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Opchat Magazine Exhibition and Training pagesExhibition and Education News, April to June 2020


Over 140 professionals across all Vision Care Professions joined a RSM Webinar this week
Ophthalmic Lens Availability, the optical lens bible, has moved online
Breaking News on CET Points for RSM Webinar to be broadcast Wednesday Lunch time (24th June)
ABDO Library reopens
ABDO goes online for assessments due to Pandemic as 3rd year Exam online fails
IACLE launches The TLC (Teach. Learn. Connect) Initiative
SILMO 202 Confirms dates as from October 2nd to 5th for 2020
RSM provides free webinar to vision sector on the effects on patients and the public on vision during the Covid Crisis.
University of Kent’s Applied Optics Group launches Marie Curie Doctoral School
Specsavers lockdown learning proves popular with practitioners
Ocuco Extends Online Learning Programme
AAO announcement of J & J Vision Awards (Contact Lenses)
Register for the webinar: Glaucoma in 2020
Lockdown learning: optometrists provide homeschooling pack and advice on protecting children’s eyes
Prof. John M. Nolan receives Heidelberg Engineering Xtreme Research Award 2020
Save the date! BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition will return to Manchester in 2021
College answers pre-reg students questions on this summer's supervision
ESSILOR’S Lockdown Training Drive
BABO to partner IHeartVT virtual Conference
New AOP webinar programme to support practitioners during coronavirus outbreak
New series of ABDO Management & Leadership Courses available during Lockdown
AAOpt and ASCO Establish Virtual Clinical Training Program to Keep Optometry Students on Graduation Track
Free 1 point CET Webinar available on April 16th at 2pm
MIDO 2020 Reset for February 2021
Haag-Streit offers training videos during our hours of Isolation
Insight Optical Training is relaunching their website as enrolment for the new level 2 qualifications starts by end of this week ( 3rd April)
Eyecare and sight loss sectors- It’s time to work better together to support the 250 people in the UK that start to loose their sight every day!!
Archived Exhibition and Education News from Janaury to March

Over 140 professionals across all Vision Care Professions joined a RSM Webinar this week

June 2020

The webinar entitled “Guiding patients and public with eyecare concerns during the Covid-19 Crisis” was provided free by the General Practice with Primary Healthcare section of the RSM, its largest section.

Bob Hutchinson Immediate Past President RSM and Opchat Editor
It was chaired by Bob Hutchinson, the Immediate Past President of the section who was joined by Dr Waqaar Shah, a practising GP. Mr Paul Ursell Consultant Ophthalmologist and Phil Ambler for the Thomas Pocklington Trust

The Chair explained the current availability of optometric practice, the CUES services and the need for care in PPE, hygiene and regular cleaning as well as pre assessment of patients and their family members. All of this will reduce the patient flow through practices and practitioners will need to prioritise patients ensuring that those in the greatest need are seen as soon as possible.

It became evident through later Q & A’s that there were still some CCGs who had not taken up the CUES system and some LOCs had found it impossible to bypass that barrier.

Waqaar Shah Waqaar Shah made the point about the lost months during lockdown.

“We have a lot of patients who have been referred for elective care having to wait for a much longer time as a result of the cessation of surgery,” general practitioner Dr Waqaar Shah informed us.

“These patients may have anxiety about their conditions, and they may even be in a situation where their sight is deteriorating,” he added.

The webinar chairman emphasised the importance of working together across professions to reduce the length of patient journeys and the importance of streamlining referrals. Dr Shah confirmed that he had considered seeing a patient with partial sight loss in one eye but then considered the visit would just add one further appointment and visit for the patient to make whereas directing them to an optical practice who saw them in 2 hours proved the efficacy of direct optometric referral.

Mr Paul Ursell
Mr Paul Ursell explained the dramatic changes that Covid had made to hospital practice saying, “During the lockdown I think most of us realised it was a little bit like the blitz. We had a war time mentality,” he observed.

Mr Ursell noted that the demands of COVID-19 allowed for faster decision making, with processes that might have previously taken five years in normal times enacted in five days.

