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Optical News - October - December 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.

Sockton North MP Visit

Children and Young Peoples' Guidelines Launched

Devon LOC and LPC Join Forces for MP Roundtable Event

Call to Play Active Role in SILMO Academy

Davis Optometrists Win Top Rodenstock Accolade

GP Eye Health Survey Extended

FMO Looks Forward to Inspiring 2014

GOC Statement Sets Out Steps for Student Regulation Review

College Announces Inaugural Research Excellence Lecture

JSNA Guidance Updated to Include Children's Eye Health

FODO Looks Forward to Optrafair London

Inspecs Announce New Business Development Director

GOC Recruiting Case Examiners

Optom Goes for Chocs

Patient Leaflet Order Tops 1 Million

Bolton MP Visit

Optician Celebrates Success at St James's Palace

Future Optometrists Can Make Impact on Optical World

FMO Annual Luncheon Draws Large Party

GOC Sets Out Position on Future of Business Regulation

100% Takes Lead on Lenses

Hoya Raises Money for Movember

Therapeutics Focus for New Year Meeting at BCLA

Scrivens is Largest Retailer to Take on WSD

Professionals Urged to Ensure Every Squint Checked with Red Reflex Test

Akamba Eye Clinic Donations DOUBLED this week

Local Eye Health Networks - a getting started guide

Hoya Keep on Giving

More News from LOCSU

Heidelberg Engineering moves to larger premises

GP Eye Health Survey Launched

Zeiss Backs 100% Optical for 2 Years

Rodenstock Staff Raise Funds for Typhoon Survivors

GOC Invites Views on Priorities

New DOCET Material on Acute Symptoms

GOC Warns of 2013 CET Deadline

Devon MP Visit

Children Waiting up to 4 Years for Eye Exam

College Develops Strategic Plan

"Take-away" Theme Announced for BCLA Conference

Sir Bob Russell Call on Drivers to Have Regular Eye Tests

College's New Guidance "Will Help Reduce Avoidable Sight Loss"

Lions Festive Walk to Support Vision Care for Homeless People

College Publishes Media Alert

Bruce Evans to Deliver Keynote Lecture

OGS Announce New Imagery for Campaign

Eye Health Network for GPs Launched

Role for Primary Eye Care Emphasised in Europe

Optometrists and Community Care Key to Relieving Overstretched Hospitals

OC Publishes Optics at a Glance

News from the GOC Council Meeting

Glittering Night Out Beckons with Optrafair London

Contact Lenses are Serious Business at Optrafair London

BCLA Appoint New CEO

Opticians Flock to Rodenstock Workshop

GOC Welcomes RNIB Eyepod to Promote Awareness of Sight Loss

Ophthalmologist Supports Homeless Charity at Christmas

DVLA Announcement Delayed

OC Meet with Stephen Llloyd MP to Discuss Community Screening

100% Optical Partnership with Royal College of Art

"Vision" of the Future

Rodenstock Winds German Design Award

Hoya Vision Care Expand Presence in Romania

Heidelbeg Establishes UK Glaucoma Faculty

Optrafair London: Supplementing Practice Income

FMO AGM and Annual Luncheon

Top Fundraising Practice Skydives to Double Previous Total

New Voice for Community Hearing Providers

100% Optical Announces Over 5,000 Visitors Registered to Attend

Kerasoft IC Launched in Italy

Key Healthcare MP Visits Optician

FMO Members Given Details of Apprenticeship Course

FMO Receive Information on Improving Business

Allders Opticians Continue Investment

Driving Ambition Realised for Near Blind Newport Man

GOC Annual Report

Time Running Out for CET Reimbursement

BCLA to Celebrate Best of British at 10th Pioneers Conference

WCO Members Unite for World Sight Day

Grafton Announce i-Fusion

LOCSU Publishes Annual Report

Special Promotion from Hoya

Free Education Puts Technology in Spotlight at Optrafair London

Key Figures Released for SILMO

Hoya Report on Another Successful Factory Tour

Irish Optoms Encourage Regular Tests to Improve Eye Health

International Vision Expo and BCLA Sign Agreement

ABDO Announce Optrafair Partnership

Maui Jim Announce Partnership with OGS

Last Call for Rodenstock Club Awards

LOCSU Reminder About NOC

Christmas Support Sought by Homeless Charity

CQC Given Greater Power

Latest Update on DVLA Submission

PM Pushes for 8-8 7 Days Per Week

Continuing the involvement and education of MPs. This time its Stockton North

December 2013

A recent visit made by the Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, to a local optical practice within his constituency.

The visit was arranged between the MP and Tees Local Optical Committee, with the support of the Optical Confederation’s Public Affairs Team. Read about his visit on PHNs Optical Confederation page.

Children & Young Peoples' Guidelines launched

December 2013

Guidelines for commissioners and local authorities on how to put the UK Vision Strategy into action for children, young people and their families have been launched today.

Following the launch of the UK Vision Strategy, a framework for change for the eye care sector, in June 2013, key health, social care and education professionals worked together to develop guidelines about how to implement the UK Vision Strategy for children, young people with vision impairment and their families.

The guidance includes the key outcomes, priority actions and a pathway for local authorities to consider when commissioning and designing services.

Jenny Cook, Head of Strategy and Research at Guide Dogs for the Blind and Chair of the VISION 2020 UK Children and Young Peoples Group said: “It is vital that commissioners and local authorities consider the needs of blind or partially sighted children when designing and delivering their services so that they can live life to the full in all that they choose to do”.

Gillian Coles, Co-Chair of VIEW and affiliate of the National Sensory Impairment Partnership: “This wide reaching strategy aims to address the critical needs of Children and Young People with vision impairment. If addressed in accordance with the UK Vision Strategy this could make a real difference to those who might otherwise have to live a life unnecessarily restricted by their vision impairment”.

To read the guidance go to:

Devon Local Optical Committee and Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee join forces for a Devon MP Roundtable Event in London

December 2013

Local MPs Oliver Colvile, Alison Seabeck and Ben Bradshaw joined the Devon Local Optical Committee and Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee for a Roundtable Discussion on Tuesday 3rd December 2013 to discuss the management and treatment of minor health conditions in Community Optician Practices and Community Pharmacy.

Visual Impairment is one of the major health challenges facing the NHS, affecting a substantial proportion of the population. 2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss yet over 50% is avoidable. Fewer than 50% of the population visit their optician to have regular sight tests.

Pharmacy is the third largest health profession. Pharmacies can be found at the heart of communities and are highly accessible. It is estimated that each year 8% of A&E consultations are for minor ailments and that these cost the NHS £136 million annually. Community pharmacy is ideally placed to help patients with self-care and management of their long term conditions. Pharmacists are well trained and could help relieve this pressure for appointments away from general practice and A&E if a minor aliment service was commissioned.

Commenting on the Roundtable, Charles Bill, Chair of Devon Local Optical Committee said:

"Community Optometry is at the forefront of delivering high quality, patient centred and cost effective healthcare in community settings. Regular sight tests are key to improving quality of life and reducing sight loss. It was great to see our local MPs get behind us and support opticians in Devon to provide high quality Eye Care across the county"

Commenting on the Roundtable, David Bearman, Chair of Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee said:

“It was encouraging to hear that the local MPs were all hugely supportive of the work pharmacists do in their communities, and that the MPs believe pharmacists have a role in helping the winter pressures issue though a minor ailment service”

Oliver Colvile MP said “I believe that Pharmacies and Opticians play a vital role in providing local health services in my Plymouth Sutton and Devonport constituency. I am fully behind this campaign.”

Ben Bradshaw MP added “I am concerned that the services and skills of local pharmacists and opticians are not being fully utilised following the Government’s re-organisation of the NHS. I would urge the new NHS commissioning body, Devon CCG, to make full use of these two valuable groups of professionals to improve services to local people and cut unnecessary referrals to hospital.”

Alison Seabeck MP said “We are in difficult times and so making better use of the health professionals, whether Pharmacists, Opticians, or indeed Dentists, to support people with long term conditions, to help identify health concerns and to offer treatment makes good practical sense. Regular checks assist in the prevention of illness and we should all make better use of the services available.”

Photo includes: At the back left to right: Charles Bill (Chairman, Devon LOC), Mark Stone (LPC Pharmacist), David Bearman (Chairman, Devon LPC)
At the front left to right: Alison Seabeck MP, Oliver Colvile MP, Sue Taylor (Chief Officer, Devon LPC) and Jonathan Drew (Business Manager, Devon LOC)

Call from Organisers to play an active role in the Silmo Academy

December 2013

Take part in the Silmo Paris Science Symposium 28 & 29 September 2014 - Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre

The fifth edition of this science-oriented event will be held as part of Silmo Paris, the major international optics and eyewear convention, and is scheduled for Sunday 28 September and the morning of Monday 29 September 2014.

This year's theme will be "VISUAL FATIGUE"

Silmo looks forward to your thoughts, analyses and scientific studies which drive progress for us all.

Silmo offer you two ways to get involved:

Call for speakers

Any professional wishing to give a presentation on this generic topic is invited to submit their request to the scientific committee by 20 January 2014 by sending their title and a short summary to

Call for poster communications

An exhibition of posters and written communications will be on display throughout the exhibition in order to maximise visitor exposure. Anyone wishing to share their work on any topic may register before 30 April 2014, by sending the title of their poster to

Inaugurated in 2010, the goal of Silmo Academy is to provide information and training for opticians on the latest scientific developments in the optics sector. It was founded following the observation that opticians need to broaden their knowledge in the fields of vision and optics in order to meet their clients' visual requirements more effectively.

It was therefore natural for Silmo to wish to support professionals in this strategy by creating the “Silmo Academy”, a dedicated training body and science symposium, intended for all professionals wishing to develop their expertise. It provides a forum for improving knowledge and experience sharing in the various aspects of vision and compensation for vision loss. As it is recognised under the Continuing professional development programme, participants can register via their CPD scheme.

Davis Optometrists Win Top Rodenstock Accolade

December 2013

Rodenstock has named Davis Optometrists as the leading Centre of Excellence, at its prestigious annual awards ceremony.

The Kettering opticians, which came second last year, was presented with the award for overall best-performing practice for 2013.

BBR Optometry in Hereford was named runner-up in the Centre of Excellence category, while Barraclough & Stiles in Bexhill-on-Sea came third.

More than 300 Rodenstock Club members attended the lunch and awards ceremony on 12 December at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, where practices from across the UK competed in a number of product specific categories, as well as marketing.

Full list of winners:

• Centre of Excellence 1st place – Davis Optometrists, Kettering
• Centre of Excellence 2nd place – BBR Optometry, Hereford
• Centre of Excellence 3rd place – Barraclough & Stiles, Bexhill-on-Sea
• Marketing – Taank Optometrists, Cambridge
• Luxury Brand Eyewear – Burnett Hodd & Jenkins, Sidcup
• Wimbledon Eyewear – DJ Bull Optometrists, Burnham-on-Sea
• Rodenstock Eyewear – Davis Optometrists, Kettering
• Impression Lenses – Martin Steels, Emsworth
• Multigressiv MyView Lenses – Davis Optometrists, Kettering
• Solitaire Protect Plus Coating – BBR Optometry, Hereford
• ColorMatic IQ Lenses – Coleman Opticians, Norwich

All the winners will join Rodenstock in March 2014 on a trip to Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart‎.

Following a three-course lunch, guests were entertained by author, broadcaster, actor and entertainer Gyles Brandreth.

Looking back over the past year, Rodenstock managing director Dietmar Rathbauer told guests that key customers had embraced the strategy of dispensing a better lens product mix in 2013, with sales of Multigressiv and Impression lenses showing double-digit growth year on year. Trivex and polarised materials had also received ‘an enthusiastic reception’.

“Our marketing team has created more Point of Sale and provided more marketing support to practices than ever before,” added Dietmar. “We have also launched a monthly e-newsletter and experimented with using different mediums to communicate online and via email, in addition to creating promotions involving the end consumer, which were very well received.”

He said the company planned to continue with improvements to delivery service and quality in 2014, focusing on glazing precision with a new measuring device: the Rodenstock Centring Analyser, the most accurate measuring instrument worldwide.

Rodenstock was also eagerly anticipating several exciting product launches, said Dietmar, including Claudia Schiffer by Rodenstock; Mercedes-Benz Style eyewear; and rocco by Rodenstock, making a surprise reappearance after two decades.

GP Eye health survey extended

December 2013

The eye health survey for GPs and practice staff that is being undertaken by the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) and the UK Vision Strategy partnership has been extended until Friday 17 January, 2014.

The survey, which is part of the programme of work for the RCGP clinical priority in eye health, aims to understand the current levels of awareness amongst General Practitioners (GPs) and primary healthcare teams in managing the eye health of their patients and the needs of their patients with sight loss.

The results from this survey will help to inform the clinical priority programme for eye health and provide a baseline against which to assess the programme’s impact within general practice and across primary care over the next three years. The survey is aimed at General Practitioners, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses.

Dr Waqaar Shah, Royal College of General Practitioners Clinical Champion for Eye Health said: “We have had a great response to the survey so far and we want to ensure that as many GPs and practice staff as possible have the opportunity to take part so that we can develop a meaningful and beneficial programme.

“I urge GPs, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses to spend five minutes taking part in the survey to help inform the RCGP’s future work and support offered to its members.”

The deadline for the survey is midnight on Friday 17th January 2014 and it can be accessed by going to:

For further information about the clinical priority programme and useful resources go to:

FMO looks forward to an inspiring 2014

December 2013

New members and companies which are at the cutting edge of optical technology add a fresh dynamism to The FMO in 2014, and are set the drive the optical community forward, believes new Chairman, Barry Dibble.

“The widest range of optical companies is now drawn together by The FMO – finance, software, business guidance providers join the suppliers of frames, lenses, sport eyewear, lab services, buying groups and diagnostic technology, to provide a comprehensive representation of UK optics in 2014 – we cover every aspect and drive forward advances on the High Street for the profession,” added Barry.

The wide membership of The FMO is reflected in the excitement of Optrafair London, the flagship show which takes place at Kensington Olympia in April, bringing together the broadest range of optical products ever seen in London. Drawing together Optical Confederation Members, the show puts The FMO at the heart of UK optics.

GOC statement sets out next steps for student regulation review

December 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today released a formal statement summarising the outcome of its consultation on proposed changes to the current system of student regulation and setting out next steps.

The GOC consulted from July to October on proposals to introduce a system of regulation for student optometrists and student dispensing opticians that would not require registration.

Currently the GOC is the only healthcare regulator overseen by the Professional Standards Authority that requires all students to register.

After carefully considering the feedback received during the consultation, the regulator has decided to conduct more research into the potential impact of the proposed changes and to carry out further discussions with stakeholders.

In particular the GOC will look at whether it can address concerns raised about its preferred model of regulation or whether it needs to explore alternative options, such as introducing provisional registration for trainee optometrists during their pre-registration period. We expect to publish a further statement in 2014.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Policy and Communications, said: “The proposals under consideration will have a significant impact on optical education, so it is important that we get this right. As a result we are allowing more time to explore the concerns raised in our consultation. We will carry out research to better understand the public’s perspective and continue discussions with stakeholders.”

December 2013

The College of Optometrists announces its inaugural Research Excellence Lecture From optics to vision: the ultimate challenge which will be given by Professor Larry Thibos on 3 February 2014 in London.

The Research Excellence Lecture, which will take place at The Royal College of Physicians, is a great opportunity for members to attend a lecture on retinal imaging given by a world-leading expert in the field, combined with a peer discussion, networking opportunities and the chance to gain up to four interactive CET points.

On the evening, Professor Thibos will be presented with the President’s Research Medal. This is a new award for outstanding contribution to research and recognises a lifetime's career contribution to the fields of optometry or vision science. The medal, which will be awarded every four years, is the College’s highest research honour and the most prestigious of the Research Excellence Awards, which are awarded annually by the College to recognise outstanding research of all kinds.

Professor Thibos, who is currently based at Indiana University, will describe what modern technology and optical theory are showing us about how and why clear images fail to reach the retina, and how that knowledge is being used to explore new and innovative treatments that can correct the eye’s distortion of light.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research at the College of Optometrists says: “Professor Thibos has been a leading researcher in areas relating to aberrations and visual optics. His work underpins a number of core aspects of optometric practice so we are delighted that we are able to honour him with the President’s Research Medal and that he is able to present our first Research Excellence Lecture.”

Due to popular demand, a peer discussion session will also run prior to the lecture with three interactive CET points available. A reception will also take place before and after the lecture to maximise opportunities for networking.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment guidance updated to include children's eye health

December 2013

A new children's section of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) guidance developed by eye health and sight loss sector partners has been launched today. The guidance aims to enable Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWB) to better understand the eye health needs of their local populations including children and support effective commissioning of services.

The guidance, which is available at, pulls together a number of key datasets and provides a 'menu of options' so that Health and Wellbeing Boards can access the information which is most relevant for their local authority.

Strong links between sight loss and other health determinants are identified within the guidance to assist local authorities, clinical commissioning groups (CCG) and Health and Wellbeing Boards to meet local health and wellbeing strategic priorities.

Martin Parker, Strategic Care Commissioning Manager, Local Authority, South England: “The RNIB JSNA Guidance document provides an excellent support for any commissioner looking to develop a detailed picture of the prevalence of sight loss in their area to support the development of a local JSNA or any eye health /sight loss strategy.

