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Optical News - July - September 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.

College Calls for Student Reps

Norville Opticians Recognises World Sight Day and Takes the Challenge

Bigger and Better Vision Arena Conference in London and Manchester

OCUCO User Group Event Announced

Obituary – Elzbieta Danielewicz

Hutchinson Hails Annual GP Forum Event

Master of Spectacle Makers Provides Speech for Annual GP Section Dinner

Rodenstock Concept Shop Will Boots Sales for Opticians

Brits Urged to Take Eye Health Seriously

BCLA Asks for Nominations for Prestigious BCLA Awards

Rodenstock Looking to Reward Optician Displays

Shamir Olympic Winners Announced

Vision Arena Conference Announced

Spectacle Makers Visit Highland Games

Essilor Becomes Official Silver Sponsor of OGS

College Provides New Children's Eyecare Leaflet

Countdown to World Sight Day Begins

FMO Member Tie

GOC Recruiting Education Panel Members

National Eye Health Week Launches New Toolkit

Spectrum Thea Announce New Dates for AMD Project

BCLA Issues Advice on Swimming with Contact Lenses

Contact Lens Fitting Workshops Announced

The Eye Show Forms Steering Committee

Christmas Support Sought by Homeless Charity

Brulimar Launches Dedicated Bench Eyewear Website

BUPA cataract patients given new choice to visit Optical Express

Thrilling Evening at the Olympics for Rodenstock Customers

WCO to Award Optoms

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Template Launched for Eye Health

BCLA Journal CLAE Ranked Amongst Best

Essilor to Reward Top Fundraiser

College Sets Sights on International Markets

New Website from Rodenstock

BCLA President to Address Contact Lenses and Driving

College Funds News Research into AMD

Silhouette Premier Points 2012

Impressionist 3 Takes to the Road

Heatwave Advice

Optical Confederation's Cautious Welcome for the "Power of Information"

Physiotherapists and Podiatrists Set to Gain Prescribing Powers

New Regulations on Entry to NHS Pharmaceutical Market

New Care Objectives for Improving Health and Healthcare

Common Medicines Dictionary Approved

Bausch and Lomb Survey Shows Awareness of Vision Problems

RSA Rolls Out Specsavers Provided Eyecare Scheme

Event Marketing Professionals Join The Eye Show Team

College of Optometrists Commits £200K to New Research

BCLA Seek CET Workshop Presenters

Student Retention Deadline Passed

Department of Health Announces Sight Test Fees and CET Grant Payments

Survey Demonstrates Increased Interest in Sports Lenses

CIBA Vision Supports Irish Contact Lens Society

OGS Launches 2012 World Sight Day Challenge

FMO Reacts to New Optical Exhibition

New BCLA Member Resource Addresses Compliance

Chicago Conference Brings Together International Optometrists

News from the GOC Council

New Eye Show Beats Space Sales Targets

WCO Announces International Optometrist of the Year

CLO Joins BCLA Faculty of Speakers

Rodenstock Riding High for British Heart Foundation

GOC Praised

September 2012

The College of Optometrists is looking for two second year optometry students from each university which offers optometry courses to form part of its first-ever student representatives programme.

Successful applicants will become College representatives in their respective universities and will play a key role in the College’s communication with optometry students across the country. They will be responsible for helping the College share news with students, supporting local events and contributing to the College’s social media activity. They will also be able to feed back news and views from fellow optometry students, which will influence how the College runs future events and conferences.

Ian Humphreys, from the College of Optometrists, commented: “We are excited to be launching this new programme. Optometry students are the future of our profession and we are keen to hear their views. The representatives will have the opportunity to get involved in and shape the way we communicate with students.”

Throughout September, the College will also be visiting all first and second year optometry students. First year students will be welcomed to the profession and second year students will be given practical career advice, such as how to find work placements. Students will also hear from four local practising optometrists who talk about their work in different fields of optometry, to give students a flavour of the different career paths they may choose to follow. The students will also get the opportunity to chat to the presenters and to their local Council members during networking at the end of sessions.

The roadshows will give students the chance to find out more about becoming a College of Optometrists student representative.

September 2012

A leading chain of local opticians is joining the World Sight Day challenge to help give sight to people in developing countries and underserved communities.

For the month of October Norville Opticians which has practices across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire are asking for a donation whenever they carry out an adjustment or a minor repair to someone’s spectacles. The money will help provide eye exams and glasses to children who can’t see to learn at school and adults who can’t see to provide for their families.

World Sight DayOptometry Giving Sight is a joint initiative of the World Optometry Foundation, the International Centre for Eyecare Education and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. The funds raised go towards sustainable programs that train local eye care professionals and develop vision centres which provide permanent vision care to people in desperate need.

There are 600 million people around the world who are blind or vision impaired simply due to uncorrected refractive error – that’s around ten times the population of the UK.

“World Sight Day is actually on 11th October but we are observing it for the whole of the month,” said Norville Opticians Director Adrian Street. “We have supported Optometry Giving Sight for many years and we are proud to support such a worthwhile cause. It’s easy to take our eyesight for granted here in the UK, so taking the World Sight DayChallenge is a great way to raise funds to give sight to people who don’t have access to the excellent vision care our patients do."

The company has been inspired by stories like that of Loid Sement, who is one of the students training to become an optometrist with the Mozambique Eyecare Project, supported by Optometry Giving Sight. Loid will be one of the first optometrists in her country and she is passionate about optometry because of the significant impact it can have for the people of Mozambique. “Sight is empowering. For some, access to eye care is the first step towards getting an education, or providing for your family,” she said.

Children are especially vulnerable. Providing vision correction to a school-aged child can literally transform his or her entire life. Just £3.00 can provide an eye examination and a pair of glasses in some developing countries. This alone could be enough to save someone from the injustices of poverty. Norville Opticians invite their patients to make a donation at any of their practices during the month of October.

Optometry Giving Sight guarantees that 85% of all funds raised by optometrists and their patients go directly to programmes that give sight to those most in need. Funds raised from World Sight Day Challenge will be directed to projects in 23 countries around the world.

September 2012

Vision Arena ConferenceFollowing on from last week’s preliminary information Shamir who are leading this collaboration of companies in the industry will be delivering the Vision Arena Conferences to optical professionals on two dates in October. Shamir along with Marchon, Transitions Optical, BIB Ophthalmic Instruments, See 20/20, Optos, Performance Finance, Sauflon, MacuShield, Volt Creative and PPG will be holding court at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, on Thursday 11th October and Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, on Thursday 25th October 2012.

Each of the free to attend events will incorporate workshops and lectures from the hosting companies with the opportunity to obtain 9 CET points during the day. To add to the already exciting programme, there will be exclusive offers available from many of the partners and also an opportunity to win an all expenses paid trip to MIDO for one optical professional plus guest. [Mido International Optics, Optometry and Ophthalmology Exhibition will take place on March 2, 3, 4 2013 in Milan, Italy.]

This year’s Vision Arena conference has been developed to help enhance your business. The 2012 theme is ‘Good to Great’ which acknowledges the existing performance of your business and will help to identify product, equipment and services that can help you achieve the Gold Standard. There will be a number of exclusive offers available at each event for you to take advantage of, ensuring you are able to walk away with even more from what promises to be a hugely rewarding conference.

Following the day’s lectures and workshops, there will be the opportunity to network with your industry peers and the day’s speakers and hosts. As well as drinks and nibbles you can also take advantage of a tour of the respective stadiums at which the events are taking place.

Visit Shamir's page on this site September 2012

Ocuco announce that on the 11th and 12th of November, Ocuco will host a joint user group meeting for Acuitas and Focus customers in Dublin.

OCUCOThe objective of the event is to target development and support effort in a way that will deliver most benefit to the user community in terms of ease of use, richness of functionality and return on investment.

The event is to be held in Ocuco’s new Head Office premises in Dublin. It will give Ocuco users the opportunity to meet and interact directly with the developers, the professional services team, and other users of the applications. The forum encourages the exchange of ideas and also provides room for discussion on future requirements among peers. User-developer workshops on specific items also give developers a clearer understanding and better specifications to work from. “We are software engineers and we make great software but not without the input of our users who are the optical practitioners. With this, we can maintain the relevance and usefulness of our products,” said Leo Mac Canna, CEO.

“At Ocuco, we invest a lot in R&D and continuous improvement is one of our core values as we strive to keep our product ahead. This forum gives us an invaluable insight into market needs and our products’ usage from the people that use them every day. Previous user group meetings have proven to not only be a great success but enjoyable for all concerned,” adds David Lewis, Ocuco’s Chief Technical Officer.

September 2012

Vivacious West End optometrist, Elzbieta Danielewicz, sadly passed away on 21 August at her home in London, aged 62, as a result of pneumonia.

Having grown up in North Wales, Liz moved to London to study at City University and in the words of her sister, Marta “never left the City”.

Roger Pope, for whom she worked, spoke fondly of Liz, “I knew Liz for 35 years when she started at Keelers and our paths kept crossing over the years and she came to work for me in New Cavendish Street fifteen years ago. Prior to that, she had worked at Theodore Hamblin in Wigmore Street, at Harrods and more recently at Vision Care and Chiltern Street Opticians.

Liz was very professional and had a great ability to get on with people from all walks of life; she was vivacious with a passion for Chanel, and had a very distinctive style. As mentioned at her memorial service, Liz was never happier than when outside a top London restaurant with a glass of champagne in one hand and a cigarette in the other! She enjoyed West End life to the full and had a long list of famous patients.”

A memorial service was held for Liz on 15 September at St James’ Church, Spanish Place, London W1.

September 2012

Last week for the first time the Council for GPs and Primary Healthcare section of the Royal Society of Medicine provided a full ½ day of lectures in its annual GP CPD Forum dedicated to optometry and ophthalmology services.

Bob Hutchinson, a Council member and Fellow of the RSM constructed a course of lectures that demonstrated to the audience of mainly GPs, practice managers and some optometrists how the professions can work together in primary care.

In his opening remarks chairing the event he pointed out to the audience the shocking statistics on the number of people living in the UK with failing eyesight that could be corrected if they took up the opportunity of an eye examination and promoted to the GPs that they should council their patients to take steps to have their eyes examined. He explained that working with Opticians in the primary care sector will ease their case load and provide better access and appropriate referrals for their patients which would be the thrust of the afternoon’s lectures.

The first lecture given by Sarah Farrant an optometrist expert in chronic eye conditions explained the occurrence of Dry Eye, the reasons for its appearance and practical methods to be taken to relieve the discomfort. Statistics were provided showing that up to 63% of patients attending an optical practice had some form of lid or dry eye problem. The GPs in the audience found the presentation very helpful as secondary care has virtually given up on dealing with these problems. Sarah surprised many by demonstrating that baby shampoo is not the product for lid cleaning that it was once thought to be and indeed can still be found recommended in some old NHS literature.

This was followed by Adanna Obi a consultant from Guys & Thomas’s with a special interest in POAG. As well as describing how they triage POAG patients and ocular hypertensive referrals following the now settled NICE guidelines she also described a good working relationship the hospital had with those now able to provide enhanced services in referring the patients into the appropriate hospital clinic and in monitoring services.
Robin Hamilton. An expert ophthalmologist at Moorfield’s with a special interest in AMD and particularly in anti vegF treatments then took the audience through a complete AMD update of cause, histology, measurement and treatment. He highly praised those who had invested in OCT equipment and explained how whether for reference or diagnosis they were improving year on year. He then gave an interesting insight into the argument about the use of Lucentis v Avastin. He also in a discussion with Primary Health Net delegates later explained how a trial was being developed in areas around the UK for wet AMD sufferers who appeared stable to be sent to optometrists in the community and was interested to progress this further.

