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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, October to December 2016


Winner declared for Christmas Window Competition by Silhouette.
Revolutionary “eSight” electronic glasses are transforming the lives of people with sight loss!
National Pharmacy Association leaves Pharmacy Voice.
WCSM holds Christmas Luncheon at Skinners Hall and admitted 2 new Assistants to the Court.
An Optometrist who has become a successful author celebrates his first royalty payment by donating to the WCSM.
100% Optical publishes 2nd Optical Insider Edition.
Norville Opticians in Santa Dash.
Major investment in ophthalmology partnership by Specsavers announced.
GOC registrants back enhanced services says GOC report.
An alert to AOP members about potential fraudulent activity
Drivers urged to take vital sight test this Road Safety Week.
Optical Confederation has eyes on diabetes’ for World Diabetes Day, which is TODAY, November 14th.
American Academy of Optometry Announces the establishment of new Brien Holden Humanitarian Award
ABDO's early response to BBC Watchdog Content.
“Watchdog” programme follows Daily Mail on Blue Light story.
An ocean of difference? How USA and the AOA does not see red over the Blue Light Issue.
Schoolvision study is a world first for Dyslexia.
Wiseman Prize Winner toasts Manufacturing Excellence.
70 years shaping optics - platinum celebration sees Optoplast release limited edition eyewear.
Children in Scotland missing out on vital eye examination.
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers awards two prestigious Bronze Medals for research.
New Master takes over at Apothecaries', the home of the WCSM.
SILHOUETTE offers practises the chance of a Magical Window for Christmas.

Winner declared for Christmas Window Competition by Silhouette.

December 2016

Silhouette competition winner

Silhouette UK have declared H & H Eyecare in Altringham as the winner of their 2016 Christmas Window Competition.

Thanks to the efforts of all the staff in the practice to make their Silhouette Christmas window display extra festive and stylish, the practice has won a Fortnum and Mason hamper.

All Silhouette customers who bought four frames from the Elegance collections and subsequently received a free Christmas window display had the chance to win the prize by sharing their Christmas window display on social media with the hashtag #SilhouetteChristmas

Revolutionary “eSight” electronic glasses are transforming the lives of people with sight loss!

December 2016

e sightAssociated Optical are thrilled to announce that they are the newly appointed exclusive UK distributors of eSight Eyewear – electronic glasses that enable the legally blind to actually see. eSight Eyewear is transforming the lives of those living with low vision, enhancing and optimizing their vision and restoring their independence and confidence.

The much awaited UK launch takes place on the 4th February at 100% Optical, London (the UK’s largest optical event) stand W01 #EveryoneDeservesToSee

Since 1983 Associated Optical, Eschenbach’s UK partner, has sought to provide eye-care professionals with innovative devices to further enhance their patient care.


Working closely with all of their key manufacturers and education team, their aim is to inspire customers with sight loss to further improve their quality of life using patient-centred solutions.
Education and development are at the core of Associated Optical’s ethos and through the delivery of CET accredited content which includes the highly successful one day event ‘Magnification – From Low Vison to Easy Vision’, Associated Optical continues to support the low vision rehabilitation industry in the pursuit of further enhancing patient care and improving the lives of people with sight loss.

“Appointing Associated Optical as our exclusive distributor was an obvious choice for eSight and we are excited to work with Stuart Baldwin and his team in the UK. We have been truly inspired by the impact our product has made on the lives of people living with low vision. We can’t wait to see the reaction at 100% Optical where eSight will be formally launched in the UK” says Brian Mech, President and CEO of eSight.

eSight was founded in 2006 by a Canadian entrepreneur who felt that there was a dire need for a device such as eSight for his two visually impaired sisters and for the millions of other people with inoperable vision loss all over the world. eSight’s mission – that everyone deserves to see - has motivated many experienced and respected investors to invest over £12 million to make eSight Eyewear a reality. This has enabled eSight to attract a highly talented and motivated team of Board members, clinical advisors, engineers, outreach and support staff as well as supporters from all around the world.

“Working with eSight has been inspirational and we are completely behind this revolutionary product. They key for a successful rollout has been to ensure that the eyewear was available through a supportive network with partnering opticians. This reassures us that eSight is available to the right people with the right support in place.” Stuart Baldwin, Director Associated Optical

National Pharmacy Association leaves Pharmacy Voice.

December 2016

FODO Chief Executive David Hewlett said: “FODO members who also provide pharmacy services, as well as the wider membership, will be sorry to note that the NPA is leaving the Pharmacy Voice coalition.

This is more worrying , especially at a time when NHS England seems hell bent on closing small NHS pharmacies.

We do not know the reasons why but it is always unwise to split professions as it makes it easier for others to divide and rule.

This is why FODO is such a stalwart supporter of the Optical Confederation, which stands up for all optical practices and practitioners - whatever their size or location - and steadfastly defends the ‘market’, so that we are not at the whim of Governments and transient officials.”