“It has been an incredible experience. I don’t think any of us thought we would ever have to go through something like this, both professionally and socially. There have been horrors. But we have come out the other side and I think there will be procedural benefits in the system,” he emphasised.

Phil Ambler
It was then the turn of Phil Ambler Director, Evidence and Policy, Thomas Pocklington Trust who reminded the audience that people with vision impairments as well as those with learning difficulties needed much better information about how to access eyecare.

Children as well find PPE quite disturbing if surprised on arrival so it was important that when booking appointments, the full expected experience is provided to the patient, may be even pictures of those in PPE.

Whilst the College has suggested that patient examination time should be kept to a minimum was admirable for most it must be remembered that many patients with learning difficulties need more time and cannot be hurried.

There was a very interactive Q & A to follow which commented on the favourable changes that Covid had brought in working across professions with direct sending of results to eye clinics using modern digital comms such as Zoom and Opera. But comments were made that these improvements need proper funding.

The Chair, Bob Hutchinson, the Immediate Past President at the RSM praised how the spread of professional work from primary, secondary and social care had been compressed with much better communications. Once again “Necessity has proved the Mother of Invention”, he said.

This could be, if used properly, the impetus needed for change and hopefully Health Authorities and NHS Commissioners will recognise these improvements in service and work to bed them in place for the future.

Hutchinson reminded al those wishing to claim CET points to email with their Full Name and GOC number.

The RSM is considering follow up webinars during the Covid pandemic and encourages ECPs to consider joining the RSM as associate members allowing them to join the Primary Care Section where they will mix with a wide cross section of primary care professionals and be very welcome.

Ophthalmic Lens Availability, the optical lens bible, has moved online

June 2020

Ophthalmic Lens Availability (OLA) brings together data found in an extensive range of manufacturers’ catalogues in one handy location.

An ABDO team has been working over the last year to convert the annual print publication into a searchable online database of lenses.

The site contains an interactive search function enabling you to view lenses available from all of the contributing manufacturers in one place. And it can now be updated whenever data changes ensuring that you get the best lens data possible.

There are also sections for each manufacturer, bringing together an enormous number of useful resources. New sections include Specialist Lenses, Educational Information, Hidden Lens Engravings, Interactive Tools, Digital Dispensing and further reading in Optical Miscellany.

OLA Online is now available to all ABDO members as part of their membership, which means around 9000 dispensing opticians, student DOs and associate members will now have access to this exciting new development.

Companies can also use this channel to engage with dispensing opticians at the forefront of bringing new products and technology to optical practice.

Site editor Phil Gilbert has been the driving force behind the site and says, "We hope you enjoy the site and we can assure you the site will progress in content as time goes on."

ABDO head of communications Antonia Chitty says, “As members return to practice we hope that OLA Online will make life easier at a difficult time. Members who have been involved in testing and developing this addition to the ABDO website have been enormously enthusiastic about OLA, and it is great to be able to make this data widely available now.”

OLA Online is exclusively available to all members of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians. Membership of ABDO starts at £19 per month for associated professions, and comes with a wide range of benefits beyond OLA online.

Breaking News on CET Points for RSM Webinar to be broadcast Wednesday Lunch time (24th June)

June 2020

It has just been confirmed that 1 CET point is available for registering on the RSM site and joining the webinar titled:

Guiding patients and public with eyecare concerns during the Covid-19 Crisis

RSM Vision Webinar on Covid Crisis
This 45 minute webinar starting at 12 Noon on Wednesday this week will explain the current concerns that patients and the public have regarding eyecare and how to access help through primary health and eye are settings through to secondary and social care access. A broad list of topics will be covered by:

Bob Hutchinson Vision Journalist and Optometrist (Panel Chair & Immediate Past President)
Waqaar Shah, GP with special interest in ophthalmology
Paul Ursell, Consultant Ophthalmologist
Phil Ambler, Director, Evidence and Policy, Thomas Pocklington Trust

How to book

The webinar is free and available to non RSM members but you must create a free membership account to be able to book the webinar.

