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Optical News - July - September 2014

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.

OCUCO Acquire CC Systems

Party Conference Urged to Look Beyond General Practice

Nick Astbury, VISION 2020 Chair, Steps Down

B&L Makes Major Commitment to Optrafair

Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning Responds to Call to Action

College Responds to Call to Action

Commissioners Urged to Make Radical Changes in Sector Response to Call to Action

Vision 2020 UK's Learning Disability Group Lend Support to NEHW

BCLA Announces Move to Biennial Clinical Conference and Exhibition

FMO Confirms 64% Space Booked for Optrafaor 2015

PHN publishes generic leaflet on community services and the importance of regular eye care

Optrafair 2015 Launched

Rodenstock Offers Free Workshops

100% Proclaims Bold Vision for 2015 Event

SILMO D'Or Nominees

Vision 2020 Response to Call to Action

New College CET Events to Use Voting Pad Technology

New Moot in Aston

The Loyalty Effect - Putting the Customer at the Heart of your Practice

Norville Opticians Becomes Eye Care Partner to Gloucester Rugby

Next WCSM Moot event announced for October 30th

Retiring Master arranges social weekend to remember in S Leicestershire

Optical Confederation produces guidance on providing care to patients who come from another EEA Member State

GOC Reminds Students of Dangers of not Maintaining Registration

Optrafair 2015 Announces Topcon Sponsorship

List Your Brands and Specialities for Free on Mylocaloptician!

Team Ocuco and Optoms Cycling for Sight

5 Marathons in 3 Months!

Mondottica announces the appointment of Monica Dal Cin

College Calls for Poster Presentations

Optoms Cycling for Sight - Tour of Yorkshire

First Rate Feedback for College Scheme for Registration

Optical Confederation Appoints New Chairman

Lecture on Migraine and the Role of the Optometrist to Open Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize

Vision 2020 UK Respond to Care Act Consultation

BCLA Clinical Conference Submissionns Open as New Category Announced

Optometry Tomorrow 2015 Tickets on Sale

OGS Supporter Raises Over £2,000

LOCSU/OC on Performer Concerns

OC Posts Dim View on NHS Mail Accounts

More Benefits and Great Value from College

Obituary - Philip Cookson

Practitioners Slow in Claiming CET Grant

Elizabeth Taylor Joins Heidelberg

AIO Annual Conference

Vision 2020 To Promote LV Equipment for Children

LOCSU Publishes Strategic Plan

BCLA President to Discuss Contact Lenses and Young People

BCLA Welcomes GOC's Illegal Practice Strategy

College of Optometrists to Remember World War One

CLAE Impact Factor Rises Again

GOC To Host Consultation Event

WCO Announces New Membership Categories

Astronauts Report on Structural Changes to Eyes

OC Safeguarding and Prevent Guidance

SILMO Ready to Roll

GOC Issues Call for Evidence

PHN Commits to Another Big Week for NEHW

Braemar Finance to Complete in 2014 Vet Charity Challenge

College Journal Now Ranked 13th in World

SILMO Adds Show in Istanbul

Latest OSCE results announced by the College of Optometrists

London 2014 Education Destination Therapeutics Seminar

Google Eyes up Alcon to Develop Smart Contact Lenses

LOCSU Reminds Delegates of NOC

PHN Publishes SILMO 2014 Preview Page

GOC News

SILMO 2014 Announce Symposium Details

BCLA Welcomes New Medical Representative

Optrafair Action Group Plans Outstanding Show

Topcon Educational Symposium to be Launched

Domiciliary Eye Care Code of Practice Updated

AMD Under Spotlight at College Event

European Academy of Optometry and Optics Invites Workshop Proposals

Spectacle Makers Visit Hampton Court

100% Optical is Biggest UK Optical Event in 2014

PHN Confirmed as Media Partners for 100% Optical 2015

Legacies Encouraged for UK Optical Charities

Summer Spectralis Connect Offer to Pay Dividend

Shamir Announces Opportunities to Win Top Prizes

Vision 2020 Appoint New Trustees

Shamir Celebrates 10 Millionth Customer

Government Imposes 1% Increase for GOS but Raises Grants by 2.5%

Cooper Companies to Acquire Sauflon

Maui Jim Hosts Tennis Experience for OGS

Lone Working Guidance

Villiers Visits Visioncare

CrossEyes Launches in UK

Scandinavian Themed Midsummer Press Event

Biotrue Oneday Presbyopia Rolls Out to Independents

Global Contact Lens Forum Goes Beyond CET

Grafton Evaluates New Diabetic Marker Device

Swiss Eyewear Group Select Zed_Comm for PR

UK Vision Strategy Announce New Team

Wimbledon Hospitality Smash Hit for Rodenstock Customers

Grafton Announce Massive Summer Sale on Equipment

Mercy Jeyasingham MBE joins VISION 2020 UK as CEO

Ogi Eyewear names John Nides as Scojo New York Vice President of North American Sales

Norwegain Practitioners - Experts on Changing Lives

More MPs Visit Practices

LOCSU Urges Strong Local Response to Call to Action

FMO to Launch Optrafair 2015 at September Meeting

OCUCO Opens New Office in China

Ocuco Acquires CC Systems

September 2014

Ocuco, provider of the Innovations Lab Management System (LMS) has acquired Florida and Toronto based CC Systems which provides the Labzilla LMS. This brings total staff in Ocuco to 175 across its retail and lab divisions, with the lab division forming the largest lab software company in the world, with 45 staff and an estimated 2,750 labs supported in 50 countries.

CC System’s Labzilla and Ocuco’s Innovations businesses will be merged into Ocuco’s Lab Division under the business leadership of Stephen Cohen and the technical leadership of 2013 OLA Hall of Famer Robert Shanbaum.

CC Systems has become a leading distributor of private label freeform lenses in addition to its LMS business. Its recent rapid growth has been driven by the explosion of freeform onto the marketplace and its unparalleled expertise in freeform digital lens manufacturing and LDS integration.

Both Innovations and Labzilla integrate with all major freeform LDSs including IOT, Innovations Digital, Seiko, Shamir, Signet, Essilor, Thin Tech, Optovision, Carl Zeiss Vision, Crossbows, VSP, Scopus and Hoya.

Stephen Cohen said: “This gives us global reach and the ability to compete for business in all types of lab - from small to large, and wholesale to vertically integrated labs.”

Robert Shanbaum said “Besides a much larger support team, one benefit of the acquisition for our customers will be that it will help us accelerate development of Ocuco-CC Systems next generation LMS which will reflect the expertise of both companies.”

Leo Mac Canna, Ocuco CEO, said: “With over 175 staff in 10 countries, this brings us closer to our vision of creating an independent software company of scale to service the optical sector.”

Party conferences to hear call to look beyond general practice at the whole of primary care when considering alternatives to hospital care

September 2014

The NHS is much more than GPs and hospitals, says a coalition of primary care organisations representing 100,000 healthcare professionals working in over 30,000 community premises.

Every day millions of people visit dentists, opticians, audiologists and pharmacies for treatment and advice on how to keep healthy. Utilising the skills, workforce and accessible locations of these community health professionals effectively holds the key to transforming primary care and public health outcomes in the UK.

This is the message the British Dental Association, National Community Hearing Association, Optical Confederation and Pharmacy Voice have joined together to promote at this year’s party conferences. The four primary care organisations are calling on the next Government to work with them to make the vision a reality through better commissioning of services to meet the needs of local populations.

Dr Mick Armstrong, Chair of the Principle Executive Committee of the British Dental Association, said: “Every year, 25,000 children, in England alone, are put under general anaesthetic to have decayed teeth removed. The development of appropriate contractual arrangements that focus on, and incentivise, prevention is an essential step to reducing this expensive and traumatic incidence of dental decay. A bold approach to reducing sugar consumption as well as the introduction of water fluoridation is a cost-effective and evidence-based approach to averting tooth decay in the most disadvantaged.”

Mark Georgevic, National Community Hearing Association Chairman, said: “At long last the government has recognised that hearing loss has a real impact on older people’s mental wellbeing and that it can lead to loneliness. Communication is what makes us human; it is what makes us feel safe, secure and part of the world. Hearing care enables people to take a full part in their community, social networks and family life. We have known for many years that care closer to home is a major benefit for people with hearing loss. The NHS has made great progress in recent years and we want to build on that”

Don Grocott, Optical Confederation chair, said: “This is a critical time for primary care. Need is growing with more long term conditions and an ageing population so that some GP services are collapsing under the pressure. We need a new dispensation for the whole of primary care so that we can all work together to keep people well in their communities.”

Rob Darracott, Chief Executive of Pharmacy Voice, said: “An ageing population, increasing levels of obesity and an associated increase in diabetes are creating huge pressures on NHS services against a background of huge funding gaps. The whole primary care team can assist in managing the increased demand felt by general practice and the acute care sector. Common ailments, including coughs and colds account for 51.4 million GP consultations annually, equate to nearly a fifth of a GP’s total workload, and the vast majority of these could be effectively treated in community pharmacy. The commonest form of treatment in the NHS is medicines, but we are not maximising the value of interventions designed to support the 50% of patients who don’t take those medicines to better effect. We need to find better ways of joining up the system at a local and national level to deliver better care for patients and tackle health inequalities. “

VISION 2020 UK Chair Nick Astbury steps down

September 2014

Nick Astbury concluded his time as chair of VISION 2020 UK, following the organisation’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, 23rd September 2014. Mr Astbury announced in May that he was stepping down after six years as chair, to focus on his international work.

"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve as Chair of the VISION 2020 UK Board for the last 6 years. After two thoroughly enjoyable, productive terms, I have decided to step down to dedicate more time to my international work, including the VISION 2020 LINKS programme and the clinical fellowship programme for the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

VISION 2020 UK has overseen excellent collaboration within the eye health and sight loss sector, and I'm proud of all our achievements. I am confident that the next Chair can build on the strengths of VISION 2020 UK, and I look forward to following the progress of the organisation as it continues to grow in stature and unite us all with one voice" said Nick.

Mercy Jeyasingham, VISION 2020 UK CEO said: “Throughout my short time at VISION 2020 UK, I have seen what a significant contribution Nick has made to VISION 2020 UK. His dedication, expertise and enthusiasm as Chair will be sorely missed. We wish Nick all the best for the future, and are delighted that he will continue to remain involved in the organisation through our international work. Nick has played a huge role in developing VISION 2020 UK to the ambitious, forward-thinking organisation that it is today, and I would like to thank him on behalf of the board of Trustees, staff and member organisations.”

Following his final board and Annual General Meeting as Chair, Nick was presented with the inaugural VISION 2020 UK excellence award, for exceptional work and collaboration with and for the members of VISION 2020 UK. The Astbury Award will be presented on a yearly basis to an individual from a VISION 2020 UK member organisation.

Bausch + Lomb makes major commitment to Optrafair

September 2014

Contact lens and eye care giant, Bausch + Lomb, is to have a major presence at Optrafair 2015, confirming its commitment to support UK eye healthcare professionals.

Bausch + Lomb is looking forward to next April’s show, where it will promote new developments in both contact lenses and eye care products. Due to previous success at the show the company is delighted to secure a significant stand at the event.

“Optrafair is proven to be a good way to connect with our customers and to launch new products. It is a well-attended show and we look forward to seeing Dispensing Opticians, Contact Lens Practitioners, and Optometrists, not just from the Midlands but also from further afield. The excellent location and transport links to The NEC make it very easy to reach,” said Tom Bailey, Bausch + Lomb Sales and Clinical Training Manager.

“We have a very exciting product pipeline with developments to address the fact that the contact lens market has great potential to grow. There is a huge opportunity to dispense contact lenses to the presbyopic market with our new lens technologies; our nutritional product Ocuvite is winning favour and the Eye-ssential mask are all important opportunities for additional sales and building loyalty to the practice. Optrafair is the time to come and find out more,” he added.

Supporting the UK optical market, Bausch + Lomb is keen to work with practices to help them to grow their contact lens business through tailored clinical training, sales support literature and a diverse range of marketing tools. The strategy is to ensure that all levels of the practice team have the right level of knowledge to tailor products to patients’ individual needs.

Dry Eye care is also an aspect of professional care which Bausch + Lomb is keen to promote -

“We are a leader in the field of treating Dry Eye: we know that the management of this condition is always best handled by the optical profession and we have the products and training to facilitate this,” added Tom.

Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning responds to ‘A Call to Action’

September 2014

The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning has submitted its response to NHS England’s Improving eye health and reducing sight loss, a ‘Call to Action’. The response sets out recommendations from the eye health sector, including patient organisations, about what needs to be done to ensure that future services are provided in a way that best serves patients’ needs.

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

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

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

The Council's response is as follows:

In the face of significant challenges, such as an ageing population with complex conditions and financial constraints, the Clinical Council identified five main issues that would, if addressed, make a major difference to the delivery of eye health services to patients:

• improve IT links across all sites where eye care is delivered and the wider NHS and primary care to facilitate efficient and secure communication and sharing of patient information

• address capacity issues in the pathway to save patients from unnecessary blindness and vision impairment

• maximise the use of the skills in the eye care pathway by ensuring that patients are treated in the appropriate place by the appropriate professional at the appropriate time, whether in the community or in the hospital

• restructuring of hospital and community delivery of services should ensure reduction in procurement and delivery costs whilst preserving quality. Savings should be reinvested in clinical care
• improve communication and relationships between the multiple professions through better commissioning to achieve a more integrated eye care pathway and better patient care.

The Chair of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning, Professor Harminder Dua said: “The Council is delighted to have had the opportunity to set out the collective view of the eye health sector about how to provide eye health services that best serve the needs of patients. We look forward to working closely with NHS England to ensure that our recommendations become a reality.”
The Vice Chair of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning, Dr Kamlesh Chauhan, welcomed opportunity for eye health professionals to work collaboratively to maximise the use of available resources and ensure high quality care for patients in the most appropriate setting for their individual needs. “This is a unique and rare opportunity for us to make a real difference to eye health in England”, he said.

UK Vision Strategy releases statement in support of the response of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning to NHS England's Call to Action

Fazilet Hadi, UK Vision Strategy Lead Officer said: "We welcome and support the response of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning to NHS England's Call to Action. If the Council's recommendations were implemented, they would support the priorities of the UK Vision Strategy by transforming the eye health of the nation, improving referral and treatments for people with eye conditions and ensuring that people losing their sight receive early and appropriate support . We look forward to working with NHS England and our partners in the UK Vision Strategy to ensure the call to action makes a real and lasting difference".

College of Optometrists responds to Call to Action

September 2014

The College of Optometrists has responded to NHS England’s Improving eye health and reducing sight loss, a ‘Call to Action’.

The College’s response echoes the recommendations made by the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning and adds further emphasis to the importance of supporting professionals to ensure that they have the skills and guidance they need to undertake potential new roles.

The College of Optometrists agrees with the Clinical Council that the key issues for better patient care are; improving IT links, addressing issues of capacity by maximising the use of the skills in the eye care pathway, procuring community schemes at greater scale, and improving communication and relationships between the multiple professions to achieve a more integrated eye care pathway.

David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, welcomed the opportunity for eye health professionals to work together: He said: “Collaborative working will help maximise the use of available resources and ensure high quality care for patients in the most appropriate setting for their individual needs.

“This Call to Action is an unprecedented opportunity for us to make a real difference to the eye health of the nation. It is important that optometrists have access to the skills and resources they need and the College is in a unique position to support its members by providing guidance, qualifications and professional development tools which will equip them to work in the new NHS.”

Commissioners urged to make ‘radical changes’ in sector response to Call to Action

September 2014

LOCSU and the Optical Confederation have published their response to NHS England’s Call to Action Improving eye health and reducing sight loss calling for radical changes in how community eye health services are commissioned and integration of optical practices at the heart of NHS eye care.

Without making better use of community optical practices the NHS will not be able to cope with the welter of eye health needs, which are driven by an ageing population and the arrival of new treatments for conditions which were previously untreatable, and ultimately reduce avoidable sight loss, the organisations argue.

Backed up by evidence gathered from existing community eye health services the response highlights the optical sector’s vision for an increased role for optometrists and opticians in delivering more NHS eye health services in primary care, integrated with the wider NHS and social care. It describes in detail how this vision could be achieved and urges NHS England to work to:

• Implement national commissioning of pathways that utilise the core skills of community optometrists and opticians to reduce unnecessary referrals to hospital eye services.
• Integrate community optical practices with NHS IT systems to enable speedy communications across the eye health system, more care in the community, including shared care, whilst maintaining patient safety.
• Allow flexibility where necessary to ensure universal access to General Ophthalmic Services for people from seldom heard and “at-risk” groups, including adults and children with learning disabilities and homeless people .
• Develop a more efficient and effective approach to the commissioning of community services to avoid duplication and reduce costs including nationally agreed service specifications and accreditation.
• Provide incentives for primary and secondary care (and in some cases the voluntary sector) to collaborate to deliver integrated care and focus on commissioning for outcomes.
• Support clinicians to develop skills beyond core competencies and to undertake higher qualifications where necessary

The results of the Call to Action for eye health, along with the findings from the Calls to Action for general practice, pharmacy and dentistry that took place over the past year, will be used by NHS England to help it shape its primary care commissioning strategy, which is expected to be published later in the year.

You can read the full response from LOCSU and the Optical Confederation on the Call to Action pages of the LOCSU website.

LOCSU Managing Director Katrina Venerus said:

“The Optical Confederation, LOCSU and LOCs across England have had an extremely busy summer working to respond to the Call to Action. The appetite and passion among optometrists and opticians for developing their roles within the NHS and improving patient care has been clearly demonstrated from their enthusiastic contributions to local and national engagement events, as well as through the many written responses to the Call to Action submitted by LOCs and individuals. We are confident that the optical sector has made a strong case for what it can do, and we now look forward to working with NHS England and other stakeholders to make it happen."

Venerus added, “At a national level we have also worked closely with organisations from across the whole eye health sector on the response to the Call to Action from the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning. It is pleasing to see that the Council is stepping up to the challenge of providing national leadership for the eye health sector and we are delighted to be part of this truly collaborative approach.

“As we have said in our response to the CTA, we do not believe the NHS can survive without making radical changes that will include putting optical practices at the centre of care pathways and delivering far more care for patients. We are looking for NHS England to ensure this happens, and quickly."

Don Grocott, Optical Confederation Chairman, said:

“Three things are needed for the NHS to improve eye health in England and to meet the growing needs of an older population: IT connectivity between optical practices and the rest of the NHS, better commissioning of national pathways and more services delivered in the community. Our response to the Call to Action makes this case very clearly. This is a major opportunity to improve eye health outcomes and ensure NHS money is spent more efficiently and effectively, resulting in better patient outcomes. I hope all at NHS England with their interest in population health, better outcomes and better value will be brave enough to seize this opportunity. As a united optical sector, we are!”

VISION 2020 UK’s Learning Disability Group lend support for National Eye Health Week

September 2014

VISION 2020 UK’s Learning Disability Group have lent their support to National Eye Health Week, which takes place this week. The National Eye Health Week initiative brings together eye charities, organisations and health professionals to promote eye health and the importance of regular sight tests for everyone.

The VISION 2020 UK Learning Disability Group focuses on the specific needs of children and adults who have a learning disability and provide a unified approach to issues relating to vision and learning disability across the UK.

There are strong links between learning disabilities and visual problems. Adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to experience sight problems than the rest of the population.

Rachel Pilling, chair of the VISION 2020 UK Learning Disability Group and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Bradford Teaching Hospital, said: “National Eye Health Week is a great way to raise awareness of the need for regular sight tests, and also helps us reach some of the hard-to-reach and high-risk groups in society, such as adults with learning disabilities.

Many of the signs and symptoms of sight problems in people with learning disabilities are confused with other issues, such as anxiety, confusion, frustration, lack of enjoyment in activities, inability to perform self-care and reduction in mobility. So it is even more vital that these people regularly have their eyes tested, and for carers to be aware that we can perform an eye test even if the patient has limited communication and doesn’t read letters.”

BCLA announces move to biennial Clinical Conference and Exhibition

September 2014

From 2015, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) will hold its Clinical Conference and Exhibition every two years.

Announcing the decision on behalf of the BCLA Executive, BCLA Chief Executive Officer, Cheryl Donnelly, said: “Over the past few years, listening to our members, delegates, partners and sponsors, the desire for a biennial Clinical Conference and Exhibition has become increasingly apparent.

