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Opchat Magazine Exhibition and Training pagesExhibition and Education News, October to December 2018



Dunelm are celebrating their 50th Anniversary in Style at 100% Optical
Diversity at 100% offers opportunities to find that perfect frame
A sneak preview of 100% Optical in the “build” process
Grafton announce a 50% discount on the E-Eye, the lasting solution for Dry Eye.
100% releases special offers from Exhibitors available each day
FODO prize winner at Anglia Ruskin
Academy 2018 San Antonio Attendance Shatters All Previous Meeting Records
Last chance invitation for 10 suppliers to boost sales in 2019
CHARLES BONNET SYNDROME: What is this mysteriously underreported condition?
SILMO ISTANBUL 2018 Expands the Sphere of Influence
MIDO Exhibition. Registration now LIVE: #Livethewonder
College-funded research finds glaucoma referral scheme to be successful in filtering patients effectively
100% Optical Preview pages open today
Essilor announces Platinum Sponsorship for Optrafair Exchange 2019
Last call for PRESENTATIONS at Optrafair
Social Media Campaign to be one of the highlights at next year's 100% Optical for ABDO
GOLD SPONSOR - HEIDELBERG ENGINEERING announced for Optrafair Exchange
Call for Presentations, a new and unique opportunity at Optrafair.
Early News of a shortlisting for OrCam as Product of the Year at the AOP awards during 100% Optical next January.
ECOO General Assembly. 
AIO report from Manchester
iDay originally Independent's Day Report
BABO: The Conference report
Meet the ABDO membership Team at 100% in January
Newly qualified optom or DO? Then 100% Optical has something especially for you.
Scottish conference provides opportunity to meet Grafton’s Clinical Product specialist
New: ABDO College and Bookshop at 100%
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Annual Awards Ceremony
Report on first Glasklar Hub Event
Record attendance at sixth Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize conference
PLATINUM SPONSOR - OPTOS at next year's Optrafair Exchange.
SILMO 2018 Organisers produce report on this year's exhibition.
Voting opens in the AOP Awards 2019
IOA announces winner of Silmo IOA International Optician of the Year.
Register now for your chosen CET lecture subjects at 100% Optical for next January.
Read archived stories from July to September 2018

Dunelm are celebrating their 50th Anniversary in Style at 100% Optical

January 2019

Dunelm celebrates 50 years

Dunelm are exhibiting for the very first time at 100% Optical using their impressive stand first used at MIDO 2018. It seems a step change up from the memories we have of Dunelm for the past 50 years.

MD, David Barker was explaining how important investment planned in the company strategic plan will be for the future growth.

It certainly felt vibrant and “wired” while we visited their stand.

We also met Tanya Storey who is their new commercial manager for lenses and the laboratory, a highly respected expert in lens production and design, well known to many.

Her appointment is a measure of Dunelm’s commitment to providing a full service to its customers that the already high-volume lens lab is also gearing up for growth.

Dunelms new bold offering to the optical sector is certainly worth further investigation, if you thought you knew them over the past 50 years, it's time to look again.


Diversity at 100% offers opportunities to find that perfect frame

January 2019

Swissflex  at PKP
Niche market frame brands with smaller companies often only make rare appearances at exhibitions and that is true for Swissflex Eyewear. They made their first appearance at 100% Optical last year since collaborating with PKP Optics from Tonbridge.

The frame brand is highly rated around the world for its lightness and multi-fitting opportunities in design. It’s literally like “wearing nothing”.

The brand is a great practice builder because of the added value in quality dispensing. We first came across it at USA Expo East some years ago and it took till last year to track it down in the UK.

Some styles break new ground in design and this is certainly one of those, worth coming to 100% Optical for that brand alone.

Join Opchat News on Facebook for exciting events at Excel

A sneak preview of 100% Optical in the “build” process

January 2019

100, per cent!

100, per cent!

It’s a scene that most of this weekend's 9000 + visitors will never see but the you can feel the excitement and thrill rising as you walk, stumble and manoeuvre your way around what seems like 100’s of ladders and expo hardened fitters creating something akin to a film set.

We sent our editor in to the middle of 100% build the day before its opening at 10 am tomorrow (Saturday) to get some early shots of what awaits you.

100, per cent!

A past exhibitor over many years, well used to such events couldn’t help be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the stands and the imagination of the designers for this year’s show.

100, per cent!
“A I walked around it was an eye opener to see all the biggest and best companies finally making it to 100% in its 6th year. It took some while to convince some to migrate to a London Show but seeing Topcon, Zeiss Hanson and Essilor and Diopsys among many more join in with companies that have been faithful to the show from the off like Shamir Grafton and Heidelberg must be truly gratifying to the organisers. I think this year we will be saying 100% has finally come of age.”

100, per cent!
The thrill that sends the hairs on your head northwards is distinct even when only 30% of the build is complete. And it is that buzz that makes 100% a different show as 9000 visitors will tell you who went last year.

Its not all about the big boys either, what make the show distinct is the one stop shop for all you need in a thriving business, from products and services sourced globally, especially the frame selection.

100, per cent!

But 2019 is now a balanced show with services, retail, employment, equipment, lenses, frames, audiology professional bodies and great networking and we mustn’t forget the Catwalk who were busy practicing today. (No, we didn’t take photos of them 100, per cent!today, come see for yourself!)

There is still time to register or you can register on the day.

Grafton announce a 50% discount on the E-Eye, the lasting solution for Dry Eye.

January 2019

E-Eye from GraftonIn the week leading to 100% Optical Grafton Optical provide an impelling reason to get your skates on and visit 100%'s biggest and most comprehensive equipment area at London Excel. The show provides an opportunity to investigate and admire all the latest technology form all of the top and respected equipment companies under one roof.

E-Eye is the first and only medical device in the world using IRPL® (Intense Regulated Pulsed Light) that has been specifically designed for the treatment of Dry Eye due to Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).

E-Eye uses a unique patented Intense Regulated Pulsed Light (IRPL®) technology to regenerate the function of the Meibomian glands and improve the quality of their secretions. This new type of polychromatic pulsed light produces perfected calibrated and homogenously sequenced light pulses which stimulate the parasympathetic nerves. This in turn encourages the Meibomian glands to restore their natural lipid flow, reducing tear evaporation and preventing the eyes from becoming dry.

In most cases, Dry Eye symptoms will significantly improve after 3 sessions, carried out over 45 days (Day 0/ Day 15/ Day 45). For 60% of patients results can last up to 3 years. . Click here to register your interest while stocks last

Take a look at the many special offers and exciting stands that are presenting next Saturday onwards for 3 days at the London Excel on our Preview Pages

100% releases special offers from Exhibitors available each day

December 2018

Fashion Show at Excel

With less than 11 days to go there's some really exceptionel offers avaialble to visitors to 100% Optical opening on 12th January at London's Excel.

Forget the networking opportunities of the 100's of stands to visit, just think of it as the Optical Sector's Pary of the year.

Register here and consider making it a weekend to remember. Visit our Opchat preview pages for even more offers and events.


December 2018

Fashion Show at Excel The UK’s largest optical event, 100% Optical, is promising its 9,000 visitors their greatest optical journey yet at its biggest, boldest and brightest 2019 show.

With 200 plus international exhibitors all under one roof, over 500 brands and 100 plus CET points up for grabs, it’s a date not to be missed in the optical calendar.

Taking place 12-14 January at ExCel London it offers an opportunity for the whole practice to come en masse to learn and grow together as a team.

Event director Nathan Garnett said; “We pride ourselves in developing an environment where the optical industry can come together to gather information, follow eyewear trends and discover the latest equipment and services.”

Querido & Davidson Opticians came to 100% Optical 2018 as a team. Sophie Jakes from the practice said; “We all went for a team building day. We worked together as a practice to make decisions. We found hidden gems on both the clinical and fashion side.”

Brand new for 2019 is the Eyewear Week initiative running 7-13 January, where 100% Optical will generate public awareness around the eyewear trends using the #eyewearweek and #loveeyewear hashtag.

Nathan Garnett said; “This new initiative will highlight and celebrate the massive variety of eyewear available to customers on the high street. It will help drive footfall into your practice to try on frames and to explore buying frames to accessorise different outfits and seasons. Let’s banish the idea of a self-limiting ‘spare pair’ of specs only from now on.”

