 hours in the saddle.

Pounding hailstones, 25 miles-an-hour cross winds, three inner tubes and one tyre replacement were just some of the challenges along the way for Elaine, her husband John, and friends.

Elaine calculated that she burned 18,912 calories during the trip which included 15,231 metres climbed, but with some hearty encouragement along the way –

“We needed verification of having completed the daily legs, so stopped off at practices in Ludlow, Church Stretton, Shrewsbury, Warrington, Ashton-in-Markerfield, Lancaster and Alness en route.

“There was a huge feeling of relief in completing the journey, but also of disbelief that I had actually managed to achieve such an ambitious challenge. We had light showers on most days but there were two days of very heavy rain. We also had a couple of showers of very sharp hail in Scotland - it was very painful. The temperature got down to 3C at some points.

“We had one unexpected bad day in Scotland, starting at Moffat and finishing at Loch Lomond. It should have been our shortest day at only 80 miles but that was before the 25 mph cross winds hit us. We were constantly being blown sideways - we were almost cycling diagonally. Then there was the rain and the hail. There was one road that started off well, but gradually turned into a farm track and then turned into a marsh. We ended up having to push our bikes for about a mile. The road gradually returned and we thought we would soon be home and dry, only then to come across a collapsed bridge! We ended up having to climb down the bank of the river, wade through the river and climb up the other side. We were wet to the skin and very tired that night when we arrived at the camp site,” added Elaine.

To add to the total raised log onto

The College of Optometrists gives updated guidance for the Code of Ethics

May 2012

The College of Optometrists has updated sections of its Code of Ethics and Guidance for Professional Conduct. The guidance has been updated to:

• clarify the concentration of hypochlorite needed for disinfecting
• make it clear that contact lenses and ophthalmic devices may be reused as long as they are decontaminated properly
• clarify that patients have the right to get copies of their records, and that organisations may charge for these
• remove the requirement to routinely record details of the patient’s GMP as these have been removed from the practice visit template developed by Primary Care Commissioning
• remove the suggestion that practitioners should measure IOP pre and post dilation. This is now left to the practitioner’s professional judgement

In addition two references on safeguarding have been added. They are the advice published by the Optical Confederation on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, and the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s Safeguarding adults at risk of harm – a legal guide for practitioners.

Dr Susan Blakeney, The College of Optometrist’s Clinical Adviser, commented: “It’s really important that optometrists keep up to date with the latest guidance. We encourage all optometrists to check our website for the latest updates and for instructions on how to update their member handbooks.”

All changes to guidance undergo a rigorous verification process prior to publication. Changes are reviewed by the College’s Membership and Standards Committee which includes representatives from the Association of Optometrists, Association of British Dispensing Opticians, the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians and the General Optical Council. Dr Blakeney added: “The guidance is important for a number of reasons. College members and other optometrists use it to check what is expected as good practice. The guidance is also useful to others working in healthcare, and the General Optical Council refer to it in fitness to practise cases.”

Bath Time for the Society of Spectacle Makers

May 2012

Society of Spectacle Makers, BathA group of over 50 members of the Spectacle Makers Society enjoyed an extended weekend visit to the Roman Baths in the City of Bath. The Company makes regular trips each year both at home and abroad and later this year visits include a day at Farnborough Air show as well as a weekend at Braemar for the Highland Games.

The events are becoming increasingly popular with the emphasis on good company and fun for all for a reasonable package cost. Six previous past Masters of the Livery Company also attended the weekend’s trip.

The tour proceeding a splendid dinner in the private function room of the Pump Rooms was excellent with the large group split into 3 with entertaining and knowledgeable guides for each. If you haven’t visited the Baths for a while you will be in for a pleasant surprise with digital technology on show giving a clear picture of life in Roman Times.

Dinner on the Saturday evening, a black tie affair, turned in to a musical soiree with Emma Covill accompanied by Jaso Sasaki her friend on the violin providing concert quality entertainment.

There are around 1000 members of the spectacle makers company including all the professions, trades and those outside of Optics who have joined through friendships with others. Find out about membership at their site:

Optical Confederation joins Age Action Alliance

May 2012

The Optical Confederation has joined the Age Action Alliance to promote vision and eye health amongst older people.

The Age Action Alliance is an independent alliance formed to improve the lives of older people.

Building on the success of the recently announced eye health indicator, the Optical Confederation will be working with a range of new partners through the Alliance to improve eye health and promote the role that good vision can play in keeping older people active for longer.

The Age Action Alliance’s over 200 members also include national charities such as Age UK and RNIB, a number of Government Departments and local organisations all working together to share ideas and take practical steps to improve health, social inclusion, safety and workplaces for older people.
Don Grocott, Chair of the Optical Confederation said “Good vision is of utmost importance to enable older people to stay in the workforce for longer, participate in the information age and maximise their independence and quality of life. As a sector we have a major role to play.”

Jenny Gowen, Head of Public Affairs for the Optical Confederation said “Throughout this year we are looking at options for joint working with Age Action Alliance partners to improve eye health and vision for older people. National Eye Health Week (17 – 23 September) will also provide an opportunity for individual practices and practitioners to get involved.”

Director of Policy at ACLM, FMO and FODO, Mark Nevin added “In this the European Year of Active Ageing, the Confederation is committed to playing our part in helping older people maintain their eye health and maximise their vision whatever their other circumstances.”

Dispensing Optician among six charged with allegedly trafficking an Indian woman

May 2012

Six people, including a butcher and an optician, have been charged in connection with trafficking an Indian woman. The suspects, all from London, face a number of counts including rape, sexual assault and making threats to kill the victim, said the Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard said the 37-year-old woman was from the southern city of Hyderabad.

The suspects are due at Westminster Magistrates' Court on bail on 7 June.

The dispensing optician Mrs Shashi Obhrai runs and owns a practice in the Strand, London under the name of at Obhrai & Son (Opticians) Ltd and has traded for almost 19 years.

Mrs. Shashi Kala Obhrai is stated on as being a:

Fellow of Association of Dispensing Opticians, Member of the Faculty of Dispensing Opticians

Freeman of the City of London and Spectacle Maker of London, Liveryman of the Spectacle Makers Company and a Director of Fibroid Network Charity

Those charged are:

• Enkarta Balapovi, 53, a butcher of St John's Wood, north London, faces one charge of trafficking within the UK and five counts of rape.
• Shanaz Begum, 56, a shop worker, also of St John's Wood, is accused of two counts of trafficking - the first into the UK and the second within Britain.
• Shashi Kala Obhrai, 53, an optician, of Northwood, north west London, is charged with trafficking within the UK, actual bodily harm (ABH) and making threats to kill.
• Balram Kumar Obhrai, 58, a computer entrepreneur from the same area, is accused of trafficking into the UK and making threats to kill.
• Aleemuddin Mohammed, 34, a supermarket manager from Harrow, also in north west London, faces a similar count of trafficking into the UK and another of sexual assault on a female.
• Shamina Yousuf, 32, a secretary, of Edgware, is charged with trafficking into the country and ABH.

College calls for participation from its members on Code changes

May 2012

The College of Optometrists is consulting with optometrists as part of a review of the Code of Ethics and Guidance for Professional Conduct. The aim of the review is to ensure the guidance remains relevant, easy to navigate and reflects what optometrists want.

Responses to the first phase, which involved surveying optometrists, showed that most optometrists find the Code of Ethics and Guidance for Professional Conduct useful, but that it could be clearer and easier to use.

Further findings include:

• Respondents find the guidance useful and do use it, but they feel the College could do more to raise awareness of it.
• Some respondents think the guidance should be easier to use online; most feel that the search facility should be improved. There was also some criticism of the format, and respondents thought the style could be clearer and more concise.
• Most respondents have access to a paper copy of the guidance; a small minority prefer hard copy to online versions.
• Some patients asked for concise summaries of main information.

The College is about to begin phase two of the review, which will consist of further questionnaires and telephone research.

Government launches free Digital on line service for new parents

May 2012

An NHS Information Service for Parents, launched this by the Prime Minister, will give new parents information and advice they can trust covering a wide range of issues related to staying healthy in pregnancy, preparing for birth and looking after their baby.

By signing up to the service, parents-to-be and new parents will receive regular emails and text messages containing relevant and timely NHS approved advice as their pregnancy develops and as their child grows.

Links to videos showing midwives demonstrating practical advice such as bathing your baby, and parents discussing issues that affected them and how they supported each other, will also be sent at appropriate times.

The care and attention a child receives when young will affect their health, behaviour and ability to learn throughout their lives. Parents will be invited to sign up to the new service at booking appointments with midwives, and organisations where parents already go for advice and support will have the option of including a sign-up facility directly on their own websites.

David Cameron PM said, “Parents are nation-builders. It’s through love and sheer hard work that we raise the next generation with the right values. That’s why this government is doing everything possible to support parents.