“Following an internal financial review in 2013/14, and exploring all the options available, the BCLA Executive is pleased to confirm a new two-yearly schedule for the BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition beginning in 2015.

“As well as adhering to the wishes of our members and industry partners, going biennial will allow the BCLA to realise a number of important strategic goals – including meeting the more specific and local needs of all the membership categories to support the prescribing of contact lenses and anterior eye management.

“It will also allow us to focus on diversifying our CET offering to members through initiatives such as the new, annual Visionaries and Pioneers Conference.

“The BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition is renowned for delivering exceptional presenters and presentations and fresh perspectives, and we want to continue delivering on that expectation. We want to attract new delegates, more UK delegates and to offer more relevant content to support contact lens professionals in practice, whilst delivering cutting-edge scientific and research sessions.

“We already have a number of exciting plans lined-up for our 2015 conference in Liverpool next May, including a day dedicated to myopia management and new educational courses.”

BCLA President, Susan Bowers, commented: “On behalf of my colleagues within the Association, I’d like to personally thank all those who have loyally supported the annual BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition for the past 38 years. We’re looking forward to another great conference in 2015, and to working together on new and exciting educational programmes going forwards.

“We will officially launch the 2015 Clinical Conference and Exhibition at our Visionaries and Pioneers Conference on 17 November, which is open to all members,” added Susan.

The 39th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition will be held at the ACC Liverpool from 29-31 May 2015.

FMO confirms 64% of Optrafair 2015 space now booked

September 2014

FMO announced that 64% of available space has now been booked – seven months ahead of the show.

Small niche frame companies, a doubling of space for some of the larger suppliers and keen interest from the technology providers and contact lens innovators put FMO leaders in jubilant mood last week.

“As the momentum for the show builds, and the feature areas take shape – including six themes for the CET education – UK and international suppliers are seeing the value of the Optrafair brand. We are committed to maximising the number of visitors to the show and are drilling down on CET topics of Dispensing, Fashion, Retina, Business, Contact Lenses and Technology,” said Optrafair Director, Malcolm Polley.

“We are investing some of the profit of Optrafair London back into Optrafair 2015 and this will mean a greater spend on holding down floor space prices, marketing, education and achieving an impressive footfall,” added Malcolm.

“This kind of reinvestment happens when the trade body owns its own show and is investing for the long-term future of the industry, which in turn supports the profession with so much innovation brought to the UK,” said FMO Chairman, Barry Dibble.

PHN publishes generic leaflet on community services and the importance of regular eye care to coincide with NEHW

September 2014

22nd September is the start of NEHW (National Eye Health Week). PHN’s sister publication the UKs leading public education site is as last year promoting the importance of regular eye care for the family.

PHN has published online a “complementary eye care leaflet” for printing by opticians and LOCs to publicise eye care and the new community services available in many areas. There is space for practice addresses or LOC contact information. The leaflets take the form of folded A4 and can be printed at will and used in practices, libraries and GP surgeries as well as for insertion with reminders.

There are 2 PDF formats one plain and the second with print marks should practices prefer to send for bulk printing. PHN has paid for the graphics and the copyright for the images used.

The leaflet explains how the public can search for community service providers from the UK practice database, which practices are currently populating. Click here to add your specialities to the database.

Download leaflet

Download leaflet with print marks

Optrafair 2015 Launched at FMO/RBI meeting at NEC

September 2014

Around 65 people attended the meeting which was hosted jointly by FMO and RBI.

Trevor Goodman RBI Director, opened the proceedings with opening remarks concerning Optrafair London.

He conceded that Olympia had not proved the perfect venue especially with the gallery area. However visitor responses showed that there was a majority that were more than satisfied with the show.

Numbers were towards 5000 in total.

He said that lessons had been learnt from the London experience and that the joint RBI/FMO collaboration has made a number of changes that will make 2015 an even better experience. RBI have appointed a new sales director specifically for the role of energising the Optrafair experience.

RBI has also employed a new consultant PR person, Sarah Sherwin who will be solely involved in collecting PR and dispersing to a broad media range.

It has been decided that the brand Is to be “Optrafair” in the future without a geographical reference.

The objectives for Optrafair 2015 were:

• 200 Exhibitors
• 500 brands
• 7000 Visitors (There were 6440 in 2013)

RBI confirmed they has signed a 2 show deal through to 2017 with FMO.

The show itself will be more vibrant with a catwalk and commentary to reflect frames worn rather than the fashion.

They are to ramp up PR, marketing, social networking and Twitter/Pinterest.

Marketing will have a wide spread of advertising media the main being The Optician as its free but will include PHN, OT and other media outlets.

Sarah (PR) will be co-ordinating PR from companies for dispersion through the new website and on an online presence to include PHN.

Trevor stressed how Optrafair London had made a profit that had been fed back into FMO funds to keep stand prices down and contribute to FMO causes.

There then followed a presentation that was filmed by RBI on how to present at an exhibition.

Rodenstock offers free workshops to help opticians take full advantage of exciting new products

September 2014

“Innovations will give users a vital edge in the High Street”

Rodenstock UK has launched two eye-catching new products this autumn – and has organised a series of workshops to help opticians get the most from these exciting innovations.

“Years of research and testing has resulted in these new products coming to the UK market,” says Debbie Bathgate, Lens Product Manager at Rodenstock UK. “By embracing these innovations, opticians will be giving themselves a vital edge in the battle for business on the High Street.

Impression FreeSign 3 is quite simply our best progressive lens of all time! The unique flexibility makes it possible to position the peripheral aberrations of the progressive lens in such a way that they are no longer relevant to the spectacle wearer. This provides unrestricted vision, maximum stability and minimum distortion as the largest possible vision zones are adapted to the personal lifestyle of the spectacle wearer.

The DNEye Scanner measurement device is the best tool for high-precision measurements of lower and higher order aberrations of the eye, for near and far vision, as well as the brightness-dependent changes of the pupils, allowing 100% exploitation of personal vision potential.

The scanner, which has already proved a huge success in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia, provides more opportunities for independents to differentiate themselves in the market”, says Debbie.

Opticians attending will also receive sales training by Martin Gross, an internationally renowned professional trainer and coach for opticians, who received overwhelming acclaim following the 2013 workshops, when he showed in an engaging manner how to sell many more spectacles than ever before by first awakening a need in customers and then how to meet that need.

The workshops are on 28 October at The Nottingham Belfry Hotel, 29 October at the Huntingdon Marriott Hotel, Cambridgeshire, and on 30 October at East Grinstead Felbridge Hotel in Sussex. Each event runs from 2-5pm.

Those attending will take away a comprehensive marketing pack, including a promotion which is only available to attendees.

100% OPTICAL Proclaims bold vision for new European 2015 event

September 2014

100% OPTICAL will be” Bigger and Better For 2015”

Media 10, the multi-award winning creators of 100% Optical have announced dates for the new 2015 event, which will take place at London’s Excel Saturday 7th – Monday 9th February 2015. 100% Optical was launched in February 2014 and established itself as the UK’s largest audited trade event for optical professionals.

The 2015 100% Optical event will be a fresh new event for Europe, building upon the huge success of the inaugural event. The 5,000 visitors to last year’s show clearly demonstrated the need for a major new optical event for Europe, putting the UK on the creative hub map.

For 2015 the event will be 30% bigger than 2014. A number of new and improved features are being introduced to make it even more attractive to members of the optical industry within the UK, Europe and ROW. These include:

Expanded equipment and lens halls (including ZEISS, Heidelberg Engineering, Shamir, Bausch & Lomb (tbc) and Waterside Laboratories);

Back to back fashion shows; an exciting, busy schedule of seminars curated by the Association of Optometrists

More CET career and business development points

Key features of the event that proved so popular in 2014 will remain, such as the four clearly defined areas of focus (equipment and machinery, lenses, eyewear and business services); industry ‘hubs’ in each section to encourage networking and the launch of pioneering advancements in design and manufacturing; the specially designed entrance and tunnel that leads to the heart of the event; the large central networking bar; an extensive programme of international seminars (the 2014 event featured 90 hours of seminars with speakers from as far afield as Australia, South Africa, and Israel) and the emphasis on a strong visual experience for visitors throughout.

“100% Optical was inspired by a number of industry leaders who wanted a forward thinking, design-led, fresh optical event in London. We have managed to deliver that by getting tremendous support from leading brands and professional associations who are genuinely excited by what we have achieved in the space of just 18 months. 100% Optical is the biggest and most significant event in optics the UK has seen in decades – all in its inaugural year. Imagine the opportunities that presents us all for the years to come. It is no wonder so many are joining up for 2015” Nathan Garnett, Event Director, 100% Optical.

A number of top UK and International eyewear brands have already confirmed their attendance at 100% Optical in 2015 including: Mondottica, TD Tom Davies, götti Switzerland, LINDBERG, CAZAL, Inspecs, Claire Goldsmith Eyewear and Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses, MYKITA, Ørgreen, FACE A’ FACE, ic! Berlin, Menrad, Penine Optical, William Morris London, Zuma Eyewear and The Eyewear Company.

According to Bob Forgan, CEO, Visions Technologies Europe Ltd., “100% Optical’s design has set a benchmark for other events in Europe to follow.” His sentiments are echoed in the growing, industry-wide anticipation for 2015’s event. Tom Davies, TD Tom Davies says, “We have been impressed by 100% Optical’s passion and long term vision for the industry together with their understanding of the needs for both visitor and exhibitor. We cannot wait to be involved in next year's edition."

The 2015 100% Optical event will be backed by a comprehensive marketing and PR campaign targeting over 1.5 million eye industry professionals worldwide including buyers, designers, dispensers, optometrists, opticians, orthoptists, practitioners, laboratory managers, technicians, consultants ophthalmologists, surgeons and students.

The nominees to the Silmo d'Or Grand Prix are announced by SILMO organisers

September 2014

SILMO have announced their nominees for this years Silmo d’Or Grand Prix awards which include the UK exhibitor Vision Technologies (Hall 6 D 120), which has been nominated in the “Frame technology innovation category”.

Waterside Labs, a Vision Technologies Europe Group Company, has revealed that its latest product, Smart Frames for Google Glass, has been nominated for the Frame Technological Innovation Category of Silmo d’Or Awards 2014.

Waterside Labs and Vision Technologies Europe Managing Director, Bob Forgan, says: “This is a great start to our first outing at Silmo. We were confident that we had a strong entry with our Smart Frames for Google Glass because reaction and feedback from the market to the product has been extremely positive. We are now looking forward to the next stage of the Silmo d’Or Awards selection process.”

Smart Glass specialists Waterside Labs is exhibiting at Silmo, Paris Villepinte from 26 to 29 September 2014, for the first time this year. At this major trade show for the optics and eyewear sector, Waterside Labs will be showcasing an exclusive range of products including its Smart frames for Google Glass and Smart GOLD lens design, which provides a distortion-free zone for viewing Heads Up Displays - positioned in an area where aberrations would otherwise occur. (Smart GOLD lenses are available in an extensive prescription range in Single Vision, Bifocal and Progressive designs).

Launched in 1994 the Silmo d’Or award scheme is open exclusively to event exhibitors and is designed to reward technological innovation and creativity. Entries are judged by a Grand Jury, which includes industry experts, buyers and journalists. Category winners will be announced at the Silmo d’Or Award Gala on Friday 26th September 2014 during the exhibition.

SILMO 2014 is less than 2 weeks away now but there’s still time to register and get reasonable deals on travel to Paris.

Here are the nominees:


BBGR with « Sirus Plus » Hall 6 C 059


ESSILOR with « M’EYE Sign » - Hall 6 J 083
FITTING BOX with « OWIZ » - Hall 6 D 103
INTERACTIF VISUEL SYSTEME with « DEEP LIGHTS by Activisu » - Hall 6 F 096
LUNEAU TECHNOLOGY with « VX55 » - Hall 5 J 044
OPTI 3 with « Logic Frame » - Hall 5 J 029


ACCES’SOLUTIONS with « Eye Pal Ace+ » - Hall 5 G 035
TELORION with « Telorion Zoom » - Hall 6 D 121
VISIOLE with « E-Bot » - Hall 5 F 043


CAROLINE ABRAM avec « 5+5=10 » de Tête à Lunettes - Hall 5 M 093
KARAVAN & Co avec « PIXI » de Karavan kids - Hall 5 S 051
KARAVAN & Co avec « Mme Princesse » de Monsieur Madame - Hall 5 S 051
OPAL avec « Tartine & Chocolat TCAS153 » - Hall 5 T 051
NETOPTIC avec « 3118 » - Hall 5 G 139


CAROLINE ABRAM with « GAYLA » - Hall 5 M 093
FACTORY900 with « Retro Future by 900 » - Hall 5 K 113
HAPTER avec « HAPTER M02M » - Hall 5 N 106
LUCAS DE STAËL with « Stratus » - Hall 5 L 121
PIERO MASSARO with « PM415 » - Hall 5 D 071


DITA EYEWEAR with « Thom Browne TB-801 » - Hall 5 E 110
FACE à FACE / WOOW with « Masai» - Hall 5 G 073
Ic! Berlin with « S42 Wedding » - Hall 5 E 073
IRRESISTOR with « Pop Star » - Hall 5 P 132
MASUNAGA X Kenzo Takada with « Campanule K18 » - Hall 5 F 103


BOLLÉ Sport Protective with « Coverage » collection Enfant - Hall 6 A 012
BOLLÉ with« 6th Sense RX» - Hall 6 A 012
JULBO with «Venturi » - Hall 6 B 014
LIBERTY SPORT RECSPECS F8 with« Frog Eyes » - Hall 6 A 009
LUNETTES GRASSET ASSOCIES with « Lacroix-Legend 66 » - Hall 6 G 068


iHUMAN with « Find Me» - Hall 5 P 121
MOREL with « Trad » - Hall 6 C 042
MORGENROT EYEWEAR with « Morgenrot SC3 » - Hall 5 B 128
VISION TECHNOLOGIES EUROPE with « Smart Frames » - Hall 6 D 120
VUILLET VEGA with « Celeste » - Hall 6 D 036

VISION 2020 UK respond to NHS England’s ‘Improving eye health and reducing sight loss: A Call to Action’

September 2014

VISION 2020 UK, led by the VISION 2020 UK Ophthalmic Public Health Committee, have issued a response to NHS England’s ‘Improving eye health and reducing sight loss: A Call to Action’. Membership of the VISION 2020 UK Ophthalmic Public Health Committee includes all major stakeholders and professional bodies involved in eye health and social care in the UK.

The VISION 2020 UK response to the Call to Action focuses on healthcare, public health and health services. Key recommendations include:

• UK Vision Strategy: NHS England; the Department of Health and Public Health England should support its implementation and progress.
• Pathways: An integrated care pathway is essential to ensure that people with eye health problems and sight loss get the right care, information and support from the right person at the right time. An effective pathway should be built on the framework provided by the Adult UK Sight Loss Pathway and the Guidelines and Pathway for Children and Young People with Vision Impairment and their Families, developed by VISION 2020 UK.
• Wider health messages: Eye health should not be considered in isolation of wider health and wellbeing. General awareness of eye health to be raised amongst health and social care staff.
• Professional development: Nationally accredited professional training and continuing professional development for extended clinical roles is essential, and must be addressed as an urgent priority.
• Commissioning and provision of services: The processes for these are currently fragmented, causing clinical and bureaucratic barriers to developing and delivering services and community pathways effectively, with duplication and variations in standards and quality of care. There is an urgent need for consistency in these processes together with clarity in the roles and responsibilities for all providers and commissioners in a given care pathway.
• Data and communications: The Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) is an important eye health indicator, and informs the Public Health Indicator for preventable sight loss. There is a need for mainstreaming the CVI data collection and its management within a national repository. More broadly, good communication and secure sharing of relevant information at each stage of a patient’s pathway, for direct care and health education and patient engagement, is also essential.
• For those population groups at risk of developing treatable eye conditions: More consistent and targeted availability of primary care services for high-risk groups, to improve quality of care and patient experience.

Parul Desai, Chair of the VISION 2020 UK Ophthalmic Public Health Committee and Consultant Ophthalmologists at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: “The VISION 2020 UK response to NHS England’s Call to Action brings together the expertise of many eye health and care professionals and the voluntary sector. It highlights our key priorities, which include the promotion of eye health within wider public health messages, integrated evidence-based, quality-assured care pathways, nationally accredited professional standards for skills and competencies, and the implementation of the UK Vision Strategy to effect these changes.”

Mercy Jeyasingham, VISION 2020 UK CEO, said: “We welcome the NHS Call to Action and hope that the input from all organisations and service users will lead to improved eye health in the whole population and service for those with, or at risk of, sight loss.”

Find the complete document pages here

New College of Optometrists’ CET events to use voting pad technology

September 2014

An audience voting system popularised by the ‘ask the audience’ segment of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? will be used by the College of Optometrists in a new range of free member events.

Before starting a peer discussion session, members will watch three films written and devised by the College on confidentiality; a poor performing colleague; and a wrong prescription. They will then be asked a multiple choice question on how they would proceed and will vote for their answer using the voting pad technology, before beginning a peer discussion on each case.

Following the discussion they will be asked to answer the same question. Results will be shared, and delegates will be able to see how many of their colleagues have changed their answer based on their discussions.

These new format events are part of the College’s upcoming cycle of interactive CET events which also include lectures and traditional peer discussion sessions. Over 20 events will take place over the next 12 months across the UK, giving members the chance to challenge their knowledge and skills during peer discussion sessions, and hear the latest news and views on key topics from expert speakers.

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications, explained: “We have doubled the number of events this year due to popular demand, and have introduced this new format using voting pad technology. Test sessions with the College Council were extremely well received, and we look forward to seeing how members respond. We’re sure it will help them approach difficult ethical and clinical scenarios they encounter in practice with a new, more rounded perspective.”

The event cycle starts in Middlesbrough on 15 October, and will include events in every region of the UK. Full listings can be found at

Here is the next Moot and it’s in Aston

September 2014

Optical Bodies – What have they ever done for us?

In its current series of Moots, the Spectacle Makers and their friends have debated issues for the future of professions, charity and the City and discussed “What’s wrong with the Opticians Act?”, “What next for Optics?” and “The Internet”. Now they plan to gather some experts from the Optical Bodies to lift the veils of myths and misunderstandings shrouding them.

This is the first event of this kind to take place outside of the Metropolis, and we envisage attracting a good number of Liverymen, Freemen, and their guests to support this initiative to bring the Company, its values and events to those members residing and working outside the City.

Audience participation will, as at all the Moots, be an important part of an enjoyable and challenging hour of discussion. The panel will include representatives from the Optical Bodies.

The discussion, inspired by the infamous Monty Python sketch about the Romans, and recent developments within the professions, will begin with some scene-setting from the panel followed by “Question Time” meets “Any Questions” when all can join in.

Arrangements have been made for this Moot to take place at the local Optical seat of learning Aston University, Vision Science & Audiology Dept, on Wednesday 8th October 2014, starting at 6.00pm.

Arrive from then for a preliminary glass of wine (or two) and canapés before proceedings get under way. Further drinks will be served after an hour or so’s discussion, with the meeting scheduled to close at 8.00 p.m.

Do please feel free to bring guests – there will be plenty to talk about both for those with an interest in the current and future practice of eyecare as well as for people from almost every other walk of life.

With thanks to a generous sponsorship donation from Bausch & Lomb, the event will be free of charge, and so is an ideal opportunity to meet fellow local Spectacle Makers, and introduce friends and colleagues too.

Space is limited and so it is essential that you book in with the Company’s Clerk in advance with the names of all your companions and/or guests. His email address is:

The Loyalty Effect - Putting the Customer at the Heart of Your Practice

September 2014

Euromcontact announces a seminar for Eye Care Professionals (ECPs) and industry representatives on the loyalty effect of contact lens wearers, which will take place on 16th November 2014 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

The seminar will focus on the loyalty effect of wearers and what it means for an optical business.

A simulation tool kit will be demonstrated and presented by a business school specialist. Presentations will also include case studies.

Date: 16th November 2014 Time: From 10:00am to 4:00pm Location: Amsterdam Schiphol Radisson Blu Hotel

Download full program hereDownload Registration form here.

Norville Opticians becomes Eye Care partner to Gloucester Rugby

September 2014

Norville Opticians has become the official Eye Care Partner to Gloucester Rugby in a deal which will benefit anyone connected with the club.

The leading independent chain of opticians which has 11 practices in and around Gloucestershire is to look after the eye care needs of the players and staff as well as sponsorship of Gloucester Rugby TV, the club’s online video channel.

Adrian Street, Director of Norville Opticians is excited by this development.

Speaking from the practice in Eastgate Gate in Gloucester he said: “We are very excited to be associated with another historic Gloucester brand and looking forward to providing the club and its supporters with the latest vision technology for their spectacles and eye health.”

As part of the new partnership, Norville Opticians are offering Club Members needing prescription glasses a free upgrade to Transitions lenses which darken in bright sunlight.

Meanwhile, Club Members who don't require prescription lenses will be able to get a 50%
discount on regular sunglasses.

Norville Opticians was founded 116 years ago and is still family owned today. It provides a full range of eye care services including eye examinations, a comprehensive selection of frames and lenses, contact lenses, sunglasses, sports spectacles and much more.

Next WCSM Moot event announced for October 30th

September 2014

Billed as a “Conversation with the New Master” the next Moot in the Company’s programme is a splendid opportunity to take part in a conversation with the new Master. Dr Christine Tomkins FRCS, FRCOphth, MBA, FFFLM, FRCP, She is only the second lady to become Master of the Company.

Dr. Tomkins will become the New Master after a ceremony to be held on 1st October, the office passing from the current Master Chris Hunt.

As always the Moot evenings provide an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality and conviviality of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers. The Moots are open to all those interested in the Livery Companies and their history as well as to those working within the Optical Sector.

Dr. Tomkins brings a unique perspective to the office. Her early career in ophthalmology, her continuing charitable work related to vision impairment, her role in medical defence and her many other interests, all contribute to her vision for the Company.

The evening’s conversation will be in the form of a ‘fireside chat’. From the beginning, audience participation will, as at all our Moots, be encouraged. In the course of up to an hour of conversation, we will have the opportunity to gain a greater understanding both of the Company, its new Master and much more. This will be an enjoyable and entertaining discussion.

The Moot will take place at the Association of Optometrists at their offices in Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell, EC1, on Thursday 30th October 2014, starting at 6.00 p.m. (location: The AOP has kindly lent their premises for free.

Generous sponsorship from the practice management software company, Ocuco, will meet the costs of wines and canapés so that the evening will be at no cost to those attending.

Arrive at 6.00pm for a preliminary glass of wine (or two) and canapés before proceedings get under way. Further drinks will be served after the conversation, with the meeting scheduled to close at 8.00 p.m.

Do please feel free to bring guests – there will be plenty to interest those who enjoy good conversation and for those with the thought of joining our wonderful Company.

The evening is free to all but any contributions to the Company’s charity will be most welcome.

Space is limited and so it is essential that you book in with the Company’s Clerk in advance with the names of your companions and/or guests. His email address is:

Retiring Master arranges social weekend to remember in S Leicestershire

September 2014

As the curtain falls on a highly successful year as Master of the WCSM 40 livery and society members celebrated Chris Hunt’s year in office.

Chris continued his mastery of the art of “putting people as ease” at such occasions by arranging a splendid weekend in Kilworth House with its fabulous grounds and outdoor theatre.

Guests were treated to the weekend finale performance of the acclaimed “Sister Act” where many of the audience took pleasure in celebrating with the actors in their raucous chorus line finish.

Over the last few years of Master’s weekends the WCSM seems to be making a habit of providing good weather ideal for this year’s golfing and walking, all very necessary to enable the consumption of food and wine that seemed endless. Chris who ends his term as Master at the end of this month has been engaged to take over as President of the Optical Confederation in the Autumn.

Image shows some of the guests enjoying a walk at a local attraction, Foxton Locks, the largest flight of staircase locks on the English canal system with two 'staircases' of five locks. (Master is third from the left)

Optical Confederation produces guidance on providing care to patients who come from another EEA Member State

September 2014

Ann Blackmore, speaking on behalf of the Optical Confederation, said: “European citizens are now working, travelling and shopping across borders within the European Union in greater numbers than ever before. This guidance updates the profession on new legislation covering the provision of eye care and other services to these European visitors.”

The guidance is intended to advise you on the provisions you should be aware of when providing care to patients who attend your practice from another EEA Member State and where you should direct UK residents to when asked about access to treatment in another EEA country.

The guidance is not intended to be a complete summary of the law governing cross border healthcare and patient mobility in Europe; for further information, OC asks you to refer to the Department of Health guidance.

The full guidance notes are published in our LOC briefing pages. Click here.


GOC reminds students of dangers of not maintaining registration

September 2014

The General Optical Council (GOC) is today reminding student optometrists and dispensing opticians of the importance of maintaining their GOC registration following a rise in the number removed from the register for failing to apply by the final 31 August deadline.

In total, 244 students were removed from the register, the highest figure since the GOC moved to an online retention process in 2011. First-year students made up the majority of those removed, accounting for nearly 60 per cent.

Maintaining GOC registration is a legal requirement and being removed from the register can put an individual’s career at risk. All students removed from the register are unable to take part in any clinical training or sit theory or practical assessments and cannot continue with their studies until they have been restored to the register.

Philip Hallam, GOC Head of Registration, said: “I must stress the importance to all students, especially first-years, of maintaining their registration every year. By not registering, students are breaking the law and are putting their future careers in jeopardy. I strongly urge all students who we removed to restore their registration as promptly as possible to ensure they can continue their studies.”

Students removed from the registers must pay a £45 restoration fee to continue their studies instead of the usual £25 annual retention fee.

Since the introduction of the online MyGOC tool, there has been an overall rise in retention figures with the new process making it faster and more efficient to reapply to the register. A survey conducted by the GOC in 2011 showed that 93 per cent of student registrants now complete their retention in ten minutes or less with 89 per cent finding the process easy or very easy to use.

Optrafair 2015 announces Topcon sponsorship

September 2014

Topcon, the world’s leading brand of optical equipment, is today announced as a major sponsor of the education programme at Optrafair (18-20 April 2015), the UK’s leading optical exhibition.

Delegates attending the three-day event at the NEC in Birmingham, will hear from respected educators, well-known business leaders and optical manufacturers, sharing their knowledge from across the profession and earning valuable CET points.

A new feature for Birmingham in 2015 is the ‘show and tell’ interactive workshops. Introduced at Optrafair London in 2014, they proved very popular with both exhibitors and delegates. Topcon’s sponsorship deal includes one of these key workshops as well as the clinical poster trail (CET points awarded for completion), and a CET lecture.

Linda Ford, General Optical Council (GOC) Head of Education & Standards says, “Interactive CET encourages registrants to learn from each other’s skills and experience to improve their own practice. “We’re extremely keen for registrants to discuss their practice with their peers which is why they must now earn at least 50% of their CET points through interactive learning methods. Workshops provide an ideal opportunity for registrants to meet this requirement.”

The established and trusted programme of CET accredited education at Optrafair is a vital part of the UK’s premier optical event. A winning combination of inspiring lectures, hands-on workshops and peer review sessions attracts hundreds of visitors for the education sessions alone from all parts of the industry and from all over the world.

Topcon provides innovative and unique ophthalmic instruments for examination, diagnosis, treatment as well as optometric instruments for refraction and spectacle lens processing.

Andrew Yorke, Managing Director of Medical at Topcon GB Ltd says, “With Optrafair well established as one of the UK and Europe’s largest and most successful Optical shows, Topcon are once again delighted to be providing extensive support for the education programme in 2015. The customer feedback we received off the back of the success of the London event in April was outstanding, and making the decision to support the Birmingham event was extremely simple. Clearly the education programme at Optrafair is now firmly established as one of the premier educational events in the UK calendar and we simply have to be there.

“Topcon’s clinical affairs team, headed up by Dr Catharine Chisholm will contribute significantly to the content of Topcon’s involvement in the programme, which will have the global support of Topcon University.

“As one of the UK’s largest suppliers of ophthalmic instrumentation, the 2015 education event at Optrafair will provide us with the ideal platform to launch a number of new and exciting technologies. Our ongoing commitment to provide high quality education to all of our customers is paramount and this is the perfect platform to provide this.”

A revitalised Optrafair brand was launched last month with the exhibition’s robust and trusted educational offering, provided by Perceptive, supported by a greater focus on fashion and an added emphasis on technology and innovation.

Says Malcolm Polley, Optrafair Chairman, “We are very excited about plans for this year’s Optrafair as we return to Birmingham’s NEC with what promises to be a spectacular show. Optrafair is widely recognised as the essential optical event, this flagship trade show continues to inspire, educate and entertain across all areas of the optical sector.

“With almost two thirds of stand space already booked, we look forward to welcoming exhibitors and visitors from around the world to share knowledge, see new products and services and take advantage of great show deals. Topcon’s sponsorship of education at Optrafair illustrates a significant and most welcome investment that will provide worthwhile benefits to the optical industry.” goes free for specialities and branded goods in search app. to public

September 2014

All individual practices can now highlight products and services for free to the public.

Mylocaloptician’s “Find My Opticians” directory of practices for the UK has now opened up its speciality and product listing for all practices to apply free online to self-amend and publish the products and services they offer the community.

If they are registered enhanced service contractors they can also select the pathway as a service speciality.

Over a thousand members of the public use the search app each day to look for optical practices in their area and can search for the specialties and products they provide. PHN the publishers of the site have now opened up the ability for individual practices to highlight their specialties and branded goods at no charge.

PHN say this will be a very big operation and they will provide practices with the ability to amend their information after first verifying who they are, from then on they will be given a code to update their information and PHN will then activate their account and send an activation email. Then the practice will be able to add and edit their entry whenever needed and in their own time.

“We are expecting a huge take up especially by independents although there is no reason why managers of chains should not get involved. It may take us a little time to verify all requests and we aim to set aside each Friday for that activity but once done practitioners can actively check the list of services and products so that future searches by possible customers will discover them” said Charles Greenwood, Director at PHN.

Members of the community looking for specific products and services will search and receive a complete local listing, with practices which have paid for featured pages at the top, followed by enhanced listings and then in alphabetical order all the remaining practices.

Amendments and additions are free, featured entries are available online at £20 per month and enhanced listings cost £10 per month online.

Click here to go straight to the Find My Optician App used by the public

How to adjust your Mylocaloptician Entry for free

Team Ocuco and Optoms Cycling for Sight

September 2014

Optometry Giving Sight are encouraging the optical community to take on their challenge of cycling around the world within the UK… all 25,000 Kilometres within the UK with the aim of raising £1 per mile.

Aoife Corbett, Scott Sier and Dan Geare, from Ocuco’s Focus Professional Services Team, based in Cardiff office, took on the hills, headwinds, rain, shine and forest terrain, to complete the gruelling 153 mile challenge, travelling from Ocuco’s Dudley office, down to Penarth.

After completing over 90 miles on August 29th to Brecon, they tackled the Taff Trail to Cardiff, along the Brecon Canal to Talybont Resevoir. Between them, they covered over 450 miles and raised over £1,400 for a great cause.

“It was a really tough journey but we are delighted to have completed it and raised so much for OGS,” said Aoife Corbett. “We are so grateful for all the support from our colleagues in Ocuco, keeping us going along the way, Marc from Osmond Drake Opticians for joining us on the final leg and Cardiff Sports Nutrition. It was a great experience.”

“Ocuco have been partners with Optometry Giving Sight for a few years now, and we are delighted to take part in the Optoms Cycling For Sight 2014 Challenge, to raise awareness and funds for such a great cause,” said Alice Austin, Ocuco’s Sales and Marketing Director and OGS UK committee member.

Visit to donate to this great cause and follow progress on

Image L t R Aoife Corbett, Scott Sier, Dan Geare

Visit OCUCO's page on this site

5 Marathons in 3 Months!

September 2014

Simon McCarthy, Senior Production Engineer at CooperVision will be taking on the challenge of a lifetime in support of Optometry Giving Sight.

On Sunday, the 7th of September in Wolverhampton Simon begins the first of five marathons to take place in just over three months. The next marathon, only a few weeks later, is on October 5th in Bournemouth, followed by two marathons in two days, the Stratford-Upon-Avon Double on the 29th and 30th of November. The challenge concludes with the Portsmouth Coastal marathon on the 21st December.

Mr McCarthy, 47, started to take an interest in his health and fitness two years ago after a warning from his GP. Tipping the scales in excess of 100kg there was a critical choice between changing lifestyles or start taking medication.

Simon immediately began visiting the gym and through hard work and determination has since completed a few marathons but has never run this amount in such a short time period and conceded, “The back to back marathons at the end of November will be particularly challenging.”

CooperVision are Global Gold Sponsors and long term supporters of Optometry Giving Sight. Simon added, “A presentation at CooperVision made me aware of the fantastic work that Giving Sight are involved in both at home and overseas and I decided to get involved. I cannot comprehend that many people around the globe are unable to see simply because they lack access to minimal resources and basic support. I feel proud to be in a position to help towards this incredible cause”.

Optometry Giving Sight funds the development of sustainable eye and vision care projects in communities where they do not currently exist. These projects focus on local training and capacity building; infrastructure development and the delivery of accessible and affordable vision care services. Since 2007, more than $US10 million has been allocated or disbursed to 72 projects in 42 countries helping provide millions of people with access to eye care.

Donna Power, European Manager of Optometry Giving Sight, said, “We are incredibly grateful to Simon for taking on this difficult challenge. I believe the 5 Marathon challenge is possibly the greatest challenge we've seen on foot from a single supporter. The funds raised will go directly towards helping those in desperate need of eye care.”

Mondottica announces the appointment of Monica Dal Cin

September 2014

Mondottica Ltd has announced the appointment of Monica Dal Cin as the new International Business Development Director, effective immediately.
Dal Cin will assume commercial responsibilities for the EMEA and Latin America regions (excluding the UK and France), the company said.

“Dal Cin is an industry veteran, having served in several key positions with De Rigo and Marcolin. She will be based at Mondottica’s Italian office, near Treviso.”

Mondottica International’s worldwide brand portfolio includes licenses for Anna Sui, Hackett, Pepe Jeans, Christian Lacroix, Joules, Cacharel, Marimekko and Yohji Yamamoto, as well as licenses for Ted Baker for the world outside of North America.

College of Optometrists calls for poster presentations

September 2014

Abstracts for poster presentations are being invited for the College of Optometrists’ next annual conference.

Abstracts that focus on research, clinical practice or initiatives in optometry, vision science and related fields, will be displayed at Optometry Tomorrow 2015, one of the UK’s leading optometric conferences, taking place at the Brighton Centre from 8-9 March 2015.

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications at the College of Optometrists, said: “Optometry Tomorrow’s focus is to demonstrate how today’s innovation and research leads to tomorrow’s practice, and the poster presentations on display will bring the latest developments directly to delegates.

“We are interested in subjects relevant to optometrists, opticians, ophthalmologists, educationalists and those working in industries related to eye care so the emphasis, for all poster abstracts, should be the impact the content is likely to have on optometric practice.”

Poster interaction is part of the Optometry Tomorrow programme, and will be displayed throughout the conference, ensuring that presenters are guaranteed valuable time with up to 700 optometric delegates.

A prize will be given to one of the poster presenters and, for the first time, we will be applying for CET for the poster displays. Poster presenters will also be able to attend the conference lectures and exhibition free of charge.

All abstracts should be submitted by Monday 13 October 2014. Guidelines for abstract submission can be found at

Optoms Cycling for Sight - Tour of Yorkshire

September 2014

On Sunday, 24th of August, spirits were high as 37 optical professionals from across the UK completed the ‘Optoms Tour of Yorkshire’ cycle challenge, significantly adding to the £9,500 raised so far as part of the Optoms Cycling for Sight challenge in 2014.

Cyclists set off from Leeds at 7am with others joining in Hawes and East Witton. The route looped through the Yorkshire Dales National Park before finishing in Harrogate. The 120 mile route took approximately 11 hours to complete with the first riders finishing at 6pm.

The CET approved event that mirrored the first stage of this year’s Tour de France was the vision of the event’s lead organiser Fares Hatoum, who had organised the first Optoms Cycling for Sight (OC4S) challenge in 2011 when studying Optometry at University.

The vision became reality with the support of Optometry Giving Sight Silver sponsors Perceptive who organised this main event of Optoms Cycling for Sight 2014 and provided 5 CET points through a peer review session and case history poster quiz. Vital supplies were provided by sponsorship from Optrafair, Optician, Topcon, Ocuco, S.I. Opticals, Zeiss, Hunter and MCL create.

Peter Charlesworth, Managing Director of CET provider Perceptive, who completed the full 120 mile challenge commented, “We are proud to be long term sponsors of Optometry Giving Sight and it has been a great pleasure for us to have been able to organise the CET and ‘Tour of Yorkshire’ cycle event." Mr Charlesworth added, "We're really pleased with the turn out and the money raised so far. It will mean Optometry Giving Sight can help give even more people access to the basic eye care most of us take for granted."

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 continue to be delivered in communities where these services do not currently exist. In 2013, the charity donated funding to 46 projects in 28 countries, including Mozambique, Haiti, Cambodia and The Philippines.

In June Optometry Giving Sight named its National Charity Partner in the UK as Vision Care for Homeless People, funding desperately needed eye care services at home and abroad.

Donna Power, Regional Manager, Europe who attended on Sunday commented, “I've been totally blown away with how successful the day has been at the CET Tour of Yorkshire. Thank you to everyone who made this possible and for the funds raised for Optometry Giving Sight.”

Optoms Cycling for Sight, in support of the World Sight Day Challenge, invites all optical professionals to take part by organising your own cycle challenge, choosing your own route and distance before World Sight Day on the 9th October 2014.

Upcoming OC4S events include 3 biking enthusiasts Aoife Corbett, Dan Geare and Scott Sier from Ocuco organising a 3 day cycle challenge from Dudley to Cardiff and a team of 5 from ASDA opticians South Coast cycling 32 miles between ASDA stores in Havant to Eastleigh via Portsmouth and Fareham headed by Christopher Bick in Southampton.

To donate to the Tour of Yorkshire or the other Cycling for Sight events visit:

First rate feedback for the College of Optometrists’ Scheme for Registration

September 2014

47 Candidates were canvassed on their views about the College of Optometrist’s most recent Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) exams and almost all of them have given the Scheme for Registration top marks.

Of those trainees who took the July exam that were surveyed, 94% said assessments were well planned, structured, fair and consistent. Assessors received very positive feedback, with 98% of responses citing the Stage 1 assessor’s organisation and communication as good or excellent. 98% of responses suggested that the feedback received from assessors was constructive, clear and easy to understand, explained what the trainee did well and what they needed to do next.

Jackie Martin, Director of Education at the College, said: “The students’ feedback is really pleasing and shows that effective communication and formative feedback from College assessors is key to ensuring trainees have clear expectations, whilst helping them develop their competence in a constructive way.

“This is further evidence of how the College’s Scheme for Registration has developed over the last five years. We continue to monitor its effectiveness, and the performance of all those involved in the Scheme, to ensure it provides the perfect transition from student to practising optometrist.”

The College continually monitors and reviews, not only the content of the Scheme for Registration, but also the planning and organisation to make the process as stress-free and straight-forward for trainees as possible.

93% of the interviewed trainees said that they thought the College’s organisation of the OSCE was good, with 98% saying they were ‘very likely’ or ‘quite likely’ to join the College following their completion of the Scheme.

The Scheme for Registration is designed to be as rigorous as possible and ensure that it enables a smooth transition into the world of practising optometry. 89% of trainees agreed that the Scheme was demanding and that it was either good or excellent at preparing them to practise as an optometrist.

Joseph Oakley, Head of Examinations at the College said: “At the end of the Scheme, newly qualified optometrists should be confident that they have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to practise without supervision. Although demanding at times, I am happy to see the Scheme both developing competence and acting as a robust threshold to entering the profession.

“We are delighted with the feedback we have received from our recent trainees and we will use this to help us continue to monitor and improve the experience of trainees as they work through the Scheme.”

Optical Confederation appoints new Chairman

September 2014

The Optical Confederation (OC) has announced the appointment of Chris Hunt as its new Chairman. Mr Hunt will take up the position in October, succeeding the current Chairman, Don Grocott.

Mr Hunt has extensive optical experience, having held a number of CEO appointments within large international corporations engaged in spectacle manufacturing, diagnostic equipment manufacturing and optical retailing. He is Master on the Court of The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and a Trustee of its Education Trust. He also works as a Strategic Development Consultant for a number of companies.

