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Opchat Magazine General NewsGeneral News, April to June 2017


Norville Opticians’ new spectacles are well-oiled.
Does your little minion need a sight test? AOP asks the question.
HOYA announces the winner of their EnRoute track day Prize Draw.
3 Sponsors honoured with Certificates of Gratitude by Spinal Injuries Charity.
AIO Comments on Specsavers move to introduce OCT.
OC reflects on major parties manifestos published this election.
PHN welcomes new Opchat Sponsor this week
Challenge Shamir Transitions!
AOP responds to consumer advice on eye care costs given by Daily Mirror.
Optometrist leads international eye care research.
MEI invests in Retail.
BONJOUR PARIS! at 19 Rue du Pont aux Choux,
Waiting lists can be cleared – and €30m saved – by changing approach to eye-care says Irish Optometrists at specially arranged meeting.
Transitions Adaptive lenses sponsors Channel 4 weather in the UK.
College of Optometrists holds parliamentary event on dementia and visual impairment.
Optical Stalwart runs with daughter for SIA.
Clear eye patient waiting lists by increasing role of Optometry in community care, says AOI from Ireland.
College of Optometrists issues advice for those with hay fever as temperatures rise.
Do business with people who share your beliefs. Shamir launches their campaign at Optrafair.
Visually impaired Scottish artist to launch exhibition in Edinburgh.
Private SPECTRALIS collection exhibited for the first time ever at Optrafair 2017

Norville Opticians’ new spectacles are well-oiled.

June 2017

An independent chain of opticians based in Gloucester has become the first in the region to stock spectacles made from a new, unique and environmentally friendly plastic.

MiniBecky FaulknerAt a special product launch over the weekend at Norville Opticians in their Eastgate Street, Gloucester branch visitors to the practice were able to try on spectacles made of the new material – a plastic of which 65% is based on an oil extracted from the seeds of castor oil plants and which has enabled spectacles to become even lighter and more flexible.

This unique material, called natural PX, is made by the Austrian eyewear manufacturer Silhouette and marketed under its new brand Neubau and the ‘See & Do Good’ initiative which aims to use organically sourced and renewable raw materials not only in their spectacle frames but also in their cases, lens cloths and even their advertising material (see Editors Notes).

Known more commonly as a health product castor oil and its derivatives are now increasingly being used in the manufacture of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, dyes, coatings, inks, cold resistant plastics, waxes and polishes, nylon, pharmaceuticals and perfumes.

Norville Opticians receptionist Becky Faulkner has chosen to wear a pair of the Neubau spectacles for her own, personal use.

She said: “They are incredible. They are so light and comfortable that I have often forgotten that I have them on which is very important when they are probably being worn for longer periods than most items of clothing.”

Image shows receptionist Becky Faulkner proudly displays her new, ultra-lightweight spectacles, the plastic of which 65% is based on a new material derived from the same castor oil that is in the bottle that she is holding.

Does your little minion need a sight test? AOP asks the question.

June 2017

Minion Warning for filmHow the new 3D film, Despicable Me 3, could help parents spot if their child has an undiagnosed vision problem

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has advised that parents taking their children to see 3D blockbuster Despicable Me 3 this summer should look out for warning signs that their child might have an undiagnosed vision problem.

Optometrist and AOP spokesperson, Ceri Smith-Jaynes, explained: “Difficulty watching 3D films comfortably can be an early sign of vision problems. To be able to get the full 3D effect and view the film with ease, you need good binocular vision – both eyes seeing clearly and working together. If something upsets that balance, it can lead to reduced vision – known as amblyopia (or ‘lazy eye’) – in one or both eyes and poor 3D vision. And, if the problem only affects one eye it can easily go unnoticed. Signs to look out for at the cinema include children failing to appreciate the 3D effect, feeling dizzy or experiencing headaches.”

Vision problems in children can often go unnoticed. In a recent survey of the AOP’s optometrist members, the majority said that at least one in five school children tested have an undiagnosed sight problem that requires correction[1]. This supports previous figures which indicate one million children in the UK have undiagnosed vision problems[2].

Mum, Zoey Lacey, says that her two-year-old daughter, Kristalie’s, vision problem was not apparent; “I didn't realise at all how much she needed them [her glasses] as she seemed fine in finding things at home and walking around”. However, noticing that Kristalie had a turn in her eye (or squint) Mrs Lacey took her to be tested. It was revealed that Kristalie had long sightedness, or ‘hypermetropia’, a condition that often develops into lazy eye if left untreated.

Kristalie now wears specially adapted children’s glasses, provided by Prab Boparai Opticians in Wolverhampton, which Mrs Lacey said have had a remarkable effect; “When Kristalie tried on her glasses for the first time her reaction was overwhelming, I almost cried seeing the ‘wow' look upon her little face when she could finally see ‘mummy's’ face clearly. Now she’ll wake up and want her glasses on almost straight away – once they’re on she smiles and says ‘see you’.”

Commenting on the importance of early diagnosis, Ms Smith-Jaynes said: “Good vision is important for a child’s development, both socially and for learning. Optometrists are trained to identify vision problems and many conditions – including amblyopia – can be treated if picked up early enough. A child can have an eye examination at any age but it is essential for children to attend regular sight tests from the age of three, or sooner if you are concerned.”