“We’re focused on making life easier for parents day-to-day, from extending childcare to increasing the number of health visitors. The parenting classes and films we’re launching this week are an important part of that, providing clear, professionally-led advice on everything from teething to tantrums.”

Spectrum Thea and Topcon to run “AMD Project to help answer common questions about monitoring and dealing with AMD

May 2012

A few common questions are:

• Why have supplements for dry ARMD now become popular in both independent and multiple practice and what is the evidence base?
• How do you monitor ARMD using modern technology such as MPOD and OCT?
• Can reducing the progression of dry ARMD prevent wet ARMD and what are the earliest signs of the latter?

The first AMD project workshop will be held on Wednesday 20th June at the Aztec Hotel & Spa in Bristol. The one day course will consist of a combination of interactive lectures, workshops and peer discussion which will answer your questions and discuss any other aspects of AMD that you want to know to help you develop a dedicated profit making AMD clinic within your practice by providing "best-care" scenarios.

The event will run from 9.30am to 5.00pm and you will have Mr Mike Potts (Consultant Ophthalmologist), Dr Scott Mackie and Andy Clark as your Tutors for the day. The total cost of the day which will include lunch and refreshments along with all necessary support materials will be £199 + VAT. You will also receive a Nutrof Total Merchandising Unit with a RRP value of £104.93 as well as a 10% discount on an MPOD. CET points are available along with additional support/advice after the course should you need it.

Those wishing to attend can confirm by completing the downloadable booking form and returning to or alternatively you can fax it to 01625 619 959.

All change Chairs at Tri AGM Event

May 2012

The Optical Confederation has once again been persuasive in adding one further of its participant organizations to hold their AGM on the same day as the AOP and FODO hold theirs. So for the first time the ACLM held its AGM at the same venue in Cardiff City last week.

A wish was made that in future years they will convince ABDO and the FMO (also Confed members) to follow suit and create an optical royal flush. How this will work without being a timetabling nightmare is not as yet known as it was a bit of a mare’s nest trying to make all AGMs open to all but with all three overlapping making attendance at each a practical impossibility.

The ACLM in a separate room away from most other delegates started just ahead of the AOP who were allotted the main hall for their AGM.

ACLM discussion was limited to the legal requirements of the agenda and did not involve the membership discussing ACLM issues as a separate private meeting had been enacted for this purpose on the following day. As press we were asked to leave after the 10 minute AGM for private discussion to take place.

The AOP AGM was a much lengthier affair which overran its slot by almost double the allotted time requiring FODO to give way to using the large hall and reconvene in the bar area. Certainly a more social arena but just like us as press missing the AOP AGM, the current President of FODO (Don Grocott) missed his own FODO AGM, and the vote of thanks given to him as he is standing down this year.

However as he is also standing down as President of the AOP at least he was in one sense in the right place for one AGM. Mr. Grocott coincidently was at one time the Chair of the ACLM so he must be thankful that this was historical otherwise a game of musical chairs might have ensued.

His undoubted Presidential knowledge will not be wasted however as he has been given the task of presiding over the Optical Confederation as Chair in its future work. Mr. Grocott has been awarded a 2 year term and a special announcement to this fact was made at the beginning of the open meeting by David Shannon Chair of the AOP.

There has been much good work carried out by the Confederation this year presenting the sovereign views of its constituent members where they agree but its potential as the key Optical Organisation is long overdue and has been said by us before that it needs to ramp up its communications and reporting back to the Optical Sector as a player in its own right. If anyone can assist, Grocott certainly can given his pedigree in Chairing and Presiding over optical bodies.

Report on the Open meeting held at Cardiff

May 2012

The ACLM presented a report written by Gfk and introduced by Stephen Lamouroux looking at the sales and sales volumes of contact lenses within the UK and the rest of Europe. The slides and information demonstrated how the entry into the market of new silicone technologies, presbyopic lenses and torics had increased the overall contact lens value within the market significantly.

The market however still lacks the penetration seen in other parts of the world and a European survey with many English responses purports a lack of information conveyed to the public by professionals following eye examinations and also an accusation by some of the public questioned that opticians often do not listen to their needs. Fear of where and problems caused by lenses still remained the public enemy no.1.

The level of internet sales still remains static at 5.8%.

Nigel Mallinson spoke about the lessons learnt from the survey and hoped that a greater emphasis could be put on contact lens wear given in his view that a loyal contact lens wearer spend more per annum than a spectacle wearer. Despite the vision solution of specs and c/ls the penetration in the UK still remains in single figures of 8%.

Nigel is the current MD of Coopervision and became Chair of the ACLM last October.

He reiterated the points that the value growth per product was twice as large as that in Europe as was the opposite of the frames industry which he declared was in decline.

FODO then presented their annual review which again reminded the hall that working within the Confederation helped us in dealing with issues such as the Nickel Alert Proposals, driving qualifications and adoption of optical health indicators. “We are stronger together that as individual bodies. “Said Jayne Rawlinson, the current FODO chairman. She suggested that the previous year’s convention and the direct approach to Earl Howe about voucher values had the very desired effect and that at last someone in the DoH has realized that voucher values are about patient value and not a patient charge.

She also suggested that LOCSU had been a very wise investment and with the new commissioning era looming without LOCSU the profession may have had frameworks forced upon it like other professions had.

David Shannon continued the day with a speech that was more membership based which in a time when optometric salaries were 27% lower than their peek demonstrated the importance of the AOP looking after independents employed and employees alike.

He looked back on the year as being successful with “the move”, a successful CET event, and updating of the IT especially in the legal department which he and others considered as providing the most benefit to members.

He also briefly mentioned the parting of both the CEO and the editor of the OT to experience pastures new.

There are however a lot of new people on the council which has brought new blood, new ideas and a new strategy which is reflected in what the individual needs.

In Shannon’s opinion the awards ceremony at the NOC was the most successful event of the year and this year there will be a move to change “peer review” to the new name of “peer discussion”.

Royal Society of Medicine announces special Optometric/Ophthalmology afternoon

May 2012

The RSM at One Wimpole Street, London this week announced the programme for the 32nd Annual GP Forum.

The forum opening on Monday 10th September 2012 and closing on the following Friday is run by the Section of General Practice with Primary Healthcare and is aimed at GPs and primary care professionals with lectures running throughout the week providing a broad spectrum of interesting topics. For the first time optometric involvement along with ophthalmology topics has been given a complete afternoon on the Thursday 13th September with a combination of lectures that will attract optometrists, doctors and other primary healthcare workers.

Optometrists and those involved in the provision of primary vision care will be able to book the afternoon session at a special rate of £80. CET points for optometrists are being applied for as are CPD points for GPs.

The afternoon’s lectures are as follows:


2.00 pm Introduction

Mr. Bob Hutchinson, Council Member, Section of General Practice with Primary Healthcare, Royal Society of Medicine

2.05 pm Chronic eye conditions

Ms Sarah Farrant, Partner, Optometric Group, Somerset

2.45 pm Glaucoma, Ocular Hypertension & NICE guidelines

Mrs. Adanna Obi, St Thomas’ Hospital, London

3.25 pm Tea and coffee break

3.40 pm Age-related macular degeneration

Mr. Robin Hamilton, Moorfields Eye Hospital

4.20 pm Commissioning optometric primary care services in the future

Mr. Christopher Kerr, Chairman, Croydon Local Optometric Committee, and Mr. Charles Greenwood Co- Director, Primary Health Net

5.00 pm Quiz

5.15 pm Completion of evaluation forms

5.20 pm Close of meeting

7.00 pm Annual Forum dinner & after dinner speech.

Professor John Marshall, Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

Members within the optical professions, facilitators and those instrumental in assisting in the increased commissioning of optometric and dispensing services are encouraged to attend the afternoon lectures and the informal evening 3-course meal with wine and coffee included. (Evening cost £50)

You can of course attend both or either events both giving an opportunity to enjoy good company and network with GPs and other primary healthcare professionals.

Bob Hutchinson, a Council member of the GP Section and Fellow at the RSM has been much involved in the development of the shared afternoon. “ I am very excited in promoting what is an all time first for the GP section in sharing their afternoon with our Optical colleagues and I do hope that we can make a whole hearted effort to be there in force at either the lectures or at the dinner, or indeed both. Optometrists will receive CET points applied for by PHN, and the whole day will be suitably rounded off by a speech from Professor John Marshall, not only a respected and influential ophthalmologist but also currently the Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers. With the event of the new commissioning boards soon upon us this provides our profession with an opportunity to be seen and heard within the GP community.”
You can review the whole program and access the registration form where you can register as:

Other Primary Healthcare Member half day £80

And at the same link choose to attend the dinner

Optional dinner £50

New Lucentis Data

May 2012

New data among 200 Lucentis® abstracts at ARVO (The Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) show a low number of injections with Novartis drug are required to achieve and maintain vision gains over 3 years in AMD and DME patients.