WCSM holds Christmas Luncheon at Skinners Hall and admitted 2 new Assistants to the Court.

December 2016

Fiona Anderson and Mike Harris
Two new Assistants to the WCSM Court were admitted at the December Court Meeting prior to the Christmas Luncheon attended by over 170 livery and guests. The two Court Assistants were Nigel Haig-Brown and Mike Harris. Mike is pictured at the reception chatting to Fiona Anderson, the current ABDO President.

The lunch was held unusually at Skinners Hall owing to major repair works currently being required at Apothecaries' Hall, the home of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.

It was a busy morning in Court with a further 6 admitted to the Livery. However, one new Freeman had the unique experience of being admitted by means of mobile technology as time was of the essence.

Adam Soble applying for admission to Freedom by Patrimony was desperate to gain admission before the imminent birth of his first child, due any day. The request was put to the Court who replied digitally in agreement and the deed was done in the nick of time, for the birth of his son Leo James Soble.

As a result, Leo will also be able to become a Freeman by Patrimony when he reaches the age of 21. Leo, mum and our new Freeman, Adam, are all doing well!

An Optometrist who has become a successful author celebrates his first royalty payment by donating to the WCSM.

December 2016

David Baker & Felicity Harding

Optometrist David Baker, whose book How Glasses Caught A Killer (published by FeedARead) which is based on his Optical Connections articles written for the Optician.

Having received his first royalty cheque has recently made a donation out of the royalties from the book’s sales to the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers Charity.

Baker, who is a Senior Assistant on the WCSM Court, is pictured with WCSM Upper Warden and Chair of Trustees of the WCSM Charity, Felicity Harding, at the recent Court Luncheon held at Skinners’ Hall.


Glasses Caught A Killer is available via at £6.99 and other online bookstores at £7.99.

100% Optical publishes 2nd Optical Insider Edition.

December 2016

!00% Optical Insider

The second edition of the 100% Optical Insider has been published this week. Highlighting news about their main charity partner, (see our Charity news page story), news on Small Business Saturday and much more, you can read it online by clicking here.

Norville Opticians in Santa Dash.

December 2016

Once again Norville Opticians has been helping a local charity through its sponsorship and involvement with the Saltford Santa Dash which took place on Sunday.

Norvilles Santas push

On a cold and frosty but brilliantly sunny morning more than 500 runners dressed as Santa, some with their dogs, covered a five–mile, figure-of-eight course through the picturesque lanes between Saltford and Keynsham near Bristol while 300 younger ‘Santas’, some as young as 2 years old, ran, walked or toddled a special shorter course.

The event was established in 2013 to provide a community fun-run and to raise funds in support of locally connected charities working with young people. The idea is to enable runners, joggers, novice runners, families and friends to enjoy a fun community event in aid of charity work.

The 2016 event will support the charity Butterflies-Haven. Based in Keynsham this charity supports young people in the local area who have autism.

In choosing this year's charity the organisers recognised that this small charity is providing very valuable support to young people and their families living with autism. The funds raised will enable Butterflies-Haven to continue and further expand the worthwhile service that they provide.


Pictured here is Norville Opticians Director and Dispensing Optician Adrian Street (left) with Keynsham practice optometrist David Good along with his wife Samantha, also an optometrist, bracing themselves before the five mile run.

Major investment in ophthalmology partnership by Specsavers announced.

December 2016

Specsavers, the largest optometry provider to the NHS, has made a major investment in a partnership with Newmedica, one of the largest independent ophthalmology providers to the NHS, to improve eye health services for patients in the community.

Specsavers and newmedicaDoug Perkins, co-founder and CEO of Specsavers, said: ‘Newmedica and Specsavers share a passion for transforming eye health and for focusing on what is best for patients and we are very much looking forward to working together.

‘The investment has only just been made and it is too early to say exactly how the partnership will develop in the future. However, with hospital eye departments under pressure due to an ageing population and an increase in treatable eye conditions, we will be exploring with Newmedica ways in which we can provide NHS ophthalmology services in the community. We envisage that the services would be led by ophthalmologists, and supported by optometrists in our stores.’

Darshak Shah, co-founder and director of Newmedica, added: ‘This represents a significant milestone and a hugely positive development for Newmedica, enabling us to develop the business for a long term future in support of our mission of making eyecare better.’

Pictured from left are: Newmedica’s Tim Manners, Nigel Kirkpatrick, Darshak Shah with Specsavers’ Doug Perkins, Giles Edmonds and Paul Morris at the announcement of the new partnership.

Newmedica is one of the largest independent clinical ophthalmology service providers in the UK, Newmedica was founded in 2007 to provide eye care services to the NHS. Its philosophy is one of innovation in ophthalmology delivery, changing the way services are delivered to improve clinical quality, patient experience and efficiency.

