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Opchat Magazine Exhibition and Training pagesExhibition and Education News, January to March 2019



Opchat News opens Optrafair Exchange 2019 Preview Pages
All your CET needs under one roof in Birmingham. Mrch 30th -April 1st.
Heidelberg Engineering wins “best exhibition stand” at 100% Optical
Here's a look at the eyewear fashion set for Optrafair Exchange
New at Optrafair 2019 just a few of the enticing promises from the Organisers
As the dust settles on London’s Excel event Opchat musters all its efforts for the spectacular arrival of Optrafair Exchange at the NEC
100% Optical kicks off 2019 with a look to the future
Registration opens for 2019 BCLA Conference
INVU - What goes around comes around.
Evolving profession celebrated at the AOP Awards 2019
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.
Read the last quarters exhibition and education news (Oct-Dec 2018)

Opchat News opens Optrafair Exchange 2019 Preview Pages

February 2019

Waterside Labs 3DNA

As we open today our preview pages to showcase exciting stories that will be told at Optrafair Exchange, Waterside Labs become the first to encourage us to attend their stand. An opportunity to find out about 3D face scanning for unique frames will be available on stand J112.

A free entry on the page is available to all exhibitors at Optrafair Exchange as part of the Co-Media package struck with the MA Group and the FMO.

Take a look at the page and Waterside Labs 3d Face Scanning Here.

All your CET needs under one roof in Birmingham. Mrch 30th -April 1st.

February 2019

The entire optical profession will soon unite under one roof at Optrafair Exchange for three days of inspiration and opportunity to source the very latest products across the sector. Browse an exhibition hall filled with some of the leading companies in the industry, some of which have not attended any other UK event.

The education programme at Optrafair will focus on providing multiple, invaluable educational opportunities for every visitor.

Not registered? Click here.

Education will be available across several CET theatres at Optrafair, covering a diverse programme of six distinct streams; Dispensing, Contact Lenses, Refractive, Health & Lifestyle, Clinical Optometry and Business. Additionally, the show floor will host the ABDO Theatre, and on-stand CET will be available with interactive, partner-led workshops.

Lecture theatre sessions include;

• ReDo and reDon't: Advice on reducing remakes
Kieran McGrath, dispensing optician, Specsavers Hanley

• Diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy - imaging developments
Vasilios Papastefanou, consultant ophthalmologist, Vasilios Papastefanou Ltd

• How to take the venom from the vicious circle in Dry Eye Disease
Colin Parsloe, ophthalmologist, Milton Keynes University Hospital

• Issues and solutions for visual field tests in glaucoma
David Henson, emeritus professor and clinical advisor, University of Manchester/Elektron Eye Technology

• How should a modern optometrist practice
Kirit Patel, optometrist, Radlett Opticians

To view the programme in full - click here.

Sessions will run throughout all three days of the show, allowing attendees to hear the latest industry insight, with sessions packed with discussion and debate from some of the most well-known and authoritative experts in their field.

Conference sessions will provide inspiration and a fresh outlook on how to improve individual business performance with brand new ideas, all whilst gaining a host of CET points.

Register now to be at the forefront of optical thinking and practice.

Once again your Opchat News has been chosen as co-media partners by the FMO and MA Group and we look forward to seeing you at the show.

Heidelberg Engineering wins “best exhibition stand” at 100% Optical

January 2019

Heidelberg Engineering had a successful 100% Optical 2019 with the award of “best exhibition stand” in the equipment section.

Heidelberg stand“The exhibition stand was designed to show the versatility of the SPECTRALIS imaging platform with themed rooms representing the device being used in the hospital, high street and even outer space setting, which is a nod to the SPECTRALIS that is located on the International Space Station”, explains Emily Malbon, Marketing Manager, Heidelberg Engineering.

“The stand also showcased our ‘Love Your OCT Guarantee’, which is a scheme that allows optometrists to hand their SPECTRALIS back to us after 18 months if they are not completely satisfied. The Love Your OCT Guarantee reflects how confident we are that our customers will love their OCT and gives them peace of mind about their purchase”.

