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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, January to March 2016


Shamir exclusive lens voucher offer at Optrafair.

Blackfin – Never Forget Your Past, The New Communications Campaign For 2016.

Alan Tinger leads on the Foresight Project to an expectant audience on its launch today. (Tuesday 22nd)

OC Chair comments on a “business friendly budget”.

Summary of main points of budget with possible effects on the Optical Sector provided by the Optical Confederation.

Government Freezes Sight Test Fees from April 2016, OC responds.

Somerset-based optometrist erased from GOC register, for indecent image possession.

Allele Fund to be shut down.

MP for Brentwood and Ongar, Sir Eric Pickles, visited Cole Martin Tregaskis Optometrists.

Eye Health Warning for National No Smoking Day.

Plymouth-based optometrist suspended from GOC register.

Win with Attitude III® sun lenses.

Woman’s ‘selfie’ saves her life – public reminded to show their eyes some love this Valentine’s Season.

Health minister backs bigger role for optical practices.

PHN experiences the busiest ever news run up to the 100% Optical show with over 40 companies providing previews.

Its official 100% Optical is here to stay this decade.

BREAKING NEWS: Health minister accepts Optical Sector invitation to 100% Optical

WIMBLEDON MP calls on constituents to look after their eyes.

Tom Davies Made To Order service update, TD reports highly successful launch.

18 French patients implanted with the Argus II bionic eye implant through the "forfait innovation funding program."

About the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System.

Chris Wormald to leave the Department for Education to be the new Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health.


Optometrist and now Crime Writer presents College Library with book.

JCL Consulting offer Hospital Pre - Registration Posts for 2017-2018

SIMON PEGG gets fitted with Silhouette Illusion and Brad Pitt is not to be outdone.

Silhouette launch WES GORDON X at Press Launch.

Shamir exclusive lens voucher offer at Optrafair.

March 2016

Shamir Optrafair Voucher

Shamir will be offering to independent opticians the opportunity to challenge their technology with an exclusive Optrafair SmartVision lens voucher.

Independent Opticians will receive £250 FREE for any new account that is opened with an initial deposit of £500.

This could equate to over £750 at retail value –


Don’t miss out, see the website for full details by clicking here to the Shamir Page or contact Shamir direct and find out more!

Blackfin – Never Forget Your Past, The New Communications Campaign For 2016.

March 2016

Looking beyond. Always.
Never forget your past.
Always look ahead but never forget your past.

Blackfin CampaignThe message of the new Blackfin communications campaign sounds almost like a warning.

What it really represents is the mind-set of a brand that, as it has grown and achieved success, has never lost sight of its own origins and their value. While the Blackfin’s gaze is firmly fixed on what lies ahead, it never forgets where it comes from and the words Never forget your past are the perfect expression of what makes up its DNA.

With a subtle balance between space and time Giovanni De Sandre’s knowing lens captures the soul of Blackfin in a series of images exuding emotional tension. A message that shot after shot reminds us that what we are today is the fruit of our past.

What Blackfin is today is the result of a deep-rooted heritage that gives value to the present and builds the future.

A past that emerges majestically and is symbolised by the imposing Buzludzha monument on the peak of the same name in the Central Balkan Mountains, in Bulgaria, once a glorious icon of Communist power, now abandoned and crumbling.

Seemingly in stark contrast to the thoroughly modern image of the two protagonists and their eyewear, it presents a real context surrounded by surreal scenery, emblematic of an authentic historical experience that now takes on new meaning as an unknown place to be explored.

Never forget your past is the campaign that pays homage to the maturity of Blackfin, the form and substance of this brand and its ongoing quest for the new has no fear of comparison, including with itself.

Alan Tinger leads on the Foresight Project to an expectant audience on its launch today. (Tuesday 22nd)

March 2016

Alan TingerAlan was particularly pleased to welcome the Minister, the Right Honourable Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Community and Social Care at the Department of Health. Minister, OC and the College very much appreciated the interest he has taken in the project and are looking forward to you addressing us at the meeting. (Report on Ministers address TBP)

Tinger addressed the audience saying,

“Notwithstanding the case to remain in or to leave the European Union in the forthcoming referendum we operate in a global economy.

“Just think about it:

The largest retailer in the world has no shops and holds no stock – Alibaba

The largest marketing company in the world makes none of its own content – Facebook

The largest taxi company in the world has no vehicles – Uber

The largest hotel company in the world has no hotels – Airbnb

Will we be able to say in the future that the largest opticians in the world has no practices? I don’t know but what we can say for certain is that the practices of the future will be far different from today’s models. “

He continued “It naturally follows that the roles for practitioners in the future will not be the same as today. That goes to the heart of the Foresight Project which is to inform the debate on what optical education should be about going forward. We will seriously fail both patients and recruits into the sector if we are training for jobs that will simply not exist in the same way in the future.”

“One piece of kit alone being developed has the potential to revolutionise care. It is hand held binocular optical coherence tomography (OCT) that in only a fraction of a second undertakes whole eye imaging, refraction and all aspects of an eye examination. Coupled with detailed analysis via artificial intelligence, it will lead to pin point diagnosis and without the need for an operator or the space required for current style refraction. This imaging is much greater resolution than CT or MRI scanning.”