Top five signs your child may need a sight test:

1. An eye appearing to drift inwards or outwards
2. Difficulty concentrating
3. Headaches
4. Frequent eye rubbing or eye straining
5. Holding their head at an unusual angle

Top Tips for keeping your child’s eyes healthy
1. Get them outdoors – regular play and exercise can help prevent or reduce the development of myopia (short-sightedness). Studies show two hours of outdoor activity a day is ideal[3]
2. Using night settings, if your device has them, can aid sleep by decreasing the amount of blue light emitted by the screen during night time hours
3. Make sure digital devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime
4. Book your child in for a sight test every two years, from the age of three, or more often if your optometrist recommends it

HOYA announces the winner of their EnRoute track day Prize Draw.

June 2017

HOYA Lens UK announces that Stephen Donald Eyewear has won the EnRoute Prize draw to win a track day for their entire practice team.

Hoya En Route

By ordering 5 pairs of EnRoute lenses during May, Stephen Donald Eyewear based in Nottingham were automatically entered into the prize draw. They have won a track day experience in their area to share with up to 10 practice team members and a free pair of EnRoute lenses for every driver taking part.

All HOYA VSE Loyalty Club members were eligible to take part.

On the 1st April 2017, HOYA Vision Care Company, introduced EnRoute dedicated driving lenses. Equipped with a specially developed Glare Filter, EnRoute significantly reduces distracting glare and reflections while improving contrast and brightness perception.

As a result, EnRoute lenses enhance comfort and confidence on the road.

As roads become more congested and we spend an increasing amount of time behind the wheel, our eyes are taking the strain. Weather conditions, the time of day and increased luminance of modern headlights can further impact vision.

But, there is another important consideration: 90% of a driver’s reaction time depends on vision, so impaired vision means slower reaction times. On the road, the situation can change instantly, becoming dangerous in the blink of an eye without the correct eyewear.

EnRoute is designed specifically for motorists, minimising the stress on the visual system and providing a more relaxed driving experience. Combining a premium single vision or progressive lens design with a specially developed Glare Filter and an optional contrast-enhancing filter, EnRoute offers:

• Significant reduction of reflections and uncomfortable glare from oncoming traffic

• Improved contrast and brightness perception in low-light conditions, fog and rain

• Clear, unimpaired vision in the far distance, of the dashboard, and in mirrors

• Smooth, fast switching between the road, dashboard and mirrors

• EnRoute Pro for professional drivers

Glare Filter reduces distracting glare

EnRoute is equipped with a specially developed Glare Filter. This specifically cuts light in the blue spectrum, reducing light scatter and distracting glare from the dashboard, streetlights and the headlights of oncoming traffic.

At the same time, it enhances the transmittance of necessary light, improving contrast and brightness perception. The result is more comfortable, relaxed vision even in low-light, bad weather and other stressful driving situations.

HOYA technology ensures stable vision and rapid (re)focusing

Most driving time is spent looking ahead, which requires wide, clear visual fields. But the eyes also have to shift quickly between different viewing distances with minimal head movements: from the road to the navigation device, from the mirrors to the dashboard. Focusing and refocusing can be especially challenging for older drivers.

EnRoute progressive lenses incorporate HOYA’s renowned technologies: Integrated Double Surface Design for wider visual fields and fast switching between distances, and Balanced View Control for stable image perception in dynamic driving situations.

EnRoute Pro for professional drivers

For professional drivers, HOYA has developed EnRoute Pro. It offers all the benefits of EnRoute, plus a contrast-enhancing filter for improved contrast and colour perception, and even better glare reduction than the standard solution.

EnRoute Progressive Pro goes a step further, with an optimised design for the viewing distance to the dashboard and mirrors, and includes optional tailoring to the individual wearing conditions, ensuring a natural, relaxed driving posture.

3 Sponsors honoured with Certificates of Gratitude by Spinal Injuries Charity.

June 2017

Spinal Injuries AssociationThe Master of the Spectacle Makers, Don Grocott (centre), David Cantor (r) and Bob Hutchinson, retiring Court Assistant on the day were presented by Nick Loan with Certificates of Gratitude.

They sponsored Nick and his daughter for the Paris Marathon recently which they successfully completed.

Nick, with his daughter, raised a considerable amount of money for the Spinal Injuries Association.

The presentation was made at the June luncheon of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers at Apothecaries’ Hall.

The luncheon followed the Court meeting where Hutchinson completed his three-year term as Court Assistant. The next Master in October was confirmed and will be Felicity Harding whose position of Upper Warden will be taken by John McGregor whilst the Renter Warden was confirmed as Huntly Taylor.

Two recent newcomers as Assistants, Ian Davies and Nigel Haig-Brown were confirmed as Senior Assistants at the meeting.

AIO Comments on Specsavers move to introduce OCT.

May 2017

Professional body points out Independents have been using OCT for several years

The Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) has broadly welcomed Specsavers move to start delivering some of the clinical services that have been available in the Independent sector for a number of years.

Whilst Specsavers are currently offering OCT in 35 of their 740 practices, hundreds of Independent practices have routinely been offering OCT for their patients up and down the country. Perhaps the Specsavers announcement will induce consumers to look for those practices local to them that offer OCT today.

It has been the case for a long time that Independents lead the way in adopting the latest optical equipment, and using all the skills that their Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians have learnt academically and with experience in the consulting room.