"The research presented on Lucentis this week at ARVO highlights the benefit of an individualized approach to treating patients rather than a fixed, inflexible regimen," said Tim Wright, Global Head of Development, Novartis Pharma. "With an individualized 'as needed' dosing regimen, the goal is for patients to achieve and maintain maximum vision gains without undergoing more injections than necessary, which brings benefit to the patient and economic value to the health system. Several studies presented at ARVO demonstrate how successful an individualized Lucentis treatment approach can be for patients with wet AMD and DME."

Another speaker explained further, "The vision gains seen at the end of three years of Lucentis treatment in wet AMD patients were favorable and similar when compared to the pivotal Phase III trials - MARINA and ANCHOR" said Prof. Sebastian Wolf, University of Bern, Switzerland. "However the number of injections, a mean of 16 during three years, is significantly less than the monthly regimen used in those studies. This data confirms that an individualized treatment regimen, now standard of care in Europe, is best for patients."

Further information is published at

Sir Keith Pearson confirmed as Chair of Health Education England

May 2012

Sir Keith Pearson has been confirmed as Chair of Health Education England (HEE). Sir Keith, currently Chair of the NHS Confederation, will head up Health Education England, the organisation that will provide national leadership to the new system of education and training in healthcare, when it is established in June 2012.

Health Education England is the new national leadership organisation – ensuring that education, training, and workforce development drive the highest quality public health and patient outcomes
The purpose of the new organisation is to ensure that the health workforce has the right skills, behaviours and training, and is available in the right numbers, to support the delivery of excellent healthcare and health improvement.

Sir Keith Pearson said, “‘I’m delighted to have been asked to take on this important role. Health Education England will need to establish itself quickly so that it can take on its new responsibilities later this year. Working with Local Education and Training Boards, Health Education England must be seen to be progressive and innovative as we prepare the health workforce of tomorrow."

Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS said, “‘the experience Sir Keith brings to this role will provide a clear vision for Health Education England. He will lead the way to establish effective leadership and governance for the organisation and ensure early and successful relationships with key partners and stakeholders are made.’

Sir Keith will take up post as Chair of HEE from 28 June 2012 and will step down from his role as Chair of the NHS Confederation.

Bausch and Lomb to support charity

May 2012

Eyecare specialist Bausch and Lomb, based in Surrey, has teamed up with Fight For Sight to help support the charity's work.

Employees from Bausch and Lomb, which supplies eye healthcare products, will be taking part in fundraising activities for the charity as part of a new partnership.

Staff will be tackling the charity's annual Carrots NightWalk in London on September 21 to support the charity, which funds research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.

Julian Jackson, director of development and marketing at Fight For Sight, said: "Bausch and Lomb is a leading healthcare organisation dedicated to providing people with vital support for their eye health. By working together, we hope to be able to do even more to make sight loss a thing of the past."

Paul Hurrell, vice president of Vision Care Northern Europe at Bausch and Lomb, said: "We are delighted to team up with Fight For Sight as our charity of the year, as their aim to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease aligns closely to our mission.

Daily Mail reports on how safely you can trust buying “a £70 specs from the supermarket?"

May 2012

The Daily Mail provided an “expert”, for an informed and impartial judgment. Dr Sneh Khemka, is a medical director of Bupa International (and previously an eye surgeon at Moorfields hospital in London). The paper states that Dr Khemka himself wears a pair of £500 glasses.

He was asked to grade the quality of the frames and lenses — and to measure how well the final lenses corresponded to the prescription given by the ophthalmologist, who carries out sight tests.

The paper wished to relook at the optical market following the recent entry on the scene of opticians at Tesco and Asda.

Vince Graff from the paper compared glasses from various stores with a budget of just £70.

The Mail reports that 68 per cent of adults need glasses or contact lenses and, last year, according to the industry’s trade body, the Optical Confederation, UK opticians performed 21 million eye tests.

A typical consumer also spends £150, according to research. But some supermarkets offer even cheaper deals like Asda, who they contend provide designer glasses for just £70.

The Mail’s “Good Health” section decided to put five of the biggest players to the test with a prescription for reading glasses to see what could be got for £70 from supermarkets and High Street chains.
The prescription for reading glasses was “around” +6.

“After an eye test (some opticians charged nothing, others varied, up to £22), what would be available?” Vince asked.

Attention was paid not only to the frame quality but also how thin the lenses would be? Crucially, is £70 enough to buy a pair of decent specs?

Then, taking into account other factors such as the cosmetic look of the lenses and the quality of my vision, Dr Khemka was asked to produce an overall score for each pair of glasses. The Mail considers the results surprising

‘I’m pleasantly surprised at the good quality of some of the frames,’ says Dr Khemka. ‘The Tesco and Asda frames stand out as excellent, and most of the other ones are fine. Spectacle frames are very often a complete rip-off. You can buy them for £30 or £40, but they’d sell for £300 if they had a designer label.

‘For someone with a high prescription, spending a bit more for a thinner lens is a good idea. But what this experiment has shown is that the vast majority of glasses-wearers can get a very good pair of spectacles for £70, and there’s no point in spending much more.’

General Optical Council appoints Replay Learning Ltd to deliver a modernised IT system to support the Continuing Education and Training scheme

May 2012

The General Optical Council (GOC) has appointed Replay Learning Ltd in collaboration with Sliced Bread Ltd to develop an interactive user-friendly IT infrastructure, following a tender process. The IT system will support registrants and training providers to meet the requirements of the enhanced Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme, due to come into effect in January 2013.

Users will access the CET system through the GOC’s website, with registrants able to view their targets and track progress within their CET portfolio. The GOC will provide a dedicated helpline and email support service for registrants to manage CET related enquiries.

Under the new scheme, an independent panel established by the GOC will undertake the approval and quality assurance of CET. This will maintain the approval process as an arms-length, independent operation.
Samantha Peters, chief executive and registrar of the GOC, said: “The new system will enable registrants to get the most out of our enhanced CET scheme by being more interactive, tracking the points they accrue, finding the right events to attend and being kept up to date with developments.

“It will also sit within the ‘MyGOC’ area of our website, so registrants will be able to manage their CET, complete online retention, update their contact details and read all our news and guidance from the same place. The strong and effective partnership of Replay Learning Ltd and Sliced Bread Ltd brings a wealth of experience in CET and we’re delighted to be working with them on this project.”

Peter Charlesworth, managing director of Replay Learning Ltd, said: “We are looking forward to working with the GOC to develop a modern, easy to use system that incorporates technology for mobile devices and tablets. The GOC’s enhanced CET scheme will encourage registrants to participate in more relevant and interactive CET and our system is designed to support that.

We have used our experience of delivering CET to approach the system design from a user friendly perspective. Our IT partner, Sliced Bread Ltd, will build the infrastructure with our input and staff involved in CET Provision within Replay Learning Ltd will be limited to the same access rights as any other provider.”

Over the next 12 months the GOC will implement a new, transparent data sharing scheme to ensure all providers have access to relevant data collected about registrants’ CET activities and available CET provision. This will give assurance that no provider is in a preferred position and will help all providers to deliver the variety and availability of CET events needed for registrants to meet their targets.

BCLA reveals new strategy ahead of Clinical Conference and Exhibition

May 2012

The Council of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has approved new vision and mission statements to paint a clear picture of the Association’s future and that of its members.

Vision statement:
To be the leading resource gateway for the contact lens community

Mission statement:
To educate, interact and promote growth within the field of contact lenses and related areas

Speaking on the eve of the 36th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham, BCLA President Shelly Bansal explained that there would be a renewed focus on practice-related membership benefits going forward in order to attract new members. The annual Clinical Conference would also be developed so that it appealed strongly to those interested in more practical and day-to-day aspects of contact lens practice, as well as clinical aspects.

Shelly said: “The BCLA’s primary focus is, and always has been, to provide educational resources for its members to facilitate professional growth and development in contact lens practice. As the Association has grown and developed, so too have the needs of its members. The more benefits that we can provide our members with, not just academic and scientific benefits, but practice-building benefits too, the better served they and their patients are.

“A key focus going forward will be on helping our members to grow their patient base and develop their contact lens practices by providing new, targeted resources. We will be working closely with our industry partners to drive these projects forward,” concluded Shelly.

Visit the BCLA stand at the forthcoming BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition at the ICC Birmingham (24-27 May) to discuss the benefits of BCLA membership. You could win 50 per cent off the cost of a full delegate package for the 2013 Clinical Conference by simply completing a short survey. An Apple iPad 3 worth £400 is also up for grabs for those taking part in a short quiz during the exhibition (25-27 May), with a bottle of champagne to be won daily at a fun Wild West shootout on the BCLA stand.

