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Opchat Magazine Exhibition and Training pagesExhibition and Education News, July to September 2019


Voting opens for AOP Awards 2020
SILMO 2019 up on last years attendees
Vision UK and RSM Forward View Vision Conference attendees pass 150 and still booking.
IOA announces SILMO International Optician of the Year.
Next weekends big conference are you going?
Florida meeting is key to IACLE’s high profile in its 40th year
Optometrist Apprenticeships move a step nearer
PHN’s Opchat News and Media Services for the 7th consecutive year is chosen as the Optrafair 20/20 media partner
Optometry Today and AOP launch Optometry student guide
Want to be a Guiding Star for people with sight loss?
Optometry and Vision Care awards at RSM, just a month to go.
Vision UK and RSM GP with Primary Healthcare announce new awards to be presented at October Conference
Varilux reaches its Diamond Anniversary this year and we look back on its progressive travel in development over 60 years
Coming Out Blind, another Clinical Briefing allowing better understanding of sight loss
Changes to WCSM Optical Support Qualifications,
Just this week left to apply for popular courses at ABDO College
Christophe Pillet, announced as Chairman of the Jury for the SILMO D’OR 2019 awards
London's 2019 largest Vision Conference to be held at RSM October 9th
Archived News from April to June 2019 on Exhibitions and Education

Voting opens for AOP Awards 2020

October 2019

Call for patients and practitioners to cast their vote now

Patients and practitioners are invited to celebrate the achievements of their local optometrist, dispensing optician or optical practice by casting their vote in the Association of Optometrists (AOP) Awards 2020.

The AOP Awards, sponsored by CooperVision, celebrate individuals, teams and organisations across optics.

Following shortlisting by a panel of industry experts, 12 award categories are now open to a public vote including the new accolade, Hospital Optometry Team 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.

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman described the importance of celebrating the profession: “Many of our members will view providing high-quality eye care simply as the norm but the AOP Awards is great way to show that optometry, even the day-to-day, incorporates exceptional performance and tremendous passion. We are delighted to provide an opportunity to recognise these individuals and teams who provide a vital healthcare service. Please join me in showing them your appreciation by casting your vote in the AOP Awards 2020.”

Commenting on the finalists, head judge, Dr Ian Beasley said: “To recognise this landmark year we chose a theme of ‘Excellence in optics”. The entries for this year’s Awards have certainly lived up to that – with such brilliant calibre, and a higher-volume of submissions than we’ve seen before. It’s been a pleasure to review them and see the fantastic work being done throughout the profession.”

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.

Voting is open until 5pm on Wednesday 18 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 1 October. More information on all finalists, the voting process and how to book your place is available at

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

SILMO 2019 up on last years attendees

October 2019

Once again this year, 970 exhibitors competed with each other in terms of boldness and creativity to make this edition a real success.

SILMO Paris welcomed 35 888 visitors (+2.5 /2018) 56% international and 44% French.

In the coming weeks we will publish a complete report of this year's show
While waiting for good rest, thank you again for your faithful support

SILMO will see you all in 2020 from 2 to 5 October for a FUTURISSILMO

Vision UK and RSM Forward View Vision Conference attendees pass 150 and still booking.

October 2019

With just over one week to go before the Vision Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street London, confirmed numbers are in excess of 150 and still rising

Its still not to late to book with CET points now confirmed for the event for optometrists in the workshop highlighted below.

The event Forward View, Vision and Eye Health on October 9th on the eve of World Sight Day (10th) and has gathered together some of the most highly respected and knowledgeable speakers from the Optical World.

The huge number of workshops allow you to choose the subjects that are pertinent to your work and career.

The speakers providing the lectures to the whole audience will attempt to emphasise how we can all come together to prevent vision loss and learn how to work together to make improvements in the sector.

You can book here and select the workshops you want to attend.

There is a special AHP inclusive day rate for optometrists at £70 which includes all catering and the early evenings optical awards event.

Here is an example of one of the many workshops and lectures of special interest to optometrists


Evidence and statistics

How we can best use evidence and statistics to reduce prevalence of sight loss and improve patient outcomes.

What are the issues and opportunities around presently available statistics and the way they are used?