“Through the sections on sight loss conditions and health determinants and using the statistics and links to research, commissioners will be able to quickly gather the background information and data required to provide a really good basis for a JSNA section on sight loss”.

Professor John R Ashton CBE, President of the Faculty of Public Health of the UK Royal College Physicians: "Eye health is an important part of the Public Health Outcomes Framework and should be recognised as such by public health teams across England.

"This guidance will help enable public health professionals to effectively develop their JSNA to ensure that the current and future eye health needs of their local residents are planned efficiently and effectively. I would encourage all public health professionals to use this guidance".

Mark Godfrey, Joint Chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Physical and Sensory Impairment Network said: "This guidance is a valuable tool for anyone who is currently working to develop their Joint Strategic Needs Assessments.

"Eye Health is linked to several public health issues making it important for local authorities to assess the eye health needs of their local residents and consider the needs of adults and children with sight loss".

Anita Lightstone, UK Vision Strategy Programme Director and Interim Chief Operations Officer for VISION 2020 UK said:
"We are pleased to hear that many local authorities have been using this guidance and found it to be a useful tool for developing their JSNA and informing their health and wellbeing strategies.

"Following their feedback we have updated the guidance to include a section on children's health and updated sources of information and data".

The guidance can be found at

There is a range of information sources and statistics on children with vision impairment which can be used to help understand local need. The RNIB Data tool sets out the number of children with sight loss, broken down to local authority level and is available at:

FODO Looks Forward to Optrafair London

December 2013

FODO is looking forward to being at Optrafair London in April and the opportunity to meet many of its members at the all-embracing optical show.

The Kensington Olympia venue is a popular choice for people to come to the capital, and FODO is set to hold its annual strategy meeting on the day before the show, where new technologies and cutting edge design and fashion will be on display.

“Optrafair London is a great excuse to visit London in the spring. The show is a relaxed and informal way for us to meet clinicians and managers working on the front line of optics, and to forge new partnerships and plan projects. Our membership is very diverse and the show is a great opportunity for us to mix with clinicians, manufacturers, policy experts and business owners to find out which issues are important to them,” said Ollie Lamb, FODO Communications and Events Manager

“I encourage members and non-members alike to visit us and pick our staff’s brains about policy or regulation – we’ll be based with our Optical Confederation partners in the associations’ area,” he added.

Mark Nevin Director of Policy and Strategy at FODO UK and Ireland, agreed –

“It will be great to have Optrafair in London as it is always a sell-out event in Birmingham. We hope FODO members can attend as it is great to see faces old and new from the optical family. As always, you will find the FODO team on our stand providing excellent advice and information about our member service offering.”

Pictured is Barry Dibble of The FMO with Mark Nevin of FODO

Inspecs announce new Business Development Director

December 2013

Inspecs are delighted to announce that Jason Kirk has joined the team as Business Development Director.With more than twenty years experience in optics across design, distribution and retail, Jason will initially concentrate on developing acetate production at the Algha Works factory in Old Ford, home of the Savile Row collection. “This is a very exciting opportunity to be involved in a project which is of fundamental importance to the British optical industry,” Jason enthused. “My grandfather, Sidney and his brother Percy, were involved with the Algha Works factory back in the 1930’s and worked closely with Max Wiseman, its founder. Algha has the potential to re-establish Britain’s credentials as a manufacturer of fine eyewear and I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to that.”

With burgeoning sales on the back of a successful Silmo, Algha Works has the opportunity not only to build on the success of the Savile Row brand, but also to develop its manufacturing capabilities to produce for other companies and allow them to benefit from the ‘Made In England’ stamp and all that that stands for. A significant investment in both machinery and staffing will see that the business excels on an international stage both as a brand and as a factory The emphasis will be on small to medium run production, from one-off hand-made pieces to runs of several hundred units per style. “There is little point in attempting to compete with the Far East for mass production,” adds Jason, “but by keeping quality high and minimums low we can make production accessible to companies who might not otherwise be able to afford large runs.”

As owner of the Algha Works factory, Inspecs is putting its full weight behind the development of this project. “ Algha Works is enormously significant in the history of British optics.” said Robin Totterman, CEO of Inspecs. “Jason’s industry experience adds a new dimension to the Inspecs team and we look forward to enjoying his impact in this key position.”

GOC recruiting case examiners for new FTP Rules

December 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched a recruitment campaign for lay people and optical professionals to act as case examiners under its new Fitness to Practise (FTP) Rules.

Introducing case examiners is one of the main ways in which the GOC’s new FTP Rules will speed up its handling of complaints. The Rules are currently progressing through the Parliamentary process and are expected to come into force on 1 April 2014.

Mandie Lavin, Director of Regulation, said: “Our new FTP Rules are intended to help us better protect the public by speeding up the fitness to practise process so we can respond more quickly to complaints.

“The recruitment of case examiners is a crucial step towards this. Case examiners will play an active role in protecting the public, and both registrants and members of the public with the right skills should consider applying for these important roles.”

Case examiners will replace the Investigation Committee (IC) as the principal decision makers at the investigation stage. They will decide whether to refer complaints for a full investigation and fitness to practise hearing.

Other changes in the new Rules will include notifying registrants’ current employers of the outcome of an investigation or hearing and giving the Registrar the power to refer serious and urgent matters directly to the Fitness to Practise Committee to consider making an Interim Order.

The GOC has also launched a consultation on guidance for case examiners, and the Investigation and Fitness to Practise committees, to accompany the new Rules.

Applicants have until 13 January 2014 to apply for the case examiner roles. For further details, and consultation information for those interested you can visit the GOC website

Optom goes for Chocs

December 2013

Here’s this months lucky winner who chose chocs over champagne for being picked for joining us on Twitter out of the many who either subscribed to the website, “liked” us on Facebook, or followed us on twitter.

Michael James Opticians has been in business since 1995. Husband and wife team Karen & Garrey Haase took over in 2005 and Garrey is pictured with the chocolates having been notified on his birthday that he was the winner!

To enter the December draw simply follow us on twitter -, or like us on facebook -

Patient leaflet order tops one million

December 2013

Over one million copies of the College of Optometrists’ patient information leaflets have now been ordered by members.

The leaflets, which cover common eye conditions, were launched in June 2011. Since then, members have ordered over one million of the publications which provide practical advice and guidance to patients, complementing information given during consultation.

Leaflets cover ageing eyes and falls; blepharitis; cataract; flashes and floaters; glaucoma; macular degeneration; and children's eye health. These are available to order alongside a short leaflet written for primary school pupils on how the eye works, and activity sheets and stickers for children.

All the leaflets have been carefully checked by expert optometrists and approved by the Plain English Campaign. Information on the conditions covered by the leaflets is also available on our award-winning consumer website

Ian Humphreys, Director of Member Services and Communications, said: “Our leaflets are designed to complement and reinforce the information provided to patients during consultation. They also help patients to develop a better understanding of their condition and options for management, and we are pleased with how well received they have been by patients and members.”

Member Gillian Bruce from Cameron Optometrists in Edinburgh said: "We find that the written information is much appreciated by the patients to back up the information we discuss with them in the test room.”

Bolton MP Visit

December 2013

Another local MP visit was arranged by Bolton Local Optical Committee with the support from the Optical Confederation’s Public Affairs Team recently.

Local Labour MP for Bolton North East, David Crausby, visited I&M Eye Care on 6th December on Chorley Old Road in Bolton to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Read more about the visit on the PHN Optical Confederation page.

Optician celebrates success at St James’ Palace

December 2013

St James’s Palace – home to British monarchs for 17 generations - saw an unprecedented celebration this week, for one of London’s most respected opticians.

Royal Warrant Holder, Roger Pope, raised his glass to nearly 350 longstanding customers, colleagues, ophthalmologists and suppliers, thanking them for their loyal support.

Since opening the doors of his practice in Marylebone 25 years ago, Mr Pope and his colleagues have gained a reputation for looking after the visual requirements of a broad cross section of British society, as well as overseas visitors who want the very best of vision. His discretion, and passion to seek out the very best optical products from around the world, has earned the business an unrivalled following, culminating in the accolade of gaining a Royal Warrant for Her Majesty The Queen in 2006.

“Who would have thought we would be here today after opening the doors, with some trepidation, in New Cavendish Street 25 years ago. I would like to thank all of those friends who have supported the business during the years,” said Roger.

Today with a sister practice in Dulwich Village, Roger Pope and his business partner and fellow optician, Stephen Hopkinson, employ seven dispensing opticians and five optometrists.

“We would like to thank the wonderful loyalty, enthusiasm and dedication of our staff during this time for providing the very best eye examinations and service.”

Future optometrists can make an impact on the optical world!

December 2013

Future optometrists were recently able to learn valuable lessons in contact lenses outside of the disposable range. Students from The University of Bradford observed that once in practice they can utilise lenses that can truly change people’s lives for the better. Lynn White, MSc FCOptom, Clinical Director at UltraVision CLPL, hosted the student workshops. Lynn talked to the group about Irregular Cornea recognition, management, cross linking and soft lens fitting. Students observed the process right from the initial topography and lens selection, to refinement of the lens to be ordered.

Alison, a student from the university, found the UltraVision workshop very interesting and interactive, “It has given me a greater understanding of how to fit Keratoconic patients with soft lenses designed specifically for Keratoconus and Irregular Corneas. The Morocco App is a brilliant educational tool and will be valuable to me both with my studies and during Pre-Reg year.”

Kimberley Burns, Marketing Executive, explains “the workshops were clearly a success with the students who stayed a lot longer than the allotted time; they were enjoying learning about KeraSoft IC lenses so much we couldn’t get them to leave!”

FMO annual luncheon draws large party

December 2013

UK optics working together in partnership was the theme of The FMO’s AGM and annual luncheon last week. It drew an unrivalled spirit of goodwill across all sectors of optics as more than a hundred gathered together in Paddington’s Hilton Hotel.

The Chairman’s chain of office was handed from John Conway, holder for the past two years, to Barry Dibble, who returns for a second term, bringing much experience to the role.

Presentations at the AGM included news of support for independent opticians from the industry; the progress of apprenticeships and optical training; and a presentation on National Eye Health Week to run in September 2014, from the new Chairman of the event, David Cartwright –

“We can work together to use this week to raise awareness, reduce avoidable blindness, and grow the whole optical sector,” he urged.

Optical charities benefitted at the luncheon, with the proceeds of Optrafair being donated to further the work of Vision Aid Overseas and The Optical Workers Benevolent Fund, a charity which helps a growing number of genuine hardship cases within the industry.

Exciting news of Optrafair London, the FMO’s capital event which will take place from 11-13 April 2014 at Kensington, Olympia, was a major focus for the day, with all sectors of the optical profession and industry drawing together to create the most comprehensive optical show that London has ever staged.
Pictures shows:Dr Natalie Briggs, Chief Exec of VAO receiving a donation from Optrafair outgoing FMO Chairman, John Conway. Also Barry Dibble receiving FMO chain of office from John Conway.

GOC sets out position on future of business regulation

December 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today released further details about the outcome of its business regulation review, which is set to require all optical businesses carrying out restricted functions to register.

Activities that would fall into this category are sight testing, contact lens fitting, supply of contact lenses, and spectacle sales to the under 16s, registered blind or partially sighted.

The GOC believes the proposed changes would enhance its ability to protect and promote public health and safety. They would also remove the current system of complex registration requirements and empower the regulator to take action against any business that fails to meet its standards of conduct.

The proposals are subject to legislative change and are unlikely to come into force before 2016/17 as the UK Law Commissions are currently undertaking a wide-ranging review of the legislation underpinning healthcare regulation. The GOC will consult further on the implementation of the new system, covering issues such as the fee structure and ensuring that there is not an undue burden on smaller businesses.

The GOC estimates that an additional 4,000 businesses would need to register under the proposed rules. The GOC also proposes to revise the Code of Conduct for business registrants so that it is more targeted at the risks associated with business practices. This will tie in with the GOC’s ongoing standards review, which is considering themes arising from the Francis Inquiry such as the importance of candour, compassion and meeting the needs of more vulnerable patients.

Samantha Peters, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “Our proposals are designed to better protect the public by accounting for the fact that some matters are within the control of the business rather than individual registrants. This can include ensuring effective processes for supervision and complaints handling, important decisions about investment in training and equipment, and finding the appropriate balance between clinical and commercial incentives.”

The full statement can be read on the GOC website.
December 2013

100% Optical 2014, is set to take the lead on lenses.

This first global annual optical show to be held at ExCeL London in February, 16 – 18, 2014 will feature cutting-edge technology and an extensive educational programme across the ophthalmic lens and contact lens sectors. Leading international suppliers and manufacturers of lenses and related products including; Shamir, Safilens, No 7 Contact Lenses, Waterside Laboratories, Six Six Contacts, Moorfields Pharmaceuticals, Anglo Italian, CVDW and Jack Allen, are all showing their latest ranges and innovations in London at 100% Optical.

With so many high profile companies participating and an extensive educational programme, in the form of a unique ‘Lens Hub’, 100% Optical says its attracting thousands of optical experts. Many of whom have already registered to attend the event with the objective of gaining critical knowledge and insight into the ophthalmic lens and contact lens specialist areas.

Enzo Bruno, managing director of Safilens Srl comments on his company’s presence at 100% Optical in February: “Committed to ensuring CL wearers across the world have the opportunity to experience the benefits of our advanced Fusion technology lenses, Safilens are proud to be exhibiting at this prestigious UK event. We recognise the importance of the UK market as a vision care centre of excellence and the highly professional services offered to wearers. We look forward to working with 100% Optical."*

“100% Optical will provide us with the perfect platform to showcase our unique and diverse portfolio of products.” says general manager of Shamir UK, Phil Bareham. He adds: “We are immensely proud of our ability to support our customers, not only with traditional mainstream lenses, but also with bespoke tailored options for all lifestyles and activities.”

Read more about the 100% Lens Hub and more on our 100% Optical dedicated pages.

For further information and to register to attend please visit or call 020 3225 5200, Twitter - @100Optical

Hoya raises money for Movember

December 2013

HOYA has raised over £600 by taking part in Movember. Throughout November some of HOYA’s male staff took to growing facial hair to raise vital funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and mental health.

Movember challenges men to grow a moustache for the 30-days of November which was more of a challenge for some than others! Their “Mo’s”, the Movember cake sale and support from the HOYA ladies has meant that everyone at HOYA could get involved in raising money.

Movember supports world class men’s health programmes that combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. These programmes, directed by the Movember Foundation, are focused on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, staying mentally healthy, living with and beyond mental illness and research to achieve our vision of an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.

Therapeutics focus for New Year meeting at the BCLA

December 2013

Registration is now open for the next scientific evening meeting of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), to be held on Monday 27 January at One Drummond Gate in Victoria, London.

Presenting ‘Ocular surface disease and therapeutics’ will be Andrena McElvanney, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, and former BCLA Council member (medical representative).

In her one-hour lecture, for which CET has been applied for, Andrena will present challenging cases of ocular surface disease and outline clinical signs and treatment options. She will also discuss severe dry eye, complications of contact lens wear, microbial and amoebic keratitis and the current treatment options available. Additionally, treatment options for dry eye disease will be explored along with the management of infective keratitis, with particular relevance to contact lens wear. BCLA members will also learn more about the use of therapeutic contact lenses in ocular surface disease.

BCLA members are now invited to register online at (under Events). The evening starts at 6.30pm with welcome drinks, with the presentation running from 7-8pm. Each member may bring one non-member guest to the meeting.

Scrivens is largest retailer to take on World Sight Day Challenge

December 2013

Family-run optical retailer Scrivens Opticians took part in the World Sight Day Challenge across their 146 branches, making them the largest group to participate in the annual fundraising initiative.

The company, founded in 1938 by qualified optician and pharmacist, Solomon Scriven, is this year celebrating its 75th anniversary and marked the occasion by holding birthday events and donating 75p from every sight test to Optometry Giving Sight. Scrivens branches got into the party spirit with various fundraising activities from cakes sales to a sponsored in-store bike ride to branch staff dressing as hippies. A total of £3,200 was raised, which will provide in the region of 1,100 eye exams and glasses.

Scrivens Opticians Professional Services Director, Jeet Saimbi said: “We are incredibly proud to be celebrating our 75th anniversary as a successful family-run business, whilst also supporting a very worthwhile charity that is close to our hearts as eye care providers.

“Every one of our stores joined in the celebrations which has enabled us to help Optometry Giving Sight provide eye care to those who do not have access to the vision services that we have been providing in the UK for 75 years.”

Nick Rumney, Chair of Optometry Giving Sight’s national committee, added: “I am delighted that Scrivens Opticians included Optometry Giving Sight in their anniversary celebrations and took the opportunity to help provide much-needed eye care in developing countries whilst celebrating their own success in the UK. It shows the difference that we can make when we come together as a profession and get behind a good cause.”

Optometry Giving Sight provides ongoing funds to projects that are training local eye care professionals and establishing vision centres, so that eye care and low cost glasses are being delivered in communities where these services do not currently exist. In 2012, the charity donated funding to 42 projects in 24 countries, including East Timor, Haiti, and India. Last year, the first locally trained optometrists graduated from universities in their home countries of Mozambique, Malawi and Mali. These new professionals will go on to provide optometry services where they were previously unavailable, extending the reach of the profession to those who desperately need it.

Frontline health professionals urged to ensure every squint is checked with a red reflex test to rule out eye cancer

December 2013

A children’s cancer charity is calling for all squints in babies and young children to be checked with a red reflex test to rule out eye cancer.

Figures released today from the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) show that since 2012, almost a quarter (24%) of babies and young children diagnosed with retinoblastoma (Rb) presented with a squint as a symptom.¹ It is the second most common symptom after leukocoria (white pupillary reflex).

Joy Felgate, Chief Executive of CHECT said: “In our experience, some babies and young children are facing serious delays in receiving life-saving treatment as a result of parents either being told incorrectly that their baby’s squint is completely normal, or being given a non-urgent squint referral.”

As squints are common in babies up to the age of three months, the only way to determine whether this is a sign of a much more serious condition is to carry out a simple red reflex test, which is a non-invasive procedure, simply involving looking in the eye with a hand-held ophthalmoscope.

Mrs Felgate continued: “Non-urgent squint referrals can take months to come through, which can be a devastating delay for a child with undiagnosed eye cancer. Retinoblastoma is a very aggressive form of cancer and any delays in diagnosis can have a serious impact on treatment options. Currently over 70% of children with unilateral Rb lose an eye to the disease.

“We are asking frontline healthcare professionals to check every squint they see with the red reflex test or, if they are don’t feel able to do this accurately, to refer the child urgently to their GP.”

A Mumsnet survey carried out for CHECT in 2011 found that 62% of parents said the person they would like to get more information about retinoblastoma from was their GP surgery, GP or nurse.² The survey also found that 50% of parents they would like to get more information about retinoblastoma from their health visitor.²

Retinoblastoma is a fast-growing cancer of the eye affecting mainly 0 to 5-year-old children. Early detection of this aggressive condition is crucial to offer the child the best chance of saving their vision, their eyes and their life.

The Trust urges health professionals to pay particular attention to children with a

• A recently onset squint
• A white reflex (leukocoria) or an abnormal reflex in flash photographs
• 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. It is important to remember, however, that a child with Rb may appear systemically well.

Following a successful campaign by CHECT, most of these symptoms are now also listed in the latest versions of the Public Child Health Record (red book).

If any of the above symptoms are detected, a simple red reflex test can rule out retinoblastoma. If you are unable to confidently rule out retinoblastoma with a red reflex test NICE guidelines state an urgent referral must be made. Depending on local referral protocol, urgent referrals should be made to the GP or local ophthalmology department stating ‘suspected retinoblastoma’. Where referral is to the local ophthalmology department we recommend you call to alert them to the case and to find out how quickly urgent referrals are seen (in some cases it can be longer than two weeks).

These figures have been released to support Childhood Cancer Awareness Month which takes place every December in the UK

1. Statistically it affects 1:20,000 live births each year. This can also be expressed as between 40 and 50 cases a year or about one child a week in the UK. It represents 3% of childhood cancers in the UK.
2. The signs of Rb include

• Leukocoria – (Intermittent) white pupillary reflex noticed in dim lighting or a photo.
• Strabismus – Squint (Retinoblastoma must be ruled for all cases of squint in babies and children using a red reflex test)
• A change in the colour of the iris or part of the iris.
• Inflammation, redness or increased pressure in or around the eye without an infection.
• An absence of red reflex when doing a red reflex test.
• Deterioration of vision in one or both eyes or poor vision from birth.
• Wandering eyes (nystagmus).
• Parental history of retinoblastoma – the condition is heritable so children of an affected parent with retinoblastoma must be screened from birth.
• Parental concern over vision or eye appearance.

There are two specialist NHS treatment centres in the UK, The Royal London Hospital and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The service is overseen by the NHS National Specialised Commissioning Team.

Akamba Eye Clinic Donations DOUBLED this week

December 2013

The Akamba Aid fund hopes to raise £30,000 to build an eye clinic in the Akamba region of Kenya. If donations are made by the Big Give Website they will be doubled if you make them on either the 5/6/7th December but you must get there as close to 10.00 am on each day.

Akamba Aid Fund's latest project is to provide a purpose-built eye clinic in the remote Akamba region of Kenya, in order to improve access to essential eye care in this impoverished area.

The project will cost £30,000 and they are raising some of the funds through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, where donations made online via the Big Give website next week are doubled There are limits to the funds which are used for doubling the donations so please get online as close to 10 o'clock as possible.

Local Eye Health Networks – A Getting Started Guide

December 2013

LOCSU has announced the launch of Local Eye Health Networks – A Getting Started Guide.

The guide, produced by LOCSU for Local Eye Health Networks (LEHNs), with the support of NHS England, the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning and the UK Vision Strategy, will be an extremely useful resource for the newly appointed Chairs of emerging networks and the Area Teams responsible for establishing and managing LEHNs, as well as all eye health stakeholders.

LEHNs provide the opportunity for the eye health professions – together with patients and the voluntary sector – to show leadership, identify priorities and re-design services and pathways to meet population needs. The guide is very clear that a collaborative approach reaching out to all stakeholders is the key to the future success of LEHNs. View the full guide here.

Hoya keep on giving

December 2013

The festive period is upon us and Hoya VSE Loyalty Club members join the countdown with their own VSE advent calendars. With special gifts behind some of the doors, VSE Loyalty Club keeps on giving!

“VSE Loyalty club is continually being updated to provide the most comprehensive offering to date. We’ve got exciting new developments ahead in 2014, including some exciting new options in the VSE shop.” Dale Hughes, Marketing Manager

New in 2014 VSE Loyalty Club members will benefit from the introduction of in-practice video packages, retail merchandising/window display packages, anti-reflection coatings marketing material and Hoya Vision Consultant, the new consultation tool launching soon to support the full sales process. New merchandise items are also available, including the new iPad Air.

“At Hoya we believe that supporting business needs with a high quality service and innovative products is crucial. However, we understand that in this challenging business environment, more is needed from a lens supplier” said Dale Hughes, Hoya Marketing Manager

Being part of VSE Loyalty Club provides Hoya customers with the tools they need to help grow their business whilst rewarding the time and effort invested with points every time customers spend with Hoya. Each practice will then be able to spend their points on a great selection of rewards, ranging from marketing campaigns, to training and equipment packages. However, Hoya also wants to ensure there is plenty of fun to be had with VSE, so they have made sure that there are an abundance of incentives, ranging from shopping vouchers to team building days and even holidays. There will definitely be something to reward everyone.

Any Independent Optician or Independent Lab with a Hoya Lens UK account is eligible to join. Find out more and registering at

Read more about one of PHN’s supporters on their dedicated pages in the suppliers guide.

More news from LOCSU

December 2013

Extra LOCSU Leadership Skills Course for 2014

LOCSU’s Leadership Skills for Optical Professionals is a 20-credit postgraduate model and part of WOPEC’s MSc programme at Cardiff University. It remains the only specialist leadership skills course for the optical sector and is led by Gill Brabner LOCSU’s Learning and Development Associate. As previously announced in LOCSU News (October), LOCSU will be funding up to 10 places on next year’s course which begins in March 2014. Deadline for applications for funding is Monday 9th December.

LOCSU cataract module now online

Accessing LOCSU’s cataract module (provided by WOPEC) has just got easier with students now able to access the course online from the WOPEC website. Video lectures can be watched directly from your computer and multiple choice questions can then be answered and submitted as you watch or you can skip and watch them later. WOPEC hopes to make other LOCSU modules available online from the New Year.

Optical Lead vacancy in South of England

LOCSU is recruiting for an Optical Lead for the South of England. Joining LOCSU’s team of Optical Leads in providing specialist advice and expertise to Local Optical Committees, you will be an experienced eye health professional with knowledge and understanding of the community eye health sector. The role is home-based but you will need to commit a minimum of eight days, and be able to travel across the South of England (including London). You will also need to attend evening meetings.

Deadline for applications is 12 noon, Monday 23rd December.

Heidelberg Engineering moves to larger premises

December 2013

Heidelberg Engineering UK has moved to larger premises which now include a dedicated training centre with the capacity for up to 40 delegates, an enhanced help desk and support service, on-site car parking and warehousing.

The new Hemel Hempstead location – a Grade II Listed building - results from increased demand for the German technology since the company became an independent supplier in the UK two and a half years ago.

Well positioned for motorway, rail and air links, it also offers very easy accessible to London and the North.

“The Heidelberg Academy is growing in strength and we have established a need for our own dedicated training centre. Our programme of Peer Review Interpretation courses, and user training days led by specialist consultant ophthalmologists will be held at our Hemel Hempstead centre and at a range of locations throughout the UK during 2014,” said Heidelberg UK General Manager, Krysten Williams.

Eye health survey launched to understand levels of awareness amongst GPs and practice teams

November 2013

An eye health survey by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the UK Vision Strategy partnership has been launched to understand the current levels of awareness amongst General Practitioners (GPs) and primary healthcare teams in managing the eye health of their patients and the needs of their patients with sight loss. The results from this survey will help to inform the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) clinical priority programme for eye health and provide a baseline against which to assess the programme’s impact within general practice and across primary care over the next three years. The Survey is aimed at General Practitioners, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses.

Dr Waqaar Shah, Royal College of General Practitioners Clinical Champion for Eye Health said: “It is essential for us to understand what the current level of knowledge GP’s and practice teams have about eye health and sight loss so we can use these results to inform the clinical priority programme over the next three years and assess its impact.

I urge GPs, Practice Managers and Practice Nurses to spend five minutes taking part in the survey today to help inform the RCGPs future work and support offered to its members.”

The deadline for the survey is midnight on Friday 20th December 2013 and you can look at the questions asked by clicking here to

Zeiss backs 100% Optical for 2 years

November 2013

"Zeiss is delighted to be exhibiting at 100% Optical in February 2014. We feel this is a great opportunity to be involved in a new and exciting show for the industry. Zeiss are passionate about education so we are pleased to see that this is an integral part of 100% Optical and we will be supporting the educational content being delivered by the AOP. We look forward to welcoming customers to our stand and showcasing the extensive diagnostic solutions we have to offer."

Zeiss, has signed a two year deal to exhibit at 100% Optical in 2014 and 2015. 100% Optical, with over 350 brands, say they will be the biggest optical event of 2014 in the UK.

Visit 100% Optical's page

Rodenstock staff raise funds for typhoon survivors

November 2013

Staff at Kent-based Rodenstock UK have raised almost £800 to help the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated coastal areas of the Philippines on November 8.

The upmarket eyewear manufacturer organised a ‘Great Rodenstock Bake-Off’ at its Northfleet offices in Springhead Road, inviting staff to create a range of cakes, biscuits and samosas to sell to colleagues. Staff also held a raffle and donated cash to help the relief effort.

Marketing assistant Amarpreet Mangat said: “We wanted to do our bit to support the millions of people who have lost their homes and desperately need urgent help, including emergency shelter, clean water and food.”

Rodenstock UK regularly collects and donates money to worthwhile causes. Earlier this year it raised £500 for the EllenorLions Hospice in Northfleet with a ‘Make or Bake’ day and donated office furniture following completion of its £1 million office refit. Rodenstock UK also makes a donation to the hospice every Christmas.

Last year staff took part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride, raising more than £600 for the British Heart Foundation. Rodenstock UK also supports international UK-based charity Vision Aid Overseas by donating spectacle frames to help people in developing countries who don’t have access to quality eye care.

GOC invites views on future priorities

November 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched a consultation seeking views on its draft strategic plan for the next three years. The regulator is proposing to play a more proactive role in promoting public health and safety through the standards it sets for optometrists and for dispensing opticians.

In addition it will seek to deal with complaints more quickly and effectively.

The GOC recognises the need to reflect changes in regulatory good practice, building upon the recommendations of the Francis Inquiry, and to respond to the public’s needs and expectations. Therefore it will seek to develop its understanding of the public’s perspective and how the delivery of optical care is changing.
Promoting public trust in the professions, and enabling the public to make informed decisions about optical care and raise any concerns, will also be high on the agenda.

The GOC is encouraging a variety of stakeholders, including patients, the public, registrants and professional bodies, to respond to the consultation and help refine its future priorities.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Samantha Peters, said: “We must ensure regulation is responsive to the public’s changing needs and enables the professions to develop in a way that maximises public benefit. Our draft strategic plan sets out how we aim to achieve these goals over the next three years.”

Anyone interested in sharing their views can access and respond to the consultation via the GOC’s website at

November 2013

DOCET’s latest training material, released today, looks at how to deal with patients presenting with acute onset symptoms in four key areas; sudden loss of vision, the painful red eye, neurological problems, and other acute problems.

When a patient presents with an emergency or a condition that could threaten their sight or their life, urgent intervention by the optometrist may be required. DOCET’s new training material guides optometrists through the presentation of different conditions, including what to look for during an examination, differential diagnosis, referral steps, further clinical management and any ‘red flag’ symptoms requiring immediate referral. The material is in the form of comprehensive and detailed case files, including audio-visual materials, ‘patient’s-eye view’ animations and PDF summaries.

Optometrists can earn two interactive CET points for each of the main topic sections by correctly answering the accompanying multiple choice questions (MCQs) and then carrying out an interactive exercise. The four sections can be completed separately for CET purposes. The whole resource offers a possible eight interactive CET points to those optometrists who successfully complete all sections of the training.

DOCET’s ‘Acute Presentation’ is available to all optometrists currently registered with the GOC in the UK via the CET Zone at and on DVD.

GOC warns registrants of 2013 CET deadline

November 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) is warning registrants that time is running out to meet the minimum requirement of six CET points for 2013. Registrants who fail to record six points by 31 December may be unable to renew their GOC registration in the New Year.

Once registrants have taken part in a CET event they must accept their points in the MyGOC area of the GOC website to record them. Nearly 30 per cent of registrants still need to record CET points by the end of the year.

The annual requirement forms part of the new enhanced CET scheme launched in January this year, and was introduced to ensure CET is an ongoing process spread across the three-year cycle.

Linda Ford, GOC’s Head of Education and Standards, said: “We are very happy with the positive way registrants have engaged with enhanced CET this year, and I am pleased to report that the majority have already met their points requirement.

“However, almost 30 per cent have not recorded six points and the deadline is fast approaching. Registrants who have attended enough events to earn six points should ensure they have accepted them in MyGOC; registrants who still need to undertake more CET activity should do so as soon as possible.

“Registrants should remember that CET providers need time to upload points and that our offices will be shut between Christmas and New Year. I therefore strongly encourage anyone who has not yet recorded enough points to take action now to ensure they can renew their registration after Christmas.”

Registrants can log CET points or find events in their local area using the MyGOC section of

Most registrants need to obtain six CET points this year, although those who joined the register later in the year may have a lower pro-rated requirement. Anyone who is unsure about their points requirement is encouraged to log into their MyGOC account or contact the GOC’s education team.

Devon MP Visit

November 2013

We report on our Optical Confederation dedicated page about a recent visit made by the Conservative MP for Central Devon, Mel Stride, to a local optical practice within his constituency.

The visit was arranged between the MP and Devon Local Optical Committee, with the support of the Optical Confederation’s Public Affairs Team. Click here to go to OC page.

Children waiting up to ‘four years’ for eye exams

November 2013

Eye screening system failing children, Irish Optometrists claim

The school eye screening system is failing children as they are being treated too late and not being tested sufficiently for reading vision difficulties, Irish Optometrists have claimed.

Launching the Association of Optometrists Ireland’s (AOI) Bright Eyes awareness week Optometric Advisor Lynda McGivney-Nolan said these problems cause an unacceptable risk of learning difficulties for children which can compromise their future careers.

“We know that many vision problems, if caught and managed before the age of seven, are reversible. However, this week we have confirmed that the waiting time for follow up exams from the State’s school eye screening system is 47 months (almost 4 years) in Kildare. The delay was recently reported to be three years in Dublin and is a minimum of two years.

“Given that the State screening takes place when children are five or six, this means that many children, identified as having a vision concern, are not getting specialist exams until long after age seven, if at all.”

The AOI said that the ongoing delay is caused by a shortage of appointments with medical eye doctors, but if the HSE worked with community based Optometrists to carry out routine follow ups from the school eye screening programme, waiting times would be cut dramatically.

“The Competition Authority as far back as 2006 recommended that Optometrists should be seeing children from the school screening; this has yet to be implemented.”

Furthermore, the current school screening methodology does not test sufficiently for close vision problems which effect reading.

“Up to third class children learn to read. After third class they read to learn. Any undiagnosed problems with reading vision, by this stage, will seriously impact on the child’s ability to learn properly. The current school eye screening system is failing Irish children. It is not best practice. We need to change it and ensure best practice in diagnosis and treatment,” she said.

From the 25th to the 30th of November many independent optometrists across Ireland will be offering the AOI’s ‘6 Point Vision Check’ free of charge, or at a nominal cost. The check is available at short notice and has been specially developed using proven standards to identify reading vision problems which are not normally picked up at the school screenings.

The theme of the Bright Eyes campaign is ‘Bright Future’ to highlight the importance of correct and timely diagnosis and treatment of eye problems to protect children’s education and their future working lives.