Providing patients with the appropriate amount of time in the consulting chair, building independent patient relationships and only selling eyewear that they need have always been features of the Independent sector.

These features are of course fundamental to the Independents' Code (IC) which is already becoming the recognised quality mark in towns and cities across the country. As more practices sign up each week, so the profile of IC will continue to grow amongst the general public.

That Specsavers has decided to offer more sophisticated clinical services is to be welcomed and good for the eye health of the nation, and is in so many ways an endorsement of what the Independent sector has been offering for years.

PHN Ed's comments: What of course makes Specsavers different is their ability to advertise to a mass media, whilst that costs money Independents do not like spending. However there has been an ability to extend that message to all for some time on the public site provided by PHN, which is visited by over 1000 members of the public each day looking for opticians in their area with specefic specialities or products. Every practice, multiple or independent has the ability to flag up "Advanced Retinal Investigation" among many other abilities that they can apply to their entry in the Find My Optician app on the site.

The fact that such a small number have taken up this opportunity provided by PHN points more to a lack of understanding of the importance of selling their skills rather than a lack of money.

Adding your skills and products is simple and automatic once PHN have checked that you are a registered practice. Click here to start the process today.

OC reflects on major parties manifestos published this election.

May 2017

“The Optical Confederation welcomes the priority given to health in all party manifestos. The need to modernise and deliver more care outside hospital and closer to home to meet the growing health care needs is urgent and now long overdue. This needs to be driven forward with vigour if the NHS is to meet the nation’s needs, even with increased resources.

Nowhere is this more urgent than in eye care where 20 people a month are needlessly losing their sight because of hospital pressures, and shifting services out-of-hospital and improving quality of life have not been prioritised by any of the political leaders.”

PHN welcomes new Opchat Sponsor this week

May 2017

Insight Optical Training have this week offered to assist in the sponsorship of the free Opchat News provided to all those interested in the Optical Sector.

"We have over 7500 professionals regularly reading our independent sector news and we owe it to industry and sector companies like Insight to help us provide this service. Our last statistics in March 2017 showed increasing interest with over 35,000 visits made." said Bob Hutchinson CEO of Primary Health Net Ltd.

Visit the initial Insight news story here with links to their new page and website.

Challenge Shamir Transitions!

May 2017

Shamir are excited to launch their 2017 Campaign ‘Satisfied or Exchange’ with Transitions.

Challenge Transitions


Exclusively prepared for Independent Opticians, we are giving patient’s the opportunity to try transitions with a free exchange system - although we’re confident this won’t be needed!

Continuing from our National Campaign, Challenge Us and reflecting our 3 company beliefs in Quality, service and Value, Shamir Transitions are offering patients a free 30-day exchange to clear lenses.

“We want to incorporate our 3 company values in every campaign launched as we believe Independent Opticians can thrive with our support regarding business marketing tools, quality lenses and supreme value for money.” States Phil Bareham, General Manager of Shamir UK Ltd.

With the Summer looming over us, it’s important that eye health is kept at the forefront of minds when buying eye wear. Shamir Transition lenses can protect eyes from UV rays whilst our campaign enables Optician’s to share and promote the protection of eye health.

How it Works:

From June, independent opticians will decide a 3-month period to launch the campaign, with full support and advice from their Area Lens Consultant, including the option of supporting POS. A patient has 30 days to exchange their transitions.

The form located in ‘Transitions 2017’ under promotions on our website needs to be completed, sent back with the original lenses and your account will be credited.

AOP responds to consumer advice on eye care costs given by Daily Mirror.

May 2017

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is responding to the Mirror article ‘How to halve the price of your glasses and contact lenses without compromising your eyes’ as we believe the advice is unhelpful to patients buying prescription eyewear.

We would like to make consumers aware that getting the right pair of glasses, with a prescription that suits the user, and that fits well and is comfortable, is often more complicated than it seems.

In a survey of more than 1000 UK Optometrists, almost 90% concluded that patients are more likely to experience problems if they buy their lenses somewhere other than where their sight test was conducted.

More than 8 in 10 stated they had seen patients with such problems in the last year.

Over half of optometrist surveyed also reported seeing patients who had issues when they had bought glasses or contact lenses online – such as poor aftercare guidance or ill-fitting products.

Clinical and Regulatory Officer at the AOP, Henry Leonard, said: “Many patients understandably view their prescription as being either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but there are many factors involved in the prescribing and dispensing of tailored visual correction wear. The lenses and the fit of the glasses work together towards a good or bad result.

“Glasses are bespoke items, tailored to individuals’ needs, and not all frames or lens types are suitable for all people so it’s important that a patient gets a professional service which optimises their vision and lifestyle. When buying glasses, the things to consider are – purpose, vision correction, quality, fit, comfort and eye health. It is very often better, as well as easier, to have glasses dispensed where the sight test is conducted.”

Optometrist leads international eye care research.

May 2017

Pioneering research which could potentially transform the way eye care can be translated into health care around the world is being led by a Market Harborough optometrist.

Christian French Christian French from Davis Optometrists, based in the town’s St Mary’s Road, is leading the study which is looking at the best way to assess and record retinal blood vessels.
The findings from the trial could be used to update the current eye screening guidelines, because the way blood vessels are recorded is still the same method which was recommended in 1876.

Christian, from Market Harborough, said: “The premise of my research is to show how the current method of examining and imaging the retina has progressed with modern equipment like our 3D OCT scanners, but the way we’re officially supposed to record the findings hasn’t been updated in more than 140 years.