Chaired by Dr David Parkins, Vice Chair, Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning and Dr Catey Bunce, Reader in Medical Statistics, King’s College London

2:20 pm The United Kingdom national eye health and hearing survey, why is a survey necessary, what difference can it make? - Professor Rupert Bourne, Professor of Ophthalmology, Anglia Ruskin University, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Cambridge University Hospitals

2:35 pm Using statistics as public health indicators, portfolio of indicators, system and assurance framework for eye-health (SAFE). Providing useful, usable information to commissioners - Parul Desai, Public Health and Ophthalmology Consultant, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

2:50 pm Statistics around children and young people, how they can be used to ensure support for children, young people, parents and carers - Sue Keil, Research Lead and Executive Committee member,
See the whole program here

IOA announces SILMO International Optician of the Year.

October 2019

The International Opticians Association (IOA), has announced the winner of the Silmo IOA International Optician of the Year Award. This innovative award, first given at the 2018 Silmo d’OR Ceremony, recognises the importance of the optician in the optical business and their role in the choice of optimum products for their clientele.

The winner, chosen from a competitive field, is Andrew Keirl, FBDO, of the United Kingdom.

Andrew started in optics in 1979 as a student dispensing optician with Dollond & Aitchison. In 1984, Andrew was appointed Training Officer for the Dollond & Aitchision Group, based at its Birmingham headquarters. During this period Andrew lectured to students taking examinations of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians in Singapore, Malaysia and Kenya.

In 1989, Andrew was asked to join the Anglia Higher Education College (now Anglia Ruskin University) in Cambridge to instigate and develop courses in Ophthalmic Dispensing, establishing a brand new department within the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Andrew then turned his attention to a full time programme for student Dispensing Opticians.

In 1995 he launched the very first Honours Degree programme for Dispensing Opticians, a BSc (Hons) in Optical Management. An undergraduate programme in optometry was also launched and during his last four years at Anglia Ruskin University Andrew joined the programme as a part-time student while retaining a full-time teaching and administrative role. At the conclusion of the Professional Qualifying Examinations

Andrew was awarded prizes for the highest mark in investigative techniques and the highest overall mark obtained for a Dispensing Optician. Andrew now runs his own independent optical practice.

Andrew’s practice is multi-disciplinary and offers clinics for stable glaucoma patients, post-operative clinics for patients following cataract surgery and a minor eye conditions service.

This year Andrew was presented with Life Membership of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, the highest honour awarded by the UK Professional Body for Dispensing Opticians.

Fiona Anderson IOA President and Chair of the selection committee said, “Andrew is a worthy recipient of this award. The wider world of Optics has benefited from his extensive contribution to our sector. Through his training, educational & academic writing he has enhanced our knowledge, skill & art in the world of Ophthalmic Dispensing. We owe Andrew a great debt of gratitude.”

The winner was announced on the 28 September 2019 at SILMO Paris. As well as the prestigious award, Andrew also wins a trip for 2 to Silmo 2020.

Next weekends big conference are you going?

October 2019

The AIO and BABO Conference in Bristol starts on 5th and 6th October and there are some great reasons to attend (aside from coming to our CET session)!!

• There will be a wide range of CET lectures/workshops and peer reviews for both Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians with over 30 points available over the two days (see the attached programme)

• There is a great opportunity to hear how Vision Therapy can help to differentiate your Practice

• There will be a unique opportunity to interact with representatives from the GOC, The College, AOP, ABDO, FODO, LOCSU and BCLA who are taking part in a Panel session using Slido technology

• The Conference is exceedingly good value at £75 for Saturday and £95 for Sunday (or £150 for both days)

• The Exhibition Hall will be packed with a whole range of great companies who are sponsoring the Conference and who are great supporters of Independent practice. Visit all the stands for a chance to win a weekend for two in Rome!!

• There is a great social programme which features a variety of outings as well as the Welcome Dinner on Friday night (4th October) and the Gala Dinner on Saturday night (5th October) in the wonderful Palm Court Room at the Royal Hotel

• The opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones in the usual relaxed and friendly atmosphere of an AIO Conference. Also Bristol is a great place to visit!!