Also brand new for 2019, the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) has become an association partner and helped compile a comprehensive education seminar programme for the Audiology hub, alongside the Association of Optometrists.

The show’s impressive line-up of exhibitors include the likes of Luxottica, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Specsavers, William Morris, Topcon, Bevel, Hanson Instruments, Lindberg, Wolf Eyewear and Mainline Instruments to name a few.

This year, 100% Optical, is proud to support SeeAbility, who provide specialist support, accommodation and eye care help for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss. It will be running the famous ‘Rockaoke’ event, to raise money.

Prototypes of shortlisted entries from the 100% Optical eyewear ‘2020 Vison in Motion’ design competition in partnership with the Royal College of Art will be on show in entrance to the Eyewear Hall. The competition winner will be judged and announced on Sunday at 12:45 on the main stage.

To top it all off, the show offers plenty of networking opportunities with happy hours by De Rigo, Birmingham Optical and Continental Eyewear, plus the central bar Saturday night party sponsored by William Morris.

As co-media partners our preview pages are growing each day and signed up exhibitors are reminded of their free right to space on Opchat News here on the Preview Page. Send stories to

FODO prize winner at Anglia Ruskin

December 2018

FODO congratulates Isabel Connelly from the Anglia Ruskin University, who was awarded the FODO prize for best overall performance in Final Practical Dispensing in the Ophthalmic Dispensing degree.

Isabel received her prize from Liam Kite, Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin, at the graduation awards ceremony last month.


December 2018

#loveeyewear at 100%100% Optical is launching a brand new Eyewear Week running from 7 – 13 January to help save the high street and raise the profile of the most important fashion accessory there is.

Kicking-off the countdown to the show which takes place in the eyewear capital on 12-14 January at ExCel London, the goal is to help the optical industry generate public awareness around the hottest eyewear trends and designs, and to uncover and influence eyewear shopping habits.

Eyewear week will drive footfall into opticians to increase sales and generate publicity for the most important fashion accessory their customers own.

Worryingly one in ten British eyewear shoppers now purchase sunglasses and spectacles online, according to market research company GfK, which surveyed 6,000 consumers. It also revealed that price, quality, brand and celebrity ambassadors were among the top drivers behind buying decisions.

100% Optical believe that buying a new pair of frames is a pleasurable experience, and nothing can beat the personal customer service of an optician to assist in that process.

The initiative is supported by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) who believe Eyewear Week will help showcase what’s on offer on the high street and influence buying trends.

100% Optical is the place where optical fashionistas, stylists and stockists go to browse and uncover new eyewear trends and latest styles modelled on the vibrant catwalk. It is renowned for offering: Read more about how to get involved in your practice for eyewearweek on the PHN 100% Optical web pages. Dontforget to look at the 100% Preview Pages as well.

Academy 2018 San Antonio Attendance Shatters All Previous Meeting Records

November 2018

The Academy 2018 at San Antonio, held November 7-10, was the 97th annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry. It was the largest meeting in the Academy’s history with a total of 7,948 registrants (a 3% increase over 2017), including 4,625 optometrists and vision scientists and 1,168 students. Attendees engaged in high-quality continuing education sessions, experienced new products and technologies in the exhibit hall, and learned the latest in vision research that is advancing the profession.

The Plenary Session was titled “Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Practice®: The Future of Health Care Delivery.” Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Gordon Guyatt, and Anthony Cavallerano covered trends affecting the future of providing patient care.

The third joint educational program of the American Academy of Optometry and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Imaging Structure and Function in the Eye,” took place in San Antonio, and was also presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting in October. Moderators Drs. Austin Roorda and Joel Schuman were joined by Drs. Christopher Leung, Donald Miller, Hiroshi Ishikawa, Adrian Glasser, Stacey Choi, and Jay Duker. The speakers each provided an update on the anterior segment, retinal and glaucoma applications of ocular imaging and their clinical implications. This collaboration represents a continued effort by the two Academy organizations to work together to better prepare and support their members in delivering the highest quality eye care.

A highlight of the meeting was the confirmation of 303 new Fellows – the largest class of new Fellows in the Academy’s history. Fellows of the Academy must complete a candidacy process that includes submitting written work demonstrating their skills as an optometrist or vision scientist, and sitting for an oral exam at the annual meeting of the Academy. It is estimated that 10% of practicing optometrists in the United States are Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). Optometrists, scientists, educators, librarians, administrators and editors are eligible to become Fellows of the Academy and earn the right to use “FAAO” after their name.

In addition, an impressive record 17 individuals were awarded Diplomate status by Sections of the American Academy of Optometry. Diplomates are Fellows of the Academy who wish to demonstrate their skill in a specific area. Currently eight Sections offer Diplomate programs: Anterior Segment; Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry; Comprehensive Eye Care; Cornea, Contact Lenses & Refractive Technologies; Glaucoma; Low Vision; Optometric Education; and Public Health & Environmental Vision.

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), the Academy’s foundation supporting research and education, would like to thank registrants, sponsors, donors, awardees, and volunteers for making Academy 2018 San Antonio another huge success. The meeting resulted in nearly $200,000 in donations and new pledges. Approximately 200 supporters attended the Foundation’s Celebration Luncheon. Special thanks go to the seven individuals and couples who joined the Presidents Circle or moved up a level during the meeting by making pledges or donations of $10,000 or more. Because of their commitment, the AAOF Circle of Giving, which includes President’s Circle, now has more than 185 members. Additionally, the AAOF would like to thank the Alcon Foundation for their donation in the amount of $25,000, triggered by participants who shot a total of 2,020 digital baskets in the exhibit hall as part of the Hoop it Up 20/20 Challenge.

In addition, Dr. Barbara Caffery of Toronto, Canada was inducted as President of the American Academy of Optometry on Saturday, November 10 at the Fellowship Banquet. She will serve her 2019 and 2020 term alongside the following board members: Dr. Timothy McMahon (President-Elect), Dr. Susan Cotter (Secretary-Treasurer), Dr. Joseph Shovlin (Immediate Past-President), Dr. Jenny Coyle, Dr. Andrew Mick, Dr. Carl Spear, and Dr. Jeff Walline.

Last chance invitation for 10 suppliers to boost sales in 2019

November 2018

100% Optical 19100
Kickstart your sales in 2019 and book your place at 100% Optical.

With just 10 stands remaining this is your chance to be a part of an action packed 3 days of product launches, fashion shows, parties, networking and business.

In 2018 100% Optical saw an 11% growth and its 5th consecutive increase in visitors which ensured 13200 leads were captured by suppliers and more new accounts opened than ever before.

Set for our busiest show to date on 12-14 January you will meet 9000+ new buyers looking to purchase the very latest equipment, eyewear, lenses and services for their practice.

There's only 10 stands left, so dont miss out make an enquiry today

CHARLES BONNET SYNDROME: What is this mysteriously underreported condition?

November 2018

Vision Direct have invited Judith Potts, the founder of Charles Bonnet Syndrome campaign Esme’s Umbrella, to talk about what Charles Bonnet Syndrome is, as well as how it directly affected her life.

Vision Direct’s Chief Operating Officer and Optometrist, Brendan O’Brien, says: “Charles Bonnet Syndrome is not an eye condition that you’re likely to hear about in an ordinary conversation, even with your optician. We’re happy that we can support Judith’s campaign in raising awareness of the syndrome, and our hope is that it will one day make a significant difference to the lives of those who live with it.”

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) is a condition which can develop in anyone of any age when over 60% of sight is lost from the myriad of eye diseases - stroke, cancer, diabetes - or even injury which can damage the optic pathway. As sight diminishes, messages from the retina to the visual cortex, slow down or stop entirely. However, the brain does the opposite – it fires up and creates its own vivid, silent, visual hallucinations which can range from benign to terrifying.

CBS has been acknowledged by ophthalmologists and optometrists since 1760 when Charles Bonnet – a Genevan lawyer, philosopher and naturalist - first documented the experience of Charles Lullin, his 97-year old grandfather. Lullin’s sight was compromised by severe cataracts but otherwise, he was psychologically sound. He described how he saw people, birds, carriages, buildings, scaffolding patterns and the tapestries on the wall changing. Although noted by doctors over the centuries, no research on CBS was undertaken until 1998 and the condition has been too easily dismissed as ‘just a side effect’ of sight loss.

It is so very much more than that, as I discovered the day my 92-year-old mother, Esme, said “I do wish these people would get off my sofa.”

She went on to describe her other ‘visions’, as she called them – a gargoyle-like creature which hopped from table to chair, a Victorian tear-stained street child who followed her everywhere and, sometimes, the whole room or garden morphed into somewhere else. One day, it was an Edwardian funeral procession, complete with plumed horses and the clergy in red cassocks.

It was not until I read a tiny paragraph in a newspaper, which could have been written by my mother, that the word ‘dementia’ stopped hanging in the air.

Unfortunately, her ophthalmologist declined to discuss CBS, her GP had never heard of it and neither had her optometrist. Consulting the internet, I found Dr Dominic Ffytche of King’s College London, who has done the only research on CBS and is the sole, globally-acknowledged expert on the condition.

His research has debunked some of the myths surrounding CBS – that it disappears after 18 months and that the hallucinations are always benign.


After my mother died, I launched Esme’s Umbrella to raise awareness of CBS – both within the medical profession and out into the community - and gather funds for research. Dr ffytche is my medical adviser.

Despite being aware of CBS, healthcare professionals in the sight loss sector have not entirely appreciated the exact nature of the condition and the negative impact it has on those who develop it. Consequently, very few explain CBS or warn their patients that it might develop. It might not, but forewarned is forearmed.


There is no medication to alleviate the hallucinations nor any medical consultants in the condition. Too many GPs and hospital doctors are unaware of CBS and their first instinct on hearing a description of visual hallucinations is to send the person down the mental health pathway – sometimes on a one-way ticket.

Fearing that the hallucinations might be a mental health issue prevents people from confiding in anyone, whilst their quality of life – already diminished by sight loss - takes another downturn.

Some people who see benign images like flowers, cavorting kittens or beautiful landscapes, tolerate – and even enjoy – the hallucinations. However, for others, the hallucinations are frustrating and irritating in their constancy or disturbing and terrifying in their nature.

The list of what is seen is endless but ranges from the whole room being covered by words, maps, grids, trellis-work, musical notes or coloured shapes to sinister images of people (often in costume – Edwardian, Victorian, military, medieval, middle eastern, Tyrolean) and fire – both of which can result in calls to the emergency services.

Other commonly experienced hallucinations involve children and babies, animals, snakes, rodents, insects, frogs, water, vehicles, buildings, plants, grass, trees, furniture or walls.

Sometimes, as Esme experienced, the whole room changes to an alien place - sitting on a pallet in the middle of a fast-flowing river, alone in a medieval candlelit cathedral or surrounded by doors of all sizes have been reported.

Those who experience multiple hallucinations often become housebound, because they cannot distinguish between what is real and what is not. For a few people, the hallucinations are so distressing and horrific that suicide becomes an option.


To prevent possible misdiagnosis, it is essential to raise awareness of this distressing condition both within the medical profession and out into the community.

To that end, I hosted the world’s first Charles Bonnet Syndrome Patient Day on 16th November at Moorfields’ Hospital – to coincide with Charles Bonnet Syndrome Awareness Day.

This was a very exciting and groundbreaking event, at which we heard from two CBS researchers from Newcastle University – one working for Esme’s Umbrella, who is funded by Fight for Sight/The Thomas Pocklington Trust/National Eye Research Centre and the other which is funded by the Macular Society.

I hope that the Patient Day will inspire more researchers to move into this crucial area and additional funding will be offered.
It is difficult enough to live with sight loss, but if CBS develops too, feelings of loneliness and isolation multiply. If you suspect you or someone you know is living with CBS, the best way to deal with it is to get help.

If you think yourself or someone you know might be suffering from CBS, make sure you try and get help. Esme’s Umbrella carries all the CBS current information, Dr ffytche’s research and coping strategies which, along with reassurance, is all the treatment that is available currently. Alternatively, you can ring the Esme’s Umbrella helpline, currently staffed by the RNIB Health Team, on 020 7391 3299.

For further reading click here

SILMO ISTANBUL 2018 Expands the Sphere of Influence

November 2018

The International Silmo Istanbul 2018 Optical Fair, which is organized for the sixth edition this year, will be held on December 13-16 at Istanbul Expo Center Yeþilköy.

The International Silmo Istanbul 2018 Optical Fair continues to expand and becomes the biggest marketplace in the Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa with more than 600 brands, 9.200 visitors in total and more than 120 exhibitors.

This year Silmo Istanbul 2018 Optical Fair raises is activity area to 3 halls and 17.000sqm with the presence of more than 45 new exhibitors.

Through the fair, optics professionals have the chance to meet with Turkish and international manufacturers and boost their business in the economic capital of Turkey, in Istanbul, the union between Europe and Asia.

And save the date for next year: Silmo Istanbul 2019 Optical Fair, which will be held on November 21-24.

MIDO Exhibition. Registration now LIVE: #Livethewonder

November 2018

MIDO's annual show in Milan is to be held on the 23rd to the 25th February 2019 next year.

Get your Free Pass as a visitor by clicking here.

College-funded research finds glaucoma referral scheme to be successful in filtering patients effectively

November 2018

Research resulting from the College of Optometrists' Enhanced Scheme Evaluation Project (ESEP) demonstrates that a glaucoma filtering scheme in Manchester has been highly successful in filtering patients, with low false positive (FP) and false negative (FN) rates. The results should provide reassurance to commissioners considering implementing glaucoma pathways.

The research, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, evaluated the clinical effectiveness of a Glaucoma Enhanced Referral Service (GERS) in Greater Manchester. It is the seventh ESEP paper to be published in peer-reviewed journals since 2014.

The latest ESEP study found that:

• The Manchester GERS is highly successful in reducing the FP rate from community referrals for suspect glaucoma
• The FN evaluation showed that the scheme is clinically effective and very safe
• There was a low referral rate to the HES, with 53.6 per cent of patients being discharged following GERS community assessment, potentially providing a financial saving to the NHS
• Of the patients not referred to the HES through this scheme, only one patient (0.8 per cent) met the GERS criteria but was not referred. There were no cases of missed glaucoma or non-glaucomatous pathology identified within the study sample
• Previous studies have shown that, without ‘filtering’ the FP rate for suspect glaucoma referrals is high (approximately equal to 40 per cent)
• A validation study found that the GERS glaucoma specialist optometrists’ decision-making demonstrated non-inferiority when compared to consultant-to-consultant agreement. There was agreement between consultant on management decisions in 23 of 30 non-referred cases versus 25 of 30 and 24 of 30 cases when the specialist optometrist, and each individual consultant, were in agreement.

Mike Bowen, Director of Research for the College of Optometrists said: “This research, and the broader Enhanced Scheme Evaluation Project, has provided evidence, where very little existed before, that optometrists working in community/enhanced schemes is both safe and cost effective. We are confident that these latest findings will encourage commissioners to duplicate this type of scheme, with the reassurance that outcomes for patients, far from being compromised, will actually be enhanced.”

Patrick Gunn, Principal Optometrist (Training and Education), Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and First Author said: “The ESEP project shows where there is a good partnership between community optometry and the hospital eye service, with appropriate training and accreditation, schemes such as the Manchester GERS are highly clinically effective and safe.”

The College’s ESEP continues. The researchers will next undertake a retrospective health economics analysis of GERS. More information about ESEP can be found on the College website.


November 2018

Essilor Academy Essilor’s Optical Academy has relocated “closer to home” to the new world class ABDO National Resource centre in Birmingham, from Paris.

The lens supplier moved the academy to the new cutting edge facility to help support the centre and make the course more accessible to UK based opticians.

Essilor already sponsors five training rooms in the facility to help students gain access to the most advanced technology and innovation. It also donated glazing examination equipment when it first opened, including dispensing aides such as Visioffice 2 to help students in their examinations.

Essilor marketing manager, Jason Williams said: “We’re delighted to support the new ABDO facility and help enhance the experience for optical students.