Visitors of the show also enjoyed the Heidelberg Engineering Academy educational programme, which was fully booked. Dr. Andrew Tatham, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, presented a lecture on using OCT to manage glaucoma patients.

Many attendees went on to purchase a Glaucoma Imaging Atlas textbook, which is a new comprehensive diagnostic guide for glaucoma assessment and management featuring 29 contributors from 5 countries and 30 detailed patient case studies.

There was standing room only at the OCT LIVE retinal disease workshop, presented by Tim Cole, Clinical Market Development Manager, Heidelberg Engineering, where a real patient was scanned live in HD using the SPECTRALIS. “The OCT LIVE format is fascinating and always draws a crowd”, says Tim. “We are able to demonstrate OCT image acquisition on the projector screen and showed how to identify and evaluate the patients’ diabetic retinopathy”.

Discover more Heidelberg Engineering Academy events at

Heidelberg Engineering support the publication of your Free Opchat News and its fortnightly update. (Register now) PHN's Diary pages contain their extensive OCT training events.

See HE's pages here

Here's a look at the eyewear fashion set for Optrafair Exchange

Optrafair exhange

Eyewear from Optrafair

Where frames and fashion collide

New at Optrafair 2019 just a few of the enticing promises from the Organisers

Janaury 2019

New for 2019, the Eyewear Boutique celebrates emerging and stylish designers displaying their latest collections in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. Located alongside the Spectrum Catwalk, this new feature allows you to sample the freshest trends in eyewear and get hands-on with the frames.


A new feature for 2019, the Peer Review Zone is a purpose-built peer review facility on the show floor. Put together in partnership with the FMO, BCLA, College of Optometrists and other supporters, this area will offer a diverse range of interactive, hands-on sessions each carrying three CET points.

Back by popular demand:


Introduced at Optrafair 2018 to great acclaim, the Spectrum Catwalk adds a vibrant, beating heart to the show. Throughout the three days of the show, professionally choreographed catwalk shows will showcase the latest trends and frames from a selection of the hottest brands on the show floor.


An entire community of practitioners, suppliers and educators have chosen Optrafair to network with eye care professionals, to expand their knowledge and discuss ground breaking new products and services to grow their businesses. Centrally located at the heart of the show, the Networking Bar will be the perfect place to relax and meet friends old and new.

As well as the exciting features above, Optrafair 2019 also provides you with the chance to earn an unrivalled amount of CET points by taking part in the comprehensive range of lectures, seminars and presentations on offer. We have also redesigned the timetable of education at the show to allow you to explore the vast exhibition floor showcasing optic’s leading organisations and brands.

As the dust settles on London’s Excel event Opchat musters all its efforts for the spectacular arrival of Optrafair Exchange at the NEC

January 2019

Optrafair exhangeFor the 4th year running PHN’s Opchat News has been given a co-media partnership with the MA Group who are assisting the FMO in putting on Optrafair Exchange. The 3-day event dates from March 30th to April 1st this year.

We have already been working hard in the background in social media and online with Opchat News so we are well prepared to raise the volume once again on behalf of the FMO supporters for this year’s event.” Said Hutchinson CEO of PHN and chief editor of Opchat News. “Having supported international shows like SILMO in the past as well as the UK shows we have a tried and proved formula to raise knowledge of what will be on show at the NEC in March.”

The organisers have let us have a sneak preview of the show’s highlights and new ideas as well as the proven success of an updated catwalk first seen in 2018.

FMO chairman, Andy Yorke said
 “Optics is changing. Innovation and adaptability are now more important than ever for optical professionals to future proof their practice. The modern optician needs to diversify and invest, push the boundaries and explore new opportunities. As primary care providers, Opticians are perfectly placed to seize the opportunity that is everywhere.” 

Opchat news has provided a main Optrafair page which will be regularly updated and where you can register direct and free from the page. Click here.