Finally the afternoon was ended with a presentation from Charles Greenwood (Director, PHN) on the development of enhanced services from PEARS to ACES and the Croydon Optometric Referral Scheme (CORS) through to the latest and broadest MECS system created through Lambeth CCG with the help of Lambeth, Southwark, and Lewisham LOC. He demonstrated the success all of these schemes have shown with detailed figures and highlighted the key important factor which was patient approval. The lecture was enhanced still further by the Commissioning Manager of Lambeth CCG explaining how the new scheme starting next month would work allowing patients from outside the Lambeth area to partake.

The audience showed a keen interest in helping to work with these schemes and a fellow GP from Somerset praised the ACES schemes in his area as being a “Godsend”.

All lectures in PDF form will be placed in our clinical briefing pages in the next few weeks.

September 2012

Following on from a very successful afternoon of ophthalmology and optometry lectures the Master was invited to provide the after dinner speech for the First Annual Dinner for GPs and Primary Health Section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

The week’s lectures were attended by many GPs so the dinner itself was attended by some who had not been able to attend the ophthalmic lectures. It was great to see a number of Optometrists in attendance as well as the Chairman of LOCSU, Alan Tinger and the Director of Operations, Katrina Venerus.

As Bob Hutchinson noted in his thank you speech, "on a day when the first ever optical lecture event for GPs had been completed who better to speak than John Marshall, a highly respected and eminent consultant ophthalmologist, and the Master of the Spectacle Makers, the livery of optometrists and dispensing opticians and whose livery coincidently share the livery premises of the Apothecaries.

John Marshall gave an informal speech that created a wonderful atmosphere amongst the audience with facts and humour that was the perfect end to a very special day.

September 2012

Rodenstock is offering its Concept Shop design to independent opticians across the UK. The eyewear manufacturer says that opticians who have already implemented the Concept Shop design report increased growth within the first year and increased sales of premium ranges.

Independent opticians can look forward to increased sales by investing in a modern makeover based on the successful Rodenstock Concept Shop, proven to boost turnover.

Rodenstock concept shopConcept Shops were developed by Rodenstock to provide an optimum environment for consulting and customer service. The entire design, from materials to layout, represents high quality, confidence and style. Concept Shops were developed following comprehensive market research with opticians, their staff and customers.

The modernisation of each practice offers patients an enhanced and welcoming experience, securing loyalty and increasing spend. The redesign allows branches to attractively present Rodenstock frames and lenses, as well as integrate other high-quality brands.

The sophisticated, glass-fronted spectacle cabinets with sliding branding screens and mirrors create intrigue and reflect the premium products on display. Customers are free to try on frames and find a style to suit them in a relaxed atmosphere.

Dietmar Rathbauer, managing director of Rodenstock UK, said: “Concept Shops have a proven track record of increasing turnover. It is important that independent opticians continue to offer customers a superior and more personalised experience than they would receive from national chains.

“Our new look combines modern design with timeless elegance and opticians who make this investment will enjoy a substantial return in terms of increased sales.”

September 2012

In a recent survey sponsored by the College of Optometrists and released this week, figures show around five million Brits can’t remember or believe it’s been more than 10 years since they had an eye exam, despite the fact more than two thirds (66%) of the population recognise that you can have a serious eye problem without realising it as there may not be any symptoms.

The College of Optometrists has joined forces with the organisers of National Eye Health Week to urge people to treat their eye health just as seriously as they would other parts of the body.

Dr Susan Blakeney, the College of Optometrists’ Clinical Adviser, said: “Eighty six per cent of people value their eyesight above any other sense and over two thirds of people wear corrective lenses of some sort. However, it often takes a big change in vision or health for people to visit an optometrist to find out what’s going on, and that may be too late to reverse any damage to sight, especially if you are in an at-risk group. Most people will probably be fine but it’s worth remembering not every eye condition has symptoms so regular check-ups, unless otherwise advised by your optometrist, are vital to maintain healthy eyes.”

Most people are recommended to go for a check-up every two years, unless otherwise advised by an optometrist. This will ensure any changes in vision or eye health are picked up early. People over the age of 40 and people of African Caribbean descent are strongly recommended to visit an optometrist at least every two years. This is because of the increased risk of developing an eye disease such as glaucoma – a sight threatening condition that does not cause symptoms initially.

The research found that of the people over 40 that hadn’t been for a sight test in the last two years, more than one in ten (14%) hadn’t booked an appointment because they didn’t think it was necessary. This was the most popular reason given by almost half (45%) of all respondents who had not been for a sight test in the last two years, followed by not being able to afford a new pair of glasses. Not having the time was cited by nearly a fifth (19%) of people.

Francesca Marchetti, Chair of National Eye Health Week said: "Many people dread the thought of losing their sight but few of us think about what we can do to keep our eyes healthy. One of the most important steps you can take to protect your sight is to get your eyes checked regularly.

"A sight test is not just to check whether you need to wear glasses it is actually a window into your overall health. An eye check can detect eye conditions which have no symptoms and other conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

"Other ways to keep your eyes healthy include quitting smoking, protecting your eyes from the sun by wearing CE marked sunglasses and eating a diet full of dark green leafy vegetables and oily fish such as salmon."

Top tips for healthy eyes from the College of Optometrists:

• Don’t forget your eyes – treat your eye health as you would any other part of your body. Most people are recommended to go for a check-up every two years, unless otherwise advised by an optometrist. Even if you think your vision is fine, some eye conditions, for example open angle glaucoma, may not show symptoms.

• Be risk aware – people of Asian or African Caribbean descent or people over 40 should go for a sight test at least every two years as they are more at risk of developing eye disease.

• Quit smoking – if you smoke, you have another good reason to kick the habit. Smoking is linked to blindness. Current smokers are four times more likely to develop macular degeneration – a progressive disease that can lead to significant sight loss – compared to past smokers or non-smokers.

• It’s all relative – talk to your relatives about your family eye health history as some eye conditions, such as glaucoma, can run in families. It’s important to think about your child’s eyes and to be aware of their vision, especially if there is a family history of lazy eye or squint or family members wore particularly strong spectacles when they were young.

• Be cool in the sun – protect your eyes when it is sunny or when you’re in high glare areas such as near snow or water. Cumulative UV exposure may damage your eyes. When choosing sunglasses make sure that they are safe as well as stylish! Look out for the CE or BS EN 1836:2005 marks – this ensures that they provide a safe level of protection from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget to also protect children’s eyes – they’re more at risk.

• Contact lens care – if you wear contact lenses make sure you look after them properly. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands before touching your contact lenses or your eyes, and only ever clean your contact lenses using the solution recommended by your optometrist. Never shower, sleep or swim with your contact lenses in because this can put you at risk of developing a serious eye infection which could lead to blindness. Also, don't wear them for longer periods than recommended by your optometrist.

• Protect your eyes – if you work with hazardous or airborne materials at work or home wear safety glasses or protective goggles to protect your eyes from injury.

• Keep fit and healthy – regular exercise is essential to stay fit and healthy but it is also important that when playing sports such as squash that you wear protective eye wear such as helmets or sports goggles to protect your eyes from a flying ball.

• Eat well – protecting your eyes starts with the food you eat. Nutrients rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamins C and E may help to prevent age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Recommended foods include green leafy vegetables and oily fish, such as salmon, and citrus fruits.

September 2012

Applications and nominations are now invited for the prestigious annual British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) research awards, by the closing date of Thursday 1 November 2012.

“The annual BCLA research awards recognise and celebrate excellence in the field of contact lens and anterior eye research,” said BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm. “They recognise both those who have had a profound affect on the field through years of outstanding achievement, and those who are just starting their careers in research. It is rewarding to see how many of the Dallos, Da Vinci and Irving Fatt award winners go on to become significant figures in the field. We look forward to receiving nominations and applications for the next round of awards.”

Introduced in 1993, the BCLA Medal Award goes to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to contact lenses. Any BCLA member may nominate a person for the Medal, which is awarded during the annual BCLA Clinical Conference. The 2012 recipient was Professor Alan Tomlinson of Glasgow Caledonian University, who presented ‘Dry eye in contact lens wear: a perennial problem?’

Judith Morris (UK) will receive the 2013 BCLA Medal at the 37th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held at Manchester Central Convention Complex, UK, from 6-9 June 2013. Nominations are now due for the 2014 Medal Award.

The £8,000 BCLA Dallos Award funds a year long project judged likely to further understanding of a topic related to contact lenses and/or the anterior eye. Dr Gurpal Singh Toor (UK) is the recipient of the 2013 Dallos Award for his project entitled, ‘Developing methods to track the migration of transplanted corneal limbal stem cells’. Applications are now due for the 2014 Dallos Award.

The BCLA Da Vinci Award recognises work by those who are not established contact lens researchers; specifically, applicants should not have published more than five papers related to the field of contact lenses and/or the anterior eye. Equally, the award may be given in recognition of a useful contribution by a member of staff within the contact lens-related manufacture and supply industry. The successful applicant receives £1,000 and a conference delegate’s package.

Each year, the BCLA invites postgraduates in the field of contact lenses and/or the anterior eye to present the annual Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture. Nominees must have completed a PhD, a post-doctoral degree or MSc in the UK within the last five years and continued with their research either in private practice, hospital practice or academia. Dr Mitra Tavakoli (UK) will present the 2013 Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture entitled, ‘Corneal confocal microscopy: beyond corneal defects. Translational studies in diabetes and neurology’. Nominations are now invited for the 2014 Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture.

September 2012

Independent opticians, who excel in their marketing efforts, including best window displays, will be celebrated in the 2012 Rodenstock Club Awards. The Awards reward independent opticians for their loyalty and support, culminating with a trip to Prague for the winners.

Practices from across the UK are competing 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 are new categories focused on marketing, including best window display, online marketing initiative and offline marketing initiative.

Dietmar Rathbauer, managing director of Rodenstock UK, said: “Our prestigious annual awards give us a chance to reward our loyal customers and thank them for their support. For the first time we are also celebrating those opticians who prove to be the best in the business when it comes to their all-important marketing skills.”

The competition period runs until 30 November, 2012 and the winning practices will be announced at a lunch 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.

September 2012

Shamir UK ltd would like to thank all participants in their recent Shamir Glacier Plus™ scratch card competition.

Shamir Prize WinnersShamir Glacier Plus is an advanced substrate matched anti-reflection coating that improves optical performance and cosmetics by providing a low reflection rate, superior hydrophobic and anti-static properties, along with superior durability. Shamir are so confident in the performance and longevity of this coating that they offer it with a lifetime guarantee.

Throughout April, May and June each Shamir lens order received which included the Glacier Plus coating was dispatched with a scratch card. Each scratch card gave the opportunity to instantly win one of several great prizes including Smart TV’s, Tablets and Capital Bond Vouchers.

Tablet Winners
Maltings Eyecare
Davies Todd Opt (Worksop) Ltd
Peter H Cowpertwait Ltd
Eye Lusions Ltd T/A Waddams Opticians
Stewart Greenberg Opticians Ltd
Carter & Harding
On Spec Optical Co Ltd
Didsbury Eyecare
Smith & Walker Opticians Ltd

Smart TV Winners
Alexander Bain & Murray Opticians
Keith Holland & Associates
C E Hall Optometrists
Anstee & Proctor Opticians
Date Opticians

In addition to the top prize winners, over £4,000.00 worth of Capital Bond Vouchers were given away to lucky scratch card winners.


Shamir UK Ltd Announce Vision Arena 2012 Conference

September 2012

Vision Arena Conference, Shamir

Shamir UK Ltd announce this years Vision Arena 2012 Conference. To be held on two separate days in London and Manchester, this is an event that last year received many accolades and this year has been aimed at providing practices with the key information that will promote their practice to stand out from the rest.

The confrenece is fully subsidised so there will be free registration and great information to build your business.


Lord's Cricket Ground, 11 October 2012

Old Trafford Stadium, 25 October 2012

Places are limited so register now at

Find out more about Shamir on this site

September 2012

Many Spectacle Makers of the Society joined in the fun in the Scottish Highlands and Cairngorms at the end of August. Staying in Ballater they enjoyed the comforts of a true Scottish welcome in the hillside with a few wee drams to warm their hearts given Braemer during their stay had the coldest August night for 40 years.