Mr Hunt said: “I feel very honoured to have been appointed as the new Chairman of the Optical Confederation. Having served in, and having gained firsthand knowledge of all sectors of both UK and international optics, I am confident that my broad experience can be put to best use in furthering the cause of this excellent concept. I enthusiastically await the challenge."

Don Grocott has successfully led the OC since its inception. Increased cross-sector communication, co-operation and unity have steadily developed following the formal launch in May 2010. The OC has had a number of collaborative successes which include the formation of the Clinical Council, the public health indicator and the collective response to the discontinuation of the supply of fluorescein strips.

Mr Grocott said: “Happily, working together is getting into the DNA of optics. Co-operation enhances outcomes for patients. It improves working relationships with allied professions and, perhaps the Confederation’s greatest success to date, it ensures that optics speaks to government with a single voice. Optics and the eye health sector generally work more closely now than was imaginable when earlier initiatives started on this path. There is much more to do and so it is good news that Chris Hunt has accepted the Confederation’s invitation to succeed me. He will bring a different perspective whilst sharing the clear understanding that in optics, as in other so many other spheres, we are better together.”

Lecture on migraine and the role of the optometrist set to open Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize

August 2014

Professor Bruce Evans FCOptom, Director of Research at the Institute of Optometry, will kick off Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize - the College of Optometrists’ one-day conference - with his lecture ‘Migraine and other headaches: the role of the optometrist’ at Ascot Racecourse on Sunday 5 October.

He said: “As optometrists, we frequently encounter patients who experience headaches and we need to know how to manage these cases. However, there is limited scientific and clinical literature available that give optometrists practical guidance on detecting and treating cases that may be amenable to optometric interventions.

“This lecture will help delegates understand the importance of history-taking in the diagnosis of headaches, give them the knowledge to make appropriate management and referral decisions, and become better at recognising headaches which could suggest neurological conditions.”

As well as this session, the event will repeat other well-received lectures, discussions and workshops from the College’s most recent annual conference, Optometry Tomorrow 2014, which was held in York in March.

College members who attend will also be offered a free place at a peer discussion session, worth three interactive CET points, covering driving and pupil dilation, binocular vision, and optical appliances and cataract.

College President, David Parkins said: “Optometry Tomorrow 2014 was our biggest conference to date and this is a fantastic opportunity to sample highlights from the event in a different part of the country. We’re offering peer review, workshops and practical sessions – it really does offer professionals the whole package.”

Tickets are just £60 for College members (£40 for those who qualified from July 2011) and includes a free peer discussion session. Workshop sessions are available for £30 each, and a non-member rate is also available.

VISION 2020 UK Rehabilitation and Low Vision Group respond to Care Act consultation

August 2014

The VISION 2020 UK Rehabilitation and Low Vision Group have issued a response to the Care Act consultation on draft regulations and guidance for implementation of Part 1 of the Act 2015/16. The Rehabilitation and Low Vision Group (RLVG) is a special interest group of VISION 2020 UK and aims to ensure that every person who experiences sight loss can benefit from the provision of early access to a nationally agreed pathway promoting independence, choice and control over their lifestyle.

Key recommendations from the RLVG response to the consultation include:

• Prevention: Strengthening of the prevention guidance, by setting out that rehabilitation support may last longer than six weeks and should be accessible at any time that a need is presented and not just at the point of diagnosis. Rehabilitation is an early intervention and the guidance should be clear that it should not be charged for by local authorities.
• Information and advice: Local authorities should ensure that information and advice is available at the point of diagnosis in eye clinics.
• Assessment and eligibility: Specialist assessment for blind and partially-sighted people, which best recognises their needs. This should be conducted by suitably qualified and trained staff.

Jenny Pearce, Chair of the RLVG says: “Overall, we support the Care Act proposals, although we do feel that there are areas in which they could be strengthened in relation to people with sight loss. Our overall response references the Adult UK sight loss pathway, which the RLVG developed and which offers commissioners and practitioners a unique tool to enable people with sight loss to access the right support at the right time and from the right person. ”

You can read the whole response at

BCLA Clinical Conference submissions open as new category is announced

August 2014

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) announces changes to the submissions process for its Clinical Conference as it calls for educational courses to be submitted by 31 October 2014.
To be held from Friday 29 May to Sunday 31 May at the ACC Liverpool, UK, the 39th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition is set to offer eyecare practitioners (ECPs) a broader range of speakers and topics addressing current trends and challenges in today’s fast-changing clinical and business environment.

A new category of submitted ‘educational courses’, in the form of one to two-hour CET lectures or workshops, has been launched to bring a fresh dynamic to the meeting – for which online submissions are now open. The BCLA will pay a stipend of £250 per session, independent of the number of presenters.

Professor James Wolffsohn, BCLA Academic Committee Chairman and Fellowship Consultant, explained: “The new invited submissions structure for educational courses has been established to benefit ECPs in several ways.“Firstly, they will have access to sessions from a wider range of speakers on more diverse topics relevant to clinical practice and business. The BCLA will ensure the courses cover all the GOC competencies and that there is something for everyone – from the pre-registration student or new entrant to the contact lens and anterior eye world, right up to the experienced practitioner.

“Secondly, the standardised blocks will make it easier for ECPs to tailor their educational programme to suit their career aspirations and CET/CPD requirements. Last, but not least, the new category gives all BCLA members an opportunity to share their specialty practice with others, further honing their communications skills and counting towards their Fellowship of the BCLA,” Professor Wolffsohn added.

As always, the BCLA will consider submissions on any topic related to contact lenses and the anterior eye. Suggested topics of particular interest for 2015 include: presbyopia in practice; how a CLO refers to an IP specialist; RGPs above core competencies; co-management in refractive surgery; live fitting sessions; and integrating the CLO/OO roles. A complete list of suggested topics can be found in online submissions.

The 2015 BCLA Medallist is Professor Fiona Stapleton, Professor and Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Dr Michael Read, a Research Associate at Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester, UK, will deliver the 2015 Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture.

The 2015 Dallos Award recipient is Dr Nicole Carnt, a post-doctoral research optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, funded by the Australian government. Her Dallos Award lecture is entitled: ‘The relationship between environmental sources and the susceptibility and severity of Acanthamoeba keratitis in the United Kingdom’.

The 2015 keynote speakers are Professor James Wolffsohn, Deputy Executive Dean at the School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, UK, and Professor Loretta Szczotka-Flynn, Director of the Contact Lens Service, UH Case Medical Center, and Professor of Ophthalmology at the CWRU School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

To find out more about the new criteria and to submit an educational course as a lecture or workshop by the closing date of 31 October 2014, visit the BCLA website

Optometry Tomorrow 2015 tickets on sale now

August 2014

Tickets for Optometry Tomorrow 2015 went on sale this week with a 50% saving off the full rate for College of Optometrists’ members.

The College’s annual two-day conference will take place at the Brighton Centre from 8-9 March 2015, and will offer cutting-edge lectures, seminars, peer discussion and hands-on clinical and discussion workshops.

Members who book by 17 October can purchase a two-day ticket with a workshop, for £165 (full rate £330), or a one-day ticket for £115 (full rate £230). Further discounts are available for students and members who qualified from 2013 onwards.

The programme will include sessions on paediatrics; AMD; glaucoma; binocular vision; low vision; dry eye; OCT; contact lenses; tear film and impacts of lifestyle. A preview programme is available at, and the full version will be announced on 27 October.

College President, David Parkins said: “Optometry Tomorrow has always been very successful in offering clinical, research and practical content, as well as an opportunity for networking. We see this event as an important part of delegates’ continuing professional development.

“We offer peer discussions, workshops and practical experience - we really give the whole package, and I know next year’s conference is going to be bigger, better and more informative than ever before.”

Optometry Giving Sight supporter raises over £2,000 in OC4S challenge!

August 2014

Tim Bowden, a Kent based Contact Lens Optician and Optometry Giving Sight National Committee Member, has raised over £2,000 in aid of Optometry Giving Sight by taking part in the annual cycle challenge called ‘Optoms Cycling for Sight’.

Mr Bowden organised his own route from Chester to Richborough Castle in Kent, selecting the Watling Street Roman Road route which is linked to his practice, Bowden & Lowe at 117 Watling Street in Gillingham. He completed the cycle challenge, a total of 326 miles, over five days which began on August 11th. A keen cyclist, Mr Bowden first took part last year and raised £2,500.

Optoms Cycling for Sight supports Optometry Giving Sight’s main campaign the World Sight Day Challenge. Participants are given the freedom to choose their own cycle route and take part at any time before World Sight Day on October 9th.

New to the cycle challenge, a CET accredited Optoms Tour of Yorkshire event had been added that emulates the opening stages of this year’s Tour de France. On Sunday 24th of August, 37 cyclists will take to the roads of Yorkshire with distances that range from 50k to 190k.

In recognition of completing his 2014 challenge Tim Bowden said, ‘It has been good for my health and fitness levels whilst at the same time helping to drive awareness amongst patients and friends of the misfortune of others that do not have access to eye care and eyewear that we take for granted.’

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 continue to be delivered in communities where these services do not currently exist. In 2013, the charity donated funding to 46 projects in 28 countries, including Mozambique, Haiti, Cambodia and The Philippines.

Sandra Mallia, Marketing Communications Manager of Optometry Giving Sight said, “Tim Bowden has got this year’s cycle challenge off to a great start. It’s fantastic that Tim completed his challenge in the time frame he set out despite the weather challenges and raised an incredible £2,000 for a second successive year. We are incredibly grateful for his drive and fundraising efforts.”

LOCSU/OC provides information on NHS England and how it should attend to Performer Concerns

August 2014

NHS England has published a new Framework for Managing Performer Concerns following consultation with stakeholders, including the Optical Confederation. This framework encompasses:

• the process for considering applications to the national Ophthalmic Performers List and for decision
making for inclusion, inclusion with conditions and refusals to be made by the Area Team
• the process by which Area Teams identify, manage and support primary care performers where concerns arise
• the application of NHS England’s powers to manage suspension, impose conditions and make removals from the Ophthalmic Performers List

Key points for optometrists and OMPs applying to join the Ophthalmic Performers List:

(i) applicants should not be refused entry due to their not having secured a relevant job offer. For registration purposes, applicants only have to be able to demonstrate a significant intention to work in the NHS
(ii) occupational health assessment and clearance is not ordinarily required for applicants to the Ophthalmic Performers’ List

These changes reflect concerns that LOCSU and the Optical Confederation raised in their consultation response and they are pleased to see that NHS England has taken their views on board.

The Framework also states that applicants to the Ophthalmic Performers List are required to provide evidence of child protection training at level 2 as a minimum and should be encouraged to attain level 3 if they have not already done so.

Performance Screening Groups and Performers List Decision Panels

NHS England will establish Performers List Decision Panels (PLDPs) and Performance Advisory Groups (PAGs) within Area Teams in order to support its responsibility in managing performance of primary care performers. The PAG’s role is investigative and advisory; the role of the PLDP is to make decisions under the Performers Lists Regulations.

Key points on PAGs and PLDPs:

• a ‘discipline-specific practitioner’ must be included in the membership of both the PAG and PLDP (i.e. an optometrist or OMP, as the case may be)
• each member of the PAG and PLDP must be appointed to their role in line with a competency framework and have undergone specific training provided by NHS England
• reimbursement for PAG and PLDP members has been set at £50 per hour
• an LRC member may also attend a PLDP at the performer’s request to support but not to represent them

A series of Standard Operating Procedures has been developed by NHS England to support Area Teams with the implementation of this framework, and further guidance for contractors and performers will follow in due course.

OC’s post dim views on NHS Mail accounts

August 2014

In a recent announcement, NHS England has encouraged optometrists and optical contractors to sign up to NHSmail, along with pharmacists and dentists.

The Optical Confederation "is extremely disappointed that Health and Social Care Information Centre guidance, launched without consultation with the Optical Confederation, states that optometrists or contractors wishing to take up the offer of an NHSmail account will be expected to complete the NHS Information Governance Toolkit (IGT) and comply with level 2 standards as a minimum.

The Optical Confederation cannot support this unfunded requirement on front-line community optical practices. It is an unnecessary, unreasonable bureaucratic requirement with no evidence base, given that an NHSmail account is simply a secure platform for information exchange, and does not give the user access to any of the main NHS IT infrastructure.

The Optical Confederation submitted an IT bid to NHS England earlier this year which contained an element of funding for optical practices to support them to comply with NHS Information Governance standards. LOCs will be aware that the initial bid was rejected; however, it should be noted that the Optical Confederation remains in dialogue with NHS England on the matter and it will be a central theme of the sector’s response to the current Call to Action.

Any optometrist or contractor wishing to sign up to NHSmail at present should be aware that in doing so they are accepting the burden of completing the NHS IG Toolkit unfunded. We remind colleagues that the GOS contract does not require contractors to complete NHS IGT."

More benefits and the same great value from the College of Optometrists

August 2014

For the fifth consecutive year, the College of Optometrists’ membership fees will remain unchanged, with new and improved benefits ready to be introduced.

The College’s new membership year starts on 1 October 2014, and soon after will see the launch of the Guidance for professional practice, the revised Code of Ethics and Guidance for Professional Conduct – a key reference for everyone within the profession. A new online version will be launched for members with an exclusive bound version for members only. And towards the end of this year a handy new guidance app for members will be launched – ideal for those operating in busy practices and hospital clinics or without ready access to wifi.

Exciting new changes are also being made to two of the College’s most popular benefits - patient leaflets and the interactive CET events. Due to popular demand, the College is doubling the number of CET events on offer from September, with brand new ethical and clinical scenarios for our peer discussion sessions. These popular events give members the chance to challenge their knowledge and skills, network with other professionals in their local area, gain CET points and hear the latest news and views on key topics from expert speakers. With the increased number of events, they’re going to be easily accessible for more members than ever before.

The College will also be adding new topics to its hugely successful range of patient information leaflets on common eye conditions such as blepharitis and cataracts, starting with a leaflet on presbyopia. More than 1.7 million leaflets have been ordered by members since their launch in 2011, with feedback overwhelmingly positive.

The full member rate for fully-qualified, practising optometrists is £298.73, with discounts for newly-qualified, part-time and overseas members.

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications, said: “We have listened to our members and are working hard to deliver more of the benefits they want and use. By keeping fees frozen for another year, we truly believe that College membership delivers excellent value.”

College President, David Parkins, added: “The benefits of College membership are invaluable – from the in practice support we provide, such as patient leaflets and Clinical Management Guidelines, to the work we deliver on a national level, through research, to develop the evidence base for the profession, to educate the public in eye and vision care and protecting the profession. I look forward to welcoming our new and returning members over the coming months.”

Obituary – Philip Cookson

August 2014

The FMO is sorry to report the death of Lieutenant-Commander Philip Cookson, 82, secretary of the UK optical trade association from 1988 to the mid-1990s.

A distinguished naval career as a submarine commander, and latterly as Chief Operations Officer for the Sultan of Oman’s navy, was followed by a return to the UK for Bristolian, Cookson.

He is pictured (right) with his successor at The FMO, the late Rory Forsyth (left) visiting Eyefashion 2000 at the Royal Agriculture Hall, Islington, the precursor to Optrafair London. His hands on approach to staging the FMO’s trade shows was a driving force behind the unrivalled status of Optrafair as the leading UK optical show, believes the optical body.

“Philip was a warm and charming man who always had a twinkle in his eye but at the same time he was shrewd and efficient which given his background was not surprising. He did an excellent job for the FMO,” said Kingsley Sleep, FMO Director.

Practitioners slow in redeeming their right to a CET grant

August 2014

The NHS grant for continuing education and training (CET) for optometrists and OMPs is an important NHS contribution to the quality of NHS community eye care. It is therefore in the best interests of patients, the profession, the NHS and indeed the tax-payer for the grant to be claimed and used for the benefit of patients. Currently, however, between only 50% and 60% of the grant is being claimed nationally, which is not what Parliament (which sets the regulations) and NHS England and the health departments (which provide the funding) intend.

In view of this the OC has set out an explanation and guidance on claiming the allowance as follows:

This guidance is intended to support both contractors/practices and performers/practitioners in ensuring all CET grants are appropriately claimed.

Professional Duty

The Optical Confederation considers that it is the professional duty of both contractors and performers to ensure that all CET grants are claimed where appropriate.

The Optical Confederation looks to all contractors to be as helpful as possible to performers to ensure that all grants are claimed.

Who should receive the grant

The grant is the NHS’s contribution for the loss of chair-time incurred in undertaking appropriate CET.

Optometrists are eligible to claim the grant if

i. They have carried out at least one GOS sight test in the year 2013
ii. They have gained at least 1 GOC approved CET point during 2013

If 12 points or more of CET, meeting GOC requirements for type and mix, have been provided by the contractor in paid time, both performers and contractors should ensure the grant is claimed and it may be retained by the contractor.

If CET has not been provided by the contractor in paid time but has been carried out at the performer’s own expense and in their own time, both performers and contractors should ensure the grant is claimed and passed on to the performer.

Except in exceptional circumstances, contractors should assist performers to claim and receive the grant to which they are entitled for the benefit of patients and the good of the profession.

Where the CET has been provided partly in paid working time

• the grant should be divided between the contractor and performer pro rata unless otherwise agreed between them (ideally in advance and in writing). For example, based on a target of 12 CET points per year, four CET points provided by the contractor in paid time would entitle the contractor to retain one third of the grant and two thirds should be passed on to the performer.
• the contractor should ensure that the grant is claimed.

More than one Employer/Engager

Where a performer is employed or engaged by more than one contractor, the performer should agree with their contractors (ideally in advance and in writing) which contractor will process the claim for them. A model form of words is attached at Annex 1 for this purpose.

Self-Employed Performers

In the case of self-employed performers, the contractor processing the claim may charge a fee to the performer, to reflect reasonable administrative costs.

A sensible way of managing the process which documents the transaction would be for the contractor to ask the performer to submit an invoice for the grant.

Self-employed performers are advised to check that contractors engaging them are willing to process their CET claim.

Where, in exceptional circumstances, a performer is unable to find a contractor by whom they have been engaged or employed and who is also willing to process the claim and to pass on the grant, the Optical Confederation will encourage another contractor to assist.

Performers claiming through a contractor by whom they have not been employed or engaged are advised to provide their chosen contractor with evidence of their eligibility in the form of

b. A print out of their CET records for the year 2013 so that the contractor may be assured that the performer is eligible to claim. The print out is available from the GOC website.
c. A declaration signed by a contractor for whom they did GOS sight tests during 2013, stating that they did GOS tests for their practice in 2013.


The grant is considered to be taxable income and should be treated accordingly. Employers should be aware that, when processing a claim on behalf of an employee (as opposed to a self-employed practitioner),they are liable to pay employers NI in addition to employees NI/tax on the gross amount. They may wish, by prior agreement with the employee, to deduct this from the gross amount

Self-employed practitioners, however, should note that the costs incurred in attending CET courses may be tax deductable.

Employment Status

The Government has designed the CET system to be processed through an NHS contractor.

Where a contractor processes a CET claim on behalf of a self-employed performer, this is no indication of employment status and should not be construed as such.

Where a contractor processes a CET claim for a performer who, for whatever reason, is unable to have their claim processed through one of their regular employers or engagers, this again does not imply any relationship of employment between them or any other contractual relationship beyond the simple one of processing a grant on behalf of the NHS to ensure it reaches an entitled performer.

Use of the invoice system described in paragraph 12 reinforces this point.

If a performer is unable to find a contractor to process their grant, their LOC/ROC/AOC or Optical Confederation representative body will be willing to help. (See also paragraphs 15 and 29.)

Retired optometrists

Practitioners who have ceased to practise in 2014 but who carried out the required CET in 2013 may still claim. They should provide, along with their claim form, a printout of their 2013 CET record, a copy of the GOC certificate of registration for 2013 and evidence of their entry on the performers list for 2013. They must still claim via a contractor.
Claims to NHS England (Area Teams)

Claims for performers in England should be processed through the NHS England Area Team which manages the performer’s list entry. The Area Team can pay a claim to any contractor on behalf of a performer, whether or not that contractor has a contract with the Area Team in question.

Claims for contractors should be made to the Area Team with which the contractor has a contract.

Claims for 2013

The window for making CET claims in 2014 in respect of CET undertaken in 2013 is 4 July 2014 – 14 November 2014

The claims form and guidance are available on the PHN Business Briefing pages or click here

Contractors and performers are advised to agree on how their claims will be processed as early as possible so that any problems can be resolved long before the claims window closes.