(Image Christain French left and Derek Davies)

“Previous research has already made strong links with a number of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, but these results were found in 'optimum' laboratory conditions.

“My work differs because I’m generating the same results using the software we have at Davis Optometrists in day-to-day practice. There is growing interest here because so far no other research like this has been carried out anywhere else in the world.”

So far he has recruited 260 patients for the study during their routine eye appointments. Once they agreed to take part, they were asked health-related questions and medical history information was taken. They also had their blood pressure and blood oxygen levels recorded and retinal photographs were taken.

Christian has been analysing the photos himself using specialist research software. So far he has shown that taking pictures and recording them in practice can help provide valuable information about a person’s overall health.

Christian said: “By incorporating the technology I’ve been using in practice, these photos are going to help indicate early problems with the patients’ vascular system and systemic health, and therefore should become a useful tool to help refine optometric referrals and aid patient monitoring.” 

The first year of the study provided a cross-section of data, which has provided an insight into patient health across a range of ages from 16 to 97, as well as a large variety of diseases. This year all the participants must return for their first review followed by a final visit in 2018.

Christian presented the initial findings from his pioneering work at the latest conference for the European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER), which is the main research association for ophthalmology in Europe. The study was funded by the College of Optometrists.

Further findings will also be published in the Acta Ophthalmologica journal and he has been asked to write a paper for the Ophthalmology in Practice journal.

Lynn Carson, Practice Manager at Davis Optometrists, said: “We are hugely proud of what Christian has so far achieved. Here at Davis Optometrists we are always looking at new ways to provide the best level of care for all our customers and pride ourselves on being ahead of all our competitors in terms of using the very latest technology and cutting-edge software.

“It is a huge achievement for Christian to have his work recognised by his peers and we look forward to receiving the results when the entire study finally comes to an end.”

MEI invests in Retail.

May 2017

A targeted business growth strategy, the participation in events for opticians and a dedicated website: these are the channels through which the company is promoting its compact EzFit to small labs and shops

Just three years since EzFit officially debuted and a year since the launch of the NoBlock version (that doesn’t require a centering block), MEI redoubles its efforts to penetrate the retail sector by showcasing its milling technology to small labs and shops.

Until now, the EzFit expansion process has primarily focused on North America and, to a lesser extent, on South America.

Thanks to the resources invested and agreements to increase the sales force in the retail sector, the expansion has yielded a 50% increase in orders.

The US and Colombia are the countries where most of the installations took place and the feedback on EzFit has been very encouraging. It is particularly valued by opticians and labs for its precision and processing speed, as well as the obvious benefits of eliminating the need for blocks. “An immense change in mentality is taking place and we are convinced it will continue to benefit our efforts to expand the EzFit market”, remarks Stefano Sonzogni, President and Technical Director of MEI.

“Industry professionals are beginning to fully comprehend the fact that our EzFit eliminates the need for further processing, since the lens is cut perfectly, right from the start. No reprocessing of the lenses is required and, oddly enough, until the process is better understood, this is almost perceived as a flaw!”.

A trend entirely validated by Mido and Vision Expo East, where MEI was able to offer up-close demonstrations to industry professionals from all over the world and further explain to them the many advantages of the compact solution.

Following the eyewear show in Milan – which is still the company’s leading fair in terms of visibility and as a forum for sharing ideas, comparing notes and building new partnerships – more than 200 official requests poured in from visitors asking for a quote and those wanting to gain a better understanding of the product by receiving additional information. Feedback was also extremely reassuring at the New York show where interest, especially in the NoBlock version of EZFit, exceeded all expectations.

Countless demos were conducted which then led to immediate orders for machines.

But MEI’s retail ambitions do not end here. In addition to the “traditional” fairs, which still offer unequalled opportunities to meet existing and future customers (forthcoming shows include ABIÓPTICAL, São Paulo, in May; and VEW, Las Vegas, in September), the company has begun participating in some “smaller” events for opticians that offer the possibility of making direct contact with the EzFit target audience.

Worth noting, the company addressed the relationship between the optical industry and Europe’s Industry 4.0 in a discussion at the “COLA Vision Council Spring Meeting” on April 27-28 in Temecula (California) and participated in the “Simposio de Marketing en Salud Visual” on April 25 in Barranquilla (Colombia). MEI will also attend the “Optometry’s Meeting” that will be held on June 21-25 in Washington D.C.

EZ Fit


In addition, a new website, dedicated entirely to EzFit, was recently launched:

This revolutionary machine’s advantages are illustrated there in detail using all-new graphics that speak directly to opticians.

Extremely easy to operate, EzFit brings the same performance capabilities as an industrial machine to optical labs and shops, offering very high quality standards and the utmost in reliability. Speed, accuracy, processing flexibility and stability during shaping are only some of the benefits of the milling process and, thanks to these features,

EzFit can increase throughput, speed up processing times and cut production costs.

BONJOUR PARIS! at 19 Rue du Pont aux Choux,

May 2017

Mykita Paris ShopMYKITA opens a new shop on a quiet street in Le Marais. The district with its dizzying network of winding streets and small lanes exudes both old-world charm and the buzz of contemporary creative culture. Nestled among the petite cafés and pastry shops on this narrow city lane, the high-tech aesthetic of the MYKITA shop front provides an eye-catching contrast.

The floor-to-ceiling mirrored wall of the shop entrée first catches the eye of passers-by.

Here the highlights from the new collections are presented on an arrangement of free-floating shelves.

Once inside the shop, the novelties wall extends into the signature white MYKITA WALL,which curves to cover the far end of the elongated, rectangular room.

The natural stonewall exterior continues partway inside the shop where concrete flooring meets with two custom-made stainless steel tables and additional sleek furniture pieces in blue grey – a visual reference to the façade of the same colour. This harmonising interplay of colour and texture displays the brand’s passion for surface and materials. 

Replacing the existing MYKITA shop, the new MYKITA Shop Paris carries all optical and sunglass collections by the Berlin brand, including the covetable designer collaborations with Bernhard Willhelm, Damir Doma and Maison Margiela.


Waiting lists can be cleared – and €30m saved – by changing approach to eye-care says Irish Optometrists at specially arranged meeting.

May 2017

Eye-care delays putting patients at very serious risk – system needs to change

Optometrists call for ‘Scottish model’ of eye-care in Ireland

Waiting lists can be cleared quickly and €32m saved by changing Ireland’s approach to eye-care – Optometrists told politicians today at a briefing on the future of eye-care.

Speaking in response to the waiting list crisis in eye-care, the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) said that Ireland’s model of eye-care is outdated and putting patients at very serious risk. They said that the problem is unsolvable under the current model.

Eye-care has the largest waiting list in health with 13,000 waiting for a procedure (500 waiting for more than a year) and 34,000 waiting for an appointment.

AOI called for the ‘Scottish Model’ to be adopted in Ireland, which shares public care across the community, hospitals and clinics.

AOI called for a similar two tier system in Ireland with routine public eye examinations, treatment, review and monitoring provided in the community by Optometrists and specialist eye-care delivered by Ophthalmologists and multi-disciplinary teams in hospitals and clinics.

AOI said this would quickly address the waiting list problem – and also save the State an estimated €32m each year.

AOI CEO Sean McCrave highlighted that Ireland’s population is increasing and aging – with more people living longer with chronic eye conditions – meaning demand for services is going to further increase significantly.

Mr McCrave described Scotland as the ‘holy grail of eye-care’ – and urged politicians, and policy experts here, to look towards this model. A review published last week by the Scottish Government praised the increased role of Optometry which has brought improved access to services and quality of delivery. In its conclusion, the Scottish review recommended a further increase in community based delivery of services.

Mr McCrave said Optometrists could provide this model in Ireland immediately without recruitment, capital, or training costs focusing on three major areas: children’s eye-care, cataract and glaucoma.

“By referring all children from the school eye screening programme to their local Optometrist in the first instance, the children’s waiting list can be cleared quickly. Glasses fitting, or basic treatments can be provided by the Optometrist and complex cases referred quickly to HSE eye clinics, where specialist time would be freed up.”

“We can also ensure that people with cataract get assessed and treated much more quickly. There is a model of shared cataract care in the North West which is working very well which could be applied nationwide.”

He added that Optometrists can also provide monitoring and review for patients who have glaucoma or AMD once stable.

AOI said it is 50% cheaper for a patient to be seen at their Optometrist than at a Hospital or HSE Clinic – and annual savings of €32.3m can be made.

“An Optometrist Examination costs an average of €45, while an outpatient department or community clinic appointment is estimated to cost double this and involves high levels of non-attendances, plus patient costs (travel and parking).

“Optometrists are highly educated and regulated eye health professionals who already have the equipment, training, skillset and willingness to provide this additional care for public patients. Some training would be required in terms of management of shared care schemes.

“The major change needed to deliver this reform is modernisation of Optometrists’ contract. However, some elements could be sanctioned immediately through the Special Delivery Unit.

“For this to happen we need buy-in and agreement from the Department of Health, HSE and Ophthalmologists.”

In conclusion, AOI called for the National Eye-care Plan to be published: “We urge publication of this long-anticipated report. However the solution to the serious problems in eye-care will not lie in the publication of a report. It will lie in urgent implementation of fundamental change in Ireland’s approach to eye-care.

“AOI is calling on politicians (including the Minister for Health), the Department of Health, HSE and Ophthalmologists to join with Optometrists and begin serious discussions towards implementing a reformed model of public eye-care shared across the community, hospitals and clinics.

“This would deliver a better system of eye-care for patients and be sustainable into the future,” Mr McCrave said.

Transitions Adaptive lenses sponsors Channel 4 weather in the UK..

May 2017

Adaptive LensesTransitions announce that Transitions Adaptive lenses are sponsors of the UK Channel 4 News weather.

Until the end of November 2017, a series of eye catching short videos will feature at the start and end of the Channel 4 News weather*.

Channel 4 News has the most upmarket news offering reaching 18.7million ABC1 adults in the United Kingdom.

The sponsorship package, appearing in two waves, will finish on 30th November 2017. In that time, the predicted reach is approximately 70% of the UK population.

There will be 4 different short videos using Transitions’ new creative of ‘Live the Good LightTM. You can view the videos below.
We hope you take advantage of this increased awareness of Transitions adaptive lenses in the UK by informing all your customers.

* The exit videos will appear during evenings and weekends only.

Videos: Scooter : Festival Girl : Healthy Girl

College of Optometrists holds parliamentary event on dementia and visual impairment.