To create a free account click here

Once you have your account details you will then be able to book and register with your details here


The eCET event has been approved for 1 interactive eCET point for optometrists, independent prescribers and dispensing opticians; C-75954.

If you haven’t already please sign in tomorrow or early Wednesday and confirm your GOC number to the RSM with your full name as in the GOC register and your GOC number after attendance to RSM General Practice with Primary Health Care email

ABDO Library reopens

June 2020

The ABDO College bookshop is now open again for all orders of books and optical equipment.

The ABDO College bookshop is well known for its extensive selection of books relating to optics, contact lens practice, ophthalmology and more. Alongside this, it offers competitive prices on a range of optical equipment. It closed temporarily while staff were furloughed, but has now reopened to allow students from all institutions to purchase the titles they need as they prepare for their studies resuming in September.

You can place orders online using a secure online ordering process and the bookshop team aims to offer efficient, friendly and personal service.

ABDO College head of operations Steve Hertz says, “I’m really pleased to be able to get the bookshop service back up and running. As practice reopening starts to gain momentum we are here to help support colleagues in any way we can, be it extra or spare rulers and gauges to help with hygiene routines or the new reference books students will become well acquainted with over the coming academic year.”

ABDO goes online for assessments due to Pandemic as 3rd Year Exam System fails

June 2020

In order to progress students during the pandemic, the Association of British Dispensing Opticians has moved to online theoretical assessments.

While this new system worked well for the year 2 exams held on 16th June, sadly today the exams could not be delivered via this system for third year students at ABDO College.

Despite efforts to re-start and rectify the issues, at 11.30am it became apparent it was not going to be possible and the decision was made to cancel.

Alicia Thompson BSc(Hons) FBDO R (Hons) SLD SMC (Tech), Director of Professional Examinations says, “We wholeheartedly apologise for the upset and frustration caused by these technical issues. All students affected have been sent a communication. We will endeavour to have an alternative plan as soon as possible and this will be communicated within the next week.”

IACLE launches The TLC (Teach. Learn. Connect) Initiative

June 2020

TLC Inniative from IACLE

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) has today announced the launch of a new initiative to support educators, students and industry, and help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global contact lens education.

Teach. Learn. Connect is a new online education program and communications campaign beginning this month that will supplement IACLE’s existing educational activities as the recovery from the pandemic continues.

‘The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Contact Lens Education’ survey conducted in May 2020 among IACLE Educator Members worldwide reveals:

• 71% of their institutions are currently closed to students to attend in person
• 76% expect to provide more online lectures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
• 87% expect to use IACLE resources more in future and none expect to use them lessFull results of the survey, with respondents across 32 countries, will be published soon.

The TLC Initiative will include:

• A full program of live and recorded webinars on a global, regional and national basis to help educators and students adapt to new ways of teaching and learning.

• A half-day virtual conference in September to ‘Bring the focus back to contact lenses’. The conference will examine the way forward for education, practice and for the contact lens industry.

• Our new teaching online platform – IACLETOP – which will become IACLE’s central point to access all IACLE’s online resources and teaching materials. Fifteen webinars are already available on IACLETOP and new resources will be added, starting with an online Student Trial Exam and new tools for teaching and learning practical skills.

• Opportunities for industry to connect with educators and students worldwide.

• Communications providing new information to support all sectors during the pandemic recovery, including IACLE’s first social media campaign.
IACLE’s next series of global webinars will begin on 23 June with 'Exploring the move to online teaching, learning and assessment' led by Richard Beggs from Ulster University's Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice. This webinar will explore how educators can best teach online in a way that encourages student participation. Future webinars will include an opportunity for students to share their own experiences of learning online.

IACLE President Dr Shehzad Naroo commented: ‘IACLE already has a vast range of online resources and programs and is ideally placed to support our community of educators, students and industry with new methods of teaching, learning and connecting. The TLC Initiative will provide essential resources to help all of us to adapt to the rapidly changing situation, and continue to deliver world-class education to the practitioners of tomorrow.’