Many of the group went walking in the very scenic area most likely to get into training for 3 nights in succession in the very comfortable and fire lit lounge and bar area.

The Livery’s next Master, Gordon Jones also set his sights even higher with an assault on an undisclosed mountain peak close by.

Whether his Caber tossing would have caused a stir at the Braemar games was never tested but along with the Queen the group were entertained throughout the day which turned out to be reasonably sunny, perhaps it must have been the Royal Effect.

A trip to one of the smallest distilleries with an introduction to making and drinking single malts also capped a very social and imbibing weekend.

September 2012

Essilor has further pledged their support to help the 600 million people worldwide who are blind or vision impaired simply because they do not have access to an eye exam and a pair of glasses by becoming a Silver National Sponsor of Optometry Giving Sight.

Essilor has been a long term supporter of Optometry Giving Sight, as a regular participant of the World Sight Day Company Challenge and most recently supporting the Optometry Giving Sight popular donation box programme with an annual prize for the nation’s top performer.

"Becoming a Silver National Sponsor of Optometry Giving Sight is a natural step for us,” commented Mike Kirkley, Managing Director UK of Essilor. “This is a great opportunity for us to further make an impact and join in with the profession and make a sustainable difference to optometry in underdeveloped regions. We’ve been very impressed with the work that Optometry Giving Sight has been able to achieve and we’re very proud to become an official sponsor.”

Essilor also sponsor Optometry Giving Sight in Singapore, Australia, USA and Ireland and regularly take part in employee fundraising activities.

“We’re truly delighted to develop the partnership with Essilor in the UK as a corporate sponsor, and very thankful for their loyal commitment to helping to eliminate uncorrected refractive error” commented Donna Power, Regional Manager, Europe of Optometry Giving Sight. “They will be joining in with Essilor in other global markets that support Optometry Giving Sight, and it’s combined efforts like this that really enable us to have the level of impact that we do.”

Optometry Giving Sight funds sustainable long term programmes that provide access to vision care focused on correcting refractive error. Since 2007, 57 projects have been funded across 37 countries including Sri Lanka, East Timor, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, India, Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, Indigenous Australia and Papua New Guinea.


College provides members with new children’s eye care leaflet

September 2012

We are delighted to offers members our new children’s eye care leaflet which joins the original four leaflets and the new glaucoma leaflet announced this year. The leaflet for parents offers practical advice and guidance about their children’s eye health.

You can also order colourful children’s activity sheets, information sheets and stickers. The activity sheet, for children who cannot yet read, includes a fold-up mask, colouring-in sheet and maze, all with eye and spectacle themes. The information sheets, designed for children of primary-school age, explains the most common refractive errors in simple language, and gives clear diagrams and interesting facts about their eyes.

View and download the leaflets here:

Their eye-catching range of stickers reinforce the message that visiting the optometrist is a fun and positive activity, and will help spread the word about eye health wherever they are worn.

College UK practising members can order printed versions of the leaflets and stickers by visiting

September 2012

Optometry Giving Sight is preparing for a record World Sight Day Challenge this October, with several hundred practices already signed up to help raise funds for sustainable eye care projects.

Practices are helping raise funds for programmes like the Mozambique Eyecare Project by donating £1 from every eye exam carried out during October, or joining their colleagues across the industry by making a personal or practice donation. Many practices are also involving their staff and patients by hosting a practice fundraising event and inviting patient donations throughout October.

It’s not too late for practices to register, and they will be sent a free practice kit that contains everything they need to promote their involvement to patients, including posters, balloons and a donation box.

The entire profession has already given a huge amount of support to the campaign, with the most heroic effort being displayed by a group of optometry students who are cycling over 800 miles from Plymouth to Glasgow to help raise funds. ‘Optoms Cycling for Sight’ is a student-organised sponsored cycle ride, with students Gemma Hill, Fares Hatoum and Maadhav Kothari cycling for 12 days across the UK via every mainland optometry department, and others joining in for individual legs of the journey. The students reach the finish point in Glasgow on Friday 7th September and so far, over £1,000 has been raised in sponsorship.

Cycle organiser Gemma Hill comments:

“I have been humbled by the number of donations that came in before the cycle had even started, but I hope it will continue and that the event will raise an impressive figure for the charity and show the impact that optometry students are capable of achieving within their profession.”

There are 600 million people around the world who are blind or vision impaired simply due to uncorrected refractive error – that’s more than ten times the population of the UK. The World Sight Day Challenge is a chance for the UK optometry profession to unite and help the less fortunate to have access to the same services they provide to their patients every day.

Register for the World Sight Day Challenge or make your donation at, or by calling 020 7549 2080.

In picture (l-r):
Gemma Hill and Donna Power (Regional Manager Europe, Optometry Giving Sight)

Maadhav, Fares and Gemma are the students currently cycling from Plymouth to Glasgow (finishing this Friday) via every UK optometry department as part of the sponsored 'Optoms Cycling for Sight' bike ride.

September 2012

The FMO is encouraging the “Back to Work” mood after the summer with the very first FMO tie for members of the leading industry body.

“We are an organisation which is closely followed, here in the UK and around the world, and yet our members do not have a badge of any kind. What better way to address that than with a British-made tie which is set to become a clearly recognisable symbol of the fraternity of manufacturing optics,” said FMO Chairman, John Conway.

“Not everyone wears a tie every day but on those occasions that we do what could be better for optical gatherings?”

The diagonal stripped tie, which features the FMO logo, and incorporates the colours of the three focus groups representing Frames, Lenses and Equipment – demonstrates the unity of the different functions of manufacturing optics. Available now from The FMO office, priced at £10, or £12 if posted.

September 2012

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched a recruitment drive for new members of its education visit panels.

The regulator is recruiting optometrists, dispensing opticians, ophthalmologists and lay people with a background in higher or further education to the roles.

The recruits will help the GOC to quality assure and approve qualifications leading to GOC registration – one of its four core functions as a regulator.

The GOC periodically make visits to assess optical training institutions and professional qualifying examinations. Visitors’ reports are used to determine whether to continue or withdraw approval of the training institution or professional examination.

Visitors may also make recommendations for the revision or improvement of a course or examination.

Linda Ford, GOC head of education and standards said: “The work of our visit panels is vital to our public protection remit. The panels ensure that education institutions are giving their students the best possible preparation for their careers.

“This includes talking to tutors, staff and students about the course as well as assuring that GOC core competencies are being taught and assessed. All optometry and dispensing optics students must be trained to the high standards we set and our visit panels are essential in making sure that happens.”

Applicants should have recent experience in either optical practice or further or higher education.

Visitors are not salaried but receive a daily fee. They will typically need to be available for ten days a year, plus two days for training purposes in the first year. Visits take place across the UK.

For application details, candidates should visit or contact Matthew Crawford 0207 307 3472. The closing date for applications is 17:00 on 21 September 2012.

September 2012

A free National Eye Health Week Toolkit was launched at to enable supporters to raise awareness of the importance of good eye health during the week. The toolkit includes posters, an events and media guide and eye health advice leaflets.

The third annual National Eye Health Week will take place 17 – 23 September 2012. The Week provides a unique opportunity for the eyecare sector to raise awareness of the importance of good eye health and how to take care of sight.

Francesca Marchetti, Chair of the National Eye Health Week Steering Group, said: “This free National Eye Health Week toolkit provides lots of useful resources to inspire everyone to get involved in this year's campaign.

"It includes an event and media guide as well as posters and kid's activity sheets. Download the pack now at ".

To download the free National Eye Health Week Toolkit visit For the latest updates follow National Eye Health Week on twitter @myvisionmatters or like us on

Image: Francesca Marchetti, Chair of the National Eye Health Week

September 2012

The next two dates of the series of workshops on AMD and providing specialist services have been set for the:

Marriott Hotel at Manchester Airport on Monday 24th September 2012 and Latimer Place at Chesham, Buckinghamshire on Monday 5th November 2012.
Those wishing to attend have the option to stay over the Sunday night before and enjoy a dinner for an optional additional cost of £28 per person.

BCLA issues advice on swimming with contact lenses

August 2012

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has issued advice on swimming with contact lenses in response to recent media interest.

The BCLA’s advice for contact lens wearers is to not wear contact lenses for swimming – or in hot tubs or whilst showering or participating in water sports – unless wearing tight-fitting goggles over the top. After swimming – or if lenses are removed and stored whilst swimming – contact lenses should be cleaned and disinfected in fresh solution before putting them back on the eyes.

The BCLA recommendation is that regular swimmers talk to their eyecare practitioner about being fitted with daily disposable lenses for use with goggles whilst swimming. Wearers of daily disposable contact lenses should always discard them immediately after swimming.

BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, commented: “Thankfully it is extremely rare for someone to develop an eye infection as a result of their lenses coming into contact with water ¬– and even less common for this to result in a loss of vision. However, infections of the cornea can be very serious and are most commonly associated with patients not following the instructions for lens care and wear given to them by their eyecare practitioner (ECP).

“The BCLA advises all ECPs to revisit optimum lens care habits with patients at each lens aftercare visit, and has recently produced a ‘Checklist for healthy contact lens wear’ for practitioners to complete and issue to their contact lens patients at each six-month check-up.”

August 2012

Contact lens practitioners wishing to enhance their RGP lens fitting skills and/or gain hands-on practical experience in keratoconus lens fitting should book their place on a British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) CET workshop this autumn.

Martin Conway, BCLA workshopsPresenting the workshops, over four October evenings, will be Martin Conway and Neil Cox. A qualified dispensing optician, Martin is Head of Professional Services at Contamac, and was awarded a BCLA Fellowship at this year’s BCLA Clinical Conference.

Martin’s workshops will take attendees through corneal curvature and spherical, aspheric and toric lens design. The use of keratometry and topography in initial lens selection, plus fluorescein pattern recognition and evaluation of fit, will also be covered. Martin’s advanced workshop will also explore semi scleral, scleral and keratoconus fitting techniques.

Neil Cox is Senior Optometrist at Moorfields and King’s College Hospitals, London. He is also engaged in private contact lens practice in central London.

Commenting on his workshop, Neil said: “BCLA members attending my workshops will learn how to successfully fit keratoconic patients using newly acquired and/or enhanced skills. Attendees will also gain confidence in managing their keratoconic patients, now and in the future, and in making appropriate contact lens and material recommendations.”

Approved for four contact lens CET points each (OOs and DOs), the workshops are free for BCLA members ¬and cost just £70 per workshop for non-members, online (affiliate) members and free student members*.

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

The workshop dates and venues are:

• 3 October: ‘Basic RGP fitting and material selection’ with Martin Conway, BCLA office, London
• 4 October: ‘Successful keratoconus fitting in general practice’ with Neil Cox, BCLA office, London
• 24 October: ‘Advanced RGP fitting and material selection’ with Martin Conway, BCLA office, London
• 25 October: ‘Successful keratoconus fitting in general practice’ with Neil Cox, BCLA office, London

* Those who take out full membership of the Association within one month of attending a workshop will have their fee refunded. Terms and conditions apply.

August 2012

The Eye Show, London, has formed an Industry Steering Committee to ensure that the UK’s largest annual event for the Optical Industry, taking place from 12 – 14 February 2013 at London’s ExCeL Exhibition and Conference Centre, reflects the needs and objectives of the Optical Industry, both in the UK and Internationally.

The group is made up of representatives from each sector of industry, and will meet once a month starting 30th August 2012. The Chairman of the board is to be voted in by the members during September.

Show Organiser, Dawn Kime said, “The support shown by leading figures in the industry is extremely encouraging. The committee will play an important role in ensuring The Eye Show delivers exactly what the industry needs during this first year and it will provide a vital sounding board as the show grows and develops over years to come.”

August 2012

The rewards of volunteering to help those in greatest need is the driving force behind the team of optometrists and dispensing opticians who provide the December eye care service each year for the dispossessed.