It operates from 25 community and GP sites, NHS and private hospitals and mobile clinics in England. Services delivered cover the full range of ophthalmology, including outpatients and surgery, adult, paediatric and neonatal ophthalmology.

This year Newmedica will deliver 80,000 patient interactions across 20 NHS contracts.

GOC registrants back enhanced services says GOC report.

November 2016

UK optometrists and dispensing opticians overwhelmingly back the chance to provide more eyecare services, a new GOC research report has found.

The independent survey of over 4,000 UK optometrists and dispensing opticians found that 87 per cent supported plans to provide enhanced optical services in the community.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said: “Our research shows that the vast majority of optometrists and dispensing opticians are keen to get involved in delivering more healthcare services in new models of care, on top of their more traditional roles carrying out sight tests and fitting glasses and contact lenses. This has real potential to benefit patients and alleviate pressures on the NHS.

“It is great to see how registrants want to get more involved in this work. But our research has also shown there are barriers to overcome, including access to training, interest from some employers and making the work cost-effective. The optical sector will also have to work to change public perceptions about opticians. Our public research earlier this year showed that more people still think of themselves as a customer than as a patient and view opticians as retailers rather than healthcare providers.”

Enhanced optical services are increasingly being commissioned across the UK. They involve optometrists and dispensing opticians taking on additional work in areas such glaucoma management and low vision, usually with extra training and/or qualifications.

It can also include opticians being a first port of call on the high street for patients with minor eye conditions such as redness or something in their eye.

The vast majority of registrants – some 87 per cent – expect to see their role change in the next five years, with new technology the most widely cited reason. But most registrants are embracing this change, with 62 per cent optimistic about the future of the professions. The figure in Scotland is particularly high (75 per cent).

64 per cent of optometrists have considered getting extra qualifications to take on more enhanced services work in the future. Those who are not considering getting extra qualifications cited barriers including it not being cost effective, it being difficult to access the right training and a lack of interest from their employer.

An alert to AOP members about potential fraudulent activity

November 2016

The AOP has been made aware that people are calling AOP members ‘on behalf of the AOP’ trying to obtain personal contact information over the phone.

Members should be aware that these individuals are not employed or appointed by AOP to make these calls and they should not give any personal information out over the phone.

If members have passed on any data or are concerned about this matter, please call our membership team on 020 7549 2010.

The members who notified us were contacted on practice numbers not personal numbers, so be sure to update your practice teams.

The callers have given the names of Tom Everett, calling from a mobile number ending 0460 and Chris Shringham, calling from a mobile number ending 1291. We are also aware of a female caller.

This matter has been reported to the Police.

Why are they targeting members?

The AOP suspect it is to gather email details to send so-called 'phishing' emails using a bogus email account. These email accounts may appear to be from us or an official agency such as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) telling people they are due a Council Tax refund.

These emails are designed to capture sensitive financial information from their victims, either by taking them to a fake website or by downloading malicious software to computers, that allow the fraudsters to track and trace internet usage.

It appears that these fraudsters are calling members using the public GOC register. We don’t have any indication of a data breach or cyber-attack on our side.

Top tips to keep yourself safe online

The Fraud Investigation Unit gave us these top tips for keeping yourself safe online:

• If you have provided personal information, change all of your online passwords to the highest recommended security settings and do not use the same password twice

• If you receive a suspicious email, you should delete it straight away without accessing any web links or downloading any files

• If you aren’t sure if an email is legitimate once you’ve opened it, look for clues like language used – are they using unusual terms? Or are they calling you ‘Dear member’ rather than a personalised

‘Dear Mr Jones’ (as we the AOP do in our communications). You can also hover your mouse over the sender's email address, it will reveal the true source rather than what is displayed at first

• Check your social media accounts and make sure you do not have any personal information displayed, such as your date of birth

If you have given a personal email address to someone you are not sure about, consider closing your email account down and opening a new one.

Drivers urged to take vital sight test this Road Safety Week.

November 2016

Vision and Driving
With an estimated 2,900] road casualties caused by poor vision every year the Optical Confederation (OC) is joining forces with charity Brake to urge drivers to take a sight test this Road Safety Week.

From 21 - 27 November the OC is raising awareness of the impact poor vision can have on driving as part of Brake’s national campaign to improve road safety.

Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest road safety event, held annually and involves thousands of schools, organisations and communities.

This year's theme is ‘Make the Brake Pledge’ focusing on six simple elements to make our roads safer – with sharp vision as one of the vital checks for drivers.

Earlier this month, the OC encouraged optical practices across the UK to kick-start the campaign by displaying a poster that couples sight test with the common driving instruction ‘Mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ – highlighting good eyesight as a crucial part of road safety.