Tinger ended in saying,” Technology of this type can either frighten the horses or inspire the practitioners of the future to upskill and become true doctors of the eye.

By your (audience) presence here today I know you are for inspiring.”

OC Chair comments on a “business friendly budget”.

March 2016

Chris Hunt Chair OC

Optical Confederation Chair Chris Hunt said: “After the recent bad news on optical fees this business-friendly budget will bring some welcome good news for the sector, particularly smaller businesses.

All infrastructure investment is also to be welcomed, particularly for better transport links for the South and the Northern Powerhouse.

We will need to continue to monitor the newly announced devolution deals to protect eye health in those regions, but in general this is a positive budget for optics.”



Summary of main points of budget with possible effects on the Optical Sector provided by the Optical Confederation.

March 2016


A further £3.5 billion in efficiency savings are to be found from departmental budgets by 2019-20, Whilst the health budget will remain protected, planned efficiency savings aim to reduce Department of Health running costs by 30% over the next five years – including the recently announced loss of 650 jobs.

There will be an efficiency review to inform future spending decisions – which may mean more cuts to come.

The logic for the above cuts relies on Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) growth projections that have been adjusted downwards already this year and may change again.

The Chancellor also noted OBR warnings of potential cuts to growth projections on the event of a Leave vote in the EU referendum.

A pilot scheme was announced to allow local government in Greater Manchester and Liverpool to retain 100% of business rates, and will enable other areas, e.g. Greater London, to move towards 100% business rate retention.

New Devolution deals were announced in the West of England, East Anglia and Greater Lincolnshire.


From April 2017, small businesses that occupy property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will pay no business rates. There will be a tapered rate of relief on properties worth up to £15,000.

Fuel duty will be frozen again in 2016-17, good news for domiciliary providers and practitioners.

The Lifetime ISA: Adults under 40 can open and receive 25% on annual savings up to £4,000. This may affect employers over time regarding pension planning.

From April 2018 employers will now need to pay National Insurance contributions on pay-offs (for example, termination payments) above £30,000 where Income Tax is also due.

Corporation Tax will be cut again to 17% in 2020.

New stamp duty rates for commercial property from 17 March 2016: 0% for the portion of the transaction value up to £150,000; 2% between £150,001 and £250,000, and 5% above £250,000.

Leasehold rent transactions will also change, with a new 2% stamp duty rate on leases with a net present value over £5 million.


£60 million development funding announced to support HS3 train links between Leeds, Manchester, and other northern towns.

£80 million to support continued planning for Crossrail 2 in London.

Funding for new flood defences including in Leeds, York, Calder Valley and Cumbria and for maintenance of existing defences.


Personal Tax Allowance: The rise from current £10,600 to £11,000 in 2016 will be followed by a rise to £11,500 in April 2017. The higher rate of income tax will increase from £42,385 to £43,000 in 2016 and to £45,000 in April 2017.

From April 2016, the higher rate of Capital Gains Tax will be cut from 28% to 20% and the basic rate from 18% to 10%.

Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) for self-employed people will be scrapped from April 2018.

The Insurance Premium Tax will rise 0.5%, which may affect some insurance prices.

Introduction of sugar levy, which the OBR estimates could raise £520 million. The Chancellor confirmed this will be spent on sports and other after school extracurricular activities in schools with the aim of tackling childhood obesity.

Government Freezes Sight Test Fees from April 2016.

March 2016

The Government has today announced its intention to freeze NHS sight test fees in England at 2015-16 levels for 2016-17. The continuing education & training (CET) grant will however increase by 1% and the grant to train pre-registration optometrists by 1%.

The government has also announced an increase in patient voucher values for 2016-17 of 1%.

OFNC LogoMike George, Chair of the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee said:

“This is a heavy and extremely disappointing blow to a profession that has always supported and embraced reform and modernisation. It will be a bitter blow to many and we may see essential local services disappearing as a result.

As a sector we are playing – and continue to play – key roles in the NHS England Five Year Forward View plans to transfer care to the community to take pressure off GPs, A&E and hospitals, as well as in the Government’s devolution plans. And yet once again it seems that those who deliver fully against contracts are penalised whilst those who do not are rewarded.

At the Department of Health Eye Health Forum last week, optical leaders heard that our request for IT connectivity assistance was still being considered. Let us hope that at least this plea will be heard”.

He added: “The only positive note is that optical vouchers will increase by 1% at least benefiting patients a little.”

Ann Blackmore, OFNC Secretary said: “It is frustrating that, despite our repeated explanations over several years that the fee covers the cost of the sight test and is not simply pay related, the Government persists in erroneously connecting the fee to increasing optometrist recruitment.
There is no way we can advise the profession to accept such an offer which is clearly not in the best interests of patients. But past experience suggests the government will impose it on us in any case.”

It is anticipated that the new fees and grants will come into effect on Monday 4 April.