Crisis at Christmas, working with Vision Care for Homeless People, is now seeking volunteer professionals to sign up for this season’s charity work in the capital.

Longstanding volunteer optometrist, Robert Whitehead, an independent optometrist from Oundle, is already committed to this year’s eye care service –

“I have been volunteering for four years at Crisis at Christmas, plus projects for Vision Aid Overseas in Uganda, so it is good to help here and abroad. I find the two days very rewarding as we have such a mix of people who have lost their jobs and end up homeless, from all walks of life. There is great camaraderie and it is a safe environment. We have the appropriate domiciliary kit and work alongside an ophthalmologist so we can refer anything straight away – I have picked up a lot of pathology over the years. It is very worthwhile and I enjoy giving something back.”

Vision Care for Homeless People provides the optometry and dispensing services for up to 250 people each year during the festive period. Elaine Styles, Chair of the charity is urging optometrists and dispensing opticians to give up some of their free time to volunteer.

“Besides the professional time donation we are looking for a large supply of men’s ready readers, a portable slit lamp and frame cases to support dispensing sets,” she said.

August 2012

Leading eyewear designer and manufacturer Brulimar Optical Group has launched a new high-tech website for its hugely successful Bench and Bench Kids eyewear brands, two of the best-selling ranges in the UK.

Designed to capitalise on demand for the two popular ranges, the site was developed in partnership with expert ICT consultants Itonic Solutions to better handle the growing traffic for sales of the brands.

To maximise the front-end user experience, features 360° rotating images of each model, online check-out facilities and a dedicated portal for stockists to access the newest designs, prices and developments for two of Brulimar’s most in-demand collections.

Howard Librae, managing director of Brulimar Optical Group, said: “Bench has been one of our ‘hero’ brands for as long as we have held the licence, and the introduction of Bench Kids really kick-started the UK trend for fashion branded eyewear for children.

“We felt it was important to capitalise on the brands’ huge appeal, and this website has been crafted into a dedicated b2b sales platform which provides a direct channel from Brulimar to the buyer.

“We are confident that providing an accessible, branded shop window will boost online sales even further. This not just a natural step in the evolution of the Bench and Bench Kids ranges; we anticipate that more and more business will be conducted in this manner across the industry.”

BUPA cataract patients given new choice to visit Optical Express

August 2012

People with Bupa health insurance now have the option of undergoing cataract surgery at Optical Express centres around the UK.

Optical Express is one of the largest providers of ophthalmic services in the UK. If a Bupa member needs cataract surgery, they will now have the convenience of seeing a Bupa recognised ophthalmologist at one of five Optical Express surgery centres in city locations.

Cataract surgery is now one of the most common procedures in the UK, with around 350,000 operations being performed each year. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and quickest forms of surgery, with many people able to return to their usual daily routine 24 hours after the operation.

While the surgery is highly effective for treating cataracts, it is not uncommon for some patients to experience reduced vision following the procedure. Bupa members who have cataract surgery at an Optical Express centre can now benefit from the added insurance of corrective laser eye surgery1at no extra cost, saving them several hundred pounds.

Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald, Managing Director of Bupa Health and Wellbeing said, “ Bupa has been in the business of healthcare for over sixty years, and because we have no shareholders, we can invest the money we make into more and better healthcare for our members. We know that our customers want convenient, high quality, good value eye care, and our new relationship with Optical Express ensures that our members have greater choice and easier access to the treatment and care they need.”

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Optical Express, David Moulsdale said,” I am proud that Bupa has selected Optical Express to deliver cataract surgery to its insured members. Optical Express is committed to delivering quality eye care with clinical excellence and now Bupa members can benefit from exceptional quality of vision, leading to happier and healthier lives.

Optical Express has been providing quality eye care for over twenty years with a documented level of success. Customer care is at the heart of everything we do and we look forward to building a new relationship with Bupa who we know share our vision."

The statement released this week also says that Bupa insured members now also have the choice of being referred for cataract surgery by one of the 14,000 optometrists in the UK, many of whom work in high street opticians, including Optical Express. This means that Bupa members can arrange a consultation with a specialist to discuss cataract surgery without needing to see their GP first, allowing them to access treatment as quickly as possible and with minimal inconvenience.

We would welcome comment on whether this latter statement is true for all patients, GOS or private, in not keeping their GP informed of the referral? Visit our forums to discuss further.

August 2012

Leading Rodenstock customers enjoyed VIP hospitality during the Olympic volleyball tournament held in London’s Horse Guards Parade.

Some 20 guests were treated to a sumptuous three course dinner before enjoying an exciting evening of beach volleyball, where teams were competing in the quarter finals.

Dietmar Rathbauer, Managing Director at Rodenstock, said: “Our guests were thrilled to be a part of the Olympic experience and enjoyed a memorable night of volleyball. The atmosphere was truly amazing and our customers had a great time.”

August 2012

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has opened nominations to find recipients for two international awards in a bid to recognise the efforts of optometrists who have made a significant contribution to global eye and vision care.

Nominations are sought for the Distinguished Service Award and International Optometrist Award.

The Distinguished Service Award is WCO’s highest honour, and is awarded to an optometrist who has made an outstanding contribution to the achievement of WCO’s vision and mission to create a world where high quality eye health and vision care is accessible to all.

Past winners include Dr Antonio Joson Jr, Philippines (2007), and Anthony Di Stefano, USA (2006).

The International Optometrist Award (previously known as the International Optometrist of the Year Award) is given to an optometrist who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the profession worldwide.

Previous recipients of this award include Dr Tom Little, who was killed in August 2010 while leading a humanitarian health mission in Afghanistan, and Norwegian optometrist Hans Bjoern Bakketeig for his contribution to ‘Help Moldova’, a project which trains eye care professionals in the country to ensure quality care and support for those who are blind or partially sighted.

Mrs Tone Garaas-Maurdalen, WCO President, said: “These awards are a wonderful way to recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals who are improving eye and vision care around the world. These awards also give us all a chance to reflect on how far the profession has advanced so far, and is a way for WCO to show the optometric community how grateful we are to the fantastic work that is taking place around the world. There are many optometrists who make an outstanding contribution to the profession, and I urge our members to recognise their commitment by nominating them for these awards.”

Nominations can be made online at and must be received by 1 October 2012.

Recipients will be announced at the WCO General Delegates’ Meeting in Malaga, Spain, in April 2013. The meeting will take place alongside events hosted by the European Academy of Optometry and Optics, the European Council of Optometry and Optics and the Spanish General Council of Optometry.

August 2012

A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) template has been launched today to enable Health and Wellbeing Boards to better understand the eye health needs of their local populations and support effective commissioning of services. The UK Vision Strategy supported the development of the template working with a range of partners including Action for Blind People, RNIB, Visionary and the Local Optical Committee Support Unit.

The template, which is available at focuses on the four leading causes of sight loss, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.
The template outlines the relationship between eye health, sight loss and other health determinants and shows how prioritising these issues and conditions can help to meet locally identified strategic priorities, support service planning and improve service efficiency.

Eye health was recognised by the Government as a priority earlier this year when it was included in the Public Health Outcomes Framework in England following successful influencing by UK Vision Strategy partners. From April 2013, the Public Health Outcomes Framework in England will monitor the major causes of sight loss including age related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director said: "Due to demographic change, demands on eye care are predicted to rise dramatically over the next few years. By ensuring good service provision, we can reduce the impact of this both for the individual and society. This template tool will enable Health and Wellbeing Boards to address this growing need and ensure eye health is prioritised for the benefit of patients".

August 2012

Contact Lens and Anterior Eye (CLAE), the journal of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), has been awarded its first ever Impact Factor (IF) rating of 1.421 by Thomson Reuters, one of the world’s leading sources of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.

A measure of journal influence of importance to authors and readers alike, the IF (or Citation Index) reflects how many times a journal paper is cited in other publications.

CLAE was accepted by Thomson Reuters for abstracting and indexing in its SciSearch, Journal Citation Reports and Current Contents services, in June 2012 – so its IF rating means that every paper published during 2009/10 was cited 1.421 times in other papers during 2011.

CLAE Editor-in-Chief, Dr Shehzad Naroo, said: “To gain a first-time Impact Factor of 1.421 is a great achievement for CLAE. It ranks us 33 out of 56 ophthalmic journals, which for a sub-specialty journal with limited potential readership and limited field of scope is quite remarkable. Other journals have a wider reach as they may be general ophthalmology or optometry journals, so for CLAE to be ranked amongst them is fantastic.”

Published bi-monthly by Elsevier, CLAE is a research-based journal covering all aspects of contact lens theory and practice, including original articles on invention and innovations, as well as the regular features of case reports, literary reviews, editorials, instrumentation and techniques and dates of professional meetings. All BCLA members receive a free subscription, with online access also available.

Dr Catharine Chisholm, BCLA President, said: “We are extremely proud of Shehzad and the team at CLAE for this fantastic achievement. It will not only ensure a greater visibility for our journal amongst the international research community, but is another step forward in making CLAE the journal of first choice for authors wishing to publish their latest research findings on contact lenses and the anterior eye.”

August 2012

Lens company Essilor are helping Optometry Giving Sight to boost their popular donation box programme by providing a third generation ipad as a prize for the nation’s top performer. Donation box subscribers will be kept updated of their place in the fundraising league table via the charity’s quarterly donation box newsletter, with the top practice of 2012 receiving the prize from Essilor in January.Essilor has been a long term supporter of Optometry Giving Sight, and is a regular participant of the World Sight Day Company Challenge.

Andy Hepworth, Professional Services Manager of Essilor, commented: “Essilor is proud to support the donation box programme by rewarding an iPad to the highest fundraising practice. We strongly believe in the sustainable eye care projects that Optometry Giving Sight funds and we are very pleased to support their fundraising efforts".

Optometry Giving Sight funds sustainable long term programmes that provide access to vision care focused on correcting refractive error. Since 2007, 57 projects have been funded across 37 countries including Sri Lanka, East Timor, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, India, Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, Indigenous Australia and Papua New Guinea.

“We are incredibly grateful to have Essilor’s support,” commented Georgina Woolfrey, Marketing Communications Executive of Optometry Giving Sight. “Our donation box holders are our core, year-round supporters, and I’m delighted that Essilor is providing this great incentive to the programme.”

While 2012 is a year of sport for the UK, in Malawi, Mozambique and Mali it marks the graduation of the first locally trained eye care professionals from schools of optometry funded by Optometry Giving Sight.

To find out more about Optometry Giving Sight funded projects go to

August 2012

The College of Optometrists is set to develop its international relations with the appointment of María Arce-Moreira de Haagsma as Director of International Affairs.

This new post will strengthen the College’s role in engaging with the debate about international standards of education, research and practice. The College has over 580 international members from 56 different countries, and this role will ensure overseas members are supported, and the College network continues to develop. As well as developing the College’s international affairs, Maria will be responsible for driving forward the two UK-based charities for which the College provides the Secretariat; the World Council of Optometry (WCO) and the European Academy of Optometry and Optics.

Maria’s role in the European Academy will be to strengthen and develop the organisation’s growing network of eye and vision care professionals across Europe. For WCO, she will raise awareness of the need for adequate eye and vision care globally, and assist optometric organisations around the world in lobbying their governments to have the profession recognised and standardised.

Maria will also oversee the planning and organisation of Malaga 2013, an international optometric event that will incorporate the European Academy’s annual conference and WCO’s general delegates' meeting. The event, taking place in Malaga, Spain, from 18-21 April 2013, will also host the European Council of Optometry and Optics’ general assembly and the Spanish General Council of Optometry’s national conference.

Announcing the appointment, Bryony Pawinska, College Chief Executive, said: “The UK is seen as a world leader in optometric education, research and standards. To strengthen this position, we are investing in the College’s international affairs in line with our strategic objectives. Maria’s appointment will ensure that we continue to develop our key relationships around the world, influence international policy and enhance the profile of the College and UK optometry worldwide.”