Speaking on behalf of OC, optometrist Henry Leonard said: “The relationship between road safety and vision needs to have greater visibility and that is why we are fully committed to raising awareness for Road Safety Week in 2016.”

Mr Leonard continued: “It’s worrying that there is no requirement for drivers to have regular sight tests; a 17-year-old who can read a number plate when they take their driving test may continue driving for the rest of their life with no further checks.

“Roadside tests have shown that many drivers subsequently fall below the required standard as their eyesight changes over time, often without realising. We believe that before being issued with a licence, and when licences are renewed every 10 years, drivers should provide evidence that they meet minimum vision requirements.”

Mike Carr, Public Affairs Advisor at Brake said: “We fully appreciate the crucial role of the optical community in achieving the real improvement in road safety we are fighting for. Commitment to regular eye checks should be one major step towards safer driving that we know will ultimately save lives”.

Road Safety Week was founded by Brake in 1997 as an annual event to raise awareness about road safety and promote steps that everyone can take to stop deaths and injuries year-round.

The OC has produced an advice sheet ‘Vision - Key Facts for Drivers’ to help people understand issues around poor vision and driving performance.

Optical Confederation has eyes on diabetes’ for World Diabetes Day, which is TODAY, November 14th.

November 2016

The Optical Confederation (OC) welcomes the eye health focus of this year’s World Diabetes Day but warns that screening for diabetic eye disease is not a substitute for a full sight test and regular eye care.

The theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day is ‘Eyes on Diabetes’, with organisations across the world promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications – especially avoidable loss of sight through diabetic eye disease.

Despite screening, the number of people with diabetes is still rising fast across the UK and Europe.

OC Acting Chair, Lynda Oliver explained: “Thanks to effective screening in the community, diabetic retinopathy is no longer the leading cause of blindness in England and Wales. However, it is important for the public and primary care partners to remember that diabetic eye screening is not the same thing as regular sight tests, which everyone should have. This is essential for health and wellbeing, to correct sight and detect signs of other eye conditions which, like diabetic retinopathy, are often symptomless.

She added: The Optical Confederation would encourage everyone to arrange a sight test in their local opticians as part of their regular health routine. The NHS also provides this service for those who cannot leave home unaided, so there is really no excuse for losing sight through lack of access to care.”

The OC’s David Hewlett, speaking at the European Parliament this week, in his role as the Chair of European umbrella group the European Coalition of Vision (ECV), emphasised the importance of regular eye examinations for everyone including anyone with diabetic eye disease. Together with colleagues from EU partner organisations he highlighted the ageing population across Europe, the links to diabetes and other diseases and called for more equal EU research funding into eye disease.

He said: “We need more research funding in Europe to enable improvements that not only prolong length of life but also the quality of life as well. This means more research into eye health, preventing avoidable sight loss, and supporting people to remain independent and active as they age.”

American Academy of Optometry Announces the establishment of new Brien Holden Humanitarian Award

November 2016

The American Academy of Optometry is pleased to announce the establishment of the Brien Holden Humanitarian Award to honor the memory and work of Professor Brien Holden, PhD, DSc, FAAO.

This award will recognize an individual or organization who has made significant contributions to improve eye care within a country or region. In particular, the award will acknowledge humanitarian efforts in the non-profit/not-for-profit sector that build or support the development of sustainable eye care systems in developing communities.

“This is a wonderful acknowledgement by the Academy, a body that Brien greatly respected and a meeting he enthusiastically attended for around four decades. This award will give important recognition to those people who may not be known globally, but who are making a difference in eye care in their country or region,” said Kovin Naidoo, OD, PhD, FAAO, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute.

Professor Holden founded the Brien Holden Vision Institute and was a global leader in eye care and vision research, internationally renowned and awarded scientist, humanitarian, and a Professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

His career was spent inspiring scientists and health care professionals around the world with his dream of ‘vision for everyone, everywhere.’ Professor Holden was an Academy Life Fellow and a Diplomate in the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies. He was a Presidents Circle member and an avid supporter of the American Optometric Foundation. Among several Academy awards received, Professor Holden was awarded the Academy's Charles F. Prentice Medal and Lecture at Academy 2014 Denver, the Academy's highest honor.

“The American Academy of Optometry is honored to be given the opportunity to administer this new award that so perfectly reflects Dr Holden’s passion for finding regional and global solutions for vision disparities. This award will help sustain awareness to the continuation of Brien Holden’s legacy and humanitarian contributions,” said Brett G. Bence, OD, FAAO, Academy President.

The award, established by the Brien Holden Vision Institute and Holden family estate, will be given annually beginning in 2017. Nominations should include two letters of nomination from Academy Fellows and a CV of the nominee. Nominations are due by April 1, 2017

ABDO's early response to BBC Watchdog Content.

November 2016

ABDO is deeply concerned by the allegations made by the BBC Watchdog programme (broadcast 9 November) that dispensing opticians at two high street chains are giving incorrect advice on the effects of blue light.