Optrafair 2013 Now 60% Booked

May 2012

More than 60% of the floor space for the FMO’s flagship industry show - Optrafair 2013 - has already been snapped up by last year’s exhibitors, with many keen to secure their position within Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

As 2011 exhibitors they were given first refusal on their previous stand space, but now the bookings office has been opened for those companies which would like to take advantage of the leading biennial show. This will take place from 13-15 April 2013

“New opportunities are on offer for 2013 with an enlarged and more exclusive Fashion Quarter, dedicated areas for contact lens and technology businesses and the chance to position a company alongside compatible or even competing ventures,” explained FMO Chief Executive, Malcolm Polley.

Optical companies, large and small, have secured their floor space for a mixture of shell scheme stands, with fixed costs, while others will be commissioning designers to create a very individual look. Always the greatest gathering of the UK optical industry and profession, Optrafair 2013 has already drawn a commitment to exhibit from a broad mix of suppliers from frame and sunglass companies; IT practice management system providers; financial planning experts; world leaders in diagnostic technology and optical gadget specialists.

“We have had a tremendous response to opening the booking for 2013 and are very heartened by the positive feedback from so many of the 2011 Optrafair exhibitors. This is the show that the profession waits for every two years – it is the time to come and take stock of where a practice is and what investment is needed to move it forward to compete successfully on the High St,” added Malcolm.

College announces new website to give free access to top research

May 2012

The new website at gives free access to the best papers from three top-ranked international optometry journals. A joint initiative of the editors, the website offers articles featured in:

• Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, the journal of the College of Optometrists
• Clinical and Experimental Optometry, the journal of the Optometrists Association Australia, New Zealand Association of Optometrists, and Hong Kong Society of Professional Optometrists
• Optometry and Vision Science, the journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

The website is updated regularly and offers ten articles from each journal.

Professor David Elliott, editor of Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, said "The website gives visitors free access to top scientific papers, and will be a tremendous boost to the science of optometry worldwide."

Optical Confederation welcomes a first step on the road to better vision for all drivers

May 2012

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has updated the ‘Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive’. The visual acuity standard for car and motorcycle drivers is now acuity of at least 6/12, as well as being able to read the number plate test from the prescribed distance. For visual fields, the standard of 120 degrees horizontal remains, with an additional requirement to have at least 50 degrees on each side.

This change follows the DVLA’s Medical Advisory Panel’s meeting in June 2011 which recognised that the number plate test is not an accurate method of assessing visual acuity. Although the DVLA initially proposed reducing the distance at which the number plate was read, no change has been made to the prescribed distance in the revised standards.

Mark Nevin on behalf of the OC said ‘We and partner health, transport and road safety stakeholders have campaigned hard over the past two years for better assessment of drivers’ vision. We stepped up our efforts following the advice from the DVLA’s Medical Advisory Panel last June. Having a clearly defined visual acuity and visual field standard will assist healthcare practitioners when advising their patients on fitness to drive, which is a step in the right direction. We would however like to see further progress to ensure that all drivers meet and continue to meet the visual standards, which research has indicated remains a problem.’

Jenny Gowen on behalf of the OC added, ‘A lot more could be done by the Government to raise awareness of the risks of driving with inadequate vision. As a profession, we stand ready to work with all parties to deliver this.’

The OC awaits further clarification of the new standards which are understood to apply from 1st May. Standards for Group 2 (lorry and bus) drivers have also been revised, including the requirement for visual acuity of at least 6/7.5 in the better eye. The OC will produce guidance for its members to interpret the changes.

Kirk Originals hold party to celebrate award win at Kirk Opticians

May 2012

In a heightened sense of achievement supporters, press and guests of Jason Kirk toasted the company’s achievements having won the award for best Fashion Frames Practice of the Year sponsored by Vogue and presented at the recent Optician Awards ceremony.

The evening like the practice and Kirk original frame designs shimmied & shimmered with disco and song providing a very different backdrop to a real cool evening.

Rodenstock's New Look for Perfect Vision

May 2012

Rodenstock has chosen to feature employees in new lifestyle publicity photography to create more impact and relevance to consumers.

It forms part of the company’s aim to strengthen relationships with customers and consumers and promote its comprehensive ‘System of Better Vision’, providing everything opticians and spectacle wearers need from a single source.

The company is also launching a new consumer-facing website to allow people to experience a new dimension of information in an interactive way, and the logo has evolved to reflect the company’s current outlook.

John Harrup, Marketing Communications Manager, said: “The System of Better Vision pulls together all the components that have helped establish Rodenstock as a leading eyewear manufacturer for more than 130 years.

“By using ‘real’ people instead of models in our imagery we hope consumers will be able to better visualise the suitability of the Rodenstock range.

“We have already made considerable improvements to levels of customer service with better technology, training and support for practices, and that will continue to be a priority during 2012.”

The System of Better Vision encompasses everything Rodenstock stands for from quality lenses, product development and customer service to social media, innovation and training and marketing support for opticians.

UK optometrists awarded European Fellowships

May 2012

Four UK optometrists have been awarded Fellowships from the European Academy of Optometry and Optics in recognition of their commitment to the profession.

The Fellows were presented with a certificate at the Academy’s annual conference in Dublin, Ireland, following a thorough application and selection process.

The application process required candidates to submit a portfolio of evidence and attend a panel interview. They needed to demonstrate excellence or innovation in one or more of the following categories: clinical practice; research; education; professional advancement or management of visual healthcare.

Fellowships were given to the following optometrists:

Dr Paul Murphy in recognition of his significant contribution to optometric research and education in the UK and rest of Europe, and his exemplary commitment to teaching in the UK and overseas.

Dr Murphy, Reader and Director of Teaching, Cardiff University, School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, commented: “The Academy is establishing itself as the leading body for education, research and clinical work in optometry and optics across Europe, and Fellowship is a great way for our members to get recognition of their experience and skills. I am delighted to have been awarded the Fellowship alongside such good candidates.”

Dr Shehzad Naroo in recognition of his excellence and innovation in clinical practice, research, education and professional advancement of optometry.

Dr Naroo, Senior Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, said: “The Fellowship process was a good opportunity for me to reflect on what I have done in my career and how that has impacted the profession at local, national and international levels. It is good to join the handful of professionals who have this qualification and also nice to support the Academy and what it stands for.”

David Parkins for demonstrating his significant contribution to the advancement of optometry in the UK and in developing countries throughout his career.

David, who holds several positions including Clinical Quality Lead for Bexley Care Trust and Vice President of the College of Optometrists, said: “I am delighted to be awarded Fellowship from the Academy. I became a Founder Member of the Academy and applied for Fellowship as I truly believe in co-operation amongst professionals across boundaries, and the importance of the evidence base in everything we do.”

Rakesh Kapoor, Joint Venture Partner (Director) at Specsavers Opticians Wembley and Edgware, for the substantial contribution he has made to clinical practice, education and professional advancement and management of visual healthcare.

The new Fellows picked up their award alongside Switzerland’s Christian Stebler who gained his Fellowship in recognition of the role he has played in developing optics and optometry in the country over the last 30 years.

Roger Crelier, President, said: “The Academy’s Fellowship programme recognises and rewards individual members who have made a significant contribution to optometry and optics at a local, national or international level.

“This is a well respected accolade for members to work towards and aspire to, and will help us advance optometry and optics in Europe.”

The Fellows are now invited to use the letters FEAOO after their name.

Photo: (left to right) David Parkins, Rakesh Kapoor, Christian Stebler (Switzerland), Dr Shehzad Naroo, Dr Paul Murphy

GOC publishes full minutes for April 25th meeting

May 2012

Cost-benefit analysis of enhanced CET

Council received a draft independent report conducted by Europe Economics which concluded that the GOC’s enhanced CET scheme is fit for purpose. Enhanced CET will come into effect in January 2013.

The report noted that:

• the requirement to undertake peer review and more interactive CET will address risk concerns identified around isolated practice;
• the expectation to complete at least six points per year will address risks that practitioners have long periods of no learning;
• the removal of the automatic shortfall period will remove registrants who have not met the requirements at an earlier opportunity; and
• the requirement to conduct CET across all competencies will help to address risks around glaucoma and retinal detachment

The report also noted that the costs of establishing a Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) would not be justified. Council agreed with the executive’s recommendation not to introduce a six-yearly CSA on this basis.

The independent report was funded by the Department of Health, as part of its grant to the GOC to help establish a revalidation scheme. We interpret revalidation to mean that we need to have a suitable mechanism in place to assure the public that our registrants remain fit to practise. By implementing our changes to CET, we believe that CET will be a proportionate mechanism to ensure our registrants have the necessary skills, experience and knowledge to remain fit to practise.

Business plan and key performance indicators

Council signed off the GOC’s business plan and discussed the associated Key Performance Indicators.