“It was a very well attended event and we’re pleased that the decision to move the Optical Academy closer to home has made it more convenient to our independent business partners here in the UK because we know how much they value on-going learning to remain competitive.”

The two day event took place on the 14 to 15 November and featured renowned guest speakers including optical professor Mo Jalie and health psychologist, Dr Fiona Fylan speaking about the psychology behind eyewear for drivers.

The course carried 20 CET accreditation points for attendees.

100% Optical Preview pages open today

November 2018

Dr Shelby Temple
With just under 8 weeks to go for the opening of the Sixth 100% Optical exhibition and conference PHN’s Opchat News Preview pages go live today and await information from all the exhibitors signed for the event.

This year as well as highlighting companies’ services and products that will be displayed, often for the first time to the profession, the Preview pages will include forthcoming lectures that assist in the education of using the new products and equipment on display.

And to open the preview pages we have the perfect example of a lecture to be given by Dr Shelby Temple which describes how the MPeye can measure macular pigment and assist in the prevention of AMD by better lifestyle choices.

Click here for 100% Optical Preview Pages

PHN’s Opchat News is a media partner of Media 10’s 100% Optical show for its Sixth Year and provides free space to all exhibitors on its preview pages. See the main pages as well and register free today.

Essilor announces Platinum Sponsorship for Optrafair Exchange 2019

November 2018

Essilor joins Optrafair Exchange as Platinum Sponsor in 2019, as part of its continued support for the show and its commitment to be the independent optician’s best business partner.

Essilor will be showcasing its latest innovations in spectacle lens technology including Varilux and Transitions.

Its Visioffice measuring device will be on stand with accompanying support packages for practitioners wishing to provide the ultimate patient experience.

For those looking to newly equip or update their current equipment, the instruments team will be on hand to provide live demonstrations of the testing room and workshop equipment.

New collections for the Bolon Eyewear and Société des Lunetiers range will be on display and last but not least, Essilor will be demonstrating Orcam MyEye, the ultimate smart device for patients with visual impairments.

Essilor look forward to seeing you at one of its three stands A72, A80, A90.

Optrafair 2019 will be bigger and better than ever, and we invite you to join us at the leading and most established optical event catering for the entire sector since 1978!

Click here to register now on Opchat's CoMedia Pages

Last call for PRESENTATIONS at Optrafair

November 2018

New for 2019, Optrafair and the FMO are offering you the chance to present on the topics that you are an expert in. Now is your opportunity to present in Optrafair’s theatres and educate your peers.

Optrafair offers multiple opportunities to gain the knowledge to further your practice and enhance your learning with CET, and in 2019 more than ever with our new content streams: Dispensing, Contact Lenses, Orthoptic, Refractive, Health & Lifestyle, Technician, Clinical Optometry and Business, providing critical topics for the whole optical team.

We welcome submissions from any individual or organisation looking to share information that can benefit the evolution and development of the optical industry.

Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee, with successful applicants included alongside sessions provided by our education partners: ABDO, BCLA, The College of Optometrists and our sponsors. The full programme will be launched early in 2019.

Click here to submit your proposal and make the most of this opportunity at Optrafair 2019.

The submission deadline is 30th November 2018. If you have any queries, please contact Martha Bradbury.

Optrafair 2019 will be bigger and better than ever, and we invite you to join us at the leading and most established optical event catering for the entire sector since 1978! Click here for a sneak preview of Optrafair 2019!

Social Media Campaign to be one of the highlights at next year's 100% Optical for ABDO

November 2018

The “Not Just a DO” social media campaign from ABDO, a key part of ABDO’s strategy to raise the profile of the wide scope of practice of the dispensing optician, will feature strongly on ABDO’s new look exhibition stand at 100% Optical.

ABDO Head of Communications Antonia Chitty says, “It has been a real pleasure to be able to showcase the diverse range of talents amongst our members thought the hashtag #NotJustADO, and we have more profiles coming up on social media. On top of that everyone who visits 100% Optical will get a chance to see some of the wide range of careers available to those with the FBDO qualification in a stunning new display.”

ABDO is also focussing on careers for the Optical Support Team in your practice. As part of the programme, ABDO will be present in the Optical Academy each day providing a session on ‘Optical career pathways fit for your business’. Presented by Nick Walsh, ABDO’s Sector Skills Development Officer, the session will be packed with insights into how training is a key part of any business plan, as Walsh covers the importance of training plans and personal development plans, ensuring that they meet and support the practitioner’s business needs and business plans.

Nick Walsh says, “As well as providing important information for any business owner or manager, I will explain the offerings from the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and ABDO with qualifications available from Level 2 up to and including degrees. This session is for anyone responsible for optical support staff, optical assistants, lab technicians, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians.”

Find out more about the #NotJustADO campaign here, and book into Nick Walsh’s session at 100% Optical after first registering here

Opchat News are co-media partners of 100% Optical and you can find out more here

GOLD SPONSOR - HEIDELBERG ENGINEERING announced for Optrafair Exchange

November 2018

Heidelberg Engineering will join Optrafair Exchange as Gold Sponsor for the 2019 show. Heidelberg Engineering have been long time supporters of the UK’s leading Optical exhibition and will continue their commitment into next year.

Heidelberg Engineering has reintroduced their unique “Love Your OCT Guarantee”, first launched at Optrafair 2018, due to popular demand.

“We are so confident that optometrists will love their SPECTRALIS that if for any reason they don’t, whether they rent or lease, we will guarantee to take it back after 18 months with no further obligation”, explains Tosh Vadhia, General Manager, Heidelberg Engineering. “The Love Your OCT Guarantee provides peace of mind for the optometrist, allowing them to concentrate on making more informed referrals and improving patient care in their community.”

New for autumn 2018 through to Optrafair 2019 is the opportunity to purchase a refurbished SPECTRALIS for a special discounted price. These refurbished units are also backed by the Love Your OCT Guarantee, a one year warranty and a comprehensive training and marketing package.

“The Love Your OCT Guarantee makes the same technology that is used on the International Space Station accessible on the high street”.

Heidelberg Engineering look forward to promoting Love Your OCT Guarantee at Optrafair and offering eye care professionals the opportunity to see the SPECTRALIS platform and join in with CET offerings at the show.”

Optrafair is taking place at the NEC in Birmingham between 30th March and 1st April. Heidelberg Engineering will be located at stand A60.

Optrafair 2019 will be bigger and better than ever, and we invite you to join us at the leading and most established optical event catering for the entire sector since 1978!

Click here for a sneak preview! and you can register here too for FREE.

Heidelberg are long time supporters of your Free Opchat News, go see their pages and links to their site here

Call for Presentations, a new and unique opportunity at Optrafair.

October 2018

New for 2019, Optrafair and the FMO are offering you the chance to present on the topics that you are an expert in. Now is your opportunity to present in Optrafair’s theatres and educate your peers.

Optrafair offers multiple opportunities to gain the knowledge to further your practice and enhance your learning with CET, and in 2019 more than ever with our new content streams: Dispensing, Contact Lenses, Orthoptic, Refractive, Health & Lifestyle, Technician, Clinical Optometry and Business, providing critical topics for the whole optical team.

We welcome submissions from any individual or organisation looking to share information that can benefit the evolution and development of the optical industry.

Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee, with successful applicants included alongside sessions provided by our education partners: ABDO, BCLA, The College of Optometrists and our sponsors. The full programme will be launched early in 2019.

Click here to submit your proposal and make the most of this opportunity at Optrafair 2019.

The submission deadline is 30th November 2018. If you have any queries, please contact Martha Bradbury.

Optrafair 2019 will be bigger and better than ever, and we invite you to join us at the leading and most established optical event catering for the entire sector since 1978! Click here for a sneak preview of Optrafair 2019!

PHN and Opchat News are co-media partners of Optrafair Exchange 2019 Click here to read more and REGISTER today.

Early News of a shortlisting for OrCam as Product of the Year at the AOP awards during 100% Optical next January.

October 2018

OrCam MyEye 2.0 shortlisted for Association of Optometrists’ (AOP) Product of the Year award

OrCamMyEye Product of the Year AOP nomineeThe next generation OrCam MyEye 2.0 artificial vision device has been shortlisted for the Product of the Year award by the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

The AOP Awards recognise the highest levels of achievement in UK optics, with the 2018 AOP Awards attracting over 20,00 votes from both optical professionals and patients.

The wearable OrCam MyEye 2.0 is completely wireless, and only about the size of a finger. Despite its compact size, the device uses powerful artificial vision technology to communicate vital visual information via audio to users. This enables users to instantly and discreetly read text off of any surface, as well as to seamlessly recognise faces, products, barcodes, and currency notes.

Magnetically mounted on the wearer’s eyeglasses or sunglasses frame, OrCam MyEye is the only wearable artificial vision tech that is activated by an intuitive pointing gesture or simply by following the wearer's gaze – allowing for hands-free use without the need of a smartphone or Wi-Fi.

The device has been designed to be as intuitive and easy to use as possible for users who are blind, visually impaired, or have reading difficulties.

OrCam MyEye has been meticulously engineered with the needs of these users in mind, and can be used by children and adults alike, regardless of their level of visual or reading impairment. The key benefit of OrCam MyEye 2.0 is that it allows people to lead greatly increased independent lives without having to rely on friends, family, or clunky and cumbersome assistive technology.

OrCam works with a network of eye health professionals across the UK who are looking to provide more low vision support to their patients.

Russell Ham FBDO Prof Cert LV, Low Vision Optician, Newport, Wales says, “Working with OrCam has really helped to expand my low vision clinic. Their unique device is small and discreet making it suitable for use both at home and on the go, and it is capable of improving my patients’ independence. It is a fantastic device that I am more than happy to recommend to my patients.”

Michael Atkin discovered the OrCam MyEye2.0 through his local Macular Society after he had lost a significant amount of his vision due to Stargardt Disease. He says, “I used to be a prolific reader, but that all changed when I started to lose my sight. It’s only been a few months since I got my OrCam MyEye 2.0 and I’ve already read 12 novels cover to cover – it has opened up a new world for me. My wife and I have started sharing books again, and when my grandson asked me what I wanted for Christmas I just gave him a list of all the books I wanted. I have tried other technologies to help me read but they were so heavy and awkward I couldn’t keep using them. With the OrCam it’s so light that you don’t even know it’s there half the time.”

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: “The AOP Awards give us the chance to celebrate everyday excellence and outstanding achievement in optics and the 2019 shortlist has once again demonstrated how hard our colleagues across the profession work. I hope that patients and practitioners support the 2019 finalists by casting their vote.”

AOP members can cast their vote, and find out more about the Awards, by visiting before 5pm, Wednesday 12 December. Results will be announced at a black-tie dinner on Sunday 13 January 2018.

Editor's viewpoint.

There is almost no experience as frightening and excluding as the loss of sight, whether gradual in onset or sudden its effects on the social interaction on the life of the visually impaired and those who form their support network at home and at work are transformed for ever.

So, when I first saw the OrCam in action I was amazed at its ability to change a life overnight, now in its even more advanced stage as MyEye I am astounded.

It has been demonstrated in large groups and workshops both in Vision Workshops and in lectures I have been pleased to chair at the Royal Society of Medicine as President. It always brings an initial amount of incredulity at first sight but when demonstrated you can feel the buzz in the room.

If by voting for this product increases its visibility, use and uptake then such an award vote will mean more to many people that ever before more so to the users as much as the inventors deserve it.

ECOO General Assembly. 

October 2018
Last week Ann Blackmore, pictured with fellow members of the Executive Committee of the European Council of Optometry and Optics (ECOO), attended the ECOO General Assembly. 

Anne Blackmore ECOODuring the meeting there were important discussions on the Medical Devices Regulation and the implications of new requirements for Unique Device Identifiers (UDI), progress on the classification of fluorescein, and ongoing work to strengthen driving and vision requirements. 

These are all issues where it remains important that we work with colleagues across Europe in the interests of the optical sector and patient and public safety.

Delegates also heard from Dr Johan Semby, a Swedish ophthalmologist, on his work to drive forward changes in how glaucoma patients are managed, with ophthalmologists and optometrists working alongside each other.

And finally, we warmly congratulate Cindy Tromans, from the College of Optometrists, who became the new Chair of ECOO during the General Assembly. 

AIO report from Manchester

October 2018

Over 100 practitioners attended the conference of the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians in Manchester last week (14-15 October).

Christian FrenchThe event at the Pendulum Hotel and Conference Centre featured five CET lectures, 11 lectures in total and a choice of 21 workshops, with a total of 38 CET points on offer. There was also a separate programme for students.

A first for the conference was the attendance by a representative of NHS England. Richard Everitt, of Dental and Optical Services Commissioning, supported optometrist Lisa Donaldson, Clinical Lead at SeeAbility, who explained the new pathways for people with learning difficulties.

Other speakers included the recently appointed Interim Chief Executive of the GOC, Lesley Longstone, the Immediate Past President of ABDO, Fiona Anderson and the Chief Executive of the College of Optometrists, Ian Humphreys.

The conference began with a welcome dinner at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground the night before, with optometrist Dr Sarah Morgan performing the after-dinner entertainment. A gala dinner was also held at the Lowry Hotel on the Sunday (October 14).

“Our annual conference goes from strength to strength and by moving to a different location each year, we reach out to a new audience every time,” explained AIO Chairman, Christian French. “It has been a number of years since we ventured into the North West, and Manchester was a great place to visit.”

Mr French added: “By mixing up a great clinical programme with splendid social events, the AIO Conference is a wonderful opportunity for the independent sector to come together and celebrate the virtues of independent practice. In particular this year, Lancashire County Cricket’s Old Trafford Ground and the Lowry Hotel did us proud for our welcome dinner and gala dinner respectively.

“The Conference also provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the recently introduced Eye Promise quality mark for independents, as well as the chance to publicise the DVLA eye test bid that AIO has played such a major part in bringing together.

“Feedback from delegates has been extremely positive and we believe that we will have registered over 3,000 CET points,” he concluded.

The next AIO Conference will be on 5-6 October 2019 at the Marriott City Centre Hotel, Bristol, when one of the highlights will be a welcome dinner on board SS Great Britain.

iDay originally Independent's Day Report

October 2018

The new roadshow format for Independents Day (iDay) was a sell-out success on Monday, with 59 practitioners attending the conference and exhibition in the shadow of Wembley Stadium.

The joint organisers, Proven Track Record and the National Eyecare Group (NEG), were delighted with the turnout and the response from independents who liked the change of format to a one-day event visiting three locations.

Iday Round Table
The 2018 conference was the first time iDay has visited London and this year also saw the event running from 12.30-8.30pm instead of over two days.

With the theme, ‘Balancing Eyecare and Eyewear,’ the first Building for Success roadshow featured seven presentations, including a choice of business workshops and three CET sessions, concluding with a roundtable discussion on the event theme.

“From my perspective, I was very pleased with the event,” said Proven Track Record Managing Director, Nick Atkins. “The delegate feedback was very positive with regards to both the programme content and the fact that iDay had come to London for the first time.

“The exhibitors I spoke to were pleased with the level of delegate interest in what was on offer to help independents grow their business and they reported good lead generation.”

NEG’s Operations Director, Phil Mullins, added: “For our first iDay/NEG roadshow, it was a highly successful event, with delegates and exhibitors saying how great the day was. Our programme was both challenging and thought-provoking and certainly stimulated the discussions among the delegates.”

A highlight of the first roadshow was the keynote address by optometrist and trainer, Andy Clark, which asked delegates to consider ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Explaining patient ‘Avatar’ types and the different types of independents, ‘Archetypes,’ it proved so popular that Mr Clark’s later workshop, on helping delegates to discover their own practice type, was full.

The keynote address was supported by case studies from practice owner Mark Holloway, of Thomas & Holloway Opticians and Gerald Fernandes, optometrist director of Lynne Fernandes Optometrists. Both explained how they had used Mr Clark’s ideas on being the perfect fit for their patients to develop and grow their own practices.

Retail designer Dean Waugh used examples of his own practice re-fits to show how re-designing the layout, look and lighting of a practice could not only transform the business, but the customer journey as well.

“From a programme perspective, both Andy Clark’s keynote address and Dean Waugh’s presentation on designing more effective retail spaces were particular highlights, with both having the audience totally engaged,” Mr Atkins highlighted.