May 2017

Reception held to raise awareness of issues highlighted in PrOVIDe report

Debbie Abrahams MPThe College of Optometrists has held a parliamentary reception on dementia and visual impairment (VI). The event, which was hosted by Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, discussed the issues highlighted in the Prevalence of Visual Impairment in People with Dementia (PrOVIDe) report published by the College and the Alzheimer’s Society and funded by the Department of Health.

The event was attended by several Members of Parliament, key government bodies, patient groups and researchers. Event host, Debbie Abrahams, said; “850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK. As the UK’s population ages, we will find this number of people will rise since the risk of living with visual impairment and dementia both increase with age. The effect of having both sight loss and dementia are much more severe than those resulting from either dementia or sight loss alone. I know from personal experience of caring for my mother, who had Alzheimer’s, the effects of dealing with multiple health conditions on her, her carers and family. This is a really important issue to tackle and we want those with dementia and their carers to know that sight tests are possible for a huge number of people living with dementia.”

Speaking at the event, Michael Bowen, Director of Research at the College of Optometrists and chief investigator for the PrOVIDe study said; “PrOVIDe represents a milestone for research into vision and eye health among people living with dementia in the UK. The data from the project gives us evidence that people living with dementia can engage with most of the key elements of an eye examination. The College is beginning to take forward the key outcomes from the project in ways that will lead to changes in the way we work and improvements to the information that we give to eye health professionals and people living with dementia.

College at Parliament“We are hoping for support by taking action on three key points. Please ask your local commissioners to include a full sight test in their dementia care pathways. Raise awareness of the importance of good vision to people living with dementia and encourage your national government to have visual assessment embedded in their countrywide dementia strategies.”

Agnes Houston MBE lives with dementia and visual impairment and spoke at the event; “Shortly after I was diagnosed with dementia I began having trouble with my vision. It took six years to get a diagnosis of neurological vision impairment which is caused by dementia affecting my brain's ability to process my eyes signals. We need to have systems in place to prevent others going through this emotional turmoil. It's important that the person with dementia and their care partners are given knowledge, understanding and help.”

Dr Rakhee Shah, Lecturer in Clinical Optometry at City University and researcher on the PrOVIDe project also spoke at the event; “The most important factor is giving a person with dementia additional time during an eye examination - this is absolutely crucial to success. The optometrist will need to adapt their eye examination depending on the cognitive ability of the person with dementia, concentrating on those parts of the eye examination that require little subjective input from people who may be severely cognitively impaired. I find it helpful to speak to an informed carer in advance to obtain information on the patients’ level of cognitive impairment, capacity and level of cooperation and to involve the carer during the various stages of the eye examination to provide reassurance to the patient.”

The PrOVIDe study found that prevalence of visual impairment (VI) in those with dementia is generally higher than for the overall population, highlighting the importance of sight tests in this group of people. The research also found that almost 50 per cent of those living with dementia and VI were no longer classified as visually impaired when wearing their up-to-date spectacle prescription and that VI was approximately 2-2.5 times more common for those people with dementia living in care homes than for those living in their own home.

The College of Optometrists is now working with the Dementia Research Centre Team at UCL to explore which vision tests work best for people living with dementia, and with VISION 2020 UK’s Dementia and Sight Loss Committee to develop further research into the impact of cataract surgery in dementia.

Optical Stalwart runs with daughter for SIA.

April 2017

Nick and Melissa Loan
At the Schneider Electric Marathon Paris 9th April 2017

Nick Loan, well known in the contact lens industry over many years tells PHN about his successful run in last weeks Paris Marathon with his daughter Melissa.

"Earlier this year my daughter Melissa informed me she was intending to run the Paris marathon to raise money for SIA (Spinal injuries association)

I learned that SIA are a UK charity dedicated to supporting spinal cord injured people.

Most spinal cord injuries result in paralysis and the impact of an injury can turn lives upside down. Spinal cord injured people and their families are faced with the challenge of coming to terms with their injury, and rebuilding their lives with a disability.

However with the right support and information, people can still enjoy a full and independent life. SIA can help provide that support and information.

I am now a decade older than half a century! But with a daughter determined to run for such a worthy cause, what is a man supposed to do?

Melissa and I ran the marathon on Sunday 9th April 2017, £2,500 in sponsorship thus far and rising!"

If you would like to contribute to SIA please call the fundraising team on 0845 071 4350 or email

Clear eye patient waiting lists by increasing role of Optometry in community care, says AOI from Ireland.

April 2017

Eye waiting list for children and cataracts in Ireland can be solved quickly and €30m saved by changing model of care

Optometrists have called for a greater role in the delivery of public eye-care and today said that the current waiting list crisis can be solved quickly and with cost savings.

Eye-care currently has the largest waiting list of any medical treatment area with more than 13,000 waiting for a procedure and 34,000 waiting for an appointment.

The Association of Optometrists (AOI) also said that Ireland’s model of eye-care is outdated and unsustainable and needs to change in order to better meet the needs of patients.

The AOI called for routine public eye examinations, treatment, review and monitoring to be provided in the community by Optometrists and for specialist eye-care to be provided by Ophthalmologists and multi-disciplinary teams in clinics and hospitals.

AOI said this could save the State €30m each year.

Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and patient groups have, in recent weeks, been raising serious concerns about the scale of the backlog and the serious risk it poses for patients.