• It is really easy to book – just visit HERE

Florida meeting is key to IACLE’s high profile in its 40th year

September 2019

Naroo and MorganThe International Association of Contact Lens Educators will be involved throughout the program at Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry (WCO). The meeting runs at the Orange County Convention Center, Florida, USA from 23-27 October.

IACLE will continue its 40th year celebrations with an interactive exhibition booth on the theme ‘Exceptional Education. Exponential Impact’, where visitors are invited to make their mark on a time wall of milestones in the Association’s history.

A 40th Anniversary Celebration will be held at the IACLE booth (booth 730) on Thursday 24 October from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm, during the Welcome Reception.

IACLE representatives will deliver nearly 20 presentations over the five days of the Academy/WCO meeting, as well as taking part in key events on the program. President Dr Shehzad Naroo will join the panels for three special symposia:

• WCO 3rd President’s Forum: Optometry’s Role in Addressing the Changing Face of Technology, Public Health and Clinical Care (Saturday, 8 am to 12 noon)
• Joint Public Health and Environmental Vision Section/WCO Symposium: International Optometry: Public Health, Education, and Personnel Issues (Saturday, 1 pm to 3pm)
• Joint Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, WCO, American Academy of Optometry: Global Summit on Optometric Education (Sunday, 8 am to 12 noon)

Vice President Professor Philip Morgan will present the prestigious Max Shapero Memorial Lecture during the Section on Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Technologies session (Wednesday 4 pm to 5 pm).

Board members and staff Dr Luigina Sorbara, Dr Etty Bitton, Dr Janice Jurkus and Lakshmi Shinde will join Shehzad and Philip in delivering lectures, workshops and posters. Lakshmi’s poster will describe IACLE’s Four Decades of Exceptional Education. Dr Renee Reeder, Dr Carol Lakkis, Dr Elise Kramer, Dr Manbir Nagra, Ian Davies and Dr Ithar Beshtawi will be among FIACLEs and members on the speaker program.

Deborah Sweeney
Dr Naroo commented: ‘We’re delighted to have such a strong presence at the first joint Academy/WCO meeting and look forward to seeing members and potential members from around the world at this unique event.

‘Following successful participation at the British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference in the UK, the Asia Pacific Optometry Congress in the Philippines and the FEDOPTO Congress in Colombia, this will be our final celebration before IACLE’s official birthday on 6 November.

‘IACLE meetings and celebrations will continue throughout our 40th year, including events in India and Korea before the year end. And we’ll have exciting plans to announce on new IACLE resources, programs and events, for 2020 and beyond.’

IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo (top left) and Vice President Professor Philip Morgan are pictured cutting a 40th Anniversary cake at the British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference in Manchester, UK in May.

Former President Professor Deborah Sweeney made her mark on the time wall at the IACLE booth during Asia Pacific Optometry Congress in Manila, Philippines in June.(Right)

Optometrist Apprenticeships move a step nearer

September 2019

Some of you will be aware, there is an Optometry Apprenticeships Trailblazer Group (TG) which has been developing a degree level apprenticeship standard for the role of optometrist.

The TG has now submitted plans to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education as the project progresses.

The government’s reforms of apprenticeships sets out requirements for forming a TG, learn more here, but unfortunately the Optometry TG was misreported by Optician Online as a Specsavers’ initiative overlooking the pan sector support and hard work many employers have put into this initiative.

Optician has amended the story to reflect the project’s pan-sector nature.

FODO’s David Hewlett said: “Large employers now pay a tax on their wage bill known as a levy which they must use to fund apprenticeships or lose it. The optometrist apprenticeship will help ensure the levy on large optical employers is used to train the workforce the sector needs and as a result the entire sector stands to benefit from this new investment.”

PHN’s Opchat News and Media Services for the 7th consecutive year is chosen as the Optrafair 20/20 media partner

September 2019

Optrafair 20/20
Since 2013 PHN has been chosen as Media Partners for Optrafair and so it is for next year’s 20/20 in April.

PHN has gained expertise in providing an information platform for exhibiting companies over the years for Optical Exhibitions both here and in Europe.

The 20/20 exhibition and conference has all the hallmarks of being the biggest and best yet, which is as it should be with a year date falling auspiciously as 20/20. Let’s make the most of it, it’s a long way to 2066!