She continued: “Maria brings a wealth of international expertise and experience to this new and exciting role for the College. I look forward to working with her as we develop WCO and the European Academy, and build on the College’s international membership, reputation and research networks.”

Maria’s extensive international experience makes her ideally suited to this new post. For the past 15 years she has worked on many international programmes and brings a wealth of experience from various international organisations, such as the UK-based International Forum for Rural Transport and Development (IFRTD) where she was Executive Director; International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC), based in the Netherlands, where she held the post of Executive Secretary of the Gender and Water Alliance (GWA) and Greenpeace International where Maria was National Offices Development Officer.

Maria commented: "I am delighted to be joining the College of Optometrists at this exciting time. After working passionately in international development during my entire career, I welcome the opportunity to transfer my experiences on global networking, influencing policy and coalition building to the College, European Academy and WCO.

“I look forward to working closely with the College team to strengthen the role of optometry around the world and to support the future achievements of each of these organisations."

August 2012

Rodenstock has launched a new website enabling consumers to experience its innovative range of services in an interactive way.

The website,, is a virtual world with four experience zones – self-tinting ColorMatic IQ, progressive lens system EyeLT and stylish sunwear and eyewear. Each area allows the user to see how the products work through clever graphics and interactive animations.

For example, in the sunwear section users can choose to test lenses with various tint options and see how vision is affected when looking at a mountain landscape in different seasons. When customers have experienced the range of products on offer in Rodenstock’s House of Better Vision, they are able to search for their local Rodenstock specialist optician.

John Harrup, marketing communications manager, said: “The new website is designed to be consumer-friendly and strengthens communications with users of our products. It allows people to become familiar with the quality Rodenstock brand and services and interact in a simple, intuitive manner.”

August 2012

British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, will steer through the myriad challenges and opportunities presented by contact lens wear and driving in her upcoming Presidential Address to be held on Wednesday 19 September in London.

Catharine ChisholmIn her talk, entitled ‘Life in the fast lane: contact lenses and driving’, Catharine will explore the task-specific visual demands of driving and how these affect contact lens performance. As well as this, the BCLA President will discuss visual quality in the presence of uncorrected astigmatism, toric lenses and presbyopic lens options with particular reference to mesopic lighting conditions.

The hour-long lecture, approved for one contact lens CET point, will also inform attendees about the relevant aspects of new vision standards for driving pertaining to contact lenses, and strategies to help tackle both vision and comfort issues for drivers.

Catharine commented: “Driving presents the contact lens professional with many opportunities, but also many challenges. The fast pace of development in the field of contact lenses holds much promise for the improved management of our driving patients, particularly in relation to comfort. I look forward to meeting up again with members at the RSM in September to discuss this important topic, and of course to enjoy a drink and dinner.”

The evening CET event will be held at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) at 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G, on Wednesday 19 September, and is free for BCLA members to attend along with one non-member guest each.

Drinks will be served from 6.30pm and the lecture runs from 7-8pm. Attendees are invited to join the President for dinner afterwards at the RSM, at a cost of £42 per head.

August 2012

The College of Optometrists has awarded two new Research Fellowship Awards. One of the Research Fellowships awarded by the College will provide £30,000 funding for a cutting-edge research project into Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The project, run by Matthew Cufflin, lecturer at Bradford University and member of the university’s Visual Optics Research Group, will develop the use of advanced retinal imaging to improve the understanding of how AMD develops.

Matthew said: “This award will help us to significantly develop retinal imaging capabilities by allowing us to capture high resolution images. This will help to develop new treatments for dry age-related macular degeneration and, in future studies, other retinal diseases. This study aims to learn more about the pattern of geographic atrophy progression, providing an understanding of the changes that occur throughout the condition at a time when novel treatments are being developed. I feel honoured and pleased to be chosen as one of the recipients of the College of Optometrists 2012 Research Fellowship Awards.”

The College of Optometrists has awarded the second Research Fellowship Award to Graeme Kennedy, a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University. Graeme’s research project aims to enhance the understanding of shape processing, and the effect that Glaucoma and Macular Disease have on this.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research at the College, commented: “As a College we are committed to supporting the development of optometry research. We were impressed by the calibre of all the applications and I’m confident that the research the College is funding will not only help improve the science and evidence within optometry but also lead to improvements in treatments for patients in future.”

The annual Research Fellowships Awards, introduced in 2008, are designed to provide support for post-doctoral researchers to consolidate their research skills and help their transition from post-doctoral research trainee to proven independent investigator.

August 2012

Silhouette is delighted to announce the return of the Premier Points, an incentive promotion designed to reward practices on their loyalty towards selling Silhouette eyewear.

Silhouette PointsSilhouette’s Premier Points is an opt out promotion, based on meeting an activation sales target, practices will earn 30 points for each frame sold thereafter. Points accrued can be cashed in for prizes, with winners choosing from 40 different prizes ranging from fragrances and sports equipment through to a 42” 3D flat screen TV.

Silhouette’s 2011 Premier Points saw businesses grow by as much as 90% year on year and achieve gifts for owners and their staff. Peters Opticians, Newmarket and Martin Berry Opticians in Warrington both received iPad’s for their practices after selling more than 70 frames each. Jeremy Lanaway, UK Marketing Manager of 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."

Silhouette’s Premier Points 2012 will run from the 1st August 2012 until the 31st January 2013.

August 2012

Rodenstock is giving opticians the chance to experience its state-of-the-art ImpressionIST 3 dispensing system as it embarks on a roadshow this September. The eyewear manufacturer will visit Cheltenham, Manchester and Cambridge on September 3, 5 and 7 respectively. Opticians are invited to drop in from 10am-8pm for demonstrations and to have a go at using the machine themselves.

Impressionist 3 RodenstockRoadshow venues:

• Monday September 3 – Thistle Cheltenham, Gloucester Road, GL51 0TS
• Wednesday September 5 – Ramada Manchester Salford Quays, M5 3AW
• Friday September 7 – Best Western Cambridge Quy Mill Hotel, CB25 9AF

ImpressionIST 3 boasts an easy-to-use 3D video centering system which enables dispensing opticians to measure a client’s eyewear accurately and quickly, without the need for a measuring attachment.
Portrait pictures created by the innovative 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. It also works with WinFit Reference ordering software, so the lens order is transmitted instantly and accurately.

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

July 2012

The Royal College of Physicians (RCGP) has published a factsheet based on the Heatwave Plan to provide more focused advice for GPs and their teams.

Click here for plan

July 2012

The Optical Confederation’s Information and IT Committee welcomes the publication of the Department of Health’s Information Strategy “The Power of Information” which builds on previous commitments to greater flexibility in IT solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all model.

The Optical Confederation also welcomes the proposal in The Power of Information to make large, routine public health data sets available. These will be particularly helpful where they relate to the National Eye Health Indicator in guiding commissioning plans in England.

However in responding to the White Paper, the Optical Confederation has stressed the need to build on what works and not to impose on primary care, and optical practices in particular, additional information governance requirements which are unnecessary and would add to costs without delivering benefits for patients. The Optical Confederation has four particular concerns set out below which we will raise through our national negotiators.

Collecting Additional Patient Satisfaction and Experience Data

The community optical sector already delivers over 20 million sight tests per year in a genuinely open and competitive market with very few complaints or adverse incidents. NHS contractors must already report complaints to the NHS Commissioning Board and, of course, dissatisfied patients simply go elsewhere and the practice loses income. Furthermore patients can now comment on the quality of NHS care they receive on the NHS Choices website.

We do not believe therefore that there is any need for additional bureaucratic requirements to collect additional patient satisfaction and experience data in the community optical sector.

Information governance

The Optical Confederation fully supports the principles of information governance but believes that the current NHS Information Governance Toolkit goes way beyond what is required for community optical services. All that is needed for community optical practice purposes is simple, cost-effective and secure information interchange by NHSmail. The Optical Confederation is committed to working with partners across pharmacy, the independent hospital sector and colleagues in NHSmail to bring this about.


A key issue for optics is connectivity with the rest of the NHS. Successful connectivity for community optical practice means

• easy practice-based access to NHS Choose and Book alongside NHSmail for patient referrals
• a single operating model for GOS claims and payment systems which builds on the successful Exeter system.

As a Confederation, we are keen to work with the Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board to see how this can best be achieved through existing systems and without adding unfunded burdens to optical practices.

NHS Number As Unique Identifier

Eligibility of patients attending for an NHS sight test can be ascertained by a number of criteria, one of which might be their NHS number. Some patients can readily provide this but many others cannot. The Optical Confederation would be opposed to any systems that prevent patients who need care from accessing it on the basis that they could not provide their NHS number. Other solutions would be possible, such as optical practices using the look up facility to provide NHS numbers but this would need additional funding.

Mark Nevin, Secretary of the Information and IT Committee said “there are several opportunities in the Department’s information strategy to improve patient care and public health outcomes through Information & IT. For this to happen, however, there needs to be grown-up dialogue between the optical sector, IT providers and the NHS Commissioning Board.”

Brian Carroll, Chairman of the Information & IT Committee and a member of the Optical Fees Review Committee said: “Successful implementation will enable optical practices to play their full part in the information revolution – improving the health service and outcomes both for our patients. This cannot however be achieved within the £20.70 sight test fee. We look forward to discussing with the Department of Health whether additional capital resources can be made available to support a link-up programme as in Scotland and Wales.”

The full report on the “Power of Information” is available at

Also download the DOH informatics report here.

July 2012

Patients could benefit from faster access to medicines such as pain relief and anti-inflammatories thanks to proposed new prescribing powers for advanced practitioner physiotherapists and podiatrists, Lord Howe announced today.

Once suitably trained, physiotherapists and podiatrists in the UK would be the first in the world to be able to independently prescribe medicines where clinically appropriate.

Physiotherapists would be able to prescribe medicines for issues such as chronic pain and respiratory diseases like asthma. The opportunity to prescribe pain relief and other medicines would help many patients to respond more quickly to their treatment.

Podiatrists who treat patients with a wide range of conditions including diabetic foot ulcers and arthritic disorders in the foot and ankle would be able to prescribe medication, if required, more promptly.

Health Minister Lord Howe said, ““Physiotherapists and podiatrists are highly trained clinicians who play a vital role in ensuring patients receive integrated care that helps them recover after treatment or manage a long term condition successfully. By introducing these changes, we aim to make the best use of their skills and allow patients to benefit from a faster and more effective service, without compromising on safety.”

Dr Helena Johnson, chair of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said”“Giving physiotherapists the opportunity to prescribe independently will hugely improve the care we can provide in the future. Patients will now receive a more streamlined and efficient service, meaning they get the medicines they need more immediately.”

Alison Wishart, Chair of the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists said ”Independent prescribing provides podiatrists with the opportunity to deliver more flexible services for patients – ensuring timely access to medicines, care closer to home and enabling innovation.”

The proposal to extend prescribing responsibilities follows two public consultations last year and subsequent recommendations from the Commission on Human Medicines.

Physiotherapists and podiatrists who have successfully completed Health Professions Council (HPC) approved education programmes and are annotated on the HPCregister could be prescribing independently in 2014.

July 2012

The Department of Health has published new Regulations on NHS pharmaceutical services, following consultation. Laid before parliament, the Regulations, NHS (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations Statutory Instrument SI 2012/1909, which comes into force on 1 September 2012:

 replace the current legislative system known as “control of entry”, where decisions, with certain exceptions, are based on whether it is “necessary or expedient” for a Primary Care Trust (PCT) to grant applications for entry to its NHS pharmaceutical services list, with a new regime where PCTs’ determinations are based on needs or improvements identified in the relevant PCT’s local Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA)
 introduce the concept of “unforeseen benefits” to the overall provision of services allowing applicants to demonstrate innovative ways of providing services or of delivering better health outcomes not anticipated in the PNA
 remove three of the four current exemptions to the “necessary or expedient” test – for pharmacies opening at least 100 hours per week, in designated large out-of-town shopping centres and in large one-stop primary care centres
 introduce a new performance regime for under-performing chemists, which involves a series of graduated actions that PCTs will be able to apply, with removal from the PCT’s pharmaceutical list as an ultimate sanction
 make provision for managing the transition between the current legislative system and the new arrangements.