AOI CEO Sean McCrave said Optometrists are highly educated and regulated eye health professionals who have the equipment, training, skillset and willingness to provide high quality community based care for public patients in the same manner as they already provide for private patients – and to a small cohort of public patients through the Community Ophthalmic and treatment Benefit Schemes.

He said that provision for Optometrists to reduce waiting lists could be rolled out immediately without any recruitment, capital, or training costs. To enable this Optometrists public contracts would need to be revised, or in the immediate term payment could be made through the Special Delivery Unit.

Mr McCrave said there are three major areas where an expanded role for Optometry could immediately reduce waiting times: the paediatric list, the cataract list and review of stable patients post-treatment, particularly those with Glaucoma and AMD.

“Children who are not seen within an appropriate timeframe are at risk of educational disadvantage.
By referring all children from the school eye screening programme to their local Optometrist in the first instance, the children’s waiting list can be cleared quickly.

“Cases can be triaged by the Optometrist and glasses fitting, or basic treatments can be provided immediately, and complex cases referred quickly to HSE eye clinics, where specialist time would be freed up.

“Optometry can also make a significant contribution to triage and post-operative care for cataract. There is already a model of this approach, which is working very well, in the North West of the country and this could be applied nationwide.

Mr McCrave said the UK is moving towards this model of care, particularly in Scotland.

AOI estimates that it is 50% cheaper for a patient to be seen at their Optometrist than at a tertiary care outpatient department – and that annual savings can be made of €32.3m including: children’s eye-care €7.2m, Glaucoma €19.3m, Triage 3.9m and Red Eye €1.9m.

An Optometrist Examination costs an average of €45, while an outpatient department or community clinic appointment is estimated to cost double this and also involves high levels of non-attendances, plus patient costs (travel and parking).

Mr McCrave added that the approach AOI is proposing aligns with the Programme for Government and Department of Health aspirations for greater use of primary care, involving accessible care at the lowest level of complexity and best value for money.

He added that some training of Optometrists would be required in terms of protocols and management for shared care schemes and pathways, but the profession is strongly positioned to participate immediately and many members already hold additional Post Graduate certifications to cover particular needs.

In conclusion, AOI called for the National Eye-care Plan to be published and for it to increase the role of community based eye-care.

“Since 2011 the Association of Optometrists has engaged as a member of the National Eye-care Committee to develop a national eye-care plan. However, the report is sitting as a draft since November 2014. The subsequent Primary Eye-care Review, which AOI was not a member of, has been discussing the provision of community eye-care since mid-2014 and also not yet published its report. We hope it can be published imminently and reduce patient delays by enhancing the role of Optometry.

“It’s frustrating to continuously hear about the numbers on the eye-care waiting list, and patient risk this brings, while Optometrists are in a position to immediately make significant inroads into solving the problem,” Mr. McCrave concluded.

College of Optometrists issues advice for those with hay fever as temperatures rise.

April 2017

As the UK looks set to enjoy soaring temperatures and the Met office is predicting high levels of air pollen, the College of Optometrists has issued advice to those who suffer from hay fever, which can often affect the eyes:

• Avoid your exposure to pollen, by closing windows and keeping surfaces clear with a damp duster, especially at the start and end of the day when pollen levels are highest.

• Wear sunglasses when outside, which can help to protect your eyes from dust and pollen.

• Visit your optometrist or pharmacist for advice and to get medicated eye drops to help alleviate itching and swelling.

• If you wear contact lenses, remember to check if you can use the drops when you are wearing your lenses. When the pollen count is very high, it can be more comfortable to wear spectacles rather than contact lenses. You may also feel more comfortable by avoiding wearing contact lenses when you are gardening, particularly when mowing the lawn, as grass particles and pollen can become stuck behind the lens and cause discomfort.

• If your eyes become dry, seek professional advice from your optometrist, pharmacist or GP. They may prescribe lubricating eye drops to ease the dryness.

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, Clinical Advisor at the College of Optometrists, said; “With an increase in temperature, we are likely to see pollen levels rise, indeed the Met office has predicted high levels this weekend. While trying to avoid pollen as much as possible will help lessen the symptoms, sufferers can also visit their optometrist to get medicated eye drops to help alleviate the itching and swelling. In terms of long-term hay fever management, often people don’t realise that using eye drops before their symptoms appear can minimise the impact of hay fever on the eyes. So, if you know which type of pollen you are allergic to, you can consult the College’s infographic and take the appropriate medication ahead of time to help prevent the symptoms developing or lessen the affect.”

Hay fever is the term used when a person has an allergic reaction to pollen. It is one of the most common allergic conditions and often causes eyes to be red, itchy and swollen. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million people with the allergy in England. The most common symptoms of hay fever are itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, runny or blocked nose and difficulty breathing.

Do business with people who share your beliefs. Shamir launches their campaign at Optrafair.

April 2017

Optrafair was a great success for Shamir and witnessed the launch of their National Campaign.

Shamir The ChallengeLooking back at the overwhelming support Shamir received with the launch of their campaign and our advice regarding our unparalleled lens portfolio, we urge independent opticians to ask the question, ‘Why Choose Shamir?’.