“Whilst in the past we (PHN) have endeavoured to play an even-handed role to both UK shows, this year we decided to concentrate on the show which best replicates a UK market feel with exhibitors from the widest cross section of product types. More than ever with the current political and economic climate we need to back our home-grown industry and the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians.

20/20 once again promises to bring a showcase for all optical providers greater than seen at other shows just because they can with the backing of the FMO.
Revitalised and renewed since the backing of the MA Group the show has gained many new friends.

“We need to support home grown industries and that includes the FMO who assist companies to achieve success in the UK Optical Sector. This is why PHN has decided to put its full weight behind the one major show in 2020. We will be bringing back old favourites once again in our Optrafair Preview Pages: free space to all exhibitors to gain traction and the instant news updates of new signees as they occur.” Said Hutchinson. PHNs CEO.

“PHN will be involved in assisting the MA Group with ideas that will be followed through on its pages, updates and eblasts. We will however ensure that the contacts we will make with our readership will follow our own normal guidelines of Updates every 2 weeks. Don’t worry we won’t be pestering you with unwanted spam every other day! Our registered email list comes from our readership and not from bought in lists or previous show attendees”

Trust in PHN’s Opchat News to bring you the news you want to read when you want to read it.

Optometry Today and AOP launch Optometry student guide

September 2019

Insight and advice for students beginning their optometry journey

Optometry Today (OT) and the Association of Optometrists (AOP) will be launching a new Optometry student guide outlining the steps from university to qualification, at freshers’ fairs this September.

Bringing together helpful advice, resources, career options and tips to practise confidently, the guide is produced to help students make the most of university and outline opportunities following qualification.

Henrietta Alderman, AOP Chief Executive, said: “Our aim is always to support members, throughout their careers, in a way that is tailored to them. This guide is designed with that in mind – offering practical advice for students that helps make the journey to qualification as simple and enjoyable as possible.”

AOP Awards 2019 Student of the Year and AOP Student Councillor, Luke McRoy-Jones, said: "Optometry is a fantastic profession, offering so many opportunities to learn and develop. It’s great that the guide presents those options and how OT and the AOP can support you as a student.”

The Optometry student guide is being launched throughout the UK at AOP freshers’ fair talks, taking place from 16 September, where this year’s new intake of first year students will be given a free copy when they sign up for AOP membership. It will also be sent to all other student members in the October edition of Optometry Today.

CooperVision said they were proud to partner with the AOP and OT on the guide with Cooper Vision’s Professional Services Manager, Krupa Patel adding: “Supporting students in the early stages of their career is very important to us, after all, our professional services team have all been there. Optometry offers a varied career landscape and we’re keen to support you at every step of the way.”

AOP student membership is free and non-member students can join by completing the application form on the AOP website

Want to be a Guiding Star for people with sight loss?

September 2019

Guide Dog If you interact with people with visual impairments (VI) in your work or social life, here’s your chance to learn how to assist them more effectively.

Our fun and informative Visual Impairment Awareness Training workshop will increase your understanding of living with sight loss and enable you to confidently support and interact with people with VI.

You’ll learn to:

• Effectively support a person with a visual impairment
• Use appropriate language when interacting – yes, it’s fine to say “See you later!”
• Safely guide someone with sight loss
• Make your business systems and premises more accessible with reasonable adjustments as per the Equality Act 2010
• Understand how guide dogs work with their owners
• Appreciate the emotional impacts of sight loss
• Promote the importance of eye health

Our training is interactive and immersive and will help you to understand the issues and challenges of having a visual impairment. There will also be opportunities for you to ask people living with VI any questions you may have.

Date and Time: Tue, 29 October 2019 09:30 – 12:30 GMT

Location: Thomas Pocklington Trust, Tavistock House South (Entrance D), Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9LG

Bookings HERE

Optometry and Vision Care awards at RSM, just a month to go for submissions.

August 2019

On October 9th the first recipient/s will receive their certificate and award provide by past Chair of the GOC David Burt OBE.

Annual David Burt Award for Advances in Vision Care

Vision UK will present this annual award to either a nominated or self-nominated individual or team working within the vision, eye health and sight loss community who can demonstrate a project, in research or improved methodology and practice in assisting in the cause of reducing sight loss in the community, that has made a significant improvement in the sector.