ABDO general secretary, Tony Garrett, said "There is absolutely no evidence that the persons filmed were dispensing opticians indeed it is clear most were certainly not DOs.

"We regard this issue as a serious one but deplore the inaccurate statements about dispensing opticians made by the programme. We will be raising this with the BBC and programme makers."

ABDO does not so far seem to take a view on the Blue Light Issue. Read on for the background on this issue.

“Watchdog” programme follows Daily Mail on Blue Light story.

November 2016

College e-blasts a media response to the media stories on Blue Light where the headline stated that “High Street opticians accused of making bogus claims about blue light emitted from smartphones to sell special lenses customers don't need.

The College has produced some guidance and views on the subject to assist optometrists although it considers dispensing opticians are more in the line of fire.

Read more on the Daily Mail Story.

The latest episode of Watchdog on BBC featured an item on the sale of blue lens filters to block blue light. It showed optical staff in high street practices citing claims on the protective factors of certain lenses for blue light to customers. Available on BBC i-player.

The College poses a series of Q&A’s on the subject. We reprint some here but you can read the full text by clicking the link at the end of the story.

What can you explain to customers about this issue?

What is blue light?

Visible light ranges from blue, with the shortest wavelength, to red, with the longest wavelength. Blue light is produced naturally by the sun and artificially by electronic light sources.

Is it damaging to the eye?

There is no reliable evidence to say that using devices emitting blue light causes any permanent damage to eyes or eyesight. However, it may make users with pre-existing vision defects more aware of them. Blue light sources encountered indoors are unlikely to approach unsafe exposure limits, even for extended viewing times, and the eye possesses natural defences to mitigate blue light damage.

Can blue lens filters help?

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of blue lens filters to block blue light or that they can prevent long-term damage to the retina.

Read the full College Media Alert text here.

Do you agree with the College’s Position on Blue Light and filters?

An ocean of difference, how USA and the AOA does not see red over the Blue Light Issue.

November 2016

Following a week of almost TV reality taking over US politics we might think we Brits had little in common with our American Cousins. Not true. The electorate was divided on almost the same differentials as our Brexit Vote. Age, wealth, IQ and social status.

One major difference has however become apparent following advice from the College of Optometrists on Blue Light (see lead story of today).

We in the UK have always been a bit "luke warm" on this issue.

When PHN attended and reported on Vision Expo East in New York this year we were overwhelmed by the number of companies using “Blue Light Dangers” as a stimulus to buy anything from POS systems through lenses to equipment. As well as leaflets and advice prepared by respected optical bodies.

Here is an example from the respected American Optometric Association.

Entitled, “Battling blue light”.

"Blue light is something we're getting exponentially more exposed to because of our transition to a digital lifestyle," says David Friess, O.D., a Philadelphia-based research consultant. "Digital reading is not something we were designed to do."

Ready or not, blue light is a reality.

According to AOA's 2015 American Eye-Q® survey, 62 percent of respondents spend five or more hours on their digital devices every day, and 14 percent spend at least 10 hours a day on their devices.

Geraint Griffiths and Ollie
More blue light, more problems

All this is leading to an increase in the amount of eye strain eye care professionals are reporting. For instance, VSP Global's survey of the group's providers found that 82 percent reported an increase in patients experiencing eye strain and other effects of blue light exposure.


A July 2015 study in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that the more chronic the exposure to blue-light-producing LED lights, the more free radicals in the eye, which further analysis associated with retinal injury. This may contribute to aging of the eye and age-related vision problems in younger patient groups. That's all the more reason manufacturers are creating new products—such as screen covers for filtering blue light, as well as contact lenses and eye glass lenses embedded with blue-wave-filtering pigment—in response.

And the systemic effects?

From eye health to systemic issues, now is the time for optometrists to counsel patients on the overall effects of blue light. For instance, two recent studies associate blue light exposure with sleep problems.

A 2014 study in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology found that just a week of increased exposure to blue light before bed cut sleep time by an average of 14 minutes. And it's not just blue light in ambient lighting. Reading on blue-lit e-reading devices before bed "prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning," according to a January 2015 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It also found that reading on such devices, unsurprisingly, increases alertness and delays bedtime without changing when people wake in the morning.

For years, researchers have studied the association between dysfunctional sleep-wake cycles and other health problems, such as diabetes and some forms of cancer. The systemic effect of blue light is something Bryan Rogoff, O.D., a private practice consultant in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area, always talks to his clients about, especially for different practice models. As doctors of optometry join accountable care groups and move toward a coordinated care model, Dr. Rogoff urges them to screen patients for blue light eye damage—and conduct a thorough case history that incorporates patients' sleep patterns—and how it relates to metabolic and cardiovascular changes that affect their bodies.

Dr Rogoff stated “As optometrists, we are not just focused on the eye—we are primary care doctors," he says. "We're all worried about diabetes and high blood pressure in this country. Blue light is just another risk factor. When we talk to our patients, it's necessary to make those connections for them."

Full story here.

Further reading amongst many publications is from Heather Flint Ford OD on the impact of excessive blue light.

So how did we get so out of step with our American colleagues on this issue? Do you have a view?

Drop us an email to

Schoolvision study is a world first for Dyslexia.

November 2016

A company in Leicestershire has completed the first long term study anywhere in the world of dyslexia in the young and its treatment using lenses resulting in a measurable improvement in reading ability.

Schoolvision, based in the Anstey area of Leicester, has just concluded a study into the relationship between vision and a predisposition to dyslexia at Hemyock Primary School in the small village of Hemyock, near Cullompton in Devon.

Schoolvision is an independent organisation which provides diploma based training for experienced optometrists to detect and treat the symptoms of dyslexia through the use of corrective spectacles.

Geraint Griffiths and OllieThe study was carried out over an eighteen month period and involved 69 pupils drawn from Years 2 to 6 (as of March 2015). It looked closely at the way in which the children’s’ reading abilities were linked with how their eyes worked together and the improvements that could be achieved through the use of specially prescribed spectacles.

The report of the study is due to be published towards the end of this year but early results show some real success with a 26% improvement in reading speeds.

Schoolvision’s Managing Director Geraint Griffiths led the study and is quite clear that many dyslexic tendencies can be treated with spectacles. He said: “Concentration on reading and writing is a modern phenomenon and our eyes haven't yet evolved to deal with so much close work. Because of this they sometimes need help: especially in the young.

“When we read, just one dominant eye should take over the job of aiming at the words. But if both eyes try to do the same job, the words and letters appear to shift out of order sending confused messages to the brain which can cause difficulties in reading and spelling. If this takes place while a child is learning to read the effect on their confidence, enjoyment of reading and, often, behaviour can be profound. This study has shown without doubt that we can help through the use of prescriptive spectacles.”

Acting Head of Hemyock Primary School, Hannah Smith has been amazed at the results. She said: “None of our pupils were actually confirmed as dyslexic. However, not only have we seen improved reading abilities in some of our children but also in one or two cases improved learning behaviour therefore making them intrinsically motivated and increasing their confidence. This is obvious if you think about it as a child who is struggling to do what those around him or her are doing without any problems will get frustrated as well as falling behind.”

Mr Griffiths added: “There is nothing new in the science connected with this study. Over the years some areas of training in optometry have fallen out of usage through an increasing concentration on medical aspects combined with the intricacies of funding via the NHS. That is why I have developed the Diploma in Schoolvision Practice to reintroduce optometrists to this way of thinking. “

The main aim of the diploma is to teach and test the understanding of the principles of binocular deficiency and their relationship to dyslexia and to be able to apply them directly to dispensing and optometry in general practice

Mr Griffiths continued: ”Unfortunately the giant high street chains of optometrists are unable to devote the time that is required and are not geared up to carrying out the tests and detecting the symptoms which are having such an impact on many thousands of young children and their education. Therefore the Diploma lends itself very much towards the smaller, independent practices which can provide much more of a personal service.”

Wiseman Prize Winner toasts Manufacturing Excellence.

October 2016

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ annual awards ceremony celebrated excellence in optics, and with one lab manager picking up the coveted Wiseman Memorial Prize.

Michael Ward

Michael Ward, who manages a busy lab in Milton Keynes for Specsavers, was commended for achieving top marks in the Optical Technicians Level 4 Exam, known as SMC Tech (Level 4), following two years of study and practical examinations.

This took place alongside managing the busy lab, which serves five consulting rooms.

Regarded as the Gold Standard in optical manufacturing, the challenging qualification tests optical manufacturing knowledge and practical skills as well as the complex mathematics needed for turning a prescription into the very best vision.

Michael, who has worked in a lab for three years, and was previously an optical assistant, explained that he has always had an interest in physical sciences.

His degree in Biosciences and Health was a great asset, particularly with the anatomy aspects of the course.


He commented, "This training has really followed my natural interests in applying core principles. I am very proud of the qualification, as it doesn’t get any higher than this in optical manufacturing.”

(Image above by Gerald Sharp photography)

70 years shaping optics - platinum celebration sees Optoplast release limited edition eyewear.

October 2016

Four exclusive designs complement successful ‘Made in England’ Walter & Herbert collection

Walter & HerbertIndustry-leading eyewear experts, The Optoplast Actman Eyewear Company, is marking 70 years at the forefront of eyewear, by releasing four distinctive new designs for Walter & Herbert, their premium ‘Made in England’ brand.