Focusing on our 3-core belief’s: Quality, Service and Value, the launch of the campaign allows Shamir to explain how we can help you and your business. Our quality is supreme because in 2016, 98% of industry experts participating in wearer trials prefer Shamir lenses over other branded designs and rated that our “quality of coatings and glazing was excellent.” Our Service is exceptional because we have honest, reliable lens experts in positions of Area Lens Consultants and Customer

Service Advisors. Lastly, our Value is unbeatable because we provide supreme quality lenses, with the most competitive pricing on the market today compared to other branded lenses, encapsulating the essence of unbeatable value for money.

Show us your bill and see how much you can save.

As well as celebrating the launch of our campaign, in true Shamir style, sponsored by Transitions, our stand featured two prize draws every day. Entry forms were completed and entered as a crowd formed around D60 so Shamir and Transitions could give away over £1000 of Shamir lenses, 3 FitBit Blazes and 3 Amazon Echos.

In between competitions, also featured on the Shamir stand, were demonstrations of our award-winning SPARK Mi. The highly innovative measuring system is quick, easy and accurate, eradicating uncomfortable gadgets worn by patients and experiencing visual acuity once wearing their prescribed spectacles.

Shamir sponsor your free Opchat News on the PHN site and you can read more at their page here

Visually impaired Scottish artist to launch exhibition in Edinburgh.

April 2017

An Irvine-based artist who is visually impaired will launch a unique two-week exhibition in Edinburgh College of Art on Saturday [April 8th-22nd], using sound to add an extra dimension to his work.

Keith Salmon's dramatic pastel drawings of wild Oregon landscapes will come with multiple accompanying soundtracks triggered by special sensors.

Keith SalmonBut the sounds aren't spoken words. Instead, varying tones will convey an audible sense of texture and palette, corresponding with the intensity of the artist's use of crayon strokes and colour in each part of the drawings.

"I wanted to develop a piece of genuinely audio-visual art," he says. "Not just something with a bolt-on tool for visually impaired people, but something that everyone can enjoy at different levels."

Keith (57) began to lose his sight to diabetic retinopathy twenty years ago. Despite now being registered blind, he has won a Jolomo Award for Scottish landscape painting. "I have had to find ways of working that allow me to overcome the problems inherent in producing very visual material with very limited vision," he says.

"I have tried to explore my new and changing view, recording with oils or pastel how I now see my surroundings. The images I produce are becoming more distorted and broken. My drawings, built from numerous coloured lines woven together, are more like organised scribbles."

The technology and support to make his exhibition happen comes courtesy of Microsoft. The corporate giant invited Keith and his partner Anita to its Seattle headquarters last spring after a mutual friend put Keith in contact with Neel Joshi, a Microsoft researcher who was exploring ways of making two-dimensional images more accessible to people affected by visual impairment.

All three of Keith's (8'x4') drawings of Oregon's Hell's Canyon are divided into six sections, each with its own minute-long pre-recorded soundtrack. These are activated by 'Kinects', special scanning cameras which were originally devised for the games industry, installed by Microsoft at the corners of the gallery.

Each Kinect can track up to six people at a time, sensing where they are standing in relation to a drawing and even which part they are looking at.

"I draw with pastels," explains Keith, "so up close you are seeing more of an abstract of scribbled lines. Each type of mark made a different sound as I made it on the paper and Graham Byron, an Ayrshire-based sound engineer, recorded this for me. So stand close in and you get the sounds, varying in intensity, of me actually creating the drawing in the studio.

"Stand a metre or two back and the sounds change. Now they represent the colour palette used for each drawing. Graham has matched a different computer-generated tone to where different colours are in the drawing.

"Then if you stand even further back you start to hear the natural background sounds we recorded in Oregon, which relate to the part of the drawing you're looking at. Point to a bottom corner and you can hear, say, the sound of walking on stony ground. Point to the sky in the top and you hear sounds of the wind and rain and birds."

Keith hopes his exhibition might prompt other artists, both sighted and unsighted, to experiment with new ways to marry sound to art.

"Who knows," he says, "maybe in five or ten years time you might go to the National Gallery in Edinburgh and instead of just a simple audio-description you get a richer audio-interpretation."

A preview evening on Friday, April 7th, will raise funds for sight loss charity RNIB to publish a new 'talking book' for readers who are blind or partially sighted. Keith, an avid 'talking books' user himself, said: "I very much want the written word to be as available to people with sight loss as I do the illustrated image, so I'm very happy to help support RNIB. I love talking books. I have my talking book player in my studio and when I'm doing work that doesn't involve too much thinking, I listen to a book."

Private SPECTRALIS collection exhibited for the first time ever at Optrafair 2017

April 2017

SpectralisThe private Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS collection has gone on display for the first time in public at Optrafair.

The collection comprises custom SPECTRALIS camera casings that were specially made and gifted by the manufacturer, Wild GmbH, to Christoph Schoess, Director of Heidelberg Engineering GmbH personally. The camera casings on show are painted in a variety of unique colours and patterns that mark special occasions in the history of the company.

The collection includes a tartan patterned case in tribute of the International SPECTRALIS Symposium 2011 that was held in Edinburgh, which was also the same year Heidelberg Engineering UK was formed. Other colours celebrate the 25th Anniversary in 2015 and the opening of the Swiss subsidiary in 2016.

“This public exhibition celebrates the Spirit of SPECTRALIS launch at Optrafair in the UK and illustrates just how individual each SPECTRALIS can be” explains Arianna Schoess, Managing Director of Heidelberg Engineering GmbH.

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