During Bright Eyes week optometrists will also be visiting schools to talk to parents, teachers and pupils about the importance of healthy eye sight and answer any questions.

More information on Bright Eyes and participating Optometrists at or from the AOI at (01) 435 8850.

College of Optometrists Council uses feedback to develop its three year strategic plan

November 2013

The College of Optometrists’ Council met recently to discuss and begin the development of its next three-year strategic plan.

The meeting, which took place in Cardiff on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 November, was an opportunity for the Council to review feedback from various stakeholders and incorporate this into its thoughts about priorities for the College and the profession for the next three years.

The College used feedback on its work from Council itself, its recent membership survey, focus groups and various reference groups representing patients, pre-registration trainees, newly-qualified optometrists, students, independent prescribers and hospital optometrists.

Council looked at its work from the point of view of its key interest groups such as members, patients, the public, commissioners, partner organisations and employers, considering what successful eye care would look like to all these groups. They also discussed strategic drivers from a range of external factors such as technology, regulation and economic factors, and considered how these may affect the profession over the coming years.

Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “It has been a really valuable couple of days and I’m delighted that we can take so much feedback into account and shape our plans around the needs and wants of members, patients and the public.”

Building on the framework agreed at the meeting, work will now continue developing the 2014-17 Strategic Plan, which will be approved in June 2014 and will take effect later in the year.

‘Take-away’ theme announced for 38th BCLA Clinical Conference & Exhibition

November 2013

‘What will you take away?’ is the theme of the 38th British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held from 6-9 June 2014 at the ICC Birmingham, UK.

With its new Friday to Monday schedule, BCLA 2014 has some key new ingredients to ensure that delegates ‘take away’ fresh skills and strategies to put into practice straight away.

Using a new conference app, available from January 2014, registrants will be able to personalise their schedule and make appointments directly with exhibitors – a first for the BCLA Clinical Conference.

Announcing the conference theme at a press conference in London on 20 November, Nick Rumney, BCLA Conference Programme Coordinator, said: “We have made a number of changes to the programme for 2014, to significantly widen the event’s appeal. There will be more hands-on workshops and a greater focus on everyday contact lens practice issues such as comfort, keratoconus and myopia control; these will be enhanced by familiar features such as Clinical Grand Rounds and a practical business track.

“We have also secured the prestigious presence of both a TFOS sponsored session and entertaining clinical speakers from the USA to tie up with Vision Expo – the world’s biggest biannual CET event for optics. Delegates will be able to apply much of what they learn the very next day in practice – a concept that will be at the heart of this world class event going forwards,” added Nick.

Key NEW features

• Global Contact Lens Forum in association with Vision Expo
• Inaugural BCLA Industry Award
• Live linked surgery session
• Tear Film & Ocular Society (TFOS) session
• Early opening of the exhibition with welcome drinks
• Interactive conference app
• Informal buffet on the Sunday evening open to all

Keynote speakers

The 2014 BCLA Medallist is Professor Philip Morgan (UK), who will present ‘Changing the world with contact lenses’. Dr Heiko Pult (UK) will present the Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture, ‘Clinical evaluation of dry eye: a year of research’. Other confirmed keynote speakers are: Professor Lyndon Jones (Canada), Dr Motozumi Itoi (Japan) and Professor Bruce Evans (UK).

Workshops, spotlights & peer discussion

There will be an enhanced programme of CET workshops running for the four days of the conference, with some being repeated to ensure as many delegates can attend as possible. Workshop topics will include IOL and laser refractive surgery, sclerals, and dry eye assessment and management.

Peer review discussion groups will also take place each day, for which delegates must pre-register, offering three CET points each. Clinical spotlight sessions will cover myopia management, history and symptom taking, and specialty lenses. An enhanced business track will focus on practical strategies to build a better contact lens business.

Social programme

In a change to the social programme, welcome drinks on the Friday evening will coincide with the early opening of the exhibition so that delegates can take a first-look at the stands. The Gala Dinner on the Saturday night will take place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, and will have a ‘Strictly contact lenses’ theme. The inaugural BCLA Industry Award and 2014 BCLA Fellowships will be presented on the night.

A new event will take place in the ICC from 7-8.30pm on the Sunday evening – ideal for at those attending on the Sunday and Monday only. This will be an informal, relaxed affair with open seating where delegates can enjoy a ‘Best of British’ buffet. It will be complimentary for all, but must be pre-booked.

Exhibition & Exhibitors’ Pavilion

The BCLA Exhibition is already some 80 per cent sold out so delegates can expect to see all the very latest products and innovations from the global contact lens industry under one roof. The Exhibitors’ Pavilion will run during coffee breaks and lunchtimes only to allow maximum participation, except during the Sunday afternoon coffee break when the 2014 Poster and Photographic Competition winners and runners-up will be announced.

Industry sponsors

• Partners: Alcon, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
• Platinum: Sauflon
• Gold: David Thomas Contact Lenses/Menicon and Topcon


Conference registration will open in January 2014 and, as always, an early bird discount will be available until 28 March, with greater discounts available for BCLA members of two consecutive years’ standing or more.

Once again there will be 100 sponsored two-day packages (Sunday and Monday) available on a first come, first served basis to BCLA members only from January 2014 (terms and conditions will apply).

Summing up, BCLA President, Andy Yorke, said: “With so much to take away each day, delegates will receive all the educational and professional resources they need to enhance their clinical skills and build their business strategies long after the conference doors have closed.

“BCLA 2014 heralds an exciting new direction for our flagship event, with new digital platforms to inform and engage. As we begin building up to the conference, we will keep the global contact lens community up-to-date via our new interactive website and social media channels. So don’t forget to join in the conversation, form your groups and make the most of all of our new online facilities.”

Sir Bob Russell MP calls on Drivers to take regular eye tests

November 2013

On Wednesday 20 November Sir Bob Russell MP attended an RSA Insurance Group's 'Fit to Drive' road safety and eye health drop-in eye test event in Parliament. Supported by road safety charity Brake and the Optical Confederation and held during National Road Safety Week, the event saw MPs from all political parties tested to see whether they meet the UK's minimum eye health standards.

Research shows that poor vision results in nearly 3,000 casualties in the UK each year. In addition to injury and loss of life, road crashes are costly for individuals, their families and the wider economy. The total cost of crashes due to poor driver vision is estimated to be £33m a year.

RSA and the Optical Confederation have published a new report, Healthy Eyes, Safer Roads, which shows how regular eye testing can keep all road users safer and sets out recommendations for policymakers to ensure more tests take place. Drivers who fall below the minimum standards are 15 per cent more likely to crash their vehicle - although in many cases they are unaware of their poor or deteriorating eye health.
During the event Sir Bob Russell MP found out more about how this issue affects Colchester and had her eyes tested by a qualified Specsavers optometrist. Bob also signed the Fit to Drive pledge - committing to having their eyes checked every two years, wearing glasses or lenses to drive if they need them and encouraging others to do the same.

Bob Russell MP said: "Drivers must take their responsibilities toward their own and other people's safety extremely seriously. Part of this is to make sure their eyesight meets the standards required and that they wear their glasses or lenses every time they drive if they need them. Thousands of crashes happen every year because of poor vision, at great cost to those involved and to the economy as a whole. I am glad to say that I'm fit to drive but it is vital everyone gets their eyes tested regularly to make sure they are safe too."

Adrian Brown, CEO of RSA UK & Western Europe, said: "Regular testing helps maintain good eyesight and that means fewer crashes and safer roads. It's good to see local MPs getting this message out to their constituents and our 'Fit to Drive' campaign report sets out ways policymakers can make sure more eye tests happen. We also want existing EU rules on driver eyesight to be properly implemented in the UK. We're currently lagging behind many other countries and that means our roads aren't as safe as they could be."

Mark Nevin on behalf of the OC said: "Sight loss and road crashes are two major and interlinked public health challenges. Both are also largely avoidable and an excellent first step to addressing them is to encourage regular sight tests for all drivers. We urge local authorities, the public health community and local eye health networks to work together to relay this message to drivers and the general public."

NHS England: Colleges’ new guidance will help reduce avoidable sight loss

November 2013

Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning for NHS England, has urged health commissioners to use new guidance published today by the College of Optometrists and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists to improve the quality and efficiency of eye health services. Dr Geddes says: “We can now treat more and more of the diseases that until recently caused blindness. This new guidance will help Clinical Commissioning Groups understand how best to work with local eye health professionals to redesign services to save people’s sight and to reduce the social and health consequence of failing vision. It is a piece of guidance which will be important to implement.”

The new guidance recommends how to improve services in three key areas: urgent eye care, age-related macular degeneration and low vision. It shows how commissioning community services delivering urgent eye care can reduce the number of people attending hospital casualty services at a time when they are struggling to meet demand. Age-related macular degeneration is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK and the guidance highlights how eye health teams can change the way they work to improve their services and reduce avoidable sight loss. Low vision services help people who have lost their sight maintain their independence and quality of life. Many parts of the country do not provide low vision services and the guidance recommends how low vision support can best be extended to all those who need it.

Dr Cindy Tromans, Chair of the College of Optometrists’ Board, encouraged eye health clinicians and commissioners to work together: “This guidance is the perfect starting point to improve eye health in your area. Working with patients, ophthalmologists, GPs and commissioners has been extremely worthwhile and I would encourage Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Eye Health Networks to do the same locally.”

Mr Richard Smith of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists explained how the guidance could improve the eye health of patients: “Commissioners, providers of eye health services and patients with sight problems all agree that eye health services should demonstrate high quality safe care and value for money. This is easy to say, but much harder to do. This guidance has been developed with input from clinicians, commissioners, GPs and those who work alongside people with sight loss to provide relevant facts, figures and references in an accessible format which we hope will make the task of planning eye health services less daunting than it would otherwise be. In particular, we hope that it will be of assistance to Clinical Commissioning Groups and local professional networks for eye health as they work together to prevent avoidable sight loss."

The guidance was written by leading eye care clinicians with support from experienced clinical commissioners at the National Association of Primary Care, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Department of Health’s Right Care Team. Patient groups also contributed through the Vision 2020 UK Vision Strategy with the Macular Society providing further support on the age-related macular degeneration and low vision guidance.

The guidance can be found at and

The College also published recommendations for glaucoma services in February of this year. In the coming months, it will publish its recommendations to improve services for diabetic retinopathy and oculoplastics. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is seeking NICE accreditation for guidance on cataract services which it expects to publish in 2014.

Lions Festive Walk to Support Vision Care for Homeless People

November 2013

Vision Care for Homeless People is set to benefit from a “Walk off Christmas” event in the Midlands on Sunday 29th December. Knowle & Dorridge Lions are inviting everyone to pull on their boots and walk off the Christmas pud with a choice of 5, 7.5 or 10.5 mile signed walks.

The Lions hope hundreds of walkers will turn out for this popular event from Baddesley Clinton House, and help raise funds with a choice for walkers of getting their day sponsored or making a donation.

‘What better way to shake off the excesses of Christmas than to get together with family and friends for a walk in the country’, says Jill Lambert, VCHP Regional Organiser.

Passing through the beautiful Warwickshire countryside along country lanes, towpaths and footpaths, all routes pass at least one country pub.

More details & register online at now. Baddesley Clinton House and Gardens will be open for walkers to view and there will be mince pies and mulled wine for all to enjoy after their walk.

NB: Vision Care for Homeless People is very keen to hear from optometrists and dispensing opticians in the Midlands who have some time to support the charity with their professional time during 2014.

College publishes Media alert: Link between glaucoma and the contraceptive pill

November 2013

The College has alerted its members to a media story published in a variety of newspapers yesterday including The Metro, The Times, The Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Prof Shan Lin from the University of California has carried out research which claims that long-term contraceptive pill use doubles the chances of getting glaucoma. The results of the research are based on data that was collected between 2005 and 2008 on 3,406 women aged over 40 who had been using the contraceptive pill for three years or longer.

The MRHA has disputed the findings saying that a link with glaucoma has not been confirmed.

Whilst the College finds this interesting, it believes that more research is needed in this area.

Professor Bruce Evans to deliver keynote lecture at Fresh Eyes conference

November 2013

Professor Bruce Evans will deliver the keynote lecture at Fresh Eyes - the conference for newly qualified optometrists co-hosted by the College of Optometrists and the Association of Optometrists.

Professor Evans’ lecture ‘Communication in optometry – mind reading and time travel in the consulting room’ is part of a two-day event packed full of expert presentations, seminars, hands-on interactive sessions and exhibits – all focusing on the professional development needs of those at the start of a successful career in optometry.

Delegates at the event, which is taking place at York Racecourse on 16 and 17 March 2014, will also be able to attend a dedicated peer discussion session which will earn them peer review CET points.

Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “We know that the first couple of years in practice can be challenging, which is why we have designed a programme which offers a great mix of lectures, interactive sessions and peer review. The programme and social events will give our new professionals a valuable opportunity to learn from each other, network, and share their experiences of life in practice.”

Karen Sparrow, Head of Professional Development at the Association of Optometrists, added: “This is our second Fresh Eyes Conference and the enthusiastic feedback from last year’s delegates has allowed us to develop an even better programme for 2014. If newly-qualified optometrists book soon they can still take advantage of the early bird discount – don’t miss out!”

Bookings are now being taken at

OGS announce new imagery for Campaign

November 2013

OGS announce a new Christmas campaign with compeling imagery to increase their efforts for charitable contributions this year.

Practices are encouraged to get involved and use the imagery available to them.

Eye health network for GPs launched

November 2013

A new network for GPs with an interest in eye health has been launched as part of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) Clinical Priority for eye health, with a focus on ageing and sight loss.

The free network aims to bring together GPs from across the UK to raise the profile of eye health within general practice and improve the quality of care for patients with sight loss. It is the first network of its kind.

In November 2012 the RCGP selected eye health, with a focus on ageing and sight loss, as one of its four UK-wide clinical priorities from April 2013 to March 2016, following a successful bid by the UK Vision Strategy partnership. The GP Eye Health Network has been developed to support the delivery of the clinical priority programme and is jointly led by the RCGP and the UK Vision Strategy.

The network will encourage collaboration between GPs and will provide a forum for sharing best practice and innovative ways of managing patients with sight loss. It will also help to develop care pathways between GPs and other practitioners in the eye care sector.

Dr Waqaar Shah, RCGP clinical champion for eye health, who leads the programme, said: "The launch of the Eye Health Network is a great step towards helping GPs to gain a better understanding of eye health and sight loss. By working together and sharing best practice, we can help prevent avoidable sight loss within our ageing population.’’

UK Vision Strategy spokesperson, Katherine Raven, says the network will help to achieve the goals of the clinical priority project: ‘’We hope to build an active network of ‘eye health champions’ across the UK who will drive this programme forward at a local level. The network will be instrumental in raising awareness of eye health amongst GPs and will give them useful tools to enable them to detect sight loss in their elderly patients as well as supporting them in the management of patients with existing eye conditions.’’

Network members will receive regular bulletins containing news and signposting to useful resources, as well as invites to training and networking events.

Role for Primary Eye Care Emphasised at Europe-wide Forum on Men’s Health

November 2013

ECOO representative Mark Nevin features in a European Men’s Health Forum report on men’s access to primary care services across Europe.

The report, published this week, looks at the contributing factors that lead to poor health outcomes for men in the 27 member countries of the European Union. ECOO was invited to ensure that optometry and optics could input to improving the men’s health and in particular their eye health.

The report focuses on why men approach primary care providers so much later than women, and examines methods for engaging men in their own healthcare and building “male-friendly” systems that encourage them to do so. From their base in the community, opticians and optometrists are well positioned to make health interventions with men with a range of conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, that they might otherwise avoid visiting their doctor or pharmacist about.

Nevin presented at the original roundtable event in June on the rising levels of visual problems amongst both men and women across Europe, driven largely by the ageing population. He outlined that since men are living longer, more are experiencing age related eye problems, which have huge personal, economic and social costs. 50% of sight loss is preventable through early detection and treatment, and eliminating preventable sight loss would save €25 billion a year in the UK alone.

Nevin also noted that sight checks are a good opportunity to address broader health issues related to eye health such as smoking cessation, hypertension, and diabetes which is the leading cause of adult blindness. He said that to address the sight loss challenge we need to develop innovative pathways facilitating prompt access to care, and make primary eye care integral to healthcare systems across Europe.

Professor Ian Banks from the EMHF said ‘We need to dispel the myths about men’s health and every contact with them counts. All community providers have a role in improving men’s health, including optometrists and opticians and I am delighted that ECOO could participate in the debate.’

Mark Nevin, speaking on behalf of ECOO, said: “Optometry and optics are an invaluable community resource and key drivers for improving public health. We would like to thank the EMHF for the opportunity to attend the roundtable. Through our joint efforts, eye health is increasingly recognised as a major health challenge across Europe. Our role through ECOO is to ensure that we keep eye health high on the European agenda and to work with our colleagues across primary and secondary care to improve access to essential healthcare services.”

Optometrists and community care are key to relieving overstretched hospital eye clinics

November 2013

Following the launch of a new report from RNIB suggesting people are losing their sight because hospital eye units do not have enough capacity, the College of Optometrists is urging commissioners to improve community eye care and improve integration of community and hospital IT systems as other ways of addressing this issue.