In the parallel business sessions, independents were encouraged to ‘See the Hearing Opportunity’ by Ryan Leighton, Chief Executive of Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care, with optical training expert, Lindsey Small, explaining how training and development were the key to retaining staff, a foundation for a successful independent practice.

Peer discussion CET sessions in the evening explored contact lens scenarios, myopia management in everyday practice and how OCT could assess a patient’s risk of glaucoma. They were followed by a roundtable discussion featuring Mr Clark, Mr Atkins, Mr Mullins and Proven Track Record Director, David Goad, which most of the delegates stayed for.

A recurrent theme of the discussion was that practice owners had to beware of getting into the habit of working in the practice six or seven days a week but not actually working on the business itself.

“Business owners must take time out to work on the practice,” Mr Goad concluded. “Remember the Einstein quote,” he urged delegates. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results,” he concluded.
The iDay roadshow continues next week in Coventry on Monday (29 October) which is now sold out, followed by Bolton on Tuesday (30 October).

BABO: The Conference report

October 2018

Geoff HeddleA former professional sportsman and an optometrist from America were the guests of honour at the annual conference of the British Association of Behavioural Optometrists (BABO) in Manchester last week (14 October).

Former Stoke City defender Andy Wilkinson, who suffered a brain injury while playing football, took part in the conference to enable the 24 delegates to see how the behavioural optometry activities and testing procedures would work in real life.

For the first time BABO joined with the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) for its annual conference, emphasising the opportunities of behavioural optometry for helping independents to differentiate.

Explaining some of the benefits of the new partnership, BABO Chairman, John Stevenson, said: “It was great to join with the AIO and to share in an event of this size, especially as we have a number of common members.”

Optometrist Dr Geoff Heddle travelled from Indiana to talk to both conferences about sports vision. He is a sports vision consultant with the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team and is also a member of the medical team of the NBA New York Knicks basketball team.

“Dr Heddle shared so much new information on the topic of sports vision and how to assess an athlete,” Mr Stevenson highlighted. “Our BABO delegates commented on how good it was to hear new information and to learn new procedures to use in practice immediately.”

BABO held a taster session at the AIO conference on behavioural optometry and Dr Heddle also gave a CET lecture on sports vision and the role vision plays in athletic performance.

Sponsors of the BABO conference included Eye Carrot, supplier of the Binovi Touch Saccadic Fixator, Vivid Vision, which demonstrated its virtual reality system used for the treatment of strabismus and amblyopia, optical equipment supplier Visus, plus Caledonian Optical, which sells speciality lenses including the SHAW lens used for aniseikonia.

A meeting on myopia control is now being planned by BABO for May and its next conference is in Bristol on 6 October 2019.

BABO also runs regular courses for those optometrists interested in finding out more about behavioural optometry and how to differentiate their practice.

Meet the ABDO membership Team at 100% in January

October 2018

ABDO Member Benefits are wide ranging and diverse, from essential insurance cover to discounts on cinema tickets and the popular student discount card.

If you want to know more about joining ABDO, or the benefits you get as a member, the ABDO membership team will be at 100% Optical in January to talk about membership benefits and answer queries.

Katie Docker, Head of Membership says, “The membership department will be there to answer any queries you have regarding membership. We can help with advice on any issues with GOS contracts, insurance, or GOC fitness to practice. Also just come along and say hello to us if you would like as we are always very pleased to see the members who we have got to know over the years.”

Further ABDO Member Benefits range from the monthly Dispensing Optics magazine to business advice on the Business Support Hub, and EyecareFAQ content for your social media channels.

ABDO members can also access a range of helplines offering legal and tax advice, advice on fitness to practice, and advice on professional indemnity issues. With a new membership brochure in development for 2019, there are more reasons than ever to become an ABDO member, and there are memberships available for DOs, Optometrists, Students and Optical Assistants.

Find out more about 100% Optical and REGISTER NOW and read about your options to become an ABDO Member here

Newly qualified optom or DO? Then 100% Optical has something especially for you.

October 2018

CET for Newly qualified optoms

The UK's largest optical event, 100% Optical, has created a dedicated education programme for newly qualified optometrists and dispensing opticians in partnership with the Association Of Optometrists (AOP).

The AOP lounge will host drop in networking sessions and experts will give advice on tax, clinical and regulatory matters.

View the CET programme here.

Packed full of interactive features 100% Optical, taking place on 12-14 January 2019 at London's ExCel, promises an inspiring and fun experience for the whole practice, whatever stage of career you are currently at.

Do you know someone from the optical industry who is newly qualified or is a locum? If so please forward them the link to this page.

Opchat News is the co-media partner of 100% Optical and will be publishing its regular 100% Preview pages shortly. Take a look at the 100% pages here and Register Today

Scottish conference provides opportunity to meet Grafton’s Clinical Product specialist

October 2018

Meet with Jawairia Shahid, Grafton Optical’s new Clinical Product Specialist at the Scottish Optical Conference to learn more about their range of Dry Eye Disease diagnosis and treatment products, including the soon to be released IDRA; the integrated ocular surface analysis system by SBM Sistemi


Grafton Optical will once again be attending the Scottish Optical Conference as a gold sponsor and look forward to another successful show. Visit Grafton on stand 24 to stay up to date with industry developments and get to grips with the latest product innovations and how they can benefit your business.

Make sure to attend the Dry Eye Diagnostics workshop where you will be able to meet Grafton’s new Clinical Product Sepcialist, Jawairia Shahid, who will be demonstrating how to use the Ocular Surface Analyser (OSA) which offers a full assessment of the ocular surface through a combination of tests for dry eye diagnosis.

Manufactured by SBM Sisitemi, the OSA easily and efficiently integrates the following complex examinations, providing the user with an easy to use ‘traffic light’ results report:


Also learn more about the upcoming launch of Grafton’s newest piece of Dry Eye equipment, the IDRA Integrated Ocular Surface Analysis System. Also made by SBM Sistemi, the IDRA features the same extensive functions as the OSA but also offers advanced automated diagnosis and analysis capabilities for the next generation of Dry Eye Disease analysis.

Grafton Optical is one of the UK's leading suppliers of ophthalmic instruments, equipping and servicing independent and larger chain opticians as well as Britain's hospitals. It is also a long time supporter of your opchat news. See their pages here

New: ABDO College and Bookshop at 100%

October 2018

ABDO College Bookshop will be making its debut at 100% Optical this year with far more than just books. Bookshop manager Justin Hall says, “I will be bringing a full range of optical titles covering Dispensing, Anatomy, Contact Lenses and Low Vision and also various Rules and Gauges essential for study and practice.”

If you are concerned about carrying your purchases round the show, don’t worry. Justin says, “We run an event discount of free postage on all orders. Our prices are already some of the lowest in the country and coupled with the free postage this is an offer not to miss!”

You can place your order at the show, knowing that your books, rules and gauges will be processed to the address of your choice by 1st Class Royal Mail or by Parcelforce on a 24hr service.

Purchases can be made via a mobile card terminal at the show so Visa or MasterCard transaction will be available. Cash and cheques are also accepted.

Alongside this. ABDO College will be launching a new look prospectus with the full details of all ABDO College courses, from Optical Support through to DO/CLO, in one place for the first time. Steve Hertz,

Assistant Head of Operational Services at ABDO College says, “This will also be the first year with a dedicated area for ABDO College so we’re looking forward to be really easy to find for those with enquiries and also for those colleagues, old and new, to pop along for a catch up on all things Godmersham.”

In another first, students on ABDO College’s BSc (Hons) Vision Science will be sharing research posters on their practice based research projects. The researchers will be there at set times to answer questions and talk about what they have done.

Meet the team Saturday 12 Jan: 10:00 to 21:00 Sunday 13 Jan: 10:00 to 18:00 and Monday 14 Jan: 10:00 to 17:00 at the Excel Centre. Find out more about ABDO College at

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Annual Awards Ceremony

October 2018

New Freemen at the SMC

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) recognised optical assistants and technicians who have passed their examinations in the last year as well as welcoming 14 new Freemen to the Company at a prestigious awards ceremony at the historic Apothecaries’ Hall in London Thursday this week (Oct 18th).