On hearing the news of this year’s GOS fees freeze, Chris Hunt, Optical Confederation Chair, commented,

“This is hard news for a loyal and dedicated workforce. Despite the best efforts of our sector negotiators, it seems that, once again, primary care and prevention are being punished for failures elsewhere in the system. As was entirely predictable, acute providers are now forecasting well over £2billion deficits this year and the Five Year Forward View is signally failing to move services out of hospitals at any scale and pace to address this.

"That is why we are right in pressing ahead with expanding services in the community in England where progress has been so slow. It is also why I am pleased to see leadership being shown through the release this month of the Foresight Report on technological development and LOCSU’s ambitious expansion plans for commissioning next year. We need to go further and faster on this, whilst at the same time protecting the public health elements that demand-led GOS delivers so well. We have to make this future work for the benefit of the public, practitioners and practices of all sizes. I hope the sector at all levels will rally behind the Optical Confederation to help bring these changes about.”

Somerset-based optometrist erased from GOC register.

March 2016

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has erased Colin Vallance, an optometrist based in Taunton, Somerset, from its registers.

He is now unable to practise as an optometrist in the UK.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by virtue of conviction of three offences of possessing indecent photographs of children and one offence of distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

In making its decision the Committee, chaired by Ian Crookall, said: “In the Committee’s view the Registrant’s conduct is fundamentally incompatible with continuing registration as a professional. The committee is…of the view that the Registrant does pose a real continuing risk of harm to the public.

“The Committee determined that erasure was the only appropriate sanction for public protection.

Further, the Committee is of the view that reasonable and well informed members of the public would be outraged if the Registrant were not erased from the register.

Erasure is equally necessary in order to maintain public confidence in the profession and uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour.”

He has until 8 April to appeal his erasure, during which time he is suspended from the register under an immediate order.

Allele Fund to be shut down.

March 2016

The National Press reports this week that the Allele Fund run by Gail Lese and part supported by Cherie Blair is to be shut down.

The collapse of the Mee Healthcare group last year in spectacular fashion with huge debts has now required the ultimate closure of the fund that fed the health centres with working funds.

It is suggested that many of the investors, predominantly it is believed to be American as was the funds CEO and founder are likely to lose considerable sums of investment. Gail Lese a non practising US doctor claimed in January this year that she too had lost a substantial investment in the fund.

Mee Healthcare was part of the Worldwide Health and Wellness Centres Ltd, (also WWHWC Leeds Ltd, and WWHWC Ely Ltd ) along with other companies all funded from the Allele Fund.

The Times says that Dr Lese has disclosed to investors that there is no money left in any of these companies.


MP for Brentwood and Ongar, Sir Eric Pickles, visited Cole Martin Tregaskis Optometrists.

March 2016

Sir Eric PicklesThe visit took place in Brentwood on Friday 26th February to allow the MP to find out why regular eye tests are so important in preventing blindness, and to meet with the Essex Local Optical Committee to hear about the community eye care services available in Essex.

Commenting on the visit, Sir Eric said: “The eyes are not only the window to the soul, they can pick up and show problems long before other symptoms appear. It’s a sensible precaution to have regular sight tests, whether you feel you need one or not. It is of particular importance for someone who is under 16 or over 60.

It’s as sensible as getting your teeth checked, so don’t delay.”

Essex Local Optical Committee Chair, Stuart Humfrey said: “It was a pleasure to meet with Sir Eric and outline the continued importance of eye care in the community.

We were able to outline exciting new areas of enhanced ophthalmic services as well as touch upon the need for quality eye care for children in his constituency and beyond. It was fantastic to hear how Sir Eric is passionate about health issues and keen to promote community based solutions.”

Practice Director, Professor Bruce Evans, said: “Research indicates that 1 in 5 school children in the UK have a visual anomaly and children may not report difficulties because the problem has developed gradually.

Regular eye examinations are recommended for all children and are especially important if the child is under-achieving in the classroom.”

Eye Health Warning for National No Smoking Day.

March 2016

The team behind National Eye Health Week will mark No Smoking Day (Wednesday 9 March) with the launch of a new public health campaign designed to educate people about the links between smoking and sight loss after research reveals Britain’s eight million smokers are largely unaware of the danger smoking posses to their vision.

David Cartwright, Chairman of National Eye Health Week explains: “Despite smokers being up to four times more likely to lose their sight than non-smokers, fewer than 10 per cent realise their actions can affect their eye health. This compares to 92 per cent associating smoking with lung cancer and 87 per cent identifying a link between smoking and the risk of heart disease".

The #20Ways campaign, which highlights 20 ways smoking damages your eyes and increases your risk of sight loss, aims to tackle this gap in understanding about the harmful effects of smoking.

David continues: “In a poll conducted by the the Eyecare Trust more than half (58%) of smokers said knowing that tobacco smoke could seriously harm their vision would be an incentive to quit. So explaining the many ways that tobacco smoke can affect your eyes seems like a logical first step to boost awareness and encourage smokers to quit for the sake of their eye health.”

Plymouth-based optometrist suspended from GOC register.

March 2016

The General Optical Council (GOC), the UK regulator for opticians, has suspended Lionel Watson, an optometrist based in Plymouth, from its register for 12 months.