Contractors submitting CET forms are advised to confirm receipt with their Area Team; in the past some have gone astray.

Similarly performers who submit their countersigned forms themselves are advised to keep a copy and/or check receipt with the Area Team.

Elizabeth Taylor joins Heidelberg Engineering

August 2014

Heidelberg Engineering has extended the UK support team with the appointment of Elizabeth Taylor as Sales and Marketing Assistant. Co-ordinating all aspects of the technology leader’s exhibitions and sales activity, Elizabeth is based at the Heidelberg Engineering head office in Hemel Hempstead.

“Working at Heidelberg Engineering is very rewarding: there is so much to do with all of the exhibitions and educational events that we hold around the UK. The company ethos is fantastic and I like being part of a company which has such a premium product,” said Elizabeth.

Here are some forthcoming training events:

26 September – Optometric User Training Day, Hemel Hempstead
23/24 October – National Optical Conference, NEC, Birmingham
16/17 November – National Eyecare Group + Peer Discussion, East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham

Up to 24 CET points on offer at the AIO 2014 Annual Conference

August 2014

The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) 2014 annual conference to be held at the Oxford Spires Four Pillars hotel on the 12th October 2014 will offer Optometrist and Dispensing Opticians up to 24 CET points in the form of

• Lectures from 8 eminent speakers ranging through subjects of clinical, audit, tear physiology, instrumental and refractive interest
• Workshops on paediatric dispensing, corneal topography, OCT in action and VRICS
• Poster sessions from Alcon and ABDO
• Peer Discussion sessions for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians

All Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians in Independent practice are invited to attend this year’s conference which will be formally opened by Henrietta Alderman.

In addition there will be

• Exhibition and product display supported by Topcon, Optos, No 7 Contact lenses, NEG, William Morris, Alcon, Eyeplan, Norville, Seiko and Replicate Retina
• Opportunities for one to one 30 minute sessions with Marc Bennett , Chartered Accountant - on any one of the following subjects a) Reducing tax on a practice sale; b) Practice valuation; c)Minimising tax on profit extraction; d) VAT repayments;
• AIO Business Program Monday 13th October – Help and Advice for AIO members from Patrick Myers, AOP and others
• AIO Social Program Friday 10th to Monday 13th including AIO private visit to Blenheim Palace
• AIO Sunday Night - Gala Dinner - Back to the 70s with the Bee Gees tribute band

Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel offers an excellent location, an elegant setting and a host of business and leisure facilities, just half a mile from the centre of Oxford.

Premier sponsor – Topcon

As conference organisers, AIO members, Claire and Keith Pearce say ‘Just come for a day or the whole weekend - you will not be disappointed!’

Click here for the Saturday CET programme

VISION2020 UK promote low vision equipment tailored for children with Bigger, Better Vision competition

August 2014

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation bringing together agencies across the sight loss and eye health sector, is running a low vision device design competition for children and young people, ‘Bigger, Better Vision’, supported by Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA).

An initiative of the VISION 2020 UK Children’s Low Vision Sub Group, ‘Bigger, Better Vision’ encourages young people from across the UK to submit a design, photograph or written description of a creatively modified low vision device. Entrants are encouraged to let loose their imaginations and think creatively about adapting devices (ideally those which are widely available), to make them more attractive to use.

Mary Bairstow, chair of the VISION 2020 UK Children’s Low Vision Sub Group said: “With our Bigger, Better Vision competition, we hope to highlight the lack of low vision equipment that is tailored for children, with devices traditionally aimed at an older generation.

Young people often reject visual aids, because they stand out and make them look different, leading to feelings of social exclusion. Young people want their low vision aids to be designed for them, in the way that many other products are, with choices that reflect their individuality and identity.”

Tracie Tappenden of VICTA commented: “We’re proud to support the work of the VISION 2020 UK Children’s Low Vision Sub Group through the Bigger, Better competition. We hope that this encourages manufacturers to create vision aids that are attractive and appealing to children, and something that they can be proud of.”

Thanks to VICTA, winners in each of the two categories (8 years and under, and 9-16 years), will receive an iPad. Winners will be announced on World Sight Day, 9th October 2014. Entries close 12th September 2014.

For an application form, please visit

LOCSU publishes new Strategic Plan

August 2014

In its updated strategic plan LOCSU sets out what they want to achieve over the next three years during a period where the NHS in England is under significant pressure.

They say that the focus of commissioners will be increasingly on measuring patient outcomes and we must ensure that community services can demonstrate robust outcomes.

The LOCSU CEO, Katrina Venerus said that the two major themes going forward will be in:

“Supporting and enabling LOCs to increase the role of community optometrists and optician in providing primary eye care services and providing excellent support for LOCs and LEHNs.”

Katrina said “I believe that the Call to Action provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand the scope of primary care and I am confident that our strategy will make certain that we focus on delivering the objectives we have set. I am delighted to present our plan for the next three years.”

The newly published plan contains a new mission statement which specifies its aim to provide practical support together with strategic advice to Local Optical Committees (LOCs) and Local Eye Health Networks (LEHNs) and to help them address local needs by:

• improving eye health and preventing visual impairment through supporting high-quality primary ophthalmic services
• working with NHS Commissioners, Health and Wellbeing Boards and other providers to deliver integrated local eye care services focused on patients and outcomes at best value
• enhancing and promoting clinical leadership at all levels in the sector, including effective two-way communication between the national optical bodies and local optical communities.

You can read the full strategic plan from our LOC open pages.

BCLA President to discuss contact lenses and young people

August 2014

British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) President, Susan Bowers, will ask members to consider if enough is being done to encourage children and young people to try contact lenses during her Presidential Address, to be held on the evening of Wednesday 24 September at the Royal College of Physicians in London.

In her talk, ‘A vision of the future: children’s contact lenses’, Susan will discuss thorny subjects such as: how many of your young myopes have increasing myopia?; and is hypermetropic eye length growth a dream, or a reality?

Her lecture is approved for one CET point for CLOs in three competencies (communication, contact lenses and ocular examination) and for optometrists in four competencies (communication, contact lenses, ocular disease and binocular vision).

Susan said: “The question I’d like members and guests to focus on during my address is – are we prescribing enough to children and young people? Fitting youngsters and teens with contact lenses can be both challenging and rewarding, but the potential benefits to their quality of life are indisputable.

“Now we are successfully prescribing lenses for myopia control, should controlling hypermetropic eye length growth with lenses be next on our agenda?”

BCLA members may attend the address for free, along with one non-member guest each. Drinks will be served from 6.30pm and Susan’s presentation will run from 7-8pm. Attendees are invited to join the President for dinner afterwards at the RCP, at a cost of £45 per head (subject to availability and pre-booking).

BCLA welcomes GOC’s illegal practice strategy

August 2014

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has welcomed the General Optical Council’s approval of a new strategy to tackle illegal practice in the optical sector. (As reported earlier last week on PHN news)

The strategy covers all types of illegal practice prohibited by the Opticians Act 1989, from misrepresentation of title to online contact lens sales that do not comply with UK law.

The GOC said it would now take a proactive, multi-pronged approach to reducing public harm by raising awareness among contact lens wearers of the need to follow aftercare advice and have regular check-ups, promoting a code of practice for online contact lens suppliers, acting on complaints in line with its prosecution protocol and strengthening its collaboration with other bodies with a role in enforcement and promoting public health.

GOC Chair, Gareth Hadley, said: “Our independent research has demonstrated the risks to patient safety that illegal practice can cause. In particular, illegal sales of both powered and cosmetic contact lenses can cause a significant risk to the public.

“One of the key strands is raising public awareness of the importance of using contact lenses safely, including the need for regular aftercare. Practitioners will continue to have a crucial role in educating their patients about the importance of wearing contact lenses safely. Effective collaboration across the sector will be crucial if we’re to make a difference, particularly in encouraging patients to change their behaviour.”

BCLA CEO, Cheryl Donnelly, commented: “We are pleased that the GOC has now officially pledged to take a more proactive approach to enforcing the law with regards to the sale and supply of contact lenses by businesses trading online.

“I am looking forward to working with our colleagues at the GOC and the Optical Confederation to develop the strategy for raising public awareness and code of practice for online contact lens retailers. Illegal sales practice in this sector not only potentially puts patients’ eye health at risk, but it damages the contact lens industry by giving these sellers an unfair advantage over registered suppliers and practitioners.

“This is a very positive step in the right direction and one we very much welcome,” Cheryl added.

The GOC strategy was subject to a public consultation from 3 March until 3 June. This included a public event on 12 May, which brought together stakeholders including registrants, patient representatives, professional bodies, including the BCLA, manufacturers and retailers to discuss the GOC’s proposed approach.

College of Optometrists to remember the First World War at Open House 2014

August 2014

The College of Optometrists will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War when it opens its doors to the public during Open House 2014 on Sunday 21 September.

Visitors will be transported back to 1914 for the launch of the British Optical Association museum’s First World War trail, housed at the College’s headquarters. During the event, a costumed character will provide insight and anecdotes on the health and vision of the war’s volunteer recruits.

The College will be open to the public between 1pm and 5pm, and there is no need to book in advance. Neil Handley, Museum Curator, said: “This is the eleventh year the College has taken part in Open House, and it seemed fitting that we acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War this time.”

The College welcomed nearly 600 visitors during the Open House London event last year. Open House is held every year for one weekend in September, during which a wide range of buildings usually closed to the public can be visited completely free of charge.

CLAE Impact Factor rating rises again

August 2014

The reputation and status of the peer-reviewed journal of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), Contact Lens & Anterior Eye (CLAE), has been elevated once more with a new Impact Factor (IF) rating of 2.0.

CLAE received its first ever IF rating of 1.421 in the summer of 2012 from Thomson Reuters, one of the world’s leading sources of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. It then rose to 1.5 in July 2013.

The latest IF rating of 2.0 means that every paper published during 2011/12 was cited 2x in other papers during 2013. This now ranks CLAE 23rd out of 58 ophthalmic peer reviewed journals that are listed by Thomson Reuters.

CLAE Editor-in-Chief, Dr Shehzad Naroo, commented: “‘Last year our Impact Factor improved from 1.421 to 1.500 and we were ranked 29th out of the ophthalmology related journals that have an Impact Factor. Our aim for this year was to get into the top half, and we managed to do that with a new Impact Factor of 2.0, which takes us to 23rd out of 58 related journals.

“We are extremely pleased with this result and hope to build on it for the future,” Shehzad added.

BCLA President, Susan Bowers, said: “I am personally delighted that the Impact Factor for CLAE is now 2.0 – a considerable rise from the 1.421 it was only two years ago. All credit is due to Dr Shehzad Naroo, who has worked tirelessly to achieve this great recognition for our journal.”

Following our previous news dispatch on GOC standards review it is now to hold a consultation event

August 2014

The General Optical Council (GOC) is to host a public consultation event as part of its strategic review of standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians.

The event will take place on Friday 26 September at 14:00 at Friends House, Euston and will be independently facilitated.

The standards review will seek to ensure that the GOC’s standards continue to reflect good practice now and in the future, whilst enabling optical professionals to develop their roles – for example, by delivering more enhanced services in the community.

Stakeholders are asked to consider how optometrists and dispensing opticians’ practice may evolve in the future, and how the GOC’s standards should adapt to ensure continuing patient safety.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Samantha Peters, said: “We really want stakeholders to attend this event and provide their input on how the changing health climate will impact upon the optical sector and practitioners.

“With an increasing and ageing population, growing pressures on the NHS and the development of new technology, it is crucial our standards allow our registrants to develop their practice whilst patient safety continues to be ensured. I therefore strongly encourage all of our stakeholders to attend this event and help us with this review.”

The event is free to attend but delegates must register in advance due to limited capacity. Registration for the event can be completed online via the GOC website at
Alternatively, attendees can call the GOC on 020 7580 3898 (option 4), or email

The World Council of Optometry announces new membership categories

August 2014

The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has announced the launch of two new membership categories following their Governing Board meeting in Maputo last month.

The two categories are ‘Individual’ and ‘Corporate’ membership. WCO has introduced these categories in order to make the organisation accessible to people who want to support their work.
Individual membership will be open to individual optometrists (as defined by WCO), vision scientists, faculty, researchers and eye care industry professionals. The cost of individual membership is $100 and $50 if the individual member is from a developing country.

Corporate memberships are open to commercial organisations that are not otherwise eligible for Associate or Affiliate membership and have a recognised and approved business relationship with an Associate, Affiliate or Individual member.

Individual and Corporate members must endorse the WCO concept of optometry and support WCO's vision and mission. The fee for Corporate membership is $900 per annum.

Susan Cooper, President of The World Council of Optometry said: “We have created these new membership categories in order for us to grow our membership base while recognising and celebrating the support we have from individuals and organisations around the world. You do not have to be an optometrist to be interested in our mission is to promote eye health and vision care as a human right through advocacy, education and policy development. We look forward to welcoming new individuals and organisations to our membership body.”

Astronauts Centre at NASA reports on structural changes to the eyes in long term space activity on Space Stations with retinal folds and swollen Optic Nerves

August 2014

NASA has now started monitoring astronauts while at the space station using an OCT which the crew has been trained to use.

There have been regular changes to the retina and lamina as well as swelling of optic nerve heads reported by returning spacemen.

A number of theories have been put forward for these changes which involve micro-gravity and increased optic nerve or cranial pressures.

You can view the interview from NASA below:



OC provides further new advice for all practitioners on protecting frail and elderly patients and children

August 2014

The updated safeguarding and prevent guidance – which applies to all practitioners deals more with spotting whether someone (an adult, child or colleague etc.) is either a) suffering from abuse or b) becoming radicalised in a dangerous manner – and registrants’ professionals duties/responsibilities should they notice such things going on.

The update incorporates information from the recently published Intercollegiate Guidance for Safeguarding Children (2014) and further updates on the government’s Prevent Strategy.

The Prevent Strategy is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy led by the Home Office to which the NHS is a signatory. The Prevent agenda requires healthcare organisations to work with the police to contribute to the prevention of terrorism.

Click here for the latest guidance

Silmo 2014 is in the starting blocks and ready to roll

August 2014

SILMO organizers remind us that it’s just two months to go until the start of this year's major international gathering of the optics industry... an event that promises to be dynamic and diverse with a string of new exhibitors, an improved layout, a relevant programme of events and, as usual, a warm welcome.
Around a thousand companies are expected to attend: 800 have already registered (for an up-to-date list, go to

Silmo welcome more than a hundred new exhibitors this year, including Marchon, De Rigo Vision, Schneider, Stepper, Satisloh, Bushnell Outdoor Products, Budri, Kirk & Kirk, and many more.

The growth in the number of Italian companies exhibiting is remarkable, as is the continued presence of Korean designers.

SILMO organizers have revamped and enhanced their website with a wealth of information on markets, trends, and news about the trade fair.

There are new exhibition zones and an improved layout designed to facilitate your visit: Luxury, Sport, Connected Opticians etc.

• Stimulating events to further your knowledge:

SILMO ACADEMY, providing training to opticians,
FASHION STYLE, dedicated to fashion brands,
TRENDS FORUM, this year devoted to colour.

• New pop-up catering areas tailored to suit individual requirements including vegetarian, halal, kosher, Japanese cuisine, etc.

Between 26 and 29 September 2014, change your view of the international optics and eyewear sector; go experience the SILMO buzz and join the PHN team who will be there as media partners this year.

View our SILMO preview page

GOC issues call for evidence over optical standards

August 2014

The General Optical Council (GOC) has recently issued a call for evidence as it launches a strategic review of the standards it sets for optometrists and dispensing opticians.

The review will seek to ensure that the GOC’s standards continue to reflect good practice now and in the future, while enabling optical professionals to develop their roles – for example, by delivering more enhanced services in the community.

The call for evidence asks stakeholders to consider how optometrists and dispensing opticians’ scopes of practice may evolve in the future, and how the GOC’s standards should therefore adapt to ensure continuing patient safety.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Samantha Peters, said: “An increasing number of older people, pressures on the NHS and new technology will all have a significant impact on the optical sector in the coming years. “It is crucial that our standards reflect the changing nature of optical care – allowing practitioners to flourish while ensuring patient safety remains paramount. To help us in this project I’d encourage all of our stakeholders to consider how the world of optics may change in the coming years and feed into our call for evidence.”

The call for evidence closes on 10 October 2014. It is open for the public to respond to at

PHN commits to another big week in September for NEHW

July 2014

Last year PHN helped out NEHW and the Eyecare Trust by ramping up the marketing and PR to the public in news media, online articles to both the public and professions as well as increased social networking via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It enabled us at PHN to reach over 35,000 people online in one form or another in the NEHW week.

This year with now over 1000 Facebook professional followers as well as many public followers in the same medium PHN intends to attempt to beat last year’s record with your help.

PHN will focus on the Vision Strategy 2020 campaign for grater uptake of sight care services with an emphasis of getting more information to the community.
This will be linked to a greater awareness of UV damage to the eyes particularly with Children in mind.

There are many areas that need better communication to the public but in one week we at PHN feel the need to focus on two major topics.

To integrate and involve practices simply into the week’s efforts PHN is devising an effective “Eyes Right” guide with a brief introduction to sight loss that can often be curtailed, followed by a brief explanation of the dangers of UV exposure and how to reduce it. And finally an explanation of enhanced community care what it does and where to locate practices that provide it. Each leaflet will have the ability to be stamped by practices or LOC contact details and will be distributed at cost plus vat. Practices and LOCs will also be able to download a PDF and print as and when needed.

The leaflet has been designed to remain of use to the community after NEHW has finished with its key element being the explanation of eyecare and enhanced community services. It will be suitable to add to reminder letters and as a desk leaflet in libraries and GP surgeries.

Before and during NEHW Practices providing or marketing special days in the event can send us a 300 word max. explanation of their plans plus a jpeg of practice or of community venue and personnel. ( )

Further announcements will be made when the leaflet is ready for ordering and distribution and LOCs or individuals will be able to order online with payment either by PayPal or by Cheque at the point of order.

Braemar Finance to compete in 2014 Vet Charity Challenge

July 2014

Nationwide specialist lenders to the veterinary market, Braemar Finance have signed up a team of four for the 2014 Vet Charity Challenge to raise money for animal related charities.

The challenge, which takes place on 27th September at St Francis School, Pewsey, Wiltshire will raise vital funds for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, Cats Protection and the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA).

The challenge will last for a full day and involve walking, running, off-road biking, kayaking along with mental and physical team challenges and orienteering along the way.

The team will be headed up by local Area Manager, Steve Forsyth as Team Captain with Colin Cornish, Office Supervisor, Andrea Hill and Accountant Marion Guthrie.

Steve Forsyth commented: “We are all really excited to be taking part in the Vet Charity Challenge. We see this as a great way to get fitter and we will be training throughout the summer, albeit separately due to our locations, to make sure we are up for the challenge.”

Last year the Vet Charity Challenge raised over £50,000 and we hope that with our fundraising efforts, they can raise even more in 2014.

If you would like to donate, please visit

College journal now ranked 13th in the world

July 2014

The College of Optometrists research journal, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (OPO), has become one of the most important journals in ophthalmology and vision science. It has increased its Impact Factor from 1.74 to 2.66, ranking it as 13th ophthalmology, optometry and vision science journals. This is the first time that OPO has been in the top 20 and now stands as the top optometry journal in the world, making it one of the key sources for the latest scientific evidence in the field of vision research.

The Impact Factor is the internationally accepted measure of the impact of an academic journal’s content over a two-year period. This is calculated through the number of citations of OPO articles in this period, meaning that the work it includes is relevant, rigorous and influential.

Professor David Elliott, Editor-in-Chief of OPO, said: “We are very proud to be able to say that OPO is recognised as a key resource for academics, clinicians and researchers in optometry, ophthalmology and vision science, and pleased that the issues in the last couple of years have been so successful. This is down to a great team effort from our associate editors, editorial board members, feature issue editors, authors, reviewers and staff at the College and Wiley publishers.

“We hoped that our feature issues, invited review papers and point-counterpoint articles would be of value to the field, and we are delighted that this has been the case. We hope too that some of the papers will have immediate and direct relevance for College members and the great majority will be of benefit to the evidence base for the profession and cited in CET and CPD articles and lectures.”

David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “The College recognises that a strong profession is built on robust evidence, and OPO has been producing that evidence now for nearly 90 years. We would like to thank the Editor, his Associates and the journal’s Editorial Board for all their great work in increasing OPO’s impact factor with its centenary on the horizon.”