The RNIB report Saving money, losing sight launched yesterday surveyed staff in hospital eye units across England. 80% of staff who responded said their clinic was unable to meet existing demand and 37% said patients sometimes lost their sight because their treatment was delayed by a lack of capacity.

Responding to the report, Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, President of the College of Optometrists highlighted the role optometrists can play in expanding capacity and improving the use of NHS resources. “The NHS is helping more people to combat eye disease than ever before. However, because we are discovering new treatments for what were once incurable conditions and our population is ageing, demand for NHS eye care is rising significantly. Smarter commissioning of eye care services using optometrists to treat more people in the community and dovetailing this with care provided in hospitals meets this demand effectively. Across the UK, community optometrists are already working with commissioners to reduce the number of people referred in to hospitals and to treat people close to home. This boosts capacity and lets hospital specialists focus on providing care to those that require the specialist skills of ophthalmologists”.

To improve capacity, quality and efficiency in eye care services, the College of Optometrists and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists have published joint guidance for commissioners of glaucoma services, a major cause of blindness. They will also shortly publish guidance to improve age-related macular generation, low vision and urgent eye care services. Implementing this guidance, which draws on the experience of most innovative services in the UK, will help commissioners of eye care meet rising demand.

Access to eye care services in the community varies significantly across England. For example, whereas all patients in Scotland and Wales can get urgent eye problems seen and treated by local optometrists who are funded to provide this service, patients in many parts of England have no option but to use hospital services or to pay for care which should be free at the point of delivery as well as accessible.

Better use of IT can significantly improve the efficiency and capacity of eye care services. In its report, Better data, better care, the College of Optometrists showed how integrating community optometry and hospital eye service IT systems has enabled optometrists to improve capacity and prevent sight loss by speeding up urgent referrals to hospital eye units, reducing unnecessary referrals and saving NHS money.

NHS England has launched Local Eye Health Networks across England to bring together NHS commissioners, ophthalmologists, optometrists and patient groups to commission better services. By working with these local experts, commissioners can understand the demand for eye health services in their area and how best to meet it.

OC publishes Optics at a Glance, its 32nd edition since FODO initiated its publication

November 2013

The Optical Confederation has published the 32nd annual edition of Optics at a Glance - the key source of information about optometry, opticians, the optical market and services available to patients in the UK - for the year ending 31 March 2012.

The statistics are drawn from:

• The annual survey of Optical Confederation members for the year to 31 March 2012
• Government data for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
• The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM), College of Optometrists and the General Optical Council (GOC)

Key Points – Government Statistics

• The number of NHS sight tests carried out in the UK in 2011-12 rose (by 3.4%) to 15.42 million (from 14.9 million in 2010-11)
• A comparison of national data sets indicates that there was a shortfall between the number of patients with a potential entitlement to NHS domiciliary eyecare and the actual number of patients receiving the service, as in previous years
• In Wales domiciliary testing increased 7.3% to 23,817 in 2011 – 12

Key Points – Optical Confederation Members Survey

• 63.5% of sight tests in the survey resulted in a changed or new prescription (62% in 2010-11)
• 11% of patients chose contact lenses (a considerable increase from 6% in 2010-11)
• 5% of patients were referred to a GP or hospital (an increase from 4% in 2010-11)
• The average charge to patients for a private sight test, excluding ‘no charge’, discounts and special offers, increased to £22.24 (from £21.67 in 2010-11)
• The average interval between sight tests increased to 27 months (from 26 months in 2010-11).
• 100% of optical practices stocked a range of spectacles within voucher values for children and 93% for adults
• The proportion of re-glazed spectacles increased slightly to 6.8% (from 6.5% in 2010-11)
• The annual contact lens care fee was £34.95 and the contact lens fitting fee £40.89. This was a new category in the survey and the figures had not previously been requested

Key Points – Contact lenses

• The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM) report that contact lens wearers remain at 9.0% of the adult population (aged 15-64) in 2012

Data sources:
• Health Survey for England, 2001
• General Ophthalmic Services: Workforce Statistics for England and Wales, 31 December 2006, The NHS Information Centre, Government Statistical Service 2007
• NHS National Services Scotland 2007
• Central Services Agency Northern Ireland 2007
• General Ophthalmic Services: Activity Statistics - England, year ending 31 March 2012, The NHS Information Centre, July 2012
• Ophthalmic Statistics for Wales, 2011 -2012, Welsh Government, May 2012
• ISD Scotland Report, General Ophthalmic Services Statistics, NHS Scotland, July 2012
• (HSC) Business Services Organisation, Northern Ireland
• Gateway Reference 18854 – Letter, Department of Health, March 2013
• Market Statistics for 2011, Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM), April 2012
• Community Care Statistics 2011-12: Social Services Activity Report, England, The NHS Information Centre, February 2013
• The College of Optometrists (Education Department)
• Annual Report 2011-12, General Optical Council
• General Ophthalmic Services: Workforce Statistics for England and Wales, 31 December 2011, The NHS Information Centre, March 2012
• Optical Confederation annual survey of members (data for the year 1 April 2011 – 31 March 2012).

News from The General Optical Council November meeting

November 2013

Business regulation

The GOC’s current system of business registration is set to change to a system based on restricted functions rather than protected titles. This will mean a level playing field, with all businesses being regulated in a proportionate and consistent way.

The proposals are subject to a change in legislation and are unlikely to be introduced before 2016/17. The GOC will now inform the UK Law Commissions and the Department of Health of its decision as they consider changes to the legislation underpinning all of the UK healthcare regulators’ powers.

The proposed changes would mean that rather than a business’ name dictating whether it has to be GOC-registered, all businesses carrying out restricted functions would be required to register.

Activities falling into this category include sight testing, contact lens fitting, supply of contact lenses and spectacle sales to the under 16s and registered blind or partially-sighted people. Council also decided to introduce a revised Code of Conduct for business registrants that is more aligned with the risks that can arise from business practices.

Samantha Peters, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, said: “These proposals will lead to a fairer and more consistent system of business regulation. By regulating businesses based on their functions rather than their name we can enhance public protection and give people confidence that optical businesses carrying out restricted activities are meeting our standards.”

Student regulation

The GOC recently consulted on potential changes to how optical students are regulated. After carefully considering the feedback received, Council decided to conduct more research into the potential impact and carry out further discussions before producing concrete proposals.

In particular the GOC will explore whether students in their pre-registration period should continue to be registered.

Council will make a final decision on student regulation at a future meeting.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Policy and Communications, said: “The proposals being considered would have a significant impact on optical education and training and it is important that we get this right. We are therefore allowing more time to explore issues raised in our consultation and to continue discussions with stakeholders.”

GOC sets fee for 2014/15 after three years of real-terms reductions

The General Optical Council (GOC) has set its registration fee for 2014/15 at £290 to ensure that it will continue to do an effective job of protecting and promoting the health and safety of the public.

The £30 increase follows three years of real-terms reductions in the fee. Over that period the fee for optometrists fell by 27.5 per cent in real terms and the fee for dispensing opticians by 16 per cent.

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley said, “We’ve done our utmost to keep fees down during these tough economic times for registrants and they remain lower in real terms than they were three years ago. However, our costs have naturally increased over that period and we could not fulfil our role effectively if we were to freeze our fee for another year.

“We would have had to increase the fee just to meet our existing costs; however, we also face new demands and expectations.

“We are ensuring a proactive approach to raising standards across the profession and meeting the needs of patients and the public. We will review our standards to ensure they reflect good practice and changes in optical care and this will require a sound evidence base. This focus on standards is very much in line with the findings of the Francis Inquiry.

“Like some of our fellow healthcare regulators, we have seen an increase in the volume and complexity of fitness to practise cases in recent years. Against this backdrop we need to work even harder to speed up the fitness to practise process in the interests of patients and registrants alike; this requires additional resources.

“We never like to see registrants enter the fitness to practise process but we must be able to take timely and effective action when a small minority place patients at risk or undermine confidence in the profession.

“It is vital that we have a thorough understanding of the public’s perspective and the changes in how optical care is being delivered in the four nations of the UK. A stronger programme of research and stakeholder engagement will ensure we keep pace with patient expectations and developments in the profession.

“We are also modernising our IT infrastructure so we can provide a good service for both registrants and the public.

“Next year’s fee increase is therefore essential if we are to continue to be an effective regulator acting in patients’ best interests.”

The fee for student registrants will increase from £20 to £25. This is the first increase since the GOC introduced student registration in 2005. The low income fee, for fully-qualified registrants earning under £12,000 per year, will increase from £160 to £190. The fee for bodies corporate will increase from £260 to £290.

Other news

Council approved new policies on freedom of information and data protection as part of its ongoing drive to improve information governance. Council also approved new guidance on Fitness to Practise Rule 16, on which it consulted earlier this year. The new policies are on the GOC website here.

Council formally congratulated member Liam Kite, who won the Lecturer Award 2013 at the annual AOP Awards.

Next meeting – Wednesday 12 February 2014 in London. Time and venue to be confirmed at a later date.

Glittering night on park lane beckons with Optrafair London

November 2013

A glittering night out on London’s Park Lane with la crème de la crème of UK optics beckons eight lucky online registrants* for Optrafair London, which runs from 11-13 April 2014.

The exclusive Hilton Hotel is to be the setting for The OPTICIAN Awards on Saturday 12th April – a celebrity hosted evening which promotes excellence in every aspect of UK optics from diagnostics to dispensing, optometric excellence to optical suppliers, lens advances to luxury eyewear. Held in conjunction with Optrafair London the event is the social highlight of the optical calendar. The black tie event includes celebrity entertainment, drinks, dinner and dancing.

The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians and OPTICIAN Journal have come together to stage Optrafair London in the heart of the world’s most exciting city and the highlight is set to be The OPTICIAN’s Awards night during the all-embracing optical show.

Already more than 105 companies from around the world are looking forward to promoting their goods at Olympia, close to Kensington High Street. The international PR and marketing campaign is targeting visitors and exhibitors from throughout Europe, Australasia, the Middle East, India and North America. Optrafair London is your opportunity to experience the very best in eyewear, design, technology and education from the heart of the capital.

Make sure you have the date in your diary to attend – hotel offers are available from or call +44 (0)845 0000 792, quoting OPTRAFAIR.

*Go to to register your free place today and you could win two tickets to the Optician Awards. All registered visitors by 31st December 2013 will be entered in to a prize draw to win one of 4 pairs of tickets on offer.

Contact lenses are serious business at Optrafair London

November 2013

Optrafair London will highlight the practice building business opportunities of contact lenses next April 11-13th at Olympia, with an abundance of inspiring ideas to engage with new wearers.

Read about the contact lens exhibitors signed up for next year’s show on our Optrafair page.

BCLA appoints new CEO

November 2013

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) announced today that Cheryl Donnelly has been appointed to the new role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cheryl DonnellyA qualified contact lens optician and former President of the BCLA, Cheryl joins the Association from Bausch + Lomb where she held the position of Director, Medical Affairs, Vision Care for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), providing the clinical lead for the region.

Cheryl joined the BCLA Council as Dispensing Section Chair in 1997, was elected BCLA President in 2000 and awarded BCLA Fellowship in 2007. With an interest in education, Cheryl was a Clinical Demonstrator at Aston University for the final year contact lens clinics, and was a part-time lecturer and course leader in Contact Lens Practice at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

In the newly created role of BCLA CEO, Cheryl will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the Association; she will also support the BCLA Council and staff in driving development, delivering on the Association’s investment and business plans, and increasing membership and conference delegate numbers.

BCLA President, Andy Yorke, said: “We are delighted that Cheryl has accepted the appointment of CEO and I am looking forward to working with her closely in the coming months. She joins the BCLA at a time of significant change and her in-depth knowledge of the contact lens market, both in the UK and overseas, will be of immense importance in continuing the many changes that are still planned across the next few years.”

Looking forward to her new role, Cheryl responded: “The BCLA has been a part of my professional life for more than 15 years, and I am thrilled to be stepping up to take the helm at such an exciting time in its development. Working with the Council and staff, and in support of the membership, I look forward to taking the organisation to the next level and building on the great work already undertaken.”

BCLA Secretary General, Vivien Freeman, who will retire at the end of the year, commented: “I am delighted to be leaving the BCLA in the very capable hands of Cheryl Donnelly, who has been a great supporter of the Association and its membership over many years. Under Cheryl’s stewardship, I have no doubt that the BCLA will continue to grow and thrive. She brings enormous enthusiasm to the new role and I wish her, the Association and its members all the very best for the future.”

Andy went on to add: “Vivien has played a major role in shaping the BCLA in the recent past, and I know the whole contact lens community will join me in wishing her a very happy and long retirement.”

Cheryl will officially begin her new role on 6 January 2014.

Opticians Flock to Rodenstock Workshops

November 2013

More than 80 independent opticians flocked to workshops organised by Rodenstock UK to give practices the skills to help increase their sales of near and intermediate vision spectacles.

The three workshops were held in North Yorkshire, the West Midlands and Kent and Rodenstock UK was delighted with the response from opticians. The Kent workshop had to be switched to a larger venue to cope with a high demand for places.

The workshops were organised as part of a Rodenstock UK promotion offering opticians 40% off its Ergo® Near Vision lenses, including glazing and remote edging, during October, November and December.

With more people spending increased amounts of time using computers and handheld devices, there has seen a huge growth in the use of ‘computer glasses’. Rodenstock UK has responded by strengthening its Ergo® range of lenses, and offers three design types to suit differing demands on vision at the near and reading zones.

Opticians who attended the workshops received a CET-approved presentation on ergonomics and near vision lenses and a presentation from Martin Gross, a professional trainer and coach for opticians. He looked at the common practice of how opticians usually only sell their customers one pair of spectacles even though their needs are higher.

The seminar showed how opticians can sell many more spectacles than ever before. Those attending took away a marketing pack to assist putting into practice all the skills acquired during the day, including a marketing contribution for advertising or open day supported by Rodenstock staff. The pack also contained a booklet on near vision lenses, quick sales guide, advice pull-out card, patient mailers, window sticker, product videos for in practice media displays, marketing templates, advertorial artwork for local press and promotional literature.

GOC welcomes RNIB Eyepod to promote awareness of sight loss

November 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today welcomed the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to its offices, where Council and staff visited the RNIB Eyepod to learn more about how sight-threatening conditions affect people’s lives.

The Eyepod is travelling across the country, urging councillors, residents and public health professionals to make eye health a priority in their decision making. Inside the futuristic pod participants can use viewers connected to giant eyes to experience how conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts can affect patients’ vision.

GOC Chair, Gareth Hadley, said: “The RNIB is doing fantastic work to raise awareness of the impact sight-threatening conditions can have, and the Eyepod is a great tool for achieving this. I’d like to thank them for the opportunity to put ourselves in the shoes of those whose daily lives are affected by these conditions. My Council colleagues and our staff all found it to be a fascinating experience.”

Clara Eaglen, RNIB Eye Health Campaigns Manager, said: "Although it looks like something from outer space, the pod has a serious message we hope will encourage people to make their eye health a priority. Too many people take their sight for granted, and treat sight loss as an inevitable consequence of ageing when it's not. In fact, up to 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided and there are things people can do to protect their vision. Eye checks at least every two years are essential."

For more information about the RNIB and the Eyepod, visit the RNIB website.

Ophthalmologist Supports Homeless Charity at Christmas

November 2013

The Crisis at Christmas team is boosted with news that consultant ophthalmologist Jan Van Der Hoek, from Scarborough, is joining in the efforts of optometrists and dispensing opticians in London.

Mr Van Der Hoek has supported Vision Care for Homeless People’s clinics as part of the Crisis team for the past three years and is urging others to join –
“I encourage other optometrists to take a day out and join us. It is extremely rewarding to provide clinical care at this critical time of the year and it opens your eyes to another aspect of life in London. This will be my fourth year of Crisis at Christmas. There is a great atmosphere amongst the volunteers and we do some good work. I didn’t realise how handicapped people can be without money and living on the street. Not having glasses – even for reading - is an added handicap, and one that we can resolve so easily.”

Vision Care for Homeless People provides the optometry and dispensing services for up to 250 people each year with clinics which run from 23-29 December.
Find out more about the charity by visiting or for volunteering details.

DVLA announcement delayed

November 2013

LOCSU has been informed by the DVLA that the announcement of the outcome of the procurement of the DVLA Vision Testing Contract has been delayed.

The DVLA have stated that a decision is unlikely to be announced before Monday, 18th November 2013.

Optical Confederation meet with Stephen Lloyd MP to discuss community screening programme

November 2013

The Optical Confederation met with Stephen Lloyd MP on 29 October to discuss eye health and sensory impairment. A key theme was the public health need for early identification of sight problems in children and for older people.

David Hewlett, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said: “We had an interesting discussion with Stephen about his campaigns on hearing loss and deafness, particularly to introduce a screening programme for the over 65s. He was also extremely supportive of what we were doing in eye health, fully recognising the wider sensory impairment agenda.

“The economic case for screening children starting school and for regular sight testing for adults is overwhelming. Fifty per cent of sight loss is preventable and we need to do far more as a country to reach at risk groups and ensure sight problems are prevented. The Optical Confederation very much welcomes the National Screening Committee’s recommendation that all school children should be screened at school entry and then referred to an optometrist or hospital eye service if necessary.