SILMO 202 Confirms dates as from October 2nd to 5th for 2020

June 2020

It is committed to the Protection and Enhancement of the Optical and Eyewear Industry

Amélie Morel, Chairman of SILMO Paris “Although the unprecedented period that we have been experiencing for several months has been causing upheavals in our personal and professional lives, SILMO Paris continues to work on a daily basis to protect and enhance the industry. The calendar of great events has been disrupted overall, but we are keeping a close eye on the encouraging evolution of the situation, and we are prepared for any possible scenario with one central objective: to protect the interests of our communities.

Resolutely positive and enthusiastic, our team is ‘all hands on deck’ to prepare the next edition of the trade fair, eagerly attended by the entire profession (700 companies have already confirmed their registration, for an exhibitor attendance rate of 80%). Since the lifting of lock-down has been unfolding smoothly throughout Europe, we are very optimistic, and are more determined than ever to propose a forward-looking 2020 edition rich in innovative content and friendly, inspiring encounters.”

RSM provides free webinar to vision sector on the effects on patients and the public on vision during the Covid Crisis

June 2020

Guiding patients and public with eyecare concerns during the Covid-19 Crisis

RSM Vision Webinar on Covid Crisis

This 45 minute webinar will explain the current concerns that patients and the public have regarding eyecare and how to access help through primary health and eye are settings through to secondary and social care access. A broad list of topics to be covered are:



What’s available in the community
What’s available in secondary care
The possible effects on those with vision problems for now and the future
Signposting by professionals and the Importance of getting help and how to obtain it
Continuing with eyedrops and medications and continued monitoring of chronic eye problems
What are the likely effects on the VI community


Webinar sign-in

Welcome and introduction
Bob Hutchinson, Immediate Past President, General Practice and Primary Care Section, Royal Society of Medicine, CEO of Primary Health Net Ltd and Editor of Opchat News and Mylocaloptician

Panel Discussion
Waqaar Shah, GP with special interest in ophthalmology
Bob Hutchinson Vision Journalist and Optometrist
Paul Ursell, Consultant Ophthalmologist
Phil Ambler, Director, Evidence and Policy, Thomas Pocklington Trust
Interactive question and answer session
All panel members
Closing remarks
Bob Hutchinson

How to book

RSM Webinar The webinar is free and available to non RSM members but you must create a free membership account to be able to book the webinar.

To create a free account click here

Once you have your account details you will then be able to book and register with your details here


A certificate of attendance and CPD certificate with CPD credit(s) will be issued to those joining the webinar live for GPs and Ophthalmologists. Certificates of attendance for CPD will be automatically issued after 7 days, but only where a delegate watches the webinar live in its entirety. 

Join in the conversation Online using #RSMLive 
Follow us on Twitter: @RoySocMed  


May 2020

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation announces the eleven recipients of the 2020 William C. Ezell Fellowships. The Ezell Fellowship program is named after the founding President of the AAOF,
William C. Ezell, OD.

It was established to provide recognition and support to talented post-doctoral students who are pursuing an advanced degree in optometric research and education. To date, over 430 William C. Ezell Fellowships have been awarded since the inception of the program in 1949. Funding for these Fellowships is provided by leading optometric companies, private endowments, and other generous business organizations that represent most sectors of the industry.

The AAOF congratulates the following recipients who have been selected as the 2020 - 2021 Ezell Fellows:

AAO Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Refractive Technologies (CCLRT) Ezell Fellowship
Erin Tomiyama, OD, MS, FAAO
University of Houston College of Optometry

American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Ezell Fellowship
Eugene Appenteng Osae, OD
University of Houston College of Optometry

Danne Ventura / Essilor Ezell Fellowship
Reynolds Kwame Ablordeppey, OD
State University of New York College of Optometry

Facebook Ezell Fellowship
Lyndsey Ferris, OD, FAAO
Indiana University School of Optometry

Irvin M. Borish / Essilor Ezell Fellowship
Young Hyun Kim
University of California Berkeley School of Optometry

John N. Schoen Ezell Fellowship
Justin Courson
University of Houston College of Optometry

Merton C. Flom Leadership Ezell Fellