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Optical News - January - March 2015

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.

Final Chance to Apply for Optical Lead Vacancy

OGS Highlights Advert

Heidelberg Engineering Expands Sales and Support Team

Silhouette's Titan ONE Receives Red Dot Design Award

Scope Ophthalmics - Lifting the Lid on Ocular Surface Diseases at Optrafair

Optometry in the Smart Technology Era

Two New LOCs Join PHN

PHN Celebrates 10 Years

Eye Health on Hiblio TV

New College Council Members Announced at AGM

Optometry Takes Step Forward in Mexico

Topcon Partners with Manchester Royal Eye Infirmary to Deliver Training at Optrafair

Snowbird Continues to Expand Team

GOC Asks for Feedback on New Standards of Practice

College Welcomes GOC Consultation

Latest OSCE Results Announced by College

New Voucher Values

OFNC Statement on Voucher Values

Optrafair: The Showcase for Premium Business Products and Services

AOP Issues Solar Eclipse Advice

Hakim Group Confirms Optrafair Presence

OGS Donation Box Champions Announced

Focus 2 Gets the Thumbs Up From its Users

Aston Villa Hosts FMO Spring Meeting

BCLA Seeks New Council Members

Two Struck off GOC Registers

Kirk & Kirk Look Back on Exciting First 6 Months

Free # BCLAComeTogether Places for Trainee CLOs

MIDO 2015

2015 BCLA Fellowship Applications Invited

BCLA Photo Competition

Optometrists Come Together for Optometry Tomorrow

Blackfin Voted as Best Stand at MIDO

College CEO Announces Retirement

FODO Hiring Policy Officer

Black and Blue or White and Gold? The College of Optometrists Adds Expert Opinion to the Debate

Specs Cards Support Vision Charity


Optical Lead Vacancy at LOCSU

DOCET Launches Updated Binocular Vision Programme

Pharmacy, Optical, and Hearing Organisations Attend Landmark Meeting

College Accredits New Higher Qualifications

"Come Together" for all new BCLA Conference in Liverpool

Agreement Reached on Sharing Patient Information Between Ophthalmologists and Optometrists

NHS Clinical Commissioners Co-ordinate Support to Review Avastin Use

Heidelberg Engineering's OCT Case Clinic in Major Event at Optrafair

Mapping Out New Technology to Inform Optics of the Future

ABDO to Provide CET at Optrafair

Optrafair Announce CET Programme

Michael Sobanja Announced as Chair of Vision UK 2015 Conference

Norville Opticians Helps Gloucester Rugby Keeps Their Eyes on the Ball

Use of Avastin for Wet AMD

WCSM Holds First ExCel Moot

"Get Over Future Shock" - A Lecture at MIDO

London South Bank and Institute to Run Research Study

Optometry Tomorrow 2015 Just Around the Corner

Grafton to Show Two Brand New Products at Optometry Tomorrow

Insights into Corneal Stem Therapy

Optical Confederation Position on Over- and Under-Claiming GOS Fees

1st World Congress of Optometry

The Vision Care Institute Supports Optometry Giving Sight

Social Media Tops FMO Agenda in March

Join the Goldmann Debate at College Event

Student DO Suspended from GOC Registers

Leading Retailers Confirm Presence at Optrafair

UK Vision Strategy Calls for Local Lobbying

College Provides "Focus on Falls Prevention"

Optical Confederation Release Fluorescein Update

BCLA Welcomes New Fellows in India

Waterside Labs Increases Presence at Optrafair

100% Optical Reports Record Breaking Event

Vision Care for Homeless People Seeks Regional Ambassadors

Adlens Interviewed About Innovation in Eyewear and Charitable Work

Mishaps Leading to Eye Tests

Stronger Together?

IACLE Launches Agenda for Future of Global Contact Lens Education

DOCET Launches Free Level 2 Safeguarding Training

Support for Hospital Services is Way Forward

New BSI Comes into Effect for Sunglasses

College to Hold Dementia and Vision Research Event

Latest OSCE Results Announced by College

LOCSU Announces New Board Members

College Reports on Year of Achievement

Call for Poster Abstracts for Vision UK 2015

Grafton Optical at 100% Optical

100% Optical Countdown Begins

WCSM Moot Declared for 100% Optical

Smart Move for Waterside at 100% Optical

Snowbird Offer Incentives at 100% Optical

Salmon to Lay Down Quill Pen

J&J Announce TV Campaign

OCUCO Expands Team of Engineers

Grafton's Latest Product Provides Automated Vision Analysis in One Compact Machine

Heidelberg Ready for 100% Optical

New Affixes for College Higher Qualifications

MP Visits Optician in Southall

GOC Publishes Findings from Call for Evidence

IACLE Launches 2015 Awards

Aston Villa to Host FMO Meeting

Neuroptis Completes Pre-Clinical Phase for ML7

Greater Role for Optometrists in Retinal Detachment Cases

Be a Winner with Shamir at 100% Optical

BCLA Launches 2015 Industry Award

BCLA Optical Assistants Course is Back

AOP Launches 2015 CET and Events Page

BCLA Seeks New Student Reps

Essilor and Volunteers Provide Bumper Crisis Service

VISION 2020 UK Group Respond to Health and Social Care Information Centre Consultation

GOC Makes Appointments

100% Optical seminars almost fully booked!

WCSM Agrees to Support Both 2015 UK Shows

Registrations Now Open for Vision UK 2015

Renowned Australian Inventor of Silicone Hydrogel to Headline Seminar Programme at 100% Optical

FODO and BCLA Announced as Association Partners of Optrafair

FODO Asks Members for Views on Primary Care Services

Joseph Tallier Appointed CEO of OGI Eyewear

Opticians Can Help Ease A&E Crisis

Myopia Control in the Spotlight

Vision Care for Homeless Draws 70 Volunteers for Bumper Service

GOC Seeking Registrants for Hearings Panel

GOC Appoints New Director of Fitness to Practise

New Workshop Places Released for Optometry Tomorrow 2015

Patients Back Diabetic Retinal Screening at Local High Street Opticians

Are you looking to raise your profile in the optical sector? Last chance to apply for Optical Lead vacancy

March 2015

Ideally based in based in London, East Anglia, or the Midlands you are a leader who is keen help shape community services as part of the community-based system of primary care.

If you are a high calibre candidate and would like to further your career in optics as a LOCSU Optical Lead, the closing date for applications is fast approaching. Applications close this Monday, 30 March 2015 at 12 noon.

The Role

This role is home based with the requirement to travel regularly and attend meetings in London.

Hours are flexible but the ability to attend evening meetings as required is essential.

A competitive daily rate is offered in addition to the opportunity to work with some of the top influencers in the optical sector.

About You

• You will need to demonstrate thorough knowledge of commissioning, designing services, public health and have a real passion for developing eye care services.
• You will have previous experience either leading LOCs, developing community services or commissioning community services.
• You will need to be available for a minimum of eight days per month.
• You will have previous leadership experience in the sector.

View LOCSU video on Optical Leads here:

Optometry Giving Sight highlights advert

March 2015

The latest Optometry Giving Sight advertising highlights the achievements of their recent campaigns and new images have provided eye catching copy for this year’s campaign.

Here are the new images and copy available to their supporters to use.

Heidelberg Engineering Expands Sales and Support Team

March 2015

Heidelberg Engineering is enhancing the UK sales and support team in view of the increasing number of private practices using the advanced eye scanning technology.

Leading the team is Tosh Vadhia, National Sales Manager, who has been promoting the benefits of multi-modal technology for 12 years and who has previously worked in High Street practice -
“On-going research and development behind this expandable and upgradeable platform brings many new opportunities for our users and there is great enthusiasm for this future proof approach. At Heidelberg Engineering our skills set has grown to meet the demands of optometrists and eye clinics dedicated to improving patient care and we are proud to announce these new appointments,” said Tosh.

New to the team is Robert Malbon who joins as Technical Support and Sales Manager for the south-west region. Robert’s consultative approach is well known to many in UK optics and he brings years of multi-modal imaging knowledge and experience to the team –

“The benefits of the SPECTRALIS and its modular, upgradeable, design are greatly enhanced with the massive advantages of the new HEYEX PACS software platform for image management and device integration,” said Robert.

Louis Westley joins as Sales Manager for the south-east, utilising his science background, with a degree in Biological Sciences –

“Being a part of the Heidelberg Engineering team is fantastic: it is a very impressive organisation with everyone aiming to provide the very best. It is rewarding to see our customers integrating the SPECTRALIS technology into their clinical care and forging partnerships with the NHS,” he said.

Visit Heidelberg’s new page and connections to their own site on the new PHN suppliers Guide Page

Silhouette’s Titan ONE Receives The Red Dot Design Award

March 2015

Titan ONE frame has been officially distinguished as a designer piece, receiving the renowned Red Dot Design Award. The innovative frames are made from one-piece of titanium. Experts have described the frames as ‘State of the art’ and ‘An impressive piece of design engineering.’

High-profile members of the Red Dot panel recognised a combination of quality materials, hand finished precision and an exemplary aesthetic design.

“The Titan One Signature Collection is our masterpiece that unites the wearer and the eyewear. Receiving the award for this innovation, which is unique in the eyewear industry, is fantastic”, says Roland Keplinger, Head of Design at Silhouette.

The Titan One is made in Austria involving 170 steps, to create the unique frames, not to mention years of research and development. The Titan ONE Signature collection is available now in limited quantities. Only 4,000 pieces have been produced (to be repeated annually).

“The award highlights our international importance and reminds us yet again that we, as an expert team, have created something entirely unique”, Daniel Rogger, CEO Silhouette International, reflects on award success.

Scope Ophthalmics – lifting the lid on ocular surface diseases at Optrafair 2015

March 2015

  • Scope Ophthalmics partners with leading optometrists Ian Cameron, Dr. Scott Mackie & Sarah Farrant to host educational workshops at Optrafair, 2015
  • Scope launches tranquileyes, a new innovation in dry eye management


1. Everything you need to know about Omega 3 in 30mins

Speaker: Ian Cameron, Optometrist, DipTP (IP)

In this 30 minute session Optometrist Ian Cameron will provide a detailed presentation into the benefits of Omega 3 in treating a range of ocular conditions, the language used to talk about it, and how to convey this to patients concisely.

• Day: Saturday, 18th April
• Time: 1pm – 1:30pm
• Location: Stand L30

2. Demodex Blepharitis: At the route of the problem

Speakers: Dr. Scott Mackie, Consultant Optom. DIP Tp (IP), Cataract & Refractive Surgeon and Sarah Farrant; BSc MCOptom Dip TP(AS)

This interactive workshop will cover new approaches and clinician-performed treatments to successfully manage blepharitis and demodex mite infestation. Video footage from the presenters practice and real life demonstrations using BlephEx™ - the first and only clinician treatment for blepharitis - will help delegates understand the key clinical signs and the latest treatments. Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids and affects one in three people in the UK (NHS Choices UK, 2015). By breaking the cycle of blepharitis, the procedure directly removes the inflammatory exotoxin-laden biofilm. This is a well-tolerated procedure that takes 6 – 8 minutes and repeated every 4 – 6 months.

• Date: Sunday, 19th April
• Time: 1.30pm – 2pm
• Location: Stand L30

“These workshops are being held as part of Scope Ophthalmics’ consistent focus on education as a cornerstone of our customer service for 2015 and beyond,” explains Tom Freyne, Commercial Director at Scope Ophthalmics. “We’re proud to be working with such prominent experts to help raise the issue of ocular surface diseases.”


Scope will showcase their latest product, TranquileyesTM, at OptraFair 2015. Using specially-designed goggles, warm water and reusable gel pack technology; TranquileyesTM enables patients to create a safe, soothing, moist-heat compress; an alternative to dry heat products. Moist heat loosens the oils in the meibomian glands, penetrating deeply to help hydrate the eyelid and surrounding skin, and promote circulation. By contrast, dry heat pulls moisture away from the eyelid and the sensitive surrounding skin, negating the anti-aging requirements of many women, and increasing the instability of the tear film.

Studies have shown that applying effective moist heat to the eyelids is beneficial for all levels of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).

Tom Freyne, Commercial Director at Scope Ophthalmics explains, “Tranquileyes™ will provide eye care practitioners with a more sophisticated way to help people affected in the UK manage their dry eye or MGD. This is a growing market as our population ages, so it’s important to be able to offer a good range of choice in terms of safe and effective innovations.”

Necessity used to be the Mother of Invention but now Invention is the provider of opportunity, are we taking advantage?

March 2015

The digital age has transformed the way we run our lives from the simple things like booking travel and holidays to Smart technology and the ability to share our thoughts globally about how good or bad somebodies service was, where not to go and where not to eat. Yes and even which practices supply specialist services and stock branded products. (Find my Optician on

It is difficult to believe that this portable Smart technology has only been with us for less than 8 years.

Technology is now driving the agenda for change and this is true for Optics UK as well. Maybe we haven’t grasped what is likely to happen to the health care side of our industry or maybe the old way of doing what we have done for so many years does not need just to make changes but needs to be far more drastic and actually invent new models of teaching and service provision?

Optrafair, just around the corner, has traditionally been the showcase arena for equipment and technology. For a while IT design became the must see product range with paperless practices and the ability to move knowledge seamlessly around the practice with attached images. Fundus cameras fulfilled a new need some years ago and for those with a desire to raise their clinical diagnosis we now have OCTs.

Let’s place ourselves in 2020 and consider where new technology will take us. Smart Eyewear applications are already in their second design stage with patents filed by the major players (Apple, Google and Microsoft) for hidden eyewear technology. Smart phones will be redundant with Smart Eyewear and Smart watches working together. How will that affect optical dispensing in the future?

20 years ago we all considered the auto refractor to be at best a “practice builder” and at worst a threat to our professionalism with the same time entry of ready readers in our market. We were all trained and in those days proficient at using a retinsocope, I suppose we are trained still today, although in the last 3 sight examinations the writer has undertaken in good independent practices a ret has never appeared. True 20 years ago the auto refractor provided very poor results from a one-point retina scan, as did the early puff tonometers, but we need to readdress these issues and look at the equipment now available. For example Grafton will be showing its VX120 the new diagnostic 7 in one tool to the VISIONIX range. First all combined device (Refraction - keratometry - aberrometry - topography - pupillometry - tonometry - pachymetry) with fully automated measurement. Wave front Aberrometry is the key technology process here providing 150 additional measuring points through the media from cornea to retina providing highly accurate auto refraction information and an in depth reading of the quality of the media within they eye. This single new piece of technology demonstrates that the retinsocope can be added to the BOA museum of retired equipment.

For the lucky few setting up their own practice today its contents will appear totally different to the current look of that which we have come to expect. Have the teaching bodies taken this into consideration or are we still churning out optometrists whose scope of practice needs to be added to bit by bit by add-on qualifications?

New technology has provided the basis for a new breed of ocular physician one who can fill the void left by ophthalmologists becoming as niche as they have that could provide laser and cataract surgery in a community setting as is regularly done across the pond in the States.

It is of course possible to tack on to an optometry degree additional courses for IOP referral and refinement which will at least provide a stop gap arrangement, but isn’t it time the medical colleges provided a new optometric physicians medical degree that would cover all these issues and include minor surgery?

The current colleges could continue to provide for optometric refractionists but the new medical courses would attract a different type of candidate whilst existing and new dispensing candidates would ideally fill the spaces created by a new two tier educational structure.

When you travel to Birmingham April 18th for Optrafair, take a completely different viewpoint with you and question whether it’s time to be an early adopter of the latest proven technology or whether to clean the dust off the ret mirror!

PHN will be showcasing all the new technology from Grafton, Heidelberg, Ocuco and Mainline Instruments and Optical Connectionsand hopefully giving you pointers as to where to make a beeline to at the NEC as well as the latest in lens and frame technology from Hoya, and Norville, and we will explain how to buy it from Snowbird Finance. All of these companies support PHN and help us provide you with a regular 24/7 unbiased optical news report free. So in order to show our gratitude please spend a little time on all their stands this year.

Two further LOCs have joined those already enjoying the PHN webmanager secure sites plus the additional public mini-site hosted on this portal

March 2015

Kent & Medway LOC and Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich LOC have become the latest LOCs to take advantage of renting the joint admin and public sites from PHN.

The sites have been fine-tuned over the last 10 years when the first site was designed and went live. During that period the administration technology has been bolstered with email forwarding to select groups plus multi-functionality for working groups has proved highly popular to LOCs who are working towards additional community service provision.

The need for successful LOCs to communicate with their local public on what services they provide and which practices they are provided by has proved the public mini-site facility extremely popular with both LOCs, CCGs and the public. Footfall is helped by the public education site which receives visits from often a 1000+ people each day using the “Find my Optician” app.

“There is a considerable amount of secretarial work involved in running a successful LOC and a distinct need for fast communications between all contractors to respond to last minute CCG requests. True, we have modified our specialist LOC websites over the years responding to ideas and requests from our user base, but I still find it uncanny that we got it covered almost with our first site 10 years ago.” Said Director, Charles Greenwood.

Primary Health Net Ltd celebrates its 10th anniversary

March 2015

Just after both directors of PHN had recently finished their work at the College, Charles Greenwood, Head of Training, and Bob Hutchinson, Chair of Public Relations and Councillor, the two friends had a serendipity moment which has provided the optical world with an optical news and knowledge resource never before attempted.

Hutchinson who has his own consulting business (Eros) for industry and retail was at the time working for Ron Young, the knowledge management guru, creating websites where knowledge could be improved, shared and archived for large groups including the European Union. Greenwood in his Consulting role at JCL Consulting meanwhile had focused on LOC management and Primary Care Support locally.

The combination of the expansion of Somerset LOC's website and the realization that between them they had the knowledge and contacts to provide an opportunity to all LOCs as well as Somerset saw the beginnings of what has now become a hugely successful knowledge resource to the Optical Sector, namely Primary Health Net Ltd.

Hutchinson commented, “We have been helped by our early adopters in providing an adaptable and flexible solution that suits all needs and energies of different LOCs. And the early day comments from our supporters especially those in industry who helped us from the beginning when visit levels were not at today’s 30,000 per month levels, encouraged us to grow the site to provide regular news, archive knowledge and information and open it up to the whole sector, with our LOC hosted sites hidden within the portal. Creating the public education site has again fulfilled a need greater than when we designed it with the key role of LOCs and practices informing the public about services and products now very much to the forefront of Optics UK.”

Greenwood particularly mentioned our sponsors especially our early day pump primers, Norville and Grafton, and now we are fortunate to cover a wide sector of industry providers and have recently added Heidelberg to our lists. Their help is much appreciated.

Congrats PHN and your team. What has made PHN relevant is the combination of the Directors individual optical roles in consulting and the innovative continued design of both sites. The very essence of a knowledge management project.

Eye Health on Hiblio TV

March 2015

Your chance to watch Live TV on Thursday 26th March a live 20 minute conversation about Eye Health on Hiblio TV (a dedicated channel for health, wellbeing and lifestyle).

The live conversation is a public health message on how to look after your eyes – so the audience is but mainly the general public.

This conversation is not Devon specific – it can be viewed anywhere and covers general information on eyehealth with advice from 2 Optometrists from Devon Local Optical Committee (Charles Bill and Fiona Hiscox)

The main themes are:

• How to protect your eyes
• How a healthy diet and lifestyle is good for your eyes
• The risk of eyes injuries during sporting activities and hobbies
• Advice on sunglasses
• Advice on dry eyes

The key messages are:

1. Think Eyes
2. Live Well, see Well
3. STOP! Think Eye protection
4. Sunglasses are not just for fashion
5. Don’t put up with discomfort

The live conversation is at 2pm on Thursday:


New College council members announced at AGM

March 2015

The College of Optometrists has announced the results of its 2015/16 Council elections. Dr Leon Davies FCOptom will now join as a representative for members in the West Midlands, with Dr Parth Shah MCOptom joining as Council member for the Eastern region.

Dr Leon Davies is the Director of Research and a Reader in Optometry & Physiological Optics at Aston University. Leon currently serves as an Editorial Board Member for the College’s CPD journal Optometry in Practice and is the former Clinical Editor of Optometry Today. On his election to College Council, Leon said: “With continuing political, professional and societal pressures, we need the College to be a strong and unified voice that continues to enhance further our profession’s recognition and role. I am delighted to be able to represent my colleagues from the West Midlands.”

Dr Parth Shah started his career in a supervisory role and as a clinical tutor. He has worked as a locum and also a secondary grader of diabetic retinopathy at Homerton Hospital, London. Parth owns an independent practice in East Anglia and also operates as a vision consultant to a professional football club in London.

Commenting on his future work with the College, Parth said: “It is imperative our profession remains versatile as we move forward within a challenging health and retail environment. I look forward to my role in assisting the College as we seek out new opportunities to ensure a rewarding future for us all.”

Parth and Leon were welcomed onto Council at the College’s AGM, held during the Optometry Tomorrow 2015 in Brighton on 9 March.

Following the election, Dr Joy Myint was re-elected to represent London, Professor Kathryn Saunders and Dr Sara McCullough were re-elected to represent Northern Ireland, Johnathan Waugh was re-elected to represent Scotland, and Parminder Randhawa has been co-opted for one year to represent the Eastern region.

David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, said: I would like to congratulate all the successful candidates and welcome them to the College Council. “The Council plays a vital role in ensuring that the College remains true to its values and accountable to its members whilst helping shape the profession.”

“I would also like to thank those whose time on Council has ended, including outgoing Treasurer, Dr Rob Hogan.” Council member Colin Davidson (Eastern) was elected to the role of Treasurer during the College’s AGM and Council member Kiki Soteri (South West) was elected to the Board of Trustees.

Mexican Parliament modifies Article 79 of Health Act

March 2015

On 17 March 2015, optometry in Mexico took a significant step forward. The President of Mexico signed into law a modification of Article 79 of the Health Act that adds optometry to the list of health professions that require a university degree in order to practise. The amendment will apply to all new graduates.

‘This is a significant achievement, which confirms the important role that optometrists play as the first point of contact for primary eye care as recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and in many countries across the world,’ said Dr Susan Cooper, President of World Council of Optometry. ‘We would like to congratulate AMFECCO and all those in Mexico and across the world who helped to achieve this important outcome.’

According to the Mexican Institute of Geography and Statistics, visual impairment is the second most frequently occurring disability in the country. It is estimated that 43% of the Mexican population need optometric services and that the country requires approximately 12,000 optometrists to satisfy the existing demand. At the moment, an average of 400 optometrists graduate from the 15 universities offering the optometry degree each year.

‘Although much is still required, this change in the law should have a significant impact on elevating the quality of optometric education and practice in Mexico,’ said Dr Juan Carlos Aragon, Global Chairman of Optometry Giving Sight. ‘I am convinced that, over time, the provision of primary eye care will extend throughout the country to benefit the entire Mexican population.’

The World Council of Optometry and Optometry Giving Sight have been supporting Mexican optometry through advocacy and promoting the development of human resources. Both organisations are part of a coalition to establish the first school of optometry in Southern Mexico – one of the most deprived regions of the country.

Topcon partners with Manchester Royal Eye Hospital ophthalmologist to deliver elite optometry training at Optrafair 2015

March 2015

Struggling to get feedback from referrals? Here is your opportunity to gain insight on your cases from one of the world’s leading medical and surgical retina specialists, Professor Paulo Stanga, Consultant Ophthalmologist & Vitreoretinal Surgeon at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and Professor of Ophthalmology and Retinal Regeneration at The University of Manchester. Prof Stanga will be providing the highlight of Topcon’s advanced training modules with CET points for optometrists attending this year’s Optrafair, as part of the company’s Topcon University programme.

As Topcon’s keynote speaker at a live event on the Sunday of the show, Prof Stanga will not only be able to provide you with invaluable information on the interpretation of your OCT and other clinical findings, he will also be able to discuss how such cases are managed in secondary eye care, and given his position at the cutting edge of medical retina research, how management is likely to change in the future. Prof Stanga’s speech at the event is a significant coup for TOPCON, one of the main education sponsors for Optrafair, to be held on 18-20 April 2015, at the NEC in Birmingham. The company’s dedicated Clinical Affairs Team is also mounting an unrivalled programme of advanced training modules with CET points for optometrists attending this year’s event as part of the company’s Topcon University programme.

One out of four Topcon stands at the NEC event will be dedicated to Topcon University and on-stand “walk in” education sessions within the separate training pods will include: Topography; OCT and Slit Lamp Imaging.

This year’s TOPCON Optrafair educational programme is more comprehensive than ever before and includes the following modules:

• On-stand interactive workshops, led by Dr Catharine Chisholm, UK and Ireland Clinical Affairs Manager. Clinical Affairs team as well as TU Associates will be intrinsically involved with the on-stand programme. For full programme, who is involved and how to book, please visit
• Pre-bookable “Show and tell” workshops, taking place at a dedicated workshop room. Topics covered will include: OCT in glaucoma diagnosis; The future of OCT technology; detecting and recording dry eye and detecting early keratoconus. To book:
• Please electronically submit your ambiguous OCT cases for live discussion during a keynote speech by Prof Stanga to be held on the Sunday of the show at 12.30pm, on “Optimising patient referrals using OCT”. During this interactive lecture, Prof Stanga will discuss the OCT interpretation of a range of conditions that are not uncommon in optometric practice, including AMD, diabetic retinopathy, macular holes and vitreomacular traction. He will focus on how OCT findings can be used to determine the urgency of referral and how to minimise unnecessary ones. Please send your patient cases to the link gives also full details of how to submit your videos and fundus photos.
• Topcon University Poster trail – 12 clinical posters arranged around the NEC Optrafair halls. Full details:

Prof Stanga introduced, amongst others, OCT into the clinical setting in the UK in 1998, Pascal Laser into the EU in 2006 and has also pioneered Swept-Source OCT, having introduced it into the EU in 2012, and Wide-Field imaging and tissue-sparing laser treatment strategies.Since 1993, Prof. Stanga has worked in the development and application of new outpatient and surgical therapies and technologies. Current research interests are: vitreo-retinal imaging; laser-tissue interaction; pharmacological, surgical and targeted and sub-threshold laser treatment of proliferative diabetic retinopathy and macular oedema; development of a novel ultrasound-based vitrector; stem-cell therapy and electronic retinal implants for artificial vision.

Prof. Stanga has set up and directs an independent Clinical Research Fellowship Programme at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and MVR Lab. The MVR Lab research team focus on developing research and treatment strategies in Medical Retina and Vitreoretinal conditions using the most advanced diagnostic and treatment devices. He has received several international accolades, amongst others, the prestigious Achievement Award by American Academy Of Ophthalmology (AAO) for his regular contributions to its Annual Meeting.

He says: ‘I am thrilled to be working with Topcon University on their educational programme at Optrafair and looking forward to discussing the use of world-leading technological innovations as well as some of their interesting patient cases with my optometrist colleagues.”

Visit Optrafair's Page

Snowbird Finance continue to expand team in Optical Industry

March 2015

Snowbird Finance announce that David Naden has joined the team, with responsibility for covering the South West region of the UK. David brings with him a wealth of knowledge, having worked in the healthcare finance industry for over 26 years.

David started his career in the dental industry in 1964 as an equipment service engineer and was a surgery equipment design specialist for two major dental suppliers. He moved into equipment finance in 1986 with Herald Finance and worked as an Area Manager both there and various other finance companies before joining Vector Finance in 2009.

David comments, “I am extremely excited to be working with Simon and the team at Snowbird and I believe that the opportunity that Snowbird can offer my clients in terms of both extended finance facilities and enhanced administrative infrastructure will come with mutual benefits. Snowbird can give me access to their extensive network of lenders, thus increasing my ability to provide the most favourable rates and products to new and existing customers. I hope that I will be able to continue to build on the reputation I have created over my career and look forward to providing clients with the high level of expertise, service and integrity that Snowbird delivers to the healthcare industry.”

Simon Freeman, Managing Director added, “We are delighted that someone as well-known and respected as David is working with us at Snowbird, he is an asset to the team enabling us to expand our coverage across the South West region. We are still very much committed to being one of the leading providers of healthcare finance in the UK and look forward to the extended opportunities that David can bring to our business.”

Snowbird Finance specialise in bespoke financial solutions for practices and professionals in the, optical, dental, veterinary and medical sectors.

See Snowbird Finance at Optrafair this year.

Peters, GOC CEO has asked all registrants and CET providers for feedback on new standards of practice

March 2015

The GOC has launched a consultation on new standards of practice for optometrists and dispensing opticians, and for optical students, and invite CET providers to get involved and provide them with feedback.

We (GOC) want to promote higher standards across the optical professions by making it easier for registrants to understand our expectations as the regulator. Once finalised, the new standards of practice will replace our existing Code of Conduct for individuals.

CEO and Registrar, Samantha Peters, said, “The new standards of practice bring together in one place, and in an easy-to-digest format, all the information registrants need to understand what we expect of them. They will also make it much easier for patients to understand the standards they should expect from their optician.

“Registrants will need to use their professional judgement to decide how to apply the standards in any given situation, and may want to refer to guidance produced by professional bodies and other organisations in doing so, but the GOC’s standards should always be their first port of call.

“I encourage all registrants to get involved in this consultation and provide feedback to us on the proposed new standards. It is very important that the new standards can be easily applied by optometrists and dispensing opticians in their day-to-day work.

“As well as the consultation we’ll be running an online survey of registrants and focus groups with registrants, students and patients. I’d encourage everyone with an interest in our standards to let us know what they think.”

Once finalised, the new standards of practice will replace the GOC’s Code of Conduct for individuals.

As well as standards for fully-qualified registrants, we have developed new standards specifically for students to reflect the fact that their skills and knowledge will develop during the course of their education and training and that they work under supervision.

Given the work CET providers do in the field, we have invited them to get involved in this consultation and provide feedback to us, particularly on how the proposed new standards of practice will affect the provision of Continuing Education and Training (CET).

All registrants including CET providers can reply to the consultation by visiting the GOC’s website:

The consultation period will close on 7 June. The consultation is being conducted by an independent agency called Collaborate Research on our behalf. They will receive your responses directly and produce an independent report, summarising the responses received and setting out conclusions and recommendations for further action.

This will be considered by the GOC Council in July and will then be finalised and published as two sets of new standards.

College welcomes consultation on the GOC’s standards of practice for optometrists and dispensing opticians

March 2015

The College of Optometrists has welcomed the opportunity to comment on the General Optical Council’s (GOC) draft standards of practice for optometrists and dispensing opticians, and the draft standards for optical students.

The new standards build on the GOC’s current code of conduct and include explanatory guidance to clarify what the GOC expects of its registrants. The GOC has also drafted a separate set of standards for students. These reflect the main standards and take into account the different stages of development that students go through, and that they work under supervision.

The College has recently revised its own Guidance for professional practice, to bring it up to date, clearer and easier to search. In writing the guidance, the College worked closely with the GOC to ensure that it would work together with their emerging standards.

As a result, the College’s Guidance for professional practice goes into much greater detail than the GOC standards. The College’s guidance was developed to support optometrists in applying their professional judgement in order to meet the GOC standards. The College assists members even further by providing materials such as ethical scenarios and peer discussion case studies and films, to help them apply the guidance in their everyday practice. College members also have an easy to search hard copy of the guidance, and will soon be able to download an app, giving them access to the guidance even when offline.

Josephine Mullin, Director of Policy and Strategy, said: “We welcome the chance to contribute to the GOC’s work in promoting high standards. We are particularly pleased to be able to provide additional support to help optometrists interpret the GOC’s standards and understand how to apply them in their daily practice. Our detailed guidance helps optometrists to deliver high quality eye care in the best interests of their patients.”

Latest OSCE results announced by the College of Optometrists

March 2015

The results are in for the College of Optometrists’ latest OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). A total of 63 candidates sat the OSCE in March – the Scheme for Registration’s final assessment – resulting in a pass rate of 76%.

The OSCE took place for the second time at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London. An OSCE circuit consists of 17 five-minute stations, made up of 16 clinical tasks and a rest station. Each station assesses the candidates’ skills, including history taking, communication, data interpretation, clinical examination and practical skills.

During the OSCE, candidates may be tested on any of the elements of competence set out by the General Optical Council. This assessment acts as a final check that competence across the framework has been achieved and maintained. The College has hosted four OSCEs a year since its inception in July 2010.

The College’s Head of Examinations, Joseph Oakley, commented: “Many congratulations to those candidates who have passed their final assessment, and welcome to the profession. The OSCE is the final hurdle in the Scheme for Registration’s assessment process, and those who pass have clearly demonstrated the ability to put all that they have learnt through their degree and pre-registration training into practice.”

The next OSCE will take place in July 2015 and will be held once again at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London.

House of Commons publishes written statement (HCWS370) from Department of Health by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Dr Daniel Poulter

March 2015

Regarding Charges for NHS prescriptions, dental charges, elastic stockings and tights, wigs and fabric supports and optical voucher values.

My Rt Hon friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) has made the following written ministerial statement.

Regulations have been laid before Parliament to increase certain National Health Service charges in England from 1 April 2015.

This government has made tough decisions to protect the NHS budget and increase it in real terms, but health charges remain an important source of revenue to support the delivery of high quality NHS services. This is particularly important given the increasing demands on the NHS, with spending on medicines alone doubling since 2000. It is therefore crucial that these charges increase to keep up with rising costs.

This year, we have increased the prescription charge by 15 pence from £8.05 to £8.20 for each medicine or appliance dispensed. Ninety per cent of prescription items are already provided free of charge. To ensure that people with the greatest need are protected, such as those who are not eligible for free prescriptions but who have long term conditions, we have again frozen the costs of a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC). The 3 month certificate remains at £29.10, and the cost of the annual certificate will remain at £104. An annual certificate means that a person can have all the prescribed items they require during the year dispensed for £2 per week.

Regulations have also been laid to increase NHS dental charges from 1 April 2015. The dental charge payable for a band one course of treatment will increase by 30p from £18.50 to £18.80. The dental charge for a band 2 course of treatment will increase by 80p from £50.50 to £51.30. The charge for a band 3 course of treatment will increase by £3.50 from £219 to £222.50. The small increases this year are lower than in recent years’. Dental charges represent an important contribution to the overall cost of dental services. The exact amount raised will be dependent upon the level and type of primary dental care services commissioned by NHS England and the proportion of charge paying patients who attend dentists and the level of treatment they require.

Charges will also be increased, by an overall 1.6 per cent, for wigs and fabric supports. The range of NHS optical vouchers available to children, people on low incomes and individuals with complex sight problems are also being increased in value. In order to continue to provide help with the cost of spectacles and contact lenses, optical voucher values will rise by an overall 1 per cent.

Details of the revised charges are in the following tables.

Voucher Values and Supplements from 1 April 2015 Type of optical appliance

Old value

New value

A. Glasses with single vision lenses of a spherical power of not more than 6 dioptres with a cylindrical power of not more than 2 dioptres. 



B. Glasses with single vision lenses-  

  1. of a spherical power of more than 6 dioptres but less than 10 dioptres with a cylindrical power of not more than 6 dioptres; 
  2. of a spherical power of less than 10 dioptres with a cylindrical power of more than 2 dioptres but not more than 6 dioptres. 



C. Glasses with single vision lenses of a spherical power of 10 or more dioptres but not more than 14 dioptres with a cylindrical power of not more than 6 dioptres. 



D. Glasses with single vision lenses-  

  1. of a spherical power of more than 14 dioptres with any cylindrical power; 
  2. of a cylindrical power of more than 6 dioptres with any spherical power. 



E. Glasses with bifocal lenses of a spherical power of not more than 6 dioptres with a cylindrical power of not more than 2 dioptres. 



F. Glasses with bifocal lenses- 
(a) of a spherical power of more than 6 dioptres but less than 10 dioptres with a cylindrical power of not more than 6 dioptres;  of a spherical power of less than 10 dioptres with a cylindrical power of more than 2 dioptres but not more than 6 dioptres. 



G. Glasses with bifocal lenses of a spherical power of 10 or more dioptres but not more than 14 dioptres with a cylindrical power of not more than 6 dioptres; 



H. Glasses with prism-controlled bifocal lenses of any power or with bifocal lenses- 

  1. of a spherical power of more than 14 dioptres with any cylindrical power; 
  2. with a cylindrical power of more than 6 dioptres with any spherical power. 



I (HES) Glasses not falling within any of paragraphs 1 to 8 for which a prescription is given in consequence of a testing of sight by an NHS Trust. 



J Contact lenses for which a prescription is given in consequences of a sight test by an NHS trust or NHS foundation trust.




Complex Lens Voucher                                          Old value

New value



Single Vision                                                               £14.40


Bifocal                                                                        £36.60


             Tints/photochromic Lens Supplement (per lens)  




Single Vision                                                                £4.20


Bifocal                                                                         £4.70




Prism (per lens)                                                               




Single Vision                                                               £12.40


Bifocal                                                                        £15.00




Small Glasses Supplement                                             




Supplement                                                                 £63.00




Supplement for Special Facial Characteristics (HES or NHS Trust)  

Supplement                                                                 £63.00            £63.60

Repair or Replacement Values from 1 April 2015  








































Front of frame 










Side of frame 










Whole frame 











  1. Where the small glasses supplement or special facial characteristics supplement applies, the amount payable for repair of: 

the front of the frame is £56.40  the side of the frame is £30.50
the whole of the frame is £63.60 

  1. Where more than one repair is made to an optical appliance, the total paid must not exceed the aggregate of the amounts for replacing two lenses in the above schedule, and repairs to the part of the frame must not exceed £14.60. 

Replacement - Contact lenses 
If only one of a pair of contact lenses is replaced the voucher value is £56.40. These provisions for contact lenses only apply to clinically necessary contact lenses prescribed by the HES or NHS Trust.

Click here to print new voucher values for April 1st 2015

The OFNC has issued the following statement on the voucher value increase of 1%

March 2015

An OFNC spokesperson said: “We are disappointed at the low voucher value increase this year. We made strong representations to the government about the importance of a realistic increase in voucher values because they affect the range and quality of spectacles optical practices can make available to patients. But despite our best efforts, the government has so far failed to address the bizarre anomaly whereby if they help patients by holding down dental and prescription charges, they conversely penalise NHS spectacle wearers. We will continue to press NHS England and the Department of Health on this issue.’’

Optrafair 2015: the definitive showcase for premium business products and services to improve profitability and practice efficiency

March 2015

Innovative software, specialist finance, branded packaging and shop fitting - just some of the professional business services and solutions available at Optrafair, the UK’s leading exhibition for the optical industry.

The unrivalled range of business exhibitors for 2015 includes:

Performance Finance, approved and recommended by ABDO, NEG, Sightcare and CECOP, are the leading specialist in tailor-made finance for the optical market. Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, Optrafair will see the launch of personal loans for the optical market.

Stuart Burn, managing director Performance Finance says, “There is a strong demand for personal loans in the optical sector. We can provide personal loans for practice managers, receptionists, lab technicians, in fact anybody within a practice or lab.

“Optrafair is simply the most important optical event in the UK. The combination of great education, innovative new products and technology with networking opportunities ensures that for opticians and suppliers alike it is the go-to event of the year.”

Snowbird Finance will also be attending after a very successful show at 100% Optical. Snowbird has great depth of knowledge in Medical financing, for equipment, improvements and personal loans. “Personal service is the key to a helpful quality professional service to the Optical Sector.” Says Simon Freeman CEO for Snowbird. “Since last year, our first at Optrafair London we have expanded our professional team to give improved coverage over the UK and we are working with the best suppliers to the industry to make your investments sound. We also provide additional finance and industry skills to those who want to make the most of their business plans.”

Flame Health Associates one of the UK’s leading specialist optical recruitment consultancies will be showcasing their tailored recruitment services, providing global resource solutions.

The optometry team provide professional support as well as access to the latest job opportunities and exclusive optical vacancies with the leading multiple opticians, specialist optometry providers and independent opticians across the UK.

“Flame Health has been supporting Optrafair since 2001; given that we are currently witnessing unprecedented levels of interest from both new and existing clients across the business, we are looking forward to a positive three days exhibiting in Birmingham!” says Scott Liversidge, managing partner, Flame Health.

Myers La Roche, a leading Marketing and Management Consultancy, will be giving away a copy of their Optical Customer Care Manual free to visitors to their stand. The manual is designed to help optical assistants improve the customer journey, increase customer satisfaction and improve profitability.

Patrick Myers, marketing consultant Myers La Roche says, “Optrafair has always been a very successful show for Myers La Roche. It's a great place to meet new and loyal customers as well as to keep up to date with the latest developments.”

Lynx IDG will be showcasing the future of optical retailing with the launch of an innovative range of brand new leading edge design optical display concepts to provide truly unique environments.

Orasis will be providing demonstrations and has special show offers available for its optical software systems. Orasis has been supplying complete software and systems with on-going support and training to Independent opticians for over 20 years. Thanks to the latest windows technology, and an enterprise-class database at its core, Orasis delivers the performance and stability successful businesses require.

Michael Prais, director of Opticabase, which provides practice management software says, “Optrafair has always shown to be very beneficial for us as a company and is a great place for us to demonstrate the capabilities of our software to other Opticians.”

Jon Wrench, director of Store Graphics says, “Store Graphics business interiors specialise in creating innovative sales focused practice fit-outs. Optrafair 2015 will feature a project discussion area backed with a lot of graphic aids featuring a range of styles, each tailored to a specific client brief.”

Other exhibitors at Optrafair 2015 helping industry professionals to improve relationships with customers and business efficiency include:

• Barnes Design - the UK's largest specialist shop-fitter
• Braemar Finance - offering a range of finance solutions and exhibiting exclusively in the UK at Optrafair
• Cecop - Europe's largest international optical membership group
• CFH Docmail – UK’s leading provider of mailing services to medical/health service sector
• DX – a leading independent logistics and parcel distribution company
• Fleet Promotional Packaging – a specialist supplier of high-end bespoke branded packaging to opticians
• Eyeplan – the eye care scheme for independent opticians
• Hakim Group – business management and practice support for independent opticians
• Independent Practice Growth - supporting opticians growing, marketing and selling practices
• Ipro GMBH - practice management software for opticians and hearing aid dispensers
• Iris Vision Care – the UK's number one patient membership programme
• Lynx IDG - the UK's leading optical interior specialist
• Ocuco – software solutions for optical retail and optical labs, exhibiting exclusively in the UK at Optrafair
• Optimed – interactive patient communication and education software
• Optix - helping optical retailers to manage patients, staff, suppliers, operations and finances. Only at Optrafair
• PG Mutual - a non-for-profit membership organisation specialising in providing income protection to professionals since 1928
• Prospect Health - one of the UK's leading recruitment agencies
• XeyeX - a cloud based system designed for independent opticians

Visit Optrafair's Page

AOP issues solar eclipse advice to public

March 2015

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has issued advice for safe viewing of this week’s solar eclipse. Friday morning (March 20) will see the most spectacular eclipse of the sun for 15 years, in a rare astronomical alignment as the Moon will pass directly between the sun and the Earth, blocking out most of the light. Viewers in the UK will witness a partial eclipse of at least 80%, depending upon location.

Don’t lose sight of your eyes during the eclipse

1. Never look directly at the sun or use any instruments like binoculars, telescopes or cameras to view the sun directly. Doing so can permanently damage your eyesight.
2. The only safe way to view the eclipse is indirectly, through a device such as a pinhole projector. This cheap and easy method projects the sun’s image onto a screen, such as a sheet of white paper or cardboard.
3. Never point an unprotected camera lens at the sun as this can cause permanent damage to the camera and to your eyes. To take photos of the sun without damaging your camera, you will need to use a solar filter recommended by your camera manufacturer.

Karen Sparrow, Head of Professional Development at the AOP, adds: “It’s important for the public not to lose sight of their eyes during Friday’s eclipse. Looking at the sun directly can cause permanent damage to your eyesight. You only have to look at how a camera works to see the impact. Without the correct filter, pointing a camera at the eclipse can damage the electronics – so just imagine what it can do to your eyes. The only safe way to photograph the sun is by using an appropriate filter. The only safe way to view the sun is indirectly and perhaps the best way to get a good view is to watch it on television.”

Hakim Group confirms Optrafair 2015 presence

March 2015

The Hakim Group, which operates a rapidly growing portfolio of independent practices, has confirmed its presence at Optrafair 2015. CEO, Dr Imran Hakim, optometrist and entrepreneur will also be taking part in the ‘Question Time’ style panel debate on the future of retail optics (Saturday 18th at 4.30pm).

“Optrafair is a great opportunity for industry professionals to build relationships and map out ideas for future collaboration. At the Hakim

Group, we want to ensure that we are right in the middle of all the movers and shakers. That is why we are extremely excited about Optrafair 2015 and the opportunity to create new and build on existing relationships.

“Consumer behaviour is evolving exponentially due to drivers such as competition, technology, and a demand for an enhanced customer experience. It is more important than ever before for the industry to come together to seek out the solutions to the challenges that this evolution presents.

“It’s great to have so many optical experts all together at one fantastic event to share innovation and knowledge. This will be highlighted during Saturday’s debate where I will be sharing opinions with some of the biggest names in the industry about the future of retail optics and any other burning issues. It’s going to be a great event.” Says Imran.

The Hakim Group operates a ‘hybrid’ portfolio of independent practices that enjoy the kind of back office support that is traditionally enjoyed by the multiples, whilst at the same time retaining the practice’s unique individuality, that sacred ingredient which makes them an independent.

The ‘Question Time’ style panel debate (Saturday 18th at 4.30pm) on the future of retail optics will be chaired by BBC Radio 4’s Peter White. The illustrious panel includes: Doug Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, Ben Fletcher, Managing Director, Boots Opticians; Ryan Leighton, CEO, Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care; Peter Noakes, Optometrist & Partner, Noakes Habermehl and Kerr Opticians, and Dr Imran Hakim entrepreneur and CEO Hakim Group.

OGS 2014 National Donation Box Champions Announced

March 2015

Optometry Giving Sight publishes the league table of the official top 10 national donation box supporters from 2014. Supporters have done everything throughout the year to raise funds from collecting donations from patients in lieu of repairs, hold events and take part in the World Sight Day Challenge.

* It costs the equivalent of just £3.00 for someone in the developing world to get an eye examination and spectacles they desperately need.

Optometry Giving Sight is delighted to announce that Hynes Optometrists of Ealing, West London are the official winners for the 3rd consecutive year. Throughout 2014 they have helped the equivalent of 316 people receive the gift of vision. As pictured, Joy Hynes and her team are delighted to win once again and be awarded a popular London city hotel break and dinner certificate.

“We were overjoyed to hear that Hynes Optometrists had won the prize for the third time” Explains Mrs. Hynes “All credit goes to my Team and our patients who are so supporting of our efforts. We have lots of fun with the fundraising and look forward to doing just as well this year.”

Mrs. Hynes and the team use their box all year round and also hold regular coffee mornings and a organise a popular Christmas cake sale.

Donna Power, Regional Manager Europe Optometry Giving Sight commented, “Congratulations to Joy Hynes Optometrists for winning for a 3rd year running! A big thanks goes to all of the donation box supporters – every penny raised makes a huge difference in providing eye care to others in need.” Ms. Power continues, “We get great feedback from practitioners that patients really appreciate having a direct involvement in giving others the same privilege that they’ve received – which makes the donation box a very powerful tool in practice.”

Eyewear Company William Morris London support Optometry Giving Sight by sponsoring the donation boxes to enable practitioners to collect patient donations.

Focus 2 gets the thumbs up from its users

March 2015

Focus 2 Customer Satisfaction reaches 82%.

As part of Ocuco’s ongoing drive to deliver good customer experience they have recently commissioned a satisfaction survey amongst users of our new Focus 2 upgrade and are delighted to share these results with you.

77 sites using Focus 2 were approached and 51 sites completed the survey. The key results are that 82% of customers are satisfied with the product, with 18% somewhat satisfied or dissatisfied; and that 98% of customers are satisfied with the customer support. The full results are graphed below.

Leo Mac Canna said: “There has been some concern in the marketplace, not least among Focus’ 350 independent customers and within Ocuco itself, about the quality of and satisfaction in the Focus 2 upgrade. In order to get a better understanding we commission a survey. It is always difficult to upgrade or change software, particularly a major generational change as we are doing here. I see 82% product satisfaction as still leaving us with a lot of work to do – but a fair result for our engineering team given the youth of the product and the recentness of its installation for most customers. I believe with the re-introduction of the MS Word interface which was sorely missed by Focus 1 users and the many other improvements in the latest version, over time I’m certain we can get our C-Sat results into the ‘90s”.

“We’re very proud of our Cardiff team. 98% is an incredible result.” Peter Furlong, Ocuco’s Operations Director, said: “Especially given the difficulties associated with rollout of a major upgrade across the country that we had no real choice but to do. These satisfaction levels are the highest among the nine Ocuco Group support centres around the world.”

Leo MacCanna added: “Practitioners are busy and don’t want the system to get in their way and we understand that. Every 5-10 years however technology change and obsolescence forces us to renew and re-invest so that we can preserve the investment of our customers in software over the decades. Of course this periodically opens up our user base to predation as competitors focus in on the minority where change has been most difficult to keeps us on our toes! This survey however shows that Focus 2 is a good product, with great service – and is on the right track.”

Imogen Davies, Focus 2 Product Manager said: “Many customers also used the survey as an opportunity to feedback on aspects of the product and service that could be improved. Many of these are being worked on and will be available to see on our stand and at our User Group Meeting at Optrafair. We would encourage Focus users to attend the meeting and engage with our team so that we can continue to drive satisfaction levels up.”

Aston Villa Hosts FMO Spring Meeting

March 2015

Leading frame, lens, equipment, and finance companies gathered together at Aston Villa football club for the Spring FMO meeting – with many enjoying a tour of the legendary ground.
“Always keen to inspire members with an exciting venue and a broad range of speakers, our latest event proved to be as thought provoking as ever,” said FMO new Chief Executive Kev
in Gutsell.

FMO Member Benefit

New member benefit provider, The Buying Support Agency, made the case for “Best Practice Procurement”, with Director Matt Roper explaining how the company is geared to bring benefits to FMO members –

“Up to 34% savings can be achieved with the right procurement policy. We are looking at introducing cost savings across some 30 different categories. After staff costs, plus sales and marketing, procurement often has the most critical effect on the company’s profit, as every pound that you save hits the bottom line.

“Best practice procurement is all about getting value and gaining a competitive advantage to your business,” said Matt, who previously worked for PWC and Unilever before setting up The Buying Support Agency fourteen years ago.

Matt promoted the benefits of streamlining and having regular reviews with suppliers, and setting targets -

“We have a lot of knowledge and leverage with many suppliers, particularly across the aspects of employing KPIs, and setting performance level agreements, with an emphasis on having a back-up plan if a supplier fails.”

The team at the Buying Support Agency promoted its broad client base which includes the Institute of Directors, Pret, National Audit Office and the Cranfield School of Management.

Key aspects of business to benefit include providers of:

*Packaging and stationery
*Gas and electricity
*Waste recycling
*Facilities Management

Supporting the delivery of strategic and operational change that can boost profit and cash flow, the Buying Support Agency also has an in-depth knowledge of sustainability and ethical sourcing with a Green purchasing specialist.

Social Media Inspiration

Making the most of social media and engaging with potential customers particularly via Twitter and Facebook, with conversation drivers, was the focus of Jodie Cook’s presentation. As a Birmingham Young Professional of the Year, Jodie runs JC Social Media and shared some insights into gaining optimum results from targeting potential businesses and customers with the right content.

“Always ask yourself, what is the aim, and what is the voice of the company? Make sure you have a uniform message across all media and exhibition presence; encourage interaction, and value added messages with a clear call to action.”

Jodie moved onto LinkedIn and the business potential of 15m users in the UK; the benefits of using advanced people searches, and looking for business contacts within certain geographical limits.

Drawing on examples from other business sectors many delegates found inspiration in tactics that could be utilised in their own optical supply businesses.

Pitch Tour

The Villa Park tour took place during the lunch break with delegates enjoying a behind the scenes view of the players’ and managers’ facilities, sampling the claret and blue directors’ seats in the dug-out, and learning about the immaculate pitch care which includes the use of artificial sunlight and 22 miles of under-pitch heating pipes.

Networking Groups

Networking groups convene d for their industry specific Frame, Lens and Technology sector groups to discuss market conditions, trade shows in general and specifically the exciting plans for Optrafair in April and the FMO-owned show in the years ahead.

BCLA seeks new Council members

March 2015

Full members of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) are being invited to nominate six new representatives to sit on the BCLA Council by the closing date of Friday 3 April.

Vacancies are for for two contact lens opticians, two optometrist, one medical representative and one technical representative. The successful candidates will officially join the BCLA Council at the Association’s 2015 AGM, to be held at 8am at the ACC Liverpool on Saturday 30 May during its 39th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition.

Council members offer guidance on education and professional and industry developments, for the long-term benefit of BCLA members. The Council meets five times during the year, including one offsite strategy meeting.

BCLA president, Susan Bowers, said: “The BCLA relies on its Council members to help it promote excellence in contact lenses, and grow BCLA membership among all disciplines. If you think you can help develop the Association, then why not stand for election to the BCLA Council?”

Nominations can be made online via the BCLA website,

Two people struck off by The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians

March 2015

Firstly, a Manchester-based dispensing optician was erased from GOC register.

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has erased Manchester-based dispensing optician Deborah Tripp from its register.

A GOC fitness to practise committee found her fitness to practise impaired by virtue of convictions for theft from her employer and false accounting.

In making its decision the committee, chaired by Sir Alistair Graham, noted that: “The Committee had particular regard to the fact that the offence was one of dishonesty that took place at work and that involved an abuse of trust. The Committee had regard to the fact that the offences were repeated and had taken place over a prolonged period of time.

“The Committee concluded that it was in the public interest, for the protection of the public and in the wider public interest (in maintaining high professional standards and the collective reputation of the profession) for an order of erasure to be made”

Tripp is now unable to practise in the UK as a dispensing optician.

Tripp has 28 days to appeal her erasure, during which time she is suspended from the register under an immediate order.

The full determination is available at

And a Cardiff-based student optometrist was erased from GOC registers

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has erased Cardiff-based student optometrist Aminur Rahman from its registers.

A GOC fitness to practise committee found his fitness to undertake training impaired by virtue of misconduct in possessing a controlled drug of Class B with intent, contrary to Section 5(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

In making its decision the committee, chaired by Margaret Hallendorff, noted that: “The registrant had, by reason of this conviction, brought the profession into disrepute, due to the seriousness of an offence which has a potentially harmful effect upon society as a whole. There is no evidence of any attempts to remediate.

“This was a serious departure from a fundamental tenet of the profession set out in the Code of Conduct. The total lack of engagement with the Council…has demonstrated a lack of insight into the seriousness of the registrant’s actions and their consequences for the public interest. In the circumstances, the Committee has concluded that erasure is the only means of maintaining public confidence in the profession.”

Rahman is now unable to undertake training in the UK as an optometrist.

Rahman has 28 days to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate order.

The full determination is available at

Kirk & Kirk look back on exciting first 6 months and forward to an even better year ahead

March 2015

It is hard to believe that it is only six months since the British brand Kirk & Kirk launched their first optical and sunglass collections.

Having already won 2 major design awards - Hall Of Frames and London Design Awards - and currently nominated for Frame Of The Year at The Optician Awards - the future is looking extremely exciting.

With 20 years experience behind them designing frames, Jason and Karen Kirk set up Kirk & Kirk to pursue their creative ideals and to maintain their production values. They have a reputation for innovation in design and materials and the new Vivarium collection is testament to these ideals. The frames are made of a specially formulated acrylic which is extremely light and comfortable to wear and comes in a range of colours that you simply cannot find anywhere else in eyewear.

The glasses are embellished with hand-crafted animal pins in sterling silver and nine carat gold, which are produced by artisan jewellers in Birmingham and then sent to France where the frames themselves are made by hand in the Jura.

This unique collection has already captured the imagination of some of the finest optical shops in the world, including Selima Optique, LA Eyeworks and Auerbach and Steele and been spotted on the faces of such stars as Elton John, Sharon Stone and Morrissey.

Free #BCLAComeTogether places for trainee CLOs

March 2015

Trainee contact lens opticians (CLOs) in their first or second year of study, who are members of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA), are being invited to apply for one of 50 free delegate places at this year’s BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition, being held at the ACC Liverpool from 29-31 May.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our up and coming CLO members to attend the world’s leading contact lens meeting, get up close and personal with global experts, hear some amazing presentations and be inspired for their future careers – whether it be in research, technology or everyday clinical practice. So much more information to help with those all-important upcoming exams,” said BCLA CEO, Cheryl Donnelly.

“Our welcome party in the exhibition hall on the Friday evening – where drinks are free – will be the perfect place to have a first-look at all the amazing products you’ll one day be using in practice.

“BCLA CLO student membership costs just £30 so if you’re not already a member, join up quickly so you can grab one of those 50 free places. As a CLO myself, I would have welcomed the opportunity to attend a BCLA conference when I was training. And don't forget there’s always heaps of fun and freebies in the BCLA exhibition for our delegates and visitors,” Cheryl added.

Successful applicants can attend for just a day, or on all three days, courtesy of the BCLA, although travel and accommodation expenses are not included.

To apply for a free place at this year’s conference – official Twitter hashtag #BCLAComeTogether – contact the BCLA on 020 7580 6661 or email View this year’s conference programme at or on the BCLA mobile app, available to download from Google Play or the Apple Store.

PHN Team impressed by MIDO 2015

March 2015

The sheer scale of the 7 halls across the newly positioned MIDO 2015 at Fierra RHO in Milan is probably best described as awesome.

MIDO is one of the largest trade fairs for our sector with halls large enough to house optical frame and lens manufacturing plant, and the largest of manufacturers of optical ophthalmic and optometric equipment where we met with Malcolm Redfearn from Grafton discussing the latest technology to bring back to the UK. (PHN plans to write a piece on future technology and fashion ahead of Optrafair.)

The size of the stands is eye boggling with Luxottica consuming as much footprint as 30 small stands seen at UK shows. And in the fashion area the grand areas provide for the appearance of exciting stand designs.

We met our good friends from the UK; global sellers Ocuco were busy promoting FoRum a new lecture format discussing the Future of Retail. (report on this coming shortly).

William Morris with their distinctive English styling, Kirk and Kirk displaying their high fashion street cred designs and Norville who on visiting we were told of some really interesting ideas for the future to be seen at Optrafair. (Another report to come before Optrafair)

You can find more images of MIDO on our facebook page

2015 BCLA Fellowship applications invited

March 2015

Members of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) have until 31 March 2015 to submit their applications for this year’s prestigious BCLA Fellowship Awards.

Since the scheme was launched in 2006, 200 members of the global contact lens community have become BCLA Fellows following viva voce assessment at the BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition – this year being held from 29-31 May at the ACC Liverpool (official hashtag #BCLAComeTogether).

The Fellowship scheme is open to full BCLA members of all disciplines – including those working within industry – and allows successful candidates to use the affix FBCLA. For the first time earlier this year, viva voce assessments were held in India to extend the scheme internationally, with 20 Indian practitioners subsequently welcomed into the BCLA Fellowship community.

Professor James Wolffsohn, BCLA Fellowship Consultant, said: “The BCLA Fellowship scheme allows members of the contact lens community at home and abroad the chance to demonstrate high esteem in the field of contact lenses and the anterior eye. It demonstrates to both patients and peers that they have taken their commitment to the field one step further.

“We look forward to welcoming a new cohort of BCLA Fellows in Liverpool this May and celebrating their achievements at the BCLA Awards Dinner,” added Professor Wolffsohn.

BCLA President, Susan Bowers, will personally present the 2015 BCLA Fellowship certificates to those attending the BCLA Awards Dinner, being held in the magnificent Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on Saturday 30 May.

Tickets for the eagerly anticipated 1960s Beatles themed evening cost £80 per person and includes a three-course dinner, drinks and fantastic live entertainment in magnificent surroundings. During the evening, the winner of the 2015 BCLA Industry Award will also be announced.

Coaches will take guests on the short journey (five to 10 minutes) to and from the venue from various pick-up points from 7pm onwards. Dinner tickets must be purchased at the same time as booking your delegate place, and table places may be booked in advance via the BCLA website.

Do you have a ‘hot shot’ for the 2015 BCLA Photo Competition?

March 2015

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is inviting all ‘happy snappers’ to now submit their entries online for this year’s Photographic Competition, by the closing date of Friday 24 April.

The prestigious BCLA photographic competition culminates during the Association’s Clinical Conference and Exhibition and attracts entries from contact lens practitioners across the globe. As well as receiving the accolade of best photograph of the year and a great prize, all winning entries are subsequently published in the BCLA peer-reviewed journal, Contact Lens & Anterior Eye.

Last year’s winner was Antonio Calossi from Italy with his piggyback contact lens image, and he received a prize kindly donated by David Gould. Immediate Past BCLA President, Andy Yorke, presented Antonio with his winner’s certificate during the 38th Clinical Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham.

All entries will be showcased on display screens in the exhibition hall of the ACC Liverpool, and the winner will be announced at 2.30pm on Sunday 31 May at the BCLA stand. The winner and runners-up in the 2015 Poster Competition will also be revealed at this time.

BCLA President, Susan Bowers, said: “If you have taken a photograph of the anterior eye over the last year that you are proud of, whether it was taken with a smart phone or a SLR camera, we want you to share it.”

The 39th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition takes place at the ACC Liverpool from 29-31 May.

Click to make a submission.

Optometrists come together in Brighton for Optometry Tomorrow 2015

March 2015

The College of Optometrists welcomed over 700 delegates to East Sussex on 8 and 9 March for its annual conference and AGM. Held at The Brighton Centre on the city’s picturesque seafront, the conference offered delegates numerous opportunities to earn interactive CET points, network with colleagues and visit the conference’s largest trade exhibition to date.

There were over 60 lectures, seminars, peer discussion sessions, and hands-on and discussion workshops on offer, spanning a wide range of topics. The extensive two-day programme, which offered over 155 interactive CET points, saw optometrists discussing hot topics such as the management of macular degeneration, innovation in contact lens practice, and orthokeratology and children.

The George Giles Memorial Lecture, What you don’t see can hurt you – vision and driving delivered by Professor Joanne Wood MCOptom, was one of the programme highlights. 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.”

Lecture attendees gained 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 also developed a comprehensive appreciation of the evidence linking various ocular diseases with driving.

Delegate Kevin McNally MCOptom, a low vision specialist in Northampton, and attendee of several Optometry Tomorrow events, said: “The workshops and seminars have been excellent, but it’s the lectures on peripheral subjects that differ from what you do on a day-to-day basis that I really enjoy. It’s nice to get a refresh and have something to take back to colleagues and talk about.”

There were more clinical and discussion workshops than ever before and the conference once again boasted a therapeutics stream. Also new this year was the chance for members to earn four additional interactive CET points by discussing binocular vision case studies – prepared by the College - with their fellow delegates between sessions.

Dr Catharine Chisholm, UK and Ireland Clinical Affairs Manager at Topcon GB Ltd, one of the conference’s gold sponsors, said: “It’s a very clinically relevant conference which attracts a high concentration of motivated optometrists. It’s great to see enthusiastic and engaged practitioners enjoying the programme sessions, social events and trade exhibition.”
Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications for the College, added: “The feedback from delegates so far has been fantastic. We work hard to develop and grow Optometry Tomorrow every year to make sure we meet the needs of our members.

“Our programme offers a unique range of professional development opportunities as well as an opportunity for debate, networking and exploring the latest techniques and research. I’m sure everyone who came to Brighton left feeling positive about the future of the profession, and with new knowledge and skills to take back into practice.”

The conference also featured a trade exhibition with over 30 exhibitors and sponsors, including gold sponsors Birmingham Optical, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Thea Pharmaceuticals, and Topcon; silver sponsor Carl Zeiss; and bronze sponsors Alcon, Essilor, The EyeBag Company and Heidelberg Engineering.

Blackfin voted as the best stand at Mido 2015

March 2015

The striking post-industrial look of Black Shard was a huge hit with visitors to Mido who voted in droves for the Blackfin stand subsequently crowned winner of the 2015 Best stand Award. The prize recognises investment in ideas capable of transforming an exhibition space into an effective communications tool that truly represents the brand.

“This prize is a magnificent reward for all our team’s hard work” – Nicola Del Din, CEO of Pramaor, said, “We’ve been working on this project for over a year and we’re delighted with the result, the perfect representation of Blackfin and its philosophy. We’d like to thank all those people who voted for the new stand, supporting our new communications campaign and the new Blackfin eyewear collections which have proved the winning formula at this year’s Mido, ending it on an extremely positive note for us”.

Black Shard, designed by architect Nicola De Pellegrini and his team at Anidride Design and built by Deimos, takes the journey embarked on by the brand one stage further, amplifying its strong, uncompromising, courageous personality. The design successfully enhances the brand image, the quintessential blend of pure design, authentic style and absolute innovation.

Each individual element of the stand has been conceived to emphasise the energy and personality of the product. Huge panels of perforated black metal apparently randomly interlocked within the structure resemble the shards of metal (BLACK SHARD). The raw grey concrete base provides a contrast and the movement of the enormous air-driven turbine along one of the perimeter walls highlights the futuristic setting that itself becomes a microcosm to experience and explore.

The blend of symbolic details and iconic colouring makes this space appear an extension of the atmospheric location of the new advertising campaign, creating a symbiosis between the two places that the public can investigate to get to know the new Blackfin world.

The centre of the stand contains the Bar Cipriani space, sealing the partnership between the two brands whose high quality artisan products embody all the excellence of the authentic Made-in-Italy ethos, bringing this image to wider world.

This exciting, original design with massive visual impact is the ideal frame for presenting the new Blackfin eyewear collection and to tell the full story of this all-Italian brand.

College of Optometrists CEO announces retirement at AGM

March 2015

At the Annual General Meeting of the College of Optometrists, held in Brighton yesterday, Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska announced her plan to retire in early 2016 after serving for more than 12 years.

Dr Cindy Tromans, Chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, said: “One of the great advantages of having a retiring Chief Executive is that we can have a well-planned transition. Bryony and I have worked closely with my fellow trustees to ensure that we have time to find the right person to succeed her. Bryony has achieved a great deal since she joined the College in 2003 with a clear mandate for change. We now have modern and effective governance, stable finances, well managed operations, and a world class pre-registration scheme.

“The trustees will be seeking someone to carry on the good work, and our plan is to advertise the role in the next few weeks and appoint Bryony’s successor during the summer, to take up their post on 1 January next year. Bryony will work part time until the end of March next year to ensure a smooth transition.”

Bryony Pawinska said: “It is far too early to say how sorry I will be to leave the College, but I will be. A high percentage of our members are actively engaged with our work, not just as Council and Board members, but on committees, working groups and panels, and as assessors, supervisors and examiners. I am always impressed and humbled by their commitment to this great profession. The College is a very happy place to work, not just because of our members but also because we have such a great staff team, and I am very grateful that my last employed post has been with such a wonderful organisation. I do not intend to stop working – but it is the right time for me to have a more balanced lifestyle, and for the College to have a fresh pair of eyes at the top.”

FODO is hiring a Policy Officer

March 2015

This individual will be motivated and have experience in a policy role, preferably within the health sector. This is a fantastic role with opportunities for career development and advancement while working closely with senior colleagues and with a high degree of responsibility.

Contact Oliver Lamb (

Black and blue or white and gold? The College of Optometrists adds expert opinion to the debate

March 2015

The College of Optometrists has added expert opinion to the dress debate that dominated social media and news bulletins around the world on Friday.

It started with a photo of a dress posted on Tumblr by Scottish singer Caitlin McNeill. Some users thought the dress looked black and blue, others were adamant it was white and gold.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, Clinical Adviser at the College, explained: “There are many explanations as to why people see different colours in the image of this dress. But the takeaway point is that there is no right or wrong answer – we just all see and interpret things differently.

“What is fascinating about the image is that the colours sit right on the cusp of how we perceive colour relative to its surrounding. There is a rich yellow light shining onto the dress, resulting in shades of gold and orange illuminating from the black and the blue is washed out under this light. This confuses the brain, so it has different parts of the dress to take in. As a result your visual perception turns down the blue to compensate, meaning that you either see a gold and white dress or you see blue and black.

“Humans are designed to see in daylight, but colours change throughout the day - from warm yellow sunrises to red sunsets - so our eyes are constantly adjusting – this is known as colour constancy.

“Seeing the image differently is not related to a colour vision problem or defect in your eyes. It’s simply a perceptual illusion.

“What’s normal is only normal to you, so if you do notice any significant changes in your vision at any time then you should speak to your local optometrist for advice.”

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications added: “Friday was an incredibly busy day for us, with journalists across the country wanting expert opinion from optometrists on this interesting debate. Daniel spoke to many of them, including The Sun and the Associated Press, and was interviewed live on BBC News, which is a fantastic coup for the profession.”

Daniel’s blog about the dress can be read at

Specs cards support vision charity

March 2015

Entertaining birthday cards – with four amusing optical themes – have been created by independent practice Specs of Kensington to support Vision Care for Homeless People’s fundraising activity.

Charity supporter and practice owner, Daska Barnett, had the cards made and hopes that many people both inside and out of optics will enjoy the humorous theme and be happy to support the charity.

"It is always good to have a few cards in the drawer and these are a great way to support a charity which is close to our hearts. A £6 donation, for the pack of four cards, will help pay for a homeless person to have an eye examination and spectacles. Do visit the charity’s Virgin Money Giving page and make the donation. If you make the donation then VCHP will mail you the cards as a thank you.”
After making the donation on Virgin Giving Money and passing the Gift Aid section, please tick the box that gives VCHP permission to contact you. This will enable the charity to send a beautiful fun pack of cards and you will have made the donation towards eye care for a vulnerable homeless person.

BIOVISION 2015: 50 experts discuss global healthcare and personalized medicine

March 2015

WHO and European Commission representatives, entrepreneurs and scientists meet in Lyon on April 15-16, 2015.

Lyon, France, March 5, 2015, the date note – BIOVISION, the annual forum for life science forecasting, is pleased to release the 2015 event program with key speakers for this year’s conference.
The opening session will feature Professor Leroy Hood, from the Institute for Systems Biology (USA). This discussion centres on how to ensure that global healthcare and personalized medicine is accessible to all.

Professor Guillaume Beslon, INRIA (France), and Dr. Pascal Sempé (France), an IBM representative, will use the session ‘From Big Data to Smart Data’ to assess the implications of this new approach in healthcare.

Michel G. Bergeron of Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie de l’Université Laval Research (Quebec City, Canada), is also speaking at the ‘Big data’ session. He says: “We are currently working on a simple device based on DNA testing that will allow us to diagnose any known infection in less than one hour. This device could be used directly with the patient, meaning it will be ideal in emergency situations or in areas with limited access to healthcare.”

In the ‘Models for Customized Approaches’ session, Dr. Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Agnès Buzyn, president of INCa (France), and Professor Peter Openshaw of Imperial College London (UK) will each address the topic of personalized medicine, which offers a wide range of applications, particularly in the fields of oncology and infectious diseases.
Among the speakers lined up for the session on ‘Ethics, Regulatory and Economic Perspectives on Access for Customized Approaches’, of particular note are Professor Hervé Chneiweiss from Inserm (France) and Greg Perry from the Medicines Patent Pool (Switzerland).

At the closing session, Professor Ole Petter Ottersen, chancellor of the University of Oslo (Norway), will share his views on research and innovation in this sector. His talk will highlight how global healthcare and personalized medicine can be beneficial for all and a driving force for growth.

“The personalized healthcare approach will ultimately be part of an overarching patient-centered healthcare process, where the benefits and risks plus ethical, socioeconomic and organizational problems are fully understood,” said Didier Hoch, president of BIOVISION. “This approach will go hand in hand with a real transformation - a revolution - of healthcare, from which everyone stands to benefit.”
This year one of the plenary sessions will be open to the public – ‘Global and Personalized Health: How to ensure a worldwide benefit?’. Speakers at this session will include Philippe Douste-Blazy, a former minister and chair of UNITAID (Switzerland), and Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Prize winner, from the University of Strasbourg (France).

This public conference is free on registration. For further information, please go to

Introducing an additional web conference on Thursday March 26, 11am CET: This online presentation covers the ten rules for a successful pitch and announces all of the selected companies for the BIOVISION Investor Conference and BIOVISION Catalyzer pitch competition.

Optical Lead Vacancy at LOCSU

March 2015

A vacancy has arisen for a highly skilled person to join our team of Optical Leads to support Local Optical Committees in developing community eye care services.

This role is home-based with the requirement to travel regularly and attend meetings in London. Hours are flexible but the ability to attend evening meetings as required is essential.

A competitive daily rate is offered in addition to the opportunity to work with some of the top influencers in the optical sector.

• You will need to demonstrate thorough knowledge of commissioning, designing services, public health and have a real passion for developing eye care services.
• You will have previous experience either leading LOCs, developing community services or commissioning community services.
• You will need to be available for a minimum of eight days per month.
• You will have previous leadership experience in the sector.
• You will be based in one of the following regions: East Anglia, the Midlands or London.

DOCET launches updated Binocular Vision CET Programme

March 2015

The revised and updated Binocular Vision module is now available on the DOCET website, enabling optometrists to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills on the topic and gain CET points.

Presented by Professor Bruce Evans, the programme uses clinical footage of real patients to demonstrate best practice and provide a step-by-step practical guide to the various techniques required to assess binocular status in practice. The video footage is interspersed with summary slides, graphics and animations and supportive reference links to provide greater understanding. There is also a brand new section on management of the condition, with case studies to help learners consider appropriate options. Successful completion of the module provides 2 CET interactive points.

Philippa Shaw, DOCET Training Adviser, says: ‘This programme was developed in response to frequent requests for a refresher course on all the practical elements of assessing a patient's binocular status and understanding the results found. We’ve also included some new case studies of patients presenting with common BV anomalies to help build confidence in managing patients in practice.’

Binocular Vision (C-39595) is available, free of charge, to all UK registered optometrists via

Pharmacy, Optical and Hearing Organisations attend Landmark Meeting to Improve Local Health Outcomes

March 2015

Leaders in Ealing held a meeting to discuss health and social care in the borough, the NHS Five Year Forward View and how local services might be reshaped to meet the needs of an ageing population – including supporting more people out-of-hospital and in the community.

Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, Southall and Health Select Committee member and Cllr Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council and chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board hosted the meeting so that all stakeholders could share knowledge and continue to improve local services.

Pharmacy, optical and hearing organisations attended a landmark meeting in Ealing on 18th February with the local council, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Health and Wellbeing board (HWB). The meeting helped to demonstrate the how the needs of the residents of West London can best be met and pressures on GPs and hospitals reduced by close working and support from the wider primary care network.

Representatives from Pharmacy Voice, the Local Optical Committee Support Unit and the National Community Hearing Association were able to present opportunities where they could best provide services to improve the care of people living in Ealing. Members of the CCG and HWB were able to share their strategies for improvement in self-care, supporting people living with long term conditions and living well for longer. Providers and commissioners both agreed and supported new ways of working as set out in the Five Year Forward View and the progress already taking place with the Whole Systems Integrated Care Programme.

The collaborative approach to designing services was welcomed by all stakeholders and it was agreed everybody would continue to work together and meet again later in 2015.
Virendra Sharma MP commented: “The integration of health and social care which spans across both pharmacy’s and optician’s work is key to improving outcomes. If the agreements which were made at this meeting come to pass we will have significantly improved services for Ealing residents. I hope that when we meet in sixth months we can promise even more, and I will be discussing this with all the stakeholders over the coming months.”

Cllr Julian Bell – leader of Ealing Council and chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board commented: “It is extremely important that our residents receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place and by the right person. Optometrists, opticians, pharmacists and hearing care providers, alongside NHS and council officers, all play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our residents. I’m therefore delighted that providers and commissioners have agreed and supported these new ways of working. It is by fostering a more joined-up approach that we will help and encourage people to lead healthier, more active lives for longer.”

Hiten Patel, Pharmacy Voice Board member and owner of Mattock Lane Pharmacy, Ealing commented: “Having a meeting of this nature is a big step forward to improving health outcomes for people in Ealing. I think we all agree that some great healthcare happens locally but too often it is not joined-up. If we can co-ordinate more services, offering the right care in the right place patients will benefit. For example a minor ailments scheme is launching in Ealing this April which allows pharmacies to deal with common problems such as conjunctivitis and coughs that clog up GP waiting rooms. If we want to change peoples’ behaviour and benefit from the scheme, all our local services need to be aware of it and support it. We also need to make sure that pharmacy is supported to tackle some of the big key public health issues we face locally such as diabetes and obesity.”

Piers Cooper, NCHA Local Audiology Lead commented: “Tackling hearing loss is a major public health challenge for older people and getting this wrong at local level can have disastrous consequences for individuals, families and communities. Working together now in Ealing will allow us to meet hearing needs in a sustainable way for the future and deliver the benefits of Five Year Forward View for the local people.”

Katrina Venerus, LOCSU MD, commented: “The event provided an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the wider role optometrists, opticians, pharmacists and hearing care providers can play in supporting the delivery of more services in primary care. LOCSU and Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Local Optical Committee look forward to working more closely with partners across Ealing to help deliver local outcomes for patients as part of the Five Year Forward View.”

The photo shows Virendra Sharma MP together with members of Ealing council, CCG, HWB, Pharmacy Voice, LOCSU, NCHA and the Optical Confederation.

College of Optometrists accredits new higher qualifications

March 2015

The College of Optometrists has accredited three new higher qualification courses, and reaccredited an existing course. These are the:

• Professional Higher Certificate in Glaucoma
• Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lens Practice
• Professional Certificate in Medical Retina
• Professional Certificate in Low Vision (reaccreditation).

Jackie Martin, Director of Education for the College of Optometrists, said: “Optometrists and practice managers want specialist skills, the highest standards of professionalism and to be able to equip themselves for the new opportunities to operate in enhanced eye health services. The College’s accredited qualifications are a clear way for practitioners to demonstrate their skills to employers and the public.”

Cardiff University has been accredited to offer the Professional Higher Certificate in Glaucoma. This qualification will prepare optometrists to work in community or hospital-based schemes involving the diagnosis of Ocular Hypertension (OHT) and preliminary diagnosis of Chronic Open Angle Glaucoma (COAG) (when not working under the supervision of a consultant ophthalmologist).

Dr Nik Sheen, Director, Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC), said: “We are delighted to have been accredited by the College to run the Professional Higher Certificate in Glaucoma. This course has been long-awaited by many optometrists who have taken the certificate level and are ready to progress with their professional development. Those students who have previously completed higher glaucoma modules at Cardiff University will have the first available opportunity to undertake the additional learning and assessments required to gain the College’s Higher Certificate.”

Cardiff University has also been reaccredited to continue running their popular Professional Certificate in Low Vision for another two years and City University has been accredited to deliver its courses for the Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lens Practice and the Professional Certificate in Medical Retina.

Jackie Martin added: “The new Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lenses enables optometrists to develop these specialist skills, keeping them up-to-date with the advances in contact lens practice and enabling them to meet the demands of modern practice.”

City University’s new Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lenses will be delivered by a combination of online learning, face to face lectures and practical workshops. It will give community and hospital based optometrists the knowledge and skills to be able to provide an enhanced standard of contact lens care. It will include topics such as fitting and assessing RGP lens designs, understanding myopia control and orthokeratology and managing dry eye in contact lens practice.

The Professional Certificate in Medical Retina 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.

Dr Michelle Hennelly, MSc Programme Director at City University, London, said: “City University is delighted to be the first university to offer the full suite of Professional Certificates accredited by the College of Optometrists, including Medical Retina. We are also the first and only university to date to offer the Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lenses.

“Optometrists completing the modules can be assured of completing cutting-edge specialist education delivered by world-renowned speakers, enhancing current practice and increasing scope of clinical practice.”

‘Come together’ for all new BCLA conference in Liverpool

March 2015

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has launched a bold new style programme for its 39th Clinical Conference and Exhibition – calling on all eyecare practitioners (ECPs) to ‘Come Together’ for three extraordinary days of research, hands-on sessions, posters, education and products and technology dedicated to contact lenses and the anterior eye.

Following a review of past events, the programme for this year’s conference – at the ACC Liverpool from 29-31 May – will offer a highly accessible menu of bite-sized sessions enabling delegates to achieve a full complement of CET points ahead of the 31 December deadline for the current three-year cycle.

There are more practical workshops than ever before, 15 in total and free for the first time. The workshops will cover topics such as binocular vision, dry eye, keratoconus, sclerals, gonioscopy, presbyopia, communication, slit lamp techniques and more. Many of the workshops mirror the education sessions so delegates can put their newly acquired knowledge into practice.

“This exciting new conference model will enable delegates to listen and understand the research and then see this translate to clinical practice tips and education, and then where possible put this into practice under expert tuition in our workshops,” explained BCLA CEO Cheryl Donnelly.

“Our ultimate aim is to deliver a conference and exhibition dedicated to contact lenses and the anterior eye that enhances the clinical skills of practitioners, whilst giving extra confidence to those who need it and showcasing the latest research, all whilst enabling networking and gaining insights and learning about the latest industry innovations,” added Cheryl.

Kicking off the programme is an entire day devoted to myopia management on Friday 29 May. “Never before have we had all the global leaders in this area in one room debating the subject,” said Cheryl. “The prevalence of myopia today is such that we have a duty to ensure ECPs understand current management strategies, and judge how best to implement these in their own practices to help their patients live and see better.”

The programme also includes a day dedicated to specialist contact lenses, and a ‘live’ orthokeratology contact lens fitting event on stage, with a follow-up ‘morning after’.

Summing up the event launch, Cheryl said: “With our great new venue in buzzing Liverpool, keynote speakers, specialist symposia, business session, sponsor presentations, exhibition and social programme, I challenge any ECP – irrespective of whether they prescribe contact lenses – not to find something on the programme to benefit their patients and their practice.

“So review the programme, have a serious think about what you could gain from the BCLA this year – and ‘Come together’ for an amazing conference experience,” Cheryl concluded.

Keynote speakers

• Professor James Wolffsohn (UK)
• Dr Loretta Szczotka-Flynn (USA)

Award winners

• Professor Fiona Stapleton (Australia), BCLA Medal Lecture
• Dr Michael Read (UK), Irving Fatt Memorial Lecturer
• Dr Nicole Carnt (Australia), Dallos Award

Agreement reached on the sharing patient information between ophthalmologists and optometrists

March 2015

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and College of Optometrists have issued new advice for members on the sharing of patient information following referral.

The agreement, which will be issued by the Royal College to its members, means that when a patient has agreed for their clinical information to be shared, ophthalmologists will share that information to the referring optometrist.

The agreement is in line with Dame Fiona Caldicott’s Information Governance Review1 and aims to improve the care of the patient and future patients, by providing useful feedback about diagnosis and management to the referring clinician. Unless the hospital policy specifically prohibits sending copies of letters to optometrists, ophthalmologists will routinely send copies of GP letters to the referring optometrist after confirming consent by the patient. The consent should be recorded in the notes.

Kathy Evans, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said:

“People using health and social care services are entitled to expect that their personal information will remain confidential. However, people also expect professionals to share information with other members of the care team.

“Working together as regulated professionals, ophthalmologists and optometrists operate as part of a multi-disciplinary healthcare team that delivers overall eye care services for patients, whether in the hospital or in the community. So good sharing1 of information, when sharing is appropriate, is as important as maintaining confidentiality and is in the patient’s best interest.”

David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, said:

“Feedback on referrals is very important for continuity of care and to provide learning. Having this information to hand when the optometrist sees the patient again helps avoid unnecessary re-referrals and will reduce the duplication of tests.

“Optometrists can help to ensure that they receive feedback by always including their name and contact details clearly on the referral letter.”

1. Dame Fiona Caldicott, The Information Governance Review, March 2013, page 21

NHS Clinical Commissioners co-ordinate support from national CCGs to review use of Avastin to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

March 2015

Response to the public letters sent by the NHS Clinical Commissioners to Secretary of State for Health, cc. Chair of NICE; Simon Stevens at NHS England; and the Chair of the GMC and signed by the Clinical Chair / Lead Clinician of 120 CCGs regarding the use of Avastin to treat wet AMD.

The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC) supports the view that the use of bevacizumab (Avastin) for wet age related macular degeneration is an issue which requires an urgent review by the regulatory organisations in the UK.

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the commonest cause of blindness among elderly people in the developed world. The ageing population in the UK and associated eye conditions and diseases is adding to the capacity issues facing many hospital eye care services, impacting resources and funding.

Ranibizumab (Lucentis), the first drug used to treat this condition was licensed for wet AMD treatment and approved by NICE in 2008. Two major studies, the CATT2 and the IVAN3 studies, found that an alternative drug, bevacizumab (Avastin), which is licensed for the treatment of some cancers, but does not have a licence for use in wet AMD, was as effective as the licensed ranibizumab. Several other studies and a recent Cochrane review have supported the effectiveness and safety of the two similar drugs.

The IVAN study also identified that using bevacizumab could save NHS England £102million a year, money which could be used to relieve the capacity issues in hospital eye clinics which can result in avoidable sight loss for patients.

Drugs are appraised for cost and clinical effectiveness by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) after being licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Drugs are normally submitted for approval by the pharmaceutical company that owns them. Roche, which owns bevacizumab, has not applied for a licence for its use to treat AMD.

It is vital that clinicians are not pressurised into prescribing Avastin if they feel an alternative licensed treatment would be more beneficial to their patient and equally should not be pressured into using Lucentis if they feel that an alternative treatment, which they have confidence in, would be equally beneficial to their patient; especially as some of them use Avastin in the private sector and are obliged to use Lucentis on the NHS.

Commissioning policies must enable clinicians to access NICE approved treatments as mode of action, frequency of delivery and patient response vary with different drugs. Equally, patients have a legal right to receive NICE approved treatments according to the NHS Constitution and this right must not be removed under any commissioning policy. GMC guidance indicates that an unlicensed drug should not be used when a licensed drug is available and this means that ophthalmologists cannot use Avastin in preference to Lucentis without breaching this guidance. However, for patients not entitled to NHS treatment, in the UK the choice is often between no treatment and treatment with Avastin due to issues around affordability. Here the treating ophthalmologist must be able to make a judgement call with their patient.

Equally for indications where there is no NICE guidance, the decision to use either drug should be left to the informed choice of the patient and the treating ophthalmologist.

On the basis of the above, the CCEHC recognises that the controversy around the use of Avastin for the treatment of wet AMD reflects a complex and possibly unique situation and that further debate may be required before a decision can be made about this issue.

Heidelberg Engineering's OCT Case Clinic is Major Event at Optrafair

March 2015

Understanding the role OCT plays in the early diagnosis of disease, and improved patient care, is the focus of Heidelberg Engineering’s educational programme at Optrafair: 18-20 April.
The Birmingham show’s new OCT Case Clinic peer discussions, sponsored by Heidelberg Engineering, will examine real cases submitted by practices around the UK. Expert review, and discussion, of submissions offer the opportunity to gain practical knowledge and build confidence from the six free to attend 90 minute sessions.

“OCT isn’t everything,” explained Christopher Mody, Heidelberg Engineering Clinical Programme Manager –

“The OCT Case Clinic is designed to help clinicians understand the part OCT plays in relation to other diagnostic information, as well as the significance of visualising structural changes to narrow the differential diagnoses and make confident decisions.

“Regardless of which OCT you use, it should not be used independently, and it cannot replace your clinical judgement. The OCT Case Clinic is designed to put OCT into context as a valuable diagnostic tool that can enhance patient care when used as part of a multi-modality approach to diagnosis and monitoring of disease.”

In addition to the OCT Case Clinics, Heidelberg Engineering will sponsor two hours of CET lectures, centred on promoting and profiting from clinical services and improving patient care. The launch of the Connect Business Academy at Optrafair provides users with expert advice and guidance in aspects such as data mining, designing the patient journey, shared care, social media, patient education and staff training.

With an emphasis on both clinical and business education, Heidelberg Engineering’s presence at the Birmingham show highlights the benefits of implementing a multi-modality imaging approach for early disease detection, accurate diagnosis and monitoring change.

Mapping out new technology to inform Optics of the future

March 2015

Optical Confederation and College set up the “Foresight Project” with funding from the Central (LOC) Fund

A project designed to look at the impact of technology on the entire optical sector has been commissioned by the Optical Confederation and the College of Optometrists and with joint funding from the Central (LOC) Fund.

With an Oversight Group chaired by Alan Tinger, who originally proposed the project, the Foresight Project has commissioned the independent Think Tank 2020Health to undertake the underpinning research. Julia Manning, Chief Executive and founder of 2020Health, practiced as an optometrist for 19 years.

“We are looking at four stages of research”, said Alan Tinger. “Phase 1 is looking at future technology (worldwide), and judging how certain it is to come to market, whether it will be adopted, how disruptive it will be and how behaviours of the public, professionals and manufacturers could change as a result. We will also be taking into account the changing demographic make-up of the UK which is a challenge for the whole of the health sector.

“Phase 2 is looking at the effect of phase 1 on business models in optics and the final two phases will look at the impact on education across the professions and on regulation.

“This is a very timely and important piece of work with online and mobile digital health technologies developing at an exponential rate. All innovation has the potential to be disruptive, so it is vital for us to understand the impact of developments on the sector, and in particular what they could mean for all the professional groups, plan ahead and make the findings available to the sector so that people can be as well informed as they can be about the possible future.

“The sector is indebted to the Central (LOC) Fund for its generosity in supporting the proposal and providing funding to get it off the ground.”

Julia Manning, said, “We are delighted to be working with the Optical Confederation, the College and the Central (LOC) Fund on this initiative. As a Think Tank we have spent some years looking at emerging digital technology and identifying disruptive and enabling technologies. Considering technological and behavioural trends and their impact on society and healthcare is something that every professional organisation should be doing.

“With our smartphones turning into diagnostic, testing and sensing devices, this era of technological development is being likened to the Gutenberg Press for its potential to emancipate consumers, and being dubbed the ‘second industrial revolution’ due to its impact on current ways of working. Professionals will need to adapt to very different ways of working but they, patients and health care systems and society should all benefit.”

The £100,000 project has been 60% funded by the Central (LOC) Fund and 40% equally by the five members of the Optical Confederation and the College of Optometrists, and is due to last for 12 months.

ABDO to provide CET at Optrafair

March 2015

Lectures, workshops and the inventor of Varilux…

As an official event partner, ABDO has announced that it is offering CET lectures and workshops at Optrafair.


On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 April ABDO will be hosting a lecture programme featuring five internationally acclaimed speakers, including special guest Bernard Maitenaz, the inventor of Varilux lenses. The lectures will be held in the specially designed ‘ABDO Theatre’ (T60), situated within the Optrafair exhibition hall. The programme will provide opticians with the opportunity to hear from some of the leading figures in the fields of R&D, vision science and manufacturing optics. Each lecture is approved for 1 interactive CET point and they are free to attend.

Commenting on the lectures Elaine Grisdale, ABDO head of professional services and international development, said “In a joint presentation entitled, ‘From physical to physiological optics: latest research impacting on future lens choice’, Bernard Maitenaz and Bérangère Granger will cover the history and development of progressive power spectacle lenses, the hundreds of different lens types available today, and how important research is in introducing quality products. As the inventor of Varilux lenses 60 years ago, Bernard Maitenaz is a legend in his own lifetime. It will be a real thrill to see him share a stage with French optometrist Bérangère Granger, a talented researcher on the visual system, currently working in R&D with Essilor International.”

Also on the programme is a presentation by Finnish optometrist, Petri Escola of Hoya Vision Care Europe, who will discuss ‘Fifty shades of grey and more: understanding photochromics’. An expert in fitting spectacle lenses and the technical details of lens design, Petri is also visiting lecturer at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences Department of Optometry for Lens Technology and Non-Adaptation.

Polarised lenses will be to the fore in a lecture by Igor Loshak of Younger Optics, entitled ‘Polarised lenses and a key to ideal eyewear’. “As Younger’s vice president of international business, and with an MSc in chemical engineering, Igor has a unique insight into polarised lens dispensing and technology from both a scientific and business angle,” said Elaine.

Elaine continued, “Bob Forgan’s lecture, ‘Smart glasses: the future of eyewear’ will provide an enthralling insight into the latest developments in smart glass technology, focusing on the added value dispensing opportunities this new category offers whilst addressing how to overcome the new optical challenges that smart glasses present. Bob is managing director of Waterside Laboratories and is at the forefront of this burgeoning industry, he’s an expert on how dispensing smart eyewear could work in everyday practice.

“Completing the line-up will be a fascinating ‘behind the scenes’ look at traditionally surfaced ophthalmic lens solutions for troublesome prescriptions with Norville Group director, Paul Walden, in ‘Computer says no: what a difference a decade makes’. Paul’s presentation will deal with traditional specialist lens supply for higher prescriptions, challenging prisms and prism control along with specific finishing and handmade lens manufacturing. Paul will then examine new production methods in freeform and the viable solution of troublesome prescriptions in this newest of lens making mediums.”

For the ABDO CET lecture programme on Saturday 18 April visit:

For the ABDO lecture programme on Sunday 19 April visit:

Place for lectures can be booked online via Optrafair registration at:


In addition, ABDO will be conducting paediatric dispensing workshops on Monday 20 April at 9.30am, 11.00am, 12.30pm and 2.00pm. The workshop is approved for 3 interactive CET points and will be conducted by ABDO’s Joanne Abbott, Barry Duncan and Paula Stevens. Admission is strictly limited with no advanced booking, places will be available on the day on a first-come, first served basis. So remember to arrive promptly to ensure you secure a place!

All ABDO CET at Optrafair is approved for both dispensing opticians and optometrists. Practitioners attending each of the ABDO CET events on offer can acquire a total of 8 interactive CET points.

Visit Optrafair's Page

Optrafair announce an inspiring cet accredited programme of seminars, peer discussions and equipment workshops with leading optical experts

February 2015

A packed three-day programme of world class CET accredited education takes centre stage at Optrafair 2015.

With 121 CET points on offer, Optrafair 2015 is the best opportunity for practitioners to earn valuable points and complete the current three year cycle. Early booking is advised for a wide range of inspirational seminars, panel lead discussions, hands-on equipment workshops and peer discussions.

Delegates can earn up to 36 CET points over the three days from sessions in the two large education theatres and four workshop spaces at the heart of Optrafair.

Highlights of the show include the ‘Show and Tell’ Workshops in which leading manufacturers present the latest in optometric instrumentation. The workshops are the perfect opportunity to see what’s new and compare equipment while gaining valuable hands-on experience. The sessions were a popular new feature at Optrafair 2014 (London). This year the workshops are sponsored by Topcon, Zeiss and Birmingham Optical.

Peer discussions, organised by Optician (three CET points) will focus on the theme of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults – a major new area for governance which will require optical professionals to update their skills.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to take part in a new and innovative learning experience based around the interpretation of OCT investigations. During the three days of the show there will be six interactive peer discussion and surgery sessions.

Each 90 minute session will comprise of a 60 minute peer discussion session among small groups of 10 practitioners featuring pre-designed cases. This will be followed by a 30 minute OCT discussion of pre-submitted case studies. The workshops, worth three CET points, are sponsored by Heidelberg Engineering.

During the conference delegates can also attend a variety of valuable seminars, and hear ‘expert opinions’ from renowned industry figures including:

Professor Paola Stanga, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital; Doug Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers; Professor Philip Morgan, Director of Eurolens Research; Professor James Wolffsohn, Deputy Executive Dean, Aston University; Peter Noakes, Noakes Habermehl and Kerr Opticians; Linda Ford, GOC Head of Education and Standards; Daniel Hardiman McCartney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists; Professor Kathryn Saunders, Professor of Optometry & Vision Science, University of Ulster, and special guest of ABDO, Bernard Maitenaz, the inventor of Varilux lenses.

The seminars, being held in the main Optrafair theatre and at a programme of seminars being held in the special ABDO theatre area, provide opticians with a great opportunity to hear from leading figures in the fields of R&D, vision science and manufacturing optics.

Among the companies supporting the seminars are, Topcon, Heidelberg Engineering, Carl Zeiss, Hoya, and Bausch + Lomb. Keynote speakers have been provided by leading industry bodies including the British Contact Lens Association, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and the College of Optometrists.

Alongside the exhibition, the GOC will be holding consultation workshops on the future standards of practice using feedback from clinicians on the front line. These sessions also carry three CET points

The ‘Question Time’ style panel debate (Saturday 18th at 4.30pm) on the future of retail optics is not to be missed. Chaired by BBC Radio 4’s Peter White, the illustrious panel includes: Doug Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, Ben Fletcher, Managing Director, Boots Opticians; Ryan Leighton, CEO, Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care; Peter Noakes, Optometrist & Partner, Noakes Habermehl and Kerr Opticians, and Imran Hakim, Director of Entrepreneurship, UMIP.

Visit Optrafair's Page

Michael Sobanja announced as Chair of Vision UK 2015 conference

February 2015

Michael Sobanja, NHS Alliance Director of Policy, has been announced as Chair of the Vision UK 2015 conference on Thursday 18 June 2015 at Central Hall Westminster in London. Titled ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy’, the seventh annual Vision UK conference will feature a brand new format, with delegates able to choose from one of five conference streams, focused on delivering aspects of the UK Vision Strategy and tailored to different professional interests.

The NHS Alliance is an established and leading authority driving forward the role of primary care and is a provider of practitioner-led solutions across the sector. Unique in its approach, the NHS Alliance brings together primary care providers, practitioners, general practice, social and independent enterprise, NHS trusts and patients.

Mr Sobanja is the Alliance’s current director of policy, and was the organisation’s Chief Executive Officer from inception in 1998 until 2012. He has over 30 years’ management experience in the NHS, and is a consultant to a range of international research and communications companies. Mr Sobanja is a member of the UK Vision Strategy Leadership Group which drives and monitors progress in implementing the Strategy across the UK.

Mr Sobanja said: “I am delighted to be chairing this year’s Vision UK conference. One year on from the launch of NHS England’s Call to Action, this year’s event will provide an excellent forum to openly discuss the progress being made within the eye health and sight loss sector, and to hear about how the UK Vision Strategy is being implemented right around the UK.”

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.

Delegates are encouraged to book their Vision UK 2015 conference places before 17 April to receive the special early bird rate. Rates are £84 (including VAT) for voluntary delegates, and £114 (including VAT) for non-voluntary sector attendees

Norville Opticians helps Gloucester Rugby to keep their eyes on the ball

February 2015

Players from Gloucester Rugby are having their eyes examined by Norville Opticians as part of a unique eye care partnership agreed between the two organisations at the end of last year.

The leading independent chain of opticians which has 11 practices in and around Gloucestershire is providing eye care for the players and staff as well as sponsorship of Gloucester Rugby TV: the club’s online video channel. In addition to standard eye examinations the team will benefit from some of the latest technology which until recently has only been available in hospitals.

The technology enables a 3D image of the various layers inside the eye to be built up and recorded. If repeated over a period of time changes detected in the scans can give a vital early warning of several serious conditions before they even become apparent to the patient.

The technology is based on a technique called OCT (which stands for Optical Coherence Tomography). It is a complex technology used to measure the eye and particularly the layers of the retina (the light sensitive area at the back of the eye, equivalent to the film in a camera or CCD in a digital camera). The retina can be damaged by many common diseases like glaucoma, diabetes and age related macular degeneration which can lead to visual impairment or even blindness.

“Even strapping great rugby players need their eyes examined regularly,“ said Norville Opticians Director Adrian Street. “I am delighted that we are able to make this exciting capability available to the team. The sport is highly physical and now team members have an opportunity to monitor their health and have problems detected at a much earlier stage.”
Gloucester Rugby’s prop Dan Murphy is one of the first players to benefit from this close monitoring. He said: “There is increasing attention being paid to the health of those who take part in contact sports and, speaking as someone who plies his trade in the rough and tumble of the pack, it is reassuring to know that my eyes are being monitored in this way.”
The test is very simple, takes just a few seconds and is completely non-contact; there are no sudden puffs of air or flashes of light. Any areas that appear unusual can then be measured and later repeat scans can be lined up with the original and any changes can be seen and measured.

Adrian Street added “The OCT is available to anyone who is concerned about their long term eye health. Unfortunately the test is not part of the NHS eye examination and so we have to charge a nominal fee but when you consider what it can detect then it’s well worth the money.”

Image shows Norville Opticians optometrist John Everett obtains cross-sectional pictures of Gloucester Rugby front row player Dan Murphy’s eyes to check for possible early signs of several serious conditions.

The use of Avastin for wet AMD… the College’s response

February 2015

In response to yesterday’s appeal from the clinical leaders of 120 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) to make Avastin routinely available to people with wet AMD, David Parkins, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “The College of Optometrists welcomes the NHS Clinical Commissioners call to the Department of Health, NHS England and General Medical Council for Avastin to be used off licence to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) in place of Lucentis, and for the £102 million in savings that could be made every year to be re-invested in the frontline delivery of eye health services in the interest of the patients.

“The College acknowledges the need for an open debate around a review of the use of Avastin to effectively treat wAMD, but our primary responsibility is to ensure patients receive the best possible treatments for their eye conditions, and for doctors to be able to make the right choice of treatment for their patients.”

WCSM holds first Excel Moot

February 2015

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers achieved a first by holding a Moot at 100% Optical at Excel.

Moots demonstrate the Company’s unique place in optics as a meeting point for the exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of good fellowship. This Moot, in the form of Any Questions meets Question Time, on the main stage at 100% Optical attracted a fully engaged audience and interesting questions.

The panel was chaired by its Master, Dr Christine Tomkins, and was made up of members of the Company seen in the photograph. They are Professor David Gartry (Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Vision Sciences at City), Angus Bankes (Chief Information Officer at Skimlinks, an internet company), Gareth Hadley (Chair of the General Optical Council) and Debbie Gigg (WCSM Training Director).

The discussion which included contributions from the audience was lively and covered the regulation of online sight tests from overseas through to the relevance of Livery Companies in the 21st century.

A case of wine offered for those attending the Moot was won by Julian Wiles (Managing Director at Performance Lenses Ltd).

'Get Over Future Shock' a lecture at MIDO on:
Wearable Technology and the Opportunities it will present for the Optical Industry

February 2015

Tim Moore, CMO of New York based Rochester Optical and one of Forbes top five most influential speakers in the world on Wearable Technology, is set to present live sessions highlighting the opportunities wearable technology will present for the Optical Industry - ‘Get Over Future Shock’ - at MIDO 2015, Milan, 28 Feb to 2 March.

The free to attend, 30 minute long sessions, will take place twice daily at 11:00 and 15:00 on stand S15 T18 in Hall 4 during the whole period of the show in front of the Design Lab lounge, where the team from Waterside Labs will also be demonstrating Rochester Optical’s Smart Solutions™ for Smart Glasses.

Tim’s presentations are attracting a great deal of attention on both sides of the Atlantic and introduce the concept of Digital Vision Technology Centres. Prior to MIDO he made a big impact on Eye Care Professionals attending the recent ‘100% Optical’ Show in London where he spoke on the main stage and he is scheduled to present to large crowds at ‘Vision Expo East’ in New York in March.

“2015 will see demand for smart glasses rise sharply,” says Tim, CMO and Director of Wearable Technology for Rochester Optical, the leading US manufacturer and pioneer of fashion and prescription lens solutions for smart glasses. “Optical professionals need to be ahead of the curve and get ready for what is set to be the next big thing in wearable technology. With interest surging by consumer and enterprise the world over, smart glasses may be the most game changing innovation since the first smart phone. This will have a massive impact on the eyewear sector with prescription lenses and frames for smart glasses presenting significant new revenue streams for Opticians.”

Technology giants like Google, Seiko, Epson, Samsung, Lenovo, Sony and Microsoft all either have smart glasses on the market or are releasing one shortly. The global stage for this new sector is ready to mushroom quickly, not just in units sold but also in real profit. Global revenue from smart devices will triple by 2016 and surpass $50 billion in sales by 2019, according to Jupiter Research.

Rochester Optical, has developed the most advanced prescription lens solution for smart glasses with their patent pending Smart GOLD™ lenses. Like no other, Smart GOLD™ lenses provide visual acuity and clarity when wearing smart glasses such as Google Glass, Vuzix M100 or the Epson Moverio BT200.”

Rochester Optical leads the way in optical innovation including safety and fashion frame and lenses design. The company is working closely on the fashion front with top eyewear designer Simon Chim and its European representative and distributor, Waterside Laboratories.

London South Bank University and the Institute of Optometry to run research study

February 2015

The study will be on “Decision making and referral practice of UK optometrists and whether it is influenced by the new enhanced Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme.

The two main objectives are:
1) to determine the clinical and non-clinical reasons for referral decisions.
2) to determine to what extent vignettes indicate/reflect what practitioners actually do in their referrals (as measured from practice visits) and estimate any correction factor.

The study will lead hopefully to a Professional Doctorate for David Parkins who works within the Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group. Optometrists working in this area are excluded fro that reason.

This research is being overseen by London South Bank University and the Institute of Optometry. Website and prize funding has been provided from LOC Central fund and BBG LOC sources.

This study has been approved by the ethics committees of the Institute of Optometry and the University Research Ethics Committee at London South Bank University.
All community optometrists working in the UK are invited to take part in the study.

Those consenting to take part be asked to complete and sign a consent form and provide their General Optical Council (GOC) Number and agree to share their CET diary for the six month period (downloadable from 'My GOC'). Participators are free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason. A decision to withdraw at any time, or a decision not to take part, will not affect them or their practice.

Participants will be asked to complete an online survey on two occasions: the first will consist of a pre-CET set of ten vignettes which will assess their approach to making referrals. There will then be a six month period during which they should carry out their normal CET activity and whatever CET options, including undertaking no CET during this period can be chosen

At the end of this six month period they will be asked to complete another online CET survey, which consists of a different post-CET set of ten vignettes. The vignettes will take the form of mini referral scenarios (with histories, symptoms and examination results). During this period, a small number of participants (up to 15 optometrists who practise within a boundary of 20 miles outside the M25) will be randomly selected and asked if they would be willing to participate in the second part of this study. This will involve participants collecting data on the number of sight tests performed, the number of referrals made and keeping anonymised copies of any referral letters for a period of one month. Those who agree to this will receive a practice visit from Parkins to collect the anonymised data for further analysis. This will be designed to keep any extra work by participants to a minimum and the visit should take no longer than 2 hours and include a very short meeting. This is to ensure a safe handover of information and to clarify any areas of detail.

It is anticipated that there will be 1 CET point from completion of CET questions after the second set of vignettes.

There will be opportunities for practitioners who are involved in the visits to receive feedback on their current referral decisions

It is hoped that the results of this study may help to target which CET produces better outcomes and may influence the development of better local ophthalmic pathways.

All information which is collected about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential. Any information which is shared with others (e.g. in reports and publications or is shared with a supervisor) will have your name and address removed so that you cannot be recognised from it.

Anonymised data will be password protected in electronic format and kept for five years from the completion date or from the date of a published paper on the study whichever is the latter.

The results of the research will be part of Parkins' professional doctorate and publication of a paper on the study is proposed in an ophthalmic publication. No participants will be identified in any report/publication.

Read more about the study at:

Optometry Tomorrow 2015 just around the corner and will be held Sunday 8 – Monday 9 March at the Brighton Centre

February 2015

Optometry Tomorrow, the College’s annual conference, AGM and exhibition and attracts enthusiastic delegates from independent, multiple, locum and hospital settings. The 2014 event was their most successful to date, with over 700 delegates. The 2015 conference will deliver more clinical content, giving you skills, knowledge and tips to take back into practice, as well as those vital interactive CET points.

Following the success of last year’s programme format, including six streams of cutting-edge lectures, seminars, hands-on clinical workshops, discussion workshops and peer discussions, the conference will again be covering key topics affecting the profession.

The packed programme will feature:

• peer discussion sessions
• clinical and discussion workshops
• a therapeutics stream, including an independent prescribing peer discussion
• a trade exhibition where you can learn about innovative product developments
• the chance to discuss latest research with clinical and academic experts
• sessions on OCT, paediatrics, AMD, low vision and dry eye
• the ability to gain up to 15 interactive CET points as a member over two days.

Grafton to show 2 brand new products at Optometry Tomorrow

February 2015

Visit them on stand 34.

Grafton will be displaying 2 brand new products, one being 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.

Also on display will be the NEW Pachmate 2, hand held pachymeter with blue tooth enhancement.

Following a highly successful exhibition at 100% London, Grafton will be demonstrating their new equipment with a particular focus on how these new technical innovations can make a real difference to your clinical care as well as being great practice builders. Make sure you take time to experience the usability of Grafton’s ground breaking new optometric technology.

Go to Show Deals Download to see the special show deals available during the conference. Not attending then just give them a call.

PHN Grafton pages

Insights into corneal stem cell therapy

February 2015

Corneal stem cell therapy and tissue engineering will be the ‘hot topics’ of the next scientific evening meeting of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) to be held on Monday 30 March at the Royal College of Physicians, London.

Sharing her expert knowledge and current research findings in the exciting field of corneal stromal stem cell transplantation will be Julie Daniels, Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Cellular Therapy at the Institute of Ophthalmology UCL Centre for Stem Cells and Degenerative Medicine. Her presentation is entitled, ‘Stem cell therapy and tissue engineering in the cornea: the aims, challenges and the options’, and it is approved for one CET point.

The Founding Director of the Cells for Sight Cell Therapy Research Unit, which is currently delivering stem cell therapy to patients with blinding ocular surface disease, Professor Daniels will discuss the role of stem cells in maintaining a healthy cornea and vision, how stem cell deficiency and corneal scarring can compromise vision, new stem cell therapy approaches for blinding corneal disease, and the current limitations and challenges of stem cell therapy and how these may be addressed using tissue engineering.

Providing an introduction to the evening will be Julian Jackson, senior advisor to Fight for Sight, the eye research charity, which since 2007 has funded a number of Professor Daniels’ projects into developing stem cell therapy as an alternative to corneal transplants.

Professor Daniels commented: “An estimated 10 million people worldwide have sight loss due to damaged corneas – usually from scarring caused by injury or infection. Often people’s vision can be restored by receiving a corneal transplant from a donor. However, there aren’t enough donors to treat everyone, so finding an alternative is important.

“My current project explores how stem cell therapy could help restore vision to people with scarred corneas. It could also benefit people with an inherited condition including keratoconus. I look forward to sharing my current findings and future goals with BCLA members in March, and to help raise the profile of the valuable support which Fight for Sight can provide to researchers such as myself,” Professor Daniels added.

BCLA members are invited to register online at (under Events). The evening starts at 6.30pm with welcome drinks, with the presentations running from 7-8pm.

Each member may bring one non-member guest to the meeting.

Optical Confederation Circulates Position on Over- and Under-Claiming GOS Fees in England

February 2015

As matters of principle

• Optical Confederation members are committed to working together in the best interests of patients and the sector

• Fraud is never acceptable or defensible but errors of over and under-claiming however occur in all non-automated claims systems

• Optical Confederation members will work with the NHS to ensure NHS resources are properly expended.

In doing so they start from the following positions

1. GOS contracts in England are only between NHS England and the contractor

2. Any recoverable funds should therefore be agreed between the contractor and NHS England

3. Contractors and performers (including locums) should cooperate in interpreting records, explaining prescribing and dispensing decisions and in resolving any claims issues

4. It is reasonable for a contractor to believe that their business is GOS compliant if they have undergone had a PPV inspection in the past at which no concerns were raised or any concerns were addressed

5. If NHS England subsequently considers that a contractor`s processes are incorrect, notice should be given to allow the contractor - and possibly the wider profession - to comply

6. Extrapolation should only be by agreement between NHS England and the contractor as this is not a proportionate approach in many cases

7. Optical Confederation member bodies and legal teams will cooperate to reach solutions wherever possible

8. The Optical Confederation will continue to engage with NHS England to agree a revised PPV process and protocol which is long overdue. Until that is agreed, it would be unfair for audit and legal fees to be included in any repayment

9. Optical Confederation members will continue to provide ongoing training for contractors and performers in financial and clinical audit, record keeping and any other learning from the PPV process

10. The Optical Confederation will continue to press for an e-GOS system for claims and payments so that any errors, unusual patterns or outliers can be identified, investigated and remedied at source.

1st World Congress of Optometry - online registration now open

February 2015

Online registration is now open for the 1st World Congress of Optometry. Delegates can book their places at There are a range of options available and those registering early can take advantage of reduced rates.

The 1st World Congress of Optometry, organised by The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and the Colombian Federation of Optometrists (FEDOPTO), takes place from 14 – 16 August, 2015 in Medellín, Colombia and is the first global congress for optometrists and eye health professionals. The three days of COPE and CET-accredited lectures, seminars and workshops are organised within parallel scientific and educational tracks, and fully supported by poster, clinical photography and video displays. There is also a commercial exhibition featuring the latest innovations within the sector, and a public outreach programme. The organisers have put together a lively social itinerary to maximise networking opportunities and ensure that delegates make the most of their time in beautiful Medellín.

Susan Cooper, President of WCO says: ‘The 1st World Congress is a unique collaboration that will help shape the future of optometry. We encourage optometrists from all over the world to come and benefit from the exciting programme and be part of this historical opportunity.’

Jose Manuel Gomez, President of FEDOPTO, adds: ‘Colombian optometrists are looking forward to welcoming colleagues old and new to this ground-breaking Congress, set to become the highlight of the optometry events calendar.’

The Vision Care Institute® supports Optometry Giving Sight

February 2015

Optometry Giving Sight thanks THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE®, UK, of Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd for their ongoing support through their International Charity of Choice partnership since 2013. The institute supports Optometry Giving Sight by inviting Eye Care Professionals to help fund sustainable eye care projects by making a donation whilst attending their training events.

Sheetal Patel, Manager, THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE®, UK commented “As a global business and in line with the company Credo, Johnson & Johnson has a responsibility to support charities and initiatives that help to improve patient health whether locally or worldwide. Supporting Optometry Giving Sight in their endeavors to improve access to eye care for millions of people is an important part of this ethos and one which at THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE® we will continue to drive support.”

The Institute generously matches all donations made from those that attend their training events. A recent donation of £1,203 was made on behalf of the Institute and the Eye Care Professionals that have attended courses.

Donna Power, Regional Manager Europe Optometry Giving Sight commented “We are very thankful for the ongoing commitment from THE VISION CARE INSTITUTE® and their Eye Care Professionals towards the development of sustainable eye care.” Ms. Power continues “This support helps Optometry Giving Sight to continue funding 47 projects in 28 countries, offering millions of people the access to eye care they desperately need and deserve.”

Social Media Marketing Tops FMO Agenda for March

February 2015

Approaching business prospects in a different way, by using online media, is the major focus for the next FMO members’ meeting.

The Aston Villa event, to be held on Wednesday 11 March, will reveal how to by-pass the gate-keepers to many buying decisions, and to generate good business leads, says social media specialist, and Birmingham Young Professional of the Year, Jodie Cook –

“By reaching people on a personal level we can show delegates how to contact their key prospects. I will be demonstrating how easy it is to use Twitter and LinkedIn, particularly, to search for people via their job title, industry and location, making the job of selling a much more direct route,” she said.

For company owners there is news of the proposed changes to the Business Rates rebate, as set by the Valuations office – which could represent considerable implications: details to be outlined at the event.

“Best Practice Procurement” from a new provider of FMO member benefits, will be promoted, along with many of the other advantages of belonging to the world’s longest established optical trade body. With April’s Optrafair just a few weeks away there will be news about collaborations with other optical bodies, and the educational forum and show plans for the NEC event.

After the networking lunch, industry specific Frame, Lens and Equipment focus groups will discuss current market conditions and opportunities, drawing together a large network of optically related suppliers.

Join the debate about Goldmann Applanation Tonometry (GAT) at the College of Optometrists’ event in Lincoln

February 2015

Peter Frampton FCOptom, Senior IP Optometrist, Northumberland, will present a lecture titled ‘Mr. Imbert, Mr. Fick and Mr. Goldmann: Has anyone actually seen the original papers what do they actually tell us?’ at the College of Optometrists’ free member event in Lincoln this March.

In his lecture, Peter will re-appraise the original Imbert, Fick and Goldmann papers, questioning whether these will still be relevant when producing the next ‘Gold Standard’ in tonometry. The lecture will take place on 25 March at the Best Western Bentley Hotel Leisure Club & Spa, Lincoln.

He said: “This lecture will encourage optometrists to consider why historical precedent and familiarity seems to falsely maintain Goldmann Applanation Tonometry (GAT) as ‘Gold Standard’. Many people question this stance, and I wonder if it was Goldmann’s professional reputation which encouraged acceptance of the technique, rather than critical appraisal of the original papers.

“With biomechanical modelling of the cornea becoming more sophisticated, concepts of mechanical modelling must also adapt. I hope that delegates will join me in debating what has been done in the past and what the future could bring for tonometry.”

Delegates who attend the lecture will earn one interactive CET point, and those who stay for the peer discussion, will earn another three interactive CET points. The peer discussion will cover cases on: emergency examination, macular supplements and advanced undiagnosed glaucoma.

This lecture is part of the College’s series of events which take place across the UK throughout the year. Catherine Bithell, Director of Marketing and Member Services, said: “Members hear from leading experts on a range of topics, and can take part in peer discussion at our regional events. There is also a chance to earn CET points, meet their local College Council representative, and network with local optometrists.”

The lecture and peer discussion session will follow networking time and a buffet.

Merseyside-based student dispensing optician suspended from GOC registers

February 2015

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has suspended Merseyside-based student dispensing optician Andrew Uttley from its registers for 12 months.

A GOC fitness to practise committee found his fitness to undertake training impaired by virtue of misconduct in dishonestly taking monies totalling £1,111 from his employer.

In making its decision the committee, chaired by Corinna Kershaw, noted that: “The thefts amount to a serious departure from what is expected of an employee. It is expected that an employee in the Registrant’s position would act in an ‘honest and trustworthy’ manner. Given the nature and extent of the Registrant’s conduct in this matter, the Committee find that misconduct is made out.

“The Committee…had regard to the public interest; the registrant’s age at the time of his misconduct; his sincere remorse and the degree of insight he demonstrated in his evidence; the fact that all monies had been repaid to his employer; that the method of theft was not sophisticated; that he voluntarily informed the GOC of his wrong doing; and that he has been unable to register as fully qualified dispensing optician for the last two years. Accordingly the Committee has determined that a suspension order for a period of 12 months is the appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case.”

Uttley is now unable to undertake training in the UK as a dispensing optician.

Uttley has 28 days to appeal his suspension, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate order.

Leading retailers confirm presence at Optrafair 2015

February 2015

Leading optical retailers including BOOTS OPTICIANS, TESCO and SPECSAVERS have all confirmed their presence at Optrafair 2015. As well as being the essential show for frame fashion and style advice; the latest technology, and inspirational education, Optrafair is also the best UK show for new job opportunities. The major high street retailers at the three-day show this April will all be providing valuable career advice for optical professionals.

Ben Fletcher, Managing Director, Boots Opticians says, “It’s been an incredible year for Boots Opticians, having introduced our market-leading new customer offer, opening new stores across the country and launching our new innovative blue lens product.

“The business is moving at pace and the buzz and excitement can be felt amongst our practices and colleagues. We’ve got some great things planned for Optrafair this year and would urge anyone who is interested in pursuing a career with us, or who simply wants to learn more about Boots Opticians, to come and meet our team on stand E40.”

Victoria Taylor DipRP MIRP Head of Professional Recruitment UK, Specsavers Optical Stores says, “We thoroughly enjoy supporting Optrafair, as it gives our teams from around the globe the opportunity to talk to optical professionals who may be interested in a career with Specsavers.

“Whether it is an international move, a Partnership opportunity in store or our domiciliary territories or as one of our valued in store professionals; there will be representatives from every area to have a chat with you on the Specsavers stand (L10).”

Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers is delighted to be joining the experienced panel to discuss the future of retail optics in the UK, in a Question Time style debate – one of the show’s highlights.

Says Dame Mary, “Nothing ever stands still and we must embrace the changes that will be led by our valued customers.”

"Optrafair is an important focal point (sorry!) for UK optics, bringing everything under one roof - products, equipment, charities, education, seminars, peer discussions, everything packed into a three day event. Where better for us to exhibit to give information regarding recruitment and career opportunities?”

The organisers of Optrafair are also delighted to welcome first time exhibitor Tesco to its iconic show which, with over 90% of stand space booked, is on target to reach 200 exhibitors, 500 brands and 7,000 visitors – representing a significant increase over previous shows.

Malcolm Polley, Optrafair director says, “Optrafair is the only UK show that covers every area of the optical industry from manufacturing to retail. The major multiples in the retail sector recognise that Optrafair is their best annual opportunity to meet present employees as well as reach out and talk face to face with new job seekers.”

The next Optrafair event is being held at the NEC in Birmingham 18-20 April 2015. For more information and to register go to:

UK Vision Strategy calls on eye health and sight loss stakeholders to get involved in local lobbying

February 2015

UK Vision Strategy partners are urging eye health and sight loss stakeholders to lobby their local parliamentary candidates in the lead up to the 2015 General Election. Local organisations will be supported in their lobbying with the UK Vision Strategy lobbying guide, which accompanies the General Election Manifesto.

The campaign is non-party political, with the UK Vision Strategy lobbying campaign aiming to persuade politicians of all parties to adopt policies that will improve the delivery of eyecare in the community and services to blind and partially sighted people during the next Parliament.

Katherine Raven, UK Vision Strategy Senior Manager said: “The General Election presents a vital opportunity for partners to work together to increase understanding amongst parliamentary candidates about the key issues in the UK Vision Strategy Manifesto, which is supported by leading eye health and sight loss organisations in the UK.

Almost two million adults, children and young people in the UK live with a serious sight problem but without decisive action this is set to double by 2050. We call on all eye health and sight loss stakeholders to lobby their candidates to ensure prominence for eye health and sight loss in the next Parliament.”

The lobbying campaign will seek to advance the UK Vision Strategy 2015 General Election Manifesto, sets out six effective interventions that will save sight and deliver a better quality of life for people living with sight loss. They are:

• More people have access to a regular sight test, and better community eye care provision.
• Timely access to high-quality specialist care, including cataract surgery and NICE-approved treatments for the main eye conditions.
• Support in the eye clinic for people diagnosed with a sight-threatening condition.
• Rapid access to rehabilitation, habilitation and low vision services.
• Support with the extra costs of sight loss.
• Improved access to transport and the built environment.

Each UK Vision Strategy General Election Manifesto intervention has been chosen in recognition of the very tough expenditure environment, and will offer value for money.

To read the UK Vision Strategy lobbying guide and Manifesto and to find out you can support the campaign, please visit:

College provides “Focus on Falls Presentation”

February 2015

Did you know that falls are the most common cause of people over 65 being taken into hospital? Further, that you are almost twice as likely to fall if you are over 65 and have some form of visual impairment? Optometrists can play a vital role in helping to prevent falls by detecting and appropriately correcting sight loss. The College of Optometrists is trying to promote a better understanding of the pivotal role that improving vision has on falls. To this end, they have produced a presentation to help those outside of optometry to be aware of the link between vision and falls.

The presentation:

• Explains how vision and falls are related
• Outlines the potential consequences of low vision for patients
• Surmises the College report Focus on Falls
• Provides solutions for practitioners (both optometrists and others)

Throughout the NHS, those professionals who have frequent contact with the elderly should be aware of the links between falls and low vision. Falls are the biggest cause of accidental death in people over 75 and cost the NHS around £2.2 billion per year. Further, older people with sight loss face life circumstances that differ from their sighted peers, including anxiety, depression as well as social and economic exclusion.

Optometrists are in a good position to identify people who are at an increased risk of falling, for example elderly patients who have a change in their prescription and/or wear multifocal lenses. Optometry as a profession can play an important role in treating patients with sight loss who have fallen and also in mitigating risk by offering advice on prevention both to patients themselves and other medical professionals outside of optometry.

Download the presentation from here
Download a PDF Focus on Falls report

Optical Confederation release Fluorescein update

February 2015

Key points:

• Current advice on the use of CE-marked fluorescein strips in community optical practice remains unchanged
• Much delayed discussions about the classification of fluorescein strips in the EU are about to restart but no significant progress is likely before the summer
• There are currently no problems with availability – and some new CE marked products have come onto the market
• No adverse incidents arising from the use of fluorescein strips have been reported in either Europe or the USA
• The Optical Confederation is a member of the European Council of Optics and Optometry (ECOO) which has submitted evidence and is tracking developments closely

As readers will know Fluorescein strips have been manufactured and supplied as CE marked medical devices across much of Europe since their introduction and are regularly and safely used by eye health professionals. However the definition of “diagnosis” developed by the Borderline and Classification Expert Group’s taskforce has caused fluorescein strips to be classified as a medicinal product, rather than a medical device. This requires a higher level of regulatory approval which risks making the supply non cost-effective for many suppliers.

ECOO has been working to have this definition and therefore the classification reassessed. In April 2014 Member States and a number of stakeholders, including ECOO and the Clinical Consensus Panel on fluorescein submitted evidence to the taskforce challenging the definition. The taskforce was then meant to review the definition. However no progress has been made and the meeting of the Expert Group planned for October 2014 was postponed to February 2015.

OC’s understanding is that the EU Expert Group will resume work this month and that a second round of discussions about the definition will take place. A pilot exercise is then planned to assess the impact the proposed classifications may have on the supply of several products, including fluorescein strips. The next meeting of the Expert Group that may address this issue is provisionally scheduled for 2 June 2015.

The Optical Confederation, as part of ECOO, will continue to closely monitor progress and will seek to be involved in the new discussions on the definition and in the pilot project for fluorescein strips. We will continue to provide periodic progress reports to members.

ECOO asks member countries to report twice a year on any adverse incidents arising from the use of CE-marked fluorescein strips and monitors any adverse incidents reported to the FDA in the United States where use is even more widespread. To date no adverse events have been reported or noted. This evidence is used in discussions with the EU Expert Group.

Commenting on the availability of fluorescein the OC says that although there was initially a supply issue when fluorescein strips were classified as medicinal products, suitable CE marked products have remained available and new products have also come onto the market. Practitioners should continue to use such strips in line with the guidance issued by the Optical Confederation Clinical Consensus Panel until further notice.

BCLA welcomes new Fellows in India

February 2015

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has welcomed 20 new Fellows after holding its first-ever Fellowship examinations in India.

In a new initiative designed to strengthen and expand BCLA Fellowship internationally, BCLA members residing in India were able to apply for Fellowship and sit their viva voce examinations during the Masterclass Optometry Knowledge Fest held in Pune from 2-4 February.

Masterclass Optometry is a unique educational initiative, which works to upgrade the optometry profession in India. As well as hosting the BCLA Fellowship examinations, the Knowledge Fest included a BCLA session including a keynote presented by Professor James Wolffsohn, BCLA Academic Committee Chairman, and a ‘BCLA to Go’ contact lens fitting workshop.

Twenty candidates successfully achieved the level required for the BCLA Fellowship. “It was a moment of pride for Indian Optometry when all candidates were deemed eligible and subsequently awarded their BCLA Fellowship,” said Nilesh Thite, Masterclass Optometry co-organiser and Director of Educational Programmes for the International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE).

Nilesh, one of the first practitioners in India to be awarded FBCLA in 2013 and who played an instrumental role in bringing the BCLA to India, introduced the BCLA session. He said: “Professor Wolffsohn gave a fascinating glimpse into the BCLA and its membership services. His scientific talk detailed the evidence-basis underpinning various aspects of clinical examination such as history taking, grading scales and record keeping, and aspects of soft lens fits.

“It is my dream to see Masterclass Optometry on a global platform. With almost 10 per cent of total Fellows of the BCLA being Indian, we are surely closer to it now,” Nilesh added.

Commenting on receiving her Fellowship, Meena Kharat, said: “It’s a great feeling to be awarded BCLA Fellowship as it recognises and acknowledges competency in the field of contact lenses. An international Fellowship offers more visibility to the clinician. FBCLA will give my patients more confidence to choose me over other practitioners looking at this extra, unique credential.”

Gauri Kunjeer commented: “Being a Fellow of the BCLA doesn’t just add to our prestige but also to our credentials and puts us at par with contact lens practitioners worldwide. Such awards definitely help to elevate the profession of optometry in India and help us to showcase Indian talent on a larger international platform. This is a great initiative by Indian optometry and the BCLA to liaise and facilitate interaction between Fellows who share the same passion for contact lenses.”

Usman Memon said: “Being a FBCLA means my institute, the Nagar School of Optometry, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, will benefit from having a faculty member bearing an international standard for contact lenses as one of its priority subjects.”

Ruchi Shah added: “For me, receiving BCLA Fellowship means additional motivation, inspiration and responsibility to perform better and excel in our respective fields. It has not only made us all proud but has also given us an opportunity to have a wider perspective, which will help us to improve and educate ourselves further in the field of contact lenses.”

The BCLA will hold its 2015 UK-based viva voce BCLA Fellowship examinations during its 39th Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held from 29-31 May at the ICC Liverpool. All BCLA members who satisfy the entry criteria are invited to apply on, or before, 31 March to be eligible for viva voce assessment at the 2015 BCLA Clinical Conference.

Waterside Labs Increases Presence at Optrafair Stand F46

February 2015

Following tremendous interest in Waterside Labs’ frame and lens solutions for smart glasses at recent major international Optical trade fairs, the independent prescription laboratory has substantially increased the size of its stand at Optrafair, 18 – 20 April, NEC, Birmingham.

Exclusively, Optrafair 2015 will see the official launch of Waterside Labs’ 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, Epson Moverio BT-200 and the new sports smart glass - Recon Jet.

Waterside Labs Managing Director, Bob Forgan explains, “Driven by incredible interest in our expanding portfolio of innovative new products and services at the likes of Silmo - Paris, Opti - Munich, CES - Las Vegas and the Hong Kong Optical Fair and 100% we have booked additional space at Optrafair in order to do each area of our business justice. We are creating two clearly defined areas within the increased stand space. One for smart eyewear where we have allowed plenty of room for visitors to experience first-hand some examples of our smart glass products, see images of our new Digital Vision Technology Centre concepts and our unique solutions for wearers who need vision correction. The second area will showcase our complete range of lab services and provide a platform for the UK launch of ‘ELYSIUM®’, our new generation progressives.”

Waterside unveils ‘ELYSIUM®’

‘ELYSIUM®’, progressives take individualised lens design to a whole new level thanks to Digital Ray-Path® Technology. When dispensed in conjunction with their all-new innovative iPad app, which can be used by either consumer or optical professional as part of the lens selection process, progressive wearers can have lenses designed to match their individual needs and lifestyle. This clever new interactive on screen consultation app generates confidence and transforms the buying experience for progressive wearers.

“Essentially it identifies the best lens for the individual through a series of steps, engineered to evaluate the wearers’ expectations, needs, previous experience and reading habits,” says Bob

Successful dispensing of modern individualised progressives requires specific and accurate measurements including; individual PDs, fitting heights, wrap angle, BVD and panto angle. OptikamPad from Waterside is the ultra-portable measuring system and dispensing aid, which incorporates the iPad Air. One photograph providing 10 measurements coupled with interactive sales / dispensing aid functions, OptikamPad enhances the dispensing experience for the eyecare professional and patient alike.

The Future of Eyewear

At Optrafair, Waterside MD Bob Forgan, will speak twice on ‘Smart Glasses – the Future of Eyewear’. During his presentations Bob will give an insight in to the latest developments in Smart Glass technology, focusing on the opportunities this new category offers to Opticians and addressing how to overcome the new optical challenges that Smart Glasses will present.

Bob explains further, “Smart eyewear vision correction is set to transform the eyewear industry. Our current business model will be overturned as smart technologies create an even more competitive environment. Our goal at Waterside is to create a unique position within the independent sector offering a product range that is ‘different from the competition’, allowing us, and our independent optician customers, to ‘stand out from the crowd’. Our focus is firmly on meeting and exceeding the needs of independent opticians. At Optrafair, one of our objectives is to highlight the sizeable business opportunities for eye care professionals that will be presented by the anticipated massive global growth in the Smart Eyewear sector.

“These are exciting times for the wearables sector and for Waterside. We are forging ahead with our plans to grow the business in established areas and new product sectors - and showcasing our products at leading events such as Optrafair is an important part of our marketing strategy,” adds Bob.”

100% Optical reports breaking all records & that marks a turning point in British Optics

February 2015

The event recorded a massive 25% increase in attendance with in excess of 6,000 visitors to the second edition of the London based event. There was overwhelmingly positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors to Europe’s newest optical event.

100% Optical is breaking the mould of trade events with an abundance of amazing brands, world class education, shows and workshops.

• 2,000 new products on show
• Seven packed out feature areas
• 12 captivating fashion shows
• 200 stunning stands from a range of high end exhibitors
• Thousands of pounds raised for official charity Fight for Sight
• Lively panel debates with industry best known names
• Celebrity appearances from The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury, Fashion Designer Paul Costello and Channel 4 Magician Chris Cox
• The industry’s finest craftsmen in the frame workshop

The line-up of top optical brands included an impressive range from eyewear, equipment, lenses, business services and contact lenses. Rodenstock, Bausch and Lomb, Silhouette, Haag-Streit, TD Tom Davies and Nikon were some of the new names to join the 2014 line up, making this the largest optical event in London for at least four decades.

The Exhibitor feedback is testament to the event’s success. Jason Kirk (Kirk & Kirk) commented “100% Optical 2015 was a great event that marks a turning point for British optics.” His sentiment was joined by many others including:

Chris Beal, Managing Director of Menrad commented, “It’s been an excellent show with plenty of activity and a positive vibe. Excellent platform for the launch of new active lifestyle brand Revo, with plenty of business booked and more in the pipeline”

Emma Baynes from Zeiss also commented:

“We've had a very successful show at 100% Optical, even better than last year! It’s been great to see so many customers and some new faces too. We're delighted to have been a part of the CET lectures and workshops as well. We look forward to next year!”

Peter Friedfeld, Exec Vice President from Aspire:

“As an American based company we found the quality of the attendees to be excellent. The venue and overall organisation of 100% Optical has been excellent. A great show for London!”
The visitor reaction has also been phenomenal, with the following comments received on social media and at the show:

“The show provided a great selection of large and small brands. It's a good size and there is great CET on offer - better than Optrafair”

Nicholas Fox - Fox Stephens

“This is my first visit to 100% Optical and it is very good. East to find, nicely laid out, useful informative talks and I've met with suppliers.”

Indy Doldey - Shropshire

“Excellent show - the CET is amazing”

Chatoo - London

And furthermore….from Twitter:

— Bridal Eyewear (@bridaleyewear) February 10, 2015
Equipment ordered, frames selected all new & exciting at @100Optical

Bowen Opticians (@BowenOpticians) February 10, 2015, We are always on the look-out for cutting edge design in eyewear, and we've struck gold (wood!) with @BantonFrames #100optical.

— Stirling Opticians (@StirlingOpt) February 9, 2015, @100%Optical - The Future of Independent Optics

The big production catwalk shows in the fashion hub, with dancers and models, put a new twist on celebrating the best new eyewear designs. Eyewear buyers were treated to a visual show like no other in the UK, giving them the latest trends and inspiration for the spring and summer seasons.

With four keynote speakers each day, 100% Optical delivered a comprehensive, world-leading educational programme produced in partnership with the Association of Optometrists (AOP) which amounted to a staggering 100+ CET points for attendants over the three-day event. With seven packed out seminar theatres and over 60 industry expert speakers including Professor Eric Papas, Designer Jason Kirk, Margaret Woodhouse OBE and Caroline Christie, 100% Optical and the AOP assembled a world leading panel of keynote speakers.

100% Optical showcased the best of young British talent through two design competitions.

The Eyewear Design Competition ran in conjunction with the world renowned Royal College of Art, whose students were invited to submit eyewear designs under two main categories: Couture and Ready to wear. The judging panel consisted of Marie Wilkinson (Cutler and Gross), Designer Emma Montague and Walter Berwisk from Algha Works (to name a few). Hannah Evans was announced as the winner, and will now go on to take an internship with Mondottica, and the entire short list has been approached for internships around the industry.

100% Optical also champions up and coming visual merchandise designers through a Visual Design Competition, which invited students to come up with some unique ideas for window displays based on the latest eyewear trends. The four finalists’ concepts were displayed in the fashion hub area to inspire opticians to create their own attractive and enticing window displays. The winning designer was Jade Edge who created ‘highlights’, and her window was purchased at the show.

Both competitions have already demonstrated they can give youngsters a foothold in this exciting industry, and provided visitors with the inspiration to go back to their own practice or shop and try something new.

The hugely popular #BLINKWINKTHINK campaign in association with our charity partner Fight For Sight was a huge success, raising in excess of thousands of pounds towards vital pioneering eye research. Exhibitors, visitors and celebrities all did their #BLINKWINKTHINK selfie and uploaded via their social media channels. The Fight for Sight party took place after the show on Sunday 8th Feb with a live ‘Rockaoke’ band playing to a crowd of lively optical professionals, all keen to cash donate and nominate their colleagues to sing. The standard of singing was phenomenal!

100% Optical’s Event Director, Nathan Garnett comments "We are extremely pleased with the second edition of 100% Optical. The addition of some key brands in the industry as well as support from across the optical profession meant that we were able to improve the experience for our visitors and deliver a trade event that the industry can be proud of. The feedback has been extremely supportive and we are now busy planning the 2016 show with lots of new ideas on how we can take it further. We are already up 50% year on year for exhibitor bookings and many new brands came to see how they could take part in 2016. 100% Optical in London is here to stay."

Vision Care for Homeless People seeks Regional Ambassadors

February 2015

Regional ambassadors who are keen to promote the charity message, and to raise funds, are needed by Vision Care for Homeless People.

Now in its twelfth year, the charity has grown to provide clinics in Birmingham, London, Brighton and Manchester. Centres are envisaged in other locations when funds and volunteers are in place to support them, as chair of the charity, and optometrist, Elaine Styles explained –

“We are fortunate to receive tremendous support in terms of volunteers, donated specs, lenses and glazing, plus excellent diagnostic technology from a host of wonderful sponsors. However, we need to fund the running of the centres and this is a significant cost.”

VCHP is looking for people who would like to support the charity – perhaps not in a hands-on way, but by boosting regional awareness and driving fundraising.

“We are keen to hear from people – perhaps not from optics – who are keen to raise awareness in schools, clubs and in communities which might fundraise for us. We are very open minded for them to organise and promote events according to their own inclinations and skills. The experience of putting together charitable bids would also be a significant advantage,” added Elaine.

In addition, volunteer clinic managers who can support optical professionals to run clinics on a regular basis are sought –

“You will be organising appointments, recording patients' details, helping them choose and fit spectacles and generally making everything run smoothly. You do not need to be in the optical industry - we will train you. The satisfaction you will feel after a half day clinic, having helped a homeless person feel safer, access learning or take an important step towards securing a job, cannot be beaten," added the charity.

Adlens® and Vision for a Nation® interviewed by the Associated Press about innovations in eyewear and charitable work in Rwanda

February 2015

Adlens, the global leader in adjustable focus eyewear, recently worked with its charitable partner Vision for a Nation® (VFAN) and philanthropist founder James Chen to produce a special video feature in collaboration with the Associated Press. The feature describes VFAN’s work in Rwanda and plans for the future, highlights James Chen’s vision and how Adlens’ Instant Eyewear and expertise supports this work.

The Associated Press - the largest and oldest news organization in the world, serving thousands of customers with coverage in all media and news in all formats – sought Adlens and VFAN out for their unique story, and has independently produced the feature for worldwide distribution across over 200 major television and news channels. This represents a fantastic opportunity for Adlens’ social heritage and ongoing eyewear innovations to be recognised by a global audience.

Developed from an extraordinary philanthropic initiative into a global enterprise, Adlens has always shown a strong social commitment through its association with the VFAN Foundation. James Chen established VFAN with the aim of providing universal access to eyeglasses, one nation at a time. The Foundation’s first nationwide programme is taking place in Rwanda, where there are just 14 eye care professionals for a population of almost 11 million people. VFAN is collaborating with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health in order to train Health Centre nurses across Rwanda in Primary Eye Care and this will provide all Rwandans with access to vision assessments and affordable eyeglasses.

Adlens has provided over 18,000 pairs of adjustable focus eyewear in the last 3 years for use in Rwanda, many coming from its ‘Buy One Give One’ programme. When a pair of Adlens’ John LennonTM Collection, Hemisphere® or AdlensFocussTM eyewear is purchased, a pair of Adlens Instant Eyewear is donated into a ‘bank’. VFAN can withdraw these ‘banked’ pairs of adjustable focus eyewear at no cost, and those who need them in Rwanda can then purchase a pair at the small fee of around $1.50. This fee goes to the Ministry of Health in Rwanda to keep supporting their ongoing developments in vision care.

As adjustable focus eyewear reduces time and costs associated with traditional lens laboratories, Adlens has the potential to truly revolutionise the way such healthcare is delivered. Ongoing improvements in adjustable focus technology are paving the way for ever more affordable and effective vision solutions for people all over the world.

Dr Graeme Mackenzie, Director of Regulatory and Industry Affairs at Adlens and optical advisor to Vision for a Nation, commented, “It’s wonderful that the Adlens and Vision for a Nation story has a chance to be heard by people everywhere. Vision is such an important part of life, affecting education, livelihoods and families across the globe, and so organisations like VFAN need to be recognised for the important work they are doing. Adlens is delighted to be contributing to such a great cause, and we’re particularly excited that our advances in the development of adjustable focus eyewear are playing a key part”.

A man who ate his hearing aids, a pilot who taxied a jumbo jet the wrong way and a lady who mistook her optometrist for a podiatrist…

February 2015

… Are just some of the mishaps that have recently prompted members of the public to get their eyes examined, according to the College of Optometrists. Both members of the public and optometrists were surveyed to understand attitudes towards eye health and discovered some of the strangest situations that people have got themselves into as a result of their deteriorating vision.

Despite finding themselves in these embarrassing and sometimes dangerous situations, over a third (36%) of people surveyed said that they put off visiting their optometrist for ‘months’ after noticing deterioration.

Dr Susan Blakeney, Clinical Adviser to the College of Optometrists, said: “Although these anecdotes may be extreme examples, there is a serious message behind this. It is important to be aware of the health of your eyes, and to seek professional advice early if you notice any changes to avoid these sorts of accidents.

“We see too many people who leave it weeks or months after noticing problems before they go to see an optometrist. The earlier an eye condition is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment is likely to be, so do not delay seeing your optometrist if you notice changes with your eyes or your vision. Regular eye exams are especially important as you get older. You will be advised on exactly how often your eye exams should be by your optometrist, but most people should have an eye examination at least every two years.”

The top vision mishaps that were reported to the College included:

• A lady who took her shoes and socks off in the optometrist’s consultation room thinking she was at the podiatrist (the shop next door)
• A pilot who landed a jumbo jet safely in thick fog but then taxied it the wrong way along the runway
• A student who turned up to the wrong exam room after misreading a sign (and subsequently missed their exam)
• A man who started chatting to a stranger in a bar, thinking it was his girlfriend
• People offending their friends and relatives by failing to recognise them across the street
• A driver who mistook traffic bollards for children in the road (they were found to need glasses for driving)
• A number of people driving the wrong way down a one way street
• A gentleman who had such dense cataracts that he ate his hearing aids, thinking they were cashew nuts (he was later rushed to hospital to have them removed)
• A maths teacher who misread a ‘minus’ sign as an ‘equals’ sign
• Being unable to read the horse names in the Racing Post
• Being unable to see own wrinkles or toenails.

Stronger Together?

February 2015

The National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) is pleased to announce a number of new affiliations with other national representative healthcare organisations. The NAPC will now be working closely with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Optical Confederation and the National Community Hearing Association. These organisations join our established working relationship with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Senior Leadership from these organisation have now been co-opted onto the council of the NAPC. Also, as the voice of primary care for the NHS Confederation, we are creating a force for change through a 'stronger together' relationship.

Dr James Kingsland OBE, President of NAPC said, "We are delighted to be working with these organisations to facilitate collective solutions to the challenges currently facing our NHS, networking best practice and align policy developments within these organisations for the benefit of patients. Forming these strategic affiliations demonstrates how the wider NHS community can have a unified voice to help describe how the out of hospital care and urgent and emergency medicine can be delivered more efficiently and effectively."

Dr Nav Chana, Chairman of the NAPC added "If we are going to cope with demand outside hospital, improve care services and population health, the service urgently needs this type of joined up leadership, collaborative working and co-production of practical solutions for people at national and local level."

IACLE launches its agenda for the future of global contact lens education

February 2015

How might augmented reality and wearable technologies be used alongside iPads and e-books in contact lens teaching of the future? That’s just one of the intriguing questions to be posed when educators from around the world gather for the Third IACLE World Congress on Contact Lens Education. The four-day meeting of the International Association of Contact Lens Educators will be hosted by the University of Manchester, UK from 24th to 28th May 2015.

The theme for the congress is Shaping the Future of Contact Lens Education. Delegates will hear experts from a wide range of backgrounds explore technologies and approaches that can be applied to contact lens teaching.

Sessions will also be broadcast live online as Web Lectures for IACLE members around the world to take part.

Keynote speakers and topics include:

• Dr Helen Crompton, Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at Old Dominion University Virginia, USA, who will review the latest and future educational technologies such as augmented reality, wearable technologies and robotics.

• Apple Distinguished Educator Joe Moretti, who will look at the iPad as a powerful mobile tool for explaining concepts and nurturing understanding, and for creating electronic books to distribute to students.

The use of Cloud-based note-taking, blended learning approaches and teaching strategies for evidence-based practice will be among other topics discussed.

Keynote speaker Professor Patrick Caroline of the Pacific University College of Optometry in Oregon, USA will share his expertise in inspiring optometric students and demonstrating the importance of ‘life-long learning’.

The program will also feature a special symposium discussing ‘How can educators grow contact lens penetration around the world?’

IACLE Vice President and Congress Chair, Professor Philip Morgan, commented: ‘This unique Congress will have a focus that’s very different from other contact lens events in that it’s tailored specifically to the needs of educators. We look forward to learning about these exciting technologies and their potential future applications.’

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

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).

DOCET launches free online level 2 safeguarding training for UK registered optometrists

February 2015

To meet the high demand for relevant Level 2 training, DOCET (The Directorate of Optometric Continuing Education), has updated its existing online safeguarding training provision and is launching two new safeguarding modules. The Level 2/Core Safeguarding Children (C-39212) is available now and Level 2/Core Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults (C-39821) is due out later this month. The modules are available completely free of charge to all UK registered optometrists on the DOCET website, . Each eLearning module takes up to two hours to complete, depending on individual learning speed, and can be completed section-by-section at the learner’s personal pace. The modules also include a multiple choice quiz to test knowledge, which can provide one CET point.

While not currently compulsory for optometrists, safeguarding training at Level 2 is strongly recommended. As the 2014 Optical Confederation guidance states: ‘Registered optical professionals have a professional duty to make the care of the patient their first and continuing concern. By definition this includes safeguarding them from abuse’. This guidance brings expectations of optometrists into line with those of other front line health staff, and practices should ensure that all members of staff know what to do if they suspect or observe signs or symptoms of possible abuse or neglect.
Sanjay Patel, DOCET Chair, says: ‘The Level 2 DOCET training and Optical Confederation guidance form a package of clear information and advice that will enable optometrists to play an active role in protecting the more vulnerable members of our society.

‘The DOCET safeguarding modules were developed to meet the needs of optometrists and practice managers who advised that they were having difficulties finding appropriate training in their area. Now, all UK registered optometrists can access free, high quality online training whenever and wherever is most convenient for them.’

Support for hospital services is way forward

February 2015

Opticians can flourish by becoming primary care providers – by managing and monitoring hospital patients in a community setting - believe Heidelberg Engineering’s UK business leaders.

“You only have to look at the number of pop-up clinics around the country – in a wide range of specialties – to see that some healthcare trusts are challenged with the workload. Time is of the essence for AMD and glaucoma patients. We are urging optometrists to make contact with their local ophthalmology departments to find out what they can provide in terms of community services, to reduce the strain on over-burdened clinics,” said Kenny Boyle, Heidelberg Engineering UK Key Accounts Manager.

He warned that “hospitals will struggle to cope with demand – especially if Dry AMD pharmacology is approved. If patients do not meet the requirements for clinical treatment, they may get bounced back – High Street opticians need to have a superior diagnostic ability to review patient data and images – perhaps sometimes remotely,” he added.

The soon to be released upgrade for the SPECTRALIS OCT platform, HEYEX PACS (Heidelberg Eye Explorer) is an image management and device integration software system which facilitates this shared care approach. This one central application – for Heidelberg Engineering and other technologies – provides the facility to access data and images and to review and compare scans.

“Our new software launch follows the acquisition by Heidelberg Engineering last year of a specialist technology company which has provided data management services – mainly in the field of radiology – for 20 years,” said Tosh Vadhia, National Sales Manager.

“Secure, reliable and fast, it is a scalable system designed to meet the individual needs of independent and multicentre clinics – matching the Heidelberg Engineering ethos of providing a flexible, expandable business platform,” he said.

New BSI comes into effect for Sunglasses

February 2015

Plano sunglasses and clip-ons are subject to a new BSI standard from 1st March, in a move to globalise regulations, warns the FMO.

BS EN ISO 12312-1 was introduced last year with the understanding that the previous standard EN 1836 could run concurrently for another twelve months, with this transition period expiring at the end of February.

“This is really a review and amalgamation of current international standards, highlighting the requirements for sunglass construction, materials used, robustness and impact resistance, as well as plano lens transmittance characteristics, and refractive power,” explained Eric Boinard, the FMO Standards Panel expert on sunglasses.

“From the manufacturing point of view it is great to have one standard. Prior to this release the USA, Europe, Australia and China had different sunglass standards. Although Europe has only adopted this new standard so far we are looking towards it being accepted internationally – that is the aim, following ten years of working together. One of the most significant changes is the degree of information to be supplied with the sunglasses. This includes not only the name of the manufacturer, but also its address as well as a series of warnings when deemed appropriate,” added Eric, who is also Global R&D Group Leader for Polaroid Eyewear.

BSI standards are available at a reduced rate for FMO members and the FMO is advising retailers to contact their local Trading Standards office if they have concerns about compliance.

College to hold dementia and vision research event

February 2015

The College of Optometrists is hosting a Visual Impairment and Dementia Summit to generate ideas on how to turn the findings from research into recommendations that will improve lives. Following the event, the College will produce a report of the day’s proceedings.

The event, which will be co-hosted by Thomas Pocklington Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society, will share information about the most recent research projects that have investigated aspects of dementia and vision, or the impact of one on the other. It will also use the two Priority Setting Partnerships exercises (PSPs) previously undertaken in each area by the James Lind Alliance (JLA) and will explore which of those priorities are most relevant and important to people with concurrent dementia and visual impairment or sight loss. This is the first time two such PSPs have been brought together in this way.

Michael Bowen, Director of Research at the College, said: “With the older population growing, it is very important to bring these two research fields together, because we believe great progress can be made in directing research resources to the right places.

“Research projects - such as the College’s PrOVIDe study, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research - are already producing evidence that relate to both visual impairment and dementia, and we thought it was very much time to organise something that would bring together past work and future plans in these two areas. We look forward to sharing what the day’s discussions produce.”

The risks of developing either dementia or visual impairment increase with age so a large proportion of people with dementia could potentially also be visually impaired. The event will explore the overlapping research priorities and identify any new research questions that emerge.

The event is being held in Euston, London, on Tuesday 24 February and will involve talks from carers and clinicians, presentations from recent research projects, and the findings from the two PSPs. This will be followed by a workshop session where facilitators will guide groups through the process of agreeing the key unanswered research questions for those with visual impairment and dementia. It will be attended by leading UK researchers in vision and dementia, clinicians and people with experience of dementia.

The event is invite-only and is now full.

Latest OSCE results announced by the College of Optometrists

February 2015

The results are in for the College of Optometrists’ latest OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). A total of 121 candidates sat the OSCE in September – the Scheme for Registration’s final assessment – resulting in a pass rate of 61%.

The OSCE took place for the first time at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London. The circuit consists of 17 five-minute stations, made up of 16 clinical tasks and a rest station. Each station assesses the candidates’ skills, including history taking, communication, data interpretation, clinical examination and practical skills.

During the OSCE, candidates may be tested on any of the elements of competence set out by the General Optical Council. This assessment acts as a final check that competence across the framework has been achieved and maintained. The College has hosted four OSCEs a year since its inception in July 2010.

The College’s Head of Examinations, Joseph Oakley, commented: “Many congratulations to those candidates who have passed their final assessment, and welcome to the profession. The OSCE is the final hurdle in the Scheme for Registration’s assessment process, and those who pass have clearly demonstrated the ability to put all that they have learnt through their degree and pre-registration training into practice.”

The next OSCE will take place in March 2015 and will be held once again at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London.

LOCSU Announces New Board Members

February 2015

Two new Directors have been appointed to the LOCSU’s Board of Directors. Matthew Jinkinson and Charles Bill will respectively represent Local Optical Committees (LOCs) in North of England and the South of England areas. The new appointees replace Steve Mayer and Graham Ackers who retired from the Board in December 2014 having completed their terms of office.

Charles Bill, optometrist, is currently chairman of Devon LOC, having been an active member of the LOC since 2008. He is currently Director of Bill Optical Ltd, that together with his brother, a contact lens optician, he has grown from one family practice to currently six practices across Devon, a business that also provides domiciliary care and includes a sunglass store. Charles is also a director of The Medical Eye Clinic, a surgical eye unit and he also works part-time at Torbay Eye Hospital where he specialises in paediatric optometry.

Matthew Jinkinson is an optometrist in his family-run, independent opticians in Stockport. He is a member of Stockport LOC and is the Clinical Governance and Performance Lead for the community services for the LOC. Matthew is also Finance Director of GM Primary Eyecare Ltd, Greater Manchester's regional LOC Company, which holds contracts with several CCGs to provide multiple services across the region. He is the optometry representative on Greater Manchester Local Eye Health Network working groups for both Cataract and Minor Eye Care Services.

Alan Tinger, Chairman of the LOCSU Board said: “Graham Ackers and Steve Mayer retired from the Board in December with our grateful thanks for their major contributions to our deliberations. Their experience of and feedback from LOCs in their regions have been invaluable in helping to formulate LOCSU’s strategy and work programmes.

“I am delighted that LOCSU’s process to invite nominations from LOCs, select interview candidates from anonymised personal statements from candidates and a structured interview process has resulted in two such outstanding appointments to the Board. I am very much looking forward to the forward-thinking perspectives they will bring to our Board meetings.”

College reports on a year of achievement

February 2015

The College of Optometrists has published its annual report, detailing its work and achievements for 2013-14.

The report sets out the College’s performance against its business plan, highlighting key activities in support of its four strategic themes: to support members and engage with all optometrists; to engage with patients and the public; to work with others to influence the delivery of eye care and to provide an evidence base for good practice.

Commenting on the last year, David Parkins, President of the College said: “The summary of our work shows that College membership is essential and that the College is the first port of call for optometrists. There are other bodies to support you if you get into trouble, but the College is there to make sure you don’t get into trouble in the first place, particularly by issuing easy to understand guidance on professional practice and providing a dedicated clinical advice service available for individual optometrists.

“In the last year, our more than 14,000 members have benefited from the doubling in number of our very popular regional events, our revised guidance for professional practice complete with a new website and hard copy version free and exclusively available to members. We also ran our largest ever annual conference, Optometry Tomorrow with a record 700 delegates, developed our suite of new Higher Qualifications and distributed more than 800,000 patient leaflets, building on our successful media campaigns to educate the public about what our members do.”

Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive of the College added: “We are committed to ensuring that College membership is valuable to optometrists and an asset to employers, we know our members are very proud to use the exclusive MCOptom/FCOptom affix. We’ve achieved so much over the last year, and we have ambitious plans for the year ahead, including new patient leaflets on contact lens and presbyopia, an exciting new website and new format events.”

The report details other achievements, including:

- The expansion of the College’s clinical adviser resource, offering greater support for individual optometrists
- The development of patient information resources, with more than 800,000 patient leaflets in total now having being distributed to members along with 10,000 of the new “instillation of eye drops” tear off pads
- The College’s work with others to help shape the future of eye care services, including co-ordinating the sector’s response to NHS England’s Improving eye health and reducing sight loss – “A Call to Action” on behalf of the Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning
- The College’s research work, including the UK contact lens practice with children and young people survey, a project to establish the current provision of vision checks by falls services, leading to a range of practical resources for members, an extensive study assessing if people with dementia are getting the eye care they need and work to evaluate different community-based eye care service models.

The College’s new annual report profiles a number of College members who have benefited from the support, guidance, funding and practical resources provided through College membership.

Commenting on the expansion of the College’s event programme and its work to support optometrists, one member, Nirmala Pankhania said: “The events make me feel proud to be a member of the College. They are enjoyable and very informative and have been very helpful in my day-to-day work.”

Call for poster abstracts for Vision UK 2015

February 2015

The poster competition for the Vision UK 2015 conference is now open, with organisers calling for poster abstracts that showcase examples of a piece of work or a project that demonstrate effective collaborative working to deliver the UK Vision Strategy.

The 7th annual Vision UK conference will be held on Thursday 18 June 2015 at Central Hall, Westminster, with the theme of ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy.’ The aim of the poster competition is to share best practice and tools to implement the UK Vision Strategy 2013-18.

The content of each poster abstract must demonstrate how partners have worked collaboratively at a local, regional or national level to deliver one of the three UK Vision Strategy outcomes. The poster abstract must involve a particular project, service redesign, piece of work, research or initiative.

Sally Chandler, UK Vision Strategy Planning and Performance Manager, who is managing the poster submission process, said: "We are pleased to announce the return of the poster competition at Vision UK 2015, and look forward to highlighting the excellent work happening all over the UK to implement the UK Vision Strategy outcomes.

We will also ensure that the posters are fully accessible for all delegates at Vision UK 2015, with a main presenter for each poster provided with an allocated time to discuss their poster with conference attendees and judges.”

Each of the successful poster submissions will be showcased at the Vision UK 2015 conference, and a panel of judges will present an award to a poster from each UK Vision Strategy outcome. In addition, a new People’s Choice award will be presented, with delegates having the opportunity to vote for their favourite poster at the Vision UK conference.
To submit a poster abstract, complete the online submission form at

The deadline for submitting poster abstracts is 5pm Monday 16 March 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by email in early April 2015.

For full details about abstract submissions and poster guidelines please visit:

Grafton’s range reflects the true nature of the optometrists modern day role - find out more first hand at 100% London (Stand M310)

January 2015

After consultation with its customers and leading professionals Grafton Optical has ensured that its core range selected from leading optical equipment suppliers throughout the world is relevant to the needs of today’s optometrists.

Because Grafton is a leading supplier to Hospital clinics throughout the UK and beyond it is very knowledgeable on the needs of the secondary care market, but other than the most avid optometrists today’s practitioners have no need for the expense of additional diagnostic equipment superfluous to their role.

That is why their extensive website is divided into Ophthalmology and Optometry sections. (

The key identifiers that were communicated to Grafton has followed the burgeoning number of enhanced community service contracts now coming into fruition.

Among them are:

Cataracts, Post-op & Referral ; Children’s eyecare, Children's Screening; Glaucoma related services, Glaucoma Refinement, Repeat Readings, OHT Monitoring & Glaucoma Monitoring; Community Low Vision Services and Acute Eye problems, Ophthalmology Triage, PEARS Referrals, ACES Referrals

Grafton have put together a range of equipment that will satisfy the community contracts, providing the level of complexity you need at a price that brings a return on profits when you sign to provide these services.

Take a look for example at the Glaucoma contracts where Goldmann type applanation tonometry is required as the Gold Standard, but now many require a measure of the corneal thickness providing further information for refinement.

The Grafton SL 25 is well designed and features all todays modern requirements – X40 magnification in 5 stages, all filters including yellow, UV, one control joystick and upgradeable to digital photography.

Add in the Grafton Applanation Tonometer (Goldmann Type) with Grafton’s highly acclaimed Easy Ton prisms and you will satisfy the requirements necessary. You can reduce the cost of one use prism replacements using their special 100 prism price but you don’t need to order them all at once. Worried about corneal thickness and its influence on IOPs then Grafton’s Pachymate will provide additional information.

Corneal Hysteresis is the new buzzword and it is suggested may have an even greater effect on IOP readings. The Reichert 7CR has a patented bi-directional applanation process to characterize the biomechanical properties of the cornea and reduce their impact on the IOP measurement.

This measurement, referred to as Corneal Compensated IOP (IOPcc) is minimally affected by corneal visco-elastic properties, thickness, or surgical procedures such as LASIK or PRK. As such, IOPcc is a better indicator of glaucoma than other methods of tonometry, including Goldmann Applanation.

In short the IOPcc is a better indicator of glaucoma presence, making Reichert 7CR "The Glaucoma Tonometer" where alignment is completely automated with a One-touch, triple-measurement mode.

And for their show-stopper take a look at Grafton’s latest and unique 7 in one space saving hi-tech Visionix V120, the one complete diagnostic analyser for your practice. [Click to our product page]

Grafton will be showing their products at 100% London where demonstrations will take place. Want to book a time then call James (01923 233980). The final but important reason for choosing Grafton is their back up service providing their own repair shop with in-house trained engineers.

Visit Stand M310 at 100% London in the Equipment Hub of the exciting London show at Excel on February 7th to 9th.

100% Optical – The Countdown Commences as it announces that registration has now reached 10,000!

January 2015

The countdown to 100% Optical, the UK’s largest audited trade event for optical professionals at London’s Excel (Saturday 7th – Monday 9th February 2015) has started. After the huge success of the inaugural 2014 event, industry expectation is rightly high as this year’s show will be even bigger and better, with a number of new and improved features.

The key areas of the event will be: eyewear, equipment & machinery, lenses and business services, with industry ‘hubs’ featuring in each section to encourage networking and the launch of pioneering advancements in design and manufacturing. There will be three daily catwalk fashion shows taking place in the fashion hub and hands on workshops throughout the show.

A seminars programme, compiled together with the Association of Optometrists (AOP), will include inspirational keynote lectures, interactive workshops and lively panel debates. The entire seminar programme amounts to a staggering 100+ CET points over the three day event. Free to attend, the seminars will be take place throughout the show, featuring key note speakers relevant to each sector, including:

• Eric Papas, Australian Associate Professor and an authority on contact lenses and their effects on the ocular surface
• Jason Kirk who will be speaking on ‘British optical manufacture: past, present and future’
• Nick P Atkins FBDO (Hons) CL FBCLA speaking about patient loyalty

100% Optical will also be the showcase for the prestigious Royal College of Art eyewear design competition. Two winners will be chosen from six finalists (from 55 entrants over two categories - couture and ready to wear), selected by an esteemed panel of judges and the entries displayed. The highly creative design theme of the show continues with the Visual Merchandising Design Competition which will also be judged and announced at the show with all 4 finalists from Falmouth University going head to head for the prestigious first prize. This is also a great opportunity for retailers to get inspiration on eye catching window displays for the year ahead!

Hundreds of exhibitors will be launching new products, technologies and innovations throughout the show, including: Fitch, San Francisco, who are launching frames that will change the way you see glasses forever. Crafted with Ultem, a revolutionary new material that bends and flexes without snapping, Fitch frames are literally unbreakable – so lightweight, so comfortable – they combine great style with serious substance.

Mondottica will be launching Spine Eyewear with global patented hinge technology. An evolution in hinge design technology inspired by vertebrae, these micro injection metal (MiM) hinges flex to fit any face shape and constantly grip with the lightest of touch. When lifted from the face the temples shut automatically.

TAVAT will be presenting the 'tactile hinge' - hidden inside the main body is a spring and piston. The spring pushes the piston forwards which interacts with the teeth of the gear which creates the unique sound you hear and gives the signature feel when you open and close the frame. Over time, the teeth of the gear smoothes giving a more fluid feel. This hinge has been tested for 30,000 opening and closing operations, equivalent to 8 years continuous use, and still maintains performance.

BAUSCH + LOMB will be showing their latest developments in contact lenses and dry eye products, including Biotrue ONEday for Presbyopia – which uses a 3 zone progressive design allowing consistent vision across varying distances –near, intermediate and far.

SIGMA - launching its virtual 3D shop designs.

GOLA Classics Eyewear – launching its first ever eyewear collection for Spring/Summer 2015

Aspire Eyewear Collection, making its global debut at 100% Optical with frames that are almost 50% lighter than a regular plastic frame, 22% lighter than a typical titanium frame and almost 50% thinner than typical acetate frames.

Silhouette continues its reign as the manufacturer of the lightest frames in the world and will be showcasing a range of its screwless, hingeless and rimless frames including Titan Contour, Illusion Nylor and the new collaborative range with London based designers Felder Felder.

Haag-Streit UK the leading manufacturer and distributor of gold-standard optometry and ophthalmic equipment, has been appointed sole distributor of the Optovue, Inc. product portfolio in the UK (from 4th February 2015). The official launch of Optovue iFusion and the new iScan will take place at 100% Optical. Optovue, Inc, has a reputation for pushing the frontiers of innovation and ophthalmic medical diagnostic imaging with its Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) product portfolio, which includes the: Angiovue OCT angiography system, iVue, iFusion, iScan and XR Avanti OCT products.

In the spirit of collaborative ‘giving something back’ 100% Optical is featuring an interactive campaign with their charity partner Fight For Sight and the #BlinkWinkThink campaign where exhibitors and attendees will be encouraged to take a selfie (covering one eye), nominate and text donate to raise money for pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease. The campaign will culminate with an ‘eye’ wall of those who have participated in the campaign that will be on prominent display at the event. Celebs who’ve recently got involved include Strictly Come Dancing finalist Karen Hauer, Masterchef Gregg Wallace and Made in Chelsea’s Hugo Taylor!

Nathan Garnett, Event Director for 100% Optical comments “We have a great event lined up for 2015, one London and the UK Optical industry can be proud of. We are establishing London as a place for the international optical community to network, learn, purchase new products and look at the innovation coming through from designers, the latest technology and new clinical eye care products”.

For press attending the show, there will be a fully operational media lounge, staffed at all times, with on hand access to exhibitor information. There are two evening events taking place during the show: the opening night party on Saturday and a charity party for Fight for Sight on Sunday.

The 2015 100% Optical event is 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.

More about 100% Optical can be found at:

The WCSM Moot Panel is declared for 100% London

January 2015

It was announced this week that the panel will be chaired by the Master, Dr Christine Tomkins, and includes Gareth Hadley (GOC Chair), Prof David Gartry (ophthalmologist and optometrist), Angus Bankes (internet entrepreneur) and Debbie Gigg (optical training expert). All are Liverymen of the Company.

The Moot starts at 4.00pm and offers a chance for one lucky questioner to win a crate of wine.

Either email your intention to attend to the clerk at or call in at the WCSM stand before the event on the Saturday Feb 7th .

Click here for your printed invitation.

Smart Move for Waterside Labs at 100% Optical

January 2015

Buoyed by the incredible levels of interest shown in Smart Solutions™ at Opti Munich, CES and the Hong Kong optical show Waterside Labs are excited to have the opportunity to allow 100% Optical visitors to experience first-hand some examples of its smart glass products and their unique solutions for wearers who need vision correction.

"Following the overwhelming number of visitors to our Opti Munich booth who all wanted to experience smart glass technology for the first time, I felt our space at 100% was too small and immediately contacted Media Ten to check on space availability. Whilst it was not possible to increase the size of our existing stand I was fortunately able to secure an additional space which we will now use as our main demo area," says Bob Forgan, Managing Director of Waterside Labs.

“Product of the moment is the Epson Moverio BT-200 and this even attracted a lot of interest from Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, at the recent consumer electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas. My US partners thought it was amazing how many visitors from the European optical industry made the trip to Nevada to view the many smart glass products and concepts that were on show there.”

“I am not at all surprised at Sergey’s interest in the Epson product as it almost creates a different area within the smart glass category; as a product that can one minute be used as your own personal home cinema system complete with Dolby sound and headphones, yet the next minute be used as a replacement to your computer for office work by adding a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. It really comes into its own when travelling on planes as you can use it for either entertainment or work purposes - without anyone around you knowing what you are doing.”

“Everyone who tries it loves the Epson Moverio and we are going to give all visitors to stand E48 the opportunity to win one by entering our prize draw,” adds Bob

It will be a busy time for Bob at the London show as in addition to exhibiting at 100% Optical Bob will also be delivering his ‘Smart Glasses – The Future of Eyewear’ presentation within the Lens Hub on the first afternoon of the show.

“This will be the first of many presentations I will be making this year as I have also been asked to deliver 2 presentations at each of the 2015 ABDO CET Events. The whole area of smart glasses / wearable technology is one that is changing daily and even by the time of the 100% show I anticipate adding an exciting sports product and its vision correction solution to our portfolio. Glasses used to be just for ‘correction and protection’ but going forward it will all be about ‘connectivity, functionality, ease of use and minimal interaction.”

“Mark Zuckerburg said just last week that ‘The Future of Facebook will be Wearable’ and it has just been reported that Google has signed deals with Sprint and T-Mobile that will allow it to sell wireless services direct to consumers in the US. The signs are there for all to see…”

Uniquely at 100% Bob will be joined by Tim Moore, CMO and Director of Wearable Technologies at our US partners Rochester Optical and the innovative frame designer Simon Chim from Hong Kong who has become a regular sight at all major optical fairs in recent years on his roller skates!

Forbes has recognized Tim as "an emerging thought leader in wearable technology.” Huffington Post says, "It just takes a matter of seconds with Tim to know he is from the future." WebMD identified "Tim is a globally recognized expert in taking wearable concepts into real actionable solutions". Tim is ranked #2 on 'Wearable Tech Top 1000' and ranked #5 on 'Wearable Tech Top 50 Influencers' worldwide. He writes on the evolution and integration of wearables and digital vision for The Next Web, Vision Monday, and contributes articles to numerous other monthly leadership briefings.

Tim currently works on wearable solutions and creating real digital vision solutions with global partners like EPSON, Vuzix, Google, Samsung, Toshiba and numerous others.

Simon Chim has worked extensively on the crossover between functionality and fashion within the smart glass sector. Proud of his heritage Simon's talents gained international recognition when in 2012 he created the Zeiss 100 celebration frame range using recycled paper, each illustrating events from the company’s 100 year history.

Simon Chim comments: “In all of my years of designing, I have never been more excited about an entry into the eyewear industry as I have with Smart Glasses. This fusion of creative design and technology is what will be the choice of the next generation. Smart eyewear allows information to be absorbed by all 5 senses, with an immediacy and intimacy. Smart Glass wearers connect with technology in a revolutionary way that has never been seen before."

Simon is delighted that some of his product designs have been selected for the Fashion Shows at 100% Optical. See them at Stands E48 / E72

Snowbird Finance who will be at 100% offers incentives at show

January 2015

If you are thinking about buying a practice, refurbishing or need some new equipment, visit Snowbird on Stand B01 and talk to their friendly team about your funding requirements.

Snowbird’s long record of expertise in the medical industries will be focussed on assisting growth for independents whether it is by acquisition, first time start-ups or capitalising new equipment. If you have a dream about self employment you should talk to Snowbird at the show who can provide expert help in setting up businesses and in providing finance.

“We’ll be running our £50 note promotion throughout the show, so pick up a flyer at the show and get a real £50 note if you take out a finance agreement with us.” Said Sophie-Louise Cook.

Salmon to lay down his quill pen for the last time

January 2015

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers announces that Lieutenant Colonel John Salmon OBE LLB is retiring in June after a remarkable seventeen years as the Company's Clerk, its Chief Executive Officer.

The Company's current Master, Dr Christine Tomkins, said that John has ably steered the Spectacle Makers through major transitions in its offering for the training and education of people working in optics, through significant governance changes and the development of its charity.

He is the Company's twenty third recorded Clerk in its nearly four hundred year history. John leaves the Clerkship of the Company with its best wishes for a long and happy retirement.

The WCSM was established in 1629 to combat visual impairment, a task that it has been pursuing ever since. It is the World’s oldest existing optical organization, and its work stimulated the establishment of all ophthalmological and optical bodies within the United Kingdom. Its membership is very wide and includes many from ophthalmology and optics.

J&J Announce TV campaign

January 2015

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care announce the launch of a new consumer advertising campaign to support our new eye enhancement lens 1-DAY ACUVUE® DEFINE™.
The TV advertising will drive patients into your practice

Aiming to raise awareness of new eye enhancement contact lenses and their unique offering, our campaign, due to kick off in March 2015, includes new TV and online advertising plus a TV sponsorship partnership with a major entertainment channel. In addition, we aim to utilise influential bloggers for the first time, appealing to millions of patients and followers, who regard them as a trusted, reliable and knowledgeable sources.

Creating opportunities for more contact lens conversations

Millions of patients will see 1-DAY ACUVUE® DEFINE™ advertising, before visiting the ACUVUE® website for further information and applying for a free trial. Impactful display material will be available from ACUVUE® Account Managers and will act as a signpost to help inform the patient, triggering them to come into practice and ask for a trial.

The team at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care are working to help educate you on how 1-DAY ACUVUE® DEFINE™ differs to what is currently available. They want to help enable Eye Care Professionals to have conversations with women based around enhancing their natural eye which is quite a different conversation from usual day-to-day vision discussions.

Continued growth in the Optical Market prompts Ocuco to expand its team of Engineers

January 2015

Ocuco’s continuous expansion opens up great opportunities as the company adds to its Professional Services Team who will deliver training and consultancy to optical practices in the USA, UK and Ireland. There are currently six positions open to engineers and those with optical industry experience.

Over the past year Ocuco, the largest provider of software solutions to the Optical Sector, has invested heavily in training programs for its engineers with around 170 now employed.
Ocuco’s belief in training has been broadened to encompass not only technical knowledge but also to give their engineers a thorough understanding of how optical retailing works at the practice level. The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers has worked with Ocuco to create a course that helps its engineers to design and implement systems that improve efficiency and profitability.

Leo MacCanna, CEO said, ‘Our standards are very high, we take on engineers and provide a high level of training to suit their role in this industry. All our trainers are FETAC certified trainers, all under go WCSM training courses as well as other training in Agile Methodologies and Product Management’.

Representaives from Ocuco will be supporting Opticommerce at 100% Optical on stand B132.

Grafton’s latest product provides automated vision analyses all in one compact machine

January 2015

Grafton’s latest and unique 7 in one space saving hi-tech Visionix V120, provides the one complete diagnostic analyser for your practice.

You must go and see this remarkable machine at the shows this year. Your first chance will be at 100% Optical this February at Excel. The Visionix V120 provides assessment of Refraction, Aberometry, Topography, Tonometry, Pupillometry, Pachymetry, and Anterior Chamber Analysis. All totally automatic with a one touch control. Just imagine the space saving and time saving attributes of this world premier design concept.

You can watch a video at but this exceptional diagnostic tool deserves your visit.

Compare wave front aberometry, assess cataract level analysis, provide Scheimpflug as well as pachymetry results, photopic and scotopic pupil analyses and much more in one box!
Grafton’s drive to increased one touch automation for the modern practice cuts out unnecessary clutter in your practice. With the Visionix V120, a combi unit, slit lamp/Goldmann and a fundus camera you have all you need to provide a quality service.

Heidelberg is Ready for 100% Optical Delegates

January 2015

New advances in OCT and fundus imaging are available for hands-on trialling at the Heidelberg Engineering stand with the SPECTRALIS technology.

A new module makes simultaneous widefield OCT (up to 16.5mm) and 55 degree fundus imaging possible with the SPECTRALIS platform. Continuously updating, thanks to the modular design of the system, this technology brings peace of mind in knowing that the SPECTRALIS can be upgraded with the latest developments.

Supported by the Connect Business Academy and access to educational events – pitched at all levels within the practice – the support offered to users is unrivalled, believes Heidelberg Engineering. Customers who make the most of the expert advice, clinical training, technical support and comprehensive marketing programmes can maximise their investment in OCT from the outset, believes the company.

“We know that our SPECTRALIS users come from a broad spectrum of OCT imaging experience – some are newcomers to the technology while others are moving to the SPECTRALIS multi-modality imaging platform from an OCT instrument. Whatever the level of understanding, we have support and education to help users to engage patients, employees, and local GPs, CCGs, consultants and hospitals. We see this as the way forward,” said Tosh Vadhia, National Sales Manager.

Highlighting the world class connections that Heidelberg Engineering engenders, guest speaker at 100% Optical will be Professor Sanjay Asrani from Duke University, Durham (NC). The CET accredited lecture that he will deliver at the show will reflect his position as a leading international glaucoma specialist and American Academy of Ophthalmology Award winner.

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, 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

New affixes introduced for College of Optometrists-accredited higher qualifications

January 2015

The College of Optometrists has now introduced affixes for all of its accredited higher qualifications. The General Optical Council has confirmed that the affixes will now be included on the GOC register.

Candidates who are College members can also add the affix to their member directory listing on the College’s consumer website – allowing prospective patients to see their area of expertise.

Jacqueline Martin, Director of Education at the College of Optometrists, says: “Gaining one of the College-accredited qualifications is an excellent way for optometrists to enhance their practice and status. The qualifications are designed to fit with life in a busy practice or hospital department and are ideal for individual career progression and for practices offering specialist services.”

The affixes are:


Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lens Practice: Higher Cert CL
Professional Diploma in Contact Lens Practice: Dip CL
Professional Certificate in Glaucoma: Prof Cert Glauc
Professional Higher Certificate in Glaucoma Higher Cert Glauc
Professional Diploma in Glaucoma: Dip Glauc
Professional Certificate in Low Vision: Prof Cert LV
Professional Higher Certificate in Low Vision: Higher Cert LV
Professional Diploma in Low Vision: Dip LV
Professional Certificate in Medical Retina: Prof Cert Med Ret
Professional Higher Certificate in Medical Retina: Higher Cert Med Ret
Professional Diploma in Medical Retina: Dip Med Ret

The College offers a growing suite of higher qualifications which enable optometrists to provide extended services in key areas such as contact lens practice, glaucoma, low vision and medical retina. They are delivered by a range of training providers and taught through a variety of learning approaches, including face-to-face lectures, workshops and distance learning. Some providers offer CET points and some exams are available to take online.

Linda Ford, Head of Education and Standards at the General Optical Council says: “These new affixes for the College-accredited qualifications are a great way to demonstrate evidence of professional development. The new affix is a visible demonstration that candidates have additional training and expertise in their particular area – to patients, colleagues and employers. We are pleased to be able to include the affixes on the GOC register.”

Jay Varia, Senior Optometrist and Education and Training Lead at Moorfields Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, says: “Optometrists who gain these higher level College-accredited qualifications demonstrate commitment to their professional development, dedication to the enhancement of patient service and care through participation in community services and co-managed schemes and their desire to contribute to the long term enrichment of the optometry profession.”

Southall MP Visit

January 2015

Local MP for Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma visited King’s Opticians in Southall to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness.
Read more on our OC pages

GOC publishes findings from its standards review Call for Evidence

January 2015

The General Optical Council (GOC) has published its findings from the Call for Evidence as part of its strategic standards review.

The consultation found that all respondents believed scopes of practice for optometrists and dispensing opticians would develop in the future, with a greater role in primary care provision owing to the expected ageing population and growing strains upon the NHS.

Stakeholders responding to the Call for Evidence, which took place between July 2014 and October 2014, also believed that the GOC should be mindful that the rate of change is likely to differ in each of the four nations of the United Kingdom.

GOC Director of Strategy, Alistair Bridge said: “The responses to our Call for Evidence were very insightful and helped us to identify the areas that we need to address in our standards review. We are delighted that such a wide spectrum of stakeholders responded to the consultation, giving us an up-to-date picture of how the delivery of optical care is likely to change across the UK over the next ten years”.

The GOC will now consider the findings of the Call for Evidence before it launches its next consultation on new standards on ethics and performance. The GOC is due to launch the consultation in March 2015.

The GOC’s findings from the Call for Evidence can be found in full at

IACLE launches 2015 awards for achievements in contact lens teaching

January 2015

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) is offering educators around the world the chance to become IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year.

Launched today, the 2015 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards will recognise and reward achievements in contact lens education worldwide. The awards are sponsored by CooperVision and supported by the British Contact Lens Association.

IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year will be awarded to three individuals, one from each of IACLE’s three regions:

• Asia Pacific
• Europe, Middle-East and Africa
• Americas

The awards will be presented at the British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference & Exhibition, taking place in Liverpool, UK from 29th to 31st May 2015. The Third IACLE World Congress on Contact Lens Education: Shaping the Future of Contact Lens Education will be held in Manchester from 24th to 28th May to coincide with the BCLA conference.

The three winners will each receive:

• A generous award towards the cost of travel and accommodation, thanks to sponsorship from CooperVision.
• A full delegate package to attend the British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference & Exhibition, thanks to the generous support of the BCLA.
• A certificate to mark the award, to be presented at a ceremony during the BCLA Clinical Conference.

The IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards are open to all IACLE members from any country, with preference given to members who are active FIACLEs (Fellows of IACLE) and / or have attempted the IACLE Fellowship Exam. The awards will recognise work by those who are established contact lens teachers. Equally, the award may be given in recognition of a useful educational contribution by an Associate Member, actively involved in IACLE and in contact lens education.

Dr Rajeswari Mahadevan of Sankara Nethralaya Medical Research Foundation in Chennai, India became the first IACLE Asia Pacific Contact Lens Educator of the Year, in 2014. ‘Following the award my network of educators and industry increased exponentially, and people look up to me as a renowned practitioner, educator and researcher wherever I go. The IACLE Award is a great motivator for all contact lens educators to help achieve consistent standards of practice through the spreading of knowledge.’

This year the entry process is even simpler, with a new, easy-to-complete application form. IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo urged all IACLE members to consider entering. ‘We had a number of great applicants last year and we would encourage them to reapply this year as well as first-time entrants. And we are pleased that CooperVision is continuing to support this venture and that the BCLA offers us the support that it does too,’ he added.

‘As one of the world’s leading eye care companies, CooperVision is proud to sponsor the IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards in recognition of the sizeable effort and achievements made by contact lens educators worldwide,’ commented Dr Gary Orsborn, Vice President, Global Professional & Clinical Affairs at CooperVision. ‘We are confident that the awareness and success of last year’s honors will lead to even more IACLE members applying for the 2015 awards.’

The IACLE Travel Award, offered for the first time in 2013, is a travel bursary for an IACLE Educator Member starting out on his / her career who would not otherwise be able to attend the British Contact Lens Association’s Clinical Conference & Exhibition and Third IACLE World Congress. This year’s recipient will receive the same benefits as the IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards winners. The 2015 IACLE Travel Award is sponsored by IACLE and supported by the British Contact Lens Association.

The deadline for entries for the 2015 awards is midnight on Friday 27th February. Entries should be submitted by email to IACLE Director of Operations Bonnie Boshart at using the application forms to be found at (Awards).

This year will also mark the first-ever IACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education to an individual who has made a substantial contribution to IACLE over the course of their career and has furthered the cause of contact lens education worldwide. This award will be decided by the IACLE Executive Board and announced at the IACLE Congress Dinner at Manchester Museum on 27th May.

Aston Villa to Host FMO Event

January 2015

Villa Park in Birmingham, home of Aston Villa football club, is to be the venue for the spring FMO meeting on Wednesday 11 March, bringing together the UK’s leading optical suppliers.

“Best Practice Procurement” is one of the keynote presentations, from a new provider of FMO member benefits. There will also be advice on engaging with customers - and potential business partners - via social media, and the opportunities that this brings. With Optrafair just a few weeks away there will be plenty to hear about the educational forum and show plans for the NEC event which runs from 18-21 April.

After the networking lunch, industry specific Frame, Lens and Equipment focus groups will discuss current market conditions and opportunities, as Kevin Gutsell, FMO Chief Executive explained –

“Our regional meetings draw a broad gathering of optical suppliers from across the industry spectrum: many are competitors and others do a lot of business with each other. It is certainly an opportunity to really find out what is going on in UK optics. The days of working in silos are long gone in our industry.”

Dry eye syndrome: Neuroptis successfully completes the pre-clinical phase for ML7

January 2015

Neuroptis is looking to establish industrial and financial partnerships to commence human trials.

Neuroptis, is a company specialising in the development of drugs to treat eye disorders, and has announced positive results from a second animal trial of its preservative-free ML7 eye drops. ML7 is intended for use in the treatment of eye surface diseases, particularly dry eye syndrome.

Both animal trials demonstrated excellent local tolerance and very low systemic absorption. In the first trial conducted in rats by Iris Pharma, following seven days of treatment the ML7 eye drops were statistically more effective than the placebo.

The second trial, conducted with the Charles River CRO in Boston, MA, involved rabbits showing significant inflammation of the cornea. In the group treated with ML7 eye drops, the tarsal (or meibomian) glands were seen to return to normal, with no further inflammation or dilation and a protective effect was observed. This is the first time that such results have been seen.

To launch the clinical trials the company will begin production of clinical batches through a subcontractor and will submit applications for approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and local patient protection committees.

The results for the tarsal (or meibomian) glands will be published in the medical journal IOVS (Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science) in 2015.

“These results have exceeded our expectations. The return to normal of the tarsal glands shows that ML7 eye drops significantly reduce inflammation of the eye surface and its associated structures. We have submitted a patent application for this mechanism of action. ML7 eye drops help to restore a quality tear film while preventing the tears from evaporating too quickly,” said Dr Eric Belot, CEO of Neuroptis.

Greater Role for Optometrists in Retinal Detachment cases after College Intervention & NICE agreement

January 2015

The College of Optometrist’s recommended changes to NICE Guidance mean a greater role for optometrists in the examination of patients with suspected retinal detachment

The College of Optometrists has worked with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in lobbying NICE to amend their Clinical Knowledge Summary (CKS) on retinal detachment.

The College’s and the Royal College’s recommendations have resulted in changes to NICE’s Clinical Knowledge Summary (CKS) that make clear that any practitioner who is competent in the use of slit lamp indirect ophthalmoscopy, and who are able to do so, can examine patients with symptoms of flashes and floaters, without the need to refer the patient to an ophthalmologist.

President of the College of Optometrists, David Parkins, said:

“Although aimed at general practitioners, the previous version of NICE’s CKS could have been taken to mean that any patient who presented with recent onset flashes and/or floaters needed to be referred to an ophthalmologist within 24 hours, even if the patient’s examination was normal on dilated slit lamp indirect ophthalmoscopy and the patient had no other signs of retinal detachment.

“This would be at odds with the practice already in place in many community services which commission optometrists to examine patients who present with flashes and/or floaters, and so the College felt it was important to ask NICE to review and amend their advice. The amended CKS makes it clear that it is the competency of the examining practitioner that is important, not their professional designation.”

NICE’s updated CKS on retinal detachment can be found at:!scenario

Be a Smart Winner with Shamir at 100% Optical 2015!

January 2015

Shamir UK invites all delegates an show visitors attending 100% Optical 2015 to take part in their daily prize draws. Prize time will take place at 2pm & 4pm on Saturday and 1pm & 4pm on Sunday and Monday with several great prizes up for grabs. For your chance to win an Xbox One Console, a Samsung Smart Camera or £250 of Shamir Smart Lenses, be sure to visit stand L210.

(see their latest product launch in our new products pages).

BCLA launches 2015 Industry Award & Opens out voting to membership

January 2015

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has launched its global search for the recipient of the 2015 BCLA Industry Award – and for the first time will be inviting members to cast a vote from the list of nominees.

Launched in 2013 to honour and recognise the entrepreneurial work being carried out by individuals working in contact lens science, research and technology, the inaugural recipient of the BCLA Industry Award was Dr Paul Rose – inventor of the Rose K lens for keratoconus.

Dr Rose, renowned throughout the world for his outstanding contribution to the field of contact lens research and development, was announced as the winner during the BCLA Dinner held at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, UK, on Saturday 7 June 2014.

Unable to attend the event after an “acrobatic backward flip” off a ladder left him with a ruptured Achilles tendon, Paul thanked the BCLA and the contact lens industry in general for his award via video message, saying: “In accepting this award, I do so on behalf of the many people who have contributed to make my lenses as universal as they are today.”

Now the search is on for this year’s winner. Nominations are being invited from all confirmed sponsors and exhibitors at both the 2014 and 2015 Clinical Conference and Exhibition, by the deadline of Friday 27 February. A nomination form can be found on the BCLA website,, on the Industry Award page of the About section.

A shortlist will then be generated and the winner determined by an online vote cast by the BCLA membership. Members will be notified when voting opens in March, before closing on Thursday 30 April.

The winner of the 2015 BCLA Industry Award will be revealed during the BCLA Dinner to be held at the magnificent Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on Saturday 30 May. BCLA president, Susan Bowers, will make the presentation before the partying and celebrations continue.

Susan said: “The BCLA Industry Award will be given to an individual working within industry who has made an outstanding contribution to the contact lens profession either in relation to a product/technology or a concept.

“We are thrilled to be giving our members the deciding vote this year as it is they who, along with their patients, are the end-users of all the incredible innovations, ideas and products our industry is so brilliant at producing. We look forward to receiving our first batch of nominations, and wish everyone who is nominated the very best of luck,” Susan added.

BCLA Optical Assistants course is back

January 2015

Recognising the important role that frontline staff play in successful contact lens practice, the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is once again teaming up with optometrist and staff development consultant, Sarah Morgan, to launch a new series of one-day courses for optical assistants.

Click to our BCLA Page

AOP launches 2015 CET and events programme

January 2015

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has launched its extensive programme of CET and CPD events throughout the country, offering over 200 CET points during the course of the year.

The events season will launch with 100% Optical on February 7-9 at ExCeL London. As the official education partner to 100% Optical, the AOP will be delivering a world-class CET and CPD programme at the three day show. New for 2015, AOP members will have exclusive access to career development seminars, including business and management skills and legal support on the AOP stand (W100). Members will also be able to access one-to-one sessions with specialist career advisers. AOP members are advised to book early for these sessions.

Back by popular demand, the Association’s series of peer review and legal roadshows will be running throughout the UK enabling members to discuss topical issues and share best practice. Launching in February, the first peer review sessions will take place in Cardiff and Leeds. The first legal roadshow of the year will take place in Sutton Coldfield in March.

Recognising how optometrists and dispensing opticians work together in practice has led the AOP to work with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) to offer all members an even larger number of educational events that deliver quality, choice and flexibility.

Henrietta Alderman, AOP Chief Executive, said: “We have agreed a new partnership approach to our CET courses from 2015, with ABDO members able to attend AOP regional peer review and legal roadshows free of charge, plus all other courses at the member rate and vice versa. This joint approach will ensure that optometrists and dispensing opticians who work together get access to the best training and education in the market.”

Sir Anthony Garrett CBE, ABDO General Secretary, said: “I am delighted that the AOP and ABDO are working closely together on the provision of top quality CET for the benefit of our members. It is another step forward in the close relationship between the two bodies.”

2015 sees the final year of the three year cycle for eye care practitioners to gain the remaining 36 points and the AOP offers a comprehensive programme across all competencies and specialities to help meet and exceed these requirements. As well as picking up valuable CET points, the Association’s events and trade exhibitions provide excellent networking opportunities to meet and share ideas with peers.

BCLA seeks new Student Reps

January 2015

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is looking to recruit a Student Representative from each of the UK and Ireland optometric training institutions to act as an advocate for the BCLA amongst their peers.

Optometry students in the second year of a three-year course, or the third year of a four-year course, or those currently enrolled on a contact lens optician course, are eligible to apply by the closing date of Monday 2 March.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for our future contact lens experts,” said Andrew Elder Smith, BCLA Council member (Optometric Representative), who is leading on the scheme and working closely with the British Universities Committee of Contact Lens Educators (BUCCLE) to promote the opportunity. Students will be able to ‘attend’ virtual meetings and act as key opinion leaders for their student colleagues, whilst helping to develop and deliver a programme of support from the BCLA to its student members,” added Andrew.

All BCLA Student Reps will be mentored through their year in post by a local BCLA member. They will have free access to the BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition, to be held at the ACC Liverpool from 29-31 May, and get to ‘work’ behind the scenes during the conference as a ‘runner’. Student Reps will also be invited to attend other BCLA meetings and events free of charge, and to have the opportunity of intern experience in a variety of workplace environments from contact lens specialty practice to industry.

Shavani Madhavji, now undertaking her pre-reg year at Vision Express, was the BCLA’s first Student Rep from 2013-14. She said: “My year as Student Rep flew by, and I was fortunate enough to attend three Council meetings in London and an off-site meeting in Surrey. Being part of these discussions gave me a real insight into the world of contact lenses, and what happens behind the scenes at the Association.

“Being on the BCLA Council was a steep learning curve, but it was great to be able to give a ‘younger generation’ view. Acting as an intermediary between students and practising optometrists, contact lens opticians and other members of the optical world, was challenging but ultimately enjoyable and rewarding. So if you are considering applying for the role, I would say that you will carry the experience with you throughout your career. Being a BCLA Student Rep gives you a unique insight into contact lens practice and a chance to get up close with the real working world. It will set you apart from your peers,” Shivani added.

BCLA President, Susan Bowers, commented: “The BCLA Student Rep is an important role, which was filled admirably by Shivani. The BCLA offers undergraduate students, pre-registration optometrists and trainee contact lens opticians a host of free and discounted resources to help them on their way to becoming successful contact lens practitioners – but we feel these are sometimes under-utilised. We hope our new Student Reps will help us to raise awareness of all the fantastic benefits that BCLA student membership offers – and full BCLA membership going forwards.”

To apply, simply email the BCLA office with your contact details, training institution and no more than 200 words as to why the BCLA should choose you as one of its Student Reps.

Essilor and Volunteers provide Bumper Crisis Service

January 2015

Essilor’s generous provision of lenses and glazing brought a smile to the faces of a stream of homeless people in London this week. The collection day for visitors to the Crisis at Christmas clinic proved to be a rewarding afternoon for Vision Care for Homeless People volunteers.

Richard Trusler, Essilor London Manager, confirmed that the company has glazed 264 pairs of Specsavers frames this year for the seasonal appeal –
“This is our eighth year of supporting the charity and each year the number grows. The most extreme prescriptions have been +10.00D and -7.00D, with 80% single vision and 20% bifocals. We are very happy to be involved with this as we know we are making glasses for people in need, and they will make life a lot better for them.

“Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, called in to see the dispensing taking place and was impressed with the commitment of volunteers and the donations from the optical sector. “This is an impressive service that makes a real difference to homeless people who too often struggle to access the basic services that we take for granted. Fixing someone’s sight can be a vital step out of homelessness. Helping someone to read again could, for example, lead to work and a better life,” he said.

Volunteers at the dispensing clinic included Jane Perkins who travels from Norwich once a month to work in the regular Whitechapel clinic, “I am semi-retired and want to do something useful. I enjoy myself and get a lot from volunteering.”

Also semi-retired is volunteer CLO, Stephen Butler, from Balham, “I have time to give and this is good fun. There are no targets, we look after our guests and they really appreciate what we do for them. You meet some very interesting people.”

To find out more about volunteering at the VCHP clinics in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton visit:

VISION 2020 UK Children and Young People with a Vision Impairment Group respond to a Health and Social Care Information Centre consultation

January 2015

The VISION 2020 UK Children and Young People with a Vision Impairment Group (CYPVIG) have issued a response to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) Children and Young People’s Health Services (CYPHS) Data Set consultation.

The Children and Young People with a Vision Impairment Group is a Special Interest Group of VISION 2020 UK and is putting the UK Vision Strategy into action for children and young people. The Group also provides a forum for all the key agencies involved in helping and advising children and their families.

Key recommendations from the CYPVIG response to the data set consultation include:

• Disability and perceived impact: The CYPVIG particularly welcomes the addition of disability and its perceived impact as being recorded in the data set. It is anticipated that this will enable better understanding of the health of children who are vision impaired and those factors influencing eye health and vision impairment. The recording of onward referral could also enable VISION 2020 UK member organisations to measure quality of care in terms of integrated service provision.

• Special Education Needs (SEN): The CYPVIG are pleased that SEN will be included in the data set, and hope that alongside the recording of disability and perceived impact, that this will provide a richer data set to identify and help address health inequalities amongst children with disabilities and SEN.

• School entry health checks: The CYPVIG question the relationship between the new data set and data on school entry health checks, with concern amongst some VISION 2020 UK members that national data on vision screening results is not readily accessible. It would be helpful if the data set could ensure the links between these checks and onward referrals to community services are made. The CYPVIG believe that it is an oversight not to include this data, while other child health programme activity data will be collected and published in the new data set.

Mary Bairstow of VISION 2020 UK, who co-ordinated the CYPVIG response, commented: “The VISION 2020 UK Children and Young People with a Vision Impairment Group welcome many of the proposals outlined in the HSCIC consultation. We are especially keen to note that the impact of disability will be recorded alongside the disability itself, as we feel that this will be important for children who are vision impaired, and will also assist in understanding the concerns of parents and carers whose children have multiple disabilities.

The CYVIG would also like to see a report on the experiences of children with SEN, to enable an analysis of referrals into, and access to eye health services amongst this group of children.”

The full response of the CYPVIG can be found on the VISION 2020 UK website.

GOC makes appointments

January 2015

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today (16/01) announced two new appointees to its advisory committees. Paula Baines has joined the Standards Committee and Mitesh Patel becomes a member of Companies Committee.

The regulator has also announced eight new Hearings Panel Chairs, who will chair fitness to practise and registration appeal hearings.

Paula Baines replaces Glenn Tomison as a dispensing optician member of the Standards Committee, following Glenn’s appointment to Council. Paula is a Dispensing Development Manager at Vision Express, supporting over 70 dispensing and contact lens opticians. She is also a LOCSU-trained CET peer review facilitator and was formerly a lecturer at Bradford College. Glenn Tomison remains on the committee, replacing James Russell as a Council representative.

Paula said, “I am delighted to be joining the Standards Committee. I strongly believe in the importance of professional responsibility and registrants working within an effective set of standards. I look forward to working with the committee during a crucial time as the GOC continues its strategic review of the standards for dispensing opticians and optometrists.”

Mitesh Patel replaces Brian Carroll on the GOC’s Companies Committee. Mitesh is the Digital Strategy Director of Vision Express and founder of the online retailer Lenstore.

Mitesh said, “I’m looking forward to starting work as a member of the Companies Committee. I hope to bring a unique understanding of both the bricks and clicks elements of optical retailing.”
The GOC has also announced the names of the eight successful candidates who will chair its hearings from 1 July 2015. In the six months until then, they will act as ordinary lay members of the Hearings Panel. The new appointees are Eileen Carr, Ian Crookall, Sara Fenoughty, Anne Johnstone, James Kellock, Rachel O’Connell, Pamela Ormerod and Valerie Paterson.

GOC Chair Gareth Hadley said, “The ten committee members joining us this month bring a wealth of expertise. Paula and Mitesh have wide and diverse experience of the professions and optical businesses; they will bring valuable insights and expertise to our advisory committees.

“The new appointees who will chair our hearings over the next three years have a significant amount of legal and regulatory expertise. Their stewardship will ensure that hearings continue to exemplify good practice, demonstrating fairness and complying with all legal and procedural requirements – protecting the public while being fair to registrants.”

100% Optical seminars almost fully booked!

January 2015

100% Optical report that their CET seminars for this year's edition of 100% Optical have been extremely popular with most sessions already fully booked. With less than three weeks to go now is your last chance to book. Limited spaces are available for a talk from Australian contact lens expert Eric Papas and US ophthalmology professor Sanjay Asrani as well as Fight for Sight researcher Professor Pete Coffey. Due to popular demand, more spaces are now also available on the Frame workshop, where visitors are invited to rediscover the tricks and tools of the trade. Over 100 CET points will be on offer during the three day event, which takes place from 7th-9th February in London ExCeL.

WCSM agrees to support both 2015 UK shows

January 2015

At 100% Optical, at Excel in London, The WCSM will have a stand dedicated to demonstrating their role in providing a wide range of training and qualifications in Optical Manufacturing and Optical Practice Support. These are invaluable for companies in any form of optical manufacturing and for all optical practices. Highly regarded and accredited, these courses will be highlighted on the Company’s stand (W75) where expert staff will be available to help.

In addition the WCSM will be inviting all those attending the exhibition on the Saturday to join them in a Moot Social Meeting, one of a continuing series that it has provided throughout last year.

  • The Moot starts at 4.00pm on the centre stage area and everyone is invited to attend. The WCSM has a unique place in optics offering a meeting point for the exchange of ideas in an atmosphere of good fellowship which attracts many to attend its social programme. The 100% Moot event will be ‘Any Questions?’ meet ‘Question Time’ in a discussion fuelled by questions from the audience principally, but not exclusively, on two themes:

    • Why is a nearly 400 year old City Livery Company relevant to 21st century optics?
    • What does optics want from optics - and how might that change in the future?

The best question asked by an audience member will attract a prize. Everyone attending the Moot will be entered into a draw to win a [case of wine - delivered to any UK address]. Apply for tickets by email to . For those that have pre-booked tickets will be available for collection on Stand W75. You can also book on the day at the WCSM stand prior to the event.

The WCSM will also be contributing to the lecture programme on the same day at 2.00pm when the Head of Training Debbie Gigg will be speaking. Her lecture will be titled, "How good HR Practise can support your practice."

Registrations now open for Vision UK 2015 – early bird rates available

January 2015

Registrations are now open for Vision UK 2015, which will be held on Thursday 18 June 2015 at Central Hall Westminster in London.

Titled ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy’, the seventh annual Vision UK conference will feature a brand new format, with delegates able to choose from one of five conference streams, focused on delivering aspects of the UK Vision Strategy.

Early bird rates are available for Vision UK conference delegates who register and pay before April 17, at £84 for voluntary delegates, and £114 for non-voluntary sector attendees.

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 excited to be unveiling the new stream format for Vision UK 2015. This year’s event will provide everyone working within the eye health, sight loss and related sectors with a tailored conference experience, with a full day of relevant and engaging content.

We encourage delegates who are planning on attending, to book early to take advantage of our early bird discount. We look forward to sharing more details of our keynote speakers in the coming weeks, as we built towards the biggest Vision UK conference yet.”

Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are also available for the conference. If you are interested, please contact

Renowned Australian Inventor of Silicone Hydrogel to Headline Seminar Programme At 100% Optical 2015

January 2015

100% Optical, the UK’s largest audited trade event for optical professionals, will be hosting a world-leading educational programme for its 2015 event (London’s Excel, 7-9 February). The programme, compiled together with the Association of Optometrists (AOP), will include inspirational keynote lectures, interactive workshops and lively panel debates. The entire seminar programmes amount to a staggering 100+ CET points over the three day event.

A key draw for visitors will be Australian Associate Professor Eric Papas, a renowned expert on contact lenses, and Executive Director at the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Vision Co-operative Research Centre. In addition to being one of the inventors of silicone hydrogels and the discoverer of the link between limbal hyperaemia and oxygen, Eric has worked with all major companies in the contact lens field and made significant contributions to the development of several contact lens and lens care products.

Eric will be headlining the main stage on Sunday 8 February on the subject of contact lenses with a keynote session titled ‘Trust me, you are so going to want contact lenses!’.

“It’s a great opportunity to share the stage with a group of eminent speakers from a range of disciplines across the world of eye care”, Eric Papas commenting on 100% Optical.

In addition to Eric, international speakers also confirmed for the event include; i from Uganda (Anguyo Dralega – visual discomfort); USA (Sanjay G. Asrani – glaucoma) and Sweden (Peter Karvik – dry eye). Other speakers have been confirmed from Moorfields, Fight for Sight and the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

Karen Sparrow, Head of Professional Development at the AOP comments:

“Having set the bar high at the inaugural show with over 90 hours of international speakers, high calibre presenters and a wide range of CET and CPD for optometrists and opticians, we aim to bring an even more innovative and interesting programme than ever to 100% Optical 2015”

In addition to the main stage, specialised seminars will also take place in each area of the event. Here are some highlights from each section:

Optician and FMO announce FODO and BCLA as Association Partners

January 2015

FODO, the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians and The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) were announced this week as Association Partners of Optrafair (18-20 April 2015).

David Hewlett, FODO Chief Executive says: “FODO are proud to once again support Optrafair, the main trade fair for the optical sector. It is a great honour to become an Association Partner of the event and we look forward to working with the Optrafair team in every way we can.

“We hope to see all FODO members at Optrafair – from individual practitioners and independents to small businesses and larger groups, and from across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

“This event is a great opportunity to mix with clinicians, manufacturers and business owners and find out about the issues that are important to them. We encourage members and non-members alike to visit our stand – to meet us in person, to pick our brains and swap views on policy, business, employment or regulatory issues – and to participate in the exhibits and CET sessions and buy and recruit as in previous years.

“For us this is a chance to find out more about the new trends shaping the profession. But more importantly, with big structural changes taking place at the top of primary care this year, we are keen to speak to the optical front line about how they see the future of the sector. As ever the FODO team will attend in force, arranging meetings with old friends and members and looking to make new connections and hatch plans for the coming year.

“Guide dog Elvis will also be there to bring his own brand of hospitality for children, plus a free prize draw and freebies galore.”

BCLA CEO, Cheryl Donnelly, says: “We are delighted to be an Association Partner of Optrafair 2015, and are looking forward to having a strong presence at the event.

“As well as catching up with our existing members who will be attending the show, we are keen to meet with those eye care practitioners who don’t fit contact lenses to discuss how, alongside spectacle wear, offering a dedicated contact lens service can be a huge and successful part of their business.

“It is part of our mission to support eye care professionals in enhancing their already excellent skills to ensure that their patients have a lifetime of healthy and comfortable contact lens wear. So whether you are a member or non-member, please do come and visit our stand to find out more about us, our membership services and benefits and, ultimately, so that we can widen the debate about the role of contact lenses in the provision of high quality eye healthcare to all,” Cheryl added.

Says Malcolm Polley of the FMO and Optrafair’s Director, “We are delighted that both FODO and the BCLA have placed such confidence in Optrafair as the leading trade show and the one to support. We look forward to welcoming all its members to Birmingham’s NEC in April.”

FODO asks members for views on Primary Care Services ahead of new tender

February 2015

NHS England has opened up their Primary Care Support Services to public tender. The tender is in the final stages and it is now vital the Optical Confederation and LOCSU respond with questions from optics to make sure we get the best possible deal in the new regime.

This is your opportunity to fix any problems you have with the current PCS services system.

In the past FODO says it knows that there have been problems with the payments process. They have included some sample questions which they will be submitting in their document, printed below in italics:

• Will your system connect directly with practice PMS systems when e-GOS is implemented ie avoiding separate web-based data entry?
• Will your system replicate all the functionality of the current Exeter system for NHS GOS contractors? If not, which functions will not be replicated?
• Will your system enable reconciliation of each claim with each payment and, if so, how?
• Will your system enable identifiable and reconcilable payments in respect of different optical branches into a single bank account for national companies?
• What level of on-line and telephone support will you make available to NHS GOS contractors?
• Will your system be able automatically to populate e-GOS claims with the patient's NHS number form the personal information provided on the GOS form, without imposing work on GOS practices?

The timescale for response is short. If you would like to submit issues that you want addressed by whoever wins the contract, or specific questions you would like asked during the shortlisting, either let FODO or LOCSU know.

For more information about the tender process see

Joseph Tallier appointed new CEO of Ogi eyewear

February 2015

Ogi Eyewear has announced the appointment of Joseph Tallier as their new Chief Executive Officer effective from January 1st, this year.

Joseph Tallier has been part of the Ogi Eyewear team for six years. He started his career at Ogi Eyewear in September 2008 as Vice President of Global Sales. During that time his visionary leadership was instrumental in growing the sales at Ogi Eyewear 300%, communicating the company’s value through marketing, leading the direction of the design vision, and promoting worldwide expansion. He became an equity partner in 2012 prior to being promoted to CEO.

Joseph Tallier states, “I am incredibly excited and grateful to lead Ogi’s dynamic management team, outstanding sale force, and highly talented and motivated support team. This is a very exciting time to be appointed CEO as we continue to grow the market segment of affordable luxury that we have been so successful in pioneering.”

Joseph Tallier has twenty-eight years of demonstrated success in the wholesale optical industry starting as a sales representative and progressively being promoted to leadership positions in several wholesale optical companies in the United States.

Ogi Eyewear is a leading luxury wholesale optical company that delivers exceptional value and craftsmanship.

Opticians can help ease A&E crisis says eye health leader

February 2015

NHS Commissioners can ease the winter pressures on A&E by making more use of high-street optical practices, a leading eye health organisation insists.

With crisis-hit casualty departments seeing an estimated 270,000 eye-related problems each year, eye health organisation LOCSU (Local Optical Committee Support Unit) is urging commissioners to use local optical practices to help reduce A&E pressures and improve capacity.

Responding to the latest figures revealing that A&E waiting times are the worst for a decade, LOCSU Managing Director, Katrina Venerus said: “With an more than a quarter of a million A&E visits and up to 4.5 million GP appointments attributed to eye problems, it makes good sense to free up unnecessary time taken up in hospital casualty and in GP surgeries by using the skills and availability of optometrists in high street practices to quickly treat patients at convenient locations.

“Enabling patients to visit local high street optical practices for the treatment of minor conditions is convenient, often cheaper and takes the pressure off secondary care, allowing the NHS to concentrate on real emergencies.

“Just 58 CCGs have a Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECs) covering 14 million people meaning that 39 million are not covered by such a scheme and almost three-quarters of CCGs are not reaping the benefits of reducing pressure on A&E, on secondary care and on GP appointments.

“While it won’t resolve the crisis facing the NHS on its own, a community-based minor eye care service can make a valuable contribution to easing the pressure on hard-pressed A&E departments.”
LOCSU is calling for more community-based optical services as part of preventative system of health delivery that the NHS chief Simon Stevens has identified as a way forward in the Five-Year Forward View published in October 2015.

Venerus said that optical practices, pharmacies and dental surgeries along with GP practices can become vital treatment centres at the forefront of a new, out-of-hospital health care.
“Optical practices, along with pharmacies and dentists have the clinical skills, the equipment, the high-street presence and most importantly the willingness to provide high-quality care in the local community where patients want it delivered as extra treatment and advice settings in addition to the traditional GP surgery,” she said.

“What we need now is for CCGs to acknowledge that the solution to out-of-hospital and primary care at scale is primed and ready to help transform health provision by offering a more preventative approach.

“This can ease the perfect storm of pressure that we see in A&E and that can only grow with an ageing population living with long-terms conditions.”

Myopia control in the spotlight

January 2015

Practitioners can learn how to integrate myopia control strategies into everyday contact lens practice at the British Contact Lens Association’s (BCLA) February evening meeting to be held at Keele University on 2 February. Dr. Nicola Logan will re-deliver her presentation, ‘Myopia control: where are we?’

Click to PHNs contact lens pages

Vision Care for Homeless draws 70 volunteers for bumper service

January 2015

Vision Care for Homeless People’s 70+ volunteers had a busy and rewarding week, as part of Crisis at Christmas, with eye examinations performed in no less than 36 clinics, within ten centres, across the capital. From Hackney to Hammersmith the clinics were led by an optometrist with assistance from dispensing opticians, optometry students and other volunteers.

Nearly 300 eye examinations were performed, with 16 patients referred for further investigation. The Outside Clinic’s generous donation of four mobile optometrist kits really facilitated the running of the centres.

For some it was simply a case of a friendly chat and having their glasses repaired and cleaned. Most guests received a full sight test, resulting in a prescription for specs. For some, the optometrists identified more serious conditions and having two volunteer consultant ophthalmologists, Anomi Panditharatne from UCLH NHS Foundation Trust and Jan Van der Hoek from Scarborough Eye Hospital, on hand was a blessing. One emergency referral was made with the patient taken straight to hospital by Crisis at Christmas volunteers.

243 pairs or specs – generously donated by Specsavers - are now being processed for the patients by Essilor’s London lab. Once glazed the specs will be protected in donated Optoplast cases.

Grateful thanks go to all of the volunteer companies – particularly Topcon and Andrew Brandi who assisted in setting up the loaned technology on site including a slit lamp, tonometer and Henson 8000 Field Analyser. Thanks, too, to Mainline Instruments for providing accessories for the mobile teams to use.

Picture shows Andrew Brandi, Topcon; Elaine Styles and Harinder Paul of VCHP

GOC seeking registrants for Hearings Panel

January 2015

The General Optical Council (GOC) has today launched a campaign to recruit 20 registrants to its Hearings Panel. The regulator is seeking 12 optometrists and eight dispensing opticians to fill the vacancies, which have arisen because the current panel’s terms expire on 30 June 2015.

Applications close on Monday 9 February at 17:00. Members of the Panel sit in two capacities:

• as members of the Fitness to Practise (FTP) Committee – this judges whether a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired. If they find that it is, there are a range of sanctions they can impose against the registrant; and
• as members of the Registration Appeals Committee – this is constituted to hear and determine any appeals against any decision of the Registrar refusing to enter the name of an individual or body corporate on, or to restore it to, the appropriate Register.

GOC Chair, Gareth Hadley, said: “We are looking for individuals who are able to bring a fresh perspective, which means recruiting from a wide range of backgrounds. Given the increasing divergence in the way our registrants are delivering their services, this includes representation from all four of the UK nations. We also particularly welcome applications from women and ethnic minorities. Applicants must be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills, the ability to process large volumes of often complex material, exercise judgment, and demonstrate a strong capacity for empathy.”

These are part time roles with a commitment of approximately 20 days per annum. They are remunerated at £300 per day. The initial tenure will be three years with the possibility of serving a maximum ten year term, subject to satisfactory annual appraisals. Most meetings are held in central London.

For more information, or to apply, registrants should visit

GOC has appoints new Director of Fitness to Practise

January 2015

Lisa Davis is its new Director of Fitness to Practise, replacing outgoing Director of Regulation Mandie Lavin.

Lisa, a qualified barrister, takes up her new role having previously been GOC Head of Fitness to Practise. Prior to joining the GOC, Lisa worked within fitness to practise at the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) first as an Advocate and then as Case Progression Manager.

GOC chief executive and registrar Samantha Peters said, “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Lisa Davis to the new role of Director of Fitness to Practise. Lisa brings tremendous experience and knowledge of fitness to practise proceedings. I, and the rest of our staff and Council members, look forward to working more closely with Lisa and am excited to see the new ideas Lisa will bring on board.”

Lisa Davis said, “Fitness to practise is extremely important for public protection and I look forward to this new phase of my employment with the GOC. One of my biggest priorities will be to continue the work we have already started to speed up the FTP process in the interests of both patients and registrants.”

As part of her new duties, Lisa will be responsible for the oversight of the fitness to practise, legal compliance and hearings teams, as well as managing the GOC’s contractual relationship with the Optical Consumer Complaints Service.

New workshop places released for Optometry Tomorrow 2015

January 2015

In response to demand, the College of Optometrists has now released additional workshop places for its annual conference Optometry Tomorrow 2015. Held on 8 and 9 March at The Brighton Centre the conference, which includes 36 workshops, will cover all the optometric competencies required to comply with CET requirements.

Workshop sessions include topics such as; the interpretation of optical coherence tomography, refracting young children, dry eye management and diagnosis and management of AMD. And for 2015 there are also new learning streams in glaucoma, paediatrics, AMD, contact lenses and impact of lifestyle on vision. Delegates can gain up to 15 interactive CET points with a two-day member ticket.

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications, at the College says: “This year we have introduced more workshop sessions than ever before. Delegates tell us that the workshops are incredibly valuable and so we have increased the number to include a range of topics from glaucoma to dry eye to low vision. Our clinical workshops always fill up really quickly so we’ve packed in as many as we can, and we’ve added more opportunities to gain CET points, particularly in more difficult to fulfil competency areas.”

The packed programme, which attracts over 700 delegates, will also feature peer discussion sessions, lectures and seminars on clinical topics, a therapeutics stream and a trade exhibition. There is also the chance to discuss the latest research with clinical and academic experts and interactive sessions with exhibitors so you can gain an even better insight into the industry know-how.

The full programme and further information, is available at, and delegates booking now can benefit from an early-bird rate.

Patients Back Diabetic Retinal Screening At Local High Street Opticians

January 2015

Devon Local Optometric Committee commissioned By Plymouth Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme Board publishes the results of an Out Patient Survey.

The feedback was received from nearly 300 patients.

• 98% expressed satisfaction with level of care received
• 87% expressed a preference for screening to be carried out at local optician’s practices.
• The NHS board welcomed the quality of care delivered.

Plymouth has for many years had a successful Optometric led Diabetic Retinal Screening (DRS) service in place. The DRS Service in the Plymouth catchment area is delivered by suitably trained, qualified and experienced Eye Care Health Professionals, who manage over 16,000 patients appropriately and safely.

Last summer the Devon LOC, who support and help commission the Program, were asked by the Plymouth DRS Program Board (part of NHS England) to undertake a survey over a two week period to seek feedback from the patients.

Eight participating practices took part and surveys were completed by the patients post screening encounter. The results of the survey; which were approved by the Program Board at a recent meeting; confirmed that not only is Community Optometry at the forefront of delivering high quality, patient centered and cost effective healthcare in community settings but is “what the patient’s want”.

One of the key targets for DRS is patient uptake and the survey has confirmed that patients would prefer to visit their local Opticians Practices which are conveniently located and so can be easily accessed – results from the survey show that 87% of the respondent’s stated that they would prefer their screening to be carried out “At this Optometrist practice and/or “At the Optometrist where you go for your sight test”. It is recognized that location is one of the barriers to uptake and care in the right place, at the right time, by a professional who is known to the patients can only help increase screening attendance.

Patient satisfaction figures from the survey were outstanding with 98.2% of patients happy with the level of care they received proving that community based Opticians can deliver high quality care and avoid unwanted and costly trips to the local hospital.

Charles Bill - Chair Devon LOC said, “We have always known that Community optometry is at the forefront of delivering high quality, patient centered and cost effective healthcare in local settings and this survey confirms that this is what the patients want as well”.

Jonathan Drew Business Manager Devon LOC & Max Halford Diabetic Retinal Screening Lead for Devon LOC said, “We are delighted to have been able to support NHS England and the Plymouth DRS Board by undertaking this survey. We hope that the wider Optometric community will benefit from its results which clearly show that local Opticians practices are the “go to” place for Shared Care Services. As the NHS struggles with capacity issues, patients have voiced their opinions which are for locally delivered services led by professionals they know and trust”

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