“Stephen has been hearing impaired from a young age, and also lost his sight for a period of six months during his twenties. With his unique insight, he will be an important ally of the eye health agenda.”

Students to design eyewear and matching accessories at 100% Optical

November 2013

100%Optical, claiming the first international annual optical show to be held at ExCeL London in February, 16 – 18, 2014, has forged a partnership with the world renowned Royal College of Art (RCA) to stage the all-new 100% Eyewear Design Competition. Launched in October 2013, the competition has attracted unprecedented interest from students and high profile support by industry. The finalists’ designs will be manufactured as prototypes and displayed in the ‘New Designers Gallery’ at ExCeL in February, with the ultimate winner being announced on the 100% Optical main stage.

The first stage of the ‘Face Furniture’ project concluded this week with the RCA confirming 65 students have submitted eyewear designs for the first round of the competition.

All of the student’s designs, including complete fashion ranges incorporating accessories as well as frames, will be presented on 19 November to a judging panel of industry experts including Jason Kirk, designer and founder of Kirk & Kirk, and key advisory judge; lead technical advisor and judge is Jesse Stevens, a designer for luxury sunglasses brands including Prada, Oliver Goldsmith and Cutler and Gross and RCA Fashion tutors Heather Holford and Flora McLean.
The eight finalists who most effectively fulfil the brief will be selected with four designs chosen from two categories - ‘high end luxury couture’ and ‘ready to wear’. Italian based company LAES has supported the competition by providing acetate sheets for the production of the final eight designs.

Flora McLean, Tutor in Fashion Footwear, Millinery and Accessories at the RCA said:

“The interest and enthusiasm for the project amongst the students has been exceptional. We were overwhelmed at the competition launch when students queued along corridors to attend! The brief is unique because it’s open to students in Fashion, as well as other programmes including Ceramics & Glass, Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery and Design Products. It’s exciting for students to have the opportunity to work on a project for the optical and fashion frames design sector.”

Flora McLean added: “Optical design is often overlooked in the fashion world, but eyewear on the runway can bring credibility, seriousness and completeness to a collection. This competition has presented the students with an intense and challenging opportunity to deal with a completely different scale of design. Another exciting element is the fact that several programmes are participating, encouraging students to collaborate from different design disciplines. Some of the students may be inspired to follow in the footsteps of RCA jewellery graduate Alyson Magee, who has had a successful career in eyewear design.”

Industry support for the competition will be further enhanced with Marie Wilkinson, Design Director of Cutler and Gross, Robert Morris, Founder of William Morris and Roger Pope, Optician to the Queen joining the judging panel. Roger Pope comments: “This competition will showcase up-and-coming British design and innovation. I’ll be representing the dispensing opticians’ view when judging the finalists and I look forward to seeing the results.”

‘Vision’ of the future

November 2013

The need to engage with digital solutions for business survival is something that we all hear about on a daily basis. But finding these solutions without disrupting business or incurring huge costs can be challenging in a market as specific as optics. Or can it?

Vi-See is the dedicated virtual glasses arm of the Kishino Group which delivers industry leading technology allowing retailers to extend their frames range to an unlimited amount and provides consumers the ability to try on any frames, at any time and on any device. The teams have extensive experience in creating simple, effective yet beautiful solutions that are intuitive and engaging for consumers to use.

The Vi-See platform is designed to work across all platforms and operating systems with simple and fast integration, allowing you to immediately extend you product range and very importantly, your customer reach. They can create bespoke designs or provide existing tablets or screen solutions, should you require these.

Richard Corps, Co-founder and Director says; ‘We have the ability to create photo realistic 3D models of your frames from either photographs or the actual frames. High volumes are not an issue as we can currently create over 150 per day, allowing us to drive down the costs to the industry.

‘Our highly experienced technical team can design a new look and feel for your virtual glasses site or blend it in to suit the current site aesthetics. If you have a technical team, we can supply a software package allowing them to quickly integrate the solution. Otherwise, our team will do the integration work for you.’

Vi-See work with a variety of brands, providing a virtual glasses solution that easily integrates into existing web, mobile or in-store software. This allows consumers to try on photo realistic frames wherever they are, increasing site & store traffic, engagement and sales.

Rodenstock wins German design award 2014

November 2013

Rodenstock, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lenses and frames, has won the German Design Award 2014. The Rodenstock Perfection R8005 frame wins the "Special Mention" award for exceptional design quality in the lifestyle category.

The German Design Award is the German Design Council’s premium international prize. The Council is one of the world’s leading competence centres for communication in the field of design.

A jury of 30 design experts from business, education and science as well as the design industry, selected the Rodenstock frame for the coveted prize from a total of 1,900 submissions. With this award, the German Design Council recognises work with an innovative design and technical refinement and acknowledges the outstanding dedication of companies and designers.

The R8005 frame comes from the Rodenstock Perfection category and is targeted at customers who demand top quality and the best vision.

With its innovative, screw-free hinge, the Perfection frame is like a piece of jewellery. Its immaculate look comes from a combination of premium materials and high-quality surfaces. The end pieces made of light-as-a-feather titanium guarantee a perfectly balanced fit.

Just like Rodenstock lenses, the Perfection frame is a blend of experience and innovation, exquisite materials and first-class functionality. Hence it completely embodies the Rodenstock brand promise: "See better. Look perfect."

The German Design Award will be presented to Rodenstock on 7 February during the Ambiente international consumer goods trade fair in Frankfurt. With more than 1,000 guests from politics, the economy, design and the press, the ceremony is one of the most important design events of the year.

Hoya Vision Care expands its direct presence in Romania

November 2013

Hoya Group's Vision Care Division, a key player in the global market for ophthalmic lenses, announces the start of Hoya Lens Romania.

Hoya started business activities in Romania in September 1999 via a local distributor.

In order to better service and develop the local optical market Hoya has decided to establish its own subsidiary in Romania. With its proximity to Hoya’s Rx lab Hoya Lens Manufacturing Hungary Mátészalka, Hoya sees great opportunities to expand business in the Romanian market and bring quality and service to a higher level than it is today.

Mr. Adrian Badiu, General Manager of Hoya Lens Romania, says: “We look forward to building upon the great success the Hoya brand has enjoyed in Romania over the past 14 years. We cherish close relationships with our customers, and are highly committed to enriching their practices with best-in-class lens materials, designs and surface treatments.”

Mr. Hans Werquin, CEO of Hoya Vision Care Europe, says: “The establishment of Hoya Lens Romania is an important step for Hoya in setting the basis for future growth within Romania and we look forward to expand our platform of high quality lenses and services.”

Heidelberg establishes UK glaucoma faculty

November 2013

Glaucoma is set to come into much greater focus with news that The Heidelberg Engineering UK Academy has established a National Glaucoma Faculty.

Dedicated to advancing research and education, it will serve as a reference point for all eye care professions who wish to share diagnostic information and learn more about the management of this increasingly prevalent condition. With 1:50 white Europeans over the age of 40 having chronic open angle glaucoma, the figure is set to rise by 30% by 2030, warns the diagnostic technology company*.

Advancing Research and Education in Glaucoma is the ethos of the new faculty which is set to benefit, with ongoing education and support, all those involved in glaucoma management. Moorfields’ Consultant Ophthalmologists, Nick Strouthidis and Professor Ted Garway-Heath, co-chair the faculty. Balwantray C. Chauhan, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada; Claude F. Burgoyne, M.D., Devers Eye Institute, Portland, USA; and Professor David Crabb, City University, London will join the chairmen at the inaugural event on 30 October at Tower 42, London.

Set to facilitate greater co-operation throughout the national glaucoma care community with master classes led by these eminent international figures, Krysten Williams, Heidelberg UK General Manager explained –

“The faculty is designed to engender close collaboration between like-minded professionals with an interest in education and the latest developments in the field. There will be opportunities to work at the cutting edge of developments in glaucoma imaging, diagnostics and therapy. Supporting all SPECTRALIS users, we will be providing support – images, articles and cases studies – for regional meetings.

“This national team of glaucoma specialists, supported with the resources to inspire research and transfer skills and knowledge, is our objective. It is envisaged the glaucoma specialists will help to promote innovative research in line with the Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership and to enhance education by either hosting or speaking at Academy events throughout the year. This is important considering the growing number of allied professionals in the community involved in the management of glaucoma.”

NB: Heidelberg has a range of marketing materials, verified by the International Glaucoma Association, entitled:

“One in two patients with advanced glaucoma don’t know they have the disease”.

Supplementing practice income at Optrafair London

November 2013

Optrafair London has the key to supplementing your practice income and driving patient loyalty with a host of new technologies and practice building ideas.
Eye health products – a reliable supplement to practice income and continuing business – are the major focus for several suppliers at next April’s show:

Optrafair London, Olympia 11-13 April.

Read more on our Optrafair London pages.

Optical suppliers to gather at FMO event

November 2013

The FMO’s AGM and annual luncheon in London on Friday 6 December is set to draw the largest gathering of optical suppliers from the frame, lens and technology sectors of the UK market.

Joined by the professional bodies, the annual event in London, is an opportunity to “renew friendships and celebrate the very best of optics”, said FMO Chairman, John Conway.

“It is wonderful that we can sit down together and celebrate with our competitors. Whether it is the table of frame companies, or of lens manufacturers, labs, or equipment companies – we have so much in common and so much to celebrate about the high calibre of UK optics, which is the envy of many parts of the world. The camaraderie that we share within The FMO is unparalleled,” he added.

To find out more about attending the luncheon, or joining The FMO and its specific Frame, Lens and Equipment focus groups, email

Top fundraising practice skydives to double previous total

October 2013

Leading fundraisers Santro + Peche Opticians reached new heights in their fundraising for this year’s World Sight Day Challenge, by organising and taking part in a charity skydive. Entitled ‘Flight for Sight’, the sponsored dive has so far raised £4,627 for Optometry Giving Sight – a mere £373 short of their ambitious target of £5,000. In 2010, Santro + Peche Opticians broke the record for the largest amount raised from a practice event through hosting a luxury raffle that generated £2,500. This year, the practice team rallied together a group of eight willing volunteers, consisting of friends, clients, colleagues and Shaf Mohamed – Director at Santro + Peche. Mr Mohamed explained their motivation for the adrenalin-pumping activity:

“For us, 2013 had to be bigger, better and raise even more. We wanted to come back with gusto and make sure that supporting eye care provision in developing countries was still at the forefront of our culture as a practice. Having been the highest fundraising practice in 2010, we knew we could go beyond our previous success if we were creative and ambitious enough with our idea.”

The dive took place on 22nd September at Sibson Airfield, where despite some pre-dive nerves, Mr. Mohamed described the event as “a great day to be part of”.

Mohamed enlisted the support of sponsors to cover the cost of the dive, with each diver pledging to raise £500. Sponsors included Nikon Optical UK; Santro + Peche Opticians, Chiswick; John de Carle Opticians, Mayfair; Maui Jim Sunglasses; Imran Hakim; Mr. Ali Mearza FRCOphth; Lindberg; The Corniche Group and i-G0 Optical - Overnight Vision Correction. Shaf expressed his gratitude to the sponsors for “their generous contribution to making the event possible”.

Georgina Woolfrey, marketing communications manager at Optometry Giving Sight, commented:
“Santro + Peche’s commitment and determination to make a difference is truly inspiring. They have once again set an ambitious target and pulled out all the stops to reach it, and we are so grateful to them and all the divers who took on this challenge to play their part in helping to eliminate avoidable blindness.”

A New Voice for Community Hearing Providers

October 2013

A new representative body for community hearing care providers across the UK, The National Community Hearing Association (NCHA), was officially launched today. NCHA members include all the major hearing companies, and a growing number of smaller providers, who between them deliver the majority of adult community hearing care services in the UK.

The NCHA aims to work with all partners in the health, social care and third sector to:

● Support the drive for “better hearing for all”.
● Put patients at the heart of how hearing care services are delivered – empowering individuals with information, support and choice.
● Provide an effective voice for community hearing care providers, so they can work in partnership and across specialities to deliver an integrated service for patients experiencing sensory impairment.

Changing demographics mean that hearing care services, which are predominantly accessed by people over 55 years of age, will become an increasingly important part of primary care provision in the UK. With hearing known to aid independence, physical and psychological well-being and social functioning (particularly in the ageing population [see notes]) hearing care in the community will be an integral part of any future NHS system that focuses on integrated services and a holistic approach to delivering care.

The NHS faces considerable challenges, but through effective collaboration, long-term planning and innovation in models of delivering services, members of the NCHA are committed to helping it deliver equitable, easily accessible and cost-effective care in the community. Through working together we can do more to increase public awareness on hearing loss prevention, care, and support.

The NCHA team have been busy in the run up to the official launch, and have already:

● Responded to important public consultations in England and Scotland with partners BSHAA.
● Provided members with support on information governance, VAT and AQP contracts.
● Held fringe events with colleagues in pharmacy and optics at the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour party conferences.
● Produced a suite of resources to support GPs, councillors and commissioners learn about and implement community hearing services in their area.

Mark Georgevic, NCHA Chair, said: “Hearing is fundamental to so many aspects of our lives, not least to independence, social inclusion and wellbeing in older age. Hearing impairment is not an illness, and community hearing providers are already improving the hearing of people across the UK. As a primary care service, hearing care has traditionally been overlooked and only available to paying patients. The introduction of NHS-funded community hearing services has the potential to change this and allow every adult affected by hearing loss to access care in the community, close to home, based on need and not ability to pay. We must now work together and give all patients access to this choice, increasing public awareness about the profound impact hearing loss can have on quality of life”.

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of NCHA and FODO, said: “There is a lot of work to be done in England where strategies for Vulnerable Older People and Primary Care are being developed, and also in Scotland where there is a welcome new focus at government level on sensory impairment. Only the community hearing service working with hospitals and the voluntary sector can meet that need. We bring a lot of experience of ensuring fair access for all to eye health services, and are very happy to put our shoulder to the wheel with partners to help bring similar benefits to hearing patients. There is also some tidying up to be done with AQP and IQIPS but the overriding priority is about meeting public health needs.”

The National Community Hearing Association (NCHA) represents community hearing providers in the UK. NCHA members are committed to good hearing for all and are responsible for the majority of adult community hearing care services in the UK with an excellent record of outcome, safety, and patient satisfaction.

To achieve economies of scale and share expertise, the NCHA operates as an autonomous and self-funding section of the Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO). The organisation is supported by the FODO staff under the FODO Chief Executive (as well as a dedicated policy manager) and governed by a Management Board, elected by the membership.

Image shows David Hewlett at the Labour party conference as NCHA Chief Executive speaking about the integration of primary care.

Others in the picture are:

• Chair: Jeremy Taylor, chief executive, National Voices
• Colin Campbell, , Professional Services Director for Hearcare, Specsavers & NCHA representative
• Rob Darracott, chief executive, Pharmacy Voice
• Jamie Reed MP, Shadow Health Minister of State for Health

100% Optical announces over 5,000 visitors already registered to attend excel in February 2014

October 2013

100% Optical’s industry-wide census has already generated over 5,000 registered visitors, set to attend the first international annual optical show to be held at ExCeL London in February, 16 – 18, 2014. The census, commissioned earlier this year by 100% Optical organisers, Media10, is said to have created the industry’s most comprehensive database of UK and international Opticians and Optometrists. 100% say it has revealed a significant demand among UK professionals for an international industry platform in London, along with a number of industry insights.

The independent Optical Census was conducted by telephone to Opticians and Optometrists, and was designed to enable 100% Optical to reach every active trade professional in the UK. Census respondent, Waqar Ahmed, Optician/Owner of Henry J Rose opticians in Hull and Halifax said: “I’m definitely going to 100% Optical. The problem with the Birmingham show is that they do not have any international eyewear companies like Silmo and Mido unlike 100% Optical which has international brands.”

Mr Ahmed has had both practices 3 years. He explained that multiple retailers are his main threat and that he hopes to stem their advance by spending more time with customers. He added: “It’s hard but I try to add more of a personal touch to dealing with customers. Something you don’t find at multiple chains. I like to spend more time with my customers.”

Media 10 has also ascertained from the census that there are 5,450 independent optician practices in the UK. Furthermore, over 58% of optical professionals spoken to were already aware of the 100% Optical event and were either owners or managerial level within the practice.

100% Optical Marketing Manager, Saul Leese said: “This survey has provided us with the vital insight necessary to deliver an exhibition and education programme that not only meets but also exceeds the needs and expectations of all sectors of the Optical industry both here in the UK and overseas. It’s vital that we deliver a show on a par with leading events in Europe and our research has given us valuable insight into what people want from a trade event.”

Common areas of concern among opticians is how to encourage parents to bring their children at an early age for an eye test. Over 9% of opticians voiced this as a concern. A further 13% of independent opticians also conveyed the need to create a more dynamic practice like their counterparts on the continent.

Media 10 has also revealed an impressive line up of leading UK and International Eyewear brands already committed to exhibiting at, 100% Optical. Brands include Marchon, Cutler and Gross, Lindberg, ic! Berlin, William Morris, Inspecs, Gottie Switzerland and many more.

Kerasoft IC Launched in Italy

October 2013

In a partnership between UltraVision CLPL, Bausch + Lomb and Sanalens, KeraSoft IC was launched in Italy at the ‘Congresso di Monopoli’ on 13th/14th October 2013.