An extension to the hugely successful debut collection, just 100 units of the each of the black frames are available, presenting one optical and one sun design, for both men and women. Continuing the core Made in England theme, the designs carry the names of iconic figures from history – Constable, Chaucer, Woolf and Nesbit – and in a nod to the company’s platinum celebration, the frames feature intricate metal detailing.

The new, stylish, limited edition frames, were unveiled as Optoplast celebrated its milestone with partners, industry figures, VIPs and media, at London’s exclusive Sky Garden venue on Thursday 6 October 2016.

Launched in October 2015, Walter & Herbert was the first own-brand offering from the makers of high profile eyewear for Nicole Fahri and Julien Macdonald, followed by the award-winning titanium collection, Reykjavik Eyes Black Label.

Walter & Herbert is a significant landmark in the company’s 70-year history, named after Optoplast’s founding fathers, Walter Conway and Herbert Thorn. In the 1940s they embarked on an extraordinary journey which saw the introduction of the ‘PIMO’ machine, an innovation that went on to shape the way spectacles were manufactured worldwide.

Walter & HerbertToday The Optoplast Actman Eyewear Company is acknowledged as one of the country’s foremost eyewear-makers. Its team has grown from six to over 200 employees, operating internationally from its four worldwide offices. The London office oversees the product design and development with the Liverpool Head Office providing a sophisticated manufacturing and testing facility.

The great and the good of the eyewear industry turned out to share its platinum celebrations and CEO James Conway presented a cheque for £2,100 to children’s cancer charity, Momentum. Since the start of the year, Optoplast has been making a donation for every pair of sun and optical frames it sells from its 2016 Walter & Herbert range.

Anniversary celebrations have also taken to the roads in the capital, with five black cabs adorned with Walter and Herbert branding.

In operation until the beginning of January, the cabs feature bold exterior livery carrying the hashtags #WHERESWALTER and #WHERESHERBERT, to encourage passengers to share their journey.

Based near the flagship Walter and Herbert Monmouth St store, the cabs receipts can be exchanged by passengers to receive an exclusive 10% off their first purchase in store.

James Conway, CEO, and grandson of Walter Conway commented: “It was important to us to bring together those people who have been part of our story to celebrate 70 years of innovation in eyewear. Many companies don’t stand the test of time so 70 years is a milestone worth marking.

Walter & Herbert“From the early years in the business, we’ve never wanted to play it safe. There have been challenges along the road, but we’ve risen to these by modernising and showing a commitment towards creativity. Eyewear is an evolving industry, and our aim is to continue to be at the forefront for many years to come. We have invested heavily in state-of-the-art machinery and recruited some very talented people along the way. We are privileged to have staff that have been loyal to us for nearly 30 years and that’s important, especially being a family business at heart.

“We’re excited to release four new designs in our Walter & Herbert range, which are a testament to our 70-year journey, and we’d like to thank our team and our customers who have made this celebration possible and who also helped with our fundraising efforts for Momentum.”

The limited edition Walter & Herbert frames will be available from selected independent opticians nationwide and at the brand’s flagship store on Monmouth St, London. Each frame is offered in an individual, limited edition wooden box.

Children in Scotland missing out on vital eye examination.

October 2016

As Scottish students return to school after the half term break, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is urging parents to prepare their children for the classroom by booking an eye examination this autumn.

Public perception surveys previously found that parents in Scotland place less importance on children’s eye examinations than those in Northern Ireland or Wales. Yet recent data published in the British Medical Journal shows that children who have reduced vision when they start school have significantly reduced literacy development, even when other factors – such as cognitive skills and background – are taken into account.

Optometrist Henry Leonard, Clinical and Regulatory Officer at the AOP, commented that "a whole range of things can be affected by poor vision, including schooling and social development. Yet many children will not know if they have a vision problem and may believe the way they see is perfectly normal. While parents should look out for signs, in some cases no symptoms will be apparent so regular eye examinations are essential."

He added "It is estimated one million children in the UK have an undiagnosed vision problem. When we look at how this can negatively affect a child's development, it's a really worrying figure. It's particularly important to detect and correct these problems during early childhood, to ensure that vision develops normally, as it can be difficult or impossible to correct once a child reaches the age of eight or nine. Parents are often quite shocked to realise their child has been struggling with schoolwork due to a visual problem, which can often be corrected with a simple pair of spectacles. It's very rewarding to see a child who was previously struggling, starting to enjoy reading and writing for the first time."
Research has shown that an estimated 9% of Scottish pupils have additional support needs due to sight problems. The AOP recommends that children are taken for an eye examination around the age of three and then at least every two years, or as advised by your optometrist, so any vision problems can be treated early. There are many tests that an optometrist can carry out which are designed to engage children from a very young age or need no response to make the test easier for the child.
Children in Scotland, under the age of 16, are entitled to a free eye examination. An optical voucher may also be available, which entitles parents or carers help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses, if required.

