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Optical News - October - December 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.

Ogi Eyewear Announces Glenn Sherling as Director of Operations

FMO Support Charities from Optrafair Profits

Vision 2020 Announce LOCSU as New Member Organisation

BBR Optometry Win Top Rodenstock Accolade

Hoya Give Patients Chance of Paris Trip

UK Vision Strategy Announce New Venue

Optical Sector Granted Use of NHS Logo

DO & CL CET Now Available at Optometry Tomorrow 2015

100% Optical Preview Page Launched

New recommendations to embed professionalism into optometric training

GOC Appoints New Council Members

Take Part in UK Vision Strategy's Commissioning Guidance Survey

Heidelberg Engineering at 100% Optical

All Change at FODO

Rodenstock Workshop Gives Skills to Boost Sales

College Launches New Jobs Board

Improving Customer Care with Ultravision

End of Era for Conlons

College Guidance Attracting Record Views

Norville Opticians in Santa Dash

Good Spirits at FMO Enthuse Optics UK

IACLE Announces World Congress

Grafton Announce Technology Showcase at 100% Optical

Bag Charge in Scotland

Health at a Glance: Europe 2014 Report

ECV Publish Response to Health at a Glance Report

MP North of Tyne Visit

Driving and Vision to Take Centre Stage at Optometry Tomorrow 2015

B&L Pledges €41M Waterford Investment

England Vision Strategy Implementation Group Event Outlines Priorities for Change

Hoya Now Live on Linkedin

GOC Sets Out Strategy to Tackle Illegal Practice

LOCSU Recruiting Board Members

OGS Launch Christmas Campaign

DOCET's Innovative New Learning Material

GOC Grant Provisional Approval to University of Hertfordshire

College Statement on University of Hertfordshire

Wiseman Lab Technician Winner Urges Others to Study

Silhouette to Host Exclusive CET Event

Grafton Complete Busy Education Conference Month

Finalists Announced for 100% Optical and RCA Eyewear Design Competition

SPINE - Winner at Cannes


Devon LOC To Promote Eye Health

Volunteer Optoms Needed for Homeless Charity

Industry Heavyweights Confirmed as Optometry Tomorrow Sponsors

UK Vision Strategy Launches Eye Care Commissioning Guidance

Heidelberg Takes Customers on High Performance Day

Heidelberg Courses Top 300 Attendees

BCLA's Passage to India

Bill Carr Joins Snowbird Finance

College Approve Cardiff University for Medical Retina Certificate

10th Biovision Forum

Vision 2020 Announce Plans for New Website

Research Excellence Recognised at Diploma Ceremony

UK Vision Strategy Project Raises Eye Health and Sight Loss Up Agenda

B&L Makes Major Commitment to UK Events

New FMO Chief Exec Takes Long Term View

Vision 2020 UK Dementia & Sight Loss Interest Group Produces Leaflets for People with Dementia

100% Optical - Boosting Business for Opticians

Upskilled Non-Medically Qualified Professionals Needed

UK Vision Strategy Announce Date for Vision UK 2015

Adviceon Ebola

Edmonton MP Visits Practice

AOP Awards Winners

College Launches New Presbyopia Leaflet

BCLA Publishes October Issue of Contact

Shamir Reminds Customers to Play Scratchcard

College Boosts Clinical Team

College Launches Updated Guidance for Professional Practice

RCOphth Awarded Contract to Manage National Ophthalmology Audit Programme

International Retinal Specialists Gather With Heidelberg Engineering

England Vision Strategy Announce Implementation Event

NOC Provides Call to Action Insight

New SMC Master Has Busy Start to Year

SILMO Istanbul

UK Vision Strategy's Commissioning for Effectiveness and Efficiency Project Concludes

Vision 2020 Appoint New Chair

MPs Hear How Optometrists Can Break Down Barriers to Quality Care

IACLE's Fast Track to Fellowship

Greg Nugent Joins Adlens Board

Hong Kong Optical Fair Next Stop for Waterside and Smart Glass Solutions

Fight for Sight Named Charity Partner at 100% Optical

College Issues Tea Tree Advice

Optical Suppliers to Gather at FMO Lunch

New Timings for BCLA Research Awards

PHN Expands Applications with Free LOC Page

100% Optical to Deliver Eyewear Extravaganza

NHS Alliance Launches Major Report

Primary Care Partners Vow to Hold Politicians to Pledges

Scrivens Takes on WSD Challenge for 2nd Year Running

VISION 2020 UK Announce Winners of Bigger, Btter Vision Competition

Call for 20mph Limit

NOC Just Around Corner

Ultravision's Charity Cake Sale

Optical Bodies to Look at Workforce Questions

Devon LOC Produce Community Leaflet for NEHW

Over 1,000 Points Earned at Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize

Still Time for Rodenstock Club Awards

FMO Appoint Technoology Leaders as Board Members

Call for Abstracts and Case Reports

Chimmm... by Simon Chim for Google Glass

Lions Club Support VCFH in Midlands

Details of ABDO/100% Optical Partnership

College Recognises Outstanding Contributions

Bookings Open for New Pioneers and Visionaries Conference

Association of British Dispensing Opticians to Partner 100% Optical

All Change at the WCSM

SILMO 2014 Review

MIDO 2015 Launched

Malcolm Polley Retires from FMO

LOC Company Model Wins Wide Backing

College Publishes Ambitious New Strategic Plan

Hoya Hosts Customer Golf Event

Essilor Match OGS Cycling for Sight Fundraising Total

RCGP and UK Vision Strategy Launch Guide for GPs

Ogi eyewear announces Glenn Sherling as senior director of operations

December 2014

Ogi Eyewear announce Glenn Sherling as Senior Director of Operations. He joins the company in a new position in which he will be responsible for driving growth and the development of innovative business building strategies through energetic leadership and the consistent delivery of effective organizational solutions. Sherling will oversee and lead operations for this fast growing Eyewear Company.

“As Senior Director of Operations, Glenn Sherling will organize the structure of the company as we prepare for our next big phase of growth. We are very excited to have him on board,” says Joe Tallier.
Glenn Sherling started at Ogi Eyewear during an exponential growth period for the organization. With Sherling’s natural knack for strategic leadership and unique breadth of business development, he is fully equipped to lead in operations management. Sherling provides a rare yet crucial expertise through his ability to deliver innovative solutions at a strategic leadership level.

"I am excited and thrilled to join Ogi Eyewear and be a part of the team. They have a great product portfolio and are well positioned for future growth,” states Glenn Sherling.

Sherling’s background includes a wide range of business experience in management, marketing and leadership positions with a strong record of project management. He specializes in creating positive change and building high performance teams. Most recently he served as the Vice President of Marketing at AllOver Media, a pioneer in the outdoor media category. Sherling has also led and opened a new Twin Cities office for MARS Advertising, one of the leaders in retail marketing. Previously, Sherling has excelled in leadership roles at major companies, including BBDO and Campbell Mithun Advertising, where he helped to drive growth through the development of effective management practices. Sherling is a graduate of the Carlson School of Management at The University of Minnesota with a double major in Finance and Marketing.

Through the recent addition of Glenn Sherling, Ogi Eyewear is strategically headed into 2015 for organizational growth.

December 2014

Profits from Optrafair 2014 have been returned to the optical community by show owners, The FMO, with generous support for Vision Aid Overseas, and for the Optical Workers’ Benevolent Fund.
Receiving a cheque on behalf of the OWBF, Trustee Frank Norville, praised The FMO –

“This support enables the fund to respond to calls for assistance for optical workers and their dependents that may have fallen on hard times and are in need of support. Previous assistance has been given for respite care, mobility, and residence costs - not just for ex-optical employees but contact lens manufacturing and opticians workshops,” he said.

Frank Norville reminded employers and colleagues to forward any information they learn of needy cases. The OWBF charity – which only support UK optical workers - can be contacted via :

December 2014

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella charity bringing together agencies with an interest in eye health and sight loss, are pleased to announce the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) as the newest member organisation.

LOCSU promotes the role optometrists and opticians can play in delivering eye health services and supports Local Optical Committees in their dialogue with commissioners to redesign eye health pathways to deliver more services in the community.

VISION 2020 UK CEO Mercy Jeyasingham said: “We are very excited to welcome LOCSU on board as the newest member organisation of VISION 2020 UK. The membership of LOCSU further strengthens and formalises the links between the eye health and sight loss sector through VISION 2020 UK, and we anticipate a strong and effective working relationship with LOCSU in the coming years to further develop primary eye care.”

LOCSU Managing Director Katrina Venerus commented: “We are delighted to announce our membership of VISION 2020 UK, and look forward to continuing to work with Mercy and the VISION 2020 team and special interest groups, to further drive eye care and eye health further up the agenda.”

LOCSU are members of VISION 2020 UK effective immediately, on an ongoing basis.

BBR Optometry wins top Rodenstock accolade

December 2014

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

The Hereford opticians, which came second last year, was presented with the award for overall best-performing practice for 2014. It also scooped an award for its success in dispensing Excellence lenses.

Burnett Hodd & Jenkins in Sidcup was named runner-up in the Centre of Excellence category, while Martin Steels in Emsworth came third.

More than 250 Rodenstock Club members attended the lunch and awards ceremony on 17 December at the Rosewood London Hotel in High Holborn, where practices from across the UK competed in a number of product specific categories, as well as marketing.

Full list of winners:

• Centre of Excellence 1st place – BBR Optometry, Hereford
• Centre of Excellence 2nd place – Burnett Hodd & Jenkins, Sidcup
• Centre of Excellence 3rd place – Martin Steels, Emsworth
• Marketing Initiative – Barraclough & Stiles Group
• Licence Brands Frames – Burnett Hodd & Jenkins, Sidcup
• Wimbledon Sunglasses Frames – DJ Bull Optometrists, Burnham-on-Sea
• Rodenstock Frames – Burnett Hodd & Jenkins, Sidcup
• Ergo Lens – Claudine Ickeringill, Chichester
• Excellence Lens – BBR Optometry, Hereford
• Perfection Lens – Memory Opticians, Salisbury

All the winners will join Rodenstock in March 2015 on a trip to Rome, ‘the Eternal City’, to enjoy the historical sites, Italian culture and fine cuisine‎.

Following a three-course lunch, guests were entertained by ‘The First Lady of Fleet Street’, journalist and media commentator Eve Pollard, one of the first women ever to edit a national newspaper.
Looking back at the past year, Rodenstock managing director Niels Jensen told guests that new frames, brands and trends were emerging at considerable pace, along with developments in lenses.
While there were signs that the industry was ‘hitting barriers’ in physics, where reducing aberrations further in progressive lenses would not be possible, Niels told opticians: “If we cannot reduce the aberrations any further, we can move them to areas where they irritate least.”

Rodenstock’s Impression FreeSign® 3 was, he said, ample proof that the company was again leading this innovative process. “In fact, we started this process with the introduction of the Ergo portfolio,” added Niels. The DNEye Scanner and the subsequent lens optimisation it allows is another example of innovation and is unlike anything else on the market.”

Niels went on to reveal the success of a recent series of workshops organised by Rodenstock to give practices the skills to help increase their sales of near and intermediate vision spectacles. The workshops included a presentation by Martin Gross, a professional trainer and coach for opticians, whose inspiring approach to selling had helped one optician’s sales of Rodenstock’s Ergo lenses go ‘through the roof’.
“They were not alone,” said Niels. “Following the series of last year’s workshops, our sales of Ergo lenses went up by 129%.”

Niels finished by praising Rodenstock Club members for sharing best practice: “As we have some of the best independent practices in the UK in this room today, it seems like an excellent idea that you exchange successful ideas and strategies to make yourselves even stronger as an independent group,” he said.

December 2014

Back due to popular demand, the HOYA Paris prize draw is open to all independent practices with a HOYA account. The prize draw will run from 1st January 2015 to 31st March 2015. All your patients need to do is purchase a pair of Hoyalux iD lenses between 1st January 2015 and 31st March 2015 to be eligible to receive a prize draw entry ticket.

Additional tickets and Notice Everything point of sale can be ordered on Hoyanet or VSE shop for FREE while stocks last. All tickets must be received by HOYA by the 24th April 2015 and the winner will be drawn and announced 1st May. Hoya ask that you remember to discard any entry tickets from the last promotion as they will not be valid for entry into the 2015 prize draw.

It’s not about seeing something, it’s about seeing everything. Discover the Hoyalux iD family, which meets all your customer’s needs and requirements. Individualised lenses provide clear and natural vision in all directions, wide distortion-free fields of vision and a smooth transition between the reading and far vision areas.

Benefits of Hoyalux iD
+ Sharp and focused vision
+ Tailored to personal lifestyle and preferences
+ Precisely calculated for frame choice
+ Excellent depth of vision and effortless focusing
+ Superior image stability

Visit Hoya's Page on this site

UK Vision Strategy announce new venue for Vision UK 2015 conference

December 2014

The seventh annual Vision UK conference will be held on Thursday 18 June 2015 at Central Hall Westminster in London. Titled ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy’, Vision UK will also feature a brand-new format, with delegates able to choose from one of five workshop streams, focused on delivering aspects of the UK Vision Strategy.

Vision UK is the only conference for the whole of the eye health and sight loss sector, bringing together health and social care professionals, leaders from health and eye care organisations, government decision makers, representatives from the voluntary sector and blind and partially sighted people.

Katherine Raven, UK Vision Strategy Senior Manager said: “We are really pleased to confirm Central Hall Westminster as the new location for Vision UK 2015. Central Hall will allow us to effectively deliver the exciting new stream format, which will provide attendees with a conference experience that is tailored to their professional interests.

The UK Vision Strategy team carefully considered accessibility requirements when reviewing our venue, and we are confident that Central Hall Westminster will provide a positive conference experience for all of our delegates. We invite you to join us at Vision UK 2015 to celebrate success and find out how you can help deliver the UK Vision Strategy.”

Registration for Vision UK 2015 will open on Tuesday 13 January 2015, with early bird rates available.

December 2014

The Optical Confederation and OFNC announce that optometrists, opticians and optical businesses may now use the NHS logo to signpost the NHS services they offer in England.

This development comes following discussion throughout 2014 between the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC), the Department of Health and NHS England.

Community optics in England can now join with other primary care colleagues – including pharmacists, dentists and community audiologists – in being able to display the NHS logo on practice fronts and in certain communications.

The Optical Confederation has worked with the Department of Health and NHS England to develop guidance for practitioners about the correct use of the logo. This will be available on NHS identity website shortly.

Optical Confederation Chair Chris Hunt said: “As the main providers of primary eye care in England it is only right that community optical practices and practitioners are recognised for the work they do on the front line of NHS care. Most importantly, this move will help people who need eye care to understand that community optical practices are part of the NHS. This is an important development for joint working across optics and a good omen for our expanding role in delivering more NHS services in the community.”

Mike George, Chair of the OFNC, said: “It has been a real group effort across optics to get this dispensation to use the NHS logo. Many in the sector have felt we should have been allowed the use of the logo for some time but it is one thing saying this and quite another achieving this change. This opens to door for community eye health providers to raise the profile with patients of the important work we do as the NHS front line for sight and eye conditions and of the important future roles we can play under the Five Year Forward View in England."

December 2014

Dispensing opticians and contact lens practitioners can now benefit from gaining interactive CET points with Dispensing Optician and Contact Lens competencies at Optometry Tomorrow 2015.

The College of Optometrists’ annual conference offers up to 15 interactive CET points for delegates with a two day ticket, and for the first time ever for 2015, some sessions will also offer CET points with DO and CL competencies.

The DO competencies covered include; professional conduct, optical appliances and low vision. These can be gained at sessions including Professor Dave Elliott’s lecture on the prevention of falls, two seminars – one on rehabilitation strategies in visual impairment and the other on off-axis performance of lenses; and also a skills workshop on low vision.

For contact lens specialists, competencies covered include; communication, contact lenses and professional conduct. These can be gained via two lectures; one on the innovation of contact lens practice and the other on myopia and soft contact lenses. There is also a seminar on inflammation and allergy, and a discussion workshop on orthokeratology.

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications, said: “Our programme for 2015 is incredibly varied, offering lectures, seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics. Not only does this variety provide our delegates with the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills, but we also work hard to ensure that all sessions will cover all the optometric competencies required to comply with CET requirements, including some of those harder to gain competencies. And this year we’re delighted some of the sessions also cover DO and CL competencies.”

The conference will take place at the Brighton Centre from 8-9 March 2015, and offers cutting-edge lectures, seminars, peer discussions, and skills and discussion workshops. It is set to attract over 700 delegates, including more than 500 of the UK's optometrists, making it a great way to engage with decision-makers and a wide range of eye care professionals who are keen to learn more about developments in the industry.

The full programme and further information, is available at members booking now can benefit from an early-bird rate starting at £165 for a one day ticket Workshops are also available to book for College members.

Read about Waterside at 100% Optical 2015, the first of our previews for the show on its dedicated pages

December 2014

Stand #E72, 7 – 9 February 2015, ExCeL, London

Waterside Laboratories, the independent prescription laboratory and specialists in the supply of frame and lens solutions for smart glasses, is returning to 100% Optical for the second edition of this international UK based platform for the optics and eyewear sector. The 2015 event will see the launch of Waterside’s exciting new ‘ELYSIUM’ lens concept and Waterside will also profile its exclusive range of advanced lens and frame options including; *Smart Glass lens technology and frames designed for use with smart glasses - Smart Frames and Smart GOLD™ lens design for Google Glass, Vuzix M100 and Epson Moverio BT-200.

Read More on the 100% London Preview Pages

Visit the 100% Optical Page

New recommendations to embed professionalism into optometric training – in College report

December 2014

The College of Optometrists makes recommendations for embedding professionalism in optometric training in its newly published Professionalism in optometry report.

The research, carried out between March and October this year, explored the concept of professionalism in health care settings and how to strengthen it at all stages of optometric training.

There was widespread agreement that professionalism is vital to the future of optometry and that it should be embedded in undergraduate and pre-registration training, and continuing professional development, with a particular focus on undergraduate training.

The research involved a literature review, a survey of 133 College members, focus groups, workshops and interviews and discussions with a range of stakeholders, including employers, universities and regulatory and representative organisations.

The report makes a number of recommendations: Firstly that there needs to be a shared approach to strengthening professionalism training; involving professional bodies, the regulator and the universities. It is essential this work is reflected in the revised GOC core competencies and aligns with the Quality Assurance Agency Higher Education’s benchmark statements. It also recommends that universities need to review how professionalism training could be strengthened within their degrees.

The College also recognises the importance of its own role in encouraging further the debate and developing ethical scenarios, case studies and other learning resources which focus on professionalism and judgment. The use of ethical and professional dilemmas was by far the most preferred method of learning about professionalism.

The College will also look at how professionalism is integrated in the Scheme for Registration.

Josephine Mullin, Director of Policy and Strategy for the College of Optometrists said: “This has been an important project as professionalism is crucial to good patient care. Good clinical care cannot happen in isolation – professionalism is what puts the patient at the heart eye care services. We hope this report will start a process to support students and practising optometrists in embedding professional values into their everyday work.”

Simplyhealth supports ground breaking project to enable GPs to detect sight loss earlier in older patients
Healthcare provider Simplyhealth is supporting a project which aims to raise awareness of the importance of eye health and the impact of sight loss amongst GPs and practice staff. The project which runs until March 2016 is jointly delivered by the Royal College of General Practitioners through its Clinical Champion, Dr Waqaar Shah, and the UK Vision Strategy - a coalition initiative of eye health and sight loss organisations.

Sight loss is common among older people: 1 in 5 people aged 75 and 1 in 2 aged 90 and over are living with sight loss [1]. Older people may put their sight difficulties down to ageing, and not mention them to GPs. Therefore, it is essential that GPs and their practice staff colleagues are aware of a person’s sight loss and its impacts, and look for unrecognised sight loss.
The project will deliver a series of training resources, webinars and events in 2015 and 2016 to provide training and support to GPs and practice staff throughout the UK. The training workshops will aim to increase knowledge and awareness amongst GPs and practice staff of the specific issues relating to older people with sight loss and how to make their practices more accessible.
The launch of the partnership with Simplyhealth comes after a recent survey revealed many GPs in the UK were not confident when diagnosing major eye diseases [2]. Just one third (34.1%) of respondents were confident in spotting the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, with only half of GPs confident in recognising diabetic retinopathy (48.8%), or glaucoma (51.2%). The survey also found that only a quarter of respondents (26.1%) had been offered training on how to support patients who were blind and partially sighted and the majority of respondents (81.1%) expressed an interest in receiving training or guidance on how to support patients who were blind and partially sighted.

RCGP Clinical Champion for Eye Health, Dr Waqaar Shah, said: "GPs and practice staff have told us that they need more training opportunities to increase their knowledge and confidence of the issues relating to older people with sight loss. We are delighted that Simplyhealth have kindly given their support to the Clinical Priority for Eye Health Project to make this possible as it will enable us to deliver significant improvements in preventing avoidable blindness and improving the quality of life for patients with sight loss.”

Mark Hamson, spokesperson for Simplyhealth comments; “We are pleased that we are able to support important initiatives such as this though our charitable donations. We are committed to helping people to live healthy lives and are convinced that this educational programme designed for healthcare practitioners will contribute towards this.”

GOC appoints Glenn Tomison and Rosie Glazebrook to Council

December 2014

Glenn Tomison and Rosie Glazebrook have been appointed as new members of the General Optical Council (GOC). Glenn, a registered dispensing optician, joins as a registrant member of Council while Rosie has been appointed as a lay member. Both start their terms of office on 1 January 2015.

GOC Chair, Gareth Hadley, said: “I am delighted to welcome Glenn and Rosie. Both possess considerable experience and expertise and I look forward to working with them.

“Glenn brings with him tremendous insight into the work of our registrants, particularly dispensing opticians. He also offers great experience of optical education with his work at the University of Manchester. Rosie brings a great understanding of the complaints process and the need to protect the public, and will contribute significantly to our work in this field.”

Glenn Tomison said: “I look forward to being able to use my experience and insight to help the GOC protect the public and ensure public confidence in the optical professions. It is an exciting time to join the GOC and I am pleased I will be able to contribute to its work, ensuring in particular that the important role that dispensing opticians play in serving the public is fully understood.”

Glenn has over 35 years of experience in the optical sector, continuing to work as a registered self-employed dispensing optician as well as a part-time clinical instructor and lecturer at the University of Manchester. Glenn is also Chairman of the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO), although he is standing down from this position to avoid any conflict with his new role as a Council member. He is currently a member of the GOC’s Standards Committee and will continue in this role once appointed as a Council member.

Rosie Glazebrook said: “It is a privilege to join the GOC and be able to work alongside colleagues and stakeholders to protect the public at a time where the optical landscape is going through a big period of change. I look forward to being able to use my experience and insight to further the GOC’s work as we lead our registrants and the public through an important time for optical regulation.”

Rosie has significant experience of the healthcare environment, sitting as a board member of Public Health England and the Human Tissue Authority. Rosie also chairs a Research Ethics Committee and, during 2013, was an external reviewer for the Clywd-Hart Review on NHS complaints. Prior to this, Rosie worked with NHS London to help launch and develop the award-winning site, myhealthlondon, and was a non-executive director of a London Primary Care Trust. On appointment she will Chair the GOC’s Registration Committee and be a member of its Audit and Risk Committee.

The appointments were confirmed by the Privy Council after the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) approved the GOC’s recruitment procedure.
Glenn and Rosie replace James Russell and Morag Alexander, whose terms finish on 31 December.

Take part in the UK Vision Strategy’s commissioning guidance survey for a chance to win a free place at Vision UK 2015

December 2014

Following the launch of the UK Vision Strategy’s Commissioning for Effectiveness and Efficiency guidance in November 2014, eye health stakeholders are invited to offer their feedback via a short online survey. The results of the survey will inform the evaluation of the CEE project outputs and inform future work to support effective planning and provision of local eyecare services in England. All survey respondents will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a free place at Vision UK 2015, the UK’s only conference for the whole of the eye health and sight loss sector.

The two-year CEE pilot scheme worked within three Clinical Commissioning Groups in Gateshead, Bedford and South Devon and Torbay to develop sustainable collaborative commissioning of eye health and sight loss services.

Bringing together learning from the CE E project, the guidance is accompanied by a suite of support tools to assist commissioners, local government partners, Local Eye Health Networks (LEHNS) and partnerships to plan and deliver eyecare services that maximise the best possible outcomes for their local communities.

The CEE project guidance features a foreword from Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning, NHS England, and is officially endorsed by Sir Muir Gray CBE, Consultant Public Health, Public Health England and Dr Mike Bewick, Deputy Medical Director, NHS England.

To complete the CEE guidance survey, please visit:

December 2014

International glaucoma specialist and American Academy of Ophthalmology award winner, Professor Sanjay Asrani, is Heidelberg Engineering’s CET accredited international speaker at 100% Optical.

As Professor of Optometry and Clinical Director at Duke Eye Surgery in Cary, North Carolina, Sanjay has over 65 peer reviewed publications and sits on the editorial board of EyeNet. He leads research on all aspects of glaucoma diagnosis and care, and is an inspiring speaker.

In addition, Heidelberg Engineering will lead case study discussions on OCT in Acute Visual Loss, covering retinal diseases most commonly seen in practice, with signs, symptoms and referral protocol.

Promoting the benefits of multicolour imaging and OCT, Heidelberg Engineering will highlight -

• the principles of OCT testing in glaucoma
• macular thickness in conjunction with nerve fibre layer assessment in glaucoma
• artifacts and pitfalls of OCT

All change at FODO as Glenn Tomison appointed to GOC; & Lynda Oliver takes over as FODO Chair

December 2014

FODO Chair Glenn Tomison has been appointed as the new professional member of the General Optical Council (GOC). Lynda Oliver, FODO Board Member, takes over as FODO Chair with immediate effect. Claire Slade remains FODO Vice Chair.

Commenting on the changes Glenn Tomison said: “I am sorry to step down as FODO chair. I was enjoying working on important issues with FODO colleagues and participating in the great things the Optical Confederation is delivering for the sector which so often go unreported. However I am very pleased to be joining the GOC. It plays a crucial role in both ensuring the public is protected and enabling the sector to evolve.”

Lynda Oliver said: “We are delighted at Glenn’s appointment. People of his calibre are few and far between so it is great that he has been recruited for such an important role. We are on the brink of significantly expanding community eye health services and delivering eye health for all, so I am also very pleased to be asked by my fellow FODO Directors to take over the chair at this crucial time.”

David Hewlett, FODO Chief Executive “The strength of FODO lies in its people and their willingness to serve impartially in any capacity for the good of the whole sector. We are delighted that Lynda is willing to become Chair and she will be very ably supported by Claire Slade as Vice Chair. Lynda brings a depth of knowledge of the sector as well as the highest level HR and marketing skills. She and Claire will make a brilliant team at FODO, within the Optical Confederation and across the wider optical and health sectors.”

Rodenstock Workshop Gives Skills to Boost Sales

December 2014

Workshops organised by Rodenstock UK to give practices the skills to help increase their sales of near and intermediate vision spectacles have been hailed a huge success by one optician who has since reaped the benefit of attending.

Hilary Coe, of Langrick and Coe / Graham Coe Opticians of Leicestershire, was one of more than 80 independent opticians who attended workshops held in North Yorkshire, the West Midlands and Kent at the end of 2013.

“A year on from the Rodenstock workshop and we have definitely enjoyed an increase in sales of second and third pairs of glasses, including near and intermediate vision spectacles. Attending the event has really made a difference to us,” says Dispensing Manager Hilary.

The workshops were organised as part of a Rodenstock UK promotion linked to its Ergo® Near Vision lenses. Opticians who attended received a CET-approved presentation on ergonomics and near vision lenses and a presentation from Martin Gross, a professional trainer and coach for opticians.

“The presentation opened my eyes to the potential for dispensing more spectacles,” says Hilary, who was full of praise for Martin Gross.

“He understands opticians, our quirks and our funny ways, and he was able to give us a different perspective on our job. He knows that it can be embarrassing to try to sell more than one pair of spectacles to a customer at a time so he helps by putting it into perspective. The clear message is that it’s not extravagant to own a second or third pair of glasses.

“He explained that if you sell a top quality pair of spectacles, a top quality pair of sunglasses and a pair of near vision glasses to a customer then on average they will get three years of wear out of them. That’s around 6,000 hours of wear a year or 18,000 hours over three years, and that works out at less than the cost of a pint of milk a day to the customer. What fantastic value for money those glasses represent!

“He also pointed out that a person would not own one pair of shoes which they used for walking the dog and playing sport and going to a party, so why not have different pairs of glasses for your different needs?

“Martin understands that we are very focused on the technical aspects of the job, whereas the customer standing in front of you is much more interested in the emotional side, how glasses feel and what they look like wearing them. Opticians must be able to tap into this emotional view if they are to be successful.
“This new approach to increasing sales was a real eye-opener for me and I’ve used it with customers since I returned from the workshop. Several colleagues also attended the same event and they’ve been getting great results by using these new skills,” adds Hilary.

Martin Gross told delegates like Hilary that with more people spending increased amounts of time using computers and handheld devices, there has been major growth in the use of ‘computer glasses’.

Rodenstock UK has strengthened its Ergo® range of lenses, and offers three design types to suit differing demands on vision at the near and reading zones.

College of Optometrists launches new jobs board

December 2014

The College of Optometrists has launched an online pre-registration placement jobs board. The board has gone live on the College’s website – advertising placements for students looking to start in either 2015 or 2016 and is already promoting nearly 50 placements.

Jackie Martin, Director of Education at the College, said: “The jobs board was developed in response to feedback from our student members, who told us that they would find a resource like this invaluable. Finding a pre-reg placement can be a difficult time for students, and we want to help them by putting them in touch with our supervisors.”

Tanita Hirani, a final year student at Aston University, and one of the College’s 2014 student representatives, said: "We thought the board would be a brilliant idea for those still in need for a pre-reg placement. This will ease a lot of stress from students studying in their final year.”

Ruth Brough, Lead Assessor at the College said: “Our supervisors have also raised the importance of having a central board and this will help supervisors to promote their vacancy to as wide a pre-reg audience as possible. Having the opportunity to add further information about their practice together with online links to their practice website is also really valuable in outlining the type of candidate they’re looking for to best fit their practice team.”

Placements for 2015 can be viewed at, with 2016 vacancies at
As part of its work to engage with pre-registration trainees, the College has also just appointed ten representatives to its new pre-registration optometrists reference group. The group will provide a sounding board on all matters relating to pre-reg trainees to ensure their views are taken into account in the College’s work. The group comprises representatives from each of the College’s seven assessment regions.

Improving Customer Care at UltraVision

December 2014

UltraVision’s Thomas Hedley and Adam May, have successfully passed the Optical Customer Service (Contact Lenses) Level 2 qualification and recently received their certificates at a Presentation Ceremony at Apothecaries’ Hall, London.

This distance learning qualification, offered by The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers Education Trust, aims to improve technical product knowledge and Customer Service skills of staff employed in optical practice or by contact lens manufacturers.

End of an era for Conlons, the Liverpool based family chain

December 2014

After 132 years of service the Conlons small chain of practices has been acquired by Vision Express.

The current Chairman, Peter Barton, the great great grandson of Bernard Conlon, who opened its first store said, “It is a sad day for Conlons, however it is firmly believed that the sale is in the best interests of the majority of staff and the company. It has been a pleasure to work with such competent, committed and hardworking people.

“Conlons has operated quality high street opticians for 132 years and the company has always punched well above its weight by giving friendly and professional service to so many satisfied customers.”

VE will it’s said only retain around half of the 19 stores closing 9 and offering workers places within VE.

The addition of the 10 stores will bring VE’s total to 389.

This year Vision Express has also acquired branches of Rayner & Keeler and Crown Eyeglasses.

College’s new guidance is attracting record number of views

December 2014

The College of Optometrists launched its updated and revised Guidance for professional practice last month and since the re-launch has seen a record number of optometrists visiting the new website. In the month since the re-launch, the website has received nearly 14,500 unique visits – over five times more than the previous month.

The most popular domain being searched is the Knowledge, skills and performance domain and the most popular section is ‘The routine eye examination’ which looks at; conducting the examination, frequency of examinations, patients requesting re-examinations and clinical reasons for earlier recall.

The College of Optometrists’ Director of Policy and Strategy, Jo Mullin, said: “We’re delighted with the response to the updated Guidance. The enhanced search facility makes it much easier for people to find what they’re looking for. And we notice members of the profession are now sharing links to the guidance via social media. The vast majority of feedback we’ve received so far from users says that people think the new site is ‘excellent’ and ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to use.”

Following extensive consultation with members, experts and stakeholders, the updated guidance is now presented in an accessible format with shorter paragraphs and clearer language and is now divided in to four main domains.

The guidance is available for all optometrists to access at, with College members receiving access to supporting documents and also a bound hard-copy version. The site is both mobile and tablet-friendly with a powerful search engine, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. A new app for College members will also be launched soon.

December 2014

Norville Opticians is looking to help beat last year’s total of nearly £14000 through its sponsorship and involvement with the Saltford Santa Dash which took place earlier today.

More than 630 runners dressed as Santa, some with their dogs, covered a five–mile, figure-of-eight course through the picturesque lanes of Saltford near Bristol while 300 younger ‘Santas’ ran, walked or toddled a special shorter course.

All were raising money to support local teenager Corey Clifton who is raising money to help two charities provide the kind of support and care to others like he has received in recent months.

The charities are CLIC Sargent; the UK's leading cancer charity for children, young people and their families and the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust; a national organisation that takes young people aged between 8-24 sailing to help them regain confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illness.

The money raised will be split evenly between them.

Pictured here are Norville Opticians optometrists Steve Tilley (left) and Harriet Smith with Director and Dispensing Optician Adrian Street (right) in a ‘team photo’ before the event.

Good spirits at FMO enthuse Optics UK to a united year ahead

December 2014

Celebrations of excellence, dedicated service, and commitment to bringing the best to UK Optics plc were all part of the good cheer of The FMO’s annual luncheon last week.

FMO members, optical leaders, and invited guests drew a gathering of 120 to The Hilton Hotel, Paddington. Bringing together manufacturers, lens and frame suppliers, technology companies and finance providers the day was perhaps the most unifying event of the year, believes The FMO.

“Our annual luncheon extends each year to draw more from the world of optics. It is a unique event where good spirits abound and companies which have competed for business throughout the year come together to celebrate unity. We are very proud to host such a celebration,” said FMO Chairman, Barry Dibble.

Tables of frame company suppliers sat together, whilst the lens and equipment providers also enjoyed the season’s feeling of good will. It was also a time for networking, where companies providing sister products to High Street opticians were able to talk about best business practice and trends for the year ahead.


Particular celebrations marked the retirement from The FMO - after 65 years in optics – of former industry stalwart and FMO Chief Executive, Malcolm Polley. Although continuing with his role in steering Optrafair, the long established trade show, Malcolm is taking a step back from the day to day running of the organisation. New Chief Executive at The FMO is Kevin Gutsell, FBDO (Hons) SLD.

A moving presentation of Malcolm’s progression through optics drew a standing ovation for a career which has embraced frame manufacturing, lens promotion, optical marketing and team leadership. Alongside this, FMO Honorary Life Membership was presented to longstanding, and highly valued, FMO administrator Sandie Fisher and Optical Confederation leader, Chris Hunt.


Mr Hunt had spoken at the preceding FMO AGM about the need for optics to look to the future: he urged FMO members to consider how the profession and industry will be best equipped to deal with an increasingly competitive landscape. He encouraged FMO members to engage with other Confederation partners to ensure the best route forward for patients, practitioners and the industry, particularly with a growing role for primary care on the High Street.

He said the four year old Confederation, and the partnership that it brings, is the route to “really taking things forward”. He highlighted the “quiet work which goes on in the background”, paying much credit to the dedication of The FODO team.

FMO Director, Kingsley Sleep, presented a new Memorandum and Articles of Association to FMO members after three years of work. Designed to provide a framework for The FMO to grow and develop, they address the changes to the FMO as it has evolved as an organisation in recent years, and also comply with the new Companies’ Act.


The FMO’s flagship optical show – Optrafair – was promoted to FMO members, with news that 70% of floor space has now been sold, with four months still to go before the doors open on the NEC, Birmingham event, in April.

“We have made a commitment to keep costs down for FMO members to exhibit and to ensure that much of the profits are returned to optics through training, and education, benevolent funds and the running of The FMO as the industry’s voice,” added Barry Dibble.

New features include a Question Time which will include the leaders of Boots, Specsavers and Vision Express along with leading voices for the independent sector.

IACLE announces World Congress to shape the future of contact lens education

December 2014

Educators and key opinion leaders from around the world will gather in the UK in May 2015 when the International Association of Contact Lens Educators holds the Third IACLE World Congress on Contact Lens Education.

Hosted at The University of Manchester, the congress takes place from 24th to 28th May and is timed to precede the British Contact Lens Association’s 2015 Clinical Conference & Exhibition in Liverpool (29th to 31st May).

More than 100 delegates are expected to attend, including contact lens educators from IACLE’s three global regions: Asia Pacific, Americas and Europe/Arica – Middle East. Participation for IACLE members attending the congress will be facilitated by IACLE, thanks to the generous support of Platinum Sponsors Alcon, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

The theme for the congress is Shaping the Future of Contact Lens Education. The program will harness expertise from a wide range of educational backgrounds to explore technologies and approaches that can be applied to contact lens education.

Key features of the Third IACLE World Congress are:

• Four-day meeting prior to 2015 BCLA Clinical Conference & Exhibition
• Global participation by key opinion leaders in education
• Focus on innovation in teaching and learning
• Participation in live Web Lectures by IACLE members worldwide
• Welcome Reception and prestigious Congress Dinner
• Presentation of IACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education
• Transport to BCLA Clinical Conference & Exhibition in Liverpool on final day

Keynote speakers will be Associate Professor Pat Caroline (Pacific University Oregon, USA), Associate Professor Helen Compton (Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA) and Apple Distinguished Educator Joe Moretti (UK).

A special symposium on The Business of Contact Lenses will be broadcast live online as Web Lectures for IACLE members around the world to take part.
A Welcome Reception will be held at the congress venue, Chancellors Hotel, on Sunday 24th May. The Congress Dinner takes place in the Fossil Gallery and Living Worlds Gallery at Manchester Museum on Wednesday 27th May, when a new IACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education will be presented.

Transport to Liverpool for those attending the BCLA Clinical Conference & Exhibition will be provided on the afternoon of Thursday 28th May.
IACLE Vice President and Congress Chair, Professor Philip Morgan, commented: ‘The Third IACLE World Congress presents a fantastic opportunity to shape the direction of global contact lens education and the future training of contact lens professionals worldwide.

‘Delegates will have the chance to network with other educators and professionals from around the world and to build long-lasting collaborations and friendships. They’ll return to their institutions and share their learning with colleagues and with students, the contact lens practitioners of the future.’
In addition to IACLE members, delegates will attend from the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) and British Universities Committee of Contact Lens Educators (BUCCLE), along with IACLE Executive Board/staff members and representatives from IACLE’s Industry Partners.

Grafton announce “Technology Showcase” at 100% Optical

December 2014

Grafton Optical has announced that it will be showing its latest equipment at next year’s 100% Show at Excel in London next February.

They will be showing their latest developments sourced from the major equipment manufacturers around the world including Optovue and Visionix.

Focus will be on diagnostic and monitoring equipment much of which is vital in today’s expanding optometric role in community services.

For those taking refinement and referral courses Grafton’s Goldmann and equivalent applanation tonometer and highly praised disposable prism tips will be of particular interest.

The great interest in OCTs this year has been in part the result of Grafton’s affordable pricing policy with its iFusion solution involving both fundus camera and OCT in a space saving compact design.

But maybe of most individual interest will be the Type II Diabetic non-invasive tester, “Clearpath” and from Visionix, 7 in 1 complete analysis of the eye solution which will allow practices to declutter their consulting rooms.

Test yourself and family to see the added value this space age equipment can provide your patients.

Grafton’s James Furness explained how enthusiastic they are about showing at 100% Optical “The opportunity to demonstrate the new and exciting equipment to London and its surrounding counties at affordable prices was irresistible”.

Visit Grafton's Page

It’s in the Bag! Or should it be in Scotland?

December 2014

Single Use Carrier Bag Charge in Scotland December 2014

On Monday 20 October 2014 new regulations came into place in Scotland requiring all suppliers who sell goods in the course of business or trade to charge customers a minimum of 5p for each single-use carrier bag supplied to take the purchased goods away. The charge, which will be enforced by local authorities, is mandatory unless the supplier of goods fits into one of the exemption categories.

Prescribed optical goods are exempt from the charge but non-prescribed optical goods are not (even if in the same bag).

These regulations have been developed in accordance with the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, in an attempt to encourage bag reuse, reduce litter and the environmental impact that excess plastic bags cause. Similar requirements have already been introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland with England to follow in the near future.

Optical Practices and Exemptions from the Charge

Whilst the requirement to charge applies to most retail businesses, the regulations provide for various exemptions. The key exemptions which apply to optical practices are:

• a medicinal product prescribed by a doctor or IP optometrist A pharmacy medicine such as eye drops, gels or ointments to treat eye diseases

• any other appliance sold or supplied in accordance with a prescription – spectacles and powered contact lenses are all prescribed by optical practitioner in accordance with sections 25 and 26 of the Opticians Act 1989 (as amended).

As optical practices largely supply prescription items (spectacles and contact lenses) and medicinal products such as eye drops, this means that most items supplied by an optical practice are exempt from the requirement to charge for a carrier bag.

When to Charge for a Carrier Bag

A bag provided free of charge must be used solely for supplying a medicinal product, listed appliance or an appliance supplied in accordance with a prescription. This means that any goods that do not fall under these three categories, whether or not included in the same bag as a prescription item, appliance or medicinal product, should incur the carrier bag charge.

Examples of items that require a carrier bag charge are listed below:

• Non prescription sunglasses
• Plano contact lenses
• Ready readers
• Key chains
• Lens wipes supplied separately from spectacles
• Lens cases supplied separately from spectacles
• Spectacle lens cleaner

Proceeds from Levy Charge

There is no obligation on how the net proceeds collected from the carrier bag charge should be used; this is entirely down to each business. However the Scottish Government is keen to encourage retailers to keep a record of the proceeds and to donate them to an environmental or charitable cause. Further information can be found on the Carrier Bags Commitment website.

Life expectancy in the EU still on the rise: generates launch of the "Health at a Glance: Europe 2014>" report

December 2014

EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis and Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Angel Gurría issued today the following joint statement on the report "Health at a Glance: Europe 2014": "We are delighted to unveil the comparative data on health and health systems covering all 28 EU Member States contained in the Health at a Glance: Europe 2014 report. The report highlights key trends in health status, health spending, health inequalities, health determinants and health care resources as well as quality of care and access to care. It also explores the impact of the economic crisis on health. This state-of-play on Europe’s health is an important input for public debates on policies to improve population health and health system performance across Europe. The beginning of a new Commission mandate, when EU added value to common health concerns is being discussed, is an opportune moment to release this data. Our hope is that the Health at a Glance report will help stimulate further actions so that European citizens of all socio-economic backgrounds can enjoy longer, healthier and more active lives".

ECV publishes response to European Health at a Glance Report

December 2014

European Coalition for Vision (ECV) regrets the lack of data on vision impairment in Europe and calls for more harmonized data collected at EU level to provide better policy advice to decision-makers. Vision is a vital part of the health dimension that is too often neglected. ECV’s objective is promote a EU eye health indicator that would address this issue.

European Coalition for Vision welcomes the report “Health at a glance: Europe 2014” presented on 3rd December 2014 by Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis. The report, based mainly on the European Core Health Indicators (ECHI), highlights key trends in health, providing a state of play of Europe’s health.

Chair of ECV, Mr. Peter Ackland, stated: “This report is essential as it provides a good overview of the state of health in the member states. We call on the Commission and Member States to develop and promote a EU eye health indicator, that would complement the data on health to include the field of vision – that would help stimulate further public policy actions in the eye health domain”.

Visit arranged between the MP and North of Tyne Local Optical Committee, with support from the Optical Confederation’s Public Affairs Team

December 2014

Newcastle MP calls on constituents to look after their eyesight by having regular eye tests.

Newcastle upon Tyne North MP, Catherine McKinnell, visited Michael Offord Optometrist in Kingston Park, on Friday 28th November, in her constituency to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness. (See Optical Confederation page for further information.)

Driving and vision to take centre stage at Optometry Tomorrow 2015

November 2014

Professor Joanne Wood MCOptom will deliver a keynote lecture on vision and driving at Optometry Tomorrow 2015, the College of Optometrist’s next annual conference taking place at The Brighton Centre on 8 and 9 March.

Professor Wood, a leading expert in vision and driving based at the Queensland University of Technology’s School of Optometry and Vision Science, Australia, said: “While previous research has failed to show that increased crash rates are associated with reduced vision, more recent evidence supports a strong relationship between driving performance and functional vision measures.”

Her lecture ‘What you don’t see can hurt you – vision and driving’ will provide a current and comprehensive overview of relevant research, and will explore the implication of these findings for optometrists when assessing a patient’s visual fitness for driving and providing relevant advice.

Delegates will gain a clear understanding of the evidence linking visual function tests with driving ability and safety, in order to better assess and manage their patients. They will also develop a comprehensive appreciation of the evidence linking various ocular diseases with driving.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, Clinical Adviser at the College of Optometrists, said: “Our patients can find it difficult to discuss their visual fitness to drive as they may be scared of losing their licence. This lecture will help practitioners assess patients, apply the current evidence base, and better understand how different conditions can affect a person behind the wheel. Many of our patients hold a driving licence, so I know this lecture will provide information that will help delegates make informed decisions in practice.

We get many enquiries from optometrists on this topic, so I know this lecture will provide information that will help delegates make informed decisions in practice.”

B+L pledges €41m investment to Waterford adding 50 jobs

November 2014

Bausch+ Lomb, is to invest €41M in manufacturing capacity at its Waterford facility, strengthening its position in support of growing market share in the contact lens market.