This is the second year in the GOC’s current three year strategic plan. The business plan for this year builds on the strategies and actions taken so far towards achieving our corporate vision of leading the way in regulation – that is, to protect the public through regulating the optical profession in a manner that is exemplary and innovative.

The business plan sets out the key strategies we are following to achieve our strategic vision, and the main workstreams, projects and working practices we will deploy for each strategic aim.

Chief executive and registrar Samantha Peters drew particular attention to six projects:

• the IT integration project
• the potential relocation of the GOC’s offices
• the implementation of the new Fitness to Practise Rules
• the introduction of enhanced CET in January 2013
• the development of a criminal prosecutions strategy
• the undertaking of an end-to-end review of our complaints process

Mandie Lavin

Chair Anna Bradley formally welcomed Mandie Lavin to the GOC. Mandie, who was already in post as GOC interim director of regulation, was appointed permanently to the post on 17 April.

DoH publishes “Patient choice scheme guidance for all PCTs

April 2012

The patient choice scheme document publishes guidance to all primary care trusts (PCTs) on the broader aspects of the policy on widening patient choice of GP practices. It sets out the new provisions in legislation relating to practice boundaries and the revised list closure procedure. It also lists the PCT areas effected and how registered and out of area unregistered patients will be treated by the practices, PCTs and the treatments allowable which will include agreed enhanced services.

Link here to the full details on PHNs LOC Briefing Section soon to be migrated to a dedicated website for those involved in commissioning, contracting and providing services under the new translational schemes as well as those already providing services through PCTs local enhanced service specification.

All Eyes on Prague for Rodenstock Club Awards

April 2012

The 2012 Rodenstock Club Awards have been launched to reward independent opticians for their loyalty and support, culminating with an exciting trip to Prague for the winners.

Practices from across the UK will compete in a number of product specific categories, including Impression Lenses, Lifestyle Lenses, ColorMatic IQ Lenses, dunhill eyewear, Porsche Design eyewear and Rodenstock eyewear. In addition, there will be some new categories focused on marketing including best window display, online marketing initiative and offline marketing initiative.

Dietmar Rathbauer, managing director of Rodenstock UK, said: “Rodenstock Club is celebrating its 21st year and our prestigious annual awards give us a chance to reward our loyal customers and thank them for their support.”

The competition period runs from January 1 to November 30, 2012. The winning practices will be announced at a luncheon and awards ceremony at The Landmark, London, on Tuesday December 18.

The Rodenstock Club, founded in 1991, has evolved to provide a unique level of service and portfolio of products plus a range of rewards and benefits, including contributions to local advertising, branded open days, loyalty bonuses, annual training and early bird promotions.

Health Secretary sets out objectives for NHS Commissioning Board Authority

April 2012

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has set out the Government’s strategic objectives for the NHS Commissioning Board Authority and the basis against which the Authority will be held to account.
The Department of Health will hold the Authority to account for its performance against four strategic objectives, relating to:

• transferring power to local organisations
• establishing the commissioning landscape
• developing specific commissioning and financial management capabilities
• developing excellent relationships.
These objectives flow from the Authority’s role to prepare for the establishment and operation of the NHS Commissioning Board.
The objectives will need to be delivered in the context of the Board’s responsibility to contribute to the achievement of:
• improvements in health for the whole population
• better quality of care and outcomes for all patients
• increased value for the taxpayer through robust financial management and improved efficiency and productivity.

The objectives are relevant to the period when the Authority is operating (until October 2012), and also to the full NHS Commissioning Board when it is established, in its preparatory phase from October 2012 until March 2013.

From April 2013, when the Board takes on its full statutory powers, Ministers will set their objectives, on behalf of the Government as a whole, through the mandate.
Proposals for the

Spectrum Thea double up at national awards

April 2012

Spectrum Thea AwardThere was a double cause for celebration this week at Spectrum Thea Pharmaceuticals as the company won not one but two awards at the 2012 Opticians Awards in London.

Both the Optical Supplier of the Year and the Education Award for The Dry Eye Project came their way, a great effort that was recognised by Spectrum MD Philip Lewis Williams.

“This is a massive achievement,” said Philip. “Our success is due to a fantastic team effort, hard work and the relationships we have built up with our customers.

“We are extremely proud to be recognised for our innovative products, education and professionalism and look forward to building on this recognition by bringing our dry eye, blepharitis and eye nutritional products to the benefit of a wider population.”

PM visits Norville Optical on St George’s Day

April 2012

David Cameron at Norville OpticalThe Norville Group’s 65 year-old Gloucester prescription manufacturing division today received the special honour of a visit from the Prime Minister Mr David Cameron, who was joined for the occasion by the MP for Gloucester Richard Graham and local Councillors.

The Prime Minister’s group was accompanied by Nick Robinson and colleagues from the BBC news team. This gave a great opportunity to showcase Norville’s investment in Ultor free-form lens manufacturing and outline ongoing expansion plans both in facilities and staffing.

During his visit the Prime Minister assisted with 25 year service awards, now bringing the total number of current Norville staff reaching or exceeding this achievement to 53.

Impressionist 3 Makes Big Bang at Science Museum

April 2012

Rodenstock unveiled its award-winning, state-of-the-art consulting and video centering system to more than 150 opticians at London’s Science Museum.

The ImpressionIST 3 boasts an easy-to-use 3D video centering system which enables dispensing opticians to measure client’s exact spectacle specifications without the need for a cumbersome measuring attachment.

Guests enjoyed champagne and canapés before presentations from Dr Dietmar Uttenweiler, Head of Strategic Business Unit Lenses, and Nelson Mendoza, Senior Manager Tools and Services. Following on-stage demonstrations, opticians were able to try their hand at using the high-precision instrument with guidance from the Rodenstock UK team.

Dietmar Rathbauer, Rodenstock UK Managing Director, said: “We are always looking at ways to use the latest technology to enhance patients’ experiences and support practices. ImpressionIST 3 enables opticians to move the technology from the consulting room into the dispensing area and enhance the professional and technical image of the practice.”

Portrait pictures created by the innovative 3D stereo camera system are available instantly and can be used to demonstrate the appearance of various frames and lenses to the customer.

The precision measurement makes it possible to create spectacles that are highly individual and satisfy the demands of each patient. ImpressionIST 3 also works with WinFit Reference ordering software, so the lens order is transmitted instantly and accurately.

Market research has shown up to 32% more lenses and 85% higher quality lenses are dispensed with a 3D video centering system, offering practices increased sales and profits.

Dietmar added: “The Science Museum was the perfect venue to launch the high-tech ImpressionIST 3 system. One of the many fascinating items on display is the Whittington stereoscope, which helped diagnose sight problems and test the vision of both eyes working together from 1925-1940. At Rodenstock, we’re proud to launch the latest 3D technology that, with its sleek, modern design, creates appeal and intrigue with customers and helps reinforce messages of expertise.”

ImpressionIST 3 is available in three contemporary versions – floor standing, wall mounted and tabletop – providing maximum consulting technology for minimum space.

Rodenstock has been granted a coveted iF Product Design Award for ImpressionIST 3 by an expert panel of judges from design, industry and education, who praised the level of innovation, functionality and design.

Charity leader set to pedal the UK

April 2012

Seasoned cyclist, Elaine Styles, will be pedalling hard during May as she sets out from Land’s End to John O’Groats raising funds for her charity, Vision Care for Homeless People.

Hoping to raise £1,000 through sponsorship, Elaine, as chair of the charity, knows the sum will keep all four of the vision clinics running for two weeks each, as she explained –

“It is good to have a target and as I am cycling I will have this thought very much in mind. Cycling with my husband, we have 900 miles to cover during the ten days. We have tracked the route and are prepared for the 45 hill climbs. The first day will bring 12 through Cornwall, so that will be tough. I am most looking forward to cycling around the lakes in Scotland.”

Elaine commutes to work each day from North London to her job as an optometrist at Specs of Kensington (pictured here with practice owner and supporter, Daska Barnett).

“I love the freedom of cycling. It is certainly a fantastic way to get around,” she added.

Cream of contact lens industry prepares for BCLA exhibition

April 2012

More than 45 companies representing the cream of the global contact lens industry are preparing to welcome some 1,000 visitors to the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition at the ICC Birmingham (24-27 May).

From Patron Sponsor CIBA Vision’s newly-combined family of Dailies, Air Optix and Opti-Free products, to Platinum Sponsor Bausch + Lomb’s new PureVision2 for Astigmatism with High Definition Optics – there’ll be plenty to see, learn and discuss during the three-day exhibition from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 May.