There are other Vision UK awards that are also eligible for the optometric and vision care sector.

Take a look here and consider whether your work in practice, methodology, research or commissioning might be eligible.

You can self-nominate or nominate a colleague or their team.

Vision UK and RSM GP with Primary Healthcare announce new awards to be presented at October Conference

August 2019

Forward View

The Vision Conference, Forward View: Vision and Eye Health to be held on Oct 9th at the Royal Society of Medicine plans to award 6 awards to those involved in the Vision Sector during the evening ceremony following a day of exciting lecturers covering a broad spectrum of topics.

The multi-disciplinary day has been designed to attract Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, DO’s, Orthoptists and those with an interest in commissioning.

Many speakers (over 50) will be on panels or lecture on topics that concern all involved in vision care.

Here’s just a few:
Richard Wormald, Moorfields; President Mike Burdon, The RCOO; Carol Reece, NHS England; Paul Ursell, The RCOO; Lisa Donaldson, SeeAbility; Michael Bowen, The College of Optometrists; Jayshree Vasani, ABDO; Dr Waqaar Shah, RCGP; Mary Bairstow, Vision UK; Professor Anna Horwood, BIOS; Professor Bruce Evans, Institute of Optometry; Richard Whittington, LOCSU / England Vision Strategy; Raymond Curran, Health & Social Care Board Northern Ireland; Zoe Richmond, LOCSU England; Sali Davis, Optometry Wales; David Parkins, Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning; Professor Rupert Bourne, Anglia Ruskin University; Parul Desai, Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning; John Welsman, Guide Dogs; Harjit Sandhu, FODO; Bob Hutchinson, RSM GP with Primary Healthcare Section; David Cartwright, National Eye Health Week

And that’s just a taster of a day that you can select from multi streams to get the most out of your visit.

Its also a very great opportunity for the profession to show its strength and interest in eye care and to provide evidence that many individuals and team leaders warrant one of the awards to be presented on the day.

To Book now, Please be aware that you will need to register if you have not done so before on the RSM website before booking this event.

After registering please search events for 'forward view' to return to the event page and book. Otherwise please sign in here.

Forward View: Vision and Eye Health Awards

The awards given are as follows:

Vision UK is delighted to invite nominations for their four new thematic awards, the Astbury Award, named for former VISION 2020 UK Chair and inaugural recipient Nick Astbury as well as a new Award presented by David Burt OBE, past Chairman of the General Optical Council.

The 2019 Royal Society of Medicine GP with Primary Healthcare Section and Vision UK's Annual David Burt Award for Advances in Vision Care

The Award Shield is to be provided annually by David Burt OBE past Chairman of the General Optical Council, to be kept for one year by the awardee along with a certificate.

Nominations are invited from any individual or team involved in Vision Care and the Sight Loss Community.

The General Practice with Primary Health Care Section, of the Royal Society of Medicine present this annual award for Vision UK, to either a nominated or self-nominated individual or team working within the vision, eye health and sight loss community who can demonstrate a project, in research or improved methodology and practice in assisting in the cause of reducing sight loss in the community, that has made a significant improvement in the sector.

Vision UK Astbury Award 2019

Nominations are invited for the Astbury Award

The Astbury Award recognises excellence in collaboration within the eye health and sight loss sectors and can be an individual, organisation, or for a specific eye health or sight loss programme or piece of work. The awards can also be in recognition of a whole career in which fostering collaboration has been a significant theme.

Vision UK’s new thematic awards:

These will be awarded in recognition of work that is centred around Vision UK’s four strategic priorities:

Evidence and statistics Research,

Cures and treatments

Services, support and care

Public perception of sight loss

For more information on the assessment and background of these awards please click here
Deadline: Friday 20 September 2019

To request a nomination form and get further information about all the awards by clicking here and please submit all nominations via email to

Winners will be notified by the end of September and invited to attend the evening soiree of the Conference Day.

Varilux reaches its Diamond Anniversary this year and we look back on its progressive travel in development over 60 years.

August 2019

CelebratingVarilux 60 years

(Image above : Tim Precious MD Essilor Group )

Varilux celebrates 60 years and looks to the future in its constant adaption to our modern living with the help of Andy Hepworth.