The investment, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through IDA Ireland, is expected to generate 50 jobs within the next 18 months. It will equip the Waterford facility with next generation contact lens manufacturing technology, high-speed packaging equipment, and an efficient energy generation system. Employee training for new automation is part of the investment.

Parent company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International made the announcement this week, confirming the company’s commitment to continue to invest in the Waterford plant.

J. Michael Pearson, Chairman and CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, explained -

“The Waterford site continues to play a very important role in our strategy to rebuild Bausch + Lomb as one of the leading contact lens producers. It is a first class site for contact lens manufacturing and distribution, and with the new production lines, the added capacity will support both current and future demand. I want to thank the Irish Government, Minister Richard Bruton and IDA, the Irish Industrial Development Agency, for their support of this project. "

Speaking in Waterford, Angelo Conti, Vice President, Manufacturing, Bausch + Lomb added –

“We are particularly pleased to announce this investment as it cements our commitment to the Waterford plant after employees agreed on a cost reduction plan, earlier this year, to make the plant viable for the future.”

Damian Finn, General Manager, Bausch + Lomb, Waterford, welcomed the investment –

“The commitment here is welcome and will enable us to take advantage of the opportunities that are emerging in the contact lens and vision care sector. Our employees have implemented a substantial programme of change over the last six months and we are now in a position to gain from our increased competitiveness. I believe that we now have a more sustainable operation and I am looking forward to the coming years as a time of great opportunity and significant growth.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton TD, who has met senior Valeant executives on a number of recent occasions including on his late October trade mission to the USA, welcomed the announcement, saying –

“Today’s announcement that B + L is making a substancial investment in the Waterford plant, supported by my Department through IDA, and creating 50 extra jobs is very welcome news. I wish to pay tribute in particular to the workers for making today possible – as well as to the company leadership, the IDA, the LRC and officials in my Department for helping to make this happen”.

England Vision Strategy Implementation Group event outlines priorities for change

November 2014

More than 150 leading professionals from across the eye health and sight loss sector, as well as health, social care, government and voluntary sector representatives, came together earlier this week on Monday 24 November to discuss the implementation of the England Vision Strategy.

The event, titled ‘Turning the England Vision Strategy into Reality’ was hosted by the UK Vision Strategy England Implementation Group, sponsored by sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust and outlined priorities for change across the country. David Geddes, NHS England’s NHS England’s Head of Primary Care Commissioning updated delegates on the recent ‘Improving eye health and reducing sight loss – A Call to Action.’

Conference delegates also heard from leading voices from across the sector, including:

• John Thompson, co-chair of UK Vision Strategy England Implementation Group and Chair of the College of Optometrists Lay Advisory Panel
• David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists
• Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE, Chair of the UK Vision Strategy Leadership Group and Chief Executive of RNIB
• Fazilet Hadi, UK Vision Strategy Lead Officer
• Keith Valentine, Pocklington Director of Services
• Fadeia Hossian, founding Chair of the Redbridge Local Vision Strategy Group

Local Vision Strategies in England provide the platform to bring together key stakeholders along the whole of the eye health and sight loss pathway, to develop plans that address the needs of those at risk of sight loss. With 50% of sight loss preventable if detected early , ensuring local communities are aware of the importance of regular testing is essential.

The event was held at the iconic Museum of London and was supported by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who commented that he “support[s] the terrific contribution that charities such as Thomas Pocklington Trust make towards improving eye health and sight loss services”.

Dame Judi Dench, who has macular degeneration, also lent her support, saying “I applaud the aims of this conference and commend the work of all those involved in helping the UK achieve the aims of the UK Vision Strategy”.

Peter Corbett, co- chair of the UK Vision Strategy England Implementation Group and CEO of Thomas Pocklington Trust, commented: “It was wonderful to see so many inspirational people from across the eye health and sight loss sector come together to share best practice and discuss how we can implement Vision Strategies across the whole country.

As we look to the future, the number of people with visual impairment and sight loss is set to increase dramatically unless we take action. That is why it is so important that Local Vision Strategies are developed and implemented and we hope this event has helped inspire and encourage stakeholders to devise their own plans which will raise awareness and provide crucial support for those with and at risk of sight loss.”

The UK Vision Strategy England Implementation Group co-chairs will be launching the England implementation plan in Spring 2015, following feedback from delegates at the event.

HOYA is now live on LinkedIn

November 2014

You can now follow HOYA Lens UK on LinkedIn for all the latest topical industry news, events and product information. Launched on the 3rdNovember, the HOYA Lens UK page is a platform to share and discuss information.”We are excited to expand our social media presence with the HOYA Lens UK LinkedIn page aimed at the Optical profession as a point of contact for like-minded colleagues to interact with one another” Dale Hughes , Marketing Manager HOYA Lens UK.

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with 300 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe.

HOYA is a Japanese multinational med-tech company and leading supplier of innovative and indispensable high-tech and healthcare products based on its advanced optics technologies. HOYA is active in two main business segments: The Life Care segment deals in health care related products such as eyeglass lenses and operates retail shops for contact lenses, as well as medical related products such as intraocular lenses for cataract surgery and medical endoscopes. The Information Technology segment handles electronics products for semiconductors and LCD panels, glass disks for HDDs and optical lenses for digital cameras and smartphones. HOYA Group comprises of over 100 subsidiaries and affiliates and over 35,000 people worldwide.

GOC sets out strategy to tackle illegal practice

November 2014

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today set out its strategy for tackling illegal practice in the optical sector, such as online contact lens sales that do not comply with UK law, the unlawful supply of cosmetic contact lenses and the misuse of protected titles.

The GOC will take a proactive, multi-pronged approach to reducing public harm through its new strategy. These actions include:
• raising awareness among contact lens wearers of the need to follow aftercare advice and have regular check-ups;
• developing 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.

Speaking at a BCLA seminar in London, Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Policy and Communications, said: “The independent research we commissioned before devising this strategy showed that certain types of illegal practice can cause significant risks to public health.

“We will now be developing a multi-pronged approach to tackling illegal practice. We are particularly concerned about the unlawful supply of contact lenses and as well as dealing with complaints, we want to raise awareness among consumers of how to gain the benefits of wearing contact lenses without compromising the health of their eyes. This will require coordinated action with stakeholders, combining our collective resources and insight.”

The GOC is also setting up a stakeholder group to help implement the strategy. Dr Rob Hogan, as Council Champion, will chair the group. Rob is an optometrist and Past President, Trustee and Council member of the College of Optometrists. He owns his own consultancy firm, iCare Consulting Ltd.

Richard Edwards has been appointed as a consultant to advice on the delivery of the strategy. Richard has a broad range of experience in the optical sector. After qualifying as an optometrist he had a 26 year career with Boots, where he was Director of Professional Services and Learning. He has also been a Director of the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO). Richard is currently a member of the GOC’s Companies Committee and chairs the Optical Confederation’s Education Committee.

The GOC has now published the full strategy on its website at

LOCSU recruiting two new Board members

November 2014

LOCSU is looking to appoint two new Board members, to replace Steve Mayer, representing LOCs in the north of England and Graham Ackers, representing LOCs in the south of England, both of whom are stepping down in December 2014 having completed their term of office.

Applicants for these prestigious positions will need to be excellent strategic thinkers with a passion for improving opportunities and outcomes for community services. Applicants must also be an active member of an LOC in the north or south of England and have excellent knowledge of the current challenges and opportunities facing LOCs in their region. These roles will offer individuals the opportunity to use their skills and expertise at an exciting and challenging time for LOCSU as the NHS reforms continue.

OGS launches Christmas campaign “Give more than a card this Christmas: give sight”

November 2014

Christmas is a time of giving. Leading up to Christmas many choose to make a donation to charity. This festive season Optometry Giving Sight have created the perfect tool to send Christmas wishes to customers, patients, friends and family, whilst sharing with them your support of eye care in developing countries.

By simply making an online donation at, you will be emailed their Christmas logo to share with your customers and patients and/or friends and family.

Donations made at this time will help Optometry Giving Sight achieve its mission of funding sustainable vision care projects to help the more than 600 million people worldwide who are blind or vision impaired through the lack of access to eye care.

OGS asks you not to forget to tick the Gift Aid box if you’re a taxpayer in the UK as 25% of any donations you make can be reclaimed by giving your name and address. If, for example, you donate £100, a reclaim of £25 can be made via Gift Aid.

DOCET’s innovative, new learning materials explore ageing vision through the eyes of older patients

November 2014

The Directorate of Optometric Continuing Education and Training (DOCET) has launched a new training video in the current ‘Ageing Eye’ series. ‘A day in the Life…’ takes optometrists into the world of their older patients, helping them to understand some of the challenges of living with changing vision.

The ‘Ageing Eye’ series of learning materials is designed to offer a new, holistic approach to ageing vision, helping to improve optometrists’ understanding, assessment and management of the ageing eye. In ‘A day in the Life...’ viewers spend a typical day with Maureen and Jennie, who both live with common eye conditions including AMD , glaucoma and cataracts, and gain an invaluable insight into how their conditions have far reaching effects on all aspects of their lives. Through conversations with Maureen and Jennie, the film examines issues including modifications to the home environment, the challenges of driving and using public transport, shopping and product packaging, and hobbies. The footage is interspersed with expert information and advice on key issues:

• Professor David Elliot, University of Bradford, looks at research on mobility and falls.
• Dr Hannah Bartlett, Aston University, and Professor Ian Grierson, University of Liverpool, review nutrition, AREDS trials and dietary supplements.
• Cathy Yelf from the Macular Society explains the significant social impact of visual loss.
• Sarah Buchanan from the Thomas Pocklington Trust advises on lighting improvements around the home.

Sanjay Patel, Chair of DOCET, says: ‘This innovative training programme represents a holistic approach to dealing with the challenges of ageing vision. We want to take optometrists out of the examining room and into the shoes of their elderly patients in order to give them a greater understanding of the impact of sight loss on mobility, general health and social wellbeing. With an ageing population, we believe that a greater understanding of and empathy with their patients will enable optometrists to provide a better service. We aim to help them develop the knowledge and skills they will require to do this through the range of learning materials available as part of DOCET’s Ageing Eye series.’

The Ageing Eye series has been developed in two parts. Part 1, currently available, covers assessment and includes modules on ocular physiology and pathology, Charles Bonnet syndrome, communication issues and how to modify eye examinations (including domiciliary) for older patients. The second part, covering management, will launch in 2015 and is planned to include modules on refractive correction and the management of low vision. There are 3 interactive CET points available for successful completion of the exercise that accompanies the film. Optometrists can access the materials by logging on to

GOC grants provisional approval to Hertfordshire

November 2014

The GOC has granted the University of Hertfordshire provisional approval to run a masters in optometry degree course. Up to 50 students will be allowed to start the course in September 2015.

When a new course leading to GOC registration wishes to open, they must apply to the GOC for approval. The GOC initially grants only provisional approval to new courses; it will grant full approval when the course has been running for a period of time and the GOC is satisfied that the course meets its standards for students to achieve full registration.

Provisional approval is granted by the GOC Council, at the recommendation of its Education Committee. Provisional Approval enables the new programme to be established (in accordance with the submission approved) and advertised to recruit the first cohort of students.

The GOC must consider all new applications for accreditation based on whether they meet its standards. The GOC is not able to consider factors such as demand for optometrists or market conditions when considering accreditation applications.


College of Optometrists makes statement regarding provisional approval of the University of Hertfordshire Optometry masters

November 2014

The General Optical Council (GOC) has granted the University of Hertfordshire provisional approval to introduce a Masters optometry degree course, with agreement to commence the course with 50 students in September 2015.

The College has reached agreement with the University of Hertfordshire to integrate their Scheme for Registration into its new programme. The College’s pre-registration scheme provides a consistent and robust assessment process to ensure trainees meet the high standards required to register with the General Optical Council. This ensures that optometrists who qualify through the University of Hertfordshire’s master’s programme will go through the same assessment process and will be required to meet the same high standards.

Students successfully completing the University’s four year programme will therefore gain a MOptom and also be eligible for the MCOptom affix and full registration with the GOC.

Wiseman lab technician winner urges others to study

November 2014

Winner of the 2014 Wiseman Memorial Award for the highest marks in the challenging SMC Level 4 (Tech) qualification, Jez Probert, is urging others to study for the qualification.

Arguably the toughest examination of manufacturing optics in the world, the SMC Tech Level 4 was completed in two years of evening study by the 29 year old from Basingstoke –

“I work in a busy practice with an average of 90 jobs a day passing through the lab, so all of my studying had to be done in the evening. The distance learning was tough – for the first year it was four or five hours a week but during the second year I worked about ten hours a week to get through the coursework,” said Jez. He has become totally immersed in the world of optics since starting work in a practice lab after his A levels –

“I found out about this scheme myself and believe it is the only nationally accredited qualification for what I do. I’d like to encourage more people to go for this exam. I have grown up in optics and I just love it, but I would genuinely like to see the standards of UK optics raised above where they are currently and this exam helps to achieve that goal. The more you know about your job the better you are at doing it – you can’t ever have too much training. I am really looking forward - and hoping - that the SMC Level 4 is the springboard to the next step in my career.”

Jez said the distance learning had made him realise just how much he did not know –

“The tendency is to adopt customs that you are told in the working lab, but it has been refreshing to have independent training – particularly about tolerances and the effects of not looking through the right area of a lens. I do have a lot of challenging jobs in my daily work including a Franklin split, but there is great satisfaction in getting it right,” he said.

Silhouette to host an exclusive CET training event

November 2014

Silhouette is to host an exclusive CET training event on Thursday 4th December 2014 at its head offices in Chiswick, London. At the event, Peter Black, ABDO President, will be delivering Rimless Workshop Discussions throughout the afternoon worth five CET points to participants. Sessions will be held in 1 hour slots starting at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm.

In addition to the training Silhouette will be providing refreshments as well as a full update and preview of their new frames and marketing support packages for 2015. Those wishing to attend but cannot make the afternoon training sessions are invited to an Open Office on the morning of the 4th December that starts at 10am. Those attending will be able to meet the Silhouette team and view the brand new collections whilst enjoying complementary tea, coffee, cake and lunch for guests attending.

Silhouette will also be offering training in the morning (non-CET accredited) with its in-house team of Silhouette and Adidas eyewear experts. This is available for any member of staff who would like help with plugging, changing sides or any other technical issues.

To book a place on an afternoon CET session, or to confirm attendance for the Open Office morning, please email

Grafton complete a busy education conference month at 3 shows

November 2014

BEAVRS, SCLOSS and UKEGS might sound like zany characters in an American cartoon but the are the acronym forms of 3 very important annual conferences in the medical ophthalmology and optometry world.

BEAVRS is the acronym for the British and Eire Association of Vitreoretinal Surgeons

The concept of a British Isles Vitreoretinal Society was conceived by David MacLeod, Tony Chignell and Peter Leaver. Their fellows at the time were David Wong, Paul Jacobs and Charlie James. This group of six are considered the founder members of the society and the first meeting was held at Keeble College in July 1986.

The initial principles for the BEAVRS annual meeting were that everyone who attended should present and that problems would be discussed in an uninhibited fashion. The meeting was also to be itinerant being both hosted and organised locally. The meeting has grown to more than 200 delegates so the former principle is no longer applicable, but there is still a tradition of frank exchange and discussion. The meeting was held in Edinburgh 20/21 November.

Who is SCLOSS?

The Scottish Contact Lens and Ocular Surface Society (SCLOSS) aspires to become a significant provider of innovative CET events for Independent Prescribers (IP); Optometrists (OO) and Contact Lens Opticians (CLO). SCLOSS is an amalgamation of the oldest contact lens society in Europe (SCLS) and the contemporary practitioner of tomorrow who requires to understand the importance of new contact lens innovations but also the ocular surface in diagnosis and management of anterior segment conditions.

SCLOSS hosted their inaugural annual conference at the 5 star Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow City Centre.

The Joint Course Organisers, Dr Scott Mackie (previously Eyecare 3000) & Mrs Caroline Christie (previously Optometric Educators) have over the last 20 years provided training for over 10,000 opticians and asked practitioners to support the event ensuring SCLOSS becomes an annual fixture in the CET calendar. The meeting was held on the 21st November.


Is the acronym for the UK and Eire Glaucoma Society. The Society (UKEGS) is a national scientific society and a non-profit organisation.

The aims of this society are:.

• To establish personal contacts and to promote the exchange of knowledge between glaucoma specialists and those involved in the management of glaucoma patients in the UK and Eire.
• To stimulate glaucoma research by bringing together basic scientists and clinicians involved in glaucoma research, thereby establishing a scientific community with similar interests, aims and objectives together with a sense of comradeship and active co-operation.
• To promote an interest in glaucoma as a sub-speciality in trainee ophthalmologists and those in related occupations.
• To keep contact with other glaucoma societies within and outside the two nations.
• To promote, protect and foster the interests and care of people having or at risk of developing glaucoma.
They meet in Marriott in Bristol on the 27th and 28th November.

Grafton Optical regularly attend these exhibitions which supports the lecture and CET provisions of both Surgeons and Optometrists

Visiti Grafton's Page

Finalists announced for 100% Optical and Royal College of Art eyewear design competition

November 2014

Royal College Of Art Students Get To Showcase Designs At Top Industry Event

100% Optical, the UK’s largest audited trade event for optical professionals, will be showcasing the best of young British design talent to an international eyewear trade audience at its 2015 event (London’s Excel, 7-9th February).

The Eyewear Design Competition was organised in collaboration with the world-renowned Royal College of Art and entailed its students being invited to submit designs for eyewear under two main categories: Couture or Ready to Wear.

From an initial 55 entries across a variety of creative courses, three finalists have been selected for each competition category. Their work will go on show to several thousand eyewear industry professionals at 100% Optical in February 2015, and in addition, the winning designs in each category will be made up as prototypes by Algha Works in London

The Finalists For ‘Ready to Wear’:

Alice Howard-Graham
Honggang Lu
Elizabeth Lee

The Finalists for ‘Couture’:

Hannah Evans
Xiao XuWu
Sari Rathel

The judging panel includes RCA tutors Flora McLean and Heather Holford as well as industry luminaries Marie Wilkinson (Cutler and Gross); designer Emma Montague; Walter Berwick (Algha Works); legendary designer Lawrence Jenkin and Jason Kirk (Kirk and Kirk).

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.

Visit 100% Optical's Page

SPINE - Winner at Cannes

November 2014

It’s official. SPINE is the Gold Award winner at Frontier Magazine’s Buyer’s Forum, the prestigious annual award to celebrate the very best in travel retail.

Sleek SP3001 is the sunglass of choice thanks to its innovative hinge technology; quite simply they grip, they flex and they’re durable.

The grip ensures the frames do not slip down your face, a great feature for active lifestyles.

The flex means comfort as SPINE flexes in tune with you and your movements and the 5 working SPINE vertebrae constantly interact seamlessly with each other for super durability. {See our products section and model guide}


November 2014

Our BCLA news page has the latest on the11th BCLA Pioneers Lecture Award & Praise for inaugural BCLA Pioneers & Visionaries Conference as well as the new of Clearlab being the first supporter of the BCLA's "No water" campaign.

Visit the BCLA page

Devon LOC To Promote Eye Health Live

November 2014

To promote Eye Health Devon LOC is delivering a live 20 minute conversation about Eye Health on Hiblio TV (a dedicated channel for health, wellbeing and lifestyle -

The live conversation will take place on Thursday 27th November 2014 at 2.30pm at

Volunteer Optoms Needed by Homeless Charity

November 2014

Volunteer optometrists are need in London and Brighton, to run the Vision Care for Homeless People clinics.

While Manchester is well served by volunteers the Brighton centre is struggling to keep the weekly Thursday morning clinic open for the area’s homeless and dispossessed.

“We are in urgent need of volunteers in Brighton every Thursday throughout the year, plus we need optometrists to run the Crisis at Christmas clinics in London. We also seek dispensing opticians, optical assistants, receptionists and students to help with the clinic administration at the Crisis Christmas,” said VCHP Chair, Elaine Styles.

Being held every day during the Christmas period, from 23-30 December, the temporary London clinics are under the umbrella of healthcare services provided by national homelessness charity Crisis. They provide care, warmth, companionship and hot meals.

The opticians’ service at Crisis, now in its 11th year, provides eye examinations of the same standard as those completed on the High Street. Last year, 268 guests had their eyes tested, with 242 dispenses. Working alongside a senior ophthalmologist, the clinics are a rewarding experience for those who take part.

Homelessness has risen substantially in recent years, with government statistics showing a 37% rise in rough sleeping in England since 2010. Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said:
“Being homeless can be a cold, miserable experience and never more so than at Christmas when most of us are sharing in the warmth of family and friends. By helping make Christmas happen for homeless people, volunteers can not only bring some much-needed cheer to our guests but also set them up with the chance to have a more positive year ahead through our life-changing services.”

Crisis centres are run by volunteers from all walks of life with registration now open at

Industry heavyweights confirmed as sponsors of Optometry Tomorrow 2015

November 2014

Birmingham Optical, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Spectrum Thea Pharmaceuticals and Topcon GB are set to share their latest innovations, products and news with optometrists from the length and breadth of the UK after being confirmed as gold sponsors of Optometry Tomorrow 2015.

Optometry Tomorrow, the College of Optometrists’ annual two-day conference, will take place next year at the Brighton Centre from 8-9 March, and will offer cutting-edge lectures, seminars, peer discussion and hands-on clinical and discussion workshops.

These headline sponsors will be joined at the conference’s trade exhibition by silver sponsor, Carl Zeiss, and bronze sponsors Alcon, Essilor, The EyeBag Company and Heidelberg Engineering.

Teifi James, Ophthalmologist and Ophthalmic Surgeon and Managing Director of The EyeBag Company, said: “I’ve watched Optometry Tomorrow grow over the years and I think it’s an excellent meeting for academic optometry and it also nurtures young talent. It’s a mix of educational and learning opportunities together with a commercial exhibition.”

The programme includes sessions on paediatrics; AMD; glaucoma; binocular vision; low vision; dry eye; OCT; contact lenses; tear film and impacts of lifestyle. The full programme is available at

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications, said: “We are really pleased that so many well-known, high-profile sponsors are getting behind Optometry Tomorrow. We know that we have created an excellent, well-respected event, and it’s great to see it is recognised by the industry as an important date in the optometric calendar.”

For more information, visit or call the College’s events team on 020 7766 4347.

UK Vision Strategy launches eye care commissioning guidance

November 2014

Eye care commissioning guidance has been launched today (18 November 2014) by the UK Vision Strategy Commissioning for Effectiveness and Efficiency (CEE) project at the Commissioning LIVE conference in Manchester. The guidance brings together learning from the CEE project and is accompanied by a suite of support tools to assist commissioners, local government partners, Local Eye Health Networks (LEHNS) and partnerships to plan and deliver eye care services that maximise the best possible outcomes for their local communities.

The two-year CEE project scheme worked within three Clinical Commissioning Groups in Gateshead, Bedfordshire and South Devon and Torbay to develop sustainable collaborative commissioning of eye health and sight loss services. The project’s examples of success included:

• Gateshead: Eye health included in commissioning intentions for 2014/15.
• South Devon and Torbay: Inclusion of eye health and sight loss as part of the Falls Prevention Strategy.
• Bedfordshire: Improved referral arrangements between primary and secondary eye health services at Bedford Moorfields Hospital.

Kate Kinsey, Head of Primary Care Operations, Greater Manchester, Chair of the LEHN National Steering Group and member of the CEE Project Board, who launched the guidance today said: “The UK Vision Strategy CEE project guidance provides tried and tested tools to assist commissioners, Local Eye Health Networks (LEHNS) and local government partners to plan and deliver eye care services.

I look forward to working with the LEHN Chairs around the country to work with commissioners across health and social care, to facilitate the successful CEE approach at a local level. Furthermore, I believe that the patient-centred approach of the CEE project guidance helps inform the best possible outcomes for the community and this can be applied to wider health commissioning areas.”

The CEE project guidance features a foreword from Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning, NHS England, with official endorsements from Sir Muir Gray CBE, Consultant Public Health, Public Health England and Dr Mike Bewick, Deputy Medical Director, NHS England.

To download the CEE project guidance, please visit:

Heidelberg Engineering Takes Customers on High Performance Day

November 2014

A celebration of technical excellence was the theme of a very enjoyable day at Silverstone race track for Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS users recently.
Eight lucky regional independent opticians who use the precision OCT scanning technology had the chance to put three high performance cars through their paces at the race track, as Tosh Vadhia, Heidelberg Engineering National Sales Manager, explained –

“It was a great occasion and reinforced our desire to use the very best of technology with this fast track driving. A good way to show our appreciation to both new and longstanding SPECTRALIS users, the highlight of the day was driving the Ferrari 360 F1 Modena – of course, under excellent instruction.”
Laura McAlpine, optometrist and practice owner from Largs in Scotland, who also enjoyed the Ferrari, along with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the Nissan GT-R, agreed –

“The highlight of the day was certainly the Ferrari – the engine power was just amazing. I started off fairly cautiously but by the end of the day I was foot to the floor and off I went. It was a brilliant day out with a really great atmosphere. The Heidelberg people spent a lot of time with us – it was really nice that a company takes a moment to recognise and value us,” she said.

Krysten Williams, Heidelberg Engineering UK Director, was delighted with the response from SPECTRALIS users to the event –

“The idea of the race day was to draw attention to the fact that when driving a racing car, you need instruction to get the most from the technology. It is the same with the SPECTRALIS: having a SPECTRALIS is like owning a Ferrari. With the right instruction in just a short time you can maximise your investment and gain an astounding amount from the technology,” she said.

Heidelberg Engineering courses top 300 attendees

November 2014

OCT training for Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS technology has now benefitted some 300 UK optical healthcare specialists. Optometrists, dispensing opticians and practice support staff are now being invited to attend the latest training events to be held at the Heidelberg Engineering Academy in Hemel Hempstead.

Well positioned for transport links, the quiet environment of the academy is designed for focused learning and securing valuable CET points in this important aspect of patient care.

“We have now fine-tuned the courses to suit our audiences of small groups of people – all with a similar level of optometric knowledge,” said Christopher Mody, Clinical Programme Manager, Heidelberg Engineering.

“We believe our commitment to education is unrivalled and appreciate the feedback that we receive from those who have attended the courses, and value the hands-on training,” he said.

St Albans’ optometrist, David Abrahams, appreciated the tuition on interpretation –

“Taking the images is one thing, but the advice on analysis is very good. OCT is one of the most exciting things that has happened in optics for a long time,” he said.

The new Heidelberg Engineering OCT and Interpretation courses, tailored to the attendees’ specific level of knowledge, provide the opportunity to learn more about image acquisition, interpretation and the supporting HEYEX (Heidelberg Eye Explorer) software.


This 9am-4pm course is intended for anybody who is looking for SPECTRALIS hands-on training and to find out more about the technology’s capabilities.

Small groups provide a tailored approach to training.

Wednesdays: 3 December, 28 January, 25 March


This operation and interpretation course is designed for ophthalmic/clinical photographers, technicians, ophthalmic nurses and clinicians. It covers HEYEX software operation, a multimodality imaging approach to image interpretation and a case study discussion. It provides Royal College of Ophthalmologists accreditation with 6.5 CPD points.

Friday 28 November

BCLA Fellowship makes passage to India

November 2014

British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) members residing in India will be able to sit their BCLA Fellowship examinations in their home country next year, thanks to a new initiative to expand contact lens skills, knowledge and esteem in the region.

Full BCLA members who apply for BCLA Fellowship before 21 December 2014, and who satisfy the criteria, will be able to sit their viva voce examinations during the Masterclass Optometry Knowledge Fest to be held at Le Meridien Hotel in Pune, India, from 2-4 February 2015.

Read more about BCLA Masterclass on our new Contact Lens Pages

Bill Carr Joins Snowbird Finance

November 2014

Fast Growing Healthcare Finance Company Strengthens Resources with New Business Development Manager

Snowbird Finance Ltd announced this week that Bill Carr is joining the business to further develop their practice finance offering to new and existing clients. Bill Carr comes with a wealth of experience within the healthcare sector, having spent 24 years working closely with Dentists, Doctors, Pharmacists and Veterinarians.

Bill started his career at the renowned NatWest St James’ Dental Unit where he was one of the founding members of The Association of Service Providers for Dentists and Trustee of The Eastman Foundation for Oral Research and Training. Bill has helped numerous clients in Dentistry with financing for squats, practice purchases and repurchasing agreements.

Bill joins Snowbird on December 8th 2014 as Business Development Manager to continue Snowbird’s growth and continued excellence in providing bespoke funding packages and practice finance to healthcare professionals around the UK looking to acquire practices. Bill comments “I am excited to start my new role at Snowbird and look forward to working with the team to further develop the specialised finance they provide. I am fortunate to be joining such a respected company that has an unrivalled reputation for top quality expertise, service and integrity.”

Simon Freeman, Managing Director, added “Bill brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of practice finance and will be a key addition to the Snowbird team. We view his appointment as a sign of our commitment to being one of the leading providers of specialised finance to the healthcare sector. We are very fortunate that we were able to find someone of Bill’s calibre to help us to build on the equipment finance and business and personal loan services we already offer and thus develop more opportunities for our clients to acquire practices.”

Snowbird Finance specialise in bespoke financial solutions for practices and professionals in the optical, dental, veterinary and medical sectors. Snowbird says its understanding and experience in the industry is unique and they take the time to get to know all their clients in order to provide tailored solutions to meet their individual needs and requirements.

Visit Snowbird Finance pages on PHN

College of Optometrists approve Cardiff University to deliver Professional Certificate in Medical Retina

November 2014

Cardiff University has just been accredited by the College of Optometrists to deliver its Professional Certificate in Medical Retina. The qualification will be delivered via 14 distance learning lectures, three webinars and three practical training days.

It provides community and hospital based optometrists with knowledge of common medical retina conditions and includes topics covering screening, referral and treatment pathways, with an emphasis on optical coherence tomography (OCT) interpretation and diabetic retinopathy grading.

The qualification provides optometrists with the knowledge and skills to make accurate and appropriate referral decisions for patients with medical retina conditions. It will also prepare an optometrist to commence working under supervision in medical retina new patient triage clinics, AMD treatment-related clinics and photography-based diabetic retinopathy screening services.

Jacqueline Martin, Director of Education at the College of Optometrists, says: “We are delighted that Cardiff University has been successful in gaining accreditation from the College to deliver this course and expand its availability to optometrists working in this growing field.”

Dr Barbara Ryan, Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, School of Optometry and Vision Sciences at Cardiff University says; “We have collaborated with hospital optometrists from diabetic screening services and medical retina clinics to develop this course. The distance learning lectures will be delivered by ophthalmologists and optometrists. The practical training days will provide hands-on experience and use of specialist equipment. At each stage students will have access to webinars with module leaders to discuss the lectures and cases.”

Students will be assessed via key features scenarios, case management scenarios an assignment, a practical assessment and an online exam.

The first course at Cardiff runs from 2 March 2015. The closing date for applications is 2 February 2015.

The Professional Certificate is part of a growing suite of higher qualifications offered by the College to enable optometrists to provide extended services in key areas such as low vision, glaucoma and contact lens practice. The qualifications are designed to fit with life in a busy practice or hospital department and are ideal for individual career progression.

The 10th BIOVISION forum will focus on global health through customized approaches at Lyon Convention Centre - April 15 and 16, 2015

November 2014

This annual life sciences forum is organised by the Foundation for the University of Lyon and will be held at the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France.
BIOVISION is supported by a range of high-profile public and private partners. The local authorities in Greater Lyon, France’s Rhône département and the Rhône-Alpes region are firmly committed to the development and promotion of life sciences in their areas.

Today’s health challenges include globalized epidemiological threats from communicable diseases (influenza, AIDS, hepatitis and, more recently, Ebola) plus a host of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which are considered ‘new pandemics’.

Recent progress in science, medicine and technology highlight the fact that a more personalized approach to disease prevention and treatment could offer very promising possibilities for patients. This is particularly relevant in the field of oncology.

Personalized health care is part of a global patient-centered health process with a focus on the individual patient, plus a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and risks. It also incorporates ethical, socio-economic and organizational principles. Didier Hoch, the chair at BIOVISION, says: “Personalized medicine could lead to a genuine transformation, and perhaps a revolution, in the world of health care, for the benefit of all.”

2015 sees the third Catalyzer and Investor Conference. Both initiatives cover the entire innovation value chain, from early stage projects up to listed company status. The objectives are to support key participants and to help them find the best partners and resources.

BIOVISION includes two sessions for presenting innovative projects and bids for funding.

• ‘Catalyzer Pitch’ - innovative life sciences projects or young start-ups can apply to be selected, prepared for pitching and put in an application for an award. Over 120 projects were submitted in 2013–2014, with 50 finalists showcasing their approach to representatives from academia, industry, civil society and investors.

• ‘Investor Pitch’ - innovative biotech, medtech and e-health companies are invited to apply to seek funding, partners and industry exposure from key representatives and investors. Pre-selected companies will get the chance to pitch to a panel of key European life sciences investors. More than 110 start-ups applied last year. Fifty made it through to the final round. The 2015 selection committee is led by representatives from Novartis Venture Funds and Sofinnova, plus 15 partners from leading European corporate funds.

BIOVISION is an international forum devoted to the life sciences. The aim is to discuss forward-looking opportunities and to facilitate collaboration between the various stakeholders, to encourage innovation and ultimately ensure public access to knowledge and solutions.

For more information, visit

VISION 2020 UK announce plans for new website

November 2014

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation bringing together agencies across the eye health and sight loss sector, have announced plans for a brand-new, improved website, with the aim of becoming the central information hub for VISION 2020 UK’s members’ news and events.

The new VISION 2020 UK website will raise the overall profile of the eye health and sight loss sector. It will bring together all of VISION 2020 UK’s online, offline and social media communications, and will provide pathways to member websites, information, resources and events.

The revitalised VISION 2020 UK website will also allow for improved access to information for those working with its various special interest groups, and will also serve as a resource base for all of the organisation’s meeting minutes and other documents, reflecting VISION 2020 UK’s commitment to transparency in communications.

VISION 2020 UK Operations Manager Matt Broom, who has overseen the website redesign process, said: “The new website is a really exciting opportunity for VISION 2020 UK to further build on our existing communications channels, and become the central source of information for our members and the wider eye health and sight loss sector. The new site will allow us to build on our existing successful weekly updates; to communicate the activity of the VISION 2020 UK special interest groups and to more effectively promote the activities and campaigns of VISION 2020 UK members.”

The new VISION 2020 UK website will be designed by Edinburgh-based firm Clooti. Senior web builder Rachel Pollitt says: “We are delighted to be working with VISION 2020 UK on their new website, which is an extremely detailed and extensive information source. We understand that accessibility is of the utmost importance, and will ensure that the development of the new site involves people who are blind and partially sighted in testing at every stage, so that the VISION 2020 UK website is fully accessible to all.”

It is anticipated that the new VISION 2020 UK website will be completed by early 2015.

Research excellence recognised at College of Optometrists’ annual Diploma Ceremony

November 2014

The College of Optometrists recognised the achievements of the most talented researchers in the field at its annual Diploma Ceremony at City Hall, Westminster in London on Tuesday. Five individuals received a Research Excellence Award for their contribution to optometric research across a variety of areas.

The ceremony also welcomed 298 newly qualified optometrists to the profession, as well as recognising outstanding achievement through the presentation of Higher Qualification Diplomas, Fellowships by Portfolio, Life Fellowships and Honorary Fellowships.

The Research Excellence Awards are part of the College’s continuing commitment to supporting and recognising research excellence and recognise achievement and celebrate outstanding contributions to research in the fields of optometry, optics and vision science.

The most prestigious award, The Neil Charman Medal for Research, was presented to Dr Jonathan Denniss for his work in improving clinical tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of glaucoma. Speaking at the event, Dr Denniss said: “It is great that the College recognises the developments which will lead to the clinical practice of the future as part of its annual graduation ceremony. I am honoured to be a part of this event and hope that it helps to show that today’s lab work will be tomorrow’s everyday practice.”

The other award winners were Dr Padraig Mulholland, who received the George Giles Postgraduate Research Prize, and Dr Ross Henderson who was presented with the Philip Cole Prize for excellence in practice-based research. The Bernard Gilmartin OPO Award was presented to Dr Chen-Wei Pan, Dr Dharani Ramamurthy and Professor Seang-Mei Saw for the most highly regarded paper published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics within the last five years on Worldwide prevalence and risk factors for myopia.

Speaking at the ceremony, David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “The presentation of the Research Excellence Awards was just one of the highlights of this wonderful occasion. It has been an honour to present so many inspirational professionals with our awards, higher qualifications and Fellowships today. And to see so many young and talented Diplomates celebrate the start of what I believe will be long and successful careers.”

Image: Dr Ross Henderson, Dr Padraig Mulholland, Professor Seang-Mei Saw and Dr Jonathan Denniss

UK Vision Strategy project successfully raises eye health and sight loss up the agenda of Clinical Commissioning Groups

November 2014

An independent evaluation carried out by Shared Intelligence, for the UK Vision Strategy’s Commissioning for Effectiveness and Efficiency (CEE) project has found the project successfully influenced commissioning intentions and contributed to improving the local provision of eye care services. It also helped to prioritise eye health and sight loss across health and social care to maximise the best possible outcomes for local communities.

The two-year pilot scheme worked within three Clinical Commissioning Groups in Gateshead, Bedford and South Devon and Torbay to develop sustainable collaborative commissioning of eye health and sight loss services.

The project’s examples of success included:

• Gateshead: Eye health included in commissioning intentions for 2014/15.
• South Devon and Torbay: Inclusion of eye health and sight loss as part of the Falls Prevention Strategy.
• Bedford: Improved referral arrangements between primary and secondary eye health services at Bedford Hospital.

Steve Kirk, Vice-Chair of Gateshead CCG, says: “In Gateshead, the UK Vision Strategy CEE approach has driven the inclusion of eye health into our commissioning intentions for 2014/15, to help us deliver the best possible outcomes for the community. This collaborative approach promotes a patient-centred and evidence-based whole systems model to commissioning that can be applied to areas wider than eye health”.

The evaluation found that the success of the CEE project driving change is the result of the following factors:

• An evidence-based approach to eye care commissioning and service improvement, through the production of an Eye Health Needs Assessment (EHNA).
• The development of collaborative, inclusive eye care partnerships/action groups, supported by dedicated project officer resource.
• The embedding of eye health and sight loss as a priority within public health and across health and social care services.
• Bringing the patient voice into decision making processes so that services are able to effectively meet the needs of the local population.

The evaluation highlighted the role of the CEE project as a forerunner of the Local Eye Health Networks (LEHN). The evaluation calls for LEHNs to take a lead role in working with commissioners across health and social care to facilitate the CEE approach at a local level.

UK Vision Strategy’s Sally Chandler, who oversaw the delivery of the CEE project, said: “We want to share the success of the CEE approach with CCGs and local stakeholders all over England. We have produced CEE guidance and a set of support tools, which brings together the key learning points from across the three sites. We look forward to launching the guide with an interactive session at the Commissioning Live event in Manchester on November 18. We also plan to work with the three CCGs over the next two years to further measure the impact of the CEE approach.”

To view the final evaluation report, key messages and recommendations please visit

Bausch + Lomb makes major commitment to UK Events

November 2014

Contact lens and eye care giant, Bausch + Lomb, is to have a major presence at Glasgow’s Eyecare 3000 in January; London’s 100% Optical in February and Optrafair Birmingham in April. Confirming its commitment to support UK eye healthcare professionals, Bausch + Lomb will be promoting new developments in contact lenses and dry eye products, as UK General Manager Francis Lemoine explained –

“Eyecare 3000 is the largest independent show in Scotland and is always well attended and a great way to connect with the profession. Besides our dry eye products and respected contact lens portfolio we will be promoting Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia – the first Hypergel™ product to utilise the Bausch + Lomb best-selling multifocal soft contact lens design. Many people are looking for a daily lens to provide good vision at all distances and the early uptake on the lens has been excellent. Opticians are always willing to try a new multifocal and this product has been welcomed with open arms by those who have tried it.”

Apart from the Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia Bausch + Lomb has a pipeline of innovations “to maximise the huge opportunity to dispense contact lenses with our new lens technologies”.

Nutritional supplement Ocuvite Biolutein is winning favour as more people become aware of the benefit of increasing their daily intake of omega3 fatty acids, antioxidants, zinc, lutein and zeazanthin in one easy to swallow capsule, believes Bausch + Lomb.

Dry Eye care is also an aspect of professional care which Bausch + Lomb is keen to support providing a comprehensive range of products to treat the condition – which the company believes is best handled by optical professionals.

“We are keen to work with practices to help them to grow their 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. We urge all UK practitioners to put the dates of the shows in their diary and come and visit us,” added Francis.

New FMO chief executive takes the long term view

November 2014

A passion for optics and commitment to quality are an excellent starting point for the new FMO Chief Executive, Kevin Gutsell, FBDO (Hons) SLD. When coupled with his experience in training and education, sales and marketing, lens product development, retail, and his vice-presidency of ABDO, it seems as if his life has been a long apprenticeship for the coveted role.

Now celebrating his 31st year in UK optics, Kevin is delighted to step into the job, but he was no stranger to The FMO - the world’s longest established optical trade body - before he took up the reins.

In his industry role at Nikon Optical Kevin had been an FMO Board member between 2006 and 2011, and Chairman of the Lens Focus Group within that time. He understands the internal workings of the Paddington offices and highly valued network of optical expertise which flows like a lifeline throughout the UK – with overseas businesses often calling for support.

“The pinnacle of my career is certainly my role at The FMO – almost as if everything has been in preparation for the position.”

Building on his excellent network, Kevin is keen to encourage further interaction amongst all FMO members and prospective members. This is high on his list of priorities for the emerging five year business plan for The FMO –

“Our membership embraces large multinational companies and small privately owned businesses – each group looks to us for different reasons and we are keen to fulfil our trusted role with as many benefits and as much advice as possible. For many, picking up the phone and gaining free legal, tax and business advice is invaluable. For others, the familiar FMO stamp of being a part of UK Optics plc on their letterhead is what they are looking at currently – but there is so much more for those who engage.”

Regional FMO meetings around the country are an essential part of The FMO ethos, when twice each year the lens, frame and equipment focus groups visit a different area of the UK to discuss market conditions, threats, opportunities, the best way forward and anything “optical based”.

“Many of our members love these meetings and get a real buzz out of connecting with industry partners as well as seeing their competitors! It is an opportunity to talk about staff training, upskilling their teams and best practice with technology.

“Interaction and communication is vital for members to gain more from their trade body in terms of benefits and networking. We are keen to hear what our members expect from us too – it is an organisation where feedback is the lifeblood.”

A key factor which is also on Kevin’s mind is the not insignificant number of calls that The FMO receives from the general public about spectacle queries –
“We know our website is often visited by the public and this is an area that we need to consider as an opportunity to further educate them about the importance of good vision correction and eyecare. Sadly, the public only seem to call us when things go wrong,” said Kevin.

This aspect of FMO business has surprised Kevin and has led him to consider developing further the significance of The FMO brand –

“As we approach The FMO centenary in 2017 it is timely to reflect on how we have evolved to meet the needs of the market. I can see a place for us to provide something above the standard CE marking on a pair of spectacles. I believe the profession would welcome such a move and The FMO is in a good position to provide just this.”

Quality branding of excellence in eyewear could also carry a message about the importance of regular eye examinations – an opportunity which is not currently utilised fully, believes Kevin.

His time at ABDO, as vice-president, and experience in many facets of the optical business were an important consideration for The FMO Board when appointing Kevin. The depth of his understanding of what seems a bewilderingly complex and political optical landscape for an outsider, in such a small industry, was key.

Kevin studied at City and East London College from 1984 to 1987, working for Melson Wingate in its Surrey, Sussex and Kent practices – particularly Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Haywards Heath and East Grinstead. He later returned, part-time, to his alma mater to teach the next generation of dispensing opticians -

“I seem to have covered so much of the sector, not just from practice and through ABDO and City and Islington College tutoring – but also retail, education, training, standards, sales and marketing, plus product development. I am keen to bring all of these elements together and for all FMO members to gain the very best from each other.

“The wonderful thing about The FMO is that it embraces literally everything within the practice from the IT systems to the diagnostic and dispensing technology, to frames, lenses and finance providers.

“What I like so much about this job is there is nothing hypothetical about The FMO – it is all about here and now and bringing products and services to market.”

As Kevin’s five year plan takes shape he is reflecting on this broad view of UK Optics plc and is keen to explore the pathways for all industry members to access training: for newcomers to the sector and for those looking to advance their skills.

“As an example, at each Optrafair we see a terrific array of new technology – most of it brought to market by our own members. Sometimes those at the base of the optical pyramid need to be given a greater chance for training.

“Our focus is now very much on Optrafair – we are delighted to have the experienced hand of Malcolm Polley guiding the show onwards and already we are looking at tremendous support from our members for the Birmingham show next April.”

Kevin’s respected position within ABDO has also ensured a smooth transition of The FMO’s role within The Optical Confederation –

“Having been present at the outset I am mindful of the premise on which The Optical Confederation was established, largely as a political and lobbying body, representing the five organisations to speak as one voice in these matters. We all have our separate roles to play within optics and at The FMO we are keen to ensure that the principle of not undertaking any conflicting activity which may be detrimental to the other bodies is a tenet which is upheld.”

It is a busy year ahead for Kevin with the AGM on December 5th in London, and a regional meeting to be planned for March 11th next year, as well as many member visits –

“I am hoping to see as many of our members as possible in the year ahead – already I have visited several businesses around the country. Engaging with them and hearing their views on what they look for from a trade body is so valuable. The year ahead is a very exciting time for The FMO.”

VISION 2020 UK Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group produce leaflets for people with dementia

November 2014

The VISION 2020 UK Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group have produced new leaflets for people with dementia, offering practical and easy-to-follow advice on wearing glasses and eye examinations.

The VISION 2020 UK Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group (DASLIG) is led by representatives from Alzheimer’s Society, RNIB, Thomas Pocklington Trust, Macular Society, and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. DASLIG aims to increase the knowledge and information available for people living with dementia and sight loss, their families and friends. The group also works with professionals and organisations to increase understanding and good practice to improve the lives of individuals with both dementia and sight loss.

Matt Broom, VISION 2020 UK Operations Manager and DASLIG committee member, said: “There is a strong link between dementia and vision problems, with large numbers of people affected by both conditions. The VISION 2020 UK Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group was formed to help raise awareness of the particular difficulties faced by this group of people, and to help improve the lives of dementia and sight loss. These new leaflets provide useful, relevant information and advice on eye care to assist people with dementia and their families, and have been approved by the Alzheimer’s Society.”

The leaflets also include links to other useful contact organisations, including RNIB, Alzheimer’s Society, Action for Blind People, Social Care Institute of Excellence Dementia Gateway and FODO’s Sight Tests at Home Leaflet.

The VISION 2020 UK Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group leaflets are available to download at and

100% optical – boosting business for opticians

November 2014

100% Optical, the UK’s largest audited trade event for optical professionals, has unveiled an extensive Business Services section for its 2015 event (London’s Excel, 7-9th February 2015). The Business Services section will provide visitors seeking a competitive edge (especially independent opticians and small multiples), with a unique opportunity to gain comprehensive business advice, insight and training from over 30 ‘Business Services’ exhibitors at the event.

One of the main Business Services features at 100% Optical will be ‘Ask an Expert’, a forum for visitors from across the optical industry to meet experts from a variety of fields. Advice and tips will be on offer to help them in their day to day work and business growth.

The ‘Ask an Expert’ panel will include specialists from across the industry, and provide a great interactive knowledge pool, catering for national and international visitors.

Experts from the inaugural 2014 event included:

Dean Waugh, Volt Creative, Garry Kousoulou, Loving Social Media, Imran Hakim, Hakim Group, Lindsey Small, Zigzag Training Ltd/Positive Impact, Patrick J Myers BSc FCIM, Myers La Roche, Paul Surridge, Sight Care Group, David Gilbert, Flame Health Associates, Jim Smith, Shoppers Anonymous and Marc Bennett, AEL Partners.

Business Services exhibitors will cover a number of business disciplines including practical business advice, consultancy, training, finance, IT, customer management systems, shop fitting & retail design, marketing and career advice. These include:

Volt Creative – an independent retail design agency, built on pushing creative boundaries to provide exciting and intelligent design for its clients. Volt Creative helps its clients build and establish brands, enabling customers to buy into experiences. Volt's approach is to apply the skills it has gained working with global brands to provide clients with clarity on what makes a successful retail environment.

Myers La Roche - one of the largest consultancies in Europe, specialising exclusively in working with optometrists and opticians. It is the only firm to be endorsed by the Association of Optometrists to provide marketing and management advice to members. They have worked with thousands of eye care practitioners to increase sales and profits by adapting to changes in the market.

OptiCommerce - enables optician practice owners to get online fast - by doing all of the hard work normally required in setting up and marketing a successful optician practice website. OptiCommerce is the UK’s leading specialist provider of ‘done-for-you’ optician practice websites with e-commerce capability.

PLUS: Positive Impact, Image Works, Iris Visioncare, A+E+L and many others.

‘Upskilled non-medically qualified professionals are needed as part of an ophthalmology led service to support an increase in capacity’

November 2014

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists calls for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Eye Health to support raising awareness of capacity issues affecting Eye Health Services in the UK

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Eye Health and Visual Impairment met with representatives from The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and the College of Optometrists to discuss the eye health sector's response to a recent consultation from NHS England. The consultation, ‘Improving eye health and reducing sight loss - a call to action’ asked how we can solve the biggest challenges facing eye health in today’s NHS England.

Miss Melanie Corbett, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Western Eye Hospital, Imperial College NHS Trust, London and Executive Committee Member of the RCOphth, spoke at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Eye Health and Visual Impairment. Miss Corbett focused their attention on the increasing concerns about capacity issues facing eye service clinics today and the effect this potentially has on the health and safety of patients.

Miss Corbett commented, ‘The demand on eye services has increased by 30% over the last five years in the UK. This is largely due to an ageing population with the associated chronic diseases such as glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetes.’

Increasingly, the capacity deficit is also a symptom of delivering successful new treatments for conditions such as AMD. As more patients are correctly diagnosed earlier and treated with effective new drugs, this leads to more patients in the system that require regular follow-up appointments over the course of their lifetime to reduce the risk of sight loss.

Miss Corbett outlined further recommendations from the RCOphth including the use of multi-disciplinary teams and advanced IT and communication systems to ensure that patients are not lost in the system between hospital and community settings.

Recognising that non-medically qualified professionals are needed as part of an ophthalmology led service to support an increase in capacity, Miss Corbett continued, ‘Ophthalmologists are the only medically qualified practitioners in the optical sector. We believe that because of their extensive medical training, they are the right professionals to lead up-skilled multi-disciplinary teams, which can include orthoptists, optometrists, ophthalmic nurses and technicians. It is essential that proper training and regulatory processes are in place to deliver quality assurance and patient safety.’

NHS England is using responses from the eye health sector to inform the first ever national commissioning strategy for Clinical Commissioning Groups for eye health in England. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists is calling for a number of changes in the way that eye care is delivered to ensure that patients are seen by the appropriate professional in the right location and at the right time to increase capacity and reduce the risk of sight loss for patients.

UK Vision Strategy announce date for Vision UK 2015 conference

November 2014

The Vision UK conference will be held on Thursday 18 June 2015 at a central London location and will be titled ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy.’

Vision UK 2015 will be the seventh annual Vision Strategy conference and will also feature a brand-new format, with delegates able to choose to attend one of five workshop streams, focused on delivering aspects of the UK Vision Strategy .

Vision UK is the only conference for the whole of the eye health and sight loss sector, bringing together health and social care professionals, leaders from health and eye care organisations, government decision makers, representatives from the voluntary sector and blind and partially sighted people and those at risk of sight loss.

The Vision UK 2014 conference attracted more than 500 delegates, with ground-breaking engagement with government policy and the eye health agenda, with NHS England exclusively launching their Call to Action - ‘Improving eye health and reducing sight loss’ at the conference.

Fazilet Hadi, UK Vision Strategy Lead Officer said: “The increasing success of the Vision UK conference highlights the appetite across the sector, to work collaboratively to deliver the aims of the UK Vision Strategy. The reductions to public services have made it even more important that the sector unites and works together to deliver improvements in eye health and sight loss services. We hope you can join us in 2015 to celebrate the many successes, to identify gaps and the ways in which we can continue to work together to deliver the Strategy across the UK.”

Registration for Vision UK 2015 will open early in January 2015, with early bird rates available.

Advice for optical practices has been announced by the Optical Confederation on the Ebola virus disease and mitigating risk

November 2014

This resource builds on the advice relating to the containment of the risk of Ebola transmission for primary care clinicians (from Public Health England) and for optometrists (College of Optometrists/AOP). It includes advice for practices and all professionals in the optical sector.

The key is always to practise normal optical practice hygiene (the virus is weak, can only transfer by contact with bodily fluids (not air) and is killed by soap and water and other disinfectant hand wash solutions) and always to act in the best interests of patients and staff.

Optical practices must be aware that, whilst highly unlikely, it is possible that travellers infected in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone could arrive in the UK, potentially infecting others. Both staff and patients may be at risk. Click here for the full advice notes in our clinical briefing pages.

Local MP for Edmonton, Andy Love, visited M. D. Cooper Opticians in Edmonton in October to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness

November 2014

Senior Optometrist at M.D. Cooper Opticians, Joanna Tryphonos, explained the health benefits of regular eye tests to Andy Love.

Commenting on his visit, Andy Love said: “Getting your eyes tested is one of those things that’s very easy to put off, but struggling on with headaches and reduced vision really isn’t sensible. The right pair of glasses can help prevent eyes being strained and reduce further sight loss. I’d be lost without my glasses and getting regular eye tests gives me peace of mind.”

Photo includes (from left to right): Joanna Tryphonos, Senior Optometrist; Andy Love, Labour MP for Edmonton; Adrienne Dalcher, Member of BEHLOC; Mr Cooper, Founder of M D Cooper Opticians

AOP Awards 2014 winners list published following NOC dinner night

November 2014

The winners of the AOP Awards 2014 have been announced in recognition of the achievements of those who have made an outstanding contribution to the optical profession. Run by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) and sponsored by CooperVision, the awards recognise the highest levels of achievement in UK optics.

Donald Cameron, former Managing Director of Cameron Optometry in Edinburgh, received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. Sponsored by Alcon, this award recognises an individual who has dedicated their career to promoting and expanding the role of optics or who has brought the benefits of optics to a wider audience. With a career in optometry spanning more than 35 years, Donald was commended on his drive and passion which has helped to transform the face of optometry in Scotland.

Dr Rohit Narayan, Practice Manager of Boots Opticians in Nuneaton, was named ‘Optometrist of the Year’. Dr Narayan is a registered independent prescriber and has more than 20 years experience in the profession. Commenting on his award, Dr Narayan said: “I am honoured to win this Award and would like to thank all those who took the time to support me.”

Headingley-based Bayfields Opticians scooped two awards, ‘Practice of the Year’ and ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’. Sponsored by AEL Chartered Accountants, the ‘Practice of the Year’ award recognises an innovative practice which has shown dedication to enhancing the local community’s knowledge of the profession and the importance of eye health, while providing the highest level of patient service. Sponsored by Lloyd & Whyte, the practice’s second award for ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’ recognises an outstanding marketing campaign which promotes an element of optometry, be it sales-motivated marketing, brand-building, or increasing awareness of eye health. Priding itself on listening to patients, Bayfields Opticians has focused on developing its patient journey which has led to 76.5% conversion rate this year, with more than 35 new clients a month on average.

Henrietta Alderman, AOP Chief Executive, said: “The AOP Awards gives us the opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the individuals and organisations who give so much to the public and the profession. Congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted for this year’s Awards.”

Now in its fourth year, the AOP Awards has quickly become a highlight of the optical calendar. Nearly 3,000 votes were received in the first week of voting, with nearly 26,000 votes received in total.

College of Optometrists launches new patient leaflet on presbyopia

November 2014

In response to member feedback, the College of Optometrists has launched a new leaflet on presbyopia to help optometrists explain the condition to their patients.

This new publication joins the College’s range of patient leaflets which covers: ageing eyes and falls; blepharitis; cataracts; flashes and floaters; glaucoma; macular degeneration; and children's eye health. These are available for members to order alongside a short leaflet written for primary school pupils on how the eye works, and activity sheets and stickers for children.

The leaflets were launched in June 2011 to provide practical advice and guidance to patients, reinforcing information given to them during their consultation, and since then, more than 1.8 million have been ordered by College members. This new leaflet coincides with a redesign and revision of the existing leaflets, taking into account comments from members on the content. Another new patient leaflet on contact lenses is coming soon, as well as an Amsler chart tear-off pad for members to use during consultations.

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications, said: “Our leaflets are designed to complement and reinforce the information provided to patients during consultation. We are working hard to improve the public’s understanding of eye and vision care, and these leaflets are helping us to do this.

“We are extremely pleased with how well received they have been by patients and members alike.”

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

Mohammed Azim Ahmed, a College member who practices in Bradford, said: "I would recommend them to every practitioner to further patients’ understanding of certain conditions.”

College members can order the leaflets free of charge at

BCLA publishes October issue of Contact

November 2014

PHN has decided to trial run a new page for the BCLA which will provide space to expand some of their stories and allow us to host their Contact magazine and make it available to a larger audience. It has some interesting stories, plus all the latest diary dates.

Click here to read the Contact magazine

Shamir reminds its customers to play the scratch card game through November

November 2014

Shamir UK ltd has thanked all participants in their current Shamir Glacier Plus™ scratch card promotion.

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. Shamir Glacier Plus is available on all RX lenses and now also available on stock 1.5, 1.6 & 1.67 lenses.

Until 30th November 2014 each Shamir lens order received which includes the Glacier Plus coating will be despatched with a scratch card. Each scratch card gives the opportunity to instantly win one of several great prizes including Smart TV’s, Smart Cameras and Capital Bond Vouchers.

The winners to date, thoroughly enjoy their prizes and congratulations to each of you once again:

Andrew Merry Opticians – winner of a Smart TV
Vickery & Utteridge Opticians – winner of a Smart Camera

College of Optometrists boosts its clinical advice team

November 2014

In response to the continued popularity of its clinical advice service, the College of Optometrists has appointed an additional clinical advisor, Daniel Hardiman-McCartney MCOptom, to its team.

Daniel has most recently worked as managing director of an independent practice in Cambridge. Previously he worked as a visiting clinician at Anglia Ruskin University, from where he graduated. He has also worked as a senior glaucoma optometrist with both Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and Newmedica in Suffolk, and as a diabetic retinopathy screening optometrist. Daniel has been a member of Cambridgeshire LOC since 2007 and been a member of the College of Optometrists Council, representing its Eastern region, from 2009 to 2014.

Daniel has an interest in the effects of vision in art and is known throughout the industry as a passionate advocate of iconic and artisan eyewear. He takes up his part-time role with the College on 3 November and will also continue to work part-time in hospital and private practice.

Daniel says: “I am very excited to be joining the College team as clinical advisor. I have long held a passion and enthusiasm for our professional advancement. Throughout the role, I will be supporting our members in their professional development and be on hand to offer advice and guidance, as well as supporting Dr Susan Blakeney in producing new peer review case studies and the popular ethical scenarios.”

Josephine Mullin, Director of Strategy and Policy for the College of Optometrists, says: “The expansion of the role of clinical advisor highlights the College’s response to the changing needs of optometrists. We’re delighted Daniel is joining the team and can help us continue our work to support members and aid their development.”

The College’s clinical advice service is offered to all of its members via phone and email and aims to support and guide members and inform the public and professionals, from all disciplines, on our professional guidance. Last year the clinical advisor responded to more than 500 enquiries.
Also just received from the College is:

College of Optometrists launches updated Guidance for professional practice

November 2014

The College of Optometrists has launched its updated guidance today. The Guidance for professional practice, previously the Code of Ethics and Guidance for Professional Conduct, has been revised, updated and restructured.

Following extensive consultation with members, experts and stakeholders the updated guidance is presented in an accessible format with shorter paragraphs and clearer language and is now divided in to four main domains:

• Knowledge, skills and performance
• Safety and quality
• Communication, partnership and teamwork
• Maintaining trust.

Each domain is then split into sections, with the key points of each section highlighted. Each section also has clearly indexed sub-sections. Despite the different appearance, most changes are minor, although some new sections have been added, for example research and audit and also social media. As before, the guidance is based on the General Optical Council’s standards and supports optometrists in putting them into practice.

The College of Optometrists’ Director of Policy and Strategy, Jo Mullin, said: “The College performed a widespread, robust and detailed consultation for the updated guidance, bringing together an expert group to oversee the review process; with nominees from all the main optical bodies, including the GOC, and a member of the College’s own patient group. Every section has been reviewed to ensure every change in the law is included and current thinking in health care practice is reflected, including the widespread use of social media.”

All optometrists can view the guidance at The site is both mobile and tablet-friendly with a powerful search engine, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

College members will be a sent an exclusive bound version of the guidance, produced in a handy size and format, with a comprehensive index – great for the practice room or when on the move. Members can also access additional resources via the guidance website, such as the College’s ethical scenarios, case studies and reading lists. A new app for College members will also be launched soon.

The College consulted widely in reviewing the document; asking optometrists how they used the guidance, how useful they found it and what should change. Questions were asked on which topics should be included, or excluded, and which styles of writing were preferred. The same group were then consulted about the rewritten sections. The College published reports on all the stages of the consultation and also published the comments it received and the Review Group’s responses.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) announces it has been awarded contract to manage the National Ophthalmology Audit Programme (RCOphth NOA)

November 2014

The RCOphth will deliver this vital initiative which is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme.
The data will enable standardised benchmarking and quality assurance for NHS eye health services

Building on the achievements of the previous RCOphth National Ophthalmology Database (NOD), the new audit will be delivered over 3 years (2014 – 2017) and will further develop and utilise validated quality standards to benchmark cataract surgery outcomes between centres and individual surgeons across England and Wales.

The analysis of the data from over 255 units, will be completed by the NOD Delivery Unit, and will help hospital eye service teams (HES) understand performance levels of cataract surgery undertaken and include leading causes of complications and adverse visual outcomes, both at a local and national level.

John Sparrow, Clinical Lead for the RCOphth NOD Audit commented “The National Ophthalmology Audit is a welcome opportunity for ophthalmologists to demonstrate the high quality of the NHS services they deliver. It is vitally important that this type of data is collected to provide standardised benchmarking and quality assurance and to understand and minimise complications in the future. These valuable data will help to improve standards of care and patient safety and will have knock-on benefits for surgical training.”

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists will manage the audit and support all centres providing NHS cataract surgery in England and Wales to participate including NHS Hospital Trusts, privately run NHS Treatment Centres and private hospitals and clinics performing NHS funded cataract surgery. In addition to cataract surgery, electronic feasibility audits will be undertaken in Glaucoma Care, Retinal Detachment Surgery and Macular Degeneration Treatment.

International retinal specialists gather with Heidelberg Engineering

November 2014

For the first time, the Heidelberg Engineering UK Academy Retinal Faculty gathered at ESCRS in London with some 60 consultant ophthalmologists sharing imaging knowledge of the most challenging diagnoses.

Retinal specialists from throughout The UK, Finland, Italy and Singapore, took time to learn more about the advantages of using the HEYEX multi-modality imaging platform for interrogating images from various sources.

Faculty Chairman Professor Yit Yang, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Wolverhampton and Birmingham NHS Trusts, demonstrated the advantages of using advanced imaging in making a diagnosis and when teaching junior doctors about challenging retinal conditions.

“When showing a selection of images via Power Point it is possible to miss the whole picture. By utilising zoom, measuring tools, and integrating other images, such as fundus photography, along with the OCT scans, all of these sources helps to show how we work through a case and make a sound diagnosis,” he said.
Simultaneously launched at the ESCRS, the HEYEX PACS image management system is designed to integrate all diagnostic devices – whether produced by Heidelberg Engineering or not – providing economic storage and convenient access to images from multiple modalities. Planned for release in 2015, this modular PACS software platform will expand the scope and diagnostic power of HEYEX beyond Heidelberg Engineering products.

Professor Yit Yang, encouraging other retinal specialists to join the group at future educational events, spoke about using viewing tools effectively -
“Interrogating images is a very good term for what we do – particularly for retinal vein occlusion. We can gain much from multi-modality imaging when vision is still impaired once the oedema has been resolved,” he said.

Comparing scans alongside each other on the screen and making use of multi-colour imaging, plus live footage of collateral blood flow, are essential, he said –
“You have the stills in high magnification and can superimpose the different colour scans at the click of a button.”

Jayashree Nair-Sahni, Consultant Ophthalmologist from Royal Liverpool University Hospital, spoke about imaging in Serous Chorio-retinopathy and Pachychoroid Chorio-retinopathy, presenting relevant case studies. Making use of infrared and blue autofluorescence, she showed how “the imaging tells us if the disease is active or not active, and if recent, even if the patient presents acutely.”

Colin Tan, Consultant Ophthalmologist from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore, interested the audience with a series of cases demonstrating misdiagnosis. He stressed the need for stereo imaging, and showed a video of an angiogram – vascular network.”

Pearse Keane, NIHR Clinical Lecturer at Moorfields’ Eye Hospital, spoke about the importance of multimodality imaging in white dot syndrome –
“A very rare and often misdiagnosed condition which was very tricky to diagnose before multi-modality imaging – which has removed the guessing element,” he said. Sharing his imaging “pearls”, he added –

“We can use OCT to show the morphology of acute disease, and the great benefit for long term disease monitoring.”

Pearse also spoke about “foveal granularity” and the combination of multi-modality imaging “which effectively seals the diagnosis”.


Hands on with SPECTRALIS – 3 December, 28 January, 25 March
OCT in the Community – 27 February, 30 April
OCT in Acute Services – 28 November

England Vision Strategy announce Implementation Event

November 2014

‘Turning the England Vision Strategy into Reality’

The Chairs of the UK Vision Strategy England Implementation Group, Peter Corbett and John Thompson, invite professionals from across the eye health, and sight loss sector, as well as health, social care, government and voluntary sector representatives to attend the England Vision Strategy implementation event on 24 November at the Museum of London.

Titled ‘Turning the England Vision Strategy into Reality’, the event will discuss the priorities for change across the country and will provide delegates with the tools and information to successfully deliver the Vision Strategy at a local level. David Geddes, NHS England’s Head of Primary Care Commissioning will also be providing an update on the recent ‘Improving eye health and reducing sight loss - A Call to Action’ and will discuss the next steps following the wider consultation.

Peter Corbett, Chair of the UK Vision Strategy England Implementation Group and Thomas Pocklington Trust CEO, said: “The England Vision Strategy event will provide an excellent platform for showcasing the work that is currently taking place across the country. We’ll be hearing from speakers covering a wide range of topics, including the case for change and action, how we can work together to achieve positive outcomes for both adults and children, as well as an expert Q & A panel.”

‘Turning the England Vision Strategy into Reality’ will consist of a conference from 2.30 – 6pm, with a networking event from 6.30-8.30pm.

Places are filling fast and are on a first come, first served basis. To register, please email

NOC provides insight into how other professions have dealt with “Call to Action” over the past year

October 2014

Over a period of two busy days for delegates at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel the AOP produced a heavy schedule of talks, networking experiences and representatives from Pharmacy, Dentistry and General Practice at the LOCSU focussed conference.

Dr Graham Mennie is Gloucestershire’s Commissioning Lead for Ophthalmology within his CCG led the discussion on “Call to Action (CTA)” and how he saw the key issues about changing attitudes in health to improve prevention and detection and how primary, secondary and specialist professions must learn how to work together better in the future.

His target in the 7th largest CCG in England was to minimise avoidable sight loss but within Budget and new services must be driven by outcomes.

An example of the difficulties that face us are the 400 new Type II Diabetes cases diagnosed every day in the UK, 60% of which could be linked to obesity. More worrying is that in the school year 6, over 30% of children were considered obese.

When looking at new schemes it was important to start with the customer experience in health issues and work backwards, using PROMS (Px recorded outcome measures) and PREMS (Px recorded experience measures)

Rob Darracot CEO of Pharmacy voice explained how they had gone about answering the CTA in gathering info form inside and outside of their profession and how they have used information to show where new policies are working well. They had taken an aggressive approach declaring what they want from the exercise.

John Milne, Chair GDP committee, had a different approach on behalf of dentistry. Where others had completed the CTA before looking at contracts they had already started negotiations on their contract.

Their argument was that the last contract which they had agreed (and put forward) pays for dentists to prefer treating the healthier patients more than it does for looking after those with poor teeth, especially children. This was particularly worrying as children from the poorest homes usually present with the poorest dentition. Their new view on payments is a hoped for blend of Capitation, Activity and Quality which is currently being discussed.

The conference continued with one of the largest gatherings of professionals and LOC activists seen at this event and many parallel meetings and networking sessions were well attended.

Often it was the Q & A’s that provided the greatest interest and in many topics especially in the financing and creation of business cases for community services it was very apparent that the knowledge required to leverage our profession was still held by the minority.

The two days showed how key it is to have engaged personnel with a business and commercial understanding on LOCs and it also was oft demonstrated that there is a frustration within many LOCs about the work carried out by the usual suspects and many asked how one could excite others to join and do more important work and a number even enquired how one might remove those who do no work!

Engagement is all about regular and fast communications that expect replies and commitment from members. It is still obvious to those listening that those efficient and successful LOCs invariably have well-honed communication systems in the form of intranet websites and also paid for secretaries who can delegate work out to reasonably sized but engaged committees. The work of today’s LOC is no different to running a commercial business as we are not only in competition with ourselves but also with every other business and provider with a health connection.

October 2014

The Master, Dr Christine Tomkins, presided over the annual presentation of certificates to some of the optical technicians and optical practice support staff who had achieved one or other of the WCSM nationally accredited qualifications. Over the previous twelve months successful candidates had achieved through examination or assessment in the workplace 21 Level 4 diplomas for optical technicians, three Level 2 awards in Glazing Spectacles, one Level 2 award in Optical Production Processes, 16 Level 3 Certificates in Optical Practice Support, and 33 Level 2 diplomas in Optical Retailing. In addition, 17 candidates achieved one or other of the two qualifications that the Company has accredited to the Scottish Credits and Qualifications Framework.

A number of those candidates went on to take the Freedom of the Company and were sworn in by the Clerk. The Master admitting 18 new members into the Freedom of the Company, including Ian Humphries, Director of Marketing and Communications at the College of Optometrists, Professor Anita Simmers of Glasgow Caledonian University and Alan Tinger, Executive Chairman of the LOC Support Unit and Scot Mackie well known to many in the educational field.
Many of the new members of the Company who are also now part of the Society went to the Guildhall after the ceremony to gain their Freedom of the City.

Silmoİstanbul 2014

October 2014

Silmo Istanbul opens its Gates to Local and Foreign Visitors with its New and Improved Scope between the Dates of 11-14 December

Istanbul, selected as Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2010 has always been referred as economic and cultural capital of Turkey, plays the role of trade centre of Turkey since it builds a bridge between Asia and Europe. İstanbul Optik Fuarı İSOF, held in 2013 for the first time with this mission and vision and hosted many celebrities of fashion, art, sports and economy as well as optic industry, will be making another strike. İstanbul Optik Fuarı İSOF, acting with the vision and mission of being the focal point by strengthening Turkey’s optical industry power in the international geography and transfer optical industry trade volume of near-middle east and Eurasia regions to our country, collaborates with the world’s leading substantial optics industry organization celebrating its 47th year, Silmo Paris Optics Exhibition. Silmoİstanbul Optics Exhibition, the only specialty exhibition of optical industry in Turkey, is growing its scope with its new name and brand. Silmoİstanbul Optics Exhibition, aiming to establish a collaboration among all concerned companies in optical industry, build an essential commercial platform by branding and design services as well as participant, visitor and innovative products and aid the industry’s development, will be opening the Gates for local and foreign visitors at Istanbul Exhibition Centre Yeşilköy Halls 9 and 10 between the dates of 11-14 December 2014, Thursday through Sunday. The first Istanbul Optics Exhibition was held successfully between 26-29 December 2013 dates at Istanbul Exhibition Centre Halls 9 and 10 hosted participation and presentations of 89 local and 3 foreign, total of 92 companies as well as T.R Ministry of Health, Social Security Institution (SGK), Turkish Glass Industrialists Association -Türkiye Gözlük Sanayicileri Derneği- (GÖZSANDER), Confederation of Glass Business and Opticians, All Optics and Optometric Occupations Association and participation of 5 universities. İSOF 2013 was held successfully by collaboration of 24 Saat Fuarcılık and İhlas Fuarcılık in main sponsorship of “4 your eyes” Optics Magazine Journal published for Turkish Optics Industry since 2004 with the participation of 2128 visitors from optics entities (Turkey), 72 visitors from foreign optics entities, 128 visitors from institutions in relation to the industry and 260 free visitors with a total of 11.850 entries. Silmoİstanbul 2014, where 2015 collections of over 400 local and foreign glass brands will be presented as well as glass covers, optical glasses, contact lenses, contact lens accessories and maintenance equipment, sunglasses, optometric, ophthalmologic devices and accessories, ophthalmologic measuring, diagnosis and treatment devices, tools for optical shops and laboratories, glass parts, optical industry devices and all state of art developments and services to the visitors will be held at Istanbul Exhibition Centre where İSOF 2013 was held for the first time. Istanbul Exhibition Centre is located in Istanbul Atatürk Airport Yeşilköy district. Istanbul Exhibition Centre offers convenience to both visitors and exhibition participants with its 12 thousand square meter exhibition area, infrastructure, accessibility, halls, technical features, close distance to airport for visitors arriving from other countries as well as from other cities, close distance to Metro station, its position at intersection of E-5 and TEM motorway connections. Furthermore, just like in the previous year, transportation provided from Kadıköy, Sirkeci and Taksim and services busses offering ring trips from Metro station will ease visitor access to Silmoİstanbul 2014 exhibition area.

UK Vision Strategy’s Commissioning for Effectiveness and Efficiency project concludes

October 2014

The UK Vision Strategy’s commissioning for Effectiveness and Efficiency (CEE) project has officially concluded, with the two-year pilot scheme drawing to a close at the end of September.

The CEE project was funded via the Department of Health’s Voluntary Sector Investment Programme. The CEE project worked with three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Bedfordshire, Gateshead and South Devon and Torbay to develop sustainable collaborative commissioning of eye health and sight loss services.

The CEE project has shown that delivering improved services and outcomes for local communities is complex and requires close collaborative working, extensive patient engagement, leadership, and an evidence-based whole systems approach.

David Hewlett, Optical Confederation and Chair of the CEE project board, said: “The CEE approach has been very successful in promoting a, patient-centred, evidence-based and collaborative approach to commissioning and delivering effective, efficient and integrated services. We are now working to finalise the lessons from across the three sites to assist other localities and specialisms wider than eye health.”

An independent evaluation of the CEE project was carried out by Shared Intelligence, with a final report to be published at the beginning of November 2014. The findings and recommendations of the report will be available at

A CEE guidance is also being produced, bringing together learning from the project with a suite of support tools to assist relevant stakeholders to plan and deliver eye care services that maximise the best possible outcomes for their local communities.

The guidance will be launched at the Commissioning LIVE event in Manchester on the 18 November, and will then be made available at

To find out more about the CEE project please visit

VISION 2020 UK appoint Nigel Clarke as new Chair

October 2014

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation bringing together agencies across the eye health and sight loss sector, is pleased to announce the appointment of Nigel Clarke as its new Chair. Mr Clarke’s appointment follows previous Chair Nick Astbury stepping down last month after six years in the role.

Nigel has a strong background within the healthcare and charity sector, and is current Chair of the General Pharmaceutical Council, and a trustee of Partner Africa. Prior to this, Nigel was Audit Chair on the Board of the European Society of Cardiology, Chair of Self Help Africa and Chair of the General Osteopathic Council. He was also a trustee for 10 years for the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, and a member of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence. In 2010, Nigel founded SureCalm Healthcare Ltd, a business that provides care and support for people with long-term health conditions to enable them to live an independent life.

Commenting on his appointment, Nigel said: “The potential for VISION 2020 UK as an organisation really captured my imagination, and I am so pleased and excited to commence my new role as Chair. I look forward to meeting VISION 2020 UK Trustees, staff and members, and to build on the excellent work already taking place to unite the eye health and sight loss sector, and to continue to work towards the goal of eliminating preventable blindness.”

Mercy Jeyasingham, VISION 2020 UK CEO said: “Nigel brings a wealth of relevant experience as both a Trustee and Chair of organisations across a variety of sectors. He has a strong track record in bringing stakeholders together to achieve excellent outcomes. On behalf of everyone involved with VISION 2020 UK, I would like to congratulate Nigel on his new role, and really look forward to working alongside him to ensure that VISION 2020 UK continues to move from strength to strength.”

MPs hear how optometrists can break down the barriers to quality care

October 2014

David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, addressed MPs and peers at yesterday’s meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment (APPG).

The APPG met to discuss the optical sector’s response to a recent consultation from NHS England. The consultation, Improving eye health and reducing sight loss - a call to action, asked how we can solve the biggest challenges facing eye health.

NHS England, the main commissioner at the heart of the reformed NHS, is now using responses from the consultation to inform the first ever national commissioning strategy for eye health in England. The consultation has the potential to change the way optometrists across England work for the NHS.

Speaking at the meeting, David Parkins focused on two key issues; the importance of maximising skills in the eye care pathway by ensuring that patients are treated in the appropriate place by the appropriate professional and at the right time, and the importance of using IT systems to link community optical practices with the NHS.

“We can better manage capacity and access right along the eye care pathways by fully utilising the skills of all the clinicians and professionals in the pathway. Optometrists can do much more than correct refractive error and prescribe spectacles! They are able to deliver many of the solutions to the problems being identified now; they don’t need additional qualifications, they just need to be enabled by being contracted in a smarter way.”

He went on to provide a number of examples of the ways in which optometrists could help break down some of the existing barriers to quality care, including being commissioned to provide urgent primary eye care services, playing a greater role in pre- and post-operative care for cataract patients and providing patient-centric services to those with learning difficulties or dementia.

He continued: “There is growing evidence to support the case that commissioners would manage capacity better by enabling optometrists to do more. The core aim of NHS eye health services is to minimise sight loss and to reduce eye health inequalities, with the biggest challenge to achieving this being a lack of capacity. Enabling optometrists to do more in the ways I have described will go a long way to meeting this challenge. The evidence is showing us that optometrists can do more, safely and effectively.”

David ended by stressing that a key to greater efficiency is for IT systems in optical practices, school health services and community eye services to be linked to and integrated with general medical practice and hospital systems, saying: “All clinicians and professionals must communicate with one another across the pathway if we are to deliver patient centred care. Improved IT would facilitate this considerably.”

Lord Low, the group’s Chair, said: “The All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment provides a forum for stakeholders to discuss the best way forward to improve the way patients are treated to ensure optimum care in England. The call to action is a unique opportunity for all of us to come together to solve many of the challenges in eye health care.”

The APPG, founded in 2003 and run by the College of Optometrists and RNIB, was established to raise parliamentarians' awareness of the importance of high quality eye care for the prevention of eye disease and blindness, for the eye health of the nation and to promote better understanding of visual impairment and greater social inclusion.

October 2014

Contact lens educators worldwide could soon be adding letters after their names under the International Association of Contact Lens Educators’ Fellowship scheme.

IACLE’s Fellowship Exam, held every two years, will next take place in November 2015. Successful candidates can then apply to become Fellows of IACLE and use the affix FIACLE in recognition of their contact lens knowledge.

All IACLE members are eligible to sit the exam but must serve a minimum of 12 months before becoming Fellows. New members who join by 30 November 2014 will therefore be eligible for Fellowship immediately on successful completion of the exam in November 2015. Since annual membership is normally by calendar year, joining now also provides an extra two months of benefits free of charge.

As IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo explains, this autumn is the ideal time to become a member. ‘Joining now offers the best route for educators to enjoy a full year of membership benefits, prepare for the Fellowship exam and then apply to add FIACLE after their names. This is a prestigious and recognised award that’s specific to contact lens education. I’d encourage all colleagues in teaching institutions around the world to take part.’

Educator Membership is open to all those involved in contact lens education at a recognised institution, and Associate Membership to individuals and industry representatives contributing to education and active in IACLE. Members gain many valuable benefits, from high-quality teaching materials and online resources to live online Web Lectures, regional meetings and global networking opportunities.

Members are also eligible to apply for our IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year and IACLE Travel Awards. Preference will be given to members who are active FIACLEs and/or have attempted the Fellowship Exam.

IACLE members have exclusive access to a 10-module Distance Learning Program (DLP) which is delivered online via the association’s website, Existing Fellows can also complete the program and re-sit the Fellowship exam as many times as they wish, to refresh their knowledge and keep abreast of the latest contact lens developments.

Jian Qin of the Henan Institute of Ophthalmology in China achieved the highest mark in the in the November 2013 Fellowship Exam, out of the 200 members from 28 countries who entered. He comments: ‘The exam covered all aspects of contact lenses and was a good test of our theoretical knowledge. I’d completed the DLP before taking the exam with the guidance of IACLE’s Shanghai office. It makes me more confident in contact lens teaching and fitting.’

Gauri Kunjeer Patel of the Nagar School of Optometry in Ahmedabad, India, who successfully completed the exam last year, adds: ‘The FIACLE exam is very useful for educators not just to evaluate but also to update their knowledge, and to come together with contact lens educators across the world.’

Any educator interested in participating should email

October 2014

Adlens, who claim to be the global leader in adjustable focus eyewear announces the appointment of Greg Nugent as non-executive board director.
With global acclaim for spearheading innovative campaigns and initiatives at the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, Greg has gained significant praise for leading the marketing effort for the two biggest projects in UK history. From naming the “Games Makers” to penning the line ‘Inspire a generation’, Greg piloted the marketing program for the 2012 Games, directing the spectator experience, management of data, campaigns, advertising and research. Since the Games Greg co-founded Inc. London Limited which advises clients on major projects around the world.

The legacy of the London 2012 campaign is unparalleled in the public consciousness, with data showing an overwhelmingly positive long-term view of the cultural and economic benefits achieved. This continued success demonstrates the thorough understanding Greg has of an incredibly broad group of stakeholders. He brings invaluable insight and marketing expertise to Adlens - and will to accelerate its journey in bringing adjustable focus eyewear to the world.

“Greg is a globally renowned expert and we are delighted he will be helping us shape and deliver our vision to a global audience. His arrival is timely as we are poised to introduce our ground-breaking AdlensFocussTM eyewear to the US through our relationship with Luxottica in selected LensCrafters stores”, explains Michael C Ferrara, CEO & Executive Chairman of Adlens.

Greg commented, “James Chen is a remarkable individual and I am thrilled to be working with him and the team at Adlens. It’s an exciting time for the business and I look forward to playing a part in seeing the stunning innovations come to life for customers all over the world.”

Greg officially joins the board on 1st October 2014 as a Non-Executive Director.

Hong Kong Optical Fair next stop for Waterside Labs and Smart Glass Solutions

October 2014

Exhibiting for the first time in Asia, Waterside Labs, in conjunction with US based frames and optics manufacturer, Rochester Optical, is showcasing its Smart Glass Solutions including Smart frames and Smart GOLD lens design for Google Glass at Hong Kong Optical, 5 – 7 November 2014.

Waterside is attending the Hong Kong show hot on the heels of a highly successful first outing at Silmo Paris 2014 in September, where the company’s Smart Glass exhibits attracted a great deal of attention. As did the first European unveiling of the exclusive range of frames, chimmm… Simon Chim for Google Glass by the innovative Hong Kong fashion designer.

Already being promoted as a ‘highlight of this year’s fair’ by Hong Kong Optical Fair’s organisers, the group is set to make another big impression at this iconic industry event.

Bob Forgan, Managing Director of Waterside Labs and Chief Executive of Vision Technologies Europe says: “Hong Kong will present us with yet another opportunity to profile this range of revolutionary designs and technology to an international audience. The positive response we’ve received to date from all sectors is incredible and hugely encouraging. Those who invest at this stage are securing a unique chance to stand out in the marketplace. Rochester has got it so right. Wearable smart technology needs to look and feel good as well as enhance the wearer’s lifestyle. Combining fashion with function is a must.”

Simon Chim says: “In all of my years of designing, I have never been more excited about an entry in to the eyewear industry as I have smart glasses. This fusion of creative design and technology will be the choice of the next generation.”

Tim Moore, Director of Wearable Technologies at Rochester Optical adds: “The opportunities for eye care professionals to set themselves apart from ‘everyone else’ with Smart Glasses is NOW. Offering prescription lenses and fashionable and comfortable frames for Smart Glasses will obviously garner tremendous consumer interest, restore their profitable and successful practice on a scale that has not been seen this century, and position themselves firmly in the future.”

Smart frames for Google Glass and Smart GOLD lenses are a brand new innovation designed to provide 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).

Fight for Sight Named as Charity Partner at 100% Optical

October 2014

Exposing vital research to the eye sector...

Fight for Sight, the main UK charity that funds pioneering eye research into preventing sight loss and treating eye disease, has been named as the official charity partner for 100% Optical.

This is the second consecutive 100% Optical show - the largest trade event designed for optical professionals. During the three day event, held on Saturday 7 – Monday 9 February 2015 at London’s Excel, there will be opportunities to hear about the vital eye research work that Fight for Sight funds.

Opticians, optometrists, ophthalmologists and dispensing opticians will be encouraged to attend educational seminars including a range of talks organised by Fight for Sight.

Professor Peter Coffey, from UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, will talk about the development of ground breaking stem cell therapies for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) including innovative delivery, surgical and imaging techniques.

Professor John Dart, at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and a Consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital, is a specialist in inflammatory and infectious eye disease. The session will cover his team's research work into Acanthamoeba keratitis, including those studies investigating the current outbreak of the disease, and the reasons for the severe inflammation that this infection causes in many patients.

Professor Julie Daniels, also at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, will talk about the use of corneal stem cells and tissue engineering to maintain the essential transparency of the cornea in light of a global shortage of donor tissue and the relative short term benefits of corneal transplantation.

There will also be talks from Fight for Sight funded Clinical Research Fellows, including Dr John Bladen, at The Blizard Institute, Barts and the London School of Medicine, QMUL, who will present his research into aggressive eyelid tumours requiring tissue destructive and occasionally blinding surgery.

Julian Jackson, Fight for Sight’s Director of Development said: “We are delighted to have been selected as the 100% Optical’s charity partner. The event attracts thousands of people within the optical sector. It’s a crucial opportunity for us to raise awareness of the pioneering research that we are funding at 35 universities and hospitals across the country.

“However, despite the incredible advances being made in eye research and the amazing work in detection, diagnosis and treatments by the eye health professionals, there are still 100 people who will start to lose their sight every day in the UK and Fight for Sight is determined to make sight loss a thing of the past.”

Nathan Garnett, Event Director for 100% Optical said: “It is fantastic for us to be working alongside such an established and worthy charity such as Fight for Sight. It has been funding eye research for nearly 50 years and it’s a natural fit with 100% Optical and our target audience. We are looking forward to building the partnership and working closely together to raise awareness and funds in the lead up, during and after the 100% Optical show.”

The 2015 100% Optical show, organised by Media 10 and supported by the Association of Optometrists , is expected to attract over 5,000 visitors, from the UK, across Europe and Worldwide. A number of new and improved features have been introduced to make it 30 per cent larger than last year’s show. With the expansion of the equipment and lens halls, more CET career and business developments points, plus much more.

College of Optometrists issues advice on using Tea Tree Oil to treat Demodex blepharitis

October 2014

The College of Optometrists has been asked by one of its members to clarify the risks associated with using Tea Tree Oil (TTO) to treat Demodex blepharitis and how to use it safely.

The College has therefore released supplementary advice, in addition to its Clinical Management Guidelines. The guidelines state that ‘Demodex mites can be dose-dependently killed by daily lid scrub with 50% tea tree oil, but this should be undertaken only by experienced practitioners as such preparations are toxic to the ocular surface.’

Demodex infestation of the lash follicles and the eyelid glands is fairly common and may contribute to the pathogenesis of some cases of chronic lid margin and ocular surface inflammation and Meibomian gland dysfunction. Although TTO has been shown to be effective in reducing Demodex populations, its use in ocular demodecosis was given a weak recommendation based on low quality evidence for its clinical effectiveness and the potential for harm. Furthermore, because it is known that 50% TTO can be toxic to the ocular surface, the College Clinical Management Guideline on blepharitis recommends that only experienced practitioners should carry out this particular treatment. Great care is needed in the use of strong preparations of TTO, so that only lid tissue is treated, and afterwards the lid margins should be carefully wiped with dry cotton buds in order to remove residual TTO.

Optical suppliers to gather at FMO lunch

October 2014

FMO members are being encouraged to reserve their places for the AGM and popular annual luncheon in London on Friday 5 December.

“It is one of the largest optical gatherings of the year and a wonderful occasion with excellent food and great company – everyone looks forward to the event at the Hilton in Paddington,” said FMO Chief Executive, Kevin Gutsell.

Set to draw the largest gathering of optical suppliers from the frame, lens and technology sectors of the UK market, FMO members are joined by the professional bodies, providing an excellent occasion for networking and socialising.

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

“It is a great opportunity to renew friendships and celebrate the very best of optics,” added Sandie Fisher, Executive Assistant at The FMO.

New timings for prestigious BCLA research awards

October 2014

In line with the new biennial schedule for its Clinical Conference and Exhibition, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has made some changes to the timings of its prestigious research awards nominations and applications schedule.

For the foreseeable future, the BCLA Medal will be presented during the BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition on a biennial basis. Nominations for the 2017 BCLA Medal will be called for during 2015. The 2015 BCLA Medal Award recipient is Professor Fiona Stapleton of the University of New South Wales, Australia.

The Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture will be delivered in the non-conference year at the Pioneers & Visionaries Conference in London, so the Association is now calling for nominations and applications for the Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture to be delivered at the BCLA Pioneers & Visionaries Conference in November 2016. The closing date is 1 December 2014.

Dr Michael Read, a Research Associate at Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester, UK, will deliver the 2015 Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture in Liverpool next year.

The Dallos Award, for a year-long project judged likely to further understanding of a topic related to contact lenses and/or the anterior eye worth £8,000, will also now be run on a biennial schedule.

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’. Nominations and applications for the 2017 Dallos Award will be called for during 2015.

Those submitting an abstract/case report for the 2015 Clinical Conference, by the deadline of 16 January 2015, will be given the option for their submission to be considered for the Da Vinci Award, which recognises work by those who are not established contact lens researchers; specifically, applicants should not have published more than five papers related to the field of contact lenses and/or the anterior eye. Equally, the award may be given in recognition of a useful contribution by a member of staff within the contact lens-related manufacture and supply industry, submitted as a research abstract or case report.

The 2015 Da Vinci Award winner will be notified of their success prior to next year’s Clinical Conference and will deliver their case report/scientific abstract during the conference. The successful applicant will receive £1,000 and a conference delegate package.

BCLA Academic Committee Chair, Professor James Wolffsohn, said: “The BCLA research awards recognise the strides made to our understanding of contact lenses and the anterior eye by outstanding individuals from across our global, multidisciplinary membership. We very much look forward to continuing to recognise and honour these individuals as the Association moves into a new phase in its proud history.”

PHN expands new upgrade applications that will assist LOCs connect to their local communities

October 2014

During the summer PHN’s technicians have been bench testing a new application that will provide LOCs and their accredited users the ability to inform the public about CCG agreed enhanced local community services. What benefits they provide to the public and which local optometric contractors provide such services.

Lately we reported on the ability for individuals to access their own entry on the site and select the specialties, brands and community services they are accredited to provide.

An overview of what community enhanced services are and can do for localised communities has been added to the extensive explanations on eye care and vision already on the public site.

The upgrade has allowed individuals who have been contracted to provide enhanced service to self-publish their specialty on line within the Find my Optician for free.

Now the changes have been modified to allow all LOCs to describe their agreed community services in detail on a free page to be provided by PHN.