Audience at SMCThe WCSM Certificates and Diplomas allow candidates to build on the skills they use in practice every day and add to their technical knowledge.

Candidates can progress at their own speed and many go on later to higher level qualifications such as those offered by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and the College of Optometrists.

They are also eligible to apply for the traditional and highly respected award of Freedom of the WCSM.

In just one year, WCSM has admitted 48 new Freemen, representing 27 different professions and working across the world. The latest group of Freemen included a former President of the College of Optometrists, a successful business owner from Malta and three people from the United States.

David Baker and John Shilling
In congratulating the successful exam candidates, The Master Spectacle Maker, John McGregor OBE said: “As technology continues to develop in the field of vision care, the role of optical assistants becomes increasingly important as the front line of the relationship between the patient and the eyecare practitioner. The role of the technician is also changing. Achievement of these unique qualifications is a testament to the hard work that the candidates have put in and provides a great platform for them to develop their careers in optics further.”

After the awards ceremony the large gathering networked with each other and chatted to many liverymen attending the event in the Apothecaries' Courtyard. Dinner was later provided in the Hall.

Images: Top The new Freemen with the Master; Right: The audience awaiting the start of the ceremony in the 17th century hall; Left Senior Assistant David Baker chatting with Past Master John Shilling.

Report on first Glasklar Hub Event

October 2018

Ideas for improving customer service, driving patient loyalty and increasing patient retention were shared at the first GLASKLAR Hub meeting for independents organised by the brand’s distributor, Positive Impact.

The free inaugural education event had the theme, ‘See You Again Soon …’ and was held yesterday (11 October) at Regent’s University London, attracting 20 independent practitioners.

The guest speaker was dispensing optician Dan Scott, one of the most sought-after eyewear stylists in the UK. Heralding from a family of opticians, he has worked his way up from lab technician and spent numerous years honing his craft in the family practice and other practices.

“The fitting appointment is the most valuable appointment you can make,” he told delegates in his presentation, ‘Making Spectacle Collections Memorable Experiences.’

1st Glasklar Event
He explained that done well, that one appointment could result in additional spectacles and accessory sales, improve customer retention and increase referrals. It could also lead to good social media content and more positive reviews as delighted customers became practice ambassadors referring others, he highlighted.

“The patient’s lasting impression of us and the biggest moment for them is the exciting moment they pick up their new glasses,” he emphasised. Urging practitioners to capitalise on that excitement, he recommended having a checklist to tick off at the fitting appointment so that opportunities were not missed.

Supporting him was Nick Atkins, Positive Impact’s Director of Marketing and Professional Services, who further developed Mr Scott’s theme in his presentation ‘Customer Loyalty: Doing a Good Job is No Longer Enough.’

“There is no magic bullet to building customer loyalty,” said Mr Atkins. “You need to be creating patient ambassadors, patients who are not just loyal but really go out and proactively recommend your practice,” he told delegates.

Mr Atkins recommended having a clearly understood referral system. “As well as doing a good job, proactively confirm this fact with patients and then gain agreement that they will recommend you to their friends and family. There also needs a compelling reason for their referral highlighted,” he suggested.

The event concluded with a popular interactive workshop on maximising patient referrals during which delegates shared their ideas which are working for them in their own practices.

The inaugural Hub was such a success that more are now being planned. “We are very pleased with the inaugural event,” said Mr Atkins. “While it’s principally an initiative for customers of GLASKLAR, the customer loyalty concept driven by our refillable lens cleaner, it was also nice to see a few potential customers interested enough in the concept of the forum to take time out of their practice to attend.

“The feedback has been extremely positive with attendees saying they found the content very interesting and thought-provoking. If the amount of note taking was anything to go by, they all found some great hints and tips from Dan’s presentation in particular,” he added.

Explaining the ethos behind the first event, Mr Atkins explained: “GLASKLAR is an excellent customer retention and referral tool and so it made sense that the next development should be to provide further marketing support to our customers.

“We already offer point-of-sale and merchandising support and the idea of complimentary marketing seminars seemed a logical development. As far as the future for the GLASKLAR Hub, we are certainly looking to run more similar events around the country in 2019,” he concluded.

Record attendance at sixth Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize conference

October 2018

The College of Optometrists held the sixth Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize conference at the weekend. The conference, held at the Hilton London Wembley, had its highest attendance yet, attracting over 280 attendees from across the UK.

The conference featured some of the most popular lectures and workshops from Optometry Tomorrow 2018, including the well-received joint presentation with Consultant Ophthalmologist, Mr Kam Balaggan, and his patient, Professor Gilmartin, who has severe macular degeneration. The presentation was entitled; ‘The vitreoretinal battle to save my only eye. Unique and personal perspectives from Professor Gilmartin’.

Other highlights included a presentation from Professor David Crabb, Professor of Statistics and Vision Research at City University London on using big data and Melanie Hingorani, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, on allergic eye disease.

Delegate Roisin Carruthers MCOptom, Optometrist, Hants LOC, attended the conference and said; “I attend Optometry Tomorrow every year but there’s just so much happening there that I just can’t get to every session I want to, so I come to Bitesize too. It’s a full day of really high quality content, first rate speakers, workshops and peer review. I love the networking too. It’s another College must-do event for me and I highly recommend it to my friends and colleagues.”

Catherine Bithell, Director of Member Services and Communications, said: “Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize is always an important event for our calendar and we are proud to see a growing attendance every year. It’s great to see delegates returning year-on-year and benefiting from the lectures, workshops and peer discussions that are held on the day.”

Optometry Tomorrow 2019, the College’s annual two-day conference will take place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole in Birmingham on 24-25 February 2019. It will include a keynote speech by Professor Pete Coffey, Theme Lead for Development, Ageing and Disease at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. College members who book their tickets by 31 October can purchase a two-day ticket for £170 (full rate £340), or a one-day ticket for £120 (full rate £240). Further discounts are available for students and members who qualified from July 2015 onwards.

PLATINUM SPONSOR - OPTOS at next year's Optrafair Exchange.

October 2018

Optos are proud to return as Platinum sponsor and head back to the 3-day exhibition with strong momentum having won ‘Optical Supplier of the Year’.

Optos provides ultra-widefield images of 200 (82%) of the retina in a single non-contact optomap image. Our technology provides 3-in-1 Colour Depth Imaging™, including sensory, choroidal and composite colour views, well as autofluorescence imaging with green laser displaying lipofuscin in the RPE. Early signs of many ocular pathologies and diseases may first present in the retinal periphery and can initially go undetected using traditional examination techniques and equipment, optomap can image past the equator helping you find disease sooner and treat it more effectively.

Optos has recently launched Monaco, the first and only ultra-widefield retinal imaging device with integrated OCT. Monaco enables a rapid multi-modal capture featuring colour, autofluorescence and OCT scans for both eyes in as little as 90 seconds. More than 550 clinical studies show the value of optomap® in diagnosis, treatment planning and patient engagement.

You can find out more at booth E80 at Optrafair next March.

Optrafair 2019 will be bigger and better than ever, and we invite you to join us at the leading and most established optical event catering for the entire sector since 1978!

PHN and FMO/MA Group are co-media partners for the 2019 event. Take a look at the Optrafair pages for a sneek preview here.

SILMO 2018 Organisers produce report on this year's exhibition.

October 2018

The 52nd edition of the International Optical Fair demonstrated its appeal on this rather dynamic global market with a satisfying turnover.

Over four days, more than 37,000* professional visitors (56% of international) were able to admire the creativity of the 965 exhibitors in attendance, including 230 new companies exhibiting for the first time; and to enjoy all the features that help make SILMO Paris, the great professional trade fair, so unique and open to the world.

“We are living up to our slogan, ‘so much more than just a fair,’” states Eric Lenoir, SILMO director. The event is a truly multifaceted instrument designed for all the facets of the sector: it optimises the array of exhibitors by additionally providing information, training and trend monitoring for a 360° view of our industry.” “It is marvellous to see all the creativity and energy in the aisles of the trade fair,” remarks Amélie Morel, Chairwoman of Silmo Paris.”

*Key figures of SILMO Paris 2018.

965 exhibitors including 77% foreign exhibitors
1 548 brands
230 new companies
80 000 sqm. of exhibition area

A review of the highlights of this 2018 edition.

A global new space, SILMO NEXT took a look at the future with THE SELECTION of Trendy Products, which appears in the digital magazine TRENDS by SILMO. Unveiling the style and design forecast for 2019, the publication is available for consultation at all times on the trade fair website (

The concurrent and complementary FUTUROLOGY forum presented the products, services and technologies of tomorrow, drawing connections between well-established brands and start-ups to highlight four themes of the new markets: sports, well-being and health, entertainment, and 3D printing.

Technological companies such as Garmin, McLaren, Matérialise, Everysight, 5th Dimension, LightVision, Microoled, Atol, Cinemizer, and others presented their points of view, combining them with those of optics professionals to inspire future innovations to better rise to tomorrow’s challenges.

The international dimension of SILMO Paris has lead the organizers to welcome this year the International Opticians Association, or IOA, which honored for the first time, one personality who has contributed to the development and excellence of the optical profession.

This award was given by Fiona Anderson, President of IOA and Elaine Grisdale, Director of Development of IOA, to Robert Grimard – Canadian Optician.

Since 2010, SILMO ACADEMY has been supporting ophthalmic optical professionals in their pursuit of excellence by proposing scientific workshops and seminars through which they may perfect their knowledge and speak with experts from each field.

The 9th edition of this scientific conference brought together more than a hundred opticians who learned about functional visual development with a training course on the theme “Vision and Growth, 0 to 20 years of age”, featuring a programme led by top scientists.

Following this day of discussion, the coordinators of the SILMO ACADEMY awarded a grant of 10,000 euros to Jan SKERSWETAT, from Departement of Vision and Hearing Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

This grant encourages and acknowledges research in the field of vision. It offers an opportunity for researchers to publish their work and gain exposure.

SILMO Paris is also a trade fair that fosters expertise with the MOF (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France)

DISCOVERY WORKSHOPS, a creative space where visitors had the opportunity to design a customised watch, hand-craft an original pair of glasses, handle material, and install or repair the hinges of acetate frames, including restoring, bevelling, etc.

This vision of the present reflected the original exhibition on the theme “TWO CENTURIES OF EYEWEAR HISTORY”.
For the event, the museums of Oyonnax and Morez joined forces to provide a new perspective of the long history of these French industrial valleys specialising in the eyewear industry.

The trade fair is a not-to-be-missed annual event: a stimulating incubator that extends to every part of the world with SILMO FAMILY, local versions of the event addressing specific markets: Silmo Istanbul, Silmo Bangkok and Silmo Sydney.

Encounters and business continue beyond these trade fairs on the digital application SILMO MATCH, an interactive platform where you may consult the exhibitors’ products all year round, 24 hours a day. A symbolic way of keeping in contact and making the most of this extensive trade fair.

SILMO PARIS 2019, THE EVENT: we look forward to seeing you next year, 27-30 September 2019.

Voting opens in the AOP Awards 2019

October 2018

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is inviting patients and practitioners to support excellence in the optical profession by casting their vote in the AOP Awards 2019.

Following shortlisting by a panel of industry experts, 11 AOP Award categories are now open to public vote including two new accolades, Locum of the Year and Audiology Practice of the Year. A further two categories, Frame of the Year and Product of the Year, will be chosen exclusively by the Association’s members, with voting opening on 1 November.

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman described the AOP Awards as a welcome opportunity to celebrate achievement in optics: “All our finalists have demonstrated exceptional passion and professionalism to get this far. We are delighted that in 2019 the Awards will also recognise the essential contributions of locum optometrists, and the unique role of optical practices incorporating hearing care. With finalists representing areas across optics, I hope the profession will join me in showing their support and casting their vote.”

Commenting on the 2019 finalists, head judge, Dr Ian Beasley said: “The quality of entries was extremely high, the finalists not only demonstrate commitment and hard work but real innovation. Working in optics, I know the level of dedication in providing excellence in patient care there is in the sector – so it’s fantastic to be able to recognise that in the AOP Awards.”

The AOP Awards 2019 are supported by headline sponsor CooperVision. The ceremony will take place at leading trade and education event, 100% Optical, with finalists, sponsors and guests enjoying a night of entertainment as the winners are announced.

Commenting on the Awards being held at 100% Optical for a third year, Ms Alderman said: “The AOP Awards highlight those leading the way in optics. It therefore feels right that the Awards are hosted at 100% Optical – which showcases the latest insights, technologies and trends in the optical profession.”

Voting is open until 5pm on Wednesday 12 December and will be facilitated by online voting specialist Mi-Voice. A voting link for the members’ choice Awards will be emailed directly to AOP members on Thursday 1 November. More information on all finalists and the voting process is available at

The Lifetime Achievement Award is selected by the AOP Chair of the Board, Michael George, and AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman.

IOA announces winner of Silmo IOA International Optician of the Year.

October 2018

This innovative new award at the Silmo d’OR Ceremony for the International Optician of the Year recognises the importance of the optician in the optical business and their role in the choice of the optimum products for their clientele.

The International Opticians Association (IOA), an international body dedicated to the enhancement and development of the profession worldwide, is working in a strategic partner with Silmo in the development of the profession worldwide.

The first winner of the award is Robert Grimard, o.d.d. A graduate of the École des opticiens d'ordonnances du Québec, Robert opened his first optical clinic in Montreal in 1980. Since then he has developed a professional and independent network of high-end optical clinics.

Robert says, “It is with great pride that I accept this honor. I would like to share it with all members of my profession and especially the Grimard Optique team. In an industry that continues to evolve I welcome the growing importance of our role as an optician. I once again thank the International Opticians Association for this recognition.”

President of the IOA Fiona Anderson says, “The optician is at the heart of the optical business. The majority of the turnover of an optical practice comes as a result of the expertise of the optician and their interaction with the client. The client’s perception of their visit is almost entirely based on their interaction with the optician and the great vision they receive with their new spectacles. The winner of this award, Robert
Grimard, demonstrates the professionalism, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that are at the heart of this award and the profession. Has been President of his company for nearly 40 years, and is well known in Montreal, with many media engagements due to his success and professionalism."

" Robert has not only been satisfied with being an entrepreneur and expanding his group of high end optical practices, but also by engaging with other professionals and giving something back to the profession. He has been an Executive Committee Member of the Opticians Association of Canada since 1992. Since 2015 he has also been the Chairman of the Opticians Council of Canada. The OCC is an Opticians organisation with representatives from all Canadian provincial regulatory bodies, associations and teaching institutions as participating delegates. He has been a supporter of the IOA and is passionate about promoting the skills of our profession and encouraging the best vision care for consumers around the world.”
2019 Award

Nominations will open for the 2019 award on 1 March 2019. As well as being able to demonstrate that they are a qualified dispensing optician in the country where they practice, the winner of this award will display the following attributes:-

• Professionalism – the client is at the heart of their business and receives excellent care
• Excellent communication skills – both personally and via social media
• Entrepreneurial spirit – with solid business acumen highlighted through the success of their enterprise
• Innovation – within their business model / product offer / shop design
• Specialisation – with a reputation in a specific branch of optics
• Creativity – both in the products they offer and the way they practice
• Engagement – with the profession, the community, charitable endeavours, industry
• Advocacy - championing the profession of dispensing

Members of the IOA as well as industry partners will be able to nominate opticians worldwide. These people will be contacted and asked to fill in a dossier. The dossiers will be scrutinised by a jury made up of a number of hand-picked industry experts.

A shortlist of up to four people will be established and the winner will be announced during the Silmo d’Or ceremony in Paris France. As well as the prestigious award, the winner will also win a trip for 2 to Silmo 2020

Register now for your chosen CET lecture subjects at 100% Optical for next January.

October 2018

100% CET Bookongs

Places always go fast so don't be dissapointed.

With over 100 CET points on offer 100% Optical delivers a comprehensive and world-leading educational programme produced in partnership with the Association of Optometrists (AOP). There are keynote lectures each day from International experts across 8 hubs within the show.

Places are limited so please register for the show to gain access to the seminar programme today.

Go to the 100% Pages on Opchat News and register today,

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