Varilux has enriched the lives of millions of presbyopes around the world, becoming one of Essilor’s leading brands as it reaches it milestone 60th anniversary. Professional relations manager at Essilor Ltd Andy Hepworth, reflects on its success and its journey to a century.

Since launching six decades ago, Varilux has continually pushed the limits of technology and innovation. In sixty years, a total of 70 patents have been filed and more than eight generations of Varilux lenses have been patented.

The key foundation which ensured Varilux continued to lead the way was the LiveOptics approach, a design process that put the end wearer at the core of development. Researchers can collect behavioural and physiological data to ensure that varifocal features answer the wearers’ needs.

With Essilor, the brand has continued to shape the future of optics and has helped Essilor deliver its mission of “improving lives by improving sight” as it puts patients and practitioners at the heart of everything it does. It has been a revolution for presbyopes as it removes the need to constantly change glasses to see near or far and the need to wear bifocal lenses with a line.

Its success to date is down to sustained innovation and the simple solution it offers for optimum visual acuity. The associated design teams have ensured an excellent understanding of a modern wearer’s needs. This is well born out in what the latest generation Varilux X-Series delivers by reinventing near vision at arm’s length and allowing the wearer to adopt a more natural posture whilst observing targets from traditional hard copy to modern day digital devices.


Innovation of Varilux
After trying his father’s bifocals in 1950, Bernard Maitenaz considered the conceptual idea of a progressive lens. Several years of uphill struggle against optical professionals not believing it to be possible, in 1959 Varilux 1 was the first ‘Progressive Power Lens’ design to be launched.

Then Varilux 2 arrived in 1972 quickly establishing itself as the best way to correct presbyopia and by 1978 12,000 people were wearing Varilux lenses.

A key landmark in independent research was the International Presbyopia Symposium which Essilor sponsored, bringing together academic research from across the world, in particular the great work of Dr Irvin Borish of University of Houston.

It was this research that led to the launch of globally the most dispensed PPL design Varilux Comfort offering the wearer a more comfortable posture while reading.

Varilux Comfort was indeed the first design to understand the great importance of the lower part of the intermediate channel (85% Add) when a user was reading a hard copy document.

Fast forward to the present day and there is great similarity in the key features within Varilux X-Series which delivers onto the end wearer a design that allows them to see clearly within arm’s reach in order to accurately capture detail from a digital screen.

Varilux has led the way in more than just core design features but in personalisation too. The product has continued to advance through a series of technological innovations, setting the bar for visual comfort for presbyopes. To achieve the most natural vision possible an individual’s behaviour, the interactions of the eye, retina and brain have been gradually integrated to create a bespoke solution.

It’s amazing to think back over just the last 30 years about how very different the devices we use to read off today are and thereby how a presbyope holds a device and positions themselves whilst observing this target.

It is exactly this parameter which resulted in the product’s leading design, so moving forward 30 years it’s clear this background understanding of exactly what and how a current wearer is seeing is why Varilux has been able to lead the way in varifocal performance.

When crafting our lenses, we bring together human expertise and cutting-edge engineering. Our constant innovation concentrates a large workforce of scientists resulting in up to 30 patents in a single lens.


The lens has achieved so much, and will no doubt keep on delivering on its journey to a century. The next 60 years will involve some amazing improvements to lenses and people’s lives.

We’re sure the future Varilux generations will include new features within core design and the opportunity for practioners to personalise products to the end wearer ensuring best vision correction.

Looking around the corner into the final quarter of this year, a unique new way for an independent practitioner to yet further tailor Varilux X-series to end wearer will be revealed.

The technology that underpins this latest refinement is called AVA (Advanced Vision Accuracy). Directly linked to the most precise refraction the new Vison R-800 offers, put simply the new AVA lens ordering offers the ECP chance to prescribe premium lenses in 1/100D steps. With this purer detail Essilor will uniquely look to generate the lenses to these hundredth dioptres.

"I can but speculate as to where I believe future generations of Varilux will deliver to an end wearer. I do, however, know that the teams of people working behind the scenes know they must ensure it continues to set the standard for other designs to follow." said Andy Hepworth.

"Our research team has recognised that the life of a presbyope is ever changing. Today’s over-40s are far more demanding in terms of performance than their parents and don’t want to feel the first signs of age.

They truly enjoy life and engage in so many varied activities through sport, work, travel and reading that they demand a lens which supports this. Research show that a third of presbyopes are concerned by loss of visual acuity and future Varilux lenses will strive to address and answers these concerns to help improve lives by improving sight."

In the Varilux brand Essilor was a pioneer in marketing on behalf of practitioners direct to the public and some of you may well remember the advertisements placed in “The Lady” and “Country Life” in the 60’s. Still continuing that desire to drive customers to seek professional optical help Essilor continues to develop methods to encourage greater footfall to Independent Opticians in the UK.

Read first-hand about the desires of their new MD, Tim Precious in committing to UK Independents here.

Coming Out Blind

July 2019

HR Rainbow eye

Highlighting the importance of facing up to sight loss at work

Daniel Williams was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 8 and is now improving the lives of others living with sight loss through his business, Visualise Training and Consultancy

His latest Clinical Briefing helps those dealing with sight loss and our professions that must help those deal with future or prevalent sight loss understand and signpost to the best available help.

You will find it under our clinical briefing section here and this specefic paper here

Changes to WCSM Optical Support Qualifications

July 2014

Insight Optical Training At the end of March, this year, the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) announced their decision to withdraw its accredited qualifications for optical assistants.

As these qualifications were an important step for the unregulated support staff, Insight Optical Training will seek to maintain the full career ladder that has existed in optics, offering accredited courses at levels 2, 3 and 4 which give learners a nationally recognised qualification.

Exams for current WCSM awarded qualifications will continue and there will be a full sitting in December 2019, therefore existing learners are not affected. This also applies to learners in Scotland who are studying the SCQF Level 5 & 7 Certificates in Optical Care.

The world of optics is changing, and we are embracing these changes and aim to offer a range of different routes for optical support staff to gain qualifications that will help them to be effective employees and enable them to have a career in optics.

There is an unmet need for training from the Independent sector and Insight Optical Training remains committed to meeting this need.

Insight Optical Training offer a range of optical courses, as well as CET, one-day workshops and bespoke training for optical staff.

Just this week left to apply for popular courses at ABDO College

July 2019

Applications close on the 26th July for a number of the most popular courses at ABDO College, the only college in the UK dedicated to the teaching of the theoretical and practical aspects of ophthalmic dispensing and related specialist areas. Potential students should act now to develop their skills, improve their career prospects and learn while they earn.

• BSc Hons Degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing This course is for people who want to train and work as a Dispensing Optician, are interested in advancing their optical knowledge and want to achieve the ABDO Level 6 FBDO qualification and gain a degree at the same time.

• Fellowship Dispensing Diploma The diploma course is for people if you want to train and work as a Dispensing Optician, are interested in advancing their optical knowledge and want to achieve the ABDO Level 6 FBDO qualification.

• Contact Lens Certificate Becoming a contact lens optician is the next step for any qualified DO who loves the clinical side of their work and wants to continue to provide great eyecare for patients.

Applications also close on the 27th July for ABDO College’s popular Distance Learning Revision Courses. Students who are sitting exams in the Winter 2019/20 session are advised to apply to receive weekly online assignments over 6 or 12 weeks, plus support from a personal tutor who will mark work and give feedback. No College attendance is required.

For DOs with the FBDO qualification who want gain a profession-specific degree and acquire graduate skills that can be applied to the workplace, the BSc(Hons) in Vision Science course is also currently open for applications until 23rd August.

ABDO College’s new Optical Assistant Course is proving popular but there are still limited spaces available: designed for all support staff working in optics, from entry level to those with a desire to reinforce their skills and broaden the knowledge gained in practice, applications for this course must be submitted by 30th August.

To find out more about any of these courses and apply now for a September start visit

Christophe Pillet, announced as Chairman of the Jury for the SILMO D’OR 2019 awards

July 2019

A French designer and interior architect of international renown, Christophe PILLET is appreciated for his “clear expression, pursuit of simplicity and essential design.” After graduating from l'École nationale supérieure d'art of Nice in 1985, Christophe PILLET joined the Domus Academy in Milan to study with the greatest talents in the field. He received his degree there in 1986.