February 1st is the start of the Optrafair preview pages on the site so PR and Marketing managers... tell us what exciting products, services and promotions you are planning. (send to, words and images)
The preview page format can be seen here awaiting your news as well as an opportunity for “signed up” exhibitors to use our reduced-price e-blasts to over 4000 opticians in the lead up.

100% Optical kicks off 2019 with a look to the future

January 2019

100% Optical started off the new year in style this month, with 9115 visitors attending the education and trade event from the 12-14 January.

As 100% Optical’s Official Partner, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) helped facilitate over 100 hours of CET, delivered through lectures, workshops and seminars. Many of the sessions aimed to prepare practitioners for the future, with subjects such as shared care services, the role of audiology in practice and the impact of e-referals proving popular. More than 200 exhibitors also provided the chance to see the latest trends and technology, with 100 exclusive product launches taking place over the three-day event.

The AOP’s Head of Education, Dr Ian Beasley, commented: “100% Optical aims to support delegates in building their knowledge, understanding and skills, whatever their goals. Often as practitioners our long-term development needs, and those of our businesses, can be side-lined by everyday practicalities. It has therefore been fantastic to see optical colleagues from across the sector engaging with our education, challenging current ideas and embracing new technologies over the last three days.”

Optometrist Talia Chernick, who attended a peer discussion at the event, said she had been impressed with the quality of the education, commenting: “Brilliant. Challenging, great issues raised and real life-cases – very helpful.”

Organised by Media10, the event has gone from strength to strength since its inception six years ago, and last week the AOP confirmed that it would continue its current partnership for another three years, with an agreement in place until 2022. The AOP confirmed its journal, Optometry Today, will continue as 100% Optical’s Official Media Partner.

Plans for next year’s 100% Optical are already underway with the event taking place from 25-27 January 2020.

Registration opens for 2019 BCLA Conference

January 2019

BCLA 2019 Registration is now open for the 2019 BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition, with delegates urged to book up now to secure their place at the best possible price.

The flagship event is returning to Manchester, with the city set to play host to one of the profession’s most eagerly anticipated international conferences – featuring a new hashtag for 2019 of #AlwaysLearning.

The three-day Clinical Conference and Exhibition, due to take place from May 30 to June 1, is undergoing a change in format to culminate in the grand finale of the Awards dinner on the Saturday night.

BCLA chief executive Cheryl Donnelly said: “It promises to be a weekend to remember, featuring a host of passionate speakers who can inspire eye care professionals to make a real difference to patients’ lives and ensure we are ‘always learning’.

“This meeting will deliver the latest innovation and clinical insight, with world class speakers on all areas of contact lenses and ocular surface health presenting lectures, holding live podium demonstrations and staging a number of practical hands-on workshops showcasing the very latest techniques.”

The event will also include the only dedicated exhibition to feature innovation and up-to-the-minute technology from the world’s leading contact lens and ocular surface management manufacturers and suppliers.

Among the highlights of an action-packed programme will be keynote speakers Professor Lyndon Jones from the University of Waterloo in Canada, who is the 2019 Medal recipient, and Dr Nicole Carnt, who will present the Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture.

Eye care professionals interested in attending the event can take advantage of a limited ‘Early Bird’ offer valid for all those booking before March 31.
Alcon and CooperVision are Partner Sponsors for the event while Johnson & Johnson Visioncare are Platinum Sponsors. Gold Sponsor is Menicon, Technology Sponsor is Topcon.

INVU - What goes around comes around.

January 2019

INVU releases
Round eyewear has always been an iconic style. After a strong showing with the 70’s flower child and the 90’s generation, the round sunglass style is enjoying a huge comeback in spring 2019. INVU was a very popular stand at 100% last weekend showing its latest releases.

Now its on to Opti Munich with these new styles.

INVU releasesINVU has taken round eyewear to the next level. The beautiful mid-size feminine frames in luxury gold and silver are embellished with demi brown and azurro overlays.
Matching gradient or mirrored lenses complete these must have fashion sunglasses.

All INVU sunglasses are designed and engineered in Switzerland and are equipped with Swiss Eyewear Group’s proprietary ultra polarized lenses.

Retailed at around £59, INVU’s reinvented iconic retro style offers unmatched value for consumers around the globe.

BIGGER, BOLDER, BRIGHTER 100% OPTICAL in 2019 breaks records

January 2019

100% Optical catwalkThe UK’s largest optical show, 100% Optical took visitors on a colourful and eye-opening journey of discovery at London ExCeL from 12-14th January.

The “one stop show” attracted visitors far and wide and boasted an impressive 200 plus exhibitors with a comprehensive range of stands in each section, debuting 500 eyewear brands, 100 exclusive product launches and showcasing its strongest equipment area to date with tons of kit for visitors to demo.

100% Optical’s famous catwalk was presented by avid eyewear fan and radio presenter Annaliese Dayes, and wowed optical fashionistas with the latest trends and styles for 2019, showcasing more than 60 frames in a variety of colours, styles and materials.

Event Director, Nathan Garnett said, “It truly has been a bigger, bolder and brighter show this year with catwalk flash mobs wowing the crowds, kids modelling junior frames and spectacled mirrored dancers.

“We welcomed 9,115 visitors through the doors over the three days and it was evident walking around the show that exhibitors had pulled out all the stops to provide a positive vibe and eye opening visitor experience with lively stands, entertainment and happy hours. This resulted in serious business being done at the show.

100% Optical crowds“So far our exhibitor rebooking numbers are up with over 50 per cent of exhibitors already signed for 2020.”

The independent eyewear designers including Kristian Olsen, Francis Klein, Anne et Valentin, Naked Runner, Bird Eyewear and Otis had the perfect platform to showcase their latest eyewear to thousands of visitors.

Nathan Omodei, CEO of Otis who makes mineral glass eyewear, said the show was an amazing success and the perfect platform to launch his company into the UK. He has traded in Australia for 18 years, and in the USA for eight, and he’d taken the advice of his exclusive distributor Bondeye to make this his launch

exhibition. “The timing is great to reach UK buyers. I’ve been to other trade shows but this is a great show with a great catwalk to launch our environmentally friendly eyewear.”

De Rigo launched its first ever Mulberry eyewear collection, while Topcon made its debut appearance at the exhibition launching a new image management software and a new tele-Optometry portal, with UK sales director Graham Trevor thrilled to beat their sales targets at the show.

Dunelm Optical, who has already rebooked for 100% Optical 2020, celebrated its 50th anniversary with biggest stand at the show, using it as a platform to launch its first eyewear collection by Freya and showcasing its vast range of frames and state-of-the-art lens laboratory, a hidden gem in its promotion to the sector..Read More

The equipment hub was the largest yet with 20 plus suppliers including the likes of Diopsys, Optos, Zeiss, Luneau Technology, Cerium Visual Technologies, EasyScan, Heidelberg Engineering, Essilor and Mainline Instruments. Grafton Optical demonstrated its newest piece of dry eye equipment, the IDRA Integrated Ocular Surface Analysis System. Further new innovation was demonstrated on the BiB stand with the MP-eye measuring macular pigment to provide a warning side of increased likelihood of AMD onset.

The successful soft launch of Eyewear week set the foundation to help save the high street and raise the profile of the most important fashion accessory there is, with the industry getting behind #eyewearweek selfies and offering positive support to grow the initiative in 2020.

Meanwhile, the world-class education programme which is designed and delivered by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) offered the biggest number of speaker sessions to date and the broadest range of content to appeal to the entire practice team.

Its head of education Dr Ian Beasley said: “Building on previous years, the programme successfully delivered education for all.

“A mix of thought-provoking CET sessions covering an array of topics from OCT, myopia and the future of the profession, were complemented by practice team CPD sessions around eyewear styles, dry eye and communication skills alongside hands on workshops.”

A popular conference theme was the future of optics and a packed dispensing workshop chaired by former ABDO president Fiona Anderson explored the public threats and opportunities posed by “man and machine”.

Dispensing opticians must be the custodians of new technology and use it to improve public health, said Anderson. They could leverage artificial intelligence to boost resources for an ageing population when there was a shortage of health professionals, detecting conditions with early diagnosis technologies and offering early intervention.

Anderson said delegates needed to consider how these advances in optical technology could impact their practice and the patient-optical practitioner relationship and think how to integrate them.

Brand new for 2019, the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) supported the AOP in delivering CET for audiology for the first time and looking at the synergies between audiology and the optical sector.

Adding value was the message in a fully-booked session on “Integrating Hearing Services into Practice”. Hearing Care Partnership founder Ryan Leighton, explored all of the options to best introduce hearing care services.

This year, 100% Optical pledged its support for the charity partner, SeeAbility and hosted the most attended Rockaoke party to date.

Head of Eye Health at SeeAbility, Lisa Donaldson said: “100% Optical has been a fantastic opportunity to highlight the eye care needs of people with learning disabilities. We have been able to share the work SeeAbility has been doing with professional bodies and NHS England to ensure all children who attend special schools can access regular eye care and spectacles.”

On Sunday, 13 January, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomed practitioners from across the optical sector at its annual awards ceremony.

The Royal College of Art Design competition also celebrated optical talent and achievement with six finalists on display at the show. Annie Foo came first in the design competition with ‘Party on Face’, using music and fashion as expression and making glasses light up and flash in time to music.

100% Optical is back from 25-27 January 2020. Event director, Nathan Garnett offers a sneak preview into what’s in store; “We are delighted to announce that our successful partnership with The Association of Optometrists (AOP) on 100% Optical will continue until at least 2022. ABDO has also confirmed its role in the 2020 event with discussions likely to increase their involvement.

“We now look forward to making 2020 the event that brings the whole optical industry together for a massive celebration of this wonderful sector. We have a string of announcements coming in the next few months so watch this space….”

Evolving profession celebrated at the AOP Awards 2019

January 2019

On Sunday, 13 January, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomed practitioners from across the optical sector at its eighth annual awards ceremony.

The 2019 AOP Awards, which were sponsored by CooperVision, reflect an evolving profession, with the contributions of locums and optical practices providing hearing care recognised in dedicated categories for the first time.

Kris Cottier, who took home the Locum of the Year Award, said: “This award is the pinnacle of a twenty-year career in optometry.” Adding that he hoped the award would shine a light on the positive role of locum optometrists more widely: “This award recognises the significant proportion of working optometrists who provide freelance and locum optometry and highlights the dependence many practices have on their locum staff.”

In total, there were 14 categories covering the breadth of optics. AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman commented: “Those working in the profession will know there is an incredible amount of dedication and passion in every area of optics, so it is fantastic to be able to recognise that in the AOP Awards.”

Ms Alderman added: “From established practitioners or educators, to those practices and individuals just starting out, it has been immensely enjoyable finding out about their achievements and stories. I hope the profession will join me in congratulating them and wishing them every success in the future.”

Other winners included Martin Smith, of Martin Smith Opticians in Lincoln, who was awarded Optometrist of the Year, and Professor Dave Edgar who was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Commenting on being selected, Professor Edgar said: “It is a fantastic honour, I was amazed to be chosen.”

The event was held at ExCel London as part of trade and education event 100% Optical. The awards ceremony was hosted by comedian Jo Caulfield, with nominees, guests and winners enjoying a drinks reception, gala dinner and live entertainment.

In 11 categories nominees were shortlisted by a panel of expert judges before being put forward to a public vote, while in two categories, Frame of the Year and Product of the Year, winners were chosen exclusively by AOP members. As in previous years, the Lifetime Achievement Award was selected by Ms Alderman and AOP Chairman, Mike George.

A full list of winners can be found here

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

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