July 2012

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley set out his new care objectives for the improvement of health and healthcare, with the publication of his draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board earlier this month.

“Our NHS care objectives: a draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board”, sets out the Health Secretary’s expectations for the health service and marks the move to a more patient centred, independent, transparent and outcomes focused NHS.

The mandate aims to;

 set care objectives that really matter to people.
 ensure that patients continue to receive high quality care every time – care that is effective, safe and results in patients having as positive an experience as possible.
 make sure that there is clear accountability and a transparent way to tell whether the Board is getting results.
 set out a clear expectation for continuous improvement across the health service.

At the heart of the care objectives are a series of standards that broadly cover the range of work the NHS does:

 Preventing premature deaths – helping people live longer
 Supporting people with a long term condition to look after themselves
 Supporting people through their recovery from episodes of ill health or injury
 Making sure that people have a positive experience of care in the NHS
 Treating people in a clean, safe, environment and protecting them from unnecessary harm.

These are standards that the Health Secretary expects to continue and improve.

The care objectives also include expectations about joining up different services around patients and carers; making the NHS more focussed on preventing illness; ensuring patients have more choices about where and how they are treated; and ensuring patients and carers are involved in decisions about care and treatment.

The Health Secretary is now seeking public feedback on the draft care objectives. The consultation period will run from 4 July to 26 September. Responses will help to inform the final care objectives, which will be published in Autumn 2012, before they officially come into force in April 2013.

Andrew Lansley said “While the NHS is great in so many ways, it can still be better. We want to help the NHS to be the best it can be. The modernisation of the NHS will help to deliver better health, better care and better value for money. In the past there has been too much focus on systems and processes rather than people. For the first time we will focus on holding the health service to account for results that make a difference to people. The future of the NHS will be based on transparency, autonomy and the deep values that have seen it through six decades of change. Parliament and the public will, like never before, be able to hold the Secretary of State and the NHS to account for what it actually does for patients. The launch of these care objectives and the consultation underlines my ambition to improve outcomes for patients and place patients right at the heart of everything the NHS does.”

July 2012

The dictionary will, it is hoped, reduce the chance of medical errors by ensuring all staff who work in the NHS and healthcare use the same common language when referring to medicines.

The Information Standards Board for Health and Social Care has approved the NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) as a fundamental standard which must be used by all staff.

All doctors, nurses and pharmacists should move towards using the common medicines dictionary so that information exchanged electronically is accurate and safe. Using a single drug terminology will enable information about patients’ medicines to transfer more effectively between different healthcare settings, reducing the risk of medication mistakes caused by human error.

The NHS dictionary of medicines and devices is already widely used in the UK for the exchange of clinical information, including the Electronic Prescription Service and for patients’ Summary Care Records.

Dr Charles Gutteridge, National Clinical Director for Informatics at the Department of Health and Medical Director, Barts and the London NHS Trust said “The adoption of dm+d is an important milestone. It will mean clearer and consistent communication throughout the NHS ensuring health professionals in all care settings can deliver a more integrated and safer healthcare system. I encourage all clinicians to accelerate their use of this common medical dictionary for the benefit of the patients we care for.”

July 2012

According to a new survey from eye-care giant Bausch + Lomb, some people would rather lose a limb or other senses before losing their eyesight - but those same people might not be taking the necessary steps to keep their eyes healthy.

B & L partnered with KRC Research to survey 11,000 consumers across Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. Almost 150 eye health specialists from 26 countries were also polled to provide a doctor's perspective into the state of consumer eye care.

The survey found that 70 percent of people would rather lose a limb or give up 10 years of their life than lose their eyesight. When polled, seven in 10 consumers also said they were somewhat or very knowledgeable about their eye health and proper eye health care; however 97 percent of doctors disagreed.

"It's critical that we expose and correct these misconceptions," Bausch + Lomb's chief medical officer Dr. Cal Roberts, said in a recent press release, "while the majority of visual impairments are preventable when caught and treated early, clearly people around the globe are not seeing the importance of basic vision care and annual eye exams."

According to Bausch + Lomb, 80 percent of visual impairment is preventative. But 44 percent of surveyed participants think they don't need an eye test unless there's a problem, and four in 10 responders said the only reason to go to an eye practitioner is to correct vision.

In the survey only 21 percent of surveyed consumers said they had regular eye exams over the past five years.

"We hope this research will be an eye opener and it will encourage people around the world to take better care of their eyes to help improve their vision and overall quality of life," said Roberts.

July 2012

The global insurer's scheme, which it piloted in May 2011 with its fleet drivers, is provided by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare and has been launched using a series of roadshows, which included vision screening, followed by advice on whether employees required a more extensive eye examination, which will be covered by Specsavers’ optical care scheme.

The scheme forms part of a larger road safety initiative by RSA called Fit to Drive, which is supported by Specsavers and road safety charity Brake.
Jon Sellors, group head of thought leadership at RSA, said: “We have been able to monitor eight offices, covering a total of 250 employees.

“We offered them an initial eye screening and we found that 20% of our employees had not done an eye test in 10 years. The initiative has been extremely successful.”

July 2012

Dawn Kime of Emergexpo, organiser of The Eye Show 2013, has finalised her team of highly experienced event marketing professionals with the appointment of Denzil Lee, Fiona Eastman and Nicky Barr.

This brand new international annual event will be held from 12 – 14 February 2013 at London’s ExCeL exhibition and conference centre.

Denzil Lee, Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, was formerly Director of Marketing at National Boat shows Ltd, responsible for marketing both the London and Southampton boat shows and the Marine Trade Show, a position he held for 11 years. Fiona Eastman was until recently Director of Marketing & Show Development for the CLA Game Fair, one of the UK’s largest consumer shows. Fiona has also promoted trade shows in her 25 years experience of event marketing. Denzil and Fiona will lead The Eye Show’s visitor marketing campaign. Nicky Barr will take on the role of Sponsorship Manager for The Eye Show. Nicky has over 15 years of exhibition sponsorship experience.

PR for The Eye Show is being managed by April Whitehead, who has extensive PR experience across a variety of consumer and B2B sectors and a network of established media contacts. April has managed exhibition PR for over 23 years working on high profile events including The Ideal Home Exhibition at Earls Court and held the role of Group Communications Manager working across international corporate PR for UBM Live, a leading international exhibition organiser.

Dawn Kime, Exhibition Director for The Eye Show, who herself has 22 years of experience in the organisation of similar events in emerging markets said, “Everyone on the team are highly experienced and knowledgeable exhibition and event professionals. Staging a professional and high profile customer focused event can only be achieved with the right staff in place and I’m totally confident that The Eye Show team members are among the best in the business.”

July 2012

The College’s Research Committee has approved eight new scholarships, to help develop the researchers of the future as well as gain valuable information to improve the science and practice of optometry.

The four postgraduate scholarships (PhDs) funded include a project led by Dr Alison Binns at Cardiff University, which will look into the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

The College has also funded four summer scholarships, which give promising optometry students an eight-week opportunity to learn about research, working on a specific project alongside experienced researchers. These include a project, led by Dr Penny D’Ath of City University, to analyse the causes and prevalence of preventable visual impairment in the homeless - a traditionally hard-to-reach group.

Dr Edward Mallen, Chair of the College’s Research Committee, said: “As a College we think it’s incredibly important to help support the advancement of research. Funding these projects will fill gaps in current research and will provide up-to-date information crucial to understanding the sector.”

The projects funded are:

Postgraduate scholarships:

• Dr Alison Binns (Cardiff University): ‘Effect on light on hypoxia and disease progression in age-related macular degeneration’
• Dr Mhairi Day (Glasgow Caledonian University): ‘Investigation of real life oculomotor responses in myopia’
• Dr Nicola Logan (Aston University): ‘Structural and functional aspects of ocular development in children’
• Professor David Whitaker (University of Bradford): ‘Evaluation of a simple test for measuring contrast sensitivity and glare’

Summer scholarships:

• Dr Penny D’Ath (City University London): ‘To analyse the causes and prevalence of preventable visual impairment in homeless population in North London’
• Dr Leon Davies (Aston University): ‘Assessing the impact of rebound tonometry probe deviation on intraocular pressure measurements in healthy human eyes’
• Dr Uma Shahani (Glasgow Caledonian University): ‘The use of multichannel near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and EEG systems to detect neurovascular coupling in the brain’
• Dr Niall Strang (Glasgow Caledonian University): ‘Internal noise in dementia’

July 2012

The facility for online submissions for CET workshops for the 2013 British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held from 6-9 June at Manchester Central Convention Complex, UK, is now available.

BCLA WorkshopsSubmissions are due by Friday 21 September 2012 – and presenters of accepted workshops must submit their CET forms and abstracts within one month of its acceptance.

Clinical workshops, usually approved for up to three contact lens CET points, allow delegates to gain new practical skills in small groups under expert guidance – and are always a popular feature of the annual conference.

“This year’s conference CET workshops were so oversubscribed that we are hoping to expand the workshops programme for 2013,” said BCLA Events Manager, Sarah Greenwood. “By increasing the number of topics and possibly running one or two topics twice, we will be well placed to offer our 2013 presenters and delegates a better experience than ever.”

2012 Clinical Conference workshop presenter, Dr Clare O’Donnell, Head of Eye Services at Optegra, said: “Presenting a CET workshop at this year’s BCLA Clinical Conference in Birmingham was a fantastic experience. The delegates were really enthusiastic and appreciative – and everyone had great fun.”

Any topic related to contact lenses and/or the anterior eye will be considered, and presenters will receive a voucher (to the value of £100) towards the cost of attending the conference for each workshop session presented. Proposals should be submitted online by Friday 21 September 2012. Presenters of accepted workshops can submit a 1,000-word handout for their workshop by 5 April 2013.

July 2012

A total of 87.6% of student optometrists and dispensing opticians applied to renew their General Optical Council (GOC) registration by the 15 July deadline.

It marks an improvement from last year’s figure of 87%, which was itself a significant improvement on 78% in 2010. 2011 was the first year that student opticians could apply using the MyGOC online system, which GOC head of registration Philip Hallam credited with the improvement.

Mr Hallam said: “These figures show that the significantly better retention rates last year were no aberration. A survey of over 100 students last year showed that the vast majority find the system quick and easy to use. This has once again helped far more students to meet this important deadline.”

A total of 548 students missed the deadline and must now pay an extra £10 late application charge on top of the £20 fee. If they have still not applied by 31 August they will be unable to continue their studies until they have restored their registration, at a cost of £40.

Philip Hallam added: “Those students who missed the deadline should remember that GOC registration is a legal requirement. Until they register they may be unable to take part in clinical training or exams and are putting their future careers at risk.”

Students with registration queries can either contact the registration team on 020 7580 3898 (option 1), email or send a tweet to @GOC_UK.


DOH announces GOS payments for NHS sight test fee, payments for continuing education and training and pre-registration supervisors grant

July 2012

NHS sight test fee & NHS domiciliary fee remain unchanged for 2012/13 since the General Ophthalmic Services Contracts (Payments) Directions 2010, was issued on 3 March 2010.

Following consultations with representatives of the professions, the Secretary of State has agreed that payments should be made in respect of continuing education and training undertaken by optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners without another medical appointment (i.e. who do no other remunerative work but the testing of sight).

The payment for 2011 is £503.

Payments will be made in respect of claims made by optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners relating to CET training undertaken during the year from 1 January to 31 December 2011.

This year the period during which optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners may make their claims will be 1 July – 31 October 2012.

A claim form is on the Department of Health website at and may be downloaded for completion and submission to PCTs.

PCTs (or their support agency) have been asked to provide optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners listed with them with a copy of the note at Annex A and a copy of the claim form.