He is now unable to practise as an optometrist in the UK for the period of his suspension.

A GOC Fitness to Practise Committee found his fitness to practise impaired by virtue of misconduct in relation to failure to carry out tonometry in six patients, and dishonestly fabricating measurements in patients’ records. (Tonometry measures pressure in the eye. This tests the likelihood of a patient having glaucoma, of developing glaucoma in the future, or of having other underlying health conditions.)

In making its decision the Committee, chaired by Pamela Ormerod, said: “The Registrant exposed six patients to an unwarranted risk of harm and brought the profession into disrepute; he breached fundamental tenets of the profession with regard to patient care and honesty. [see below]

The Committee also bore in mind the seriousness of dishonesty involving a fabrication of patient records in a profession which relies upon public confidence in the honesty of its practitioners, and proper records being made for optimal patient safety.

“[However], he has had a long-standing unblemished career with no other referrals to his regulator and has expressed regret. The Committee concluded that despite the dishonesty, in all the particular circumstances of this case [accounting for the mitigation advanced], the misconduct is not fundamentally incompatible with continuing to be on the Register. The Committee has decided that a suspension order for 12 months is appropriate and proportionate.”

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

Win with Attitude III® sun lenses.

March 2016

Shamir UK Ltd announces the launch of their Win with Attitude III® promotion.

Every pair of Attitude III® lenses dispensed between 14th March and 12th June allows for one patient entry into the prize draw to win one of three city breaks across Europe, your practice could also win £500 in love to shop vouchers, terms and conditions apply*.

There are three holidays to be won by your customers and three £500 vouchers to be won by practices.

The Shamir Attitude III range of premium Sports, Fashion progressive and Single vision lenses offers patients the ultimate sun wear solution.

From polarised to mirror tints, the Attitude range delivers the best possible protection without compromising on visual acuity for the sports lenses or style when it comes to fashion lenses, for any frame, lifestyle or activity Attitude III® has you covered.


Also available within the Attitude range are the Shamir Glacier UV coatings with certified E-SPF UV protection throughout, your patients can easily understand the benefits of having one of the Glacier UV coatings.

To request information, point of sale or entry forms for your practice simply ask your Shamir area lens consultant or contact our customer services team on 01954 785 100.

Click this link for more information on the Attitude III® lenses and the promotion:

*full terms and conditions available on the website.

Read about Shamir on the PHN Suppliers Guide Pages

Woman’s ‘selfie’ saves her life – public reminded to show their eyes some love this Valentine’s Season.

February 2016

Following news of a recent ‘selfie’ that saved a woman’s life, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is calling on the public to show their eyes some love this Valentine’s Season to help raise awareness of eye health and regular sight tests.

Twenty-seven-year-old Nadine Rash, who works as a retinal screener at Linklaters Optometrists in Bexleyheath, Kent, knows the importance of regular sight tests with an optometrist. However, concerns about her own vision prompted her to take a ‘selfie’ of the back of her eye on a retinal camera, resulting in a shocking discovery.

Ms Rash said: “On photographing my left eye I saw instantly that my optic disc was incredibly swollen, undefined and had inflamed haemorrhages. I was shocked to see what looked like papilloedema - swollen optic nerves - something which is potentially life threatening if left untreated. After seeing it, I rushed to one of my colleagues who confirmed the severity of the symptom.”

Gordon Ilett, AOP member and Optometrist Director at Linklaters Optometrists, quickly realised the severity of Nadine’s case and referred her to King’s College London for further investigation. Mr Ilett said: “Optometrists are trained to identify abnormalities with vision and general health - it’s part of our daily routine. On seeing Nadine’s selfie it was clear she had papilloedema. Periodic examinations can pick up a lot of these problems before they become more serious so it’s important to have regular sight tests.”

Specialists at King’s College London carried out a CT and MRI scan to check for a tumour and bleeding in Nadine’s brain and confirmed that she had idiopathic intracranial hypertension. After having a lumbar puncture and spending the night at King’s, Nadine was then sent home with medication to reduce the fluid in her body, which reduced the swelling dramatically.

Geoff Roberson, AOP Professional Adviser, said: “Fortunately in Nadine’s case, early detection resulted in immediate treatment and no further threat to her health. Eyes are often described as the window to the soul but many people are unaware that eyes are also the window to the body - as optometrists can detect signs of general health conditions during a sight test. As well as an eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.”

The AOP has produced a new video aimed at the public to raise awareness of the importance of eye health with top tips for good vision. AOP members around the UK have been sent a new poster to raise awareness of eye health and encourage the public to show their eyes some love this Valentine’s Season.

See and listen to the patient's story here.

Health minister backs bigger role for optical practices.

February 2016

Health minister, Alistair Burt, told delegates at 100% Optical that patients shouldn’t see GPs for every medical ailment, and that CCGs need to use the whole range of health professionals – including those in eye care to innovate in health delivery.

Alistair Burt

Speaking for the first time to an exclusively optical audience on Saturday (6.2.16), the minister responsible for primary care services said that he was determined to ensure that the development of primary care was not centred solely around general practice and that all primary care professions are recognised and valued.

“I want to acknowledge the importance of eye health,” Mr Burt, Minister of State for Community and Social Care, told the audience at the Optical Confederation session at 100% Optical. “The role of primary care in developing services for the future is crucial and it’s vitally important that this includes eye care professionals, shaping eye care services so they are fit to meet the growing demand for the future.”

Keynote speaker during a session on “Unleashing Local Energies”, the minister said it was important that CCGs worked in partnership with the wider workforce in primary care when deciding what is best for patients.

“Radical change is required to realise our objectives for health and wellbeing, quality and efficiency and to simply be able to meet the challenges we are going to face with a growing population, and to meet the increasing needs of those with visual impairments.

“However, doing this is not just something for the CCG in isolation, but something in which the local health community has a shared interest and should involve a full range of health care professionals.”

The minister said there was already considerable scope for local initiatives to improve eye care services.

He pointed to the range of test-bed projects and initiatives, from “Devo Manc”, through to New Care Models and the Better Care Fund that offer patient-centred, preventative health services.

“Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities can already commission directly from opticians to deliver services closer to patients, in more convenient locations. I hope that the increased focus on local area, clinically-led commissioning and partnership working in areas like Greater Manchester will further improve this.”

The minister also called for more analysis of the patient journey to assess whether people were being seen by the appropriate professional. “People shouldn’t see the GP for everything,” he insisted.

Mr Burt heard from sector leaders that an equivalent of 500 full-time GP posts would be freed up if optical practices across England were commissioned to deliver a minor eye conditions services and all patients with eye problems were signposted to a community optometrist.

He encouraged optical professionals to drive reform by being involved in both local professional networks and, specifically for optics, Local Eye Health Networks.

The minister finished his speech by urging the optical professions to press their case for better focus on eye care among CCGs. “I would like to urge you to continue to use your influences with local commissioners going forward to ensure that eye health is high on local agendas.”

Responding on behalf of the Optical Confederation, Katrina Venerus, who hosted the session, thanked the minister for making good so quickly, his promise to engage more closely with the sector and for his recognition that optical practices have an important role to play in primary care.

“We are encouraged the minister agrees that much more activity could be done outside the GP surgery and by his call for CCGs to work more closely with primary care professionals, including opticians and optometrists, in shaping local patient services and ensuring better preventative health outcomes.” said the LOCSU MD.
“LOCSU and LOCs will continue to argue the case for more focus by CCGs on eye health and we hope that commissioners can take a leaf out of the minister’s book and engage more closely with the optical sector.”

Nathan Garnett, 100% Optical Event Director, said: “We were delighted that the minister accepted the Optical Confederation’s invitation to attend the event and speak on such an important topic.

" The session was very well attended and early feedback tells us that this is exactly the type of debate our delegates want to hear.”

PHN experiences the busiest ever news run up to the 100% Optical show with over 40 companies providing previews.

February 2016

2016 has proven the busiest year ever for co-media partneship with 100% Optical and its organiser Media 10.

Now in its 3rd year as media partners to the event the exhibitors have provided special preview snapshots of what they are planning to put on show. With over 40 compamies large and small provided with free space to reach our 7000+ readership.

"Over the last few years we have learnt what companies need from us and provided the service earlier each year. PHN has been in partnership with Silmo (Paris) and Optrafair during that time as well as 100% Optical each year. This has generated a close relationship with the Optical Bodies and Media 10 and PHN. Providing this service to all event organisers allows us to keep the professions and industry informed in a totally unbiased way. We are looking forward to taking part in this weekends exciting event at Excel." Said Bob Hutchinson, PHN's Director.

You can take a look at whats on offer on the PHN preveiw pages and link through to the 100% website for registration.

Its official 100% Optical is here to stay at least till 2019 at Excel London.

February 2016

AOP and Media 10 set out a bold vision for the future of 100% Optical now guranteed to the end of the decade.

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) and Media 10 are delighted to announce that their successful partnership on 100% Optical will continue until at least 2019.

In its capacity as the official UK partner, the AOP has taken an active role in the development of 100% Optical with Media 10 to establish it as the annual event for AOP members and anyone working in optics in the UK and beyond.

Since its launch, 100% Optical has become Europe’s fastest growing optical event with over 6,000 attendees in 2015.

The 2016 event looks set to eclipse that with a 20% increase in delegate registrations and a 20% increase in exhibitors, including the biggest names in optics from each sector.

Henrietta Alderman, AOP Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that our partnership with Media 10 to deliver 100% Optical will continue for another three years. 100% Optical has become the profession’s flagship event for everyone in optics, combining a world class CET programme with innovative show features for delegates and exhibitors. We are thrilled that the event provides the opportunity for so many in the sector to come together under one roof. It also enables us deliver value to our members during the event and invest in additional support and education as a result of the partnership.”

Lee Newton, CEO of Media 10 said “When we first met with the AOP four years ago we had a vision of an optical event created for professionals, and crucially, curated by professionals working in optics. Media 10’s expertise in events and a willingness to create something new, different and exciting, and the AOP’s full bodied support, education expertise, professional excellence and editorial content results in a very successful partnership. 100% Optical is an event that the profession can be proud of; it champions excellence, provides a platform for personal development and is the place for optical professionals to network and meet suppliers. We are incredibly excited about working with the AOP over the next four years to take 100% Optical further and cement its place as a leading global optical exhibition.”