What to expect at your child's eye examination

• At the beginning of the appointment your optometrist will ask about your family history, your child’s health generally and if you have any concerns about their sight. If your child is old enough the optometrist will also speak to them about their vision

• Several tests will be carried out in the test room to check your child's eyes are healthy. These can include shinning a light into the child's eyes, asking them to follow an object with their eyes and asking them to identify images, words or letters whilst looking through different lenses. The optometrist may also include a stereopsis test to check how your child's eyes are working together and a colour vision test to detect colour deficiencies

• The examination will normally take around 30 minutes and you can stay with your child at all times

• Your optometrist will then let you know if your child would benefit from glasses, or any treatments, and advise when to return for their next examination

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers awards two prestigious Bronze Medals for research.

October 2016

At a recent WCSM Livery Luncheon two Bronze Medals were awarded.

Dr Jasmina Cehajic Kapetanovic

The Ruskell Medal for 2016 was awarded to Dr Jasmina Cehajic Kapetanovic,(left) a trainee academic ophthalmologist based at the University of Manchester/Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Her work centres around the use of gene therapy to convert cells in the retina into photo receptors and potentially restore vision.

The technology has now been licensed to a biotechnology company by the University of Manchester with the aim of developing a treatment for patients with advanced retinal dystrophies.

The Ruskell Medal is awarded to the first-named author of the best paper in the fields of ophthalmology or visual science for studies undertaken within the United Kingdom and published during the qualifying period (1 July 2015-30 June 2016).

Corinne Fulcher

The Master’s Medal for 2016 was awarded to Corinne Fulcher, (right) an optometrist studying for a doctorate at the University of Bradford, for her paper “Object size determines the spatial spread of visual time”. Corinne recently begun working part time as a Research Optometrist at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

She also works as an Optometrist at an independent practice in Huddersfield, her home town.

The Master’s Medal encourages people who have taken a first degree or diploma within the last three years and are engaged in current research into the advancement of optometry or physiological optics. The work assessed can include not just traditional academic research papers but also studies on product development and manufacturing initiatives, including tablet and smartphone applications.

These awards are made each year following a competition in which papers are judged by a panel of professors from UK optical schools.

Images show each of the medal winners with the new Master Spectacle Maker, Don Grocott, and Professor John Marshall MBE, Chairman of the Professorial Committee.

New Master takes over at Apothecaries', the home of the WCSM.

October 2016

Don GrowcottDon Grocott was installed as the new Master of the Spectacle Makers’ Company, yesterday, Wednesday 5 October 2016.

Don is well known across the optical world, having been Chairman of the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers and President of Euromcontact, the European contact lens manufacturers’ federation.

He was also President of the Association of Optometrists and President of FODO, before spearheading the formation of the Optical Confederation to bring together key players in optics and present a co-ordinated view to government on issues affecting UK optical professionals, manufacturers, retailers, distributors and importers.

Don was Chairman of the Optical Confederation until October 2014.


The Installation of the new Master and Wardens took place during the Company’s annual service at St Bride’s, Fleet Street and was followed by a lunch at the historic Apothecaries’ Hall in the City of London, attended by visiting City Livery Company Masters and many guests and friends from across optics.


SILHOUETTE offers practises the chance of a Magical Window for Christmas.

October 2016

The festive season is fast approaching and Silhouette UK is thrilled to announce its seasonal Christmas window initiative featuring the stunning Elegance Collection.

Silhoeutte Widows
Practices will qualify for a stunning POS display that will make heads turn by purchasing a minimum of four frames from Silhouette’s Elegance collections.

Customers that receive the Elegance window display kit are invited to exhibit their talent by tweeting a photo of their Christmas themed window with the hashtag #silhouettechristmas and tagging @silhouette_1964 for the chance to win a deluxe Christmas hamper!

The magical eye-catching window display will include a Christmas Silhouette poster and window sticker, a stand-up tree display, as well as a range of dangling snowflakes, designed to attract passing customers.

The unique Elegance frames fuse together two essential elements; a perfect design with precious materials, and features four new collections, which all embody pure elegance.

‘Floral Radiance’ takes inspiration from Art Deco and floral shapes, creating 3 distinct and colourful frames, which are designed with 23-carat gold-plated titanium.

‘Starlight’ features three breathtaking temple décor models, designed with 23-carat gold-plated titanium and are handcrafted with 50 handset Swarovski crystals.

‘Caress Pearl’ includes three harmonious lens shapes, Hematite, White and Rose Pearl, which are designed with Swarovski pearls and emphasises the curve of the feminine brow.

‘Mosaic’ focuses on a minimalist temple design and a high level of detail in the décor by incorporating laser-engraved matt facets, allowing the male user to achieve sleek elegance.

There are a limited number of Elegance window display kits available, so book your Silhouette Christmas window now by contacting your local Area Sales Manager

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