Many LOCs who have sophisticated hidden websites to help with their internal communications already hosted by PHN but hidden from view already have produced public sites which are visible on searching areas within the search app. They have for some time provided information about community enhanced services they have contracted with the CCGs.

“The change in emphasis on the need for the public to understand community care has changed our approach to supplying and hosting our LOC secure sites and over the last few years we have been providing dual purpose solutions with both professional and public pointing ability.

We know that our current website owners have enjoyed the simple efficiency and their proven ability over the last 9 years, but not all LOCs either need or understand the use or usage of a multi page website but at PHN we have also recognised that they have an intrinsic duty to inform their local community. So this is why we at PHN will provide a one page publication to every LOC and AOC to describe their services and interact with the public at no charge.” Bob Hutchinson, one of PHN’s Directors continued. ”Each public facing one page publication will link to any chosen website as do those we currently publish and host at PHN.”

Although PHN’s two sites have often been treated as separate entities with their different domain names there is as PHN has discovered much synergy between the two sites. The LOC pages on the professional site which has information about LOCs and business cases also host our LOCs with knowledge sites which also contain links to their LOC Public Sites.

“The public site visited by over 30,000 people each month who are mainly looking for Opticians and have the ability to search for specialities at practice level and to link to those with Public Sites”, said Charles Greenwood, LOC specialist at PHN. “It is to all LOCs that we are now able to offer a free 1 page webpage to inform the public.”

He continued, “It seemed logical to offer the entire LOC community the ability to market their services within their local community and to provide them with a simple free page on the public site searchable by their area. Mylocaloptician text will explain what community services can do over and above the normal GOS services and will point people to their local LOC. The LOC will create their page for the public to provide specific service details and send it to PHN." Devon LOC have been an early adopter of this facility and you can view their page here.

PHN have produced a generic leaflet with a practice/LOC stamp area to explain enhanced community services and where to search for practices that provide them which can provide a link to this new facility.

PHN will continue to provide the web manager websites with multi page usage, chat rooms and peer review technology which are very simple to use for many LOCs most of them opting to provide both a professional and public presence on the portal.

“We believe that following the availability and usage of a free one page presence on the most visited public site in the UK that many LOCs will come to appreciate the power of our full web manager sites which are supplied free bar hosting costs of £600 per annum for both professional and public sites,” said Greenwood.

Read also about the new free app online for all practices to select from a list the products they sell and the specialties they provide as well as the enhanced community practices they are contracted to provide.

LOCs should contact for information on how to send their free one page publication for immediate posting.

Visit Devon LOC's Page

2015 100% Optical to Deliver An Eyewear Extravaganza

October 2014

Over 100 Eyewear Companies Already Confirmed To exhibit At The UK’s Largest Trade Event For Optical Professionals.

100% Optical, which will take place at London’s Excel 7-9th February 2015, is promising an exceptional showcase in its Eyewear Halls with over 3,000 frames on display anticipated. This represents the biggest collection of eyewear ever seen in the UK and will eclipse the 2,000 frames on display at the inaugural 2014 100% Optical event, the success of which underlined the need for a major new optical industry event in London.

Over 100 eyewear exhibitors are already signed up for the 2015 event, including Mondottica, MYKITA, TD Tom Davies, götti SWITZERLAND, LINDBERG, William Morris London, Zuma Eyewear, Prodesign, SALT., Claire Goldsmith Eyewear & Oliver Goldsmith Sunglasses, Ørgreen Optics and CAZAL.

To add to buyer appeal (In 2014 buyers came from Harvey Nichols, ASOS, David Clulow, Leightons Opticians, Specsavers and Vision Express to name but a few), a significant number of brands will be premiering in the UK at the show for the first time.

For 2015 the 100% Optical event will be 30% bigger than 2014 and 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, across Europe and worldwide. Specifically for eyewear there will be an Innovation Arcade and Fashion Hub.

Innovation Arcade

The Innovation Arcade is an area of the event specifically dedicated to supporting independent and emerging designers. It provides visitors with the perfect opportunity and environment to discover new niche brands from around the world. This area will especially appeal to independent opticians looking to offer their customers something new and unique.

Fashion Hub

Daily catwalk shows are highly engaging and provide visitors and press with the opportunity to experience previews of new eyewear collections, while curated window displays demonstrate products showcased and styled in exciting and innovative ways.

According to Nathan Garnett, Event Director for 100% Optical, “Eyewear is a major emphasis for the 2015 event. We have taken on board all the positive feedback from buyers and exhibitors in 2014 and come up with a strengthened eyewear proposition. 100% Optical will quite simply provide the ultimate stage for all the very best in eyewear design and technical innovation from around the world. It’s an unmissable proposition for the eyewear trade.”

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.

NHS Alliance Launches Major Report: Think Big, Act Now: Creating a Community of Care

October 2014

A response to 21st century health challenges

It’s not all about the money. Headline research reveals that a reduction in bureaucracy, a move away from the current box ticking culture and the opportunity to work collaboratively with health professionals across primary care would motivate GPs, practice nurses and practice managers to stay in their roles far more than an increase in their income. NHS Alliance, a leading voice for providers in primary care, undertook the straw poll[1] of members to mark the launch of its new report, which says a fundamental shift in thinking is required by all who interact with the health service: one that moves from regarding the delivery of health care towards one that relies on relationships rather than one based on as transaction and process. It describes this as a responsive and responsible service with three underlying principles:

• a responsive and responsible system;
• a responsive and responsible health professional;
• a responsive and responsible patient.

Procrastination is no longer an option according to the report, Think Big, Act Now: Creating A Community Of Care, published today. Immediate action is needed to achieve the paradigm shift required to support a growing and ageing population living with myriad complex conditions.

The paper argues the answer to a stronger, re-energised primary care workforce lies within the workforce itself and within the communities they serve; where general practice sits at the centre of a cohesive primary care team of multi-disciplinary health professionals and community leaders, and works collaboratively with colleagues in the acute sector. This, it says, has the potential to make an immediate difference on a system that is considered by many to be near breaking point.

GPs, practice and community nurses, practice managers, community pharmacists, and community eye and hearing specialists in England are under unprecedented pressure to care for a population imposing soaring demand[1] on a health service that is financially constrained and struggling to retain a demoralised workforce.

Dr Michael Dixon, chairman, NHS Alliance said: “The perfect storm of pressures facing primary care makes it likely that change will come, whether or not it is wanted. We want to see change by design rather than default: change led by those working within the service who best understand the issues they and the communities around them face. Our members tell us they are exhausted and demoralised but still passionately believe in an NHS free at the point of need and we believe there is light ahead.

“This is not all about the money. Professionals in primary care crave the time and space to spend time serving patients rather than dealing with endless paperwork and box ticking, and are open to new ways of working. But new ways of working also rely on new ways of thinking and doing. As a system, as health professionals and as the general public we need to think act responsively and responsibly to help restore the NHS and all the people associated with it to good health.

“To achieve this, we propose an incremental journey towards what we are calling A COMMUNITY OF CARE, which is based on the implementation of general practice at scale but is not all about GPs. And while it may not be about the money in terms of GP income, we do believe financial support is required to support what needs to be a rapid transformation. This must come in two forms – one, a return to at least a 10% share for primary care of overall NHS budget to reflect the fact that more than 80% care is delivered outside hospital, and two, a dedicated General Practice Development Fund to allow immediate action to be taken.

“Our vision is that this paper will mark a defining moment for general practice and primary care. A moment where we take collective responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our NHS, whether we are policy maker, care provider or care receiver. A moment where we commit to delivering and using the service thoughtfully and respectfully. A moment where we recognise that unless we are prepared to change both our thinking and our actions, we may pay the ultimate price and lose the national health service that has provided us with free care at the point of need for more than 65 years.”

The report articulates the findings of six months’ research and consultation undertaken by NHS Alliance in collaboration with its strategic and professional partners across the breadth of provision within primary care[2].

To support the three principles of responsive and responsible system, health professional and patient; and the development of a community of care with general practice and the registered patient list at its centre, the report proposes a 10 point plan and five specific and immediate steps:

• to use community and district nurses, community pharmacists, community eye care and hearing specialists to help address the current deficit of GPs and share care across different professional sectors;
• to reframe the role of Senior Community Nurse to co-ordinate health and social care for the frail and elderly living with long term conditions;
• to introduce a new role in every locality: a ‘Community Health Connector’;
• to reduce the medicalisation of issues that are often caused by social isolation or inadequate housing and introduce a new focus on social prescribing;
• to introduce a General Practice Development Fund to enable General Practice to be supported to develop at scale.

You can read the full document here.

Primary care partners vow to hold politicians to their election pledges

October 2014

A coalition of primary care organisations has welcomed commitments made at the conferences of the three main parties to support more integrated community health provision and local partnership.

Organisations representing local audiologists, dentists, opticians, optometrists and pharmacists joined forces at this year’s party conferences to unite in a call for the rebuilding of primary care, beyond only GP services, to meet the health challenges of the future.

The coalition has welcomed commitments made by senior politicians from all three parties to support a modern and responsive model of care that brings NHS services closer to the community and make best use of the skills of local health professionals.

Mick Armstrong, Chair of the British Dental Association’s Principal Executive Committee, said: “Primary care is more than just GPs and there is a network of qualified health professionals working up and down the country every day. Only by utilising our skills can the NHS face the challenges of the future.”

Mark Georgevic, Chair of the National Community Hearing Association, said: “Most people over 65 have at least one long term condition; those over 75 often have two or more. Sensory impairment compounds this. Only a refocused and revitalised primary care can support this growing need.”

Don Grocott, Chair of the Optical Confederation, said: “Only by the whole of primary care working together can we keep people fit and well, independent and out of hospital. The whole perspective of care needs to be redefined for the 21st century.”

Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, said: "Providing politicians with a shared perspective of primary care will, we hope, play an invaluable role in shaping the future of our NHS. It is imperative that primary care providers work together, sharing one vision and set of values, to project a unified voice to politicians and policy makers. The We Are Primary Care report has provided the primary care sector with strong foundations, but we must aim to build on the momentum we have gained over the past few weeks to ensure the potential of all health care professions is met."

Scrivens Opticians takes on the World Sight Day Challenge for 2nd year running

October 2014

Following the success of the World Sight Day Challenge in 2013, Scrivens Opticians have pledged to support Optometry Giving Sight by taking part in 2014.

The family-run optical chain took part last year across all practices nationwide to celebrate its 75th anniversary and a total of nearly £4,000 was raised, the equivalent of providing over a 1,000 eye tests and glasses in developing countries across the world.

This year Scrivens Opticians plan to donate £1.00 for each eye examination carried out during their World Sight Day events in over 80 of their practices across the UK, the largest retailer to take on the World Sight Day Challenge. They will also organise fundraising activities in their stores up and down the country.

Claire Burrows, Scrivens’s Head of Marketing, said, “Once again we are delighted to be able to support this important cause and take part in the World Sight Day Challenge for a second year. The campaign was a great success last year and our patients really appreciated our efforts to help people that don’t have access to eye care, and provided a great tool to promote the importance of eye care in our own communities.”

Nick Rumney, Chair of Optometry Giving Sight’s National Committee, said, “Scrivens continued support to Optometry Giving Sight will make a significant difference in being able to raise much-needed funds to help those in desperate need of eye care.”

The World Sight Day Challenge is the largest annual global fundraising campaign to address avoidable blindness caused by uncorrected refractive error – simply the need for an eye test and glasses. The donations from each store will help Optometry Giving Sight achieve its mission of funding sustainable vision care projects to help the more than 600 million people worldwide who are blind or vision impaired through the lack of access to eye care.

VISION2020 UK announce winners of Bigger, Better Vision competition - promoting low vision equipment tailored for children

October 2014

This World Sight Day, VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation bringing together agencies across the sight loss and eye health sector, is pleased to announce the winners of their ‘Bigger Better Vision’ competition for children and young people, kindly supported by Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA).

‘Bigger, Better Vision’ was an initiative of the VISION 2020 UK Children’s Low Vision Sub Group. The aim was to highlight the lack of low vision equipment tailored to children’s needs, with devices traditionally aimed at an older generation. The competition was judged by former VISION 2020 UK Chair Nick Astbury, VICTA CEO Tracie Tappenden, and Marvel comic book artist John McCrea.

The winner of the under-8 category was Luo-Tong Sim, with a fun, foldable magnifying glass design that can be folded or put into the pocket, or hung from a necklace, in different personalised designs.

In the over-8 category, the winner was Alice Hopkins with a wavy monocular design. The waves help to grip the monocular and put it in the right position, which is part of the ‘under-the-sea’ design.

An initiative of the VISION 2020 UK Children’s Low Vision Sub Group, ‘Bigger, Better Vision’ encouraged young people from across the UK to submit a design, photograph or written description of a creatively modified low vision device. Entrants were 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. Judge Tracie Tappenden of VICTA commented: “The two entries chosen as winners of the ‘Bigger, Better Vision’ competition were outstandingly creative, and much more engaging and appealing for children to use than the current low vision aids on the market. It would be wonderful if manufacturers adopted some of the ideas put forward by Luo-Tong and Alice, such as an ‘under-the-sea theme’, fun shapes, and the use of bright colours. We are proud to support the competition, and I hope that Luo-Tong and Alice enjoy using their new iPads to create many more exciting designs.’

The winning entries can be viewed online at the VISION 2020 UK Facebook page:

The 20’s Plenty for Us campaign calls for 20mph limits to help people to see and be seen on roads

October 2014

The 20’s Plenty for Us campaign, supported by VISION 2020 UK, is calling for a 20mph default speed limit in residential streets without physical calming in order to protect vulnerable road users, including those who are blind and partially-sighted.

20’s Plenty for Us reflects the Highway Code, which recommends that drivers go carefully and slowly in residential areas and around vulnerable people. Below 20mph, road users can better see hazards, signs of vulnerability such as a guide dog, white stick, youth or age, and react in time to avoid a crash. In its latest guidance, the Department for Transport set considering the introduction of more 20mph limits and zones as a priority for action.

Rod King MBE, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us said “Every driver must assume that any pedestrian may be one with poor vision. Traffic authorities have a legal responsibility to set speed limit policies that do not discriminate against disadvantaged groups. A general 30mph limit is no longer seen as fit for purpose for delivering the equitable safety on our streets that communities and government now demand. Default 20mph limits are affordable, effective and benefit most sectors of the community, particularly people who are blind and partially-sighted.”

Matt Broom, VISION 2020 UK Operations Manager said: “20mph limits lessen fear and danger to the blind and partially-sighted community, enabling them to lead more active and independent lifestyles. As the UK’s umbrella charity for eye health and sight loss organisations, VISION 2020 UK support 20’s Plenty for Us’ campaign for 20mph speed limits to be the norm.”

The 20’s Plenty for Us campaign calls for:

• Local councils to introduce fairer, wide-area 20mph speed limits for better equality and quality of life for all.
• Local authorities to urgently update their urban and village speed management policies in line with the Equality Act 2010 with default 20mph and targeted 30mph limits.

October 2014

The NOC conference agenda this year has some exciting new components which include a poster competition which will be judged and declared on the last day (24th October).

The conference starts at 9.00 am with networking meetings at the NEC Metropole.

The conference is arranged by the AOP on behalf of LOCSU and where in its earlier days the NOC was very much an LOC focused event, it has now become a must-attend show for optometrists, opticians and optical advisors as well as LOC representatives.

This has been considerably helped by the inclusion of industry exhibition stands. Undoubtedly new technology and new enhanced pathways for community services have become mutual drivers for the successes of many LOC contracts arranged over the past few years.

This is demonstrated by the appearance at this year’s show of Grafton’s new diagnostic tester, the Clearpath DS 120 for checking for diabetes up to 7 years prior to complications. Go to their stand for a check up with this new totally non-invasive tester to check for Type II Diabetes.

They will also be demonstrating the fully automated VX120 from Visionix. This compact space saving device is a unique 7-1 instrument (Refraction - Pachymetry - Aberrometry - Topography - Pupillometry - NCT Tonometry - Anterior chamber analysis)
with fully automated measurement.

And for those that are considering OCT technology might be the next important purchase for your practice then Grafton’s Optovue iVue or iFusion packages are tailor-made to suit your practices needs for the future clinical development.

Visit Grafton's Page on this site

UltraVision’s Charity Cake Sale!

October 2014

UltraVision raised £530 recently in aid of the “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning,” with Macmillan Cancer Support. Local companies visited the site in Leighton Buzzard to enjoy cakes that were handmade by UltraVision staff. The cakes sold out very quickly and there were many happy customers, both in-house and external. “It was fantastic to bring everyone together to support such a great cause and enjoy great cake!” said Kimberley Burns, Marketing Executive at UltraVision.

Optical bodies agree to look at workforce questions

October 2014

Led by the College of Optometrists, stakeholders from across the optical sector have joined together to launch a project to gain a clearer picture of the optical workforce.

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians, the Association of Optometrists, The College of Optometrists, the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO), the General Optical Council, the Local Optical Committee Support Unit, the Optometry Schools Council, Optometry Scotland, Optometry Wales and Optometry Northern Ireland have formed the Advisory Group of the Optical Workforce Survey project. Led by the College, the project will gather key information about optometrists and dispensing opticians to build a picture of current workforce levels and the issues that will impact on its future.

The Optical Workforce Survey, taking place from November this year to January 2015, will gather quantitative data from a randomised sample of 4,000 optometrists and dispensing opticians. It will also include interviews with a wide range of professionals and stakeholders and explore what data already exists, to develop a clear picture of the issues shaping the profession.

At a time of increasing GOC registrant numbers, coupled with an ageing population and a changing healthcare system, it is more important than ever to gather this evidence, without which it will be impossible to address any question about the current and future requirements for the optometry and optical professions as a workforce.

Michael Bowen, Director of Research at the College of Optometrists, said: “This project represents the biggest cross sector collaboration on workforce data ever. The range of information gathered will build an accurate and up-to-date picture of the optical workforce, which will give us the evidence we need to ensure that decisions affecting the provision of care for future patients is informed by the size, structure and skills base of the current workforce, and predictions for its future development. We would strongly encourage all those invited to complete the questionnaire so the outcomes are based on as large and representative a survey group as possible.”

Paul Morris, Director of FODO, said: “We have adopted a collaborative approach and involved the whole of the sector because we recognise how important this work is for all our futures. We will be inviting employers and other holders of key workforce data to be a part of the project, to ensure that the survey findings are supported by the existing evidence. We are all excited about the potential opportunities this will bring and strongly encourage anyone interested, and invited to be involved in the project, in any form, to get in touch.”

The findings will be disseminated in spring 2015, and will include information about the specific workforces in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Devon LOC produces Community leaflet for NEHW

October 2014

As part of National Eye Health Week 2014, Devon LOC produced an Eye Health Leaflet. 20,000 copies of this leaflet were produced and sent out to a wide audience across Devon including GP surgeries, Dental Surgeries, Pharmacies, Optician Practices, Libraries, Community Hospitals, Acute Hospitals, CCGs, Public Health Teams, Local Authorities, Health and Well-Being Boards and Healthwatch Organisations. This leaflet has also been shared by the Local Medical Committee, Local Pharmaceutical Committee and Twitter.

The leaflet highlights General Health and Vision, referral services including social care, LVA’s and the voluntary service sector and provides an incite to an optometrists role.

It also explains fees charged and who’s eligible for an NHS test plus a few tips on diet and lifestyle.

There is also a link to to provide the public with access to all practice details within the area.

You can view the leaflet at:

LOC team pictured

Over 1,000 CET points earned at Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize

October 2014

Over 1,000 CET points were earned at Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize on Sunday at Ascot Racecourse, the College of Optometrists’ one-day conference which was attended by 195 optometrists from across the UK.

This was the College’s second Bitesize conference, and saw a 13% increase in delegate numbers against the 2013 event.

The event featured some of the most well-received sessions from Optometry Tomorrow 2014, the College’s annual conference held in York in March, including Migraine and other headaches: the role of the optometrist by Professor Bruce Evans FCOptom; The diagnosis and management of the watering eye by ophthamologist Mr Raghavan Sampath; and Optic nerve head disorders and distractions by Dr Karen French MCOptom.

The Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize programme was made up of five lectures and five workshops, as well as five peer discussion sessions that allowed over 100 delegates to discuss case studies on: driving and pupil dilation; binocular vision; and optical appliances and cataract.

David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “The continued growth of the College’s conferences demonstrates how respected, trusted and increasingly popular our events are.

“I am confident that the programme we offer at our Optometry Tomorrow events – which always include a mixture of peer review, workshops and practical sessions – truly offer what our members need to learn, network and grow as well-rounded professionals.”

The College will host Optometry Tomorrow 2015 in Brighton on 8-9 March. Members have until 17 October to reserve themselves a one- or two-day ticket for 50% of the full rate.

October 2014

-Search hots up for best-performing independent opticians-

Independent opticians still have time to make a last minute push for the 2014 Rodenstock Club Awards and be in with a chance to win a dream trip to Rome.

Winners of each award category, together with the Centre of Excellence and runner up, will enjoy a trip to the Eternal Cityý next March. Staying in the heart of the city, the Rodenstock party will tour the historical sites and sample the Italian culture, fine cuisine and hospitality.

They can look forward to wandering around the classical ruins, early Christian places of worship, Renaissance palazzos and Baroque fountains.

Practices are competing in a number of product specific categories, including Perfection lenses, Excellence lenses, Wimbledon eyewear, Ergo lenses, luxury brand eyewear and Rodenstock eyewear. Excellence in marketing is also recognised.

General manager Niels Jensen said: “We are looking forward to rewarding our loyal customers and thanking them for their continued support. We’re always keen to attract new customers and there are many benefits available to independent practices who work with us. They will have access to the best products at highly competitive prices, and enjoy a huge range of sales and marketing support.”

The competition runs until 30 November. The winning practices will be announced at a luncheon and awards ceremony at London’s four-star Rosewood Hotel, which has received recent awards, accolades and acknowledgement as one of the world’s finest luxury hotels, on 17 December 2014.

All of the winners will receive an invitation for two people to join Rodenstock in Rome. As an alternative, category winners can choose to receive a marketing contribution of £3,000 in lieu of their Rome prize.

October 2014

The FMO Board has been enhanced with the leaders of two diagnostic technology providers, Heidelberg Engineering and Topcon, joining the management team of the all-embracing optical suppliers’ group.

Krysten Williams, UK Director of Heidelberg Engineering and Andrew Yorke, UK Director of Topcon, have been elected for a two year term of office. Their appointments boost the representation of technology companies on The FMO Board, alongside colleagues from the lens and frame sectors of optics.

Andrew Yorke said he had always supported The FMO “because it belongs to the industry”, adding –

“If you want to create change the answer is to be involved. I urge others who have a view on how UK optics should move forward to make their voices heard at The FMO. It is an organisation which is centre-stage of what is going on. We strive for standards to be achieved and raised.”

Krysten Williams has, like Andrew, more than 25 years’ international experience in the ophthalmic industry, and sees the opportunity to be more involved in FMO planning as an important step –
“The face of optics is set to change with the UK Vision Strategy Call to Action and the focus on provision of eye health services in the community. We are keen to maximise the role of UK optometrists and believe technology and education are the key to moving the profession forward to the next level. It is an exciting time to play a more active role within The FMO,” she said.