100% Optical’s partnership with the AOP’s journal, Optometry Today (OT), will also run to the 2019 event, having proved such a successful platform to promote the show to optical professionals.

The recent relaunch of the journal and the development of online content has proven a big hit with readers, and the relationship between the event and the journal has grown stronger as a result.

John White, OT managing editor, said: “Partnering with 100% Optical is the perfect fit for OT. Not only does 100% Optical provide a fantastic opportunity for readers to get in front of optical providers offering pioneering products, the show offers a high calibre education programme of key opinion leaders, designed by OT’s very own clinical editor and AOP head of education, Dr Ian Beasley. Each year the London-based show has grown in strength and depth – and the next three years promise to be even bigger and better."

The agreement with the AOP is also mirrored with an extension to 100% Optical’s commitment to ExCeL London as a venue. ExCeL is the fastest growing European exhibition centre, with excellent transport links – just 15 minutes into the centre of London, five major airports less than an hour away, and its own airport - London City - located next door offering frequent domestic and international flights. This fits with the vision of 100% Optical becoming a truly international event showcasing the latest global innovations. The completion of Crossrail in 2017 will enable even greater access to the event.

Nathan Garnett, 100% Optical Event Director, said: “We are announcing this news ahead of what is set to be a great show this month (6-8 February 2016) at ExCeL London to assure our exhibitors and partners that we are building this event for the long term, and it has a bright future. The AOP and Media 10 have always shared a vision of an event where the whole profession comes together to serve optics. Our work with the AOP on this has enabled us to champion excellence and move optics forward, and this year we have greater support than ever. We are delighted that Alistair Burt, Minister of State for Community and Social Care, will be presenting at this year’s event on the role optometrists and dispensing opticians can play in primary care to assist the government in delivering a sustainable NHS.

We enjoy working with ABDO, LOCSU, BCLA, WCSM and the AIO to name a few, and look forward to extending these working partnerships over the years to come. Through the AOP and also our partnership with Fight For Sight we have also shown we can support the research and charities within the sector”.

BREAKING NEWS: Health minister accepts Optical Sector invitation to 100% Optical

January 2016

Alistair BurtHealth minister Alistair Burt is to attend 100% Optical following an invitation by the Optical Confederation.

The announcement comes just one month after sector leaders met with the minister for talks at the Department of Health in December.

Welcoming the news, Optical Confederation Chairman, Chris Hunt said: “It was only last month, during our meeting with Alistair Burt, that he expressed a desire to engage more closely with the sector. It is, therefore, a great compliment to the sector that he has so generously and speedily sought to make good on that commitment by accepting the Confederations invitation to 100% Optical. Full credit must go to our Public Affairs team who work tirelessly to open these key channels of communication with government.”

The minister’s address at 100% Optical will take place at 12pm on Saturday 6 February 2016 on the main stage as part of the session “Unleashing Local Energies - the Future of Primary Care and the NHS”, which is hosted by Katrina Venerus of LOCSU. Follow the link above to book a place on the session.

Commenting on the confirmation of Mr Burt’s attendance at 100% Optical, Katrina Venerus said: “Mr Burt welcomed the fact in our meeting in December that optometrists and opticians are well positioned to play a wider role in transforming health delivery with other primary care professionals.

“I would urge delegates to come to the session 100% Optical to hear the minister’s views on how optics can play a part in the future NHS.”

To register for the event, visit the 100% Optical website. One CET point is available.

WIMBLEDON MP calls on constituents to look after their eyes.

January 2016

South-west London MP, Stephen Hammond, visited Boots optician’s in Wimbledon, highlighting the importance of regular eye tests in preventing blindness.

MP Visit by Stephen Hammond MP


Manager at the Boots Opticians practice, Keval Subit, said: “It was great to meet Stephen to talk about the additional eye care services that can be delivered in practices like this, and the importance of sight tests. An eye test is more than just a check to see if you need glasses, because signs of various eye conditions can be picked up, which means they can be treated earlier. The test can also pick up other health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.”


Commenting on his visit, Stephen Hammond said: “It was great to visit Boots Opticians and understand what an eye test involves and how important it is. We should all visit an optician as regularly as we visit the dentist.”

Picture shows Stephen Hammond MP, Rose Brand and Eyall Gelbart.

Tom Davies Made To Order service update, TD reports highly successful launch.

January 2016

TD MTOMade To Order (MTO) has made it faster and easier for Opticians to order frames in 5 sizes and any TD colour, at only a fraction more than a stock item.

Launched at the start of January this year, the service has already proven a big hit with Tom Davies accounts.

“There is nothing really new to learn for our accounts” says Davies “they can just call up or go online and order any TD frame in any colour or size”.

Since launching his Bespoke service 8 years ago, Tom’s factory has mastered the art of 'Just in Time' eyewear manufacturing.