From 1 April 2012 the allowance paid to supervisors of pre-registration trainees has increased to £3,245. Claims from trainers taking on pre-registration trainees on or after 1 April 2012 should be paid at this new rate.

July 2012

This year’s busy summer of sport provides a great opportunity for opticians to offer eyewear designed to enhance sporting performance. Says Rodenstock who have recently conducted a survey indicating that 58% of UK-wide independent opticians questioned said the number of people ordering lenses specifically for sport had increased in the last two years. The survey was based on 381 responses from independent opticians across the UK.

Debbie Bathgate, Lens Product Manager from Rodenstock, which has developed a portfolio of sports lenses, said: “We are seeing orders increase steadily year-on-year and the Olympics seem to be providing a catalyst for people taking sports seriously.”

The survey revealed that the most popular lens request was for cycling at 36%, followed by skiing and golf with just under 20% each. Other sports mentioned included running, tennis and hiking with performance cited as the most important factor.

Debbie said: “More people are realising that sports eyewear can enhance their performance. Rodenstock sports lenses are designed to be very lightweight yet strong and break-resistant. They are more curved than conventional lenses so they can hug the face for a perfect fit and minimal movement.”

She said an understanding of sports eyewear could be of great benefit to independent opticians, developing a unique selling point if they are able to establish a reputation with sports enthusiasts in their local area.

Debbie explained: “Opticians can boost sales by asking customers which sports they enjoy and explaining the benefits of sports eyewear. For instance, they could talk about red-tinted lenses giving runners enhanced natural colour perception and detail recognition and amber lenses helping golfers with their putting by improving their perception of contrast on the green.”

July 2012

CIBA VISION® recently sponsored the AGM and CET event of the Irish Contact Lens Society in Dublin bringing warm praise from the profession.

Meeting at the Alexander Hotel in the City, delegates from Ireland gained CET points thanks to CIBA VISION Professional Education Manager Krupa Patel’s presentation on Multifocal Fitting Success.

Mairead O’Leary, Irish Contact Lens Society Treasurer, was delighted with the support commenting, “It was wonderful to have our AGM and study evening sponsored by CIBA VISION, and to gain CET points. We picked the subject that we were keen to cover and Krupa tailored her presentation to our needs. Multifocal contact lenses are a big market and I think the presentation gave us a lot more confidence to be proactive and encourage patients when they are in the chair.”

Krupa, who is also a London Councillor for The College of Optometrists explained, “The presentation suggested ways that practitioners can increase patient satisfaction and practice success with fitting multifocal contact lenses. Encouraging discussion and sharing of current practice and methods to boost presbyopic contact lens fitting. We received some excellent feedback.”

CIBA VISION also highlighted the benefits of Alcon OPTI-FREE® PureMoist® Multipurpose Disinfecting Solution which provides 16 hours of moist lens wear with HydraGlyde® Moisture Matrix. This block copolymer wetting agent keeps contact lenses fresh and wettable all day even for the more dry eye-challenged eye.

July 2012

OGS invite all optical professionals; practices, companies and students to help raise funds for eye care services in communities where they do not exist. Joining in and supporting the hundreds of practitioners that are also taking part in the UK is an excellent opportunity to communicate Corporate Social Responsibility, while funding projects such as the establishment and support of vision centres and schools of optometry. OAG states that the World Sight Day Challenge is an unmissable chance to have a great time with staff and to engage with ethically-minded patients.

Georgina Woolfrey, Marketing Communications Executive at Optometry Giving Sight, explains how the World Sight Day Challenge makes a difference, “In Mozambique, there is not a single optometrist to serve their population of 20 million people. Children are especially vulnerable; providing vision correction to a school-age child can literally transform their entire life. Projects like the Mozambique Eyecare Project are training local optometrists to ensure that in time, no child in that country will be limited by poor vision. And the World Sight Day Challenge helps us fund projects like these all over the world.”

Loid Semente (pictured) is in her third year at Lúrio University in Mozambique. She is passionate about optometry because of the significant impact it can have for the people of her country. “Sight is empowering. For some people, access to eye care is the first step towards getting an education, or providing for your family.”

Practices can help raise funds for programmes like the Mozambique Eyecare Project by donating £1 from every eye exam carried out during October, or joining their colleagues across the industry by making a personal or practice donation at Many will also involve their staff and patients by hosting a practice fundraising event and inviting patient donations throughout October.

Barraclough & Stiles from the South East supported the challenge through all of their six practices as a collective approach in 2011, “Taking part has been a great opportunity for us, the staff are excited about making a difference and our patients really appreciate and support our efforts”, commented Jeremy Heynes, Managing Director of Barraclough & Stiles.

“Knowing the funds we can raise will transform lives through our day-to-day business during October is an incredible thing and we are very proud to be a part of that.”

Companies can participate by organising an internal event for employees, or introducing a product related initiative: last year, from every telephone frame order they received, William Morris London donated the equivalent of offering someone in the developing world an eye examination and pair of glasses. Several companies have already committed to raising funds for sustainable eye care through this year’s Challenge, including Alcon, CooperVision, Topcon, William Morris and Essilor.

Students can organise a fundraising event or get involved in Optoms Cycling for Sight – a sponsored student bike ride from Plymouth to Glasgow, cycling via every UK (mainland) optometry university across 12 days.

There are 600 million people around the world who are blind or vision impaired simply due to uncorrected refractive error – that’s more than ten times the population of the UK. The World Sight Day Challenge is a chance for the UK optometry profession to unite and help the less fortunate to have access to the same services they provide to their patients every day.

Register for the World Sight Day Challenge or make your donation at Practices will be sent a free practice kit that contains everything they need to promote their involvement to patients, including posters and a donation box. New for this year, practices will be recognised as a bronze, silver, gold or platinum supporter depending on the amount raised. At the end of the challenge, qualifying practices will be provided with an exclusive logo and materials to promote their charity involvement to their patients and local press.

Optometry Giving Sight guarantees that 85 percent of all donations goes directly to programmes that give sight and hope to people in need. Its funds have supported projects in more than 16 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

July 2012

This story has been removed as the original letter is now subject to a legal challenge.

July 2012

As part of its ongoing pledge to be the leading resource gateway for the contact lens community, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has produced a new patient handout for members to aid contact lens compliance.

Entitled, ‘Your Checklist for Healthy Contact Lens Wear’, the single-sided, full colour handout is based on current evidence and features a checklist of 12 key steps for healthy contact lens wear including:

• Do not use tap water, or any other water, on your lenses or lens case
• Leave your lenses off if your eyes don’t feel good, look good and see well, and consult your practitioner without delay
• Replace the lens case with a new one every month
• Avoid wearing your lenses for swimming unless using goggles (or wear single-use lenses and discard them after swimming)

The handout is designed to act as a patient education tool that optometrists and contact lens opticians can use when discussing contact lens compliance with their patients at each aftercare visit. It is ideal for use alongside the BCLA patient leaflet, ‘Looking after contact lenses’ for new wearers, which has more information and a longer list of Do’s and Don’t’s.

“Whether your contact lens patient has been wearing contact lenses for 20 years, or has just started to enjoy their many benefits, there is always a need to remind them of the basic steps that need to be taken to ensure safe and healthy vision,” said BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm.

As well as the 12 key steps, the sheet has a box where BCLA members can fill in each patient’s lens replacement frequency, recommended solution and date for next contact lens check. There is also space for a practice stamp.

Commenting on the new member resource, BCLA Fellow Professor Lyndon Jones, who is Director of the Centre for Contact Lens Research based at the University of Waterloo, Canada, said: “Non-compliance by contact lens wearers is a significant risk factor for microbial keratitis, infiltrates and discomfort. I am convinced that the use of a checklist such as the one developed by the BCLA will greatly assist its members in educating patients about the safest way to wear and care for their lenses.”

A copy of the checklist has been sent to all full BCLA members. Online (affiliate) members can also download it as a PDF from the Members’ area of the BCLA website,, under ‘Factsheets’.

July 2012

Optometrists from over 20 countries met at the World Council of Optometry’s (WCO) international conference in Chicago, USA, in June to discuss ways to develop the profession.

The conference, Advancing Optometry Worldwide, offered a unique opportunity for professionals to attend a range of sessions that compared practice, challenges and successes from around the world. The conference began with presentations on advancing optometry worldwide from developing and developed world perspectives.

Professor Kovin Naidoo offered the developing world perspective. Kovin, the Global Programs Director for the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE), pointed out that because two thirds of the world’s opthalmic population live in only 15 countries, the eye care community needs to work together to develop standardised and accredited education to increase the number of professionals in developing countries.

Dr Pete Kehoe, Board Member and Past President of the American Optometric Association, followed with the developed world perspective, giving a snapshot of the scope of practice of optometry in four countries; Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. He said: “The scope of practice expansion into medical and surgical eye care has been led by the United States and arguably serves as the model for the future of developed countries with mature or maturing optometric professions.”

“Optometrists in the developed world also have an obligation to understand the eye care needs of those in the developing world, and how we can contribute to make a difference in their lives.”  

In a presentation on supporting emerging optometry programmes Dr Luigi Bilotto, Director of Global Human Resource Development at ICEE, echoed Kovin’s call for more structured education to boost the number of professionals around the world. He said: “Conservative estimates suggest that globally nearly 50,000 optometrists would be needed to address avoidable blindness or visual impairment that is due to uncorrected refractive error; at least five times that many would be needed to respond appropriately to the visual needs of the world population.

“This timely WCO conference has provided an excellent opportunity to highlight the significant public health issue in a mainstream professional forum and promote the vital development of optometric eye care globally.”

As well as a lack of trained practitioners, uncorrected refractive error was highlighted as another major issue in the developing world. During a pre-recorded video presentation, Peter Ackland, CEO of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), reported that 10% of the world’s population – around 700million people - have a problem with vision simply because they have no access to a proper eye exam and spectacles.

Peter urged optometrists from the developed world to get involved with the IAPB’s awareness campaign to make a difference to the lives of many people around the world. He said: “This could be doing refraction and prescribing spectacles, but more sustainable and useful is building a long term relationship with some of the schools of optometry by providing lectures and training, or by using your business skills to help a vision centre ensure their model is sustainable and their finances work.”

In the developed world, eye and vision problems due to complications from diabetes are a growing problem. This was highlighted in an engaging presentation by Dr Lee Ball, Associate Director of Medical Affairs for VISTAKON, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc, who stated that complications from diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the USA.

Lee, a graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, also revealed that there were 1.9 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed in the USA every year. He explained: “Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate and optometrists play an important role in diabetes prevention in addition to safeguarding vision. Thanks to this event we had an opportunity to come together and share best practices on ways to reduce the complications and co-morbidities associated with this disease.”  

The conference programme also included a trip to the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) where delegates took part in clinical workshops or attended a lecture by Dr Len Messner, ICO’s Professor of Optometry, on the eye in neurological disease.

Mrs Tone Garaas-Maurdalen, WCO President, said: “Advancing Optometry Worldwide was a great success for WCO; we were proud to offer a programme that featured lectures from world renowned speakers and an opportunity for delegates to visit the Illinois College of Optometry, one of the profession’s leading facilities. “I am delighted that our delegates from all corners of the globe made new contacts and learnt some valuable lessons to take back to their own country.”

WCO’s next event is the General Delegates' Meeting in Malaga, Spain, from 18-21 April 2013.

The meeting will take place alongside events hosted by the European Academy of Optometry and Optics, the European Council of Optometry and Optics and the Spanish General Council of Optometry. This will give professionals from around the world the opportunity to attend several exciting events in one city to network, share and learn from each other.

Professor Kovin Naidoo, Global Programs Director, International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE)

July 2012

Quarterly review

• The chief executive’s quarterly review noted the GOC’s response to the Law Commissions consultation on the future of healthcare regulation, as well as the responses of key stakeholders.
• The Council received an update on the process of implementing the legislative change required for the GOC’s new Fitness to Practise Rules to come into effect. We anticipate that the Rules will come into effect in April 2013.
• CET approvers and providers had workshops on 18 and 19 June to prepare them for the changes to the scheme from January 2013.