As always, entry to the exhibition is free and open to non-delegates as well as delegates registered for the four-day Clinical Conference. Doors will open at 8.30am on the Friday and Saturday, with free coffee and pastries being served, and 10am on the Sunday. The exhibition will close at 6pm on the Friday and Saturday, and 2.30pm on the Sunday. Lunch and tea/coffee will also be served to registered delegates in the exhibition hall.

Showcasing its products on the main conference programme and hosting the Friday evening party and dinner will be Patron Sponsor Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. The event starts at 6.45pm and later delegates will hear from inspirational speaker, Miles Hilton-Barber, who has achieved multiple world records since becoming blind in his early 20s.

CooperVision is also a Platinum Sponsor, while Abbott Medical Optics, Optometry Today, Sauflon and Topcon are Gold Sponsors. This year’s Premium Exhibitors are DTCL/Menicon Holdings, the Mentholatum Company, Spectrum Théa Pharmaceuticals and UltraVision. All sponsors will present their latest products within the main programme.

Nikon Optical are once again supporting the photographic competition, while Elsevier Science will provide prizes for the poster competition. Poster sessions will be held in the exhibition area, where all lunches and refreshments will be served.

Following its successful introduction last year, the BCLA Exhibitors’ Pavilion will be back – extending industry connections via free, half-hourly presentations within the exhibition hall. The sessions will begin at 10.30am each day, with many repeated to ensure that delegates attending parallel lectures and workshops don’t miss out. A timetable will be available on the BCLA website soon.

Commenting on this year’s exhibition, BCLA President, Shelly Bansal, said: “Today’s contact lens industry is extremely fast-paced and, consequently, practitioners need to keep pace with the latest products and developments that will enable them to offer their patients the very best eyecare possible. There is arguably no better place to do this than at the BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition. As the exhibition is free and open to all, there’s no reason why the whole practice team can’t benefit from attending.”

A full list of exhibitors can be found on the BCLA website,, along with the latest four-day programme. For registration and hotel bookings, visit the website, email or call 0207 580 6661. Remember – BCLA members save more than £100 on the full delegate package.

The size of the United Kingdom (UK) contact lens market in 2011 was £231.1 million

April 2012

Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM) provides statistics showing growth of around 2% from 2010.

The market was made up of the sale of over 583 million contact lenses. Market value comprised daily disposables (58%), soft frequent replacement lenses (8%), silicone hydrogels (28%), soft traditional lenses (2%) and rigid lenses (5%).

The number of people using silicone hydrogel lenses has increased by 10% in the last 12 months with these lenses now worn by 1.3 million people. In total there are 3.7 million contact lens wearers in the UK which represents 7.5% of the adult population.

Technological developments continue to come on-stream, making contact lenses more suitable than ever for presbyopes. Even in these economically challenging times their popularity with wearers remains strong and they offer the best opportunity for business growth to eye care practitioners. Contact lens wearers invariably remain loyal to their practitioner for aftercare. Click here to download full PDF report.

Brulimar Drives Business in Eastern Europe With Primavision Deal

April 2012

Brulimar Optical Group, the UK’s largest designer and manufacturer of eyewear, announces a new distribution deal with Primavision that will see its best-selling Bench, Lee Cooper and Pineapple eyewear frames launch into new Eastern European territories.

The partnership means three of Brulimar’s most popular British brands for both adults and children will be available to optical retailers in Poland and the Ukraine for the first time.

All three brands are among some of the most well-loved urban fashion labels in Europe, each with a strong heritage and unique personality. Managing director, Howard Librae, is confident that the brands’ latest collections will be warmly received in the two new countries:

“Brulimar has made its name through translating iconic British lifestyle brands into frames as aspirational as the labels themselves – which is why each collection has experienced such phenomenal success. We are excited to be bringing the latest collections and styles to Poland and the Ukraine and we predict strong sales in each territory.”

“This deal with Primavision is an important milestone for Brulimar as we continuously seek opportunities to expand our business and presence in new European territories,” he adds.

UltraVision announces its plans for the 2012 BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition

April 2012

UltraVision plans to showcase KeraSoft IC for Irregular Corneas and Keratoconus and a new Cosmetic & Prosthetic range; as well as their lathe-cut SiH range of contact lenses for Hospitals and High Street Practices.

The company will also be taking part in the Exhibitors’ Pavilion at the following times; Friday 25th May at 1.30 p.m. and Sunday 27th May at 11.00 a.m. and will be presenting its Premium Exhibitors’ Showcase on Thursday 24th May at 4.00 p.m. Keratoconus expert Lynn White will be discussing the use of KeraSoft IC in conjunction with Corneal Collagen Cross Linking (CXL) on Thursday and Friday. Josie Barlow will introduce UltraVision’s new Cosmetic & Prosthetic range to delegates on Sunday.

The annual BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition is arguably the world’s premier meeting for the contact lens industry and profession. Offering more than 50 CET points through a wide selection of lectures and workshops, the event regularly attracts more than 1,000 registered delegates. The accompanying three-day exhibition is the largest of its kind in the UK and is FREE to attend for delegates and non-delegates alike.

“UltraVision has been involved with the BCLA Conference and Exhibition for many years and every year we are delighted to see a marked increase in delegates. We are looking forward to another busy exhibition in a new venue and to introducing UltraVision’s products to new delegates and reconnecting with returning delegates,” said Gill Narramore, Group Operations Manager.

UltraVision can be found on the BCLA exhibition floor at Stand 31 from Friday 25 May to Sunday 27 May.

College sponsors visas for international students

April 2012

The College of Optometrists has today announced its intention to become a sponsor for migrant pre-registration trainee optometrists.

As a result of changes implemented by the UK Border Agency, non EEA international students studying optometry at universities in the UK will be unable to complete their pre-registration period once they have graduated. The changes, which will affect current final year international students, will demand that on graduation, an overseas student returns to their country rather than seeking employment in the UK. This means they would not be allowed to complete their studies and join the College's Scheme for Registration.

The College will be applying for a licence from the UK Border Agency to be able to issue Certificates of Sponsorship under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange).

Jackie Martin, Director of Education at the College comments, "In our discussions with UK universities, it became clear that an urgent solution was needed to mitigate the impact of recent changes to the UK Border Agency rules. With the support of British Universities Committee of Optometry (BUCO), Universities UK and the Department of Health, we are pleased to be able to provide a solution.”

Jim Gilchrist, Chair of BUCO added, “Optometry education in the UK is highly regarded. Many international students graduate from UK optometry courses every year, and they are excellent ambassadors for the universities and the profession. BUCO has been working closely with the College on this issue in recent months and the decision of the College to take on this role to support students and protect the international position of UK optometric education is very welcome.”

Mandie Lavin appointed permanent GOC director of regulation

April 2012

Mandie Lavin has been appointed as the General Optical Council’s (GOC) permanent director of regulation.

Mandie joined the GOC in October 2011, taking on the role in an interim capacity.

Mandie Lavin, General Optical CouncilMandie said, “I am delighted to be joining the GOC on a permanent basis at this exciting time. The Law Commission review gives us and our stakeholders a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of optical regulation. I’m also looking forward to overseeing the introduction of the forthcoming changes to our Fitness to Practise Rules and of enhanced CET. Both of these changes will be of huge benefit to both patients and registrants.”

GOC chief executive and registrar, Samantha Peters added, “Mandie brings tremendous breadth and depth of experience to this role. Her substantial expertise and track record of achievement, make her ideally suited to lead our strategy of modernisation and regulatory reform during a time of such challenge and change for healthcare regulators.”

Mandie has held a number of senior positions in the legal profession, regulated healthcare and standards-setting organisations. Her experience includes chairing regulatory panels and she was previously the Director of the Bar Standards Board and the Director of Fitness to Practise and Legal Affairs at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

She spent three years in financial regulation at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and prior to that was the Director of Fitness to Practise at the UKCC, the predecessor body to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust (GETT) buys two OCTs

April 2012

Thanks to the generosity of Friends and local people GETT have been able to purchase two Topcon OCT-2000 50K 3D Scanner machines at a cost of £86,450.00. These machines are for use in Gloucester and Cheltenham and Professor Scanlon reports on their importance.

The high-tech scanner, which produces a detailed 3D image of the back of the eye, has pride of place in both Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals thanks to Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust (GETT) providing nearly £90,000.

Dr Peter Scanlon, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Gloucestershire Eye Unit tells the story since 2007, when a new laser came on the market that showed the potential to cause much less discomfort for patients than previous lasers and to be much quicker to use.

He says” I was allowed by the company to have a machine for 2 weeks and many patients who I had treated for years commented on how much more comfortable it was than their previous experiences. The Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust purchased this laser for the Gloucestershire patients.

I was one of the first consultants in the country to have use of this type of laser machine and this has been true for myself and my colleagues on many occasions over the years that we have been able to use the most advanced technology because of the hard work of the members of the Gloucestershire Eye Therapy trust and the generous support of their friends and the people of Gloucestershire.