He doesn't just make his Bespoke glasses to order, but virtually all his stock is now made to order as well.

“My workshop has become so good at making glasses in just a few weeks that we are now able to offer this simple customisation service for just an additional £5.00 on the stock item.” says Tom Davies.

At Opti Munich last weekend, it was hailed as a revolution. “I didn't realize it, but this is what Opticians have been asking for, for years. Any frame in 5 sizes and any colour!" says Davies.

Tom Davies will be personally presenting his optical revolution at 100% Optical in London and Vision Expo in New York.

18 French patients implanted with the Argus II bionic eye implant through the "forfait innovation funding program."

January 2016

Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. ('Second Sight'), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of implantable visual prosthetics to provide some useful vision to blind patients, announced that half of the French patients selected for the forfait innovation program have received the Argus II bionic eye implant.

Over the past 14 months, 18 people have received this implant through forfait innovation, from the French national healthcare program that provides reimbursement for innovative devices. Second Sight joined this program in August 2014.

The forfait innovation program was launched by Marisol Touraine, French Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Women's Rights.

In total, 36 patients will benefit: 18 operations have already taken place at the Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital in Paris, at Bordeaux University Teaching Hospital and at Strasbourg University Teaching Hospital. All of the patients that received the implant had retinitis pigmentosa, a serious hereditary condition that causes progressive degeneration of the light-sensitive cells in the retina, leading to blindness.

The results of the operation have been positive for all of the 7 women and 11 men, aged from 29 to 73, with most of them already in the rehabilitation phase.

"With the help of the forfait innovation program, we have already been able to offer treatment to 18 patients, which accounts for half of the 36 operations to take place in France under this new care measure," said Grégoire Cosendai, European vice president of Second Sight. "We are delighted to offer retinitis pigmentosa patients in France this high-tech solution.
We are proud to have developed this device, which we are making available to an ever-growing number of patients around the world. The study, validated by the French National Health Authority (Haute Autorité de Santé), will follow these 18 patients for two years, to monitor their excellent care and progress. The data will help to assess the benefits of offering Argus II as a routine treatment for advanced pigmentary retinopathies, for which there is no alternative treatment currently available in France.”

In the UK, Second Sight is continuing its efforts to seek funding for Argus II from NHS England, in order that severely blind patients in England can have access to a technology that is now available in many other parts of Europe.

In 2014, the Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group (PSSAG), a Department of Health expert committee has considered listing Argus II as a specialised service. Publication of PSSAG advice and the Department of Health’s response to it is due within next few weeks.

If, as seems likely, Argus II is listed as a specialised service, NHS England becomes the responsible payer.

The NHS England will then review the detailed criteria for including Argus II in the Commissioning through Evaluation (CtE) programme. Meanwhile, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has reviewed the Argus II procedure and recommended that it should be used under research conditions. Inclusion of Argus II in the CtE programme is consistent with the NICE recommendation, as devices funded through the CtE programme generate important data to confirm the benefit of the device.

This programme provides similar conditional access to treatment to that already underway in France under the “Forfait Innovation” (national innovation funding program).

Second Sight is also continuing its research on other eye conditions, for example age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In 2015, the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in England fitted several AMD patients with implants.

This was a first in the medical world for this illness, which is more complex than retinitis pigmentosa. The first patient is recovering well; he can now see the outline of people and has regained some perception in his central vision.

About the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System.

January 2016

Second Sight's Argus II System provides electrical stimulation that bypasses the defunct retinal cells and stimulates remaining viable cells inducing visual perception in individuals with severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa.

The Argus II works by converting images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on the patient's glasses into a series of small electrical pulses, which are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted on the surface of the retina.

These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina's remaining cells, resulting in the perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns, thereby regaining some visual function.

The Argus II is the first artificial retina to receive widespread approval. It is offered at approved centers in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the US.

Chris Wormald to leave the Department for Education to be the new Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health.

January 2016

Chris Wormald PS to DOHChris Wormald has been appointed as the new Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health, following Dame Una O’Brien’s recent announcement that she is to step down from the role. Chris will move across from his current role of Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. The appointment has been made by the Cabinet Secretary with the approval of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health.

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said: “Chris has done a superb job leading the Department for Education over the last 4 years. He will bring a wealth of leadership, implementation and policy experience to the role at the Department of Health and a great understanding of public services. I look forward to working with him on the challenges ahead for the department.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Una for her enormous contribution to the civil service over the past 25 years.”

The Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, said: “I’m delighted that Chris will be the new Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health. Chris has done excellent work across the public sector, with a track record of reform in education, and communities and local government, in particular. I’m greatly looking forward to welcoming him to the department.”

The Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, said: “Chris Wormald has done a superb job in leading the Department for Education over the last 4 years. He has played a crucial role in major reforms to restore rigour to exams, transform the school system with academies and free schools, and to support the most vulnerable children. Ministers and staff will miss Chris hugely when he moves on, and we wish him all the best in taking up this new challenge.”

Chris Wormald said: “After 4 years at DfE, it will be a privilege and an honour to join the Department of Health. I’m very excited by the opportunity to work on the many important challenges the department deals with. “I’m looking forward to working with the ministerial team, the staff of the department and its many partners as we implement the government’s ambitious agenda over the course of the Parliament.”