FMO Chairman Barry Dibble, thanked Ron Wright, Director of BIB Instruments, who retires from The FMO Board after a two year tenure, and praised the two new members -

“I am delighted that Krysten and Andrew have joined The FMO Board and know that their industry knowledge and professionalism will dovetail perfectly with our experienced and enthusiastic Board.”

Call for scientific abstracts and case reports

October 2014

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has opened online submissions for scientific abstracts, and case reports in poster format, to be presented at its 2015 Clinical Conference and Exhibition from 29-31 May at the ACC Liverpool, UK.

Authors submitting scientific papers and/or posters before 30 November 2014 will be able to take advantage of a pre-screening service. This complimentary service gives authors the chance to obtain feedback about their paper/poster from BCLA Academic Committee members, who have a high level of expertise in writing submissions for clinical conferences.

Scientific abstracts are considered on any topic related to contact lenses and/or the anterior eye, and authors can choose between ‘poster only’ and ‘poster/oral presentation’ at the point of submission. Clinical case studies may also be submitted in this category, again with the option of ‘poster only’ or ‘poster/oral presentation’.

Research papers accepted for publication in the Association’s journal, Contact Lens & Anterior Eye, within a year of the 2015 Clinical Conference will be awarded a voucher of £100 redeemable towards any future BCLA fee-paying event*.

The final deadline for submitting papers and posters is Friday 16 January 2015.

The 39th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition will be officially launched at the all-new BCLA Pioneers & Visionaries Conference, being held at the Royal College of Physicians in London on 17 November.

October 2014

At the event itself, ABDO members will be able to take advantage of some great benefits including CET qualifying education for dispensing opticians; advance notice and priority access to social events and the ABDO Arms, a new bar area at the show where ABDO members will be able to network and socialise in this specially designated area for ABDO. In addition, ABDO, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) and 100% Optical will be working together on tackling major issues facing the optical industry on the Main Stage at the event.

ABDO, the AOP and 100% Optical will also be hosting a brand new event feature the Frame Workshop. This will provide a place for ABDO members to come along and have a go at making frames by working alongside some of the most experienced craftsmen in the business. Visitors will get the chance to see how some of the highest quality frames are produced and get to understand all the processes involved. Algha Works, famous for producing eyewear to the stars (including Johnny Depp, Eric Clapton and Rihanna), and the UK’s last frame maker will showcase their skills and techniques.

The Frame Workshop will also feature 3D printers, so that visitors can have a go at designing and printing frames to see just how this technology has evolved and how it may be used in practice in the future. 100% Optical will be working with London based designers Mette, who have created a ‘Maker Carousel’ concept, a space that can allow several groups to be engaged in making frames with different materials on the show floor, in an open environment.

Michael Potter, ABDO’s head of marketing and communications, said: “We are confident that ABDO members will benefit from the Association’s partnership with 100% Optical; which will provide members with priority access and unique incentives to attend this innovative exhibition, an opportunity to refresh and enhance their skills, find out what’s new, network with their fellow professionals, have fun, as well as gaining CET points while they are there. Not least 100% Optical is hosted at a major London venue that’s within a relatively easy travelling distance for a significant percentage of our members.

“The partnership with 100% Optical is one of a number of exciting initiatives that ABDO has planned for 2015 with a view to attaining greater engagement with its members. It will also provide a new platform for ABDO to voice its aims and to outline the vital role it plays within the optical sector.”

Nathan Garnett, Event Director for 100% Optical, “We are delighted to be working with ABDO as we want to deliver an event that is designed specifically for the professional, by the profession. It is really exciting to be working with ABDO on a feature like The Frame Workshop, as we are keen to deliver something unique and of real value to ABDO members. We are also looking forward to seeing as many ABDO members as possible in the ABDO Arms for drink!”

100% Optical now has the backing of both of the main professional membership associations: ABDO and the AOP which together cover over 20,000 optical trade professionals. 100% Optical burst onto the scene this year with over 5,000 professional attending the inaugural 2014 event at the ExCeL centre over three days. The eclectic mix of exhibitors and high quality show design have raised the bar for optical events across Europe, and London can now boast an event to rival other major European cities.

October 2014

The College of Optometrists has elected three new Life Fellows and three new Honorary Fellows. Fellowship of the College is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the profession or to the College.

The three new Life Fellows of the College are:

• Ron Mallet, in recognition of his contribution to the teaching of binocular vision, research into amblyopia, the design of equipment for investigating binocular coordination – including the ubiquitous Mallet Unit - and refining resting methods.
• Professor Rachel North, in recognition of her contribution to optometric education and international optometric research, and her leading role in the development of Vision Aid Overseas.
• Francis John Pettigrew, in recognition of his pioneering contribution to complex contact lens fitting, to continuing education for optometrists, and his work to improve the standard of community eye care in Northern Ireland.

The three new Honorary Fellows of the College are:

• Nick Astbury, in recognition of the contribution he has made to the development of optometry in the context of shared care with ophthalmologists, his contribution to the role of primary care as an important partner in the UK Vision Strategy, and his inspirational leadership as Chair of VISION 2020 (UK).
• Tone Garaas-Maurdalen, in recognition of the contribution she has made in providing outstanding leadership to the World Council of Optometry (WCO), always working in partnership with the College, which provided the WCO secretariat, and for her central role in the development of WCO’s Scope of Practice survey.
• Professor Brian Tighe, in recognition of the contribution he has made to polymer research and developing new contact lens materials, providing the contact lens industry with sound engineering and chemical reasons to explain some of the signs and symptoms observed by clinicians.

The awards will be presented at the annual Diploma Ceremony on Tuesday 4 November 2014 in Central London, where the College will also be celebrating the achievements of its members through the award of Higher Diplomas and Research Excellence Awards, and welcoming newly qualified optometrists to the profession.

October 2014

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has opened bookings for its all-new Pioneers & Visionaries Conference, to be held from 11am to 7pm on Monday 17 November at the Royal College of Physicians, London. Building on the success of the Association’s annual Pioneers Conference, this new members-only conference will feature an exhibition and full programme of presentations, including event sponsor updates on the latest industry products, with a total of five CET points applied for.

Commenting on the launch of the event, BCLA CEO, Cheryl Donnelly, said: “We’re really excited about this new, annual BCLA event for members. We’ll be presenting current and new thinking on key topics of relevance to everyday contact lens practice – but maintaining the in light-hearted yet thought-provoking atmosphere that our members find so enjoyable.

The 2014 Pioneers Lecture will be delivered by professor Harminder Dua, and alongside this year’s fantastic line-up of speakers, we are pleased to welcome a special guest from the General Optical Council to update us on the latest progress being made on tackling illegal contact lens supply. We do hope members will join us for what promises to be a fabulous day of learning, networking and enjoyment,” Cheryl added.

Confirmed presenters so far include:

• Professor Harminder Dua, Pioneers Lecturer: ‘The novel pre-Descemet’s layer (Dua’s Layer): its discovery, characterisation, clinical implications and surgical applications’
• Dr Nicola Logan: ‘Myopia control; where are we?’
• Sarah Farrant: ‘The Mighty Mites’
• Sophie Taylor-West: ‘Dispelling the myths of specialist contact lens practice’
• Dr Nicole Carnt: ‘An update on contact lens compliance and a review of current Acanthamoeba research being carried out at Moorfields’
• Matthew Carter: ‘An optometrist’s view of keratoconus shared care’
• Alistair Bridge: ‘The GOC’s proposed approach to tackling illegal practice: an update’

As well as an accompanying exhibition, the conference will include a networking lunch and evening reception drinks – plus a quick fire session from current researchers, the ‘visionaries’, on how their research may impact on everyday contact lens practice.

Confirmed sponsors to date are: Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, David Thomas Contact Lenses, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and Topcon.

October 2014

European launch announced by Waterside labs

Following its successful launch at Vision Expo West Las Vegas in September, exclusive distributors Waterside Labs gave European customers a sneak preview of this exciting new collection at SILMO 2014.

Bob Forgan, Waterside Labs and Vision Technologies Europe Managing Director said: ‘The launch of our new Chimmm for Google Glass 2015 frame and sunglass collections by the innovative Hong Kong fashion designer Simon Chim attracted a great deal of attention in Paris as it showed the importance of combining technology with fashion.’

At this major trade show for the optics and eyewear sector, Waterside Labs, under its Vision Technologies Europe brand, showcased an exclusive range of products including its Smart frames for Google Glass and Smart GOLD lens design. A new innovation, 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).

‘The interest in all our Smart Glass products during Silmo was amazing. This is a rapidly developing product area that everyone really wants to know about and we opened many new accounts during the show; with orders not just for customers in mainland Europe but also as far afield as Asia and Australia,' added Bob.

Chimmm for Google Glass collection will be available from early 2015.

Lions club supports Vision Care for Homeless in Midlands

October 2014

Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) has won the support of a local Lions Club in the Midlands with generous funding to the tune of nearly £12,000.

The valuable Lions support has been a tremendous boost in meeting the running costs of the clinic, which is supported by volunteer optometrists and dispensing opticians. Providing eye examinations and glasses for the homeless and dispossessed in the area, VCHP is based at Sifa Fireside, B9 – a centre for those in need.

The funding was provided by the Knowle and Dorridge Lions, which came about when one of its members, the later Ralph Lilley, volunteered at the centre, along with his wife Margaret.

Explained Barry Dale, President of the Knowle and Dorridge Lions, “Each year we nominate three charities to be beneficiaries from our Lions Festive Walk, Knowle Fun Run & Easter Egg raffles. Needless to say competition is strong but Vision Care had a head start because not only had one of our Lions nominated them, but most importantly because Lions Clubs International are known as Knights of the Blind.”

Picture shows left to right – Margaret Lilley FBDO volunteer; Barry Dale President Knowle and Dorridge Lions; Jill Lambert, Chair of VCHP Birmingham.

Willing volunteers and generous charitable supporters enable VCHP to run eye clinics in the Midlands, Manchester, Brighton and London. Optometrists, dispensing opticians and assistants give their time providing a professional service at the clinics. Further volunteers assist with projects, some working from home, while others take on operational roles.

October 2014

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) and Media 10, the multi-award winning creators of 100% Optical, are delighted to announce a new partnership. The new partnership will involve a number of exciting cooperative initiatives in the run up to and including the 2015 100% Optical event which will take place at London’s ExCel on 7-9 February. 100% Optical was launched in February 2014 and has established itself as the UK’s largest audited trade event for optical professionals.

PHN have been confirmed as Media Partners for this show and will be bring you further information on ABDOs involvement in the coming days

October 2014

Yesterday saw the changeover of Masters at the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers in their traditional home of the Apothecaries in Black Friars.
We will bring you a full report and update this week of the new Lady Master, only the second in the Liveries history, and news on the winners of the Masters and Ruskell medals as soon as we have it.

The Immediate Past Master Chris Hunt takes on the role of Deputy Master after the ceremony of the New Master, Christine Tompkins, was completed in St Brides Church, Fleet Street at the Annual Founders service. Newly clothed was Dr. Christine Tompkins in her new role as the Master of the WCSM for a one year term of office. Edward Middleton will follow on next year and the new renter warden to follow in two years will be Don Grocott. Don was recently replaced by Chris Hunt as Chair of the Optical Confederation.

October 2014

Read our full show review on the exhibition pages of this site. And find out about new and up and coming brands that are full of flare for the UK market.

The show abounded with vitality and fresh new ideas in concepts and designs. Let’s hope that this enthusiasm for creativity will be captured in shows due to start in the UK 2015.


Silmo publishes Numbers for its exhibition this week

Despite, the strike by Air France pilots which certainly penalised both French and international visitors, the number of professionals attending remained very stable, at 33,301 precisely (56% from abroad, 44% from France).

The 2014 gathering proved once again that SILMO PARIS is THE keynote event to launch new brands (very high numbers this year), discover new companies from all over the world there being more than 150 international exhibitors out of a total of 900 exhibitors.

MIDO 2015 was launched at SILMO 2014 to over 100 in an audience of press and exhibitors

October 2014

In a complete rebranding exercise MIDO has a new logo with improved communications and has chosen new halls nearer the Milanese Metro entrances.

The logo comes with the strap line Never Ending Wonder, the acronym for NEW, which communicates the hopes for MIDO 2015. MIDO will be held at Fiera Milano Rho February 28th to March 2nd 2015.

Malcolm Polley retires from FMO

October 2014

FMO Chief Executive, Malcolm Polley, is handing over the reins of the world’s longest established optical trade body leaving the organisation in robust shape. He will, however, retain his role as Director of Optrafair.

A career in dispensing, at prestigious London practices, led Malcolm to join the Norville Group in the 1980s where he rose to become Director of Sales and Marketing. After his chairmanship of The FMO in 2006, Malcolm became Chief Executive and took on the role of steering the optical suppliers’ group to a higher profile and more active role in the UK optical scene.

“It will be difficult to fill Malcolm’s shoes and match his unique insight into so many aspects of the optical industry and profession. He has been the face of The FMO and Optrafair and provided unrivalled continuity for so many valuable years of growth for the sector,” said Barry Dibble, FMO Chairman.

“However, The FMO board is delighted that he will continue in the important role as Director of Optrafair, the show which is now an annual event. We are committed to providing the very best optical event we can and Malcolm’s broad experience is highly valuable. As we approach our centenary year of 2017 and commit ourselves to increasing the benefits for our members it is right to split the roles of leading The FMO and Optrafair and we are very pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Gutsell FBDO (Hons) SLD as our new Chief Executive.”

Malcolm Polley commented: “Kevin has extensive experience in the industry and profession and is well equipped to lead The FMO to new heights. His connections and time at ABDO will ensure that the FMO plays a vital role within the increasingly significant alliance of the Optical Confederation.”
Kevin has resigned from his position as Vice President of ABDO in order to take up this new and exciting appointment. Malcolm will be providing support to Kevin until the end of the year, after which he will focus his attentions solely on the ongoing growth of Optrafair.

LOC Company model wins wide backing from both LOCs and CCGs, reveals 2013/4 Annual Report

October 2014

The number of LOCs adopting the LOC Company model has grown substantially in the past year, the 2013/14 LOCSU Annual Report has revealed.

62 out of 81 LOCs have now taken up the LOC Company format and the model has a 100 per cent success rate in procurement exercises and a growing track record of delivering existing re-commissioned services for optical practices in the past 12 months, according to the report.

11 regional LOC Companies are having a growing impact covering 39 LOCs and providing the scale, the models and the data to deliver community services for the benefit of patients and assisting CCGs in fulfilling their objectives.

The 2013/14 report published today, details 84 services worth more than £3million procured in the past year with 22 entirely new services. It also shows that 76 of the 81 LOCs now have at least one community service and LOC Companies have 53 contracts in place with CCGs.

With LOCSU’s main mission to build community eye care services in primary care – for patients and for Commissioners and therefore for practitioners – “ambition is key to the organisation’s success”, said LOCSU Executive Chairman, Alan Tinger.

Publishing the Annual Report, Mr Tinger, said: “Until eye care is recognised by all CCGs as an area that cries out for the NHS to develop in the community in the best interests of patients, we must take every opportunity to make them aware. That is our prime ambition.”

Commenting on the increased use of the single provider model, Mr Tinger said: “Both LOCs and Commissioners see the benefits of using the Company model. It means less bureaucracy for practices and Commissioners alike and enables all modes of practice to participate.

“Its use is now well established. Practices know that its IT platform means less paperwork and it provides ease of collecting data and dealing with payments. Most Commissioners now prefer to work with a single provider for services rather than having to contract with individual practices. Without the LOC Company model many practices would be unable to participate.”

The 32-page report, featuring 18 detailed case studies, documents how LOCSU, through its team of Optical Leads, has supported LOCs through the procurement and negotiation process to secure community services in the past year.

“Combined with the local knowledge of LOCs, it is often the LOCSU’s Team’s experience of the new commissioning landscape and the intelligence of previous tendering and procurement that pays dividends and wins the day,” the LOCSU Chairman said.

The Annual Report has supportive quotes from LOC officers, NHS Commissioners and from Dr David Geddes, Head of Primary Care Commissioning at NHS England who pays tribute to LOCSU’s partnership working. The NHS Commissioning chief says: “LOCSU’s collaborative approach to working with NHS England has brought valuable expertise to a number of areas. It has proved very productive to have such enthusiastic support from them on the Call to Action and the LEHN Steering Group in particular.”

The report also showcases LOCSU’s learning and development programme. Commenting on the LOCSU Leadership Module, Mr Tinger said: “I believe that the learning and development that LOCSU provides is unique within the sector. It helps develop future leaders for the sector and its success can be gauged by the growing number and quality of candidates in leading LOC roles, in LEHNs and negotiating with CCGs to deliver successful community services for practices and patients alike. It is a great success story and another example of LOCS’s ambition to help take the sector forward.

Publishing the report, Mr Tinger said: “Ambition is key to success for LOCSU, for LOCs, and for the whole sector to deliver for patients.”

To read a copy of the full annual report, click here.

College publishes ambitious new strategic plan

October 2014

The College of Optometrists will publish its new strategic plan for 2014 – 2017 on Wednesday 1 October. The plan sets out what the College wants to achieve over the next three years during a time of rapid and important change in health care.

The strategic plan, developed in partnership with Council members, highlights key external factors that will affect the College over the next three years and sets a series of ambitious objectives that aim to increase support for College members and shape the future of the profession. The strategy is built on the results of the College’s recent member survey and the priorities that Council members from across the UK developed at a two-day strategic planning meeting.

The strategy focuses on four key objectives:

• To ensure that College membership is valuable to optometrists and an asset to their employers
• To provide and promote high quality services and support for members to develop their individual clinical practice
• To influence policy and decision makers in health care delivery in the UK countries by showing how optometrists can improve the quality of eye care
• To make people aware that they should look after their eyes and of the important role optometrists play in maintaining or improving sight.

Commenting on the publication, David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists said: “Optometrists have a major part to play in the health of the nation. They can enhance people’s quality of life by making them see more clearly. And, increasingly, they can contribute to ophthalmic public health and the co-management of disease.

“Over the next three years, we will work hard, in partnership with other organisations, to ensure that optometrists are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that the changes in the healthcare system will give them.”

Hoya hosts customer Golf event

October 2014

Monday 8th September saw the second of Hoya’s annual Golf events held at the Carden Park Golf Resort. The Hoya Golf tournament was played on the Cheshire course followed by a presentation dinner in the evening hosted by Martin Batho, Managing Director, Hoya Lens UK. The aim of the day was to get to know Hoya customers new and old, Hoya succeeded in receiving exceptional feedback from all who attended.

Visit Hoya's Page

Essilor Limited match Optoms Cycling for Sight fundraising total

October 2014

Essilor Limited, silver national sponsors of Optometry Giving Sight, have pledged on World Sight Day, October 9th that they will match the £12k of funds raised by cyclists up and down the country in support of Optometry Giving Sight. At this level of support Essilor UK will now be represented as gold national sponsors.

The Optoms Cycling for Sight initiative has become a huge phenomenon which began in 2011 by 3 optometry students setting a challenge of cycling between Optometry Universities across the UK. The cycle challenge has grown each year since its inception to include the whole optical profession. This year one of the main events included the CET accredited cycle challenge of the first stage of the Tour de France, called the Optoms Tour of Yorkshire.

Mike Kirkley, Essilor Limited Managing Director, commented, “We believe in Optometry Giving Sight’s mission which is why we are pleased to contribute by matching the Optoms Cycling for Sight total and build on our strong relationship. We are proud to support the cycle initiative in which so many groups and individuals have undertaken truly impressive challenges and have made a difference to Optometry Giving Sight.”

The funds pledged will help Optometry Giving Sight provide 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 helped fund 46 projects in 28 countries. Project funding includes support for Vision Care for Homeless People for the services they provide to homeless and vulnerable people in need in the UK.

Donna Power, Optometry Giving Sight Regional Manager, Europe, said, “We are incredibly thankful to Essilor Limited for this significant gesture, not only will this help provide access to eye care to those in great need, it will also support all of the cyclists across the UK who made every effort to cycle and raise funds, and as a result are overjoyed to know their efforts will be matched.” Ms Power continued, “We are very grateful to Essilor Limited for the ongoing level of support we receive, and we are delighted to be acknowledging them as gold national sponsors.”

Pictured Mike Kirkley, Managing Director of Essilor UK

RCGP and UK Vision Strategy launch first ever guide to help GPs improve eye care knowledge and prevent sight loss

October 2014

The Royal College of General Practitioners and the UK Vision Strategy initiative have produced a brand new guide Sight loss in older people: the essential guide for general practice, with the kind support of Thomas Pocklington Trust. The guide is part of the Royal College of General Practitioners clinical priority programme which runs to 2016. The project aims to raise awareness of the importance of eye health and impact of sight loss amongst GPs and practice staff.

Sight loss is common among older people and can affect their general health and wellbeing . Older people may also put their sight difficulties down to ageing, and not mention them to GPs. Therefore, it is essential that GPs and their practice staff colleagues are aware of a person’s sight loss and its impacts, and look for unrecognised sight loss.

Sight loss in older people: the essential guide for general practice highlights the need and route for early and appropriate routes of referral, the link between sight loss and other health conditions, and suggests how services provided by general practice can be made more accessible for older people with sight loss
The release of the guide for sight loss in older people comes after a recent survey revealed many GPs in the UK were not confident when diagnosing major eye diseases. Just one third (34.1%) of respondents were confident in spotting the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, with only half of GPs confident in recognising diabetic retinopathy (48.8%), glaucoma (51.2%) or refractive error (49.3%).

The RCGP has appointed a Clinical Champion, Dr Waqaar Shah, to lead the clinical priority project. He said: "The sight loss guide is a well-written, informative tool for all general practice staff, to increase their general knowledge and awareness of the specific issues relating to older people with sight loss, and to make their practices more accessible.”

Fazilet Hadi, Lead Officer for the UK Vision Strategy, said: “The UK Vision Strategy are delighted to be working with the RCGP in providing helpful tips and learning tools for GPs and general practices, to help make a visit to the doctor’s a positive experience for all people with sight loss, particularly the older population.”

Sight loss in older people: a guide to general practice can be downloaded from our LOC pages

chimmm… Simon Chim for Google Glass

Bookings open for NEW Pioneers & Visionaries Conference 2014

College of Optometrists recognises outstanding contributions to optometry

FMO appoints technology leaders as board members

Final push for entries to the Rodenstock club awards 2014

SILMO 2014 in Paris has a busy start on first day which continued throughout

All change at the WCSM

Association of British Dispensing Opticians to Partner 100% Optical

More details emerge on ABDO’s partnership with 100% London

NOC just around the Corner (23rd and 24th October)

Greg Nugent Joins Adlens® Board as Non-Executive Director

Join IACLE now and take fast track to Fellowship

New SMC Master has a busy start to her year after taking office

Norville Opticians in Santa Dash

Heidelberg Engineering at 100% optical

Dispensing Optician and Contact Lens CET competencies now available at Optometry Tomorrow 2015

Optical sector granted new use of the NHS logo

HOYA give your patients the chance to win a trip to Paris

VISION 2020 UK announce Local Optical Committee Support Unit as new member organisation

FMO supports optical charities from Optrafair profits

Primary Health Net