Professor Andy McNaught and I presented at a Gloucestershire Research Seminar last Friday and it was very heartening to hear that, as a department, Ophthalmology was the most well represented of all the Gloucestershire Departments in research and leading edge developments of service delivery. Both Professor McNaught and I commented in our presentations that the support of the Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust had been integral to what we had been able to provide in Gloucestershire for our patients.

My latest interest has been in trying to provide technician led clinics using modern optical Coherence Tomography in the assessment and monitoring of patients with diabetic macular oedema. It is an imaging technique that interprets the "time of flight" and intensity of reflected optical waves using interferometry. The Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust has agreed to support the development of these clinics by raising £86,450.00 for two of these Topcon OCT-2000 50K 3D Scanner machines, one for us to use at Cheltenham General Hospital, and the other for use at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

"There are about three departments in the country using the machine in this way at this present time for people with diabetes."

The fact they are up and running in their own clinics, outside hospital clinics, means patients can get a scan, and the results, much faster. The machines will be used on about 1,500 patients a year at Cheltenham and Gloucester.”

LOCSU publishes new Optical Pathway on Learning Disabilities

April 2012

New LOCSU Community Eye Care Pathway for Adults and Young People with Learning Disabilities

Recognising the need to improve access to good eye care services, the new Community Eye Care Pathway for Adults and Young People with Learning Disabilities has been developed by the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU).

The Pathway has been developed in conjunction with two leading charities, Mencap and SeeAbility to ensure that it reflects the needs of people with learning disabilities, and is based on established successful learning disability services provided by community optometrists in a number of areas in England.

If you are a registered LOC member login to the LOCSU secure area to find out more. If you're not registered click here for free registration.

Ambassadors “Skirt with Science” to promote ‘careers in optics’ to teenage girls in Solihull

April 2012

Dispensing Optician, Simone Mason from Eyesite Eyecare Centres, Coventry teamed up with Optometrist Susan Bowers from Susan R Bowers, Coventry to take part in their FIRST ‘new dimension’ workshop since their training to become ‘ambassadors’ for the ‘Careers in Optics’ initiative.

The event was held in Solihull at Light Hall School, and was organised by the Soroptimist International (an organisation for career women) Solihull & District and Solihull Council.

The event was organised to introduce teenage girls to enthusiastic scientists, to open the eyes of these young people to the exciting career opportunities available when taking science subjects for their GCSE’s.

The ‘New Dimension in optics’ workshops combined scientific theory, optical illusions and Interview Role-Plays and Susan and Simone were on hand to share their experiences and knowledge in a question and answer session.

What did the students think?

The girls were given a pre-questionnaire and a post-questionnaire to fill out to compare what they knew of optometry and optics before the session to that of their knowledge after the session.
84% of the girls had been for an eye examination and of the sample 15% answered ‘don’t know’ to the question: List three words that you’d associate with a career in optometry. After the session – the same question was asked and the results showed 100% of the girls answering three words they would associate with a career in optometry.

The session obviously had an impact. The girls definitely enjoyed the session with 94% stating it was ‘fun and engaging’ in the questionnaire. Encouragingly, more than ¾ were considering their career options. Following the workshop, more than half said they would recommend optometry and optics as a career choice.

These results are consistent with the pilot studies that have been conducted.

The students were enjoying the sessions so much, but as the workshop was time constrained – they often had to be ‘dragged away’ before they had completed the ‘zone’. The most appreciated topics are depicted by graph below.

LOCSU is recruiting for the next stage of its Optical Leads Project

April 2012

The potential to increase the number of local eye care services commissioned by the NHS in England is significant and Local Optical Committees (LOCs) have expressed a need for hands-on support from professionally trained negotiators in writing and presenting business cases to local commissioners.

For 2012-14, LOCSU is seeking to appoint six Optical Leads whose role will be primarily focussed on working with and on behalf of LOCs to maximise the opportunities to expand local eye care services.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate a good understanding of the optical sector and have a real passion for developing services and negotiating with commissioners. A commitment of at least 8 days per month is required. Appointments will be made on a fixed term contract basis. More details, including role description, person specification and application forms are available from

Deadline for applications is Friday 20th April, 2012.

BCLA Council candidates seek your votes

April 2012

BCLA asks if you have you turned in your ballot paper for the BCLA Council elections?

There are three vacancies to be filled – two Contact Lens Optician Representatives and one Technical Representative. The CLO Representative candidates are Martin Conway, Ian May, Nichola Menzel and Keith Tempany, while the Technical Representative candidates are Maxine Green and Simon Wardle. They are all hoping for your votes.

Paid-up members will have received a ballot paper in the post last month, to be returned no later than 27 April. If you have mislaid your copy, please email

The results of the elections will be announced at the BCLA AGM, to be held at the ICC Birmingham at 6pm on 25 May. All BCLA members are invited to attend the AGM, whether they are attending the Clinical Conference

NICE Guidance on OHT Monitoring

April 2012

LOCSU’s Clinical Advisory Group announces its success in working with NICE to achieve clarification of the role optometrists can play in monitoring people who are at risk of developing glaucoma.

The recently updated guidance on the commissioning of services for people at risk of developing glaucoma issued by NICE, confirms that optometrists in the community with basic (LOCSU) accreditation can monitor patients with ocular hypertension (OHT), including those on treatment.

This helpful clarification from NICE provides an opportunity for LOCs and ROCs to contact commissioners to discuss implementing a local service for monitoring people with ocular hypertension (OHT) and people with suspected chronic open angle glaucoma (COAG).

Supervision (which might be remote) or higher qualifications will be required for monitoring patients with diagnosed COAG.

LOCSU says its Clinical Advisory Group will be working with other stakeholders to develop a pathway for monitoring people with stable glaucoma to add to LOCSU’s resources.

New Chair for U.K. Optometry Giving Sight

April 2012

Optometry Giving Sight is delighted to announce that Nick Rumney, Managing Director of BBR Optometry, has joined the UK National Committee as Chair. He replaces Bob Hughes, who stepped down in December.

“Nick has been a long-term supporter of the charity, and was officially the first regular donor in the UK when it was founded,” said Donna Power, UK Country Manager. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role and has so much energy and passion towards the work we do.”

Nick Rumney, Optometry Giving SightNick is a regular speaker, founder member of the European Academy of Optometry and Optics, and a fellow of the College of Optometrists, the American Academy of Optometry, and the British Contact Lens Association. He is also a research fellow at Aston University and Visiting Lecturer at Manchester.

“I am passionate about practical clinical education in the world of optics as well as having an avowed international view, so OGS dovetails perfectly,” he said.

“I have always been impressed by Optometry Giving Sight’s role in mobilising resources from our profession in order to develop people as optometrists and opticians in under-served communities.”

“Optometry Giving Sight is having a huge impact on the lives of people with refractive error blindness and low vision and I very much look forward to working with the UK management team and the National Committee to help grow and develop the organisation.”

Other members of the charity’s National Committee include: Roger Lopez, Managing Director UK & Ireland of Alcon Vision Care (CIBA VISION); David Cartwright, Professional Services Director of Boots Opticians; Michael Potter, Marketing Manager at The Association of British Dispensing Opticians; Imran Hakim, CEO of Hakim Group; Brian Tompkins, Partner at Tompkins, Knight & Son; Louise Walpole, Manager of Optometry Today; Andy Hepworth, Professional Relations Manager at Essilor; and Tim Bowden, Partner at Bowden and Lowe.

Spectacle Makers support London homeless centre

April 2012

Vision Care for Homeless People, the UK charity which helps the dispossessed to better sight, has just received a tremendous boost with an £8,000 donation from the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.

The funds will be used to meet the running costs of the opticians’ practice which operates within the Crisis centre in Whitechapel, East London and to facilitate another day’s clinics each week.

As Harinder Paul, the optometrist charity founder, explained, “We are a very lean charity thanks to the tremendous generosity of the volunteer optometrists and dispensing opticians who give their time so freely. The lens companies, glazing labs, frame providers and diagnostic technology specialists are tremendously supportive but we still have some overheads in terms of premises and this wonderful cheque goes a long way in meeting those. Our own optical City Livery Company connecting with a charity which is so close to home is particularly pertinent.”

Harinder Paul is pictured receiving the donation the SMC Master, Professor John Marshall, at Apothecaries’ Hall, London.

Rodenstock UK increases delivery performance

April 2012

Rodenstock UK customers have seen improved delivery times during the first quarter of 2012, receiving orders 24 hours earlier.

The improvement in delivery performance is a result of introducing SAP computer software which oversees the entire ordering process, providing a more streamlined and efficient way of working.

Transportation route optimisation and better work schedules have also helped develop service levels, as well as a considerable increase in finished stock ranges for coated lenses.