OPO is available to all College members. Look out for a new OPO app, exclusively for College members, launching this Autumn.

SILMO Association adds another International Show in Istanbul

July 2014

The Silmo Association and Comexposium are working together to launch a new business event for the optics and eyewear sector: Following the first successful edition of Istanbul Optik Fuari journal last December, the goal of Silmo Istanbul is to become the flagship Eurasian trade fair. Scheduled to take place on 11 - 14 December 2014, it is ideally located in Istanbul, the economic, artistic and cultural capital of Turkey and bridge between Europe and Asia.

With annual growth of around 10%, the optics and eyewear market in Turkey is exhibiting a dynamism and potential that promises fantastic development opportunities for companies within the sector.

The zone of influence of this new trade fair will extend from the countries bordering Turkey in the near and Middle East as far as East Africa, the preferred target of Turkey's economic development.

On the banks of the Bosphorus, visitors and exhibitors will be able to rediscover the key elements of the Silmo brand, together with the experience and original communication know-how of leading local experts.

The Silmo Association, was founded in 1967 and brings together French optics and eyewear manufacturers, and is the owner of the Silmo Paris exhibition and its long time organizing partner Comexposium is a European leader in event organization.

Latest OSCE results announced by the College of Optometrists

July 2014

The results are in for the College of Optometrists’ latest OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). 364 candidates sat the OSCE in July – the Scheme for Registration’s final assessment – resulting in a pass rate of 85%.

The OSCE consists of 17 five-minute stations, made up of 16 clinical tasks and a rest station. Each station assesses the candidates’ skills, including history taking, communication, data interpretation, clinical examination and practical skills.

During the OSCE candidates may be tested on any of the 82 Stage 2 competencies set out by the General Optical Council. This robust assessment acts as a final check that competence across the framework has been achieved and maintained. Examiners are looking for evidence that candidates understand the theory behind each element and can apply it in a clinical setting. The College has hosted four OSCEs a year since its inception in July 2010.

The College’s Director of Education, Jacqueline Martin commented: “The OSCE is the final assessment in the Scheme for Registration, and those who pass this vigorous assessment have clearly demonstrated their knowledge and skills, and their ability to put all that they have learnt through their degree and pre-registration training into practice.”

Dan Varcoe took part in July’s OSCE after completing his pre-reg training in Jersey. He said: “I’m relieved I’ve passed and very happy. Once I got to the OSCE and got started, I quite enjoyed it. It tests you on things you do every day, so it shouldn’t be a problem – it makes you realise how much you have learnt over the last few years. The wait for results was more nerve racking than the exam!” Now qualified, Daniel is ready to start his new job at an independent practice in Newquay, Cornwall.

The next OSCE will take place in September.

The OCSE is the last step in the College’s Scheme for Registration. The Scheme is a structured and supported route that gives trainees the chance to put into practice the skills learnt at university in a safe environment. With the support of a supervisor and the College assessment team, trainees are assessed against the Stage 2 competencies set out by the General Optical Council.

The first OSCE was held in July 2010, with a pass rate of 75%. The OSCE allows candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their ability across the competency framework and ensures that the Scheme for Registration is up-to-date and fit for purpose, underpinning the General Optical Council’s 82 core competencies.

These are the pass rates for the July OSCE since its introduction:

2010 – 75%
2011 – 78%
2012 – 80%
2013 – 85%
2014 - 85%

The July OSCE exam pass rate has increased incrementally since its introduction in 2010. This is in line with expectation as trainees have benefited from work-based assessments and a much more structured and supported route through their pre-registration period. The OSCE also examines trainees in all the areas they experience regularly in practice.

The College states that the OSCE is rigorous and objectively examined, with 14 independent examiners’ judgements contributing to the final decision.

London 2014 Education Destination with Deadline for early bird tickets approaching

July 2014

This autumn sees the return of the popular London 2014 Education Destination Therapeutics Seminar, jointly run by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) and SECO International.

Now in its third year, it will once again be held in London on 28-29 September.

New for 2014, the programme for the conference has been expanded and now offers two dedicated seminar tracks – therapeutics and, for the first time, children’s vision. Karen Sparrow, the AOP’s Head of Professional Services, said: “Moving to a larger venue has given us an ideal opportunity to expand our programme and add another specialist track highlighting children’s vision – a key special interest area for our members.”

Keynote speaker Dr Kimberley Reed, Associate Professor of Optometry at the Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, Florida, is an expert in ocular nutrition. Dr Reed joins Moorfields specialists and independent prescriber (IP) optometrists to offer a varied therapeutics-focused programme that will be relevant to IP, general optometrists and dispensing opticians alike.

The two-day seminar will cover the full range of GOC therapeutics competencies, alongside offering specialist Peer Discussion, creating the perfect programme for IP-qualified optometrists to gain all their competencies in one place. General optometrist and dispensing optician CET points are available for each lecture and session.

The children’s vision track includes presentations from Dr Maggie Woodhouse OBE and Moorfield’s specialist ophthalmologist, Ashwin Reddy, supported by Paul Adler and other children’s vision specialist practitioners. Barry Duncan, from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), will also be hosting the popular Paediatric Spectacle Dispensing Discussion Workshop, bringing specially made children’s prosthetic heads.

CET points will be available across the children’s track for optometrists and dispensing opticians.

SECO President Jim Herman commented: "SECO believes strongly in the importance of education and the role it plays in helping us provide the very best care to our patients. This meeting is an excellent opportunity to share knowledge between optometrists in the UK and the US and learn from one another."

The early bird deadline for booking closes on 31 July.

Google eyes up the Alcon division to develop its smart contact lenses

July 2014

We first reported earlier this year how the Google X department had trialed a Smart Soft Lens which had sensors embedded in it. Now they have chosen Novartis and its Alcon division to continue its development.

It is hoped that the Smart lens will measure glucose levels in diabetic tears as well as calculate the shortfall in presbyopia and adjust to restore the eyes accommodation.

LOCSU reminds delegates to book now for the National Optical Conference 2014

July 2014

LOCs are reminded that the NHS “Call to Action for Eye Health” provides the main theme for this year’s National Optical Conference to be held from 23-24 October 2014 in Birmingham. Dr David Geddes, NHS England’s Head of Primary Care Commissioning, has been confirmed as a keynote speaker and is expected to announce the initial findings of the Call to Action and to give his perspective on the way services will be commissioned in the future. The full programme of sessions and keynote speakers will be announced by LOCSU over the coming months.

PHN publishes SILMO 2014 Preview Page as show organizers gear up for big show

July 2014

“Preparations for the next edition of Silmo, the international optics and eyewear trade fair in Paris, are already up and running. This reflects Silmo's desire to offer the best business platform, an essential stage in forward planning, support companies in their development projects, demonstrate the industry's creative and innovative know-how and strengthen a solid network of professionals who share the same goals.

With a commitment to excellence and service, Silmo 2014 continues to pay particular attention to developing an outstanding package of information points providing a wealth of useful and relevant information:

• Fashion Style
• Trends Forum
• Merchandising workshop
• Silmo D'Or awards, etc.

And the much-awaited Silmo Academy.

On 28 and 29 September within the context of the trade show, the next edition of this scientific symposium will be chaired by Sarita Soni, Associate Vice President for Research at Indiana University and Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University-Bloomington. Focusing on the important and topical theme of "eye strain" read about the whole Symposium speakers listing and subjects.

From 26 to 29 September 2014, visit Silmo and learn more about the entire international optics and eyewear sector, at the heart of the global markets, at the forefront of innovation.”

Visit out Preview page

News from General Optical Council released today (July 24)

July 2014

Illegal practice strategy

Council approved the GOC’s new strategy for tackling illegal practice in the optical sector.

The strategy covers all types of illegal practice prohibited by the Opticians Act 1989, from misrepresentation of title to online contact lens sales that do not comply with UK law.

The GOC will now take a proactive, multi-pronged approach to reducing public harm by raising awareness among contact lens wearers of the need to follow aftercare advice and have regular check-ups, promoting a code of practice for online contact lens suppliers, acting on complaints in line with its prosecution protocol and strengthening its collaboration with other bodies with a role in enforcement and promoting public health.

The strategy was subject to a public consultation from 3 March until 3 June. This included a public event on 12 May which brought together stakeholders including registrants, patient representatives, professional bodies, manufacturers and retailers to discuss the GOC’s proposed approach.

Equality and diversity scheme

Council also approved the GOC’s new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Scheme.

The scheme includes proposals to ensure fair access to GOC services; to ensure that all staff, registrants, Council and committee members are adequately trained and informed of their duties in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion; and to gather more data to better understand the makeup of the optical professions.

The scheme had also been subject to a full public consultation, running from 24 February to 19 May.

Mandie Lavin appointed chief executive of CILEx

Samantha Peters, GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, announced that Mandie Lavin, GOC Director of Regulation, has been appointed as Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

Mandie will take up her position on 1 January 2015, until when she will remain in post at the GOC. The GOC will announce plans to appoint her successor later in the summer.

Samantha Peters said: “We’re sad to see Mandie leave but on a personal level I’m delighted to see her appointed to this well-deserved new role.

“It reflects extremely well on her work in nearly three years at the GOC, during which time she has been a valuable and highly influential colleague.

“Her achievements include introducing our new Fitness to Practise Rules, overseeing the implementation of our new enhanced CET Scheme and for two consecutive years seeing us meet all 24 of the Professional Standards Authority’s Standards of Good Regulation.

“I’d like to thank Mandie for her help and support in her time here and I wish her the very best for the future.”

Other news

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley announced that the GOC will publicly launch its standards review on 31 July by publishing a call for evidence. This will be an open consultation seeking stakeholders’ initial views on the project. The GOC will publish further information next week when the review launches.

Council considered the GOC’s performance review report from the Professional Standards Authority (the Authority), the body which oversees its work. The GOC met all 24 of the Authority’s Standards of Good Regulation; more information about this is available at

Council also approved an anti-bribery, theft, fraud, money laundering and corruption policy and a statement of intent about sustainability.

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

SILMO 2014 announce Symposium details

July 2014

3 sessions are to run over the Sunday (28th Sept) and Monday (29th Monday) of the event.

”Eye strain, why and how?” by Professor Jean Claude Hache, ophthalmologist and Chairman of the Symposium

Session 2 titled “SOLUTIONS TO EYE STRAIN”
• “Changes in visual discomfort with age” by Mireia Pacheco Cutillas, optometrist, Barcelone
“Eye strain, analysing the depth of the task" by Marie Agnès Poillot, optician, orthoptist and professor

And on Monday 29th September 10.00am – 1:00pm

Guest speaker: “Eye strain in children” by Sarita Soni, OD, MS, FAAO Associate Vice President for research, Indiana University

Professor Jean Claude Hache, Chair of the Silmo Academy symposium, is a renowned and respected neuro-ophthalmologist.

He was responsible for developing, for the first time in France, a department dedicated to the functional exploration of vision at Lille Regional University Hospital, which has rendered invaluable services in the fields of healthcare and education. His research is characterised by a diversity of approaches, ranging from the most basic procedures in clinics through to technology transfer.

WORKSHOP (in English):

Google glass: Introduction for eye care professionals by Eli Peli, Optometrist, Harvard Medical School
• Monday 29 September 2014, 9.00am to 10.00am

Registration to the Scientific Symposium is at with this code:PRSILMAC

BCLA welcomes new Medical rep to Council

July 2014

Consultant ophthalmologist and ophthalmic surgeon, Teifi James, has joined the Council of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) as Medical Representative.

A Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Teifi is well known within the UK contact lens profession, having lectured extensively on his specialist subjects of dry eye disease and meibomian gland dysfunction. He currently runs the Yorkshire Regional Uveitis and Inflammatory Eye disease service at the Royal Halifax Infirmary. Commenting on his new role, Teifi said: “It’s a privilege and a pleasure to join the BCLA Council, and I’m very much looking forward to help further improve the professional profile of contact lens practice. I am particularly interested in improving the management of contact lens dry eye, and associated contact lens discomfort, and reducing dropout.

“As one of two Medical Reps on Council, I realise I will also have a liaison role between ophthalmology and contact lens practice – having a foot in both camps. It will be great to be part of a multidisciplinary team with diverse skills and experience – working together to develop the BCLA over the next few years.”

BCLA President, Susan Bowers, said: “On behalf of the BCLA Council, I am delighted to welcome anterior segment specialist Teifi to the team. His knowledge and expertise in dry eye and inflammatory eye disease will be invaluable to our educational programme going forwards.”

Optrafair action group plans outstanding show

July 2014

Support for Optrafair 2015 has reached a new high following the formation of an action group to build a fresh dynamism to the show. Led by show owners, The FMO, the group is comprised of frame, lens, technology and IT company exhibitors, plus decision makers who are experienced in the exhibition world from The BCLA and ABDO.

Examining both the exhibitor and visitor expectations and experiences, the group is looking at marketing initiatives, the importance of pre-show marketing and product launches.
A greater emphasis on business and allied fields are to be encouraged, plus a close examination of the delivery of education.

“The enthusiasm and commitment of the group is exceptional and signals that Optrafair 2015 is going to open many eyes to new aspects of business and clinical care,” said Optrafair Chairman Malcolm Polley.

Amongst those joining the group, from the IT sector is Alice Austin, Ocuco Vice President Sales and Marketing; Krysten Williams, UK Director of Heidelberg Engineering, the eye scanning technology company; and Andrew Yorke Managing Director of Topcon, also representing IT practice management and diagnostic technologies; plus Continental Eyewear’s Neal Grimason and Howard Librae of Brulimar: both experienced international exhibitors who have much to offer the advance of Optrafair for frame and fashion innovation.

Approaching the future of the show with an open mind, the group would be interested to hear from members of the profession who feel that they have an input to make to the continuing leadership of this, the flagship annual event.

The show launch on Sept 17 at The NEC, Birmingham, which is geared towards all exhibitors and potential exhibitors, will explore many of the new concepts.

A series of Topcon Educational Symposiums are to be launched

July 2014

With the growth of Topcon University (TU) and the imminent launch of the new global TU portal, Topcon are unveiling a series of eleven Topcon Educational Symposiums that will take TU on the road.

These Symposiums are to commence in October this year and the eleven locations will include: Belfast; Birmingham; Bradford; Cambridge; Cardiff; Dublin; Glasgow; Central London; Manchester; Newcastle and Plymouth.

Bringing education to your doorstep has been the long standing ambition for Topcon GB Ltd. The well know manufacturer praises its highly skilled sales and service teams, which are to hand every step of the way. More recently, the Clinical Affairs Professionals, offering advanced clinical training that is customised to each customers’ requirements, headed by Dr Catharine Chisholm since June 2014.

These complimentary evening Symposiums will provide a platform to learn, share best practice, and keep up to date with the latest technology trends. Commencing at 4pm the events will include a keynote lecture and a series of workshops with a focus on Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT); slit lamp imaging and the necessary equipment for contact lens fitters.

With the focus on the integration of OCT in day to day practice; clinical referral pathway, and the OCT marketing process to achieve return on investment, these events are designed specifically for Topcon OCT users or those looking to invest in OCT technology.

The domiciliary eye care Code of Practice has been updated by the Optical Confederation’s Domiciliary Eyecare Committee. It has also been endorsed by the College of Optometrists and LOCSU.

July 2014

The new Code provides guidelines for best practice in the provision of domiciliary eye care. It ensures that the priority is always on what is in the best interests of the patient. The Code sets out a standard to which all providers should adhere to ensure patient choice and personalised care.

Chair of the Domiciliary Eyecare Committee, optometrist Dawn Roberts, said, “We hope that the new Code will not only act as a benchmark for providers but also give relatives, carers and health and social care professionals an indication as to what they should expect. Ultimately, we as a profession must ensure that the domiciliary patient receives the same level of personalised care as they would receive on the high street.”

The Code will also be a source of reference for relatives and carers and will be widely circulated to other health and social care professionals involved in residential care. Dawn explained, ‘Ensuring that vulnerable people have access to high-quality eye care remains a high priority for the Optical Confederation and the wider sector. Eye health at any age is precious; this applies as much to people who cannot get to a high street practice as those who can.

The changing landscape of the NHS has presented an opportune time to review the Code of Practice, last updated in 2009, particularly as most domiciliary tests are conducted under the NHS.”

The new Code of Practice is available to download here from our clinical briefing pages.

AMD under the spotlight at College of Optometrists’ Aberdeen event

July 2014

Dr Zachariah Koshy, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon, NHS Ayr Hospital, will put AMD under the spotlight at the College of Optometrists’ free member event in Aberdeen this September.

Dr Koshy will present his lecture ‘The battle against AMD: understanding the enemy, the weapons, the strategy’ on 17 September at the Thistle Aberdeen Altens Hotel.

He said: “This presentation is designed to supplement optometrists’ understanding of disease manifestation and progression of various types of AMD, help them to make informed decisions on treatment, and better understand the role they should play in the shared management of patients with AMD. “It’s important that optometrists know about current treatment protocols and future directions of AMD, and I will be discussing imaging, dietary supplementation and research trends. I hope that delegates will leave this presentation with a more rounded knowledge of a condition which is the leading cause of blindness in the UK.”

Delegates who attend Dr Koshy’s lecture will earn one interactive CET point.

This lecture is part of the College’s series of events which take place across the UK throughout the year. Catherine Bithell, Director of Marketing and Member Services, said: “Our events give members an opportunity to hear from leading experts on a range of topics, and take part in peer discussion. They also allow members to earn CET points, meet their local College Council representative, and network with other optometrists in their area.”

The lecture will follow networking time, a buffet, and a peer discussion session which is worth three CET points. The peer discussion will cover cases on: performance concerns; a cataract patient reluctant to have surgery; and low test reliability.

European Academy of Optometry and Optics invites clinical workshop proposals for annual conference in Hungary

July 2014

The European Academy of Optometry and Optics is inviting clinical workshop abstract submissions for their seventh annual conference, Budapest 2015. The conference is a joint meeting with the European Council of Optometry and Optics’ (ECOO) Spring meeting and is set to take place 14-17 May 2015 in Budapest, Hungary, in association with the Hungarian Craft Union of Private Opticians.

The Academy welcomes ideas for clinical workshops in the form of abstracts, which briefly and clearly indicate what the workshop is about, what skills will be developed and who the content is aimed at. Abstracts from experienced professionals across Europe can submit any topic until 8 September 2014, however abstracts in the following subject areas in particular are welcomed:

• binocular vision
• dry eye
• contact lenses.

Workshops in Budapest will cover a variety of clinical topics and will demonstrate practical skills to delegates with very different scopes of practice. They will be up to three hours long and at least 75% of the time will be used for delegates to practise specific examination techniques with equipment. Workshops will provide a unique in-depth learning experience in a range of areas that will provide something for everyone.

Professor Paul Murphy, President of the Academy, said: “Last year we were delighted to be able to offer longer, more detailed and more hands-on workshops. We know that learning new clinical skills is of huge interest to many of our delegates, so we are once again offering these unique opportunities in Budapest, on a range of topics and with content at various levels of practice from newly qualified to more experienced practitioners.”

“We encourage proposals for exciting and helpful workshops from our colleagues across Europe for next year’s meeting”.

The conference brings together key stakeholders from over 25 countries across Europe to discuss and share the latest research, education and clinical practice and provides a platform to exchange knowledge and information on optometry, optics and dispensing and vision science.

This call is for clinical workshop abstracts only. An additional call for all other types of abstract will be issued at the beginning of October.

The closing date for submissions is Monday 8 September 2014.

More than 20 Spectacle Makers turned out at Hampton Court

July 2014

The members and guests of the Society of Spectacle Makers enjoyed a great day out at the Hampton Flower Show recently. They were lucky to escape the massive rain storms that affected all points North, South, East and West of the showground and all enjoyed the delights of the many stall holders and exhibits.

After a long day of walking the group retired to a local restaurant for a pre-booked 3 course meal by the Thames. The Society of Spectacle Makers provides many trips throughout the year around the UK and are available to those who are Freeman of the Company and those who are Livery members. Guests and those wishing to experience a good social occasion with a view to joining the Spectacle Makers are always welcome where space is available.

It’s official! 100% optical was the biggest audited UK optical event this year

July 2014

5,010 unique visitors attended the launch of 100% Optical following an audit by the BPA, one of the world’s most respected independent auditing companies.

Event Director Nathan Garnett said “100% Optical is designed by award winning event professionals here at Media 10 and by leading optical professionals at the AOP. This has already proved to be a great recipe for success by delivering the largest optical event in the UK… in its launch year! This gives us grounds to be very excited about 2015, and it’s why so many companies are now joining us.”

Plans are already well underway for 2015, which will be 30% bigger
with even more eyewear and bigger halls for Equipment, Lenses and Business Services. Building on the success of popular features such as the 3D Frame Factory, 100% Optical 2015 will have more thought-provoking content and another ambitious education programme.

100% Optical is now Europe's fastest growing optical event. Media 10 gave us 10 great reasons to make sure you are part of 100% Optical 2015:

1. Bigger

More eyewear, more equipment, more lenses, more business services.

2. New Magazine

New quarterly printed magazine broadcasting the latest industry news and exhibitor releases.

3. Top 1000 opticians

100% Optical will invite the top 1000 opticians across Europe to be part of the industry’s fastest growing optical event.

4. International Research

100% Optical will build on its significant UK database with a campaign targeting 50-60,000 opticians across Europe and North America.

5. New Workshops

New skills workshops will champion the best in craftsmanship. More Fashion shows will showcase the latest styles and innovation.

6. Unbeatable Seminars

The largest seminar programme seen at a UK event will include more international speakers and more CET points.

7. Trend Forecasting

100% Optical will help produce the industry’s first large scale global trends report, which will be available to all visitors.

8. Update # Digital Magazine

100% Optical will build on its successful marketing campaign with a new bi-monthly magazine which will be distributed to 70,000 contacts internationally.

9. Downloadable Vouchers

Digital vouchers, available via the website and social media, will help exhibitors communicate show offers with opticians across Europe.

10. Postcard Wall

The very latest designs will be printed for a large-scale postcard gallery free to visitors. The wall will be an ideal platform for brands to showcase their designs in a take-away format, providing added exposure.

Primary Health Net Ltd confirmed as 100% Media Partners for 2nd Year running

July 2014

Yesterday following a full discussion on the aims and hopes of Media 10 for next year’s 100% Optical London show it was confirmed that PHN will continue as Media Partners for 2015.

“There are certainly exciting ideas for the 2015 show and we are pleased to provide PR and marketing support for this venture” said Bob Hutchinson Director at PHN. “This has been an exciting month for our company which was also selected as Media Partners for SILMO Paris 2014 recently. We are gaining much experience from our work with International and National shows which included working with Optrafair London, which we also hope to repeat next year in Birmingham.”

Supporting the exhibitors and keeping our 7000+ readership aware of what is planned is the main factor in us getting involved and we hope to provide these services as co partners for other major events not least the NEHW week which is fast looming up on the horizon.”

Legacies encouraged for UK optical charities

July 2014

Trustees of the Optical Workers’ Benevolent Fund, which provides support for those who have worked within the ophthalmic production industry and who find themselves in difficult times, are urging support through legacies.

In addition to the manufacturing support charity, the Trustees are also encouraging the optical community to remember The Wiseman Memorial Fund which provides support and education grants for UK ophthalmic students looking to further their knowledge, often with voluntary work overseas.

Any sums donated to these charities are taken out of the inheritance tax threshold and can reduce the total owing to HMRC, besides benefitting those within our own optical community, say Trustees.

As Professor Mo Jalie, a Trustee of both funds, commented –

“The Optical Workers’ Benevolent Fund provides a very valuable level of support for people who have supported the great family of UK optics but who now find themselves in difficult times. Some of our beneficiaries result from serious health issues which mean they are no longer able to work. The Wiseman Memorial Fund – from which many in optics today have benefitted – provides funds for needy optometry students in their second or third year of their courses who have the full backing of their tutors.”

Summer Spectralis connect offer to pay dividends

July 2014

Heidelberg Engineering’s SPECTRALIS OCT becomes an immediately profitable option during the summer months with a seasonal pricing scheme to facilitate the technology’s introduction.

The rental scheme is reduced to just £300 per month for the SPECTRALIS OCT, for the first three months. The cost gradually rises in line with the practice’s ability to maximise use of the technology, as the professional team learn to promote and interpret the value of OCT on the High Street.

“This is a gentle way to ease into OCT, during the summer months, when there is some time to learn about the technology. This opportunity enables OCT to be profitable with far fewer patients during the quietest time of the year. We know that many practices will like the technology once it becomes an integral part if the eye examination, and for this reason practices can opt out of the rental scheme and purchase at any point,” said Regional Business Manager, Tosh Vadhia.

The SPECTRALIS Connect glaucoma traffic light signalling of red, amber and green guides for referral are an easy way to start making OCT profitable, whilst the practice optometrists are becoming more familiar with interpreting macular scans, believes Heidelberg Engineering.

Existing SPECTRALIS users who are using the Connect scheme to access the benefits of Heidelberg Engineering’s advanced OCT technology are reassured that the payments during the 18 month period for the summer scheme is weighted to match the same total cost of existing Connect scheme already in existence.

“We believe that in five years’ time the majority of independent practices will have an OCT. Investing in an upgradeable platform that can grow with your business, adding functionality as it becomes relevant, makes good business sense. Insisting on technology that offers the highest level of accuracy and reproducibility will allow you to diagnose and refer with confidence. Improved patient outcomes are the bottom line.

“Our risk-free rental scheme and interest-free finance option, both feature extended warranties. The online community is widely valued and recent additions to the marketing materials include a three minute patient video, patient website and educational leaflets for recall, plus a pull-up graphic for in-practice use,” added Tosh.

Novice users of Heidelberg Engineering’s technology are supported by a dedicated beginner’s day on September 26 when Clinical Programme Manager, Chris Mody, will provide a foundation day’s instruction in using OCT at the Heidelberg Academy, Hemel Hempstead.

Shamir UK announce Smart opportunities to win top prizes

July 2014

Be a smart winner with Shamir Glacier Plus™ - With 5 top prizes of smart TV’s up for grabs, Smart Cameras and Capital Bond vouchers, you could be a smart winner with Shamir Glacier Plus!
Shamir UK ltd is offering all independent opticians the opportunity to win several great prizes with all Glacier Plus coated lenses.

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

All Shamir lens orders including the Glacier Plus coating that are received between 1st August and 30th November 2014 will be dispatched with a scratch card. Each scratch card gives the opportunity to instantly win one of several great prizes including Smart TV’s, Smart Camera’s and Capital Bond Vouchers.

VISION 2020 UK appoint three new Trustees

July 2014

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella charity bringing together organisations across the sight loss and eye health sector, have confirmed the appointment of three additional Trustees to the Board. The new Trustees, ratified on 11 July 2014, are: Philip Longworth, Dr Mike Nussbaum and Ian Humphreys.

Philip Longworth is the current Chief Executive of Bradbury Fields services for blind and partially sighted people in Liverpool, and is the Chair of Visionary, a membership organisation that links local independent charities supporting blind and partially sighted people. Philip is also Chair of the Merseyside Vision Consortium.

Dr Mike Nussbaum is involved with numerous charitable organisations at a local, national and European level. Among other roles, Mike is current chairman of Action for Blind People, Milton Keynes Volunteer Centre, and a Board member of Bucks Vision, Blind Children UK, and the Small Charities Coalition.

Ian Humphreys is the Deputy Chief Executive of the College of Optometrists, and has also worked within a range of other membership organisations and charities.

Philip, Mike and Ian join the following existing Trustees on the VISION 2020 UK Board who are:

• Nick Astbury (Chair)
• Amanda Ariss
• Lesley-Anne Baxter
• Peter Corbett
• Bryony Pawinska
• Jenny Pearce
• Richard Wormald

VISION 2020 UK Chair Nick Astbury said: “The addition of three new Trustees allows the VISION 2020 UK Board to provide an even stronger and more effective representation of our membership.

I look forward to welcoming Philip, Mike and Ian to the VISION 2020 UK Board of Trustees during this exciting time for the organisation.”

Shamir celebrates 10 Millionth Customer

July 2014

Shamir UK has recently celebrated their 10 millionth lens order by rewarding the spectacle lens wearer with a bottle of champagne.

Mrs Clark, pictured here with Practice owner Mr Coley of N P Coley opticians where she purchased her lenses, was delighted with her prize.

General Manager of Shamir UK, Mr Phil Bareham comments; “We’d like to thank all independent practitioners and laboratories for their support in achieving this momentous milestone”.

Government imposes 1 per cent fee increase for GOS. Optical Fees Negotiating Committee welcomes increased offer of 2.5 per cent on grants

July 2014

The Government has today announced that it will impose a 1% increase in fees for services provided under the GOS contract. This offer had been rejected by the OFNC, the negotiating body for the optical sector.

Following the negotiations with the OFNC, the Government has offered a 2.5% increase on grants for CET and the training of pre-registration optometrists. The OFNC welcomes this increase. However no progress has been made on the IT proposals put forward by the OFNC, and the bid for funding that would enable proper investment in IT.

Claire Slade, Chair of the OFNC said: “We all understand the need for tough choices in tough times, no one better than optometrists and opticians. We do this on a daily basis to survive and continue to serve our patients. However we could not in all conscience accept the Government’s offer of 1% on fees in a year when so many practices are struggling. I now hand over my role as the chair of the OFNC to my colleague Mike George, who I know will continue the ongoing battle for fair fees for community optical practices.”

Ann Blackmore, incoming OFNC secretary said: “It is difficult to negotiate when the presumption is for yet more cuts, but we have managed to achieve some significant gains. We are pleased that the Government has recognised that there is no more efficiency to be squeezed out of the sight test fee, which is already at rock bottom. Also, as a result of our negotiations, we have achieved an increased offer of 2.5% on grants for CET and the training of pre-registration optometrists. These, along with the 2% increase in voucher values, which benefit our most vulnerable patients, are welcome moves from the Government.”

Mordechai Chachamu, National IT Policy Manager at the Optical Confederation said: “To date community optical practices have met all the costs of modernisation themselves. But in current hard times we need a little help if we are to deliver on the Government’s objectives of providing more care outside hospital, streamlining pathways and reducing costs and meeting the eye health needs of seldom heard and at risk groups to prevent avoidable sight loss. NHS England and Ministers must address this. I hope that all LOCs and practices will make this point when responding to the Eye Health Call to Action.”

The Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) is the community eye health equivalent of the BMA’s and BDA’s General Practice Committees and community pharmacist’s pharmaceutical services negotiating committee (PSNC). It is the recognised negotiating body for fees for the professions. Its members include the ABDO, the AOP, the BMA, and FODO.

The Cooper Companies Announce Definitive Agreements to Acquire Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd

July 2014

The Cooper Companies, Inc. has announced it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a European manufacturer and distributor of soft contact lenses and solutions, in a transaction valued at approximately $1.2 billion. Sauflon forecasts revenue of approximately $210 million for its fiscal year ending October 31, 2014, up approximately 22% year-over-year.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is anticipated to close prior to fiscal year end, October 31, 2014. Excluding one-time charges and deal-related amortization, the transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in fiscal 2015. The acquisition will be financed with off-shore cash and credit facilities.

Commenting on the transaction, Robert S. Weiss, Cooper's president and chief executive officer said, "We are extremely pleased to announce this acquisition which gives CooperVision the world's most comprehensive portfolio of daily disposable lenses. CooperVision will now be able to offer a multi-tier daily strategy that includes a full suite of silicone hydrogel and hydrogel lenses, including options within all categories -- spheres, torics and multifocals. The daily segment is the fastest growing segment of the soft contact lens market and this transaction positions CooperVision as the premier company in this space."

The Cooper Companies, Inc. ("Cooper") is a global medical device company publicly traded on the NYSE . Cooper is dedicated to being A Quality of Life Company™ with a focus on delivering shareholder value. Cooper operates through two business units, CooperVision and CooperSurgical. CooperVision brings a refreshing perspective on vision care with a commitment to crafting a wide range of high-quality products for contact lens wearers and providing focused practitioner support. CooperSurgical focuses on supplying women's health clinicians with market leading products and treatment options to improve the delivery of healthcare to women. Headquartered in Pleasanton, CA, Cooper has approximately 8,000 employees with products sold in over 100 countries.

Maui Jim Media Masters Tennis Coaching at Wimbledon plays important role in sustainable eye care

July 2014

On Sunday 29th June Maui Jim hosted an exclusive tennis experience at the Wimbledon Club for the second year running, and helped to raise money for their chosen eye care charity – Optometry Giving Sight. During the unique event, which was held throughout the Wimbledon Championships, members of the sports media were able to take to the courts for a friendly competition with former WTA No. 1 and Maui Jim Brand Ambassador Martina Hingis and All England Club head coach, Dan Bloxham.

After the players warmed up with some energetic rounds of tennis coached by Martina and Dan, a fun competition was set up where players had to hit as many tennis balls as possible into three large baskets on the court. Maui Jim pledged a donation for each tennis ball that successfully landed in the baskets. After the final count there was an official prize and cheque handover ceremony, where £1,650 was presented to Optometry Giving Sight. This was generously doubled by Hans Mr Hans-Jürgen Penzek, Vice President Europe Maui Jim on behalf of the premium sunglasses company, pledging a total of £3,300 to the charity.

Mr Hans-Jürgen Penzek, Vice President Europe of Maui Jim, presented the cheque to Donna Power, Regional Manager Europe of Optometry Giving Sight. Mr Penzek commented, “We are delighted to have raised these funds for such an important cause as Optometry Giving Sight. As specialists within the field of providing optimum vision we understand the importance of sight and the profound effect that an eye examination and spectacles can have on someone’s life.”

Maui Jim announced Optometry Giving Sight as their International Charity Partner in 2013 and is supporting the charity through sports events and key initiatives across Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Mexico.

Donna Power commented “The Wimbledon coaching event was a huge success, and tennis is a great example of the opportunity that vision provides. This donation from Maui Jim will help fund sustainable eye care projects in the developing world that give many people this basic need.” Ms Power continued “We are very thankful to Maui Jim for all of their ongoing support to Optometry Giving Sight, and for playing such an important role in the development of eye care.”

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

Lone Working Guidance: Keeping Providers and Patients Safe

July 2014

The Optical Confederation and College of Optometrists have revised their Lone Working Guidance for domiciliary providers. The guidance, first published in 2009 has been amended to reflect the changes in the NHS structure and other related guidance published since then.

Lone working carries a risk for which both employers and staff share responsibility. This guidance is intended to sit alongside the employers Health & Safety procedures. It outlines how to identify risks in the domiciliary setting and what actions to take to minimise them in order to keep both the patient and provider safe at all times.

DEC chair Dawn Roberts has said: “The domiciliary eye care service provides essential care to a vulnerable patient group. Many optometrists provide this service unaccompanied and staff will go alone to fit the completed spectacles. Ensuring that the eye care is provided in a personalised and confidential manner, as it would be in the high street, can present the domiciliary provider with different risks from those encountered in the high street. This guidance aims to help the domiciliary provider to identify the risks and take the appropriate precautions to ensure that the service is provided in the safest manner for the practitioner, the patient and any staff providing aftercare.”

The guidance is available to download here from our clinical briefing pages.

Another MP is told the message about eyecare

July 2014

Local MP for Chipping Barnet, the Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers MP, visited Visioncare Medical Eye Centre in New Barnet on Friday 4th July to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Practice Owner, Prakash Rughani, who has been providing innovative eyecare to the local community for the past 30 years, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests:

Following the visit, Theresa Villiers said: “I am grateful to the Local Optical Committee and to practice owner, Prakash Rughani, for setting up this very interesting visit. I received a very useful briefing on the expected increase in the number of people in the UK living with impaired eye sight – a rise of about 115% is forecast over the next 36 years. I welcome the campaign to get more people regularly visiting the opticians. Conditions like glaucoma can seriously damage your vision and are easily treatable if caught early. So there are important health reasons for getting an eye test. Like the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Local Optical Committee I would encourage all my constituents to have their eyes tested regularly. This is particularly important for anyone who drives a car because of the road safety risks that come with driving without having impaired vision properly corrected with an up-to-date prescription for glasses or contact lenses.”

The photo shows Prakash Rughani, Practice Owner, Optometrist and BEHLOC Member (left); and Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet (right).

Danish Eyewear chain CrossEyes launches in the UK with Scandinavian themed Midsummer Event

July 2014

CEO reveals expansion plans for the UK.

We want to change the eyewear industry, says Søren Møller, founder of the eyewear chain CrossEyes. With seven shops opened in just four years and more on the way, he is well on his way to realise his vision – internationally too.

The newest CrossEyes-Shop has just opened abroad, CrossEyes London, in London’s trendy Clerkenwell area.

We have been received extremely well and sales are above all expectations says Søren Møller, CEO and owner of the Danish Eyewear chain CrossEyes, which in just four years has set up six shops in the largest citys in Denmark, London is the first outside Denmark and there are more on the way. In 2014 we are opening three more additional shops in Denmark, more shops in London and we also plan to expand into Norway. During the coming years, there are more plans to expand in Copenhagen and the surrounding areas. In London, we plan to open one or two more shops in 2014. We are aiming towards 25 shops with a timeframe of four years within the rest of the UK, starting with a focus in London and expanding from there.

Uproar against mainstream

Søren Møller sees the background for CrossEyes’ succes in the unique eyewear culture which is built up around a passion for design. The CrossEyes frames have been developed in cooperation with suppliers around the world, and the inspiration is taken from the classic design of frames, going all the way back to the 1920’s. One thing they all have in common: Individuality.

In a very old fashioned and mainstream oriented industry, we get our inspiration from more dynamic life-style industries, primarily the world of fashion,« explains Søren Møller, who is the only Danish eyewear chain offering original Japanese eyewear in hand carved wood.

Clear Pricing

“CrossEyes is an organisation that avoids expensive intermediaries and with ownership in all parts of the production process - for example the lenses are produced in CrossEyes’ own lens workshop by certified opticians. That is part of the reason why CrossEyes can operate a clear price-concept, so the customers know the price of their glasses from the very beginning.

It is certainly meant as a challenge to the established optical industry and its opaque price calculations. It is the same people who have dominated the optical market for many years” ends Søren Møller.

Scandinavian themed Midsummer Press Event

July 2014

On the 25th of June, CrossEyes London opened its doors to the press for the first time with a Scandinavian themed Midsummer Press Event. As well as industry press including Optometry Today and The Optician, there was local press such as Barbican Life, Clerkenwell Post and City AM. Also several fashion publications including Playing Fashion and Go Scandinavian and the word had also spread to fashion photographers, stylists and bloggers. Finally there were also members of the Danish community in London including The Danish Embassy and Danish Chamber of Commerce. The response from local and industry press was extremely positive: There was a real excitement from the press about our unique eyewear and our transparent prices. Industry press were particularly impressed with how Optometry is very much an integral part of the CrossEyes Concept, whilst keeping the fashion aspect a core value of the business too. We look forward to working with local and industry press to get CrossEyes Eyewear & Optometry rolled out in the UK says Panos Nicolaou, owner of CrossEyes London and Master Franchisor for CrossEyes in England.

From left: Panos Nicolaou (co-owner of CrossEyes London and Master Franchisor of CrossEyes in England), Søren Møller (CEO of CrossEyes), Marianne Nicolaou (co-owner of CrossEyes London) and Ryan Leung (Co-Founder of CrossEyes).

Biotrue oneday presbyopia rolls out to independents

July 2014

With 1in 4 daily disposable lens wearers now aged over 40, and a general reluctance to reach for reading glasses, the opportunity for multifocal lenses is significant, believes Bausch + Lomb.

The new Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia lens from Bausch + Lomb offers high levels of comfort thanks to the patented Hypergel material and three zone multifocal design. Designed for the emerging presbyope market, it features a single lens add profile of 1.50D.

“With excellent optical clarity, at any distance, our new lens is a great opportunity for independents to encourage their existing lens and spectacle wearers looking to be liberated from their glasses. The UV block, and ease of fitting, is an added attraction to dispensing Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia,” said Jose Cortesia, Bausch + Lomb Vision Care Marketing Manager.

“Research shows that 70% of presbyopes cite the need for good near and intermediate vision as a priority for their work*, particularly for smart phone and iPad use. The reduced blink rate when using these devices can be an issue for contact lens comfort but the new lens mimics the effect of the tear film lipid layer, matching the cornea’s water content all day. We believe this new lens ensures that presbyopes stay in contact lenses and other new wearers will be attracted to the modality,” added Jose.

Trial sets, posters and point of sale, plus customer letters for the patient database to promote Biotrue ONEday, are all now available.

Global Contact Lens Forum goes beyond CET

July 2014

There was a great turnout at #BCLA2014 for the second Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF), which saw delegates and presenters sharing information and knowledge with frankness and, at times, humour.