Una O’Brien said: “It is great news for the department and the wider health and care system that Chris Wormald, with his wide experience, will be leading the organisation through its next phase. I look forward to working with him to manage the transition ahead of my departure.”

Chris Wormald was appointed Permanent Secretary for the Department for Education in March 2012. His previous posts include: Director General in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Office
Head of the Economic and Domestic Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Director General for Local Government and Regeneration at the Department for Communities and Local Government
Principal Private Secretary to Estelle Morris and Charles Clarke.


January 2016

Mykita Fashion ShootLong-time collaborator and friend of the MYKITA HAUS, artist Mark Borthwick photographs the new MYKITA eyewear collection in its rightful element. Eyes squint skyward in the searing midday heat, feet move through cool, crystalline water, a deep breath reveals the taste of salt in the air – the 2016 campaign transports the senses to a Mediterranean island in high summer.

Characterised by colour contrasts, vivid reds and blues and the ever-present sea, the images portray a varied cast of characters on the stark white and weather-formed Scala dei Turchi in Sicily. Working only with natural light and his trusted 25-year-old analogue Leica camera, Borthwick creates the prism-like colour effects so distinctive for his warm and spontaneous style by manually overexposing the film.

The 2016 MYKITA campaign sees Borthwick return to a familiar technique from his earlier work – the use of photo sequences.

Photography is often regarded as capturing a very specific moment in time, yet a sequence questions this by creating a mini-narrative that invites the viewer to imagine what happens in the moments between.

Mykita Fashion Shoot



The technique anchors Borthwick’s dreamlike images to the real world. environment.

To this he adds a sense of playful experimentation and in so doing captures the familial, modern spirit of MYKITA.

Watch the artist and his charming subjects hard at work in a special behind-the-scenes film of the photo shoot available on

The MYKITA 2016 campaign lookbook is available at all MYKITA Shops, selected opticians and fashion stores.

Optometrist and now Crime Writer presents College Library with book.

January 2016

David Baker Crime writer'David Baker, optometrist and freelance writer,  recently presented a copy of his new book, 'HOW GLASSES CAUGHT A KILLER' to the College of Optometrists/BOA Museum library.


Baker (pictured right) is shown with Neil Handley, the curator; and the image adorning the front cover of the book is from the museum's own collection.

Subtitled, ' And Other Stories Of How Optics Changed The World', the book is a collection of pieces based on the 'Optical Connections' articles Baker has been writing for 'Optician' journal for the past five years.

'How Glasses Caught A Killer' is available at the discounted price of £6.99 via the publisher's website, It is also available through Amazon and other booksellers on a print on demand basis for £7.99.'

JCL Consulting offer Hospital Pre - Registration Posts for2017-2018

January 2016

Register on Opchat if not already signed up to use forum. 

If you are considering spending your pre-registration year in the hospital eye service, then you should be aware that 6 hospitals have grouped together to operate a centralised application scheme. This is being run by JCL Consulting. Full details of the hospitals and the process can be found at:

In brief, this scheme allows you to apply to up to three hospitals in one go by simply completing one application form and providing references.  

This should all be submitted by 8th April 2016.  

The hospitals will then shortlist and invite candidates to interview. Most interviews should take place in June or July with offers being made by the end of July 2016.

Any hospitals that have not managed to fill places may then contact those who have not been offered places, subject to their permission, giving some a further chance to find a place.

The hospitals involved are:

Cheltenham General Hospital                                                             Cheltenham

Essex County Hospital                                                                        Colchester

Maidstone Hospital                                                                             Maidstone

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital                                                           Manchester

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Trust                                                   London

Oxford Eye Hospital                                                                           Oxford

Full details of posts offered and contact details can be found on the website.

If you are having difficulties accessing this information please email

Please also note that you can register free to use Opchat and the student and pre-reg forum on  Simply go to and follow the instructions to become an Opchat member. You can use the forums to discuss any aspect of the scheme.


SIMON PEGG gets fitted with Silhouette Illusion.

January 2016

Simon Pegg wears Silhouette and Brad Pitt wear Silhoette

Silhouette were privileged to meet with actor, Simon Pegg recently, and personally fited him with his own pair of Silhouette frames.


Simon opted for a pair of Blue mirrored Adventurer Aviators and Black round SPX Illusion (pictured here)

Look out for Simon wearing his sunglasses for après ski activity and his specs on the red carpet some time soon!.

Brad Pitt was also seen sporting a pair of Rimless TMA MUST frames to The Big Short premier.

Silhouette launch WES GORDON X at Press Launch

January 2016

Silhouettes Wes Gordon X range

Silhouette officially launched Wes Gordon X Silhouette collaboration to press dinner at Sketch restaurant, London.

An elegant sit down dinner was the perfect way to introduce luxury media to the new range.

Wes flew in from New York to host the evening along with Silhouette CEO, Daniel Rogger.


Magazines such as Vogue, Elle, InStyle and The Times enjoyed the company of Wes, as well as a 2* Michelin menu. A good time was had by all.

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