Last year saw a number of developments within the customer service team, including FMO training to enable staff to deal with queries swiftly and accurately.

Andrew Cobbold, Production Director, said: “Due to the considerable efforts made during 2011, our customers are now reporting best-ever service levels. With further improvements planned for this year, opticians will continue to experience an enhanced customer service which complements the quality of our product portfolio.”

GOC removes 221 registrants over failure to apply for retention

April 2012

The General Optical Council (GOC) has removed 195 practitioners and 26 bodies corporate from its registers for failing to apply for 2012-13 retention – just 1% of the registers.

Ninety-three optometrists and 102 dispensing opticians were removed after missing the second deadline of 31 March. It is now illegal for them to continue practising in the UK.

Philip Hallam, GOC head of registration, said: “This year, as in previous years, the vast majority of our registrants applied for retention on time. This underlines to both the public and the optical professions that our registrants understand the importance of GOC registration and the responsibilities that come with it. Only a small number failed to apply on time, and they have now left themselves unable to practise until they restore to our registers.”

In total, 96.8% of registrants renewing their registration used the MyGOC online retention system, an increase from 94.8% last year. Philip Hallam added, “The MyGOC system has made it quicker and easier than ever before to apply for GOC retention. Registrants should remember they can log in throughout the year to download a payment receipt, update their contact details or download a personalised logo to display their GOC registration to patients.”

Bodies corporate were able to renew their registration online for the first time this year. The system was introduced for individual registrants last year.

Any individual or business registrants who have been removed, but who wish to continue practising, must restore to the registers immediately. Applicants must complete the restoration form and pay the restoration fee of £330. Individual practitioners must also provide evidence of having completed the required minimum of CET in the past 12 months. Restoration forms are available from

Individuals who are not registered with the GOC but who continue to practise as dispensing opticians or optometrists in the UK are breaking the law. Bodies corporate not on the registers may not use or associate any of the protected titles with their company names.

VAO creates new website with new URL

April 2012

After a great deal of planning and redesigning, the Vision Aid Overseas team announce that they have created a brand new website complete with a new URL –

Here you can learn about the work of VAO, offer help for projects, donate to the registered charity and find out how to recycle your old specs.

You will find VAO amongst our key charity links both on our public and professional sites.

BCLA is gearing up for innovative celebrations

April 2012

More than 45 leading companies are lining up to celebrate their latest innovations with you at this year's BCLA exhibition. The largest event of its kind to take place in the UK, this year's exhibition will be staged from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 May within the excellent facilities of the ICC Birmingham. To see who will be there to welcome you, revisit their website

As always, entry to the exhibition is open to non-delegates as well as registered delegates and is free of charge. The exhibition will open at 8.30am on 25 and 26 May, and 10am on 27 May, with free coffee and pastries being served. This will give delegates ample time to look around and meet with industry representatives before heading into lectures. Doors will close at 6pm on the Friday and Saturday, and 2.30pm on the Sunday.

CET and COPE accreditation is also confirmed

April 2012

• 20 sessions with up to 24 CET points available plus 22 CET points available at workshops
• 11 sessions with COPE accreditation

UK and overseas delegates will be offered an exceptional level of accredited continuing education at the 36th British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition in May.

Alan TomlinsonEight hours of continuing education have already received COPE (USA) accreditation, with a further 4.5 hours pending approval. All CET workshops have been approved for a total of 22.5 CET points, and clinical lectures will provide up to 24.5 CET points for contact lens opticians, optometrists and dispensing opticians.

“Continuing education is about so much more than satisfying our statutory requirements,” said BCLA President, Shelly Bansal. “It’s about professional and personal development, skills enhancement and ensuring that we are giving our patients the best possible clinical care and service that we possibly can. Whether applying for CET points, COPE hours or neither, all delegates will leave this year’s conference better equipped for new professional challenges and opportunities.”

More than 1,000 delegates from across the globe are expected to participate in this year’s conference, which takes place for the first time at the internationally renowned ICC Birmingham, UK, from 24-27 May. The BCLA conference is one of the only UK events to offer COPE-accredited continuing education. COPE-accredited sessions this year include:

• Clinical Spotlight: ‘Therapeutic management of the red eye’ with Professor Jan Bergmanson and William Miller
• BCLA Medal Lecture: ‘Dry eye in contact lens wear’ with Professor Alan Tomlinson
• Myopia Management Session: with Professor Brien Holden and Drs Jeff Walline, Tom Aller and Padmaja Sandrikurg
• Conference Session: ‘Taming torics and attacking astigmatism’ with Professors Mark Andre and Patrick Caroline
• Keynote Session: ‘Anterior eye and nutrition’ with Dr Stuart Richer

There are expected to be up to 24.5 CET points available to contact lens opticians, dispensing opticians and optometrists this year through lectures and presentations. In addition, there are six CET workshops offering three CET points each, and one offering 1.5 CET points. To download the latest conference programme and to register, please visit

Rodenstock Wins International Design Award

April 2012

Rodenstock has won an international design award for its state-of-the-art ImpressionIST 3 dispensing system, being launched in the UK in April.

The coveted iF Product Design Award was granted to Rodenstock by an expert panel of judges from design, industry and education, who praised the level of innovation, functionality, workmanship and design.

ImpressionIST 3 is a high precision instrument that boasts an easy-to-use 3D video centring system, enabling dispensing opticians to measure client’s eyewear accurately and quickly, without the need for a measuring attachment.

The iF label is considered to be one of the most important seals of quality for outstanding design worldwide, and the awards have been established since 1953.

Debbie Bathgate, Rodenstock Lens Product Manager, said: “This international award further cements our belief that this is an exceptional product that offers many benefits – from increased sales to enhanced consulting experiences for patients. The sleek, contemporary design is modern and appealing and helps reinforce messages of expertise and professionalism in practices.”

The ImpressionIST 3 project team recently accepted the award at a ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The product’s official UK launch at the Science Museum in London on Monday April 16, will include exclusive after-hours access to the museum and live demonstrations.

FMO updates its communications

April 2012

The FMO is working to become more IT focused in communication with members and is keen to ensure that the right people in each organisation receive news of forthcoming events, changes to optical standards, and industry updates.

FMO Chief Executive, Malcolm Polley, explained “This is by far the most efficient, and economical, way to communicate with our members and we can target specific information more effectively to those in our Frame, Lens and Equipment Focus Groups.

The request for up-to-date email addresses is also open to those who would like to keep abreast of developments within The FMO. Understandably, the longstanding register of Optical Bad Payers’, which we produce each month under licence from The Office of Fair Trading, will remain as a paper-only document, mailed to those members who contribute.”

iPad App Succeeds in Up-selling Premium Lenses

April 2012

Just three weeks after investing in the new Hoya Vision Consultant Dispensing App for the iPad more than 15 patients have opted for superior lenses at one Nottingham independent.

Bringing the different visual effects of lens options to life, the App allows the benefits of premium lenses to be instantly visible, as Kevin Wood FBDO CL, Partner in Stephen Donald Eyewear, explained, “People who have never worn varifocals before don’t understand about distortion, and so we are able to demonstrate this in a very tangible way. Showing the different qualities of varifocal options has led to a great up-selling of premium lenses as patients can clearly see what they are getting – before we were trying to explain the options by scribbling on pieces of paper. Now we can easily adjust the lens power and addition to represent the patient’s prescription.”

The Hoya App, which can be purchased for £95 from the Apple App Store, has very visual demonstrations of the designs of Hoya progressives, Indoor lens options, single vision and polarised lenses in grey, brown and green. “The Indoor lenses are a concept that is new to many people, and computer users, particularly, appreciate the difference that the iPad shows,” added Kevin.

The benefit of Hoya’s premium coatings are also brought to life with realistic demonstrations of glare reduction, contrast improvement and clarity. “It really is the ultimate up-selling tool,” added Kevin.

The practice iPad, which is securely tethered on a log lead within the City centre practice, is also used to take photos of customers in their suggested new frames.We then email the pictures to the patient at home so that they can show their families and friends, it is a very good selling point as many patients love the use of technology.”

Optical Confederation provides Employment Update for Youth Contract

April 2012

The Government has announced a jobs programme to get more young people into work. The Youth Contract will commence on 2 April 2012 with backing from the CBI, as a central plank of the Government’s growth strategy. A £1 billion package of government subsidies is available to encourage employers to train and hire 18-24 year olds.

Youth Contract - Key Initiatives

The Youth Contract updates a series of initiatives including work academies, employer incentives (up to £2,275 for full time roles lasting at least 26 weeks), and apprenticeships. Further information about the range of opportunities is available here:

Incentives for Employers

As above, incentives are available for registered employers through the Work Programme, which provides tailored support for claimants who need help to find a job. The programme also supports young people to overcome barriers that prevent them from finding and staying in work. For further information about registration for the programme, please visit:


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