Jointly organised by the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and Vision Expo International, the second GCLF was held on Friday 6 June at the ICC Birmingham during the 38th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition – and attracted 109 delegates.

Leading US optometrists and educators, Dr Jack Schaeffer and Dr Kirk Smick, joined the UK’s Anna Sulley and Simon Donne for a mix of business and clinical presentations with a focus on contact lens patient retention and therapeutics.

Looking at retention through clinical care and understanding patient behaviour, and discussing the factors influencing dropouts, the US presenters had plenty of take-home messages including:

• Hone-in on long-term clinical care and provide continuity
• Focus on the three Cs – cost, convenience and compliance
• We don’t fit, we evaluate
• It ain’t rare if it’s in your chair
• Prevent lid disease – don’t react to it

“The best way to retain patients – and prevent complications – is to understand what’s going on clinically,” declared Dr Schaeffer, who outlined the so-called ‘medical model’ before explaining the potential complications for the patient of non-compliance, such as lid wiper epitheliopathy – “a relatively new disease”.
In their joint and conversational presentations, the US presenters entertained delegates with a video showing Demodex folliculorum, and the sight of one persistent mite wriggling across the microscope slide after being eradicated from a patient’s eyelash. Treatment methods of various ocular surface diseases were discussed, with comparisons made between USA and UK regimens.

UK delegate and contact lens optician, Nick Howard, commented: “Real life, day-to-day acute and chronic ocular events were discussed and debated with a hilarious attack from a six-inch Demodex – a quite unsubtle reminder of these irritating pests and the trouble they cause. I was pleased to learn that these mites are eradicated by tea tree oil or 100 per cent alcohol; they may be in my lashes but don’t stand a chance in my liver.”

Dr Schaeffer urged delegates to consider themselves as ‘clinicians’ who ‘prescribe’ solutions, not to be ‘cavalier’ in the consulting room and to wear surgical gloves when appropriate – to demonstrate authority as well as for the clinician’s own protection. “We don’t fit, we evaluate,” he reiterated.

On patient behaviour, the US presenters highlighted that cases of acanthamoeba keratitis had not gone down since 2006 and so this was still an issue. Controversially, he suggested that patients be ‘fired’ for not following the practice’s hygiene protocol, and that all children and young people should be wearing daily disposables or weekly lenses.

Anna Sulley and Simon Donne also had plenty of business pearls for the audience. “The key reason for lapsing continues to be discomfort and wearing the wrong lenses,” said Anna, adding that attracting new patients cost fives times as much as retaining existing ones. Most dropouts happened within the first two months of wear so this was a critical period; age was also significant with the over-45s less likely to stay in lenses, as well as those with low myopia or hyperopia.

Retention was greater with hydrogel lenses compared to silicone hydrogel lenses, research had shown, though there was huge variation between practices. “It’s not about location so retention really is down to the individual practitioner. It’s important to always offer an alternative solution,” Anna added, informing delegates that a recent Consumer UK survey had shown that 61 per cent of patients would continue wearing lenses if their discomfort issues were overcome – but only 20 per cent had been offered another lens.

Simon Donne suggested that patient retention was the key to growing the contact lens market overall, and said that one of his ‘take-home’ messages from Dr Smick was to see his multifocal patients more often. He suggested that practitioners needed to see patients more often and sooner, and that recent surveys had shown indifference to be the biggest factor in dropout (68 per cent) compared to product (14 per cent).

Simon’s top tips were:

1. Recommend the optimal product first, along with the best lens and care solution combinations, and make sure the patient knows that there are alternatives.
2. Communicate the most during the first two months.
3. Integrate pricing and support tools into the practice, such as home delivery and easy payment schemes, and ensure good record keeping.

“Plan your patients’ vision correction for life. Retention is in your hands,” Simon concluded.

The third GCLF will take place in New York next spring during Vision Expo East on 19-22 March 2015.

BCLA Conference Programme Coordinator Nick Rumney said. “As I have seen on trips to the US education meetings, we have more similarities than differences and clearly we all place our patients at the centre of what we do. Patient care is central to professional advancement and it’s clear there is interest in the UK to lift our clinical game beyond simply collecting CET. We are on the cusp of transformational change and the GCLF is at the heart of it,”

“I was impressed with the level of education and information sharing at the global meeting. Everyone was engaged and willing to participate in the courses,” Dr Jack Schaeffer

“The GCLF was a huge success. The involvement of the attendees was overwhelming and the discussion was very professional,” Dr Kirk Smick

“I felt that the level of involvement and communal interest from the delegates and presenters showed a desire for learning and development that went beyond merely collecting educational points,” Simon Donne

Grafton evaluates new diabetic marker device

July 2014

Grafton are looking for 10 Optometrists who have an interest in the disease Diabetes and the possibility of reducing diabetic retinopathy by up to 76%. Why? Imagine being able to accurately identify type 2 diabetics up to 7 years prior to complications (eye, kidney or neuropathy).

“We are evaluating such a device that measures a biomarker in the eye non-invasively (no needles) in a rapid, site of test result with accuracy better than blood." said Malcolm Redfearn from Grafton. “We also need your help to evaluate if there is a market in the UK for this device."

What is involved?

"We are conducting a focus group and would be very grateful if you would provide us your perspective. We would then provide you with an instrument at your practice over a 2-3 day period where you would be required to supply a minimum of 10 patients each day to be tested on the instrument. They would be preselected and invited by you and we will define the mix of patient type required to fulfil this evaluation."

What next?

If you are interested, simply contact Grafton Optical with your full contact / practice details by emailing , and add "Diabetes Focus Group" in the subject line. Grafton will then be in touch.

Swiss Eyewear Group selects Zed_Comm for its international PR activities

July 2014

Swiss Eyewear Group, the global eyewear company that offers a genuine alternative in the international market by offering unique eyewear brands and quality products at an affordable price, continues its ambitious growth plan by appointing international PR specialists, Zed_Comm, to manage its media relations and PR activities globally.

Established in Zurich in 2013 and led by a dynamic team with extensive eyewear industry know-how and experience, Swiss Eyewear Group features an innovative way of operating based on flat hierarchies, short decision-making processes, empowered and entrepreneurial employees and a teamwork-oriented environment. A philosophy perfectly illustrated by the company’s ownership structure, with shareholders from the entire eyewear industry value chain, starting with manufacturing all the way through to retailing.

Swiss Eyewear Group and Zed_Comm will work together to strengthen the company visibility and brand awareness at the international level. With over 25 years of experience in the optical sector and eyewear industry, Zed_Comm offers innovative communication, promotion and marketing strategies to ensure high levels of performance.

Just like Switzerland, Swiss Eyewear Group (International) AG stands for high quality, full reliability, and high efficiency as well as for consistently meeting and exceeding the growing expectations of an international customer base. The management team has in excess of 150 years of experience in the design, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of impulse polarizing sunglasses. INVU, the first product line launched, is already a great success. It is available in over 45 countries around the globe and is fast becoming a customer favorite. Aiming to be “Your Eyewear Partner with Integrity”, Swiss Eyewear Group is increasing its product portfolio for the coming season by adding the attractive lifestyle brand RIP CURL and the male fashion brand MARC STONE.

UK Vision Strategy initiative announce new team

July 2014

The UK Vision Strategy initiative has confirmed that Fazilet Hadi, RNIB Director of Engagement, will be the lead officer for the UK Vision Strategy, following the retirement of Programme Director Anita Lightstone.

Fazilet will support the UK Vision Strategy Leadership Group to ensure the development and implementation of the Vision Strategy across the UK. She will lead the UK Vision Strategy Team including Katherine Raven, UK Vision Strategy Senior Manager, Sally Chandler, Planning and Performance Manager and Lisa Hughes, UK Vision Strategy Programme Coordinator.

The UK Vision Strategy seeks a major change in the UK’s eye health, eye care and sight loss services, focusing on three outcomes:

• Everyone in the UK looks after their eyes and their sight.
• Everyone with an eye condition receives timely treatment and access to early and appropriate services.
• A society in which people with sight loss can fully participate.

Fazilet has extensive experience of working in the eye health and sight loss sector and is passionate about the sector working together to deliver improved eye health and sight loss services. As Director of Engagement at RNIB, Fazilet is responsible for RNIB Membership and Campaigns, Marketing and Communications, Research and Service Impact and Advice and Support.

Fazilet Hadi said: “I am delighted to be leading the UK Vision Strategy team as we continue to build on the goals outlined in the refreshed 2013-2018 Strategy. I am confident that by working with our partners across the UK both nationally and locally the UK Vision Strategy will successfully deliver better outcomes by improving eye health and increasing independence for people with sight loss.

New UK Vision Strategy Senior Manager, Katherine Raven commented: “It’s an exciting time for the Strategy team, with the success of our recent sixth annual Vision UK conference, with record delegate numbers and the launch of NHS England’s Eyecare Call to Action. I look forward to working with the new team, the UK Vision Strategy Leadership Group and country implementation groups, to achieve great results over the next strategy period.”

Wimbledon Hospitality is a Smash Hit for Rodenstock Customers

July 2014

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

Customers were treated to three top class days of tennis, including the women’s singles final and the epic five set men’s final between Federer and Djokovic.

Host Damien Klevge, Frame Product Manager at Rodenstock, said: “Our guests were delighted to join us and be a part of such an exciting tournament. We have all been left with thrilling memories.”

Practices stocking the 2014 Wimbledon Collection have been receiving full marketing support from Rodenstock, which manufactures the eyewear collection. Marketing tools have included an eye-catching display stand, campaign posters and counter cards, outstanding patient mailers for direct marketing, official retailer signage, customised spectacle cases and artwork for local advertising.

With 18 models for men and women, this year’s Wimbledon sunglasses collection incorporates a variety of highly fashionable and classic styles.
Rodenstock’s Wimbledon Rewards Promotion, which has been running since January, continues until 30 September 2014. Each pair of sunglasses ordered is rewarded with points – the higher the value of sunglasses, the higher the points. These can be redeemed for a range of prizes at the end of the promotion.

L to r: Debby Wallis, Natalie Horne, both from Burnett Hodd & Jenkins of Sidcup, Kent; Ann Ukleja, Edward Ukleja and James Ukleja, all from Peepers Opticians of Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Grafton announce massive Summer Sale on equipment

July 2014

Just as the High Street gets into swing for its July Sales so too has Grafton who announce this week a significant sale on many of its successful products.

Starting with the day to day necessities thay have special deals on trial frames and cross cyl sets as well as their very popular prortable near vision unit, disposable prisms and tonometers.

“If its time to upgrade the consulting room this is definitely the time to do so,” said James Furness from Grafton, “we have offers of great prices on all our highly acclaimed consulting room and pre test room equipment.”

Visit Grafton's Summer Sale Page

Mercy Jeyasingham MBE joins VISION 2020 UK as CEO

July 2014

Mercy JeyasinghamVISION 2020 UK, the umbrella charity bringing together organisations across the sight loss and eye health sector, has a new Chief Executive Officer. Mercy Jeyasingham MBE officially commenced her new role on 1st July, and brings to the position over 25 years of health and social care experience in both the voluntary and statutory sectors.

Mercy has been an executive and non-executive board member of numerous local and national organisations. Previously the Chief Executive of a UK children’s charity for the last 13 years she was an independent consultant specialising in interim management, research and training. Posts included Director of Registration for the GSCC where she established the statutory register for social workers, Head of Accreditation for the RCN, and Programme Manager for the King’s Fund. More recently Mercy was a lay Chair for 10 years of Fitness to Practise Committees of the General Optical Council, and was a Non-Executive Director, as well as Chair of the HR Committee, for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for 12 years.

Commenting on her appointment, Mercy Jeyasingham MBE said: “I am really pleased to be joining VISION 2020 UK as CEO. It’s an exciting time to be joining the organisation and I am looking forward to collaborating with our members to move VISION 2020 UK from strength to strength.”

Nick Astbury, Chair of VISION 2020 UK said: "We are delighted that Mercy will be joining VISION 2020 UK as Chief Executive. She has a wealth of experience, including working with high profile health organisations, and I look forward to welcoming her to the great team at VISION 2020 UK.”

Ogi Eyewear names John Nides as Scojo New York Vice President of North American Sales

July 2014

A recognition to the diligence of a visionary

Ogi Eyewear announces the recent promotion of John Nides to Vice President of Scojo New York North American Sales. As Vice President of Scojo New York North American Sales, John Nides will be responsible for implementing the launch of new collections of reading glasses as well as recruiting and developing new channels of distribution.

"I am very excited to announce the well deserved promotion of John Nides as Scojo New York's Vice President of North American Sales," says Joseph Tallier of Ogi Eyewear.

When Ogi Eyewear acquired Scojo New York in 2007, John Nides started within the company as a Sales Manager. Nides quickly became known for his ambitious and persistent drive, which led Scojo New York to excel into new markets. Nides holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Minnesota.

If you want to experience success, be ready to think outside the box. This is the persistent, can-do attitude which led John Nides to be promoted to the position of Vice President of Scojo New York North American Sales. Nides enters into the position with excitement and determination. “This is a great opportunity. To have my own success parallel with the overall success of the company is forever rewarding, and provides the fire behind my determination.”
Nides lives and breathes Scojo New York reading eyewear, so inevitably he must have a favorite frame. When asked, Nides interrupts with an answer before the end of the question is addressed. “This is easy. The Plush Collection. My preferred color of choice is hot pants pink and I’ll tell you why. It gets the biggest reaction from the customer. I’m only going to get two reactions: they love it or they dislike it. Both reactions are great for Scojo New York. The ones who dislike it will always remember Scojo New York’s Plush Collection. This is more positive than negative from a salesman’s point of view.”

Norwegian practitioners - experts on changing lives!

July 2014

While attending the BCLA Clinical Conference & Exhibition, optometrists from Norway received advanced training on fitting UltraVision’s KeraSoft IC lenses, a soft lens designed to fit all irregular corneas.

The practitioners, who already fit KeraSoft IC lenses, received advanced training on how to further improve patient care and help decrease chair time. Josie Barlow, SMC (Tech) FBDO CL, Clinical & Customer Services Manager at UltraVision CLPL, hosted the training session in Hyatt Regency hotel, Birmingham and commented, “with increased comfort and great visual acuity, KeraSoft IC certainly makes a significant difference in many patients' lives. To achieve the optimal fit and vision for patients wearing KeraSoft IC, the unique fitting properties must be followed. Also, fitting soft lenses to these types of eyes is a relatively new skill and with the correct training optometrists can fit KeraSoft IC lenses on more patients, enabling them to change lives on a daily basis.”

Optometrists throughout Norway can enquire about KeraSoft IC from UltraVision’s Distributor, ProCornea Spesiallinser AS. Kristine Johansen, General Manager at ProCornea also attended the training session and was very pleased with the outcome. “When working in small practices without colleagues to discuss challenging cases with, training sessions in small groups such as this are highly useful and inspiring."

Local MP for Enfield North, Nick De Bois visits Gordon Thomas Opticians

July 2015

Local MP for Enfield North, Nick De Bois visited Gordon Thomas Opticians in Enfield Town on Friday 20th June to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.

Also further visit made by MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, Chi Onwurah.

Read more on the Optical Confederation Page

LOSCU urges strong local response to Call to Action

July 2014

Local data, patient endorsement and a call to end the postcode lottery of eye health services are among the recommended approaches Local Optical Committees are being urged to adopt as part of the sector response to the NHS Call to Action (CTA).

LOCSU is urging LOCs to marry local information with the importance of national commissioning in order to strengthen the case for reform within the NHS. LOCSU wants local commissioners to be reminded that the piecemeal commissioning of basic community services such as minor eye conditions, glaucoma repeat readings and cataract referral refinement is adding significantly to NHS transaction costs and is a barrier to service transformation.

Launching the guidance, LOCSU Managing Director, Katrina Venerus, said: “We need strong, local voices to make sure our response leads to better eye health for patients and a more cost-efficient NHS."

“We know that LOCs will use the key messages about the NHS using optical practices as handy, accessible healthcare locations that should be the first port of call for people with eye health problems; but LOCs must remember that responses need a local flavour too.”

Venerus said that LOCs should make sure they understand the local priorities for commissioners and tie those in to any response, whether they be the needs of older people, long-term conditions or reducing pressure on A&E or GPs’ appointments.

“Optometrists and opticians should include data from services in their local or neighbouring areas to demonstrate the value of community eye health services. And they can strengthen the case for developing services with the support of patient groups, local politicians and commissioners who are willing to endorse your CTA responses.”

The guidance also highlights the importance LOCSU attaches to making local services joined up and patient centred; working with hospital and social care professionals and ensuring the Local Eye Health Networks have a central role in identifying local needs and pathways.

Urging LOCs to utilise the guidance, the LOCSU MD said: “Improving eye health and reducing sight loss – a Call to Action is a huge opportunity for LOCs and optometrists and opticians to present the case to the NHS for the further development of local community eye health services and an increased utilisation of the skills of opticians and optometrists in primary care.

“LOCSU is urging all LOCs to submit a response to the CTA to ensure that a strong and coherent response on the development of community eye health services is articulated to NHS England.”
For further information on the CTA including details of NHS England’s local engagement events see

To submit a response to the CTA, visit

FMO to launch Optrafair 2015 at September meeting

July 2014

The FMO launches Optrafair 2015 at its autumn meeting on Wednesday 17 September, and is encouraging optical suppliers who have already signed up, and those interested in exhibiting, to attend. The event is open to non-FMO members who would like to learn more.

The NEC, Birmingham is the venue for the launch – also the location for next April’s show – and a proven, popular, location for its ease of access from around the UK.

Highlight of the launch will be Simon Naudi’s presentation on advanced sales techniques and maximising a company presence, regardless of size, at the show. His book “The Gentle Art of Firm Persuasion” is a reference point for much of his sales planning and psychology.

Following the Optrafair launch and a networking lunch, delegate FMO members will break into their sector specific Lens, Frame and Equipment focus groups.

As Nigel Castle, Managing Director of Lenstec emphasised –

“The FMO allows us to share ideas and to network with fellow peers within the industry at these regional meetings. We value the interaction between all companies and across the user groups.”

Optimum Coatings Sales Director, Mark Marland agreed –

“The FMO is a must for any business involved in our market. These meetings are a good way to catch up with customers and suppliers alike, and if you are not a member you are missing out. The FMO really is the voice of the optical industry.”

Ocuco Opens New Office in China

July 2014

Ocuco are opening their first office in China. The office is located in the prestigious Nanjing West Road area of Shanghai. Having secured contracts of over 300,000 Euro in the past 12 months, Ocuco will continue to develop the Chinese market with Business Development and Technical Support based there. To date the China market expansion has directly created new Irish jobs in Dublin with more to follow. Ocuco has a global workforce of 130, with the largest office being their Dublin Head Office.

The announcement was made during the Enterprise Ireland Trade and Investment Mission to China, led by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD.

Speaking from Shanghai, Minister Bruton said: "ICT is a key sector which we have targeted as part of our Action Plan for Jobs, and one of our key aims is to support more Irish companies to export, particularly in high growth markets, and ultimately marketing and opening an office in Shanghai is very welcome. Ocuco is a highly innovative optical software company and this is a strong sign of its commitment to the Chinese market. I wish them every success with this operation and look forward to working with them in the future".

Mark Dolan was appointed as Business Development Manager for the Chinese Lab market. Mark joined Ocuco after successfully leading two separate market entries in the competitive Chinese market.
Mark, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, visited China after completing his Economics and Finance degree in UCD Ireland, and chose to relocate to Shanghai to obtain a master’s degree in Asian Business from Jiao Tong University. “I was fascinated by the countries development and huge size, as well as the phenomenal potential for business opportunities present and future.” says Mark.

Initially Ocuco are focused on selling the Innovations Lab Management Software to spectacle lens manufacturing labs. Innovations is the market leading software suite which automates prescription lens processing, by providing a powerful set of tools to manage the process and business of lens manufacturing. China has a large concentration of lens factories providing much of the world’s spectacle lenses.

“The appointment of an expert in business development in China is fundamental to the success of our existing and future projects in the region”, says Robert Shanbaum, President of Ocuco USA. “We already have customers in China, and we are soon going to be able to offer Support locally.”

Mark’s first mission is to manage and execute Ocuco’s market entry strategy. He will be supported in that endeavour by the whole network of Ocuco’s international offices, as well as Ocuco’s key industrial partners.
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