Over 250 practitioners from all over Italy attended the conference which had a focus on specialty contact lenses. Lynn White MSc FCOptom, Clinical Director of UltraVision CLPL, and Dr. Lynette Johns, Clinical & Educational Consultant for Bausch + Lomb, presented a joint workshop with ‘live’ patient fittings throughout the weekend. Post-graft and RGP wearing patients were fitted with KeraSoft IC and the success created a lot of interest with practitioners placing trial set orders there and then.

Pictured are Dr. Lynette Johns from Bausch + Lomb (left) and Dr. Tim Albert from Sanalens (right).

Key Health Care MP makes a visit to the Opticians and OC gets a fellow MP to make a second visit

October 2013

Current Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, visits a local optical practice within his constituency and calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests.

Also a local MP Hugo Swire visited Brian Toye Opticians in Exmouth on Friday 11th October 2013 to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Read more on PHN’s Optical Confederation page.

Gordon Jones presents to FMO members the new 3 year apprenticeship course with optional Masters Piece Diploma as well as SMCTech

October 2013

After first telling the history of Livery Companies from the first being the Mercers to the latest being the Educators (the 109th) in recent weeks, Jones last year’s Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers Master explained to a packed audience of key players in the optical industry the importance that the WSMC regarded its training role. Indeed there are only two Nationally Approved Awarding Bodies in the UK, The Farriers and the WSMC.

40 companies have forms the Livery Companies Skills Council to assist and encourage government to provide funds for training. To this end they have been successful in gaining for the first time direct funding through the new body from the Department of Business Skills and Innovation (BIS).

WSMC is a very active member of the LCSC and has secured funds for a new pilot scheme for a three year apprenticeship in SMS Tech. The initial scheme will include modules for those technicians involved in surfacing and lens production and those in the glazing industry. However for the future this will not exclude other industry sectors such as those involved in frame production and repair.

All sectors are encouraged to put forward suggestions of possible worthy candidates who would like to be on such a 3 year course and were likely to stay its length. Candidates need only fulfil the bare essentials of education and can be new or old hands in the industry.

Over a 3 year period £16700 is available to the companies sponsoring such a candidate from which they would pay for reasonable but not excessive off the job training whilst they controlled their own “on the job” training.

As Jones said, we must make the most of this money this year and hopefully find between 5-7 candidates by the year end. A case of "Use it don’t Lose it".

You can view Gordon Jones’s PowerPoint presentation here.

FMO members receive highly informative information to improve business here and abroad

October 2013

In a busy day at the J & J centre in Crowthorne FMO members gathered for an open meeting in the morning followed by busy working sessions in their Focus Groups in the afternoon.

After first receivcing information on apprenticeship opportuinities from the WSMC (reported elsewhere on PHN) they then received a very interesting and most likely profitable lecture on exporting from the UK.

The lecturer from UKTI (UK Trade and Industry) explained the dual role provided that included the Dept of BIS, and the Foreign and Commonwelath Office. They had teams in 99 large trading markets of which 50% were locally engaged people within the different countries of the world.

Many companies in the UK are unaware of the opportuinities available and mainly free, often with grants available. These services were free because they are paid for out of corporation taxes so why not use them?

Many points were made during a well presented lecture not least the reasons to export. These were listed as:

1. Increased growth
2. Increased productivity
3. A way of pronlonging the life of a product
4. Reduce the pressure on just using the UK market
5. Stimulate product innovation
6. Develops skills and retain staff
7. Create new jobs

The UKTI can provide:

A free advice Network, Expert Services and Training. They also have an excellent website at

The audience then received a bullish and optimistic presentation on Optrafair London 2014 given by Trevor Goodman from Reed Business International, the co partners of the show along with the FMO. The current floor plan was displayed showing that 70% of space was already confirmed and booked. A further case study announced that 60% of practitioners wre aware of the show in April next year and 60% of those had given an indication that they would attend. It was also announced that the Optician Awards night would take place on the Saturday of the show at the Hilton Park Lane.

Goodman explained that RBI had ensured that all sectors of the press would be used to promote the show and that The Opticians involvement would not mean the exclusion of other media arms. He displayed the promotion that has already been seen in magazines and also online in your very own PHN.

There had been concerns about the event being held on the Marathon 2014 weekend but he assured the room that London could easily cope with both events as it had during the Olympics last year. Indeed it was likely that the weekend would be provided with the best ever transport links in London during the year. An FMO member also made the point that Vision Expo East is always run on the same weekend as the New York Marathon with no noticeable problems caused.

After networking over a buffet lunch members resumed in closed discussion in their respective Focus Groups.

October 2013

St Neots practice moves to a larger High Street location-

An on-going modernisation programme at Allders Opticians has led to the opening of a larger high street premises in St Neots, Cambridgeshire and major refurbishment of two other practices in Luton and Dunstable.

Allders Opticians, which has 11 practices across three counties, is investing heavily to create an optimum environment for consulting and customer service. The entire design, from materials to layout, represents premium quality eyecare. The company is owned by Rodenstock, one of the global leaders in premium quality lens and frame manufacturing.

Allders has relocated its practice in St Neots to a larger outlet in a more prominent High Street location. The new-look premises has enhanced consulting rooms, dispensing areas and upgraded high-tech equipment. There are sophisticated, glass-fronted display cabinets, generating desire and reflecting the premium quality products on display. The practice has plenty of room to attractively present frames and lenses, including Rodenstock and other fashionable brands, such as Porsche Design, Gucci and Ted Baker.

In addition to the investment in its 11 practices, Allders Opticians also developed a new website earlier this year, which provides visitors clear and up-to-date information on the full range of services offered, including lenses, frames, contact lenses, eye examinations plus news about special offers.

Ian Harrison, Project Manager for the modernisation, said the refurbishment programme would be completed within 2014, with practices in Biggleswade, Sandy and Flitwick also benefiting from extensive refits.

“It is important that as an independent group we differentiate Allders Opticians by offering customers a more personalised experience with a comprehensive spectacle and contact lens portfolio. By investing in our premises and our staff we are satisfying the needs of customers and building a secure business for the future,” he added.

October 2013

Being virtually blind since childhood meant that Newport man, Joseph Lewis, had little hope of ever being able to drive, but lens exchange surgery has changed his view of the world.

The 26 year old Lloyds Bank employee had vision of -20.00 dioptres in one eye and even worse, -24.00 dioptres in the other eye – putting him in the 0.02% of the UK population with such poor vision. On top of this, cataracts had formed in the last six months and started to cloud his vision even further –

“I was not far off being registered blind and only able to work because the bank has been so good in supporting me with software that magnifies what is on the computer screen so that I can work. I have always wanted to be able to drive but it seemed impossible, especially once the cataracts developed.”

Joseph would not have qualified for surgical intervention on the NHS until he was blind and so sought advice at Optimax in Newton Abbot.

“Some surgeons felt that I was too high risk to operate on but I knew that I would soon be completely blind if I did nothing. I have suffered depression due to how my vision affects my life and I thought I would never be able to drive, so I have always been very dependent on other people.”

Optimax surgeon, Mr Javad Moayedi, replaced Joseph’s natural lenses, and at the same time removed the cataracts. In the day surgery procedure his lenses were replaced with artificial AMO Tecnis toric lenses which are surgically implanted into Joseph’s eyes. Working much like the most advanced spectacle lens, correcting his shortsightedness and astigmatism, Joseph now has excellent distance vision –

“I just didn’t know how my vision would be after the surgery – before I couldn’t read a car number plate at 10metres, let alone 20metres, but now I can see far into the distance – it is incredible. I am now seeing the world in high definition. Good vision is a gift and I hope that I never take it for granted. My wife has noticed how much happier I am. Now I can see as far as the eye can see and spot things in the distance. I couldn’t believe how many stars there are in the night sky….and most importantly, I have just passed my driving test – only seven weeks after the surgery!”

Mr Moayedi, Consultant Ophthalmologist, commented:

"So many people, even now, don’t think they have a treatment option when they are unsuitable for laser eye surgery. The irony being people with these stronger prescriptions can get the greatest benefit of all with tried and tested techniques such as refractive lens exchange. As a surgeon it's a pleasure to see the real-world life changing results these techniques can create."

GOC Annual Report 2012-3 reports on year of progress

October 2013

The General Optical Council (GOC) has published its 2012-13 Annual Report, detailing its work and achievements from April 2012 to March 2013.

Highlights from the report include the roll out of the GOC’s enhanced Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme in January this year. This was recognised in the GOC’s annual performance review and held up as an example of good practice.

The report details achievements including cutting the time taken to reach Interim Order decisions and the launch of a new website to make it easier for registrants and the public to find information. The GOC also conducted a comprehensive stakeholder survey to inform development of its next strategic plan.

GOC chief executive and registrar Samantha Peters said: “In the last year we were able to introduce changes which will deliver real public protection benefits and we also had our work praised by the body which oversees our work, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

“For me, the undoubted highlight of the year was the introduction of our enhanced CET scheme. It is encouraging that over 5,500 optometrists and contact lens opticians have already taken part in peer review CET, helping us to encourage greater candour and openness in line with the recommendations of the Francis Inquiry.”

The GOC Annual Report is available online at

Time's running out for your CET reimbursement

October 2013

Depending on where you are claiming from, time is running out for set aside CET funds of £516 for CET undertaken during 2012.

In England and Wales you have less than 20 days left to get your claim in, the cut off point being 31st October 2013, whereas those in Scotland and Northern Ireland have till 29th and 30th November respectively.

The CET payments have risen by 2.6% over 2011 payments which were £503.

You can download your CET forms here:

English Claim Form
Welsh Claim Form
Scottish Claim Form
Northern Ireland Claim Form

BCLA to celebrate Best of British at 10th Pioneers Conference

October 2013

Members of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) will celebrate the ‘Best of British’ at the 10th Pioneers Conference, to be held on Wednesday 20 November at the Royal Society of Medicine, London.

“We’ll be celebrating all things British this year,” said Honorary Pioneers Conference Organiser, Nigel Burnett Hodd. “At least 25 per cent of pioneers who fitted contact lenses worldwide were either British or based in the UK – so I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate British expertise and our 10th anniversary by inviting solely British speakers.”

Full BCLA members are invited to attend the half-day event free of charge. The programme begins at 1pm with an introduction by Nigel Burnett Hodd and co-host, 10th BCLA Pioneers Lecturer, Professor James Wolffsohn.

Following this, a panel of experts – Nigel Burnett Hodd, Chris Kerr, Judith Morris, Richard Pearson, Tim Bowden, Andrew Gasson and David Newlove – will take a trip down memory lane in ‘Do you remember when?’, looking back over 60 years of contact lens history.

Dr Trusit Dave will then present, ‘More competition, better surgical options: how do we maintain and grow contact lens practice’. After tea and the exhibition, Douglas Anderson OBE, Founder and Vice President of Global Advocacy at Optos, will present: ‘Optos: a truly British machine’, explaining the background and unique functions of this now widely used optical instrument.

Next Dr Caroline Burnett Hodd will present, ‘What goes around comes around’, looking at contact lens design innovation through the ages. Turning to materials, Professor Brian Tighe will present, ‘What is the material difference? Contact lens interactions with the tear film’.

The programme will then turn to business matters, with a talk by Professor Phil Morgan entitled, ‘Where are the contact lenses going on the High Street?’ William Thomas will follow with ‘Manufacturing in the UK’, with Sarah Morgan concluding the afternoon programme with, ‘Teaching your staff to manage contact lens patients’.

Following refreshments and a chance to visit the exhibition, the evening programme will begin at 6.15pm with a Pioneers Update from Tim Bowden, sharing the achievements of contact lens pioneers who have passed away during the preceding year.

The hour-long Pioneers Lecture, open to members and one non-member guest each, will begin at 6.30pm. Professor James Wolffsohn will present ‘Evidence-basis for patient selection: how to predict success’, approved for one CET point for optometrists (CL and ocular examination) and contact lens opticians (ocular examination).

As always, there will be an industry exhibition, and this year’s sponsors are: Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, David Thomas Contact Lenses, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Optos, Sauflon, Topcon and UltraVision.

To register and download the 10th Pioneers Conference brochure go to

World Council of Optometry members unite for World Sight Day

October 2013

World Sight Day 2013 took place on 10th October.

It is once again uniting people globally in the effort to focus attention on blindness, vision impairment and rehabilitation of visually impaired people. World Council of Optometry (WCO) members and partners are holding events around the world in order to raise awareness of Uncorrected Refractive Errors in the knowledge that an eye examination is the first simple step towards diagnosis and treatment for many eye conditions.

The Trinidad & Tobago Optometrists Association featured the national premiere of Joseph Lovett’s 81 minute acclaimed film, inspired by his own agonizing battle with glaucoma, “Going Blind: Coming Out of the Dark About Vision Loss”. This was followed by a panel discussion between the audience and various community leaders caring for the sight of the people in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region.

In the city of Makati in the Philippines vision screening training programs (VSTP) were undertaken at 3 national high schools to help identify students with poor visual activity and refractive errors and free prescription glasses were dispensed to students from low income backgrounds.

Also, in the USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Norway and Italy, WCO members contributed to the success of World Sight Day Challenge, the fundraising initiative of Optometry Giving Sight (OGS).

WCO supports the World Health Organization (WHO) Action Plan on Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment which aims to encourage better integration of eye health into national health plans and health service delivery. The World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, and yet preventable causes are as high as 80% of the global visual impairment burden. 90% of blind people live in developing countries, and this needless waste costs individuals, families and communities billions of dollars every year. 42% of the global causes of visual impairment are due to Uncorrected Refractive Errors (UREs).

One of the five principles of the new World Health Organisation action plan for the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment focuses on universal access and equity. Its global target, the reduction in prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25% by 2019 from the baseline figures of 2010, will guide interventions to ensure quality eye health is accessible and affordable to all especially those most in need.

It is the hope that as a result of World Sight Day, the optometric community continue to work together in order to increase access to comprehensive eye care services around the globe.

Grafton announce i-fusion, an affordable solution for practitioners

October 2013

In the developing role of the optometrist engaged in enhanced services especially with IOP/Fields Repeat measures the need for efficient but affordable practice equipment is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury.

Although schemes are generally embedded in CCG areas allowing easy access across the locality with maximum uptake from practitioners who pass the accreditation process and adhere to the strict rules in referral rates it is likely that over time some practitioners will excel in skills and by virtue of higher equipment levels become regarded as centres of excellence and used for intra professional referrals and triaging.

A simple example might be in the need for corneal thickness measurements in a “Repeat Measures” service where it is important to recognise the influence on pressure readings given by thicker corneas.

Many schemes do not request that pachymetry is a necessary function but scheme organisers will be tempted to create centres of excellence where pachymetry is available in order to refine their referrals better and thus save more money on unnecessary or inappropriate referrals. Until now a pachymeter was an expensive item but Grafton have produced a number of affordable solutions.

The Grafton Pachmate (DGH55 Pachymeter) is now available for £1995 and provides accurate and reliable central corneal thickness measurements. IOP correctional values can be incorporated and up to 25 bilateral measurements can be stored and recalled.

Practitioners can now go one step further in what Grafton logically call i-fusion by using the i-cam non-mydriatic 45 degree colour fundus camera alongside the i-Vue Spectrum Domain OCT with the ability to measure pachymetry, calculate the corneal angle, nerve fibre and ganglion cell analysis for early detection of glaucoma and full analysis of the retina.

Visit Grafton's page

LOCSU produces annual report demonstrating a very successful year for its members

October 2013

In a year that has seen a growth in 20 new services as well as 2 successful AQP bids the LOCSU story makes exciting reading. The role LOCSU provides in encouragement for all LOCs is as vitally important as its background knowledge in dealing with CCGs, NHS England and the DOH.

Katrina Venerus (MD) also highlights the success of the LOC Company model which has been accepted by a number of CCGs as an “innovative commissioning model” making use of their limited resources.

The report also highlights the varying degree of success across the country in eye health pathways with still 7 LOC with no commissioning of a community eye service of any description. The failure in providing Low Vision Pathways is particularly alarming given the ageing population in the future.

LOCSU are to be congratulated on running a “tight ship” after a year that saw a 20% reduction of the levy they managed to achieve a surplus of funds of £236K (£240K better than last year) creating an improved balance sheet net asset and reserve of members funds of almost half a million pounds.

Click here for the full report

Following the recent launch of their new lens Hoya promote Hoyalux iD MyStyle V+

October 2013

To celebrate the launch of Hoyalux iD myStyle V+, Hoya are running a special promotion for VSE Loyalty Club members to get an additional 20 points every time they order Hoyalux iD MyStyle V+ or Hoyalux iD MyStyle lenses. The promotion will run from 1st October to 30th November and is already proving popular.

Hoyalux iD MyStyle V+ is the latest addition to Hoya’s iD family of lenses and takes the concept of individualisation to the next level. Hoya claims it is the first progressive lens in the world to treat the right and left prescription as individual components when calculating the required binocular lens design. What’s more, these lenses take into account all the variables specific to your patients, so whatever their lifestyle, prescription or frame choice, Hoyalux iD MyStyle V+ will offer crystal clear vision in a split second. Find out more at

To take part in the Hoya promotion practitioners need to be members of VSE Loyalty Club. Non-members can join at

Visit Hoya's page

Free education puts technology in spotlight at Optrafair London

October 2013

An unrivalled opportunity for hands-on trialling of the very latest in optical diagnostic technology is available for more than 500 people at Optrafair London in April.

