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Optical News - July - September 2013

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. Email your news to Primary Health Net aims to publish news within 48 hours of receiving information.

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

1st College One Day Conference a Success

Optical Confederation Supports Welsh Government's Eye Care Plan for Wales

Optical Fashion May be Swinging Towards London

WCO Enters a New Phase in its Development

GOC Releases Statement on CE Marked Fluorescein Ophthalmic Strips

SMC Moot Evening Unanimously Agreed as a Success

PHN Gains Huge Impetus in NEHW

Heidelberg Extends Support Team

B&L Goes Fluorescein Dry and Prompts Action

Opticians urged to adopt new children’s eye cancer protocol during National Eye Health Week

BCLA Invites Applications and Nominations for Prestigious BCLA Awards

SILMO 2013

OCUCO Challenges Zeiss "Freeform" Patent

NHS England Considers Reimbursing "Bionic Eye" Treatment

The Future of Primary Care

Smoking and Sight Loss - Community Providers to Help

UK Vision Strategy Project Establishes First Eye Health Needs Assessment for CCGs

Back to School with Good Looking Optics

OGS - A Personal Reflection

Patient Website Launched by Heidelberg Engineering

The Benefits of Regular Eye Examinations

Optical Confederation Supports Vision Care for Homeless Celebration

OGS to Fund New Vision Care for Homeless Manchester Centre

Hoya Hosts Customer Golf Event

Still Time to Reserve a Place at Spectacle Makers Soiree

NEHW - Get Involved

Health Checks for Over 40s - Help or Hindrance

New Campaign Urges Checks for African-Caribbean Community

Elaine's Pedalling Raises More Funds

UKTI to Speak at FMO Meeting

OC Join with Central Fund to Employ IT Policy Lead

DH Funding Opens to Support Voluntary Organisations

Reminder of Upcoming SVUK Conference

Caring for Contact Lenses on Holiday

Vision UK 2014 Conference Announced

Adjustments to The Opticians Act May Be More Than a "Moot Point"

Free Places at Contact Lens Symposium for BCLA Student and Pre-reg Members

Heidelberg Stages International Symposium in New York

National Eye Health Week Supporters Resource Pack Out Now

Wiseman Fund Supports Student Trip

BCLA President to Explore Technology and Contact Lenses

Roger Pope Celebrates Success of Coronation Festival

ACLM Yearbook Now Available

Vision Care for Homeless People Appoints Student Ambassadors

FMO Frame Focus Group Has New Leadership

Show Your Support of Vision Charities

DVLA Updates Medical Guidance on Visual Standards for Drivers

Newly Qualified Event Back

Replay Learning Partner Optrafair London

100% Eyewear Design Competition Launched

Media Ten Sign Deal with AOP

OC and Devon LOC Arrange Further MP Visit

Optoms Cycling for Sight Gain Speed

Vision Care for Homeless Appoint Full Time Optom

DVLA Bid Update

Funding for ABDO Ophthalmic Public Health Course

BCLA Puts Out Call for Workshops

Shamir Announce SVUK Conference 2013

National Eye Health Week Publishes Event Handbook

New Clinical Council to Provide National Leadership on Eye Health Commissioning

LOCSU Welcomes New Council

DH Highlight Needs of Learning Disabled Patients

GOC Seeks Views

650 Lives Could be Saved by NHS Health Checks

Wiseman Fund Look to Sponsor Work Experience

Independent Practice Growth Votes for Optrafair London

Haag-Streit Donates Slit Lamp to Birmingham Centre

BCLA Seeks New CEO

DH Call to Sign Up to Improve Children's Health

National Eye Health Week announces four major new collaborations for 2013

Vision support group launches at Crewe Leighton Hospital

CLAE Impact Factor Rating on Rise

Research & Markets Announce Addition of "Ophthalmic Goods and Services Market Report 2013"

National Driving and Vision Campaign for August

Record Number of Students Meet GOC Retention Deadline

Winning Days Out for Rodenstock Customers

News from GOC Council Meeting

Heidelberg Engineering Appoint New SW Sales and Support Manager

LOCSU Reveal Levy Problem

Armchair Opticians Win Bubbly

Record Success at Hoya Factory Tour

Peer Review Date Announced in Cornwall

Consultation on Migrant's Access to the NHS

Croydon LOC Nominated for Award

OCUCO's Seiko Freeform Challenge to Proceed

David Cameron Celebrates NHS 65th Anniversary

New Dental Contract Tested

Optrafair London Hotels Start to Book Up

Nepalese Contact Lens Educator on Top of the World!

LOCSU Announce Next Treasurer's Training Day

FMO Free Legal Service Supports Members

NOC Speakers Announced

Thinking About Access for People with Sight Loss

"No Water" Warning for Contact Lens Patients

New Executive Management Team at Silhouette International

First College one day conference a resounding success

September 2013

172 delegates attended the College of Optometrists’ first one day conference, Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize, in Bristol yesterday. Featuring some of the highlights from its annual conference in March, Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize was a resounding success, receiving great feedback from delegates.

The conference programme included five lectures, three seminars, five clinical workshops and 16 peer discussion groups. The series of lectures included advice on how to incorporate dry eye management into a primary care setting, symptoms, signs and treatment for anterior uveitis and the battle against AMD.

College President, Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, said: “We listened to delegates’ feedback from Optometry Tomorrow 2013 – our largest and most successful conference to date – and created a new one-day conference programme that built on the success of this. The results were extremely successful and we’re delighted with all the positive comments we’ve received from delegates”.

College members and guests can now look forward to the next two-day conference, Optometry Tomorrow which takes place in York on 16 and 17 March. An exclusive member rate of £115 for a one-day ticket and £165 for a two-day ticket is available until 18 October. Early bird and non-member rates are also available.

Optical Confederation Supports the Welsh Government's Eye Care Plan for Wales

September 2013

The Optical Confederation is pleased to join Optometry Wales in welcoming the development of an Eye Care Plan for Wales.

Welcoming the Welsh Government's Eye Care Plan for Wales, David Hewlett on behalf of the Optical Confederation said: "We are pleased to support our colleagues in Optometry Wales in warmly welcoming the production of Eye Care Plan for Wales. The partnership between the Welsh Government and Optometry Wales and the Welsh Optometric Committee has been a model for others as have the ground breaking work done in Wales on WECI and PEARS. As Optometry Wales says, "The contractual infrastructure also needs modernising to deliver the plan."


Optical Fashion may be swinging towards London

September 2013

As your PHN team investigated the state of the Optical Exhibition Market in Paris this weekend past we noticed a new trend in shows rather than those showing.

While we sang the praises of SILMO 2012 last year for its quirkiness and refreshing difference to most other shows we must also remind ourselves that this year’s Optrafair NEC also carried with it a new sense of a fashion revival.

Helping them and not SILMO 2013 were some major players who decided not to show at the French show. This meant many well known street brands were missing from Paris. Over the years we have enjoyed the pizzazz of the premium brands with great images on the stand, beautiful and expensive artwork and stands that provide more interest that square boxes all in a row.

There were a number of high profile UK companies also missing from Paris which begs the question: Has the plethora of Winter and Spring London Shows affected Paris this year? Could it be that London will be in a position to provide a centre geographical point for North European optical fashion?

We will have to wait and see but both shows will have to provide a new vision in stand arrangement and making a real fashion statement on brands and merchandising that could cement London as the centre stage for Vision Fashion.

Many UK companies who have developed a following in Europe both at SILMO and Munich were still doing reasonable business and it was noticeable how those who believe in strong brands were packed with French and other European Buyers. Not least were William Morris and Cutler & Gross, Mondottica and Inspecs. Whilst Continental Eyewear are to be congratulated on retaining the plumb position of the show with their extensive stand. Traditional brands like Oliver Goldsmith also retain their same charm. And Hoya launched a new lens (see our product pages), Ocuco (FR) met major French store groups and Kirk Originals displayed under their new management.

On our investigating day we met up with the organisers of 100% Optical London who were studying the format and meeting companies. Let’s hope they picked up on the vibes that we did.

Fashion notes for the weekend provide us with striking examples of a new crop of larger eye rims especially in ladies frames as well as an influx in sunglasses of the vivid cobalt blue lenses, memories of John Lennon but in aviator rather than round eye. Finally we noticed we were not surrounded by millions of almost identical rimless frames.

However one of the Mr Men seemed pleased with the show!


See more images on Facebook -

World Council of Optometry enters a new phase in its development

September 2013

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and its sister organization, the World Optometry Foundation (WOF) are exploring new Secretariat arrangements after more than five years of being based at the College of Optometrists in London. The College has provided the secretariat and management services for both the WCO and the WOF.

Before establishing the secretariat in London, the WCO, which represents more than 90 member organisations in 50 countries, was located at Salus University in the US for 11 years.

Dr Susan Cooper, WCO President, said: “I would like to personally thank the College of Optometrists and all their staff for their very professional provision of Secretariat services for WCO over the past five years. We appreciate the significant in-kind support which has allowed WCO to expand our visibility and impact worldwide. Relocating the secretariat will be one aspect of beginning a new phase in the organization’s development. This includes continuing to facilitate and support optometric development and education globally.

“WCO will continue to play a key leadership role in promoting eye health and vision care development around the world in close collaboration with our members and strategic partners.”

Mrs Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive of the College, added: “We have been privileged to work with WCO, helping it to increase its membership, support its governance, and extend its international reach as the voice of optometry worldwide.

“The health landscape in the UK has been changing rapidly, and the impact on the College's members has meant that our work has increased substantially. Following a meeting of the College Board to approve our very ambitious business plan and budget for the year ahead, the Board has come to the view that the time is now right for the baton to be handed to another organisation which can provide the level of in-kind support that WCO needs to grow.

“The College will now work with WCO to ensure a smooth transition over the next twelve months.”

WCO looks forward to announcing its future Secretariat arrangements in 2014.

GOC releases statement on CE-marked fluorescein ophthalmic strips

September 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today issued a statement clarifying the circumstances in which optometrists and contact lens opticians can use CE-marked fluorescein ophthalmic strips.

All complaints to the GOC are considered by independent committees so it cannot prejudge their decisions in individual cases, but the statement makes clear the GOC’s position that:

• registrants are responsible for acting in their patients’ best interests, in line with the GOC Code of Conduct; and
• there will be occasions where this will require optometrists or contact lens opticians to use CE-marked fluorescein strips.

GOC chief executive and registrar Samantha Peters said, “Our guiding principle is that we act in the best interests of patients. I hope this statement gives registrants extra clarity about using CE-marked fluorescein strips within the scope of their clinical practice.

“This is a complex issue which has required us obtaining specialist legal advice, working closely with a number of stakeholders and taking into account the expert view of a clinical consensus panel.”

Should the GOC receive a complaint about a registrant using fluorescein, the GOC will investigate in line with its usual processes. This means that the complaint will be considered by the Investigation Committee and potentially the Fitness to Practise Committee.

These committees are independent of the GOC; however, the GOC will ensure that they have all relevant information including the views of the clinical consensus panel and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the GOC’s own statement.

The full statement can be found at

SMC Moot evening unanimously agreed as a success

September 2013

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers continued in its series of Moot Evenings last week at the Institute of Optometry.

The venue provided a friendly and intimate setting for the panel composed of Peter Black (President at ABDO), Alan Tinger from LOCSU and Peter Coe a past registrar at the General Optical Council.

Up for debate was the question being asked by the law commissioners and others in our industry and no doubt other commercial and third sector stake holders looking on and awaiting their chance to promote their causes. The question being “What’s wrong with the Opticians Act?”

We were directed by the admirable Chairman for the evening Don Grocott that we were under Chatham House Rules. So expect no names or attributions in this report.

However for a flavour of the evening there was a dichotomy of initial views from the panel on whether there was anything at all wrong with the Act. Had it suffered from the era that it was formulated within (1948) and had GPs applied pressure on its inception to ensure their own profession was not affected.

The other view more widely adopted by the room was that after a considerable journey of fine tuning the Act does one key thing for our professions over and above protected title, it provides a broad and legal framework for us to practice our competancies that means our profession is one of the few that patients and customers can retain assurance from its regulation.

The room packed with many non SMC members and guests from a wide range of professions and businesses enjoyed the open format where friendly challenges to some of the panellist’s views were verbally displayed.

Future events are hoped to continue bringing those both in and out of optics together in a social meeting that will prove great for networking and will bring more people to understand the fraternal benefits of SMC membership.

The general feeling was another “Part Two” on this subject was needed as we had skirted around many of the in-depth questions that still needed to be discussed. Not least any easement in who can provide services of optometrists and dispensing opticians, and what are the likely shopping lists of our bodies and those outside.

The SMC has promised to announce the next date soon, venue and subject matter but there is no doubt that in vocalising the need for a longer event next time all participants showed their unequivocal vote of success.

PHN gains huge impetus in their push to assist NEHW organisers

September 2013

Visit rates at PHN on their public site rocketed over their build up to NEHW.

PHN signed as unpaid collaborators to the NEHW organisers in an effort to help the promoted health week do better than in the past. As agreed we posted all the action that the organisers sent to us on our site as well as promoting the NEHW site itself.

We therefore posted the NEHW midweek update within hours of receiving copy on the Friday during the week.

Our plan was to start 2 weeks before the week trailing its commencement with story lines on both the professional and public sites. We are thankful for the story from Norville Opticians that stimulated greater understanding about what an eye test can really show.

With over 600 twitter followers we maximised this area particularly with the eye care charities and these have grown to many new followers that during the week gave us an exposure to around 13,000 people.

Our normal public visit rate is around 1000+ a day around 7500 per week but once we got started with stories, tweets and facebook pages this increased in week one of September by 66%, then week 2 by 90% and finally in the week of the NEHW to an amazing 143% over normal visits getting us almost 2500 visits a day to the public site.

There were another 4000 views of our facebook pages and posts up double from previous weeks.

PHN has got the bug for extending its social media push and to be exceptional we need great stories from clinicians and opticians about their anonymised patients, their findings and what it meant to the patient.

PHN out of a very small budget availability succeeded in these figures by paying for clicks and for the first time taking out an ad in the Saturday Times Magazine with a readership of 1.3 million preceding the NEHW.

We intend to promote this outside our site to other media and so we need your help in a number of ways.

Practices: Help us and yourselves by advertising your product on the most visited site in the UK for eye care. Currently till the end of October its only £1 to try it out for 3 months and then it’s just £10 a month (less than ½ a sight test fee). We will make sure the profession's interest is always valued. One reason that PHN has so far never accepted unregistered advertising.

Industry: Carry on supporting us and also sponsor National Press Advertising.

Optical Bodies: Help us with a little prominent pump to continue our success.

Heidelberg extends support team

September 2013

Heidelberg Engineering has enhanced the UK team with Technical Support Specialist, Lee Walker, who has six years of customer care expertise in this field.

Lee, who comes from an operations support background, has experience of urgent care out-of-hours GP service, and a good knowledge of IT, plus the management of facilities. Used to liaising with healthcare professionals, he has previously worked in lab instrument support for Glaxo Smith Kline.

Krysten Williams, Heidelberg UK General Manager, commented -

“Lee adds a valuable new dimension to our team with his strong background in IT and ability to provide guidance and easy to follow steps to gaining the most of Heidelberg technology. He will support DICOM for HEYEX, networked installations, and provide remote support to improve response times and reduce down time for this valuable practice building technology.”

B & L goes Fluorescein dry and prompts long awaited action

September 2013

Optical Confederation publishes clinical consensus panel advice on use of fluorescein strips and supports their use in routine community practice pending further advice from Europe

The advice from the Clinical Consensus Panel is that the use of paper impregnated fluorescein strips, CE marked as medical devices, poses minimal risk and they may be used for clinical investigations in primary care until further notice.

Background to Clinical Consensus Panel Report

Since the announcement in March that Bausch & Lomb had discontinued the production of Fluorets, the only fluorescein impregnated paper strip licensed as a medicine in the UK, the Optical Confederation (OC), the British Contact Lens Association, the College of Optometrists and the General Optical Council have been considering how best to advise optical practices, optometrists and contact lens opticians in what has turned out to be a highly complex and unclear legislative and regulatory area.

Fluorescein strips have long been considered as borderline products and regulated as medicines in the UK, whereas they are regulated as medical devices in most of the rest of the EU. European non-binding guidance from MEDDEV issued in 2001 recommended their classification as medicines; however this depends on their precise use. Notwithstanding this recommendation, several European national authorities continue to consider the strips to be medical devices. The European Commission is aware of the difference of opinion regarding the classification of fluorescein strips and the issue is being considered in further detail by the relevant European authorities this autumn. In the meantime the MHRA has permitted the supply of CE marked medical device fluorescein strips to the UK market.

While the UK optical bodies worked to establish the expert opinion on whether use of these strips could be justified from a clinical perspective, we issued advice in May to use 1% fluorescein minims while these problems were resolved.

In the last couple of weeks another problem materialised. It was announced on 13 September that, despite Bausch & Lomb’s best efforts, supplies of 1% fluorescein minims had also run out and would not be resumed until later this autumn.

Clearly patient care, safety and outcomes must be the top priority. While these issues are resolved at European level, in order to obtain the best clinical advice on both the safety and efficacy of alternative fluorescein products, the OC convened a panel of leading independent academics and clinicians to provide a consensus view on these issues at the end of July. Their unanimous, independent professional advice is attached. The report is available on the Optical Confederation website.

The advice from the Clinical Consensus Panel is that the use of paper impregnated fluorescein strips, CE marked as medical devices, poses minimal risk and they may be used for clinical investigations in primary care until further notice.

Statement by the Optical Confederation

On the basis of this clear, unambiguous and unanimous opinion the Optical Confederation advises that CE marked fluorescein impregnated strips can be used based on clinical judgement in the case of each patient in routine community optical practice. When ordering fluorescein strips, practices and practitioners should check that they are CE marked and permitted for sale in the UK. The Optical Confederation insurance bodies – the ABDO, AOP and FODO – will continue to cover and defend members, who use CE-marked fluorescein strips in the best interests of patients, in the normal way.

Practices and practitioners are advised to contact their Optical Confederation membership body if they have any questions.

Speaking for the Optical Confederation Mark Nevin said: “Patient care, safety and outcomes must always be our first and overriding concern in line with our Codes of Conduct. The Optical Confederation exists to support and assist members in delivering these goals for the public. Given the shortage of fluorescein minims, we are now faced with having to advise optometrists and contact lens opticians about whether they should perform, for example, a slit-lamp examination without fluorescein, rather than use a CE-marked product. Hence our advice to practices and clinicians to use CE marked strips to ensure patients continue to receive the best care. We also urge the European Commission to move quickly in patients’ best interests to resolve these unintended consequences of their guidance”.


Opticians urged to adopt new children’s eye cancer protocol during National Eye Health Week

September 2013

A charity is calling on opticians around the UK to adopt a new protocol to prevent babies and young children with eye cancer having their diagnosis delayed.
Figures¹ from the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) show that in general opticians are correctly referring on children with suspected retinoblastoma (Rb).

However, some children face delays in obtaining appointments, or are turned away by staff unaware of the signs and symptoms of the disease and the need for urgent examination.

Vicky Pain, from Hertfordshire, was told by an optician’s receptionist that a change in colour to her daughter Amelia’s iris was ‘completely normal in a child of eighteen months’ and did not require an optician’s appointment. “Luckily I just felt she was wrong, and pursued it further with our GP” says Vicky. “Within two weeks Amelia was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, and a week later her eye was removed to save her life. I hate to think what would have happened if I had taken the advice of that receptionist.”