Christophe Pillett While living in the capital of Lombardy, for four years he collaborated with Michele De Lucchi, Carlotta de Bevilacqua and Martine Bedin. He then joined Philippe Starck in Paris, where he worked from 1989 to 1993. Following these diverse experiences, he founded his own agency in Paris in 1993.

“I am not seeking the extraordinary, but rather to reveal what is beautiful and moving in the ordinary,” he explains.

This true stylistic signature has earned him a number of prizes and awards, and brought him to work for a variety of clients in furniture and product design as well as the interior architecture of hotels, restaurants, office buildings and mansions..

His elegant, contemporary style is always a delight, whatever the project. Moreover, he never ceases to expand his territories of application. Nothing can stop this workaholic: he loves a good challenge and is buoyed by a natural curiosity of dealing with reality and adding his “French touch”, his understated, humanised aesthetic – never minimalist or cold – without compromising on an interest in innovation and technology.

Christophe PILLET does not promote the narcissistic flourishes of a designer seeking to impress. His approach is sensitive and restrained; he is always inclined to first consider the value of an object or place in terms of use before getting involved, never rushing into a project.

Which automatically makes him the ideal chairman for the SILMO d’OR jury. He accepted this challenge with enthusiastic interest, especially since he has already had some initial experiences in the world of eyewear: in 2008, he designed a sunglasses line for the 75th anniversary of Lacoste, and in 2017, Vuarnet requested his services for its sports and lifestyle collections.

His point of view promises to be fascinating and committed, like all the projects with which he has been involved...

Don't forget to book the date September 27th - 30th 2019

London's 2019 largest Vision Conference to be held at RSM October 9th

July 2019

HeidelbergGround Rounds Education

Royal Society of Medicine and Vision UK team up to provide one of the largest combined Annual Optical Conferences at Wimpole Street on October 9th

Forward View, Vision and Eye Health
October 9th, 2019 at the RSM, 1, Wimpole Street London

Forward View: Vision and Eye Health has been arranged by the RSM Primary Care section and Vision UK to provide large enough facilities to allow multi choice workshop selections for those from the Optical and Medical Vision sectors and from those involved in Vision and Sight Loss Charities as well as those involved in commissioning in the 4 countries and the CCGs.

This unique interactive learning is combined with keynote speakers throughout the day pulling the knowledge together in front of the combined 300 strong Audience.

The joint conference aims to provide an interactive platform for professionals and all allied health groups to learn, discuss and create positive strategies for the Vision Sector.

The National Conference will be themed around these four strategic aims.

• Evidence and statistics
• Research, cures and treatments
• Services, support and care
• Public perception of Sight Loss

The RSM, 1 Wimpole Street building is a significant beacon for Health Care in the UK and is providing considerable resources for this jointly run conference. This will allow for an expected 300 delegates from professional healthcare, NHS decision makers, primary care workers, vision care professionals, social workers and charity workers to select the specific workshops whilst regularly combining during the day as one.

With a single aim to learn, create and promote ideas in strategy to combat the problems the Vision Sector brings in the future.

The day will be followed by an evening soiree where Awards including the David Burt Vision Award and The Astbury Award will be made.

Many of the lectures and workshops will be of specific interest to individual optometrists, LOCs and Commissioning leads.

Optometrists will be charged the lower rate of £70 for the whole day including the evening soiree and catering.

Among the 60 speakers for the days event will be Richard Whittington for LOCSU, the Optometry leads from all 4 countries, David Parkin Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning, Prof. Rupert Bourne Anglia Ruskin, and Carol Reece Head of Dental and Optical Commissioning to name just a few.

We hope as many Optometrists will attend to demonstrate the profession's commitment to Vision Care and the fight against sight loss. (CET is being applied for)

This is also an opportunity to network with those who are managing the purse strings and balances the services they need to supply at Commissioning Level and the Department..

And vision and sight loss charities will be able to emphasize the importance of working across the whole spectrum through to and including social care.

The full agenda and registration is now available to view on the RSM website here (

If you are not an RSM member please choose the Non Member Allied Health Professional ticket price of £70.


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