Six leading suppliers of OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) and new clinical equipment are sponsoring fourteen CET-accredited workshop sessions at the Olympia venue during the three day event, which runs from 11-13 April. Read more about those companies providing OCT experiences on our Optrafair London pages.

Key figures released for SILMO 2013

October 2013

Silmo preserved its attractive position in the global trade fair calendar with 35,103 professionals in attendance this year. While visitor numbers from France remain stable, figures for Asia and North America are down slightly (the proximity of the IOFT and Vision Expo Las Vegas fairs was a factor here), an anecdotal fall compensated by the momentum in evidence in other parts of the world.

Key figures for Silmo 2013

47th edition
4 days
80,000 m2
950 exhibitors (including 132 new companies)
1,350 brands
35,103 visitors – 44% French / 56% international

Next show at Silmo 2014: 26 – 29 September

Full report on SILMO page on this site.

Hoya report on another successful Factory Tour

October 2013

Hoya hosted it largest and most popular factory tour to date at the end of September. Guests enjoyed an in depth factory tour, insightful CET lecture and a sneak preview of Hoyalux iD MyStyle V+ product launch; all enhanced with Hoya’s unique hospitality.

“Hoya was definitely nothing like previous factory tours I have been too. It was great to hear and see how enthusiastic and knowledgeable everyone involved seems to be and it definitely shows in the standard of work we receive” comments from a Hoya Factory Tour attendee.

To attend the next factory tour on December 16th, to request more information or book your place email

Irish Optometrists encourage regular tests to improve eye health

October 2013

Optometrists in Ireland have joined forces to highlight the need for regular eye tests to help reduce sight loss, alongside World Sight Day this Thursday (October 10th).

The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) and the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO) have come together in a ‘Healthy Eyes’ campaign to raise awareness of the importance of eye tests as a vital health check for everyone. Despite ongoing efforts of the Irish healthcare system, we continue to suffer from sight loss of which more than 50% is preventable. Research indicates that up to 75% of sight loss in older people can be avoided These conditions can only be prevented if they are detected early, and the key to that is a regular eye test.

There are currently over 220,000 people living with sight loss in Ireland and this is forecast to increase to 271,996 (2) by 2020, as the overall population ages.
Furthermore, given the growing incidence in key underlying causes of sight loss such as obesity and diabetes, this could represent an underestimate if Ireland does not take a comprehensive approach to early detection and treatment.

The Irish Government committed to the objectives of Vision 2020 almost ten years ago. This is a global collaborative initiative led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with the overarching objective of eliminating avoidable sight loss by 2020.

FODO Ireland Chairman Peter McGrath said, “Research shows that sight is the sense people fear losing the most and yet most don’t consider an eye test to be an integral part of their health routine. An eye test is a vital health check which can detect health conditions for which you may be experiencing no symptoms and allows early intervention to save sight.”

AOI Chief Executive Peter Coleman said, “Sight loss is on the increase in Ireland. World Sight Day is not just about developing countries. We have first class eye care services in Ireland. We need everyone in Ireland to take advantage of them. The Healthy Eyes campaign message is a simple one – everyone needs a regular eye test.”

International Vision Expo and BCLA sign agreement

October 2013

Vision Expo groupInternational Vision Expo & Conference and the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) announced on 2 October 2013, during Vision Expo West in Las Vegas, USA, that they have entered into a multi-year, content exchange agreement to create a two-day 'Global Contact Lens Forum'.

The new partnership follows months of conversations aimed at expanding and improving continuing education offerings at their respective conferences. The first programme will be available at International Vision Expo East in New York, from 26 to 27 March 2014, providing a forum for scientific content and business solutions for all eyecare providers. The BCLA will host the second forum in Birmingham, UK, in June 2014, during the 38th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition (6-9 June, ICC Birmingham, UK).

The agreement allows International Vision Expo to enhance its portfolio and further solidify its position as a world class content provider. Members of its Conference Advisory Board will have the opportunity to jointly develop innovative, scientific-based courses with a recognised industry leader who is committed to improving education on contact lenses and the anterior eye.

"We’re proud to collaborate with the BCLA on this entirely new stand-alone contact lens programme,” said Kirk Smick, Chairman of International Vision Expo’s Conference Advisory Board. “The BCLA is the most respected contact lens meeting on the globe and Vision Expo is leading the field in practice management trends and business strategies. It’s the perfect collision of science, education and business content.”

Vision expo shakeThe new partnership provides value for eyecare providers as well, as noted by Nick Rumney, BCLA Conference Programme Coordinator. “Successful practice is not about running a business against a clinical programme or a clinical programme to the detriment of a business. You need both to run well. We want to attract more eyecare practitioners to our meeting and, in order to do so, recognised that we needed to be able to teach them how to take their new knowledge and put it into practice. Vision Expo offers a model of excellence and its business solutions are an exact fit.

“It all has to do with building deliverable outcomes that benefit the practitioners attending and, ultimately, their patients," continued Nick. "Whatever you pick up at our conference can be put into practice the very next day. It feeds right back to the patient. This forum is based on that model and promises to be the global showcase for the best scientific and business content.”

Online registration for the Global Contact Lens Forum will open in conjunction with International Vision Expo East in late November. To learn more about International Vision Expo & Conference, visit

ABDO announces participation at Optrafair London

October 2013

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is to be a vital part of Optrafair London, which will be held 11-13 April 2014 at Olympia, near Kensington.

Seizing the opportunity to meet with its members and others within the optical profession, the Association will also play an active role in delivering CET as part of the show’s official agenda.

Commenting on the announcement Elaine Grisdale, ABDO’s head of professional services and international development, said “Optrafair London is an ideal platform for the Association to provide its members with an additional opportunity to acquire CET and to network with fellow professionals. We are currently liaising with Perspective – formerly Replay Learning - the show’s other CET provider, together with Optrafair London co-sponsor, Optician, regarding the special CET lecture that ABDO will host on each day of the show.”

Michael Potter, ABDO’s head of marketing and communications, said: “In addition to the ABDO CET provision, Optrafair London will be an important showcase for ABDO College and the College will have a stand in the exhibition hall.

“ABDO continues to work closely with the Optrafair organisers, the FMO. Earlier this year we had a very prominent and successful presence at Optrafair 2013 in Birmingham, which resulted in a significant increase in the number of dispensing opticians attending the event. ABDO is therefore delighted to be actively involved with Optrafair London and working cooperatively with its partners.”

Maui Jim announces International partnership with Optometry Giving Sight

October 2013

Maui Jim has announced that the company would be formally collaborating with Optometry Giving Sight through ongoing initiatives from 2014. The announcement was made at the company’s official dinner at Silmo.

“Giving back is a key value of Maui Jim, and we feel a strategic partnership with Optometry Giving Sight is the most effective way that we can support the development of sustainable eye and vision care programs in underserved communities,” said Martijn van Eerde, International Marketing Manager for Maui Jim. “We are very proud to be a part of this cause, and look forward to involving our customers in a range of exciting initiatives from next year.”

Maui Jim has previously supported Optometry Giving Sight with sport fundraising activities and participation in the World Sight Day Company Challenge in October. From 2014 Maui Jim plans to launch key initiatives to partner with Optometry Giving Sight in a new way across Europe, Middle East, Australia and Mexico.

“We’re very pleased to be formalising this partnership with Maui Jim, and excited at the opportunities to work together on a global scale to improve access to vision care for people in need,” said Donna Power, Regional Manager Europe for Optometry Giving Sight. “Eye wear companies have an important role to play in global efforts to provide universal eye health and can not only provide support in their own right, but through direct engagement with their customers. It's a win-win situation”.

Pictured: Hans-Jürgen Penzek, Vice President Europe of Maui Jim and Donna Power, Regional Manager Europe of Optometry Giving Sight.

Last call for entries to the Rodenstock club awards

October 2013

Independent opticians across the UK still have time to enter the 2013 Rodenstock Club Awards, which rewards practices for their loyalty and support. The winners of the eight award categories, together with the Centre of Excellence winners, will enjoy a trip to the home of Mozart? in March, where they will have time to have some fun in the snow.

Practices will compete in a number of product specific categories, including Impression lenses, ColorMatic IQ lenses, Wimbledon eyewear, luxury brand eyewear and Rodenstock eyewear. Excellence in marketing is also recognised.

Dietmar Rathbauer, Managing Director of Rodenstock UK, said: “We are looking forward once again to rewarding our loyal customers and thanking them for their continued support. We are always keen to attract new customers and there are many benefits available to independent practices who work with us. “They will have access to the best products at highly competitive prices, and enjoy a comprehensive range of sales and marketing support.”

The competition runs until 30 November. The winning practices will be announced at a luncheon and awards ceremony at The Four Seasons Park Lane on Thursday 12 December 2013.

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

LOCSU reminds us about NOC 2013

October 2013

Don’t forget to book your place for the National Optical Conference which takes place on 7th and 8th November 2013. Spaces are going fast for this year’s event focused on the ‘new NHS – six months in’ and speakers confirmed include:

• Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England
• Dr Waqaar Shah, the Royal College of General Practitioners Eye Health representative
• Professor Harminder Dua, President at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Chair of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning

As well as the chance to hear from expert speakers, there is also the opportunity to participate in smaller parallel sessions on topics ranging from lessons learnt from early implementers of the LOC Company model to quick fire clinical audit. Delegates will also be able to attend regional networking groups to discuss some of the issues that most affect them.

As in previous years, every LOC gets one free delegate place at the NOC funded by LOCSU, and we have recently written to LOCs who have not yet booked their free place to remind them of this. All LOCs are encouraged to send as many delegates as possible to the conference so that an increasing number of people working in the sector benefit from the only event in the optical calendar focused on community eye health.

Delegates will be able to celebrate the success of colleagues across the sector at the AOP awards (black tie dinner) which is held on Thursday 7th November.

NOC 2013 is sponsored this year by Moorfields Pharmaceuticals and Topcon.

For more details of the programme and how to book please visit and click on the NOC advertisement on the home page.

Christmas support sought by homeless charity

October 2013

Vision Care for Homeless People, working in conjunction with Crisis at Christmas, is stepping up its service this December with a mission to provide more eye examinations and glasses in the capital this year. Volunteers are eagerly sought to support the growing number of dispossessed people in the capital.
Vision Care for Homeless People provides the optometry and dispensing services for up to 250 people each year during the festive period. Shaneela Chana, Service Organiser, is urging more optometrists and dispensing opticians to give up some of their free time to volunteer for the service, which will run from 23-29 December.

“This is very worthwhile work, at a time when many people need support. Just a few hours of volunteering can make a tremendous difference to other people’s lives,” she said.

Find out more about the charity by visiting or for volunteering details.

CQC given greater powers

October 2013

The Care Quality Commission is to be given greater independence so it can act fearlessly as the nation’s chief whistleblower on health.

The health regulator, the Care Quality Commission, is to be given greater independence to ensure it can act fearlessly as the nation’s chief whistleblower on health, Jeremy Hunt Health Secretary announced today.

Under the proposals, the Health Secretary will relinquish a range of powers to intervene in the operational decisions of the CQC. This means that the CQC will no longer need to ask for Secretary of State approval to carry out an investigation into a hospital or care home. It will also remove the Secretary of State’s power to direct CQC on the content of its annual report.

In addition, the newly created positions of Chief Inspector of Hospitals, General Practice and Adult Social Care, will be enshrined in law. This will place the positions on a permanent footing and ensure that individuals who are appointed to the roles are able to speak up for patients without fear of political interference.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The Chief Inspector must be the nation’s whistleblower in chief. We will legislate in the Care Bill to give the CQC statutory independence, rather like the Bank of England has over interest rates. The welfare of patients is too important for political meddling and our new legislation will make sure Ministers always put patients first.”

The government proposes to make these amendments to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 that established CQC, via the Care Bill, as it passes through the House of Lords in October.

Under the proposals, the House of Lords will consider whether to amend the Health and Social Care Act 2008, to remove the Secretary of State’s powers to dictate which organisations the CQC should inspect, how it should carry out inspections and how it will write up its findings in a report.

The government also proposes to insert the posts of Chief Inspectors of Hospitals, Adult Social Care and General Practice into the Act.

Professor Sir Mike Richards was appointed as Chief Inspector of Hospitals in May, Andrea Sutcliffe was appointed as Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in July and Professor Steve Field was appointed as Chief Inspector of General Practice in August.

They will lead CQC’s inspections and regulate providers of health or social care services across the public, private and independent sectors. It is also their job to ensure those services are safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and that they are well led.

Latest Update on DVLA Submission

October 2013

LOCSU, with the support of Optometry Scotland and Optometry Wales, has now submitted a revised bid for the Provision of Vision Testing Services for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The bid was submitted before the deadline (of 9am on 30 September 2013) and has been acknowledged.

LOCSU said, "We understand that it is now the DVLA’s intention to announce the successful bidder w/c 28 October and we will update contractors as soon as there is any news."

PM pushes for 8 till 8- 7 days a week Primary Care at GPs

October 2013

Hard working people will be able to see their GP seven days a week and out of office hours under new proposals set out by the Prime Minister for a first wave of GP groups offering extended opening hours across the country.

The move will make it easier for people see their family doctor from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. It will help thousands who struggle to find GP appointments that fit in with their family and work life.

Innovative practices will be able to apply to a new £50m Challenge Fund to set up a pioneer programme. Pioneers will be established in every region of the country – nine in total – which together are expected to cover up to half a million patients.

Ministers want to use the pilots as the first step to rolling the scheme out across the country and encouraging hundreds more GP practices to sign up. As well as seven day a week access and evening opening hours, these new pioneer GP groups will also test a variety of forward-thinking services to suit modern lifestyles, including greater use of Skype, email and phone consultations for those who would find it easier.

This first wave of pioneers will form part of a wider plan to strengthen out-of-hospital NHS care, and make it easier for practices to join up with each other, as well as other services provided in the community. Based on the success of the first wave, other groups will be encouraged and enabled to open their doors at the evenings and weekends.

The first wave will open during 2014/15, and include services such as: Access 8am-8pm, and on Saturday and Sunday. Flexible access including email, Skype and phone consultations for those who might prefer it to face-to-face, when it is safe to do so, electronic prescriptions and online booking of appointments.

There will also be easier, on-line registration and choice of practice, joining-up of urgent care and out-of-hours care to ensure rapid walk-in access to care, and greater flexibility about how people access general practice, for instance with the option to visit a number of GP surgery sites in their area.

Better access to ‘telecare’ to help sick people stay comfortable at home, as well as to healthy living apps will also be provided.

The aim is for as many people as possible to benefit from extended access, as rapidly as possible, with the pilots leading the way for others to follow.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “Millions of people find it hard to get an appointment to see their GP at a time that fits in with their work and family life. We want to support GPs to modernise their services so they can see patients from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week."

“We also want greater flexibility, so people can speak to their family doctor on the phone, send them an email or even speak to them on Skype.”

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: “We live in a 24/7 society, and we need GPs to find new ways of working so they can offer appointments at times that suit hard-working people. Cutting-edge GP practices here in Manchester are leading the way, and we want many more patients across the country to benefit.”

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector for General Practice, said: “This move towards seven day services is great news for patients, and should be embraced by GPs. I want to see brilliant access to GP services for patients across the country, and will be assessing this in each practice I inspect. ”

Dr Charles Alessi, Chair of the National Association of Primary Care, said:“This has the potential to be the most exciting development in primary care in the last decade. It is an opportunity for doctors to be the good family doctors they want to be while working with everyone in the system to deliver better care for everyone, especially those most in need.”

Mike Dixon, Chair of the NHS Alliance, said:“GPs want to do their best for patients and will welcome the opportunities offered by these pilots. Many have innovative ideas on how to deliver better and more convenient services and are already developing them for their patients. These programmes will provide the support and resources they need to make this a reality across the country.”

The extended hours approach is already being successfully piloted in six GP practices in Manchester, where groups of GPs are coming together to offer evening and weekend GP access as part of a six-month trial to crack down on needless A&E visits.

NHS England will work with a wide range of organisations and an external reference group to identify innovative GP groups who will lead the development of this cutting-edge offer for patients.

A £50m Challenge fund will be opened to applications from practices who want to take on this innovative new model to deliver more joined-up GP services. The Fund will be run as a competition, where the best practices will be encouraged to submit innovative applications. More detail on the process for selecting and supporting these sites and practices will be set out later in December, with the first pioneers up and running from April 2014. Initial results will be reviewed at a high-level summit next summer to determine what has worked well for patients, and how good practice can be shared across the rest of the country.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has already announced plans to improve primary care. Last month he set plans for a named clinician for older people, who will provide more proactive care for the growing numbers of older patients with complicated health needs and help ease pressures on A&E. This latest development will combine better access and better care for older people, and will draw on work developed by the King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust on new models of general practice.

Ed’s Note: Once again Optometry access seems to be leading the way over the last few years with many practices now providing 7 day week opening and NHS testing on Sundays catering for the needs of a new type of hard working society.

Driving ambition realised for near blind Newport man

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