Financial statements

The Council approved the GOC’s audited financial statements for 2011/12. Savings made over the year, particularly in the fitness to practise function, allowed the GOC to achieve a surplus of £0.497m. These savings helped the GOC to be able to set this year’s retention fee at the lower rate of £260.

Retention review

The Council received a review of the GOC’s retention figures for 2012/13. There was a 1.2% increase in the number of registrants applying by the 15 March deadline, and a total of 96.8% applied using the MyGOC online system. Twice as many registrants as last year completed their retention in the first week of the retention period. Online retention was introduced for body corporates for the first time, with 93% applying by this method.

Corporate performance measurements

The Council considered the KPIs by which the GOC will measure its performance over the current financial year.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 24 October 2012 at 10.30, 41 Harley Street, London, W1G 8DJ

July 2012

Dawn Kime of Emergexpo, organiser of the newly launched The Eye Show, that is scheduled to run 12 – 14 February 2013 in London’s ExCeL exhibition and conference centre, reports that the show is already ahead of its initial exhibitor sales targets. The event officially rolled out early in June 2012 with over 75 companies from both the UK and overseas quickly registering to take part.

The Eye ShowDawn says, “The demand has been so high that we secured an additional hall to complement the initially booked space. Now with this latest influx of new companies looking to exhibit we are well above our sales targets for this period of the launch. This is extremely encouraging for us; particularly as a high volume of UK reservations have come from FMO members.

Emergexpo says the exhibition has been organised as a result of industry demand and feedback, and with participation already confirmed from countries such as the UK, Korea, India, China, Dubai, France and Germany, the Eye Show 2013 will be a truly international platform on which companies can secure new business.

Exhibiting companies have welcomed the introduction of an international platform for the industry in the UK.

Chris Beal, managing director of Menrad says, “An annual global show in the UK is without a doubt an exciting development. We attend international exhibitions elsewhere so it’s refreshing to now have our own event here in the UK – and as importantly be based in London. The Eye Show will encompass many of the fashion elements of the industry which fits well with us. The optics market is evolving and it’s important for us to keep pace and be open to new opportunities.”

Harvey Dhadwar from FEI in the UK says, “An international show in London is an ideal platform to showcase our exciting brands”

The Eye Show, LondonExhibitors from Germany agree. “Cazal Eyewear is looking forward to exhibiting at The Eye Show in London next February. We are delighted to be part of this exciting first exhibition, because it presents us with the perfect opportunity to profile our company on an international stage in the UK. The concept and layout is spot on.” Says Sonja Dengler.

Alexander Uebele from AXEL S. Modebrillen GmbH in Germany says, “The Eye Show presents us with the ideal international stage in the UK. The launch of an event for our industry in London is very exciting and we are looking forward to exhibiting, networking and meeting new contacts.”

Maarten from Wildwechsel adds, “At last a new fair with power and passion - perfect for our individual glasses.”

Waterside Laboratories’ Nick Cooper also comments, “We are very excited about the launch of The Eye Show. It delivers a much needed instant international flavour to the UK industry stage. The Eye Show has come at the right time for us as we are going through a re-launch and are reviewing all our marketing activity looking for new and innovative opportunities to take our business forward. We are confident that The Eye Show, with all its exciting content and ambitious promotions will help us to achieve our publicity objectives in the short and long term!”

July 2012

Norwegian optometrist, Hans Bjoern Bakketeig, has been named the 2012 International Optometrist of the Year by the World Council of Optometry for his outstanding contribution to the profession.

Hans has worked on various humanitarian projects around the world for 17 years, with the last 11 spent helping to improve eye health in Moldova, a European country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine with a population of around 3.5million people.

Hans was nominated for this award by the Norwegian Association of Optometry for his contribution to ‘Help Moldova’, a project which is working to train eye care professionals in the country to ensure quality care and support for those who are blind or partially sighted.

It was his work with Help Moldova that convinced the IOY selection panel to present Hans with the award.

As part of the project, Hans has taught eye care professionals to use the latest diagnostic methods and treatments, and supported them by supplying much needed equipment.

This project has changed the lives of thousands of people in Moldova, and recognises the potential of individuals, rather than focusing on their visual disability.

Hans commented: “This award is very special, and I will share it with all the people who work with me and my family, who support me to do this work.

“Optometry has given me many challenges and happy moments, and I am glad to call myself an optometrist.”

Anne Norvik Jervell, Chairman of the Norwegian Association of Optometry, said: “Hans’s engagement has strengthened resources in Moldova; the result is a project which will live on and have a lasting effect in the country.”

Hans was presented with his award during Advancing Optometry Worldwide, WCO’s conference in Chicago, USA, attended by optometrists from over 20 countries.

Mrs. Tone Garaas-Maurdalen, WCO President, said: “This award is a fantastic way for the global optometric community to recognise and celebrate the achievements of individual optometrists around the world who are making an outstanding contribution to the profession. As we saw from the nominations received, there are many of our colleagues who are working hard to help improve eye and vision care around the world.

“I congratulate Hans on his amazing work and achievements; he is a deserving winner of this award.”

July 2012

Independent contact lens optician (CLO) Keith Cavaye has joined the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Faculty of Speakers – a prestigious speaker panel of BCLA members specialising in contact lenses and the anterior eye.

A CLO representative on the BCLA Council between 2000 and 2012, Keith has a special interest in contact lens education and legal issues. He is a member of the General Optical Council (GOC) Investigation Committee and serves on the Board of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO). He also sits on ABDO’s and the College of Optometrists’ advice and guidance setting committees.

Keith said: “Legal supply and fitting of contact lenses has become somewhat complicated, but it is all written down by the GOC and professional bodies for practitioners. I attempt to pull out the facts that apply to the contact lens practitioner in routine practice and put it into an understandable format.”

In his first presentation as a BCLA Faculty Speaker, Keith will present ‘Keep it legal (in contact lenses)’ at a meeting of Buckinghamshire Local Optical Committee to be held at Milton Keynes Hospital on 10 July. BCLA members are welcome to attend the meeting. Email Angela McNamee on for further details.

To schedule a speaker or learn more about the BCLA Faculty, visit the About Us section of the BCLA website or email

The BCLA Faculty of Speakers provides local and national associations and organisations with expert speakers to deliver high quality presentations on a wide range of topics. BCLA speakers have been presenting at events around the country on an informal basis for some time, including regional and local contact lens societies, the AOP Student Eye Opener Conference and the Specsavers PAC conference. Since 2009 the BCLA has actively offered BCLA Faculty Speakers to other optical organisations.

July 2012

Rodenstock UK staff who took part in this year’s London to Brighton Bike Ride have raised more than £600 for the British Heart Foundation.

The five riders set off from the capital for the grueling 54 mile bike ride through Surrey and Sussex down to Brighton seafront, on June 17.

The team joined the tens of thousands of cyclists raising money for the British Heart Foundation and completed the journey in about seven hours. Rodenstock supplied them with sunglasses and cycling jerseys for the challenge.

Rodenstock competitor Gavin Brimmer said: “It was hard work especially in the midday sun but we all made it across the finish line, despite the killer hill near the end. We’re still receiving donations for the worthy cause and already planning our next adventure.”

The British Heart Foundation’s mission is to play a leading role in the fight against disease of the heart and circulation, so that it is no longer a major cause of disability and premature death.

July 2012

The General Optical Council (GOC) has won praise for its work over the last year.

The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE), the body which oversees the GOC, praised work and projects across the GOC’s four core functions in its 2011/12 performance review.

As well as commending the GOC’s overall performance as a regulator, the review highlighted a number of specific areas. These included the GOC’s proposals for enhanced Continuing Education and Training (CET), which comes into effect in January 2013, as an example of how it meets CHRE’s standards for education and training.

The GOC’s online retention system also won praise, with CHRE noting how feedback indicated that it had reduced the burden on registrants while allowing GOC staff to work more efficiently.

The review also noted the GOC’s improvements to its online registers, its work in tackling breaches of the Opticians Act, its leading role in collaborating with other regulators and improvements in communicating with those involved in the fitness to practise process.

GOC chair Anna Bradley said, “I’m particularly encouraged that CHRE has highlighted work from all areas of the organisation in their review. 2011/12 was the first year of our current strategic plan and the work we have done is vital in protecting the public. We will continue to work hard during the current year to lead the way in regulation.”

Where the review highlighted some areas for improvement, CHRE noted the work that the GOC is already undertaking to address these.

An increase in the number of hearing days per month and the appointment of a clinical adviser and new caseworkers will help to cut the duration of the fitness to practise process. An independent information governance review, to be conducted in the coming weeks, will make the GOC’s information governance more robust.

GOC chief executive Samantha Peters added, “I’m pleased that the report supports our good overall performance as a regulator. We work closely with CHRE at all times to ensure we are delivering effective public protection.

“I’m delighted that they have highlighted so much good work that we’ve done over the last year, and we will continue the work we have already started to address their improvement points.”

GOC praised across all areas of work

Rodenstock riding high for British Heart Foundation

CLO joins BCLA Faculty of Speakers

WCO announces International Optometrist of the Year 2012

New eye show beats space sales target

News from General Optical Council meeting held 28 June 2012

Chicago conference brings together international optometrists

New BCLA member resource addresses compliance

FMO reacts to New Optical Exhibition next February and provides its members with guidance

Optometry Giving Sight launches the 2012 World Sight Day Challenge

Ciba vision supports Irish contact lens society

Survey demonstrates increased interest in sports lenses

Student retention deadline passed

BCLA seek CET workshop presenters for 2013 BCLA Clinical Conference

College of Optometrists commits £200k to new research

Event marketing professionals join The Eye Show team

Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) Group has rolled out an eyecare scheme to its 3,000 UK employees provided by Specsavers

New B & L Survey shows awareness in vision problems but lack of prevention by most

A common medicines dictionary has been approved

New care objectives for improving our health and healthcare

New regulations on entry to NHS pharmaceutical market alters the control criteria on opening of new pharmacies

Physiotherapists and podiatrists set to gain prescribing powers

Optical Confederation gives cautious welcome to the ‘Power of Information’

More Heat wave planned advice for GPs as weather takes a turn for the better

Impressionist 3 Takes to the Road

Silhouette Premier Points 2012

College of Optometrists funds new research into Age-related Macular Degeneration

BCLA President to address contact lenses and driving

Rodenstock opens the house of better vision

College of Optometrists sets sights on international market with new appointment

Essilor to reward top fundraiser

BCLA journal CLAE ranked among the best

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment template launched for eye health

WCO to award optometrists who have made a significant contribution to global eye and vision care

Thrilling evening at the Olympics for Rodenstock customers

Brulimar launches dedicated Bench Eyewear website

Christmas support sought by Homeless charity

The Eye Show forms steering committee

Furthermore BCLA announces contact lens fitting workshops

Spectrum Thea announce new dates for AMD project

National Eye Health Week Launches Free Toolkit for Supporters

GOC recruiting education visit panel members

FMO member tie launched for new season

Countdown to World Sight Day begins

Essilor UK becomes official Silver National Sponsor of Optometry Giving Sight

Spectacle Makers and HM The Queen visit the Highland Games

Shamir Olympic Winners announced

Rodenstock Club awards looking to reward opticians making a display of themselves

BCLA asks for nominations for prestigious BCLA awards

Brits urged to take eye health seriously

Rodenstock Concept Shop Will Boost Sales for Opticians

Master of Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers provides Speech for the First Annual GP Section Dinner

Hutchinson hails GP Annual Forum Event another milestone for Optics

Obituary – Elzbieta Danielewicz

OCUCO user group event announced

A bigger and greater Vision Arena returns in 2012 with Conferences in London and Manchester

Norville Opticians recognises World Sight Day and takes the challenge

College calls for student representatives to step forward

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