CHECT chief executive Joy Felgate said: “It’s great news that last year 100% of opticians who examined children with Rb, prior to diagnosis, made the appropriate referral, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. In our experience staff at some optician stores, which choose not to examine babies and young children, have sent parents away with misleading or no information at all about where to seek help and the need for an urgent examination. As a result, some babies and young children are facing serious delays in receiving life-saving treatment.

“We want to ensure that no child displaying signs of retinoblastoma is turned away from an optician without the correct information about where to go next.”
CHECT’s protocol aims to address this by stating that all optician staff should be aware of the main signs of Rb which include:

• A white reflex (leukocoria) or an abnormal reflex in flash photographs
• A recently onset squint
• A change in colour to the iris
• A deterioration in vision

Occasionally a retinoblastoma may present as a red, sore or swollen eye without infection.

Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists says: “Retinoblastoma is a rare but very serious condition. We therefore encourage all our members to ensure they and their practice staff are aware of the most common signs so they can ensure a swift assessment of the child.”

Approved by CHECT’s medical advisor Mr Ashwin Reddy, Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Retinoblastoma Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, it offers clear information on what action to take if a parent is concerned by any of these main symptoms of Rb.

As part of National Eye Health Week 2013 CHECT is urging all opticians to download and implement the protocol at

Retinoblastoma is a fast-growing cancer of the eye affecting mainly 0 to 5-year-old children. Many children with Rb will need at least one eye removed as the cancer is too advanced for other treatments by the time they are diagnosed. Early detection of this aggressive condition is crucial to offer the child the best chance of saving their vision, their eyes and their life.

BCLA invites applications and nominations for prestigious BCLA awards

September 2013

Applications and nominations are now invited for the prestigious annual British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) research awards, by the closing date of Friday 1 November 2013.

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 2013 recipient was Judith Morris of City University who, in ‘Two steps forward, one step back’, charted the evolution and development of contact lens materials, modalities and clinical care.

Professor Philip Morgan (UK) will receive the 2014 BCLA Medal at the 38th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held at the ICC Birmingham, UK, from 6-9 June 2014. Nominations are now due for the 2015 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. Pauline Kang (Australia) will receive the 2014 Dallos Award for her project, ‘The influences of myopia-controlling multifocal soft contact lenses on binocular vision and accommodation in young adult myopes and the effect of varying the magnitude of the addition’. Apply now for the 2015 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 2013 recipient of the Da Vinci Award was Ya Kin Chan (Hong Kong) for his project entitled, ‘Microbial adherence to cosmetic contact lenses’. Each successful applicant receives £1,000 and a conference delegate package. Apply now online for the 2014 Da Vinci Award.

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) presented the 2013 Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture, ‘Corneal confocal microscopy: beyond corneal defects. Translational studies in diabetes and neurology’. Dr Heiko Pult (Germany) will present the 2014 Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture in Birmingham next June. Nominations are now invited for the 2015 Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture

Silmo 2013: a resolutely dynamic edition

September 2013

With just a few weeks to go before opening day, this year's edition of the Mondial de l'Optique (World Optical Fair) promises a packed agenda, with new features and an updated setting, the presence of all the loyal exhibitors as well as the return of large, iconic companies: high hopes for an international event with its sights set firmly on the future.

SILMO Logo 2013Every autumn in Paris, timed to coincide with Fashion Week, the major international gathering of the optics and eyewear industry brings together close on 75,000 professionals (visitors and exhibitors) in a 77,000 m² exhibition area, hosting 950 businesses — 130 of these exhibiting for the very first time and 1,350 brands from all over the world.

"Organisers say that in an effort to continually improve their existing facilities and present the exhibition in a positive light despite a still uncertain economic climate, that they are mindful of the need to be responsive to exhibitors and visitors and provide the best possible environment for doing business, and this is the view of Silmo's President Philippe Lafont. To demonstrate the exhibition's rich offering via the hundreds of exhibiting companies from across the entire world, we are committed to ensuring that every edition of Silmo fully showcases these businesses while at the same time providing maximum information to visitors. SILMO 2013 is increasing the number of activities on offer, most of them well-known and highly popular but with one or two totally original surprises. Our role is both to surprise and to be a catalyst... of major trends, talents, innovations unveiled at the exhibition, but also of new brands choosing this event to launch their products. SILMO is undoubtedly the ideal sounding board".

Things to check out during the exhibition:

• An event within an event, the SILMO d’Or awards have become the international benchmark, shining the spotlight on innovation and talent; this year, the expert panel of judges will be headed by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, who works across a broad range of fields, including design of individual objects, staging, art and conceptual research.

• Always appreciated for the diversity of viewpoints, exchanges and debates, the PLATEAU SILMO TV by Acuité will bring together large numbers of professionals to discuss topical issues and assess prospects aimed at "moving the profession forward".

• With a long-standing commitment to improve the daily lives of visually impaired people, Silmo 2013 is once again hosting the LOW VISION stand which will present "Visions d’un Monde" (Visions of a World), an installation designed by Pascal Parsat, on behalf of the Théâtre Handicap's Resource Centre *

• Now up to cruising speed, SILMO ACADEMY is attracting an ever increasing audience of people interested in the content of the lectures given by eminent speakers. This year it will take place over three days rather than two, from 26 to 28 September.
Enhanced by technical and practical workshops reserved for groups of 20 to 50 people, this year's scientific symposium will address the following themes:

"Œil et Lumière" (Eye and Light), Thursday 26 September 2013 3pm to 5.30pm;
"Vision périphérique" (Peripheral vision), Friday 27 September 2013 10am to 12.30pm;
"Vision et performance sportive" (Vision and sports performance), Friday 27 September 2013 3pm to 6pm;
"Les opticiens invitent les Ophtalmologistes" (Opticians welcome the Ophthalmologists), Saturday 28 September 2013 10.30am to 1pm.

• Intended to help opticians optimise their point of sale displays, Silmo offers its MERCHANDISING WORKSHOP with a series of lectures on the theme "Keys to success at your point of sale: the customer pathway".

Accompanied as always by individual coaching sessions: 20 minutes of bespoke one-to-one coaching with a professional, in order to gain an in-depth understanding of merchandising and identify tailor-made solutions to display problems at your point of sale.

Finally, two new complementary exhibition areas featuring information on trends, products and markets, with the main focus on the exhibitors' offering.

• FASHION STYLE outlines all the fashion trends expressed and exhibited at Silmo involving around a hundred French and international labels from the ready-to-wear, luxury, casual and contemporary segments. An original forum with three associated features:
- Catwalk, a spectacular fashion parade of eyewear brands;
- Showroom where those brands that wish to can showcase their style universe;
- Style on View, an audio-visual presentation playing on a loop throughout the exhibition, giving an overview of the latest styles and trends in a fusion of fashion and frames.

• In a contemporary setting reminiscent of a loft-style studio, LA MANUFACTURE, places the focus on the expertise and innovations of the companies exhibiting at the fair as they unveil the season's principal new materials, colours and forms.

Preparations for SILMO 2013 are underway. All they need now is you …

Visit our SILMO 2013 Preview page


Ocuco challenges Zeiss “Freeform” patent

September 2013

Ocuco has filed a re-examination request with the U.S. Patent Office, seeking re-examination of Carl Zeiss Vision’s Patent 6,089,713, which claims the invention of back-surface freeform progressive lenses. Ocuco is the international optical retail and manufacturing software developer and provider of the Innovations Lab Management System and the Acuitas Patient Relationship Management System.

Robert Shanbaum, president of Ocuco Inc., Ocuco’s U.S. subsidiary, explains: “Similar to the request that we filed for a re-examination of Seiko Epson’s patent 6,019,470, which was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office last July, our new request raises substantial new questions of patentability regarding Zeiss’ patent on essentially the same subject matter.”

“As I announced at that time, I began this inquiry because I was familiar with engineering projects back in the early 1990’s at both Gerber Optical and Coburn Optical, which had as their objective the production of back-surface progressives. It struck me as absurd that anyone could claim to have invented a category of lenses that we were feverishly trying to make years before they were allegedly invented. In fact, some of those efforts took place in a joint project between Coburn and Sola Optical in Australia, which is now part of Zeiss.

“Our investigation revealed that both back-side and dual-sided progressive lenses were anticipated in prior patents, going back to the 1930’s. We further discovered numerous defects in Zeiss’ patent, which we have enumerated in our re-examination request”, Shanbaum said.

“One difference between the Seiko Epson and Zeiss patents is that the latter has been litigated once and the former has not. Although a jury found largely in Zeiss’ favour in that case, we believe that our arguments stand on their own, and have a reasonable chance of persuading the patent office.”

A “re-examination” is an administrative procedure established in the patent regulations that allows any person to request that the Patent Office reconsider its grant of a patent, based on “substantial new questions of patentability”, which the requester must clearly set out.

“Once again, I want to advise everyone that a patent is valid until it’s not – no one should think that our action in any way invalidates this patent at this point”, Shanbaum said. “We hope that our request is sufficiently persuasive that the PTO will grant our request, and then cancel the patent.”

Robert Shanbaum concludes: “As I stated regarding the Seiko Epson request when we filed that re-examination request, we think that royalties arising from the Zeiss patent constitute a rent on the industry, because their patent does not teach us anything that we did not already know.”

NHS England to consider reimbursing “bionic eye” treatment for blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa

September 2013

NHS’s Advisory Group (PSSAG) to meet on 17 September to consider offering Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System to blind patients treated within the NHS

Bionic eyeSecond Sight Medical Products Inc’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis, the world’s first approved device intended to restore some functional vision for people suffering from blindness due to outer retinal degenerations, is to be assessed next week by a group advising NHS England.

The Argus II System works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient’s glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the retina. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina’s remaining cells resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns thereby regaining some visual function. Second Sight gained European approval (CE Mark) for the system in 2011 and FDA approval in 2013. It is the first approved retinal prosthesis anywhere in the world, and the only such device approved in the USA.

The majority of blind subjects fitted with the Argus II consistently identify letters and words using the retinal implant, according to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (BJO), indicating reproducible spatial resolution. This, in combination with the proven, stable, long-term function of the device, represents significant progress in the evolution of artificial sight.

According to another study published in Ophthalmology2, two types of real-world orientation and mobility (O&M) tests were performed: a door test where subjects were asked to find a door across a room and a line test where subjects were asked to follow a white line on the floor. Subjects performed statistically better with the Argus II system on versus off in the visual tasks:

• 96% of subjects improved in object localization
• 57% of subjects improved in motion discrimination
• 23% of subjects improved in the discrimination of oriented gratings

In addition, significant improvements in the O&M tasks were noted and the safety profile of Argus II was found to be comparable to other ophthalmic devices and procedures. Although there are several research efforts in retinal prostheses worldwide, none has demonstrated the reliability and efficacy of such a device in a multicenter, long-term, controlled clinical trial involving 30 subjects, as was demonstrated by the Argus II in this study.

Lyndon da Cruz, MD PhD Consultant Retinal Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London , UK “ The fact that nearly all patients had a stable, safe and functioning system and that a majority of patients could recognize large letters, locate the position of objects and the best could read short words impressed us beyond our most optimistic expectations"

“This ‘artificial retina’ brings hope to thousands of people with advanced retinal diseases” added David Head, Chief Executive of the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society. “The restoration of an element of vision may bring with it the restoration of independence and mobility that would greatly improve a patient’s quality of life.

The NHS’s Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group (PSSAG) considers whether to include treatments which are intended for fewer than 500 cases per year in England within the definition of specialised services. PSSAG will be considering Argus II at its meeting on 17 September. As a result of the meeting, PSSAG will make a recommendation to Ministers. Ministers will consider the recommendations and consult on them with NHS England.

If the treatment is included in the specialised services definition, it will be commissioned by NHS England rather than individual Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). In this case, NHS England will develop a service specification and agree on a process for selecting providers. The detail of this will be discussed at the first meeting of the Rare Diseases Advisory Group (RDAG) on 15 October.

NHS England will be considering a number of proposals for new services and these will be prioritised at a meeting of NHS England’s Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) later this year.

Robert Greenberg, MD PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer at Second Sight, says: "We very much hope that patients in England will soon be able to experience the life changing benefits from our prosthesis already enjoyed by RP patients elsewhere in Europe and in the USA. The UK has been instrumental in the clinical research of the Argus II.”

“The Argus II has been available and reimbursed for patients in Germany and Italy for the past two years, and has just become reimbursed for patients in the USA. The reimbursement approval for Argus II proves how important this technology is for the patients affected with blindness from the untreatable orphan disease - retinitis pigmentosa.”

Robert Greenberg adds:

“Physicians and patients are eagerly awaiting decisions later this year about how Argus will be funded by the NHS in England.”

Second Sight announced last week that the company has been selected as a 2014 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Previous Technology Pioneers include worldwide leading companies such as Google (2001), Wikimedia (2008), Twitter (2010) and Dropbox (2012).

“We are honored and humbled to be named alongside such prominent, world-class innovators as a 2014 Technology Pioneer,” says Robert Greenberg. “At Second Sight, this recognition by the World Economic Forum has validated our commitment to providing state-of-the-art technology to patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa and other forms of vision loss.”

The Future of Primary Care

September 2013

Entitled “Year of challenge” we reprint a major policy speech by the Minister of Health the Rt Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP.

Thank you. I am really grateful to the King’s Fund for inviting me today and indeed for staging this conference. Without a profound reform of out of hospital care the NHS will be simply unsustainable, so this is an issue of critical importance.

I would like to begin with a general comment.

This has been a year of challenge for the NHS.

Whilst the institution rightly remains the single biggest reason why people are most proud to be British, we have had to confront tragedies at Mid Staffs, Morecambe Bay, and failures at fourteen hospitals with high mortality rates. Unprecedented transparency has shone a spotlight on poor care in a way that has never happened before.

In the face of that scrutiny, I want to pay tribute to NHS doctors, nurses and professionals who have faced up to that pressure with great determination and courage. It would have been easy, in the face of so many media stories, to point fingers elsewhere or duck difficult questions.

We could have pretended that the problems of poor care were restricted to just a few places, and had no relevance elsewhere.

Instead of which, something remarkable happened.

The whole service has united to confront these problems head on.

There has been a widespread welcome for Professor Sir Mike Richards in his new role as Chief Inspector of Hospitals, even though his inspections will be tougher and more independent than ever before.

Likewise for Professor Steve Field, the new Chief Inspector of General Practice, and Andrea Sutcliffe the new Chief Inspector of Social Care. Their inspections will confront poor standards as well as showcasing and celebrating the best care.

Indeed when 11 hospitals were put into special measures following the Keogh review, this wasn’t criticised as draconian - even though it was unprecedented.

When Don Berwick, Professor Obama’s safety expert, called for a fundamental change in culture, again it was widely welcomed.

We cannot hope to give people the healthcare they need and deserve if we refuse to face up to difficult realities. So this widespread willingness to accept more transparency and more accountability is extremely heartening.

At the same time, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of people on the frontline, on broadly the same budget as 2010 we are:
•performing 400,000 more operations every year

•seeing a million more people annually in A & E

•delivering over 3 million more outpatient appointments every year

This is a tribute to the dedication of a great many people. In a climate where some are quick to criticise, I am pleased to once again to put on record my personal thanks and admiration for NHS and social care staff who have never worked harder.

A sustainable NHS

All this is highly relevant to the debate on primary care. Because underneath the angst caused by long-suppressed tragedies finally coming to the surface has been a deeper worry. Just how sustainable is the NHS? Is the problem about raising standards, or more profoundly about whether we can actually afford to raise standards to the levels we would like?

My answer to that is straightforward.

We can afford good quality care for everyone – but only if we undertake a bold and radical transformation in the way out of hospital care is delivered.

Why out of hospital care?

Because the central challenge facing the NHS today is an ageing population. The over -85s are the fastest growing population group in the world, and will double by 2030. Sooner than that, we are likely to have 1 million people with dementia in this country.

And already one-quarter of the population, mainly elderly, have long-term conditions such as arthritis or chronic lung disease. For these people, quality of care at home is just as important as quality of care in hospital.

Hospitals, of course, will always be there for the most complex treatments and the most specialist care. But getting the best possible care outside hospitals means we enjoy a higher quality of life, spend fewer days in hospital, and keeps people happy, healthy and safe at home.

Not only is this better for us as patients, it is better for the NHS. It saves precious hospital resources for people who really need them. And it saves money overall - so that as we get older and need more care, we can be more confident the NHS will be there to deliver for us.

This is already happening.

In Newquay, the NHS and Age UK have worked together with a cohort of frail elderly people that are particularly vulnerable to crisis episodes that require admission to hospital. Their proactive care has reduced emergency admissions by 23%.

In Kent, predictive models are employed to identify the cohort most in need of preventative social care. Then ‘anticipatory care plans’ are made which include input from the patient. This stops them from slipping between health and social care and means that they spend less time in hospital.

Best international practice supports this conclusively. Age-adjusted hospitalisation rates for Kaiser Permanente were found to be a third of the NHS because of more comprehensive primary care services. Following a similar model, GroupHealth’s Medical Home Pilot – which we heard about today - reduced their emergency admissions by 29%.

Better care and a more sustainable NHS. So if my focus has been on delivering that inside hospitals in my first year as Health Secretary, transforming out of hospital care will be my focus in the second.

4 year transformation

I don’t underestimate the scale of the changes necessary. I believe it will be a four-year process based on the four major groups of people the NHS has to look after: vulnerable older people; other people with long-term conditions who need help managing their condition; mothers and young children; and those of us who are normally healthy and well and need the NHS to help keep us that way.

Whilst we will make changes that will benefit all of these groups from next April, I have deliberately chosen to make vulnerable older people my primary focus for the next twelve months.

I’ll never forget seeing an elderly woman with dementia arriving at the A & E department at Watford General Hospital. The staff did their best, but in truth they knew nothing about her. They didn’t know if she was normally speechless or whether that was because of her fall. They didn’t know her medical history. And if they felt helpless, how terrified she must have been. We have to do better.

Vulnerable older people may only be a small proportion of the population. But they represent a significant cost to the NHS.

And they often get the worst deal from the services we provide. Too often they receive uncoordinated care, stay too long in hospital and are treated not as a human being but as a mix of diseases.

Every life is precious, and we don’t lose value as we get older. But we do need more support - and our NHS must be there for us when we do.

So today I want to outline some of the detailed changes that are necessary to make this happen. First, though, some underlying principles.

Firstly - and this won’t be a surprise to anyone , prevention is better than cure.

An American health insurer once told this story to a bemused Department of Health official. “We are taught,” he said, “that if we get a new customer signed up for one year we lose money as they inevitably claim more in hospital fees than their premium. But if we get them for three years, we can assign a nurse to look after their long-term condition and you just about break even. Get them for seven and you encourage them to take exercise, eat healthily etc. and that’s when you really make money. I figure in your NHS you’ve got them for life…so what do you do?”

And I’m afraid the answer is not enough. For vulnerable older people in particular, it means we need a radical shift in our model from reactive to proactive care, from cure to care, from care to prevention and from paternalism to participation. So that’s the first principle.

The second principle is clinical leadership. Local doctors know what’s best for local patients, and they’ll be the drivers for change. The vision I am presenting would not have been possible without the reforms to commissioning, which placed budgets in the hands of GP-led commissioning groups. It is their ingenuity and enterprise which is already allowing trailblazers to deliver this vision in parts of the country already.

The third principle is accountability. If we are going to transform out of hospital care, we must ensure that someone in the system is responsible for making it happen.

Well-led multi-disciplinary teams are important – but as a member of the public I want to know who in the NHS is responsible for the overall care of my elderly mother or granddad.

The person who is responsible needs not just responsibility but the power to make things happen quickly in a large and complex system.

The fourth principle is that any changes we make must stay true to the founding principles of the NHS. The highest quality care and treatment for all, no matter who you are. This means a special focus on vulnerable older people who live on their own and at risk of social isolation. And a particular determination to ensure that those without a strong voice, without pushy relatives, without the money to buy better care also get looked after in the way that we would want for our own friends and family.

Those are the principles. What then are the big changes? We are currently consulting on our Vulnerable Older People’s Plan but emerging results from that consultation suggest major reforms in three areas in particular.

Proactive primary care

The first is moving to proactive primary care.

By 2016 we will have three million people with not one, not two, but three long-term conditions.

Many of them will be elderly. When they are discharged from hospital they will not be “cured” in the conventional sense. They will still need help, sometimes a lot of help, to manage a complex cocktail of illnesses and often disability and loneliness as well.

Sometimes we do primary care well. Many GPs pride themselves on good continuity of care and we have many extraordinary district nurses.

But often we fail. 15-minute homecare visits when there is time to dress someone or feed them but not both. Patients left stranded at home because they have slipped through the cracks of the system. Care homes that struggle to get GP visits.

A paper in the Journal of Public Health by Bankart in 2012 found that, “Being able to consult a particular GP, an aspect of continuity, is associated with lower emergency admission rates. As the proportion of patients able to consult a particular GP increased, admission rates declined.”

So from next April I’ve proposed in the draft NHS Mandate that there should be a named GP for all vulnerable older people. This is the first step in reversing the historic mistake made in the 2004 contract changes, which abolished personal responsibility by GPs for patients on their lists. Incidentally, this is something that many practices bravely refused to go along with.

But we need to go further than just having a named GP.

So from next April I would like to empower those named GPs to look after vulnerable older people on their lists in the way I think GPs always wanted to when they first joined the profession:

to take responsibility for ensuring these patients have proper care plans and are supported to look after themselves;

to have the time to contact their patient proactively and not just when they walk through the surgery door;

to be able to decide how best out of hours care should be managed in their local areas, including, for example, choosing to take back responsibility at a practice level for delivering out of hours care;

to be able to decide what support their most vulnerable patients get from district nurses.

Not all GP practices will be able to do this on their own. Many will choose to do so through federations or indeed through CCGs.

Nor will GPs personally administer services on their own. I recognise that GPs work hard and need time off.

But if they are not able to see a patient out of hours or do a home visit, they should make sure another clinician can – someone who is able, with the patient’s permission, to have full access to their notes, their medical history, their medication and their allergies.

In short, we need an accountable GP outside hospital just as the excellent Future Hospital Commission from the Royal College of Physicians talks about an accountable consultant inside hospital – someone who knows how their chronically ill elderly patients are at any one time.

Capacity of General Practice

So where will GPs get the capacity to perform these extra duties?

In the medium term we will definitely need more GPs. I have asked Health Education England to recruit an additional 2,000 GPs and increase the proportion of new doctors entering general practice to 50%. We will do further modelling, and it may be we need to increase those numbers still further.

But we also need to look at the burdens that we place on general practice and give them better support in managing demand.

The 2004 contract changes were well-intentioned. But they turned GP practices from proactive organisations responsible for their patients 24/7 into surgeries whose responsibility is essentially reactive – dealing as best they can with the people who walk through the door, often without the time or space to check up on people who don’t.

These changes not only undermined the ideal of family doctoring, they damaged the doctor-patient relationship that is at the heart of general practice.

QOF, DES, LES and myriad other targets were all introduced with the best of motives. But they’ve created a bureaucratic overlay to the work of a GP which means there is often a conflict between the requirements of a patient and the needs of a practice to generate income.

So we need a dramatic simplification of the targets and incentives imposed on GP surgeries – to give them back the professional discretion to spend more time with the patients who need it the most.

And finally, we need to recognise that if more proactive general practice is going to save the NHS money by reducing unplanned admissions to hospital, then some of that saving needs to go back into general practice to pay for the higher levels of care.

Precisely how will be a matter for detailed negotiation later in the year, but we need to be ready to go with a new approach for vulnerable older people in April 2014.

Integrated care

Transforming out of hospital care is not, though, just about primary care. Which is why the second big change we need to make – and something that the King’s Fund has nobly talked about for many years - is around the integration of the wider health and social care systems.

We must recognise that the needs of vulnerable older patients are so complex that they will often need to access different parts of the system on a regular basis. Providing proper continuity of care means closing up the gaps that can see people pushed from pillar to post, with one part of the system completely unaware what another part is up to. This is never more frustrating than when patients are delayed from moving to the right place because of wrangling over budgets.

Norman Lamb – my excellent care services minister - is spearheading the work to make this change happen, in particular with a programme of 10 – 15 integration pioneers.

Building on this, the Chancellor announced in July a £3.8 bn Integration Transformation Fund for health and social care in 2015-16.

In order to access this – and we have deliberately made it such a large sum of money that everyone will feel they have to access this - local authorities and the local NHS will have to commit to joint commissioning, better data-sharing using the NHS number, seven-day working in health and social care, protecting social care services and having an accountable lead professional for integrated packages of care.

Because this is so important, I can announce today that all integration plans will have to be approved and put in place not by April 2015 but by April 2014. Although the new funding will not become available until April 2015, in many cases we believe local authorities and CCGs will want to press ahead next year anyway so that we start to see the benefits of improved care much earlier.

And these changes are already starting to happen.

In Bedfordshire, the Clinical Commissioning Group has brought down the number of emergency admissions from care homes by 38%, by implementing a care team to deliver more intensive care to patients in nursing and residential homes.

In Bath, there has been a 40% reduction in admissions to the local district hospital, thanks to a pilot scheme involving regular visits to a care home. I am going to see this in Bath for myself tomorrow.

In Blackpool, when people visit A & E the front desk is manned by primary care staff. They assess whether they need emergency care or out of hours primary care. The result is that over 20% of people who visit are sent to the out of hours service, freeing up resources in A & E and, in the long run, saving money.

And in Witney patients with long-term conditions are offered a 24 hour helpline, with people trained to listen to their problems and prevent a medical crisis. In short – more support means a better experience for patients and a more sustainable healthcare system.

Having been talked about for so many years, integration is finally becoming a reality. Patients are at last being treated in these complex systems as people - with a seamless service responding to their personal needs - rather than as objects being processed by various disjointed systems. And I hope we will see a step-change in the progress we make from next April.

Electronic health records

The final change we need to make to out of hospital care concerns electronic health records.

The last government may have got the implementation of NHS IT contracts wrong, but they were right to try. We must not let the fear of making the same mistake again deter us from making vital and necessary changes.

It is shocking that when a vulnerable older person is admitted to A & E, the hospital typically knows nothing about their medication or medical history. 44 people died last year in the NHS because they were given the wrong medicine – and we know we could reduce this significantly if prescription histories were available in hospitals.

Equally shocking in this day and age is that a paramedic can pick up someone on a 999 call without knowing if they are a diabetic or someone who has dementia – information that could be critical in giving that person the right care or treatment.

Nor should the social care system be operating in a technological silo that is unable to speak to the NHS. Medical notes and histories should be available anywhere in the system whenever a patient gives consent – whether a care home, a hospital, a GP surgery or indeed 111.

I’ve said the NHS must be paperless by 2018 – and last week announced we will be increasing investment over the next two years to £1 bn. But let’s be clear: we won’t repeat the mistakes made before. I will not be signing any contracts at the Department of Health, you’ll be pleased to hear. Instead we will be supporting local initiatives.

But as a result of that investment, I expect to see a transformation in the number of vulnerable older people whose records and care plans can be accessed in different parts of the system – and a transformation in their care as a result.


Proactive primary care, integration of health and social care and proper use of electronic health records and care plans: taken together these will transform the quality of care received by vulnerable older people in the NHS over the next two years.

And we then need to ask what equivalent changes are necessary for the other groups of people, people with long-term conditions, for mothers and young children, and for the usually healthy. I will return to these at a later date.

But for now let me reiterate my certainty that with ambition, vision and courage we can protect the NHS’s sustainability even at a time of unprecedented financial pressure – and significantly improve care for vulnerable older people at the same time.

And I want to thank everyone in the room for your help in making this happen.

Smoking and sight loss – community eye care providers to help people give up

September 2013

A new quality standard for smoking cessation published last week by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) enables optical professionals to play a greater role in educating smokers about the harm tobacco can cause to their vision and in supporting them to kick the habit.

NICE quality standards are designed to drive and measure priority quality improvements within a particular topic. Smoking is the main cause of preventable illness and premature death in England but few realise that smokers also have three times the incidence of age-related macular degeneration compared with non-smokers and smoking is strongly associated with cataracts.

The Optical Confederation joined with the College of Optometrists to submit a joint response to the NICE consultation in April, noting that primary eye care providers are best placed to increase awareness of the link between smoking and avoidable sight loss.

As a result of this consultation response opticians and optometrists have been included on the list of healthcare professionals that can advise and counsel smokers on their increased risk, the benefits of stopping and, where appropriate, refer them to a local stop smoking service.

David Hewlett, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said: “This is an important milestone for optics, and shows how sight loss and the Eye Health Indicator are playing an ever more prominent role in the wider healthcare debate.”

Geoff Roberson, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said: “There is great scope for optometrists and opticians to support public health outcomes through either referring patients to stop smoking services or potentially providing these services themselves as part of a move into wider community health service provision.”

UK Vision Strategy Commissioning project establishes first eye health needs assessments for new Clinical Commissioning Groups

September 2013

The UK Vision Strategy Commissioning for Effectiveness and Efficiency (CEE) project has established the first eye health needs assessments for three clinical commissioning groups across England.

UK Vision Strategy, a united cross-sector initiative, is working with three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Bedfordshire, Gateshead and South Devon and Torbay to develop sustainable collaborative commissioning of eye care services that match demand. This approach is based on the guidance established with UK Vision Strategy cross-sector partners.

Steve Kirk, Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Vice- Clinical Chair said: "We have been pleased to work with UK Vision Strategy to explore how our CCG can most effectively meet the eye health needs of our residents.

"To date the project has helped to raise the profile of eye health by ensuring the views of local blind and partially sighted people are at the centre of what we do. We look forward to continuing to work with UK Vision Strategy and our partners to ensure our services are meeting the needs of local people".

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director said: “We are delighted to be working directly with clinical commissioning groups to ensure the eye health needs of their local populations are carefully assessed and services commissioned accordingly.

“We are pleased that since the project began in September last year it is already showing promising results and is enabling the CCGs to work more collaboratively with partners and putting the patient voice at the core of their work”.

The UK Vision Strategy CEE project is running until September 2014. The project will aim to establish and share learning across the country about the benefits of improving and re-designing eye care and sight loss services taking an area-wide integrated consensus approach, focused on the patient/service user.

Enfield based Opticians Good Looking Optics coincide marketing strategy with London Fashion Week and “Back to school Campaign”

September 2013

Providing customers with 20% off selected ranges during London Fashion Week which is coming to town next week the Enfield based company thought they would celebrate in style with 20% off selected ranges throughout their store.

At the same time they have featured a “Back to School Campaign” on childrens eyesight which falls well with the upcoming National Eye Health Week.

Bagamoyo & Kihaba Districts, Tanzania – Child screening programme

September 2013

A personal reflection from our Regional Manager for Europe, Donna Power

As I journeyed into the coastal region of Bagamoyo, East Tanzania, ‘Change’ by Michael Jackson came on in the vehicle. I smiled listening to the lyrics: ‘Going to make a difference’, thinking how appropriate the words were. I didn’t realise just how significant they would be for the days that followed.

This was my first visit to an Optometry Giving Sight funded project. It is being supported by CooperVision as part of their ‘One Bright Vision’ campaign across Europe, and is implemented by the Brien Holden Vision Institute (the Institute) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Ministry of Education. The goal is to help screen 100,000 children in the Bagamoyo and Kihaba districts of Tanzania through donations from sales of Biofinity contact lenses. I was joined by Heath Clash, European Marketing Communications Manager for CooperVison and Eden Mashayo, Country Manager for the Institute who guided us through the programme on the ground.

With just one optometrist who works in the Bagamoyo vision centre, it is impossible to reach out and screen every person. Therefore, training local teachers is crucial, because it enables them to screen and refer children who need further treatment to the vision centre. So far, 309 teachers have been trained from 127 schools, and thousands of children have already benefited from screening.

I was really impressed with the integration across the Ministry of Health and Education; everyone we met was sincerely grateful and enthusiastic about the work that was being carried out. Dr. Ursuline Nyandindi, Manager of the National School Health Programme, expressed how the programme is creating an “agent for change” in the community, with an increased recognition of the important of vision care.

At the first primary school, Mbaruku, we were greeted by a dance and children singing to us in Swahili about the importance of “looking after their eyes – as they are the lights of our lives”, something I felt resonated very well with the One Bright Vision Campaign!

One boy from Mbaruku school, 13-year-old Hassini Muhamed was going to be put into a lower class as he was severely struggling, when all he needed was vision correction for myopia. He talked about how he had gone from “being really sad to being really happy.” It was amazing to see both his and his mum’s beaming smiles as they talked about how the spectacles have improved not only his grades, but his life in general.

At the Mlandizi primary school, 45 children - 8 percent of pupils - needed to be referred after screening. One of the schoolgirls, 13-year-old Chausiku Omary, said she had suffered from vision problems for many years and had not been able to see the chalkboard clearly. She was relieved to know why she was different to her friends and struggling with work. At one point, Chausiku came over and put her arm around me and said “thank you miss”. The level of gratitude from her and all of the children simply blew me away. Her teacher, Eva Joseph Cheo, had also suffered from presbyopia and had received spectacles, enabling her to carry out her role as a teacher and in her community. “I am a church leader and I can read and sing once again!” she said.

We also visited the vision centre in Bagamoyo and were privileged to speak to the district’s only optometrist, Bernadetha Lyimo. She talked about how effective the programme was and how she sees children with not only refractive error, but also conditions such as chronic conjunctivitis – something so simple to treat, but which if left untreated could have very serious implications. While we were there, a child came in and was diagnosed with a bacterial infection, something the screening programme was able to capture at an early stage.

On the final day, some of the head teachers, district managers and key personnel from education and health, united in a handover ceremony to mark the importance of the eye screening programme and general health. This was a great opportunity to gain the full commitment of these professionals to the programme; these head teachers now have the tools to implement annual screening in their schools – something that will make a long term difference for thousands of children.

As I left Bagamoyo, I thought about how this programme has brought real hope for a better future to so many children. It has brought eye care to the forefront of health and education, benefiting not only the children but their entire communities.

Having worked for Optometry Giving Sight for more than 3 years, I didn’t think I could be any more passionate about the work that we fund. Now that I have seen a project operate on the ground this has most certainly added a new dimension and I just want to reinforce our thanks to CooperVision and to all Optometry Giving Sight supporters – your support goes further than I even imagined possible.

Patient website launched by Heidelberg Engineering

September 2013

Engaging patients with their ongoing eye health has become much easier with the launch of Heidelberg Engineering’s new consumer website:

An important communication tool, the easy to navigate website is designed to help patients to understand the value of regular eye examinations and screening with SPECTRALIS 4D HD OCT technology.

Covering the anatomy of the eye, with diagrams which explain how the various components function, it provides clear explanations for vision impairment. Disorders, and the importance of regular examinations of the anterior eye, optic nerve head, retina, and visual fields, are all detailed with precise graphics. Frequently asked patient questions, particularly about referrals, are also helpful.

An eye test can tell you so much more than simply whether you need glasses

September 2013

Norville Opticians which has practices across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire is to mark National Eye Health Week next week (16–22 September) by reminding everyone of the benefits of having regular eye examinations.

The week aims to raise awareness of the importance of eye health and the need for everyone to have sight checks every two years to look after their eyes.

The reminder is especially timely following the publication of research in America which indicates that studying the blood vessels at the back of the eye could show whether a person is likely to suffer a stroke.

Norville Opticians Director Adrian Street says that the retina, the light sensitive area at the back of the eye and equivalent to the film in a camera or CCD in a digital camera, can tell us much about the state of the blood vessels in the brain.

He said: “In addition to the American research the retina can also be damaged by many common diseases like glaucoma, diabetes and age related macular degeneration which can lead to visual impairment or even blindness.

He explained: “Norville Opticians now has technology which was previously only available in hospitals to monitor and record what is happening in the eye.

By taking regular pictures with one of our Optical Coherence Tomography cameras it is possible to build up a 3D image of the various layers inside an eye and if repeated over a period of time the scans can give a vital early warning of several serious conditions before they become apparent to the patient.”

Adrian Street continued with another reason why regular eye tests are valuable.

He said: “Another type of eye examination can diagnose many eyesight related reading problems in children and adults and treat them with coloured lenses in spectacles.

“The technique is called Intuitive Colorimetry which can be used if a person’s reading ability is being affected by visual stress (sensitivity to some patterns; particularly stripes). In some this can cause visual perception problems leading to problems with reading.

He ended by saying: “We can now do so much more than just prescribe spectacles; we can monitor a patient’s health and detect problems at a much earlier stage and help with reading difficulties.

“With facts like that it makes sense to have your eyes checked regularly.”

Norville Opticians Daniel Read obtains cross-section pictures of a patient’s eyes using Optical Coherence Tomography to check for possible early signs of several serious conditions.

Optical Confederation supports 10 Year Celebration for Vision Care for Homeless People

September 2013

A milestone was reached this week as Vision Care for Homeless People clocked up ten years of providing eye care and glasses for the dispossessed. Some 7,000 people in the UK have been helped to better vision during this time.

Optical Confederation members, who support the charity, and a host of volunteers, joined the celebrations at the Crisis Skylight Centre in Whitechapel – where the very first clinic was held in 2003.

Harinder Paul, the optometrist charity founder and now managing director, reflected on how VCHP has grown to five well established centres – with three in London, others in Birmingham and Brighton – and with a sixth to open in Manchester in 2014.

Barry Simons, Founder Trustee, spoke of the tremendous commitment of the volunteers during the ten year period –

“There are so many young people involved in the charity and their passion and commitment is truly impressive. A lot of our young supporters have excellent values and commitment to help those less fortunate than ourselves. It is these volunteers who have put the charity where it is today.”

Barry, who has an extensive knowledge of supporting homelessness charities, stressed the importance of the work –“in London we have seen rough sleepers increase by 16% in the last year alone”.

David Hewlett, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said: “The Optical Confederation has been a supporter of Vision Care for Homeless People for many years - particularly FMO members (who have donated equipment) and others who have provided funding and other forms of support. We all recognise the need for homeless people, who can come from all walks of life, to have the same access to eye health services as anyone else.”

OGS to fund new VCHP Manchester centre

September 2013

Two key optical charities are marking their tenth anniversaries with a combined commitment to improve the vision of dispossessed people in The UK’s north-west. Optometry Giving Sight has made a £20,000 donation to fund a new Vision Care for Homeless People centre, for three years, in Manchester.

This significant step to improve vision amongst the homeless here in the UK sees Optometry Giving Sight’s (OGS) commitment to “transform lives through the gift of vision”. It facilitates the sixth centre for Vision Care for Homeless People in the UK.

Nicholas Rumney, OGS National Committee Chair, pictured left, said –

“It is very rewarding to be working with Vision Care for Homeless People once again. This funding for the new Manchester clinic is set to bring a new vision – and hope of a better life – to many homeless and vulnerable people. We are pleased to be in a position to provide this support on behalf of our donors and sponsors in the UK, and to help cater for what is, sadly, a growing need.”

Receiving the cheque, Harinder Paul, Managing Director of VCHP, pictured right, praised the commitment of the OGS team, including Georgina Woolfrey and Donna Power, pictured, adding –

“OGS carries out so much fantastic work overseas, however it is excellent that problems in the UK are brought into focus through this major contribution. We are charities with parallel values and since 2003 have made significant in-roads to highlighting and addressing the need for good eye care and vision correction. This is a tremendous commitment that we are sharing during our tenth anniversaries.”

Other VCHP centres are located in central, west and east London, Brighton and Birmingham. Local fundraisers and volunteers are warmly welcomed.

Hoya hosts customer Golf event

September 2013

Monday 9th September saw the introduction of Hoya’s new Golf event held at the Carden Park Golf Resort. The Hoya Golf tournament was played on the Cheshire course followed by a presentation dinner in the evening hosted by Martin Batho, Managing Director, Hoya Lens UK. Boasting two stunning Championship courses, the Nicklaus golf course and the Cheshire golf course, Carden Park is the perfect venue for a challenging Hoya game of golf in the beautiful Cheshire countryside. The aim of the day was to get to know Hoya customers new and old, Hoya succeeded in receiving exceptional feedback from all who attended.

“It’s been a few years since Hoya UK organised an event of this nature and it has proven to be a great success, was well received and attended. Arranging the event locally to the Hoya Head Office allowed us to invite not only customers but members of Hoya manufacturing and customer support teams. It was a pleasure to have a mix of customers and staff. We’re hoping to host a similar event next this space” Martin Batho.

Hoya has produced an informative video which is viewable from this site just click to their page and click video.

Still time to reserve a place at Spectacle Makers Soiree

September 2013

An opportunity to engage in the debate on what is wrong (or right?) with The Opticians Act is available to all at the Institute of Optometry on Thursday Sept 19th at 6.30 pm closing around
Canapés and beverages are included within a £10 charge.

A distinguished panel will lead on the debate and includes Peter Coe, Peter Black and Alan Tinger.

The evening is part of a series of social gatherings where important issues will be discussed at the same time as demonstrating the hospitality and friendship within the Company of Spectacle Makers.
The date was chosen to coincide with NEHW and the company looks forward to seeing many new faces from all parts of the optical sector.

Just email the and reserve a place.

Two weeks to go and the silence is overwhelming

September 2013

True we announced the provision of resource packs made available last week by the organisers of NEHW and no doubt PR will noticeably ramped up during the National Eye Health Week commencing in less than 2 weeks, but where are the signs of activity on the high street?

The message is clear there are around 2 million people in the UK with sight loss of which around half could be helped or help themselves by taking an eye examination.

Putting out another statistic there are around 20 million members of the public who have either never had a sight test or are overdue a test.

One wonders how may children will be starting a new school this week with unchecked and possibly poor eye sight which will hold them back at school maybe for much of their school life?

The Optical bodies are to be congratulated in at last encouraging Government to collect vision statistics and use evidence based learning to encourage the population to take care of themselves. But it is surely up to the profession to use every marketing tool they have, be it window dressing, A Boards, mail outs and e-blasts to announce promotions and health advice.

The truth is that the profession is as much in the dark ages when it comes to the use of the internet and e commerce. Many practices do not have broad band connection and even less collect and use email addresses.

It even seems that £1 for 3 months is too much to risk to promote to 1000’s of people each day on our very own industry public website except for a minority.

There is also conflicting information coming from Government and some primary professions, where regular health care checks for the 40+ are promoted by the DoH and condemned by the head of the GPs, who suggests health checks pander to the “Worried Well”. (See later story)

Perhaps more progressive primary care workers recognise that the Worried Well needs help for the very reason that worried people cannot be well.

When the message gets to the public eventually and we hope to help in that respect, will the profession be ready, available and flexible enough to do so.

In the late 80’s the profession was seen not to be in a ready state for efficient working with many practices working profitably part time seeing 8 to 10 patients a day with long delays.

Patients will not wait for appointments as demonstrated by the overloading of A & E departments whilst waiting for GP appointments and as in the 80’s such conditions open up the possibility of outside pressure and intervention such as the intervention of the Competitions Commission, opening up of advertising, ready readers and deregistration of dispensers from the register.

This was the open invitation to large corporate bodies to enter the market. What will come next? Simplistic eye checks for all between 2 or 3 year tests by auto refractors, other professions doing refraction (DOs , pharmacists, orthoptists). If this encourages greater take up maybe the reservoir of those with sight loss will reduce in size? So should we stand by and let new innovation take its course or should we together maybe create a better commercial environment to sit alongside our improved clinical expertise?

Health Checks for the over 40’s. A help or a hindrance?

September 2013

We reported recently on the Governments plans for increasing checks for the over forties at GP surgeries.

We also brought to you attention that in the extensive DoH document we noticed a complete lack of any form of vision related checks. Vision 2020 also brought to our attention that only 60% of GPs in a survey considered an eye examination to have any relevance in the health care needs of their patients.

In our interview with Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGPs we broached this finding which she dismissed as neither seen by her or likely to be true. Our next tack was to suggest that Eye Health information from GPs should be included in QOFs (Quality in Outcomes Framework). That didn’t go down too well! So now we are not surprised to find the same source declaring over 40 checks as useless. Backing the Nordic Cochrane Centres assertion that the health checks program would “operate in direct conflict with the available evidence” leading to patients taking more drugs.

According to Gerada as reported in The Times the health checks were devaluing medicine. Family doctors are apparently wasting their time with patients who were needlessly worried.

The story caused a clamour of dissent from many the following day not least from medical officers, Diabetes UK and ToHealth Ltd who all quoted the earlier report as misleading and using out of date information. Diabetes UK suggest that the better control of diabetes and other chronic conditions and detection at an earlier time point will not only payback the £300 million the health checks will cost but is likely to save an additional £132 million each year.

In our own vision sector we know the cost of low uptakes of eye examinations in sight loss, breaking limbs in falls and depression and the cost in social care that these cost each year. We (the optical profession) will see you and raise you in savings!

New campaign urges regular eye checks for UK’s African Caribbean community

September 2013

Campaign launched as research by the College of Optometrists shows lack of awareness of the increased risk of developing glaucoma – a potentially blinding disease.

A new glaucoma-awareness campaign, aimed at those of African Caribbean descent living in the UK, has been launched by the College of Optometrists after research revealed a worrying lack of awareness of the eye condition which may cause complete sight loss if undetected.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases where the optic nerve, which connects your eye to your brain, is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye. While glaucoma can develop in people of any ethnic origin, people of African Caribbean origin are up to six times more likely to develop the condition and it can develop approximately ten years earlier than in other ethnic groups.

According to research by the College of Optometrists*, over a third (36%) of people of African Caribbean descent living in the UK are unaware that they are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. This has prompted the College of Optometrists to launch the ‘Eye Matter’ campaign to raise awareness of the condition and its prevalence among this high risk community.

As part of the campaign, College members are visiting community groups in Croydon, Birmingham and Manchester to talk to local members of the African Caribbean community about the condition and the importance of regular check-ups in catching it earlier to reduce the risk of avoidable sight loss. A Q&A session will also be held to answer any questions from people concerned that they or a family member may be developing the condition. Simulator spectacles will also be available to give people an idea of what living with the disease in the advanced stages is like.

Dr Susan Blakeney, the College of Optometrists’ Clinical Adviser, said: “Glaucoma is often without symptoms until significant vision has been lost. However, early detection increases the chances of effective treatment, which is why it is so important to go for regular checkups. It’s such a simple message and one we want more people in at-risk groups to hear, which is why we have launched the campaign and are meeting with people from the African Caribbean community.”
The campaign has been welcomed by African Caribbean community organisations. Janet Corlis, CEO of the Afro-Caribbean Millennium Centre commented:

“We’re really pleased that the College of Optometrists is launching a campaign to raise awareness of glaucoma. At the moment too many members of our community know little about the condition and as a result often don’t seek treatment early enough. We look forward to working with the College over the next few weeks to make sure as many members of our community as possible know all the facts about the condition and the importance of looking after their eye health.”

Elaine’s pedalling raises further funds in France

September 2013

Elaine Styles, Chair of Vision Care for Homeless People, has raised another £1,488.00 from her pedalling power – this time in France.

Cycling 751km in eight days, and climbing 15,868m she burned an estimated 12,743 calories, knowing that the sponsored challenge was raising much needed funds to open a new centre in Manchester.

As Elaine said, “I am very proud to have completed such an amazing challenge. I completed all the climbs which at times were very challenging - especially as France was also having a heat wave and temperatures reached 43C. The scenery was absolutely stunning. The longest climb was a constant 19 km up the Col du Tourmalet, but this was followed by an amazing 25 km down. The constant steep downs caused their own problems with hands going numb from pulling on the brakes.”

To add to Elaine’s total click

UKTI to speak at autumn FMO meeting

September 2013

UKTI, representing the Government’s exporting know-how, is set to put optics in the spotlight at the next FMO meeting on 16 October.

Promoting the opportunities to build exports, and capitalise on overseas markets, UKTI International Trade Advisor, Dr Tony Warwick, will speak on “Export Opportunities and Support for FMO Members”, and will be on hand to offer advice and guidance.

FMO Board Member and Sales Director at Norville, Mark Truss, explained “We have been working with UKTI for some time and found their expertise to be very valuable as a means of providing an infrastructure. It is also useful to know about the grants that are available to us as businesses.”

Tony Walker concurred saying “The first barrier to exporting can be a predisposition that it is complicated and only within the realm of larger companies, but this is a misconception. Others think that it is highly bureaucratic, but this need not be the case. With good preparation and research, companies can make exporting profitable from the very outset.”

Apprenticeships in optical manufacturing will also be a feature of the meeting, with a presentation by Gordon Jones, Master of the Spectacle Makers’ Company. As a member of the Livery Companies’ Skills Council, Gordon is well placed to explore the potential of a new three year advanced apprenticeship, leading to the SMC Tech (Level 4). Companies interested to know more about this are encouraged to attend. Following the presentations a networking lunch will be followed by sector specific meetings for the dedicated Frame, Lens and Equipment Focus Groups.

Date: 16 October 2013

Venue: Johnson & Johnson, Wokingham

Time: 10.30am Contact FMO to reserve a place

Optical Confederation joins with the Central LOC Fund to employ IT Policy Lead

September 2013

The Optical Confederation and the Central LOC Fund are pleased to announce joint funding of NHS IT expert Mordechai Chachamu to lead on IT policy for community eye care.

Mordechai will oversee national IT policy at a crucial time for optics and healthcare. The government has prioritised technological integration and ‘paperless’ work flows for the NHS and optics must continue to adapt to face future technology challenges and capitalise on opportunities.

The new role will involve working towards

• electronic GOS claims and payments
• electronic connectivity between optical practices and the rest of the NHS, and
• supporting a viable and integrated primary eye care model that’s ‘plugged in’ to NHS computer systems.

Building on the work of the Optical Confederation’s Information and IT Committee, Mordechai will take overall responsibility for delivering national IT policy in optics; supporting professionals, practices, and suppliers through implementation; and working with key stakeholders across primary care, secondary care and NHS IT agencies.

Mordechai has a substantial background across the health and technology sectors, having held senior roles at both large multinational companies and in the hospital sector, including eight years spent at the Royal Brompton and Harefield Trust in London. He has worked on a range of projects, including NHS Direct implementation and the integration of NHS IT portals with GP practice management software, and brings valuable experience to optics.

Mark Nevin, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Mordechai to the Optical Confederation policy team. His appointment comes at an important time for the sector. We can now build on the foundations put in place over the past two years for paperless GOS submissions, electronic referral, and data sharing across primary care and with the hospital sector.”

Ruth Cuthbert of the Central LOC Fund said: “We are pleased to support this role for the Optical Confederation which is laying the foundations for the future of primary eye care. It will help the sector to take their place in the NHS and revolutionise how we deliver care in the community”.

Mordechai said: ‘It’s a very exciting time to join the Optical Confederation and for IT in healthcare. The new NHS structures create a lot of opportunities to deliver more and better eye care in the community and electronic connectivity will be central to shaping those services. I am delighted that the Central LOC Fund has helped to make this role possible.”

DOH Funding opens to support voluntary organisations that improve health and social care

September 2013

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb announces the latest funding to help voluntary organisations improve people’s health and well-being.

The latest round of funding to support voluntary and community organisations to improve people’s health and well-being has now opened, the Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb announced last week.

The Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development (IESD) Fund is awarded to voluntary groups that work towards improving the health and well-being of people across England. The money they are awarded goes towards testing and developing new ways of working in the health and social care system that will:

•Improve people’s health and well-being
•Promote improved ways of working to achieve excellent outcomes in health and social care
•Support the health and social care sector to develop sustainable business models for the future

This year the IESD fund will be awarded to voluntary groups that also demonstrate a commitment to some of the current key priorities in the health and care system. These are:

•Personalisation and Choice of Care and Support
•Delivering Better Health and Care Outcomes
•Improving Public Health
•Improving Long-Term Care and Support
•Delivering Safe and Compassionate Care

In the last funding round (2013-14), 49 new projects were recommended for funding under the scheme at a total cost of £5.5 million for the year. These projects are now being implemented across the country, and cover a range of different areas; such as addressing health inequalities in men, increasing levels of physical activity in children and supporting people living with dementia and their carers.

In launching this year’s fund, Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Voluntary organisations play a vital role in our health and care system – they offer support to people at the most vulnerable points in their lives and help to build stronger relationships between services and the local community. This new round of funding will improve the lives of thousands of people across the UK, helping them to lead healthier and more independent lives. It is crucial that we continue to champion our voluntary organisations, because their expertise allows them to design and develop innovative solutions to the big challenges we face in health, public health and social care.”

One charity that has benefited from the fund is Dementia Adventure CIC, which supports people living with dementia to interact with nature. Dementia Adventure CIC will receive £81,200 during 2013-14, which will be used to recruit, train and support four new full-time project leaders over 3 years.

Director of Dementia Adventure CIC Neil Mapes said:“Receiving a grant from the Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development ‘Natural Leaders’ Programme is enabling Dementia Adventure to expand our delivery of nature based training, consultancy and adventure projects to a range of health & social care and leisure providers. This empowers them to involve the use of nature in their work with people living with dementia and their carers. The benefits to people living with dementia are to live well, have contact and connection with nature and enjoy a sense of adventure, resulting in them being happier, healthier, and confident to lead as full and active life as possible.“

“The work of ‘Natural Leaders’ will reach out to thousands of people living with dementia giving them the assurance that their family, friends, carers and professionals have the practical and emotional support they need.”

A reminder of the upcoming SVUK conference 2013

The Conference covers the following topics:
• Increasing your turnover with specialist skills
• Dyslexia (School) and Dyspraxia (Sport)
• Eye tracking in sport and school
• Eye dominance
• The use of tints
• Evolution of high base curve lenses
• Eye protection in sport
• The clinical importance of frame and lens design
• Interactive CET lectures, workshops and Peer review

Held on the Sunday 22nd September 2013 Free Attendance (but booking required)

For information and booking call or go online on 01162 363113 or

Caring for your contact lenses whilst on holiday

August 2013

Contact lenses are simple, safe and convenient to use – and that’s why the number of contact lenses wearers in the UK has more than doubled in the past 20 years – from 1.6 million in 1992 to 3.7 million in 20121.

“For holidaymakers requiring vision correction, contact lenses offer fantastic freedom when you want to be out and about enjoying a variety of indoor and outdoor activities,” says Siobhan Wren MBBS, FRCOphth, BCLA Council member (Medical Representative) and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Hillingdon and Mount Vernon NHS Foundation Trust, London.

“The latest contact lenses – called silicone hydrogels – provide excellent comfort and eye health by letting a higher percentage of oxygen through to the eye – and daily disposables are ideal for taking on holiday as no solutions or storage is required,” continues Siobhan. “Many contact lenses also offer additional UV protection when worn under sunglasses.

“It is important to always follow the advice of your registered contact lens practitioner, and to remember the basic hygiene rules when away from home and your regular routines,” says Siobhan. “This is particularly so when you are planning to take part in sea or pool swimming and watersports.

“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,” explains Siobhan, a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. “However, research shows that infections are more likely to occur if the recommended hygiene procedures are not followed2.”

Holiday tips

The BCLA has the following guidance for contact lens wearers planning their holiday:

• Never 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.
• Before going on holiday, talk to your contact lens 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.
• Make sure you have enough solution to last your holiday, as your specific solution may not be available abroad.
• Ask your contact lens practitioner about travel packs of solution for added convenience.
• Never decant solutions into smaller bottles as you risk introducing bacteria and contaminating the solution.
• Never rinse your lenses in tap water, especially abroad, where the water may contain microorganisms. Always use saline to rinse your lenses.
• In case your lenses become uncomfortable or your luggage gets lost, always travel with your care kit in your hand luggage.
• Before you go, ask your optician about re-wetting drops as plane and hotel air conditioning may cause a degree of eye dryness.
• Always have a pair of spectacles to hand.

And remember….if in doubt, take them out.

Vision UK 2014 conference date announced

August 2013

Vision UK 2014, the leading eye health and sight loss sector conference, will be held on Thursday 12 June, 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London.

Vision UK is the only conference for the whole of the sight loss sector. It brings together health and social care professionals, members of health and eye care organisations and representatives from the voluntary sector.

Building on the launch of the refreshed UK Vision Strategy in 2013, next year’s conference will review the progress that has been made in implementing the Strategy across the UK.

Anita Lightstone, Programme Director for UK Vision Strategy and Interim Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK said: “Following the successful conference in 2013, we are delighted to announce the date for Vision UK 2014. This conference will provide an excellent opportunity for the sector to come together again and look at how the Strategy is being put into action.’’

The conference programme is being finalised and further details will be announced over the coming months.

Registration will open in early January 2014 and early bird rates will be available. Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are also available.

If you would like to register your interest in attending the conference as a delegate or exhibitor or would like to find out about sponsorship packages, please contact the UK Vision Strategy team on

For more information about past Vision UK conferences please visit

Adjustments to the Opticians Act might be more than a “Moot Point”

August 2013

Following on from its highly successful first “Moot Evening” the SMC announces a second evening of lively conversation and of great interest for all professions.

The Spectacle Makers Company is hosting an early evening discussion under the title "What's wrong with the Optician's Act?"

This will be of interest to anyone in a profession - be they in optics, the law, medicine, accountancy and many other stakeholders, not least those using vision services.

The discussion will start with a brief talk on the nature of a profession and how professional independence may be impeded by existing law. Then we all join in for open discussion.

At a time when the Law Commission has opened up the possibility of significant change for health care regulation - and, through its 12th programme consultation, more widely for other professions - this is a major issue worth our consideration.

The soiree is nicely fixed for the middle of National Eye Health Week on the 19th September. A week devoted to raising the volume that at present over 2 million people suffer from sight loss often needlessly in the UK, when we have the capacity to resolve the problem.

Arrive in time at the Institute of Optometry for a glass or two before we start - from 6.30pm on ( which is a short stride from Elephant & Castle tube. Expect to be away by 8.00pm after a lively discussion and the opportunity to continue the conversation over drinks and canapés.

This is an excellent taster for those who might have considered joining the Company in the past or now wish to see the SMC in action.

If you would like to attend this Moot or maybe consider putting your name on a list for future emails regarding other regular evenings email the Clerk to register your interest. Please state clearly whether you wish to be on the list for September or just wish further notification.

Through the generosity of the Institute, we only need to make a charge of £10 per head for an entertaining and thought provoking evening, including canapés and beverages.

Sadly, space will limit us to about 60 so please get your bid in early by emailing the Clerk at

Please remember in all correspondence to provide you email address, which if received will be used for communications about this and future “Moots”

Eds Note:

The GOC is also looking at amending registration of both corporate and lay businesses and future students (reported on PHN last month) and of course whenever the Act is under review there is always an element of “Pandora’s Box” for those who prefer the status quo.

Free places at contact lens symposium for BCLA student and pre-reg members

August 2013

Student and pre-registration members of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) are being given the opportunity to apply for a free place at next month’s Contact Lens Specialist Symposium (CLSS) in London.

Taking place on 28 and 29 September at the Renaissance Hotel, Bath Road, London Heathrow, CLSS will feature keynote presentations from Professor Pat Caroline, Dr Eef van der Worp and Randy Kojima – taking delegates on a journey through optics from understanding the surface of the eye to optimal contact lens fitting.

The BCLA has secured 15 free places, which it is offering to student and pre-registration members on a first come, first served basis. The offer includes access to the two-day event and all lectures, dinner on the evening of 28 September and the chance to informally speak to some of the world’s leading contact lens experts, both speaking and attending.

Maxine Green, BCLA Council member (Technical Representative), said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our student and pre-reg members this fantastic opportunity to meet some of the world’s leading lights in contact lens fitting and lens design. The delegates will learn about products and fitting techniques that they may not see in their regular day-to-day optical life and, hopefully, this will inspire them to take a journey to more specialist lens fitting.”

For more information about CLSS and the programme, visit

BCLA student and pre-reg members may apply for a free place via the Student section of the BCLA website

Heidelberg stages international symposium in New York

August 2013

The Metropolitan Club, New York, is the venue for Heidelberg’s International SPECTRALIS Symposium, bringing together the world’s leading retinal specialists and researchers.

Located at Central Park, the 11th International SPECTRALIS Symposium takes place from 18-19 October. It promises to create an atmosphere of “vibrant scientific exchange” with a broad spectrum of presentations from experienced users. More than 200 attendees had registered by August. Led by Dr K. Bailey Freund, Ophthalmologist and Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon, it is set to provide “the latest developments in ophthalmic imaging” with the views of best practice from around the world.

As a multi-modality imaging platform, the SPECTRALIS combines OCT technology with infrared, red free, colour, autofluorescence, fluorescein angiography, ICGA, widefield, stereo, full depth and anterior segment imaging. Heidelberg Engineering believes the SPECTRALIS is facilitating the development of novel therapeutics, and changing the course of patient management in eye care.

Applications to be addressed at the conference include:

New imaging methods, such as Multicolour, Ultra-Widefield, Transverse section and Imaging the Choroidal Anatony
Quantitative Autofluorescence
Macular Pigment Measurements
Refining the Diagnosis and Management of CNV in AMD
Evaluating Intra and Subretinal Fluid with Anti-VEGF Therapy
The Clinical Significance of Pseudodrusen
Biomarkers for Neovascular AMD Therapy
Clinical Applications of Ultra-Widefield Imaging
Evaluating Focal Vitreomacular Adhesions
Choroidal Anatomy in Geographic Atrophy
ICGA in Geographic Atrophy and Stargardt Disease
SD-OCT Anatomic Correlates to Visual Function
SD-OCT examination of the optic nerve head

National Eye Health Week Supporter Resource Packs Out Now

August 2013

National Eye Health Week 2013 have published a series of new resources to help supporters mark the Week and promote key strategies for helping to keep Britain’s eyes healthy.

Comprehensive promotional resource packs containing educational and awareness posters, leaflets, flyers, exclusive recipe cards and balloons are being mailed out to supporters this week.

National Eye Health Week Resource PackAdditional materials including template press releases, kids activity sheets, tips on securing media coverage and an event handbook have been published in an electronic resource centre

More resources and template news releases will be published in the run up to, and during, the Week itself, which starts on 16 September.

Commenting on the launch of the supporter resource materials, Francesca Marchetti, Chair of National Eye Health Week said: “This year’s packs are full of valuable tools that make it easy for everyone to promote positive eye health messages during National Eye Health Week. Our A, B, See of Good Eye Health leaflet for example, provides accessible advice and information on a diverse range of ocular topics whilst our fabulous new recipe cards offer mouth watering solutions for ensuring you eat a balanced diet rich in eye-friendly nutrients.”

The supporter resources have been produced with the aid of an award from the Central Fund and sponsorship from Viteyes.

Anyone who would like a copy of the resource pack can request one online at

Supporters are also being reminded to register their National Eye Health Week activity on Events registered on the website will be promoted via the National Eye Health Week social media channels and in relevant press and media activity. PHN will assist in promoting all activity on their charity event page. Click here for more information about promoting your practice activity.


Wiseman fund supports trip to Moldova by Cardiff students

August 2013

The Wiseman Memorial Fund has supported a successful volunteer eye clinic trip to Moldova by second year students from Cardiff University.

Organiser, Zarna Dasani, one of the seven students who made up the party, explained –

“We aimed to see 1,000 patients and those most in need. In fact, during the five days of Returning Vision to Moldova we saw 1418 patients in five different towns. Many had not been to an optician before and patients ranged from six months to 90 years. We dispensed spectacles for reading and distance immediately, but some of the extreme prescriptions – of -26d, and +16, with high cyl powers too, have been glazed in the UK and we will send them back to the patients. It was a tremendous experience for us all. The Wiseman Fund donation was of great help to us in achieving our goals. “

Picture shows supervisors, translators and students as they depart from Cardiff.

BCLA President to explore technology and contact lenses

August 2013

British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) President, Andy Yorke, will explore the impact of ophthalmic technology on everyday contact lens practice in his upcoming Presidential Address, to be held on Wednesday 18 September in London.

In his talk, entitled ‘Rise the machines…instrumentation, machinery and technology: where would we be without it?’, Andy will focus on the fast-paced world of advanced ophthalmic technology – an industry he has been part of for more than 30 years.

Andy, who is head of Topcon’s medical business in the UK, commented: “What I want to try and capture is the impact that instrumentation, machinery and technology has had on the development of the contact lens industry and profession over the years.

“I will also be looking at the impact that technology, which is not even yet fully developed, could have on the future development of the contact lens world – and on the everyday practice of BCLA members,” he added.

This popular BCLA evening event will be held at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) at 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G, on Wednesday 18 September. BCLA members may attend for free, along with one non-member guest each.

Drinks will be served from 6.30pm and Andy’s presentation will run from 7-8pm. Attendees are invited to join the President for dinner afterwards at the RSM, at a cost of £45 per head (subject to availability and pre-booking).

Roger Pope celebrates success of Coronation Festival

August 2013

Roger Pope and Partners, Dispensing Opticians to Her Majesty The Queen, celebrated the success of the recent Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace. Tremendous awareness was created regarding the diverse services provided by Royal Warrant Holders.

Roger Pope and Stephen Hopkinson, business partners, and the team, found the four days “a wonderful experience and enjoyed making contact with a new audience of customers looking for excellence”.

“There was great interest in our luxury eyewear including a specially commissioned frame created by Lindberg, for the event, with 60 pink diamonds to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Coronation,” said Roger.

A unique setting for the catwalk was created amongst the trees on a raised platform with the backdrop of the Palace gardens.

“This allowed us to exclusively showcase our wide range of frames and sunglasses. Sales of sunglasses during the Coronation Festival were excellent, certainly helped by the superb weather,” added Roger.

ACLM Contact Lens Year Book 2013 Now Available

August 2013

The 2013 edition of the product manual of the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers has now been published. It lists technical details for all the contact lenses, solutions and materials produced by ACLM member companies, and covers the overwhelming bulk of products available in the UK. It has become an essential product guide and handy reference for contact lens practitioners.

This year there are plenty of new products – over 45 – and more than 90 older technology items have been removed. Readers can offer their patients the latest or the most appropriate products available by obtaining a copy of the Year Book every year. Probably the best way to subscribe is by Direct Debit which secures a 35% discount every year, and also guarantees being among the first to receive the latest issue automatically.

Practitioners can download the order form from the Home Page of the ACLM website at Alternatively, join the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and receive a free copy of the Year Book as part of the membership package.

Purchasers are always offered the latest version of the Year Book. The Home Page of the ACLM’s website not only indicates which is the current version, but also the expected release date for the new one when that time approaches.

Vision Care for Homeless People appoints student ambassadors

August 2013

Enthusiasm for helping the less fortunate is a message that the new generation of optometrists takes very seriously, believes Vision Care for Homeless People. Ambassadors for the UK charity have been appointed from all the professional schools. They reflect an eagerness to raise awareness and encourage active involvement through volunteering and fundraising.

Maria Akhtar from Plymouth University is in her final year of optometry, explained her support –

“Many people have misconceptions and so ignore homeless people. A friend who works for Crisis made me aware of what it is really like to be homeless and in need of help and moral support. Lonely individuals need to be looked after just as we are by friends and family. I think VCHP is a great opportunity for us to get involved and utilise our professional skill in a way that can benefit and help those that are less fortunate. Raising money for the charity and volunteering at the clinics is something I look forward to doing.”

Rosie Pattison, a second year student at Aston University, will be the Birmingham Ambassador and volunteering at the local VCHP clinic and “encouraging as many people as I can to do the same”.

Maria Tariq, a third year at City University, first became involved in the charity when she volunteered for 'Crisis at Christmas' and is “in awe of the fantastic service provided”.

Nadia Yeasmin, a final year Bradford University student says this is “an excellent opportunity for me to experience how vision care is provided to those who are more vulnerable and may not receive this via mainstream NHS services.”

Ross Aitchison, a fourth year at Glasgow Caledonian University, believes the charity “makes a difference to the lives of those who need it most. I plan to spread the word of the charity to optometry, orthoptics and dispensing students.”

Rebecca Leighton, in her second year at Ulster University says that working with the charity, “allows me to learn about different aspects of Optometry and how it can make a contribution to the lives of those who are vulnerable. I feel it is important to start promoting the charity and to build a foundation for future growth in this part of the UK “.

Dhruvi Shah, a third year Optometry student at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, has already organised and participated in fundraising events for other charities including Optometry Giving Sight, and is delighted to be an ambassador.

Maariyah Khan from Manchester University urged us all to envisage life without vision - “people take their sight for granted and do not realise how much the loss of this sense would affect them”.

Ciara Hankins, in her third year at Cardiff University said she is keen to “use the skills I have to help others. VCHP is an amazing cause and a great way for those in optics to help vulnerable people within their own communities. I am honoured and proud to be able to represent the charity.”

FMO frame focus group has new leadership

August 2013

Sharing industry knowledge and being at the forefront of change within the UK optical market are key benefits of being actively involved with the trade body, believes the new FMO Frame Focus Chairman, Mark Truss.

Mark, who is Sales Director of the Norville Group, is supported by Vice-Chairman, David Baker, Managing Director of International Eyewear. Together they are looking to bring more frame companies – large and small – into the group, for the benefit of all:

“The open exchange that The FMO facilitates is highly valuable. It also gives assurances of quality in business and services. We offer the chance to share market experiences, both good and bad, and to network. The FMO’s benefits package is substantial with preferential rates for the leading UK optical shows; a direct legal advice line; the opportunity to influence industry standards; and to capitalise on industry benchmarks, and statistics,” he said.

David Baker, who joined optics following extensive experience within the watch industry, spoke of the “huge advantage of a proactive trade association which gives us all a broader perspective of the optical market”.
He is delighted to help to build a three year plan for the group and spoke of the benefits of collectively moving the market forward:

“The synergy of working together brings many strategic partnerships and a greater opportunity to expand our businesses. It is important to have an active voice and to be involved in the decision making and to become an organisation with even more influence,” said David.

Make a note of the next meeting, to be held on 16th October, at the J&J Centre in Berkshire.

Optical Practices wishing to show support for Vision Charities given the chance to tell the Public online and promote their events

August 2013

PHN offers to match advertising contribution from individual practices for enhanced entries and transfer to their chosen charity promoted on

Primary Health Net Ltd (PHN) which publishes free promotion for Vision Charities on both its professional and public sites has decided to actively promote donations to them from optical practices and to match their contribution paid to inform the public of their charitable support from individual practice registrations.

The normal charges for marketing in the “Find My Optician” database have been dropped for charity supporters and those providing event activities for charitable and vision awareness campaigns. This will include those involved in OGS cycling, The World Sight Day and the National Eye Health Week and any others registered to UK vision charities holding events.

For campaign and charity supporters the publication fee has been cut to £1 which PHN will match and pass over to the individual practice’s chosen charity from a list provided by PHN.

The enhanced entry for supporters will be searchable by the new Vision Charity Supporter tag on the specialities field of the database. Practices can also advertise any events or promotions on their entry which will be raised above the normal alphabetical order entry in each location.

The enhanced entry will run for free for 3 months from initiation and will therefore cover both World Sight Day in October and NEHW in September.

Over 1000 members of the public each day search on the unique registered practice database for information about local optical provision and vision charity supporters will be able to try this resource for £1 and advertise their specialities, branded products and their support.
Practices can join the campaign by visiting the payment page completing the contact form and paying £1 on line.

The public site will have dedicated charity activity pages telling the public to look after their eyes and those of family and friends and will communicate stories from opticians and the public about how an eye test has proved so important. Activities centred around NEHW (to which PHN is an active collaborator) and those creating events for the World Sight Day and for the news it receives of those cycling for OGS, glaucoma week or any other event connected to a vision charity.

The new charity events page on Mylocaloptician will show the events around the UK supporting campaigns and PHN will link all practice events back to the charity supporters listing of practices with enhanced charity entries in the optician’s directory.

PHN encourages all charities so far not promoted by them to get in touch at

DVLA updates medical guidance on visual standards for drivers

August 2013

The Optical Confederation welcomes the release of updated guidance by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) advising motorists of their legal responsibilities to maintain the correct visual and health standards when driving. The new materials include an update of the D4 medical form (for drivers of large vehicles such as lorries and buses) and advice for medical practitioners when completing it, and additional information on the public-facing web portal.

The Optical Confederation bodies are reaching out to their membership to make them aware of the new materials, enabling them to educate their patients accordingly. We will be issuing new guidance for optical professionals later this summer, and have re-released our ‘Your Eyes Save Lives’ campaign poster for practitioners to use to inform road users about the importance of driving with good vision.

The Optical Confederation has been campaigning for over three years to press for more robust assessment of drivers’ vision and to increase awareness of the importance of always driving with good vision. The Optical Confederation will continue to support and work with government in informing the public of their responsibilities and providing the best clinical advice for motorists.

Mark Nevin, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said: “We are pleased to be able to work with government and road safety organisations to ensure that motorists and the general public are aware of the legal responsibilities to drive with good vision and that they receive the best advice on how to maintain good vision throughout their lives. We will shortly issue new guidance to Optical Confederation members about assessing all categories of drivers’ vision.”

Newly-qualified event back for a second year

August 2013

Fresh Eyes, the conference for newly-qualified optometrists, is set to return in 2014 after a successful launch earlier this year.

The event, co-hosted by the College of Optometrists and the Association of Optometrists, will take place during the College's Optometry Tomorrow conference at York Racecourse from 16-17 March 2014.

Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “Fresh Eyes was developed to support and guide newly-qualified optometrists in their transition from student and pre-registration life, to being a fully qualified clinical professional.”

Fresh Eyes will feature a programme of presentations from renowned speakers, as well as hands-on and interactive sessions that will demonstrate some of the latest optometric technology.

Karen Sparrow, Head of Professional Development at the Association of Optometrists, added: “Fresh Eyes is a great place to get valuable support in those first important years and meet other people who are also starting out. Last year’s delegates gave us great feedback and we have managed to incorporate their ideas to make 2014 an even better event.”

Bookings open 16 September 2013.

More information is available at

Replay Learning partners Optrafair London

August 2013

Replay Learning, the UK’s leading provider of optical training, is to provide an inspiring programme of continuing education at Olympia’s Optrafair London next April:11-13th 2014.

With a ten year track record of sourcing the very best lecturers from around the world for optometrists, dispensing opticians, support teams and revision courses for students, Replay Learning’s education is highly respected.

The relationship with Optrafair London organisers - The FMO and Optician Magazine – is a natural development following the superb education provided at Optrafair Birmingham this year. More than 500 optometrists and dispensing opticians took part in three days of Replay Learning lectures, poster trails and workshops – with many travelling from abroad.

Peter Charlesworth, Optometrist and Managing Director of Replay Learning, is delighted to be working with The FMO and Optician again –

"We worked with the FMO to organise the education theatre at Optrafair in Birmingham this year and we are looking forward to working with The FMO and Optician to build on that success in London in 2014. The plan is to link the lectures, workshops and Peer Review sessions that take place at Optrafair with the regular articles published by Optician. Optrafair will be a place where you can try out some of the CET theory, using the latest equipment and products from some of the industry's leading suppliers."

"One thing is for sure - with the combined heritage of Optician and the CET know-how of Replay Learning, the education at Optrafair London looks set to be a real highlight," he added.

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

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

100% Eyewear Design Competition launched for next year’s Show

August 2013

100% Optical announce The 100% Eyewear Design Competition, organised in collaboration with the world renowned Royal College of art, will showcase young British talent to an international audience at 100% Optical 2014. This latest addition to 100% Optical will see the shortlisted prototypes manufactured in the UK by algha, and displayed in the new Designers gallery. The winning designs will be announced on the main stage during the event.

Karen Sparrow, Head of professional Development at The AOP said "This (competition) brings Dispensing Opticians, designers, manufacturers and material suppliers together, perhaps for the first time, to share expertise and ideas. It's another innovation at 100% Optical that I think the profession will love!"
The 100% Eyewear Design competition will have a hugely influential panel of judges, including:

Marie Wilkinson, Cutler and Gross who studied dispensing optics at City and East London College where she honed her skills in the central disciplines of optics and frame making. She joined Cutler and Gross in 1981 and immersed herself in the world of bespoke eyewear working with Mr. Cutler and Mr. Gross above the now flagship store, conceptualising collections and milling and fitting hinges by hand. Marie now leads the creative team at the Cutler and Gross atelier.

Jason Kirk, Designer and Founder of Kirk Originals, whose designs became an internationally recognised fashion and optical brand in 1992, with a presence in more than fifty countries. Over twenty years, Jason developed a critically acclaimed menswear line, become one of the world's foremost eyewear designers, and is now hugely respected among his peers for pioneering designs and ideas. Having parted with Kirk Originals, Jason is currently working as an optical consultant and on exciting new projects.

Flora McLean, Footwear and Accessories Tutor - The Royal College of Art Director/Head designer - House of Flora. She is a tutor at The Royal College of Art, and the creator of House of Flora. Flora is passionate about British handmade eyewear. She has the experience of her own label, House of Flora, and has designed and manufactured her own haute couture optical range in London.

Heather Holford, Tutor and Project Manager - Fashion Menswear and Fashion Womenswear Programmes School of Material. From graduation in 1972 to present, Heather Holford has worked as a freelance designer/senior designer/design director for companies including Jean Muir and Jaeger. She has worked in product development and design management for Anne Tyrrell Design Consultancy; she has also coordinated the design and sample production of the new uniforms for the Dorchester Hotel. She has also been visiting lecturer and external examiner at various UK colleges and universities.
Myers La Roche and Jack Allen Contact Lenses are the latest sign ups to next years event in February.

Media 10 who manage 100% Optical signs exclusive deal with AOP for show

August 2013

The Association of Optometrists and Optometry Today has this week signed a ground-breaking partnership with Media 10's latest live event, 100% Optical, delivering CET content and editorial support of the new annual London event.

Media 10 anticipates that around 8,000 international visitors will attend the launch event taking place at London Excel 16-18 February 2014. This will include Buyers, Designers, Dispensers, Optometrists, Opticians, Orthoptists, Practitioners, Laboratory Managers, Technicians, Consultants Ophthalmologists, Surgeons and Students. Media 10 will use its multi-award winning floor plan, dividing the event into four clearly defined areas of focus for visitors; Equipment and Machinery, Lenses, Eyewear and Business Services.

The agreement between the AOP and show organisers, Media 10, covers the provision of Continuing Education and Training (CET) for delegates to the new show and positions Optometry Today as the media partner for the event. As a result of the collaboration, AOP members can look forward to a VIP experience when they visit the show; a number of features, to be announced shortly, will be available exclusively to them.

This contrasts with the exhibition promoted by the FMO as Optrafair London being backed by The Optician magazine. Although back in June we reported on the backing of Optrafair London by the Optical Confederation of which the AOP are members.

PHN has offered its support to both in meetings with each exhibitor but has insisted that it will remain neutral and equally supportive of both events.

OC and Devon LOC create another visit day from MP

August 2013

Latest in a run of visits made over the year is Neil Parish, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton where he visited a local Specsavers practice in his constituency. PHN has created a special page to track the visits from now on so you can see what pressure we can extend within a parliamentary lobby.

Optoms Cycling for Sight gains speed

August 2013

Gordon IlettThe charity cycling initiative ‘Optoms Cycling for Sight’ has already seen its first global participant take on a cycling challenge. Gordon Ilett, AOP councillor and optometrist at Leslie Warren and Linklaters Opticians, completed his 500 mile cycle from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean via the Pyrenees, raising £520 for Optometry Giving Sight. Also taking the initiative to the continent are Fares Hatoum and Abubakr Patel, the founders of the Optoms Cycling for Sight initiative, who will be cycling from London to Paris in under 24 hours between 24 – 25 August.

Closer to home, independent practice chain Thompson Opticians will be cheering on 24 of their colleagues as they cycle 250 miles between 23 of their outlets in the North East of England. Proving that you don’t need to venture far to take part, staff at Topcon have already reached their goal of cycling 100 miles on an exercise bike in their office, raising £210.

Tim Bowden, partner at Bowden & Lowe Opticians and Optometry Giving Sight national committee member, will be cycling from Avonmouth to the Isle of Grain, Kent, and has already raised £780 for the cause via JustGiving. He comments:

“Optoms Cycling for Sight is a great initiative as this year it allows each rider to set their own challenge and time frame to fit into busy lives. I mapped my route following the tow paths of the rivers and canals, which links perfectly with my love of narrow boating. I am new to cycling having taken it up for this event but it is rather addictive, and having my sons join me for some of the trip adds hugely to the enjoyment. I have been very pleased and humbled by the support shown by friends and patients locally and also around the world. Optometry Giving Sight is an amazing project and one that the whole world of optometry should really get behind.”

This year’s initiative is sponsored by Zeiss, and organised by second year optometry student, Gemma Hill. To get involved, email Participants can cycle solo or in a group, on the road or on a stationary bike in the gym, and are encouraged to raise at least £1 for each mile covered.

Vision Care for Homeless People appoints full time optometrist

August 2013

Growing demand for the service provided by Vision Care for Homeless People has led to the appointment of a permanent optometrist - Kishan Devraj – who will work at the London and Brighton clinics. The charity is grateful for Maria Georgiou, Managing Director of Match 2 Match Recruitment, for the generous free services to source a number of candidates for the role.

“We are delighted to appoint Kishan to the role as he has a calm manner and will be a great success with our clients. The fact that Kishan will be around to support our volunteers also adds much to the continuity of service and smooth running of the clinics. His commitment to the charity is way beyond his role as an optometrist,” said VCHP Managing Director and Co-Founder, Harinder Paul (pictured right).

VCHP is still needing volunteer optometrists and dispensing opticians at the centres in London, Brighton and Birmingham. Funds and volunteers are also sought to facilitate the opening of a new – much needed - centre in Manchester later this year.

DVLA Update on bid from LOCSU

August 2013

LOCSU, with the support of Optometry Scotland and Optometry Wales, has now submitted a bid for the Provision of Vision Testing Services for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). LOCSU thanks all contractors who have expressed an interest and responded with the required information. The bid was submitted before the deadline (of 5pm on 29 July 2013) and has been acknowledged. LOCSU stated, "We understand that the DVLA will announce the successful bidder on 12 September and we will update contractors as soon as there is any news."

Funding announced for Ophthalmic Public Health Course by ABDO College

August 2013

ABDO College announced recently that it will run an Introduction to Ophthalmic Public Health Course on 19 - 21 August 2013. The course offers eye health professionals a valuable opportunity to understand the links between public health, epidemiology and ophthalmic public health. ABDO College has now secured funding for an additional 20 free places.

• RNIB will fund 10 free places on a first come, first served basis with preference given to interested parties who are not dispensing opticians. For more information, or to apply for this funding, please visit the RNIB website.
• The Association of British Dispensing Opticians has agreed to fund 10 additional free places to its own members (full or associate) on a first come, first served basis. For further information regarding funding please call 01227 733 920/1.

The application form for the course is available from ABDO College website, from the home page, go to Guides and Forms and scroll down to the Ophthalmic Public Health forms near the bottom.

BCLA puts out call for Workshops

August 2013

Multidisciplinary presentations welcomed

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is seeking submissions for workshops and clinical spotlights to be presented at its 2014 Clinical Conference and Exhibition, from 6-9 June at the ICC Birmingham, UK.
The facilities for online submissions are now open, and submissions are due by Friday 20 September 2013.

BCLA WorkshopBCLA Conference Programme Coordinator, Nick Rumney, said: “The BCLA stands for clinical leadership in contact lens and anterior eye and we aim to present everything conference attendees need to develop their knowledge and skills base – from cutting edge research and product launches to enhancing basic skills that have gone a bit rusty.

“Presenters are the lifeblood of the BCLA conference and year on year, the standards for workshops and clinical spotlights increase,” continued Nick. “We would like to see more multidisciplinary presentations in 2014 – optometrist and contact lens optician, optometrist and ophthalmologist. Remember – even if you haven’t done it before, if you think you have something interesting to impart, or a skill you would like to share, you’re good enough to submit a proposal. Talk to us – we’ll be interested.”

Clinical workshops, nowadays approved for up to three contact lens CET points, allow delegates to gain new practical skills in small groups under expert guidance. For 2014, the BCLA is looking to increase their availability and presenters will be rewarded the more times their workshop is filled and repeated. Presenters of accepted workshops will be required to submit additional CET information and full abstracts shortly after being notified of an acceptance, and should anticipate running their workshop twice.

Any workshop topic related to contact lenses and/or the anterior eye will be considered, and presenters will receive a £100 discount towards the cost of attending the conference for each workshop session presented, including repeats.

Proposals should be submitted online by Friday 20 September 2013. Presenters of accepted workshops can submit a 1,000-word handout for their workshop by 1 April 2014.

Groups or individuals are welcome to submit proposals for a two-hour clinical spotlight session on any topic relating to contact lenses and/or the anterior eye. Proposals should comprise one-and-a-half hours of CET presentations, followed by a 30-minute Q&A period. The deadline for submissions is also Friday 20 September 2013. Successful applicants will receive a £100 discount for each speaker, which can be used towards their 2014 delegate fee.

Sessions relating to the following will be of particular interest:

• ‘RGP above core competence’ (suitable for newly qualified practitioners)
• ‘Presbyopia in practice’
• ‘Co-management in refractive surgery, Lasik and CLE’
• ‘Integrating the optometrist and contact lens optician roles’

Shamir announce “The SVUK conference 2013”

August 2013

See how the latest developments in SportVision and SchoolVision can benefit you and your patients at the 2013 SVUK conference and CET event. SVUK will be holding its annual conference for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians at the Holiday Inn, Heathrow airport this year on the 22nd of September. This one-day event will be CET accredited with interactive lectures, workshops and peer review sessions on offer.

Attendance is complimentary but numbers are limited so avoid disappointment by being the first to apply (visit: events to book and for more info).

SVUK are indebted to collaborators and lead sponsors Shamir with backing from Trivex and NXT, EyePlan and the Sight Care group.

This year the conference will cover:

•Increasing your turnover with specialist skills
•Dyslexia (School) and Dyspraxia (Sport)
•Eye tracking in sport and school
•Eye dominance
•The use of tints
•Evolution of high base curve lenses
•Eye protection in sport
•The clinical importance of frame and lens design
•Interactive CET lectures, workshops and Peer review

It will be held on Sunday 22nd September 2013 at The Holiday Inn London Heathrow

Free Attendance (But Booking required)

For information and booking either call or go online...

Tel: 01162 363113 -

Here’s more Information on Jeremy Fox who will be “Skype presenting on the day”

New Zealand Schoolvision diplomat Jeremy Fox said after receiving his diploma, “Thank you for an enlightening course, my life will be forever changed by this experience and knowledge gained. I now truly feel as if I have found my calling in my optometry / life career. I look forward to many years of research projects and helping youngsters to fulfil their potential.”

Since the exam in April Jeremy has lived up to his word and now sees upwards of 30 cases per week and things starting to come together. The Childrens’ Vision Practice in Christchurch New Zealand approached him to help with their booking backlog; up to 4 months ahead for Childrens’ vision and 8 weeks for Sport Vision.

Mr Fox was already well known for his work with School children and in the corporate sector in New Zealand before going independent. He now sees a need to lobby the government for a simple and effective school screening system, which is founded on a proper understanding of binocular vision when reading and its relation to eye dominance. This could be headed by an NGO for mobile practice with suitably qualified practitioners.

In the near future, working with SVUK Ltd he hopes to export the Schoolvision diploma to New Zealand and then to Australia. SVUK director Geraint Griffiths said that it was a delight that Jeremy saw the potential of Schoolvision enough to justify a trip to the UK and for him to say, “you cannot begin to understand how life changing this has been for me”.

We feel proud that this uniquely UK project is attracting so much interest from around the world.

SVUK are indebted to collaborators and lead sponsors Shamir with backing from Trivex and NXT, EyePlan and the Sight Care group

Jeremy will be presenting via Skype from New Zealand as he did for his project on the exam day. There will be CET and a Peer review event.

National Eye Health Week Publishes Event Handbook

July 2013

The organiser’s of National Eye Health Week have published a new Event Handbook.

Copies of the handbook, which is full of fresh and inspiring ideas about how you can mark the Week and highlight key strategies for preventing avoidable sight loss to a wide and varied audience, are being mailed-out to its database of supporters w/c 29 July.

An electronic version of the handbook is also available to download from or by clicking below and downloading from this site.

Supporter events registered on the Vision Matters website will be promoted via the National Eye Health Week social media channels and in relevant press and media activity.

Organisations across the ocular sector are also being reminded that it’s not too late to register for a free NEHW supporter resource pack.

Download the NEHW Event Handbook

New Clinical Council to provide national leadership on eye health commissioning in England

July 2013

Leading organisations from across eye health have come together for the first time to form the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning, responding to the government’s NHS reforms for a clinically-led, patient focussed NHS.

The aim of the Council is to offer united, evidence-based clinical advice and guidance to those commissioning and delivering eye health services in England on issues where national leadership is needed.

The Council plans to work in partnership with NHS England, to support the development of services to meet local needs and improve outcomes based on best evidence and in the most patient sensitive and cost-effective ways.

The Clinical Council is now contributing to the development of NICE accredited commissioning guidance on cataract and glaucoma services.

The Council will then move on to look at the best ways of improving the quality and efficiency of services for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy in line with indicator 4.12 of the Public health outcomes framework.

President of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and first Chair of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning, Professor Harminder Dua welcomed the new initiative. “Key players with interest in eye health have seized the opportunity to create history. The diversity and depth of collective expertise should make the Council a natural port of call for anyone seeking advice on eye health commissioning, based on best available evidence and in the best interest of patients.”

Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists, welcomed the collaboration of so many professions on the Clinical Council. “New treatments and an ageing population mean we are helping more patients than ever to beat eye disease and see clearly. But there is much more we can do and I am delighted patient groups, GPs, public health and social services are working with us to improve the quality and efficiency of eye care”.

More details on the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning

The Council is the national clinical voice for eye health in England. Bringing together the leading patient and professional bodies, it advises those in health care, social care and public health how to improve eye health. The Clinical Council’s advice is based on the best evidence available and is independent of any commercial interests.

It is led by The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and The College of Optometrists and the following organisations are members:

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Association of British Dispensing Opticians
British and Irish Orthoptic Society
Faculty of Public Health
Local Optical Committee Support Unit
Optical Confederation
Royal College of General Practitioners Royal College of Nursing
Royal National Institute of Blind People
Vision 2020 UK

LOCSU welcomes new Council

July 2013

LOCSU expressed their delight when informing LOCs that they and the Optical Confederation are among the organisations represented on the new Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning that met for the first time earlier this month.

They emphasise that the aim of the Council is to offer united, evidenced-based clinical advice and guidance to those commissioning and delivering eye health services on issues where national leadership is needed. The Council plans to work with NHS England to support the development of services, to meet local needs and improve outcomes, based on best evidence and in the most cost-effective and sensitive way for the patient.

DH highlights what needs to be done across health and care services to improve the treatment that people with learning disabilities receive

July 2013

Far more needs to be done across health and care services to improve the treatment that people with learning disabilities receive, Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb made clear today.

Two new publications from the Department of Health, the responses to the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities and the Six Lives Progress Report on Healthcare for People with Learning Disabilities, show that whilst some improvements have been made, people with learning disabilities are still experiencing poor care, and face unacceptable inequalities in health and social care.

In response, we have asked the National Clinical Director for Learning Disability to look at the feasibility of developing best practice guidelines for the treatment of people with learning disabilities.

Other recommendations in the report being looked at, to help to make sure people with learning disabilities receive high quality care, include:

• making improvements in the way we identify people with learning disabilities so that we better respond to their needs
• aiming to have a known contact for people with multiple long-term conditions to coordinate their care, communicate with different professionals and be involved in care planning with the individual
• looking at introducing patient-held records for all people with learning disabilities who have several health conditions.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said, “It is not good enough that people with learning disabilities are at a greater risk of dying earlier due to poor healthcare. Good, high quality care should be expected for everyone. We wouldn’t accept this kind of poor care for cancer patients, so there is no reason why it is acceptable for people with learning disabilities. We are making progress on improving standards of care, but we have to go further and keep driving forward our plans.

GOC seeks views on future of student and business regulation

July 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched two consultations seeking views on how it might regulate optical students and businesses in the future. GOC Chief Executive and Registrar Samantha Peters said, “These consultations look at two important areas of our role in protecting and promoting the health and safety of the public. In both cases we present a variety of options and we are keen to hear views from all our stakeholders. I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in either of these areas to get involved in the consultations.”

Student regulation

The GOC is considering the views of stakeholders on the most effective and proportionate way to regulate students. As part of its current model of student regulation it requires all student optometrists and dispensing opticians to register. However, the GOC is the only one of the nine UK healthcare regulators to have such a system. The consultation looks at the GOC’s current model of regulation, the risks posed by students, and alternative approaches to student regulation, taking into account the principles of good regulation. It includes an impact assessment which presents three options of student regulation. The GOC’s favoured option is a system of student regulation without student registration to achieve its objective of minimising risks to the public in the most proportionate way.

Business regulation

The GOC is also considering changes to how it regulates optical businesses. Whether a business has to register with the GOC currently depends on its structure and title; however, the GOC is considering whether there may be a more targeted and effective method of regulation.

The consultation document sets out a range of options. The GOC’s favoured option is to regulate businesses according to whether they carry out restricted functions, such as testing sight or dispensing spectacles to children or people who are visually impaired. The GOC would also enhance its Code of Conduct for Business Registrants to more clearly target public risks caused by poor business practices.

How to respond

Both consultations close on 3 October. As well as inviting written responses, the GOC is holding a public event in London on 4 September so stakeholders can discuss the issues face-to-face with the GOC and each other.

Both consultations are available to read and respond to on the GOC website at

Council will consider all consultation feedback before coming to a final decision at its public meeting on 14 November. This will then allow the GOC to provide a view to the UK Law Commissions and UK Government on whether it considers there is a case for changing the law.

More than 650 lives a year could be saved if simple NHS Health Checks were offered throughout the country and taken up

July 2013

More than 650 lives a year could be saved if simple NHS Health Checks were offered throughout the country and taken up, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said today in a call to action for people to start thinking more seriously about their health.

A Public Health England (PHE) review has reiterated that checking 40-74-year-olds’ blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and lifestyle could identify problems earlier and prevent 650 deaths, 1,600 heart attacks and 4,000 cases of diabetes a year.

Before local authorities took over responsibility for commissioning Health Checks in April, there was considerable variation in how widely they were offered. PHE, which leads the NHS Health Check programme, has now launched a ten-point plan to help councils roll them out to 20 per cent of their eligible local population a year –15 million people by 2018/19.

PHE will also soon launch a website where it will be possible to show how many Health Check offers are being made by each local authority. In the future it will also be possible to look up the details of your nearest NHS Health Check service.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, “Around 15 million people in England are eligible for a free NHS Health Check that could identify serious conditions early and add years to their life. I’d like to see all 40-74 year olds taking up this potentially life-saving opportunity. And I’d like to see the NHS and local authorities encouraging people in their area to get involved. We could save 650 lives a year if there was full take-up.”
“We are an ageing population and thinking about our health early is vital to living a long and prosperous life.”

Director of Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England, Professor Kevin Fenton added:

“NHS Health Check programme offers a real opportunity to reduce avoidable deaths and disability, and tackle health inequalities in England.

We must do more to increase uptake and referral to appropriate risk management services, particularly in those communities at greatest risk, to remove blocks in processes that get in the way and make sure the programme is of consistent high quality across the country.

We will establish an expert clinical and scientific advisory panel to review and advise on the evidence base and we will work with partners to develop a research and analysis programme to support the delivery and evaluation of the programme at both local and national levels.”

Between 2010 and 2020 the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to rise by 27 per cent with those aged 85 and over rising by 44 per cent.

Already in England:
• more than four million people are estimated to have vascular disease
• around 670,000 people are living with dementia
• more than ten million people are drinking at increased levels
• up to 850,000 people are unaware that they have type two diabetes
• in more than 90 per cent of cases the first heart attack is related to preventable risk factors

The NHS Health Check programme is for people aged 40-74 in England and is focussed on preventing conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. It is a key part of the Health Secretary’s ambition to save 30,000 lives a year by 2020 following his call to action on avoiding premature mortality.

Ed’s Notes
You can download the Ten Point Plan here and see if you can find any reference to Optometry, NHS Eye Examinations and regular free eye care for the elderly!

Wiseman fund looks to sponsor work experience

July 2013

The Wiseman Fund is keen to sponsor a limited number of young people who are interested in gaining work experience within manufacturing optics.

Established in 1957 as a memorial to Max Wiseman, a well-respected industry figure, the charity is looking at the most effective means of supporting young people. Gaining work experience is believed to be one of the most pressing needs.

“Practical, hands-on experience is often difficult to find and so we are looking to help young people to gain some insight into optical manufacturing whilst not causing any expense to the companies concerned. This scheme would allow a limited number to gain some knowledge and inspire them to join the industry,” say The Wiseman Fund Trustees.

The intention is to provide a two week work placement within an established lab for interested young people to gain an insight into the nature of manufacturing optics. Travel and subsistence expenses, and where necessary some accommodation costs, will be met by the Fund. Any companies wishing to discuss the opportunities of the scheme should contact the Trustees via The FMO office.

The Wiseman Memorial Fund provides grants to students facing hardship in their second or subsequent years of study, plus travel and research awards which further the benefits of eye care. It makes awards towards assisting in the education of optics. In addition the Fund operates the Optical Workers’ Benevolent Fund which provides funding for former optical workers who have fallen on hard times, or suffered from poor health and need financial assistance.

Independent practice growth votes for Optrafair London

July 2013

Optrafair London has the backing of 62% of UK opticians polled, making it more than four times the most sought after optical event in the UK for 2014.

Optrafair LondonThe poll of practices, conducted by Independent Practice Growth, sought the views of 3,000 practice owners – providing a valuable insight for companies looking to invest in exhibiting. All other optical shows polled less than 15% of committed attendance.

“The passion to attend Optrafair London in April 2014 leaves all other optical events in the shade – whether they are in the UK or abroad. We are very aware of the high regard for Optrafair throughout the optical profession, but never take this for granted and always look to build excitement into our show. This level of commitment from practice owners is a ringing endorsement for the 80-plus exhibitors who have signed up to be at the Olympia show,” said Malcolm Polley, Optrafair Chairman.

“This poll only looked at UK practitioners but we know that many of the overseas optical titles are running very pro-Optrafair London news. The attractions of being in central London will be very enticing – not just for the location but because of the quality and all inclusive nature of the shows that we create,” added Malcolm Polley.

Fashion, education, practice management and tax advice, IT systems, lens technology, contact lenses, state of the art diagnostic technology, cutting edge lab equipment, accessories, pharmaceutical providers, domiciliary providers and buying groups have all confirmed their presence. Of the many niche frame companies several are European suppliers aimed at practices looking to differentiate.

Haag-Streit donates slip lamp to Birmingham centre

July 2013

Haag-Streit UK has boosted the clinical offering at Vision Care for Homeless People’s Birmingham centre with the donation of a new BM900 slit lamp, to replace older technology.

Waquas Ahmed, volunteer optometrist at the centre in Allcock Street, (pictured left), is delighted to be using this, along with a new, donated, Goldmann tonometer and Tonosafe prisms.

“Most of the clients who come in just need to have a new pair of glasses but the slit lamp is integral to even basic sight tests. This new model is great – far easier to use, with excellent optics, bright illumination, faster and more reliable. We are also looking for more serious eye diseases with the slit lamp, such as signs of diabetes or glaucoma. We were never able to carry out contact tonometry before so Haag Streit’s donation is a major enhancement to the service that we are offering,” said Waquas.

Andy Yorke, BCLABCLA seeks new CEO

July 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has begun its search for a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The BCLA Executive said they were looking for someone “to take the Association to a new level” and establish it as the leading resource gateway for the contact lens community. BCLA President, Andy Yorke, commented: “The BCLA is at a crossroads; having invested significantly over the last couple of years to lay the foundations for change, the Association requires a CEO to work with the Council to continue this evolutionary process and take the Association to a new level.

“The vision is for the Association to establish itself as the leading resource gateway for the contact lens community,” Andy continued. “Our new CEO will drive the delivery of this vision and be responsible for the success and implementation of our strategic business plan. They will also work with a dedicated team of staff and consultants to establish the annual BCLA Clinical Conference as an essential event in the calendar for all UK eyecare practitioners involved in contact lens, therapeutics and anterior eye work,” added Andy.

A full job specification, with details of how to apply, can be downloaded at BCLA News (

The closing date for applications is 1 September 2013.

DOH make call to sign up to 'better health outcomes for children and young people pledge'

July 2013

Children’s health minister Dr Dan Poulter has joined with other experts to ask local authorities to sign up to the government’s pledge to do everything possible to improve children’s health.

They are also asking local authorities to publish and share good examples of what they are doing for children’s health in their own areas.

Dr Poulter, along with the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the co-chairs of the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum and the Local Government Association, say that local authorities and health and wellbeing boards are in a prime position to improve the poor health outcomes experienced by children and young people.
In a letter to lead members for children’s services and chairs of health and wellbeing boards, they say:

If all local areas were as good as the best, together we could improve children and young people’s quality of life now, and their ability to live fulfilling lives as they move through childhood.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:

“The government is leading the agenda to improve the health of children and reduce the unacceptable variations in children and young people’s health that we have seen in the past in this country. We have come together to write this letter because children’s health is an issue we want right at the top of the agenda, not just for the NHS, but also for local councils who play such an important role in giving each and every child the very best start in life.”

“It is local authorities who play a vital role in making the local changes that can make the biggest difference. There is a lot of good work going on out there but I want all local areas to be as good as the best.”


National Eye Health Week announces four major new collaborations for 2013

July 2013

National Eye Health Week (NEHW) is delighted to announce four major new collaborations for 2013. Fight for Sight and the College of Optometrists will become NEHW partners, whilst Viteyes from Butterflies Healthcare will sponsor an initiative highlighting the role nutrition plays in maintaining eye health and Primary Health Net will team up with NEHW to help boost recognition and engagement from eye health intermediaries and the public.

Commenting on this announcement Francesca Marchetti, Chair of NEHW said: “These alliances are key to the success of NEHW 2013, as well as providing much needed funding for the campaign we’ll be working together on some really exciting and innovative projects that we hope will create a genuine step change in public awareness of the importance of good eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.”

Michele Acton, Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, said: “As the main charity funding eye research in the UK, making sight loss a thing of the past is our key aim. Research is making significant advances in addressing sight loss but we also need to ensure that people are aware of how they can improve their eye health. NEHW helps give people the knowledge they need to do that.”

Whilst, Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists explained: “The College has a long-shared ambition with NEHW to improve the state of the nation’s eye health and we are delighted to be joining forces during the 2013 campaign. We want to encourage more people to consider their eyes when thinking about their general health, including those most at risk of developing eye conditions, and promote the important role optometrists play in helping people to keep their eyes healthy.”

Bob Hutchinson of Primary Health Net (PHN) comments: “For years we have been building a unique relationship online with both primary care professionals via and a public hungry for information about eyecare and eyewear on Now we can use these two much visited sites to encourage professionals and businesses to engage with NEHW and to spread the campaign nationally working with NEHW to a broader audience.”

Optometrist, James Sutton from Viteyes said: “We’re thrilled to be an official sponsor of NEHW 2013. Together we will be working to educate the public about the link between diet and eye health – a topic that is especially relevant following the recent publication of the AREDS2 study.”

As an independent, self-financing initiative NEHW relies solely on income from third parties to carry out its important work.

Further announcements about official supporters of NEHW 2013 will be made over the coming weeks.

Read about what you can do on to help promote NEHW and your own practice events and promotions in the lead up and during the week.  

Vision support group launches at Crewe Leighton Hospital

July 2013

Patients who attend Leighton Hospital’s Eye Care Centre for treatment of their macular degeneration are invited to attend a new macular support group.

Staff from the Eye Care Centre will be holding their first session, in association with the Macular Society and the IRIS Vision Resource Centre, on Wednesday, August 7, and are encouraging patients and their family and friends to attend.

The session will be chaired by Mr Venkat Kotamarthi, consultant ophthalmologist at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The event, which is free to attend, will be taking place between 9am-12noon at St Michael’s Church Hall in Ford Lane, Coppenhall, Crewe.

Attendees will be able to meet with some of the doctors and nurses from the Eye Care Centre, and also suggest topics for future support group meetings

(Reported from Crewe Guardian)

CLAE Impact Factor rating on the rise

July 2013

The peer-reviewed journal of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), Contact Lens & Anterior Eye (CLAE), has received another boost. Its latest Impact Factor (IF) rating has been raised to 1.5.

Shehzad NarooCLAE received its first ever IF rating of 1.421 in the summer of 2012 from Thomson Reuters, one of the world’s leading sources of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.

The new IF rating means that every paper published during 2010/11 was cited 1.5 times in other papers during 2012. This now ranks CLAE 30th out of 58 ophthalmic peer reviewed journals that are listed by Thomson Reuters.

CLAE Editor-in-Chief, Dr Shehzad Naroo, said: “We have had an improvement on last year, which is an excellent result for a small journal like us in a small sub-specialty.

"I'd like to thank all those involved for their hard work and efforts in making this happen, and an especially big thank you to Elsevier and to the BCLA for their continued support. Our next goal is to move the journal into the upper half of peer-reviewed ranked journals.”

Multiple-choice questions are now not being printed in CLAE but are available online via the BCLA website, The answers need to be submitted online.

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Ophthalmic Goods & Services Market Report 2013" report to their offering

July 2013

This Market Report examines the UK market for ophthalmic goods and services, comprising prescribed spectacles and contact lenses; general ophthalmic services; private sight tests; and laser eye surgery. Contact lens care products and cleaning supplies, as well as eyewashes and drops for specific medical conditions are excluded from this report.

The market is dominated by several high-street multiples including Boots Opticians, Specsavers and Vision Express. Boots and Specsavers are the two major optical retailers; together they operate more than 1,200 optical branches across the UK. Vision Express and Optical Express are another two significant retailers, which have around 330 and 130 UK outlets, respectively. Within the supermarket sector, Tesco has more than 180 in-store opticians, while ASDA has nearly 100. The leading suppliers of ophthalmic products in the UK are multinational companies, including Essilor, Carl Zeiss, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, CooperVision and Alcon, all of which have well-established distribution networks for their products.


National driving and vision campaigns to encourage regular sight tests during August

July 2013

Next month two concurrent campaigns, one led by road safety charity Brake and another by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), will aim to raise public awareness about drivers’ legal responsibilities to ensure they are driving with good vision.

The two organisations will provide a range of materials and information that optometrists and opticians will be able to use to remind their patients about this important road safety issue. There is a range of information produced by the Optical Confederation about driving and vision and the ‘Your eyes save lives’ campaign poster will be re-released in support of the initiatives.

The two campaigns are due to start in early August. The Optical Confederation will supply further details for the sector closer to this date, but those interested can visit our website to see resources and a factsheet from our previous work on the issue.

Mark Nevin, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, says, “We warmly welcome both campaigns which will inform motorists of their legal responsibilities when driving, and the importance of always driving with good vision.

Our ‘Your eyes save lives’ campaign helped raise awareness of this important issue last Autumn and we hope our members will avail themselves of this opportunity to repeat this message to their patients and local community.”

Record number of students meet GOC retention deadline

July 2013

A total of 89.9 per cent of student optometrists and dispensing opticians have applied to renew their General Optical Council (GOC) registration by the 15 July deadline.

It marks an improvement on the 2012 figure of 87.6 per cent. 2011 was the first year that students could apply using the MyGOC online system and in that year 87 per cent met the deadline. This means that the percentage of students meeting the deadline has increased every year since MyGOC’s introduction.

Philip Hallam, GOC Head of Registration, said: “We are very pleased that more students than ever have renewed on time. The vast majority of students can now go into the summer holidays knowing that they are registered for next year.”

A total of 437 students missed the deadline, down from 548 last year. They 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 removed from the register and unable to continue their studies until they have restored their registration, at a cost of £40.

Philip Hallam added: “I encourage all students who missed the deadline to remember that GOC registration is a legal requirement. Any students removed from the register will be unable to take part in clinical training or exams.

“I would also urge all students, and fully-qualified registrants, to make sure they apply for retention promptly each year to avoid facing extra late registration fees and putting their careers at risk.”

Winning days out at Wimbledon for Rodenstock customers

July 2013

And a special promotion launched to celebrate Andy Murray’s historic win

Leading Rodenstock customers enjoyed VIP hospitality at this year’s historic Wimbledon tournament, with guests treated to a feast of electrifying tennis and a fabulous three-course lunch and afternoon tea including strawberries and cream.

Customers were treated to three top class days of tennis, including the men’s singles semi-finals, the women’s singles final and the nerve-jangling men’s final.

And to celebrate British hero Andy Murray’s triumph over world number one Novak Djokovic, Rodenstock is reducing the cost of its Wimbledon Collection sunglasses by £7.

Damien Klevge, Frame Product Manager at Rodenstock, said: “Our guests were thrilled to join us and witness one of the most exciting tournaments in recent British tennis history.

“With Andy Murray ending our 77-year wait for a men’s singles champion – and on the seventh day of the seventh month – we have decided to mark this by reducing the price of our Wimbledon prescription sunglasses by £7 between 15 July and 30 September.”

Practices stocking the 2013 Wimbledon Collection have been receiving full marketing support from Rodenstock, which manufactures the eyewear collection. Marketing tools have included an eye-catching brand new 18-frame display stand, campaign posters and counter cards, outstanding patient mailers for direct marketing, official 2013 retailer signage, customised spectacle cases and artwork for local advertising.

With 18 models for men and women, this year’s Wimbledon sunglasses collection incorporates a variety of highly fashionable and classic styles.

In the Photo:

Penbe Hassan Hicks, Anne Hassan Hicks and Lora Hassan Hicks, all of T & A Hassan Hicks, Lymington; Rodenstock Regional Eyewear Manager Lee Trowell;
Ellis and Rachel Leatherbarrow, of Cooper & Leatherbarrow, Darlington.

News from the GOC Council meeting held last week

July 2013

Business and student regulation consultations

Council agreed to two consultations on the future of how the GOC regulates students and optical businesses.

The consultations, which the GOC will launch on 24 July, will seek feedback from patients and the public, optical professionals and other GOC stakeholders on potential changes to how both groups are regulated.
The consultations will include a public stakeholder event in London as well as seeking written responses.

Council will consider the feedback from the consultations at its next meeting in November. This will allow the GOC to provide a definitive view on whether there is a case for changing how it regulates optical businesses and students to the UK Law Commissions and the UK Government. The Law Commissions are currently reviewing all of the legislation underpinning UK healthcare regulators’ powers with a view to simplifying and modernising the law.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar Samantha Peters said, “We believe there may be scope for a more effective and targeted method of regulating optical businesses. We are also considering whether GOC registration is the most proportionate way of ensuring that optical students do not cause public harm.

“These are both important areas of our work and we know they will be of real interest to a wide range of our stakeholders. I would encourage all interested parties to get involved the consultations so that we can take their feedback on board.”

PSA Performance Review Report

Council discussed the GOC’s performance review from the body which oversees its work, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

In its annual performance review of UK regulators, the PSA found that since last year, the GOC has improved its handling of fitness to practise cases and now meets all 24 of the prescribed standards.
The PSA particularly highlighted the GOC’s enhanced CET scheme for praise.

Samantha Peters said: “We know it’s important that we consider the whole PSA review and look at good practice and recommendations for all of the regulators, not just what the PSA said about us. Council had an extremely productive discussion and we will work closely with the PSA to address all areas where we may be able to improve our performance.”

Guidance on declarations

Council has agreed declarations guidance for registrants following a consultation.

All registrants, when making an application for registration, restoration or retention, are required to make a self-declaration about their fitness to join or remain on the GOC register.

The GOC recognised that it would be helpful to registrants to provide, where appropriate, guidance on the type of declarations that must be made, and how the GOC will consider these. The GOC will publish the guidance on its website in the coming days and promote it to registrants in its next eBulletin.

FTP Rules ‘sealed’

Council formally ‘sealed’ the GOC’s new Fitness to Practise (FTP) Rules. This gives the Rules Council’s final stamp of approval and means they can now go to the Privy Council to begin their journey through the Parliamentary approval process. It is not possible to be precise about how long that would take but the GOC will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders throughout the process.

The new Rules are designed to make the GOC’s FTP process faster and more modern. Changes include introducing case examiners to decide whether to refer an allegation for an FTP hearing, screening out malicious complaints and fast-tracking cases involving serious criminal convictions.

Other news

Council signed off its annual report and accounts for 2012/13, and the GOC’s meeting schedule for 2014.

The next meeting will be on Thursday 14 November 2013 in London. Time and venue to be confirmed at a later date.

Heidelberg Engineering appoints new SW sales and support manager

July 2013

Heidelberg Engineering has appointed Matthew Harris as Sales and Technical Support Manager for the South-West region.

Bringing 20 years’ of engineering field service experience, Matthew has a detailed knowledge of analytical and clinical diagnostic technology. Providing support, and training customers to gain the maximum from the most advanced technology, is Matthew’s objective.

“I know that I have joined an excellent company providing the very best of imaging systems with the Heidelberg SPECTRALIS having a worldwide reputation. I am very proud to become part of the Heidelberg Engineering name and to see the company progress to the next level with many new advances in the pipeline to meet the vision healthcare needs of the next decade,” said Matthew.

LOCSU announces that due levies are still being taken but not given to LOCs

July 2013

In early June LOCSU handed over a list of 25 LOCs to NHS England that had reported they were still awaiting either some or all of the levy payments they were due. In all cases, it would appear that the levy had been taken from contractors but it hadn’t been paid to the LOC.

Senior colleagues at NHS England have investigated these problems and the matter has been escalated to senior management within NHS Shared Business Services (SBS), who are responsible for making all payments. A number of LOCs have now received the levy payments in question as a result of this intervention, but they are aware that several are still outstanding.

NHS England is in discussion with NHS SBS to establish ways which ensure payment processes are speeded up and improved.

LOCSU have also heard reports that some contractors have not been paid on time/at all for enhanced services claims they have submitted after the 1st April handover. In some cases, the problem appears to be that NHS SBS are again not making payments on time. However, in a few cases, CCGs have been slow to implement robust systems to process enhanced services claims submitted by contractors in the first place.

This is obviously completely unsatisfactory and LOCSU are in regular contact with NHS England to get these issue resolved.

LOCSU request that all LOCs who are still awaiting overdue levy payments following the July payment cycle or whose local contractors are experiencing delays in enhanced services payments are asked to email with the details so that they can continue to pursue this with NHS England.

Armchair Opticians can sit back and toast their success

July 2013

PHN surprised the normal working day of Sarah Clarke of Armchair Opticians who this month toast their success with a bottle of bubbly!

Now following us on Twitter, they were randomly selected by PHN to receive the monthly prize which is sleceted from those who either “follow” or "re-tweet" on twitter, “like” on Facebook or register on line as an Opchat Member which is free for all and sponsored by Shamir our Headline Lens Sponsors.

@primaryhealthnt or @mylocaloptician on twitter

Social media and using the internet and cloud to provide digital solutions is now becoming a key component of marketing as reported in last week’s report in the Raconteur published by the Times.

In a number of recent 2013 surveys it has been found that:

55% of UK companies attribute more than 10% of their sales to e-mail marketing. (3 Billion marketing emails were sent on average per month from January to June 2012, now expected to be far higher).

22% of time on line is spent visiting social networks.

71% of Businesses are planning to increase digital marketing technology spending in 2013.

“At PHN we are pleased that 7 years ago we put in place a unique on line facility for the optical community and industry to communicate with both the public and the professional communities. We were a bit ahead of our time as we were with our primary care advice for LOCs now admirably looked after by LOCSU who we provide services to, and it is only in the last few years that companies have realised the key messages look really good on line whether they be PR which we reproduce quickly and back up with social media or by providing marketing pages at a very reasonable price, the income from which helps us to promote to the public on” commented Bob Hutchinson, Director of Primary Health Net Ltd.

Record success at the Hoya Factory Tour

July 2013

Hoya’s factory tour had a new twist last month as Paul Green from Independent Practice Growth UK joined the Hoya team to present. With brilliant feedback from all those who attended the fully booked factory tour it has proven to be a great success. Hoya customers were given an insight into creating lenses, from the application of coatings to quality testing as well as the latest technologies and innovations being applied right through from order to dispatch. Visitors rated the overall experience as excellent and gained CET points along the way! To register your interest for the next Factory Tour contact or call Hoya Customer Services on 0845 3300984.

Peer Review date for those who can get to Truro announced by LOC

July 2013

The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LOC are hosting a peer review/peer discussion evening on 19th September 2013 at the Alverton Manor Hotel, Tregolls Road, Truro, TR1 1ZQ. The event is free to attend and is open to all Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians and Contact Lens Opticians. Three interactive CET points across various GOC competencies will be available. The evening will commence with at buffet at 6.30 pm with the discussion sessions taking place from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm. Numbers are strictly limited. To reserve your place email with your name, contact details and GOC number. For further details contact JCL Consulting on 0208 7765000, Andrew Keirl on 01579 346694 or Brad Raison on 07970 600765.

A consultation into short term migrant’s access and contribution to the NHS has been launched as part of the Immigration Bill

July 2013

Government proposals put forward in the consultation, published on Wednesday (3 July) will look at options to ensure that non European Economic Area migrants contribute financially towards the cost of their healthcare. Currently short term migrants coming to the UK, to study or work for more than six months, are likely to qualify for free hospital care as soon as they arrive.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “The NHS is one of our greatest assets but its resources are currently used to treat people who have made little or no contribution towards it – or who are not entitled to free care at all. This is unfair to UK taxpayers and impossible to defend in the current economic conditions.”

The proposals will form part of the Immigration Bill, to be introduced later this year, which will tighten immigration law, strengthen our enforcement powers and clamp down on those from overseas who try to abuse our public services. The Bill is the next step in our radical reform of the immigration system which has led to a reduction in net migration – now at its lowest level for a decade.

Among options put forward is introducing a levy, which would be purchased at the time of applying for a visa of over six months. Using the immigration system to charge for NHS care in this way would be a far more effective way of ensuring migrants actually make a financial contribution, whilst not increasing red tape and administration for NHS staff. Other options to consider include requiring migrants to make their own provision through private health insurance.

This consultation is being launched alongside another Home Office consultation to prevent illegal migrants from renting privately. In addition The Department of Health has launched a consultation into how the NHS can improve their ability to claim back money and enforce charges for care in hospitals and primary care from European and non European visitors. They’ve also launched an independent audit to investigate how migrants use the NHS - and the true cost and impact they have.

Croydon LOC nominated for national award

July 2013

The Croydon Local Optical Committee (LOC) has been nominated for a prestigious national award in recognition of its services to optics.

Croydon LOC has been shortlisted in the ‘LOC of the Year’ category. Run by the Association of Optometrists (AOP), the awards recognise the highest levels of achievement in UK optics.

The LOC which has been formed for over 16 years, has been shortlisted by a selection committee for its outstanding work as proactive committee in the community. It has been heavily involved in developing some local schemes which benefit the population of Croydon. These include a paediatric scheme where children can visit their local optical practice rather than wait for a hospital appointment, a ophthalmic triage service in which opticians are able to triage, manage, or treat a range of minor eye conditions in their own practice and a direct cataract referral service. All schemes mean that patients can receive treatment from a location of their choice, closer to home and at a time that suits them.

Commenting on the nomination, Christopher Kerr, LOC Chairman whose contribution to the British Contact Lens Association was recently recognised by Honorary Life Membership said: It is a great honour for Croydon to be acknowledged in this way”

AOP Chairman Lyndon Taylor said: “The AOP Awards recognise the contributions of the ordinary members of the profession and their practice teams to deliver first class eye care in the UK. Please take the time to read the nominations and cast your vote. Voting will close at midnight on 6 September 2013.”

Ocuco's Seiko freeform challenge to proceed

July 2013

Following our initial report on Ocuco’s patent challenge, the company has provided further information this week.

Robert Shanbaum, president of Ocuco Inc., reports that Ocuco’s request for a re-examination of Seiko’s U.S. patent 6,019,470 has been granted.

“This is the first hurdle we had to pass in our effort to get Seiko’s patent cancelled.” Shanbaum said. “We’re encouraged by this action, however, most requests for re-examination are granted. Historically, 22% of such re-examination proceedings result in all of the challenged patent’s claims being confirmed, but only 12% result in all claims being canceled. In most cases, the patent’s claims are changed so as to avoid the questions raised in the re-examination request.”

“We hope to end up in the 12%!” Shanbaum added, noting that re-examinations typically take over 20 months.

NHS 65th anniversary: David Cameron celebrates "this great national treasure"

July 2013

To mark the occasion, the Prime Minister said:

Our National Health Service is one of the most precious institutions we have. We all know it, because all of us have been touched by it. I will never forget the care my son Ivan received and the inspirational people who helped Sam and me through some of the most difficult times. The consultants, the community nurses, the care team – every one of them became part of our lives. When you have experienced support and dedicated professional care like that, you know just how incredibly special the NHS is.

So I yield to no-one in my love of the NHS. But I also believe we don’t demonstrate that love by covering up things that go wrong. Or by pretending the NHS can somehow just ignore the big challenges it faces. There are huge issues to solve like how we provide proper personal care for frail and elderly people in our communities. Or how we make sure the NHS is equipped to go on delivering the ground-breaking advances in medicine on which we all depend.

So today as we celebrate the 65th birthday of this great national treasure, we are doing three things to make sure the NHS remains respected the world over for generations to come.

First, we are putting the NHS on the side of the patient by going further than ever before in finding things that are going wrong and fixing them. So we have created a new job for a Chief Inspector of hospitals. We are giving proper protection for whistleblowers to expose poor quality of care and the culture of secrecy which so fatally undermined Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust. Our surgeons and GPs are beginning to share data on outcomes more freely than anywhere else in the world. And our Friends and Family Test gives patients and staff chance to say whether they would recommend a hospital to their loved ones, with all that information published and real consequences for the board of the hospital if the figures are bad.

But don’t let anyone tell you that being on the side of the patient somehow means we are against the professionals - the doctors, nurses and care assistants. That is a completely false view of the world. Our great professionals want what is best for their patients. They want to be able to give the personal and compassionate care their patients need. They are horrified when things go wrong and just as determined to expose problems. It is staff, after all, who have acted as whistleblowers. So getting on the side of patients isn’t about fighting the professionals. Quite the opposite. It’s about empowering the professionals and enabling them to put patients first.

Second, we need a radical transformation in the way that care is organised when you are out of hospital. This is especially important for vulnerable older people. When you are in hospital you know who is responsible for your care. You’ve got the matron on the ward; the doctors and nurses doing the rounds. But when you are caring for an elderly relative at home, it’s completely different. You talk to the hospital, the nursing home, the GP practice and the Council. They all do vital jobs, but there is a problem: in theory everyone is responsible, in practice no-one is. So we are changing that. Every vulnerable older person is going to have a named clinician responsible for them at all times when they are out of hospital – whether they are at home, or in a care home.

Third, a world class NHS needs world class medical science. Take our work on DNA. Unravelling of DNA is one of our proudest scientific advances and will help us understand the causes of a disease and how to design new treatments better tailored to individual patients. We need to build up a database of DNA genomes - our biological codes if you like - so we can lead the world in this work. I recently met a researcher looking at these codes and trying to crack Ohtahara Syndrome, which is what Ivan suffered from. Imagine the lives we can transform if we get this right. So I am delighted that Sir John Chisholm will be leading Genomics England – a new body that will provide the investment and leadership to support the sequencing of genomes more quickly and at lower cost. And over the next five years our ambition is to sequence more genomes in this country than anywhere else in the world.

That’s my vision for the future of the NHS. Compassionate, personalised, state of the art care - on the side of patients and professionals. It’s what patients expect. It’s what doctors and nurses want. And it’s what this government is delivering.

New dental contract tested as payment on outcomes brings in a new era

July 2013

An extra 20 dental practices have joined a dental pilot programme to test the new dental contract, Health Minister Lord Howe announced today. There are now 90 dental practices across the country helping to test different elements of the new contract. These sites will look at preventative oral health with a focus on better results for both adults and children.

Speaking at the Local Dental Committee conference, Health Minister Lord Howe said: “I am pleased to announce a further 20 dental practices have now joined our dental programme. The insight and feedback we are gathering from all the pilot sites is proving to be invaluable in shaping the future dental contract. I would like to thank those taking part for the excellent work which has been carried out so far.”

The pilot sites are looking at how dentists can be paid on the basis of the health results they produce rather than the number of treatments they carry out. The sites are also testing out different care pathways, with a greater emphasis on prevention, and where patients receive a more personalised care plan to improve their dental health in the long term.

Work is also underway to look at the IT systems dental practices use to better support dentists in their everyday work.

The dental pilot programme will help shape the future dental contract which is under development and which will ensure prevention and better oral health outcome for all is at the centre.

Could eyecare be next on the list for such dramatic changes in contract requirements?

Optrafair London hotels start to book up

July 2013

Visitors to Optrafair London (April 11-13) are starting to secure hotel rooms for the exciting three day event at Kensington Olympia. Making use of the show’s dedicated hotel reservation service, visitors and exhibitors alike are booking the best locations in town.

With the excitement of The London Marathon occurring at the other side of London on Sunday 13 April, many delegates are looking to capture the buzz of one of the world’s most high profile sporting events.

“London is recognised around the world as a dynamic cultural and sporting destination. We are delighted that Optrafair will share some of the huge excitement, with plenty of opportunities to visit the optical show and to see some of the adrenalin rush of the marathon too,” said Malcolm Polley, Optrafair Chairman.
Jigsaw Conferences is the hotel sourcing partner for Optrafair London and has secured a large number of attractive hotels close to the West London venue, negotiating the best rates for visitors. Rates quoted are for a single, or double, room per night, including full English breakfast.

Many visitors are also looking at to book tickets for West End shows; the London Eye Ferris wheel; The Shard as the tallest building in the Capital; Thames riverboat trips; engineering tours of London’s Tower Bridge and The Imperial War Museum’s Centenary of WWI. or call +44 (0)845 0000 792, quoting OPTRAFAIR

Nepalese contact lens educator is on top of the world!

July 2013

Optometrist Kishor Sapkota travelled from Kathmandu, Nepal to the UK this month to attend the world’s largest annual meeting dedicated to contact lenses, thanks to a new bursary from the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE).

The IACLE Travel Award allows an educator who would not otherwise be able to attend the British Contact Lens Association’s Clinical Conference the opportunity to take part. IACLE met Kishor’s accommodation costs and the BCLA provided a free delegate package for the conference, held in Manchester from 6th to 9th June.

Kishor teaches contact lenses at Nepal Eye Hospital in the country’s capital. He has been an active member of IACLE since 2006 and successfully completed his IACLE Fellowship in 2009.

He joined 45 members from 30 countries at IACLE’s Education Day and AGM, held on 5th June at the University of Manchester to coincide with the BCLA conference. Delegates toured the optometry department and learned about the different methods of assessment used in contact lens teaching.

‘It was really amazing to get to know each other and share contact lens education and practice systems with people from other parts of the world,’ said Kishor. ‘It was also my pleasure and great achievement to share some information about contact lens practice in Nepal.

He described his participation in the BCLA conference as ‘very fruitful’, adding: ‘I will try my best to develop and strengthen contact lens education, practice and research in Nepal with the knowledge shared from this conference.’

IACLE Vice President Dr Philip Morgan commented: ‘We were delighted to welcome Kishor to Manchester and his first BCLA conference. We hope the IACLE Travel Award enabled him to learn about educational approaches used for contact lenses by colleagues around the world, and that the clinical and research updates discussed can be conveyed to Kishor's students in the months and years ahead.

‘At the same time, it was an opportunity for IACLE members to learn of the situation in Nepal with regard to contact lens education, and we hope that colleagues from other IACLE priority countries will be able to attend this premier contact lens conference in the future'.

IACLE members played a prominent role in the BCLA speaker programme, poster sessions and company presentations. IACLE’s EAME Regional President Judith Morris delivered the prestigious BCLA Medal address. Director of Educational Programs Nilesh Thite, based in Pune, became one of the first optometrists in India to receive BCLA Fellowship.

LOCSU announce next treasurers training day

July 2013

The next Treasurers’ Training Day will be held on 04 September 2013 in London. The purpose of this half day training is to help iron out any challenges in managing accounts for LOCs and will include:

• how to set a budget for your Local Optical Committee
• developing a basic set of accounts
• remuneration of Officers and Committee members
• introduction to the LOCSU Company Model
• finance clinic – bring along your accounts
• share knowledge and experiences with colleagues

The half-day event will be led by Alan Tinger, LOCSU Executive Chairman and Alan Lester, LOCSU Company Secretary.

FMO free legal advice service supports members in a year with challenges

July 2013

Free legal advice for FMO members is one of the great benefits of being part of the trade body believes FMO Chairman, John Conway.

The FirstAssist Legal Advice Line is provided by a team of experts sourced to cover all queries that FMO members are likely to face in professional life.

“Whether you need advice on property, bad debts, intellectual property, or business issues, the FMO’s advice line is just a phone call away, with this ISO accredited service,” said John Conway.

Besides disciplinary and grievance questions, of particular importance in the past year have been queries about TUPE – Transfer of Undertaking Protection - with clients seeking advice as they take over a contract, particularly in relation to protecting employees. The commercial legal advice team is well versed in the latest aspects of employment law, health and safety, and debt management.

“FirstAssist’s expert advisers – comprised of solicitors, barristers and legal consultants with a variety of backgrounds and specialties - provide immediate practical guidance, with recommendations to solve problems. We do urge FMO members to make use of this wonderfully support – which is free for them to use,” added John.

National Optical Conference (NOC) 2013 Speakers announced

Keynote speakers have now been confirmed for the NOC which takes place 07 and 08 November at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, in Birmingham. They include:

• Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care at NHS England. Dr Geddes has been a GP in York for 20yrs and was appointed as Head of Primary Care Commissioning for NHS England in December 2012.
• Dr Waqaar Shah, who is the RCGP’s Clinical Champion for eye health and sits on the Department of Health’s Eye Care Strategy Group, is a Trustee of VISION 2020 UK, and a member of the UK Vision Strategy’s Strategic Advisory Group.

Both will be able to share their knowledge and expertise regarding NHS Commissioning.

Also required for the event are clinical audits:

LOCSU and the Optical Confederation have announced a call for abstracts for a new ‘quick fire’ clinical audit session to be held at this year’s National Optical Conference (NOC). The fast-paced breakout session will feature a number of five-minute presentations of audits, with a very strict “pull the plug” cut off!

Any audit can be submitted with those from community (enhanced) services or personal practice being particularly welcome.

The workshop will provide an abundance of information to delegates in a short space of time, and those interested in further details will be able to talk to the presenters at the end. The call now is for abstracts of the presentations to be submitted up to a maximum of 300 words.

Please send your abstract to by Monday, 19 August 2013 (by 5pm).

In a recent blog, Anita Lightstone encourages organisations to think more about access for people with sight loss

July 2013

I have just watched a very good TV programme about Guide Dogs, which was about the breeding, training and matching the dogs to the right person. One of the key reasons for people wanting to have a dog seemed to be about independence – being able to go out and about, when and where they want to. This is something that most of us take for granted, but the issue of getting around is key to everyday life. Do health providers think about the needs of people with sight loss when designing services? What I have heard recently leads me to think not. Moorfields Eye Hospital has a green line painted from the underground to the hospital entrance helping people with sight loss to navigate the route. A simple and inexpensive way to help make premises more accessible for people with sight problems. This is just one of many simple, inexpensive adaptations that can help. One in four people over 80 have some degree of sight loss, so a lot of people would benefit. People providing services – just ask an organisation linked to blindness and they will give lots of advice about how to make services accessible. People with sight loss and organisations engaged in this area – get out there and raise awareness of what helps, don’t wait to be asked. Together, we can make the world accessible to more people!

Editors Comments:
Disturbing enough to know that one in four of the over eighties have some degree of sight loss. But of greater concern is the known fact that a greater percentage of these can be significantly improved by acting on the results of a free eye test. There’s much work to do as National Eye Health Week comes nearer. In the UK we consider ourselves as a caring society so why don’t we intervene with constructive advice to elderly friends and relatives?

‘No water’ warning for contact lens patients

July 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has produced ‘No water’ stickers for members to use, to remind their contact lens patients to not allow water to come into contact with their lenses or case.

No water stickers contact lensesThe symbols are a modification of those used to mark lens boxes as right or left eye and include a ‘no water’ graphic designed by contact lens wearer, Irenie Ekkeshis, who contracted acanthamoeba keratitis. The stickers are designed to be placed on contact lens boxes at the point of collection and feature the new BCLA logo.

Irenie, from London, said: “Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious and debilitating eye infection, which has had a profound impact on my own life. The fact the BCLA is including my ‘no water’ design on their new stickers is a huge step forward, and I am pleased to be working with them to encourage contact lens manufacturers to add a similar warning to their packaging.

“The chances of contracting this very rare, but awful, infection can be minimised by following a simple rule: contact lenses and water should never mix. My hope is that my simple graphic hammers home that message, reminding practitioners to reinforce the warning when dispensing contact lenses and reminding contact lens users every time they open a new box,” Irenie added.

Immediate Past BCLA President, Dr Catharine Chisholm, who liaised closely with Irenie over the development of the stickers, said: “We decided to produce the stickers for members because of the continued apparent lack of awareness of the risks of water coming into contact with lenses and lens cases.
“We are continuing to lobby the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers to encourage manufacturers to put a similar warning on packaging. The BCLA is extremely grateful to Irenie for her input on this project,” added Catharine.

The BSI Contact Lens Committee will shortly be assessing a series of similar symbols with a view to putting these forward for the ISO Contact Lens Working Group to consider in October.

New Executive Management Team at Silhouette International Schmied AG

July 2013

A new executive management team is to join Silhouette International starting in fall of 2013. After managing the premium-class eyewear company for fifteen years, brothers Klaus and Arnold Schmied will leave the operational business and make the transition to the board of directors over the coming months. On September 1, 2013, Thomas Windischbauer will assume one of the executive management team positions, and Daniel Rogger will assume the other position on December 1, 2013.

Silhouette BoardWindischbauer has been with the company since 2011. He will follow in the footsteps of Klaus Schmied, taking on the responsibilities for production, technology, finance, logistics, and administration. Rogger will take over Arnold Schmied’s role, assuming the responsibilities for product development, brand management, sales and human resources.

"Following this family-owned company’s traditional, long-term way of thinking, this transition will be well-planned and managed. The new executive team members will participate in an intense familiarisation and transitional process," says Norbert Nagele, chairman of the board of directors of Silhouette International Schmied AG.

Klaus and Arnold Schmied will initially continue to support the new executive team but will attend primarily to the interests of the company’s owners in the future. "Continuity is one of the values that make our business, which has been family-owned for about fifty years, successfully. This is something we want to guarantee even through this phase," say the two brothers.

Windischbauer earned a doctorate in business informatics and has been working for Silhouette as Chief Information Officer for more than two years. He has a comprehensive understanding of and experience in the areas of organization, process and project management, and supply chain management. For more than sixteen years, Rogger has worked in leading positions for well-known Swiss companies in the watch industry, where he last held the position of international director for the reputable brand A. Lange & Soehne. He will contribute his extensive brand and sales expertise to Silhouette International as of this coming December.

In 1964, Silhouette International Schmied AG was established by Anneliese and Arnold Schmied in Linz. Under its proprietary brand Silhouette and under the license brand of adidas eyewear, the company produces premium-quality eyeglasses in Austria and the Czech Republic. With approximately 1,500 employees at its headquarters in Linz and its affiliates in 13 countries on four continents, the company generates approximately EUR 160 million in sales revenue with an export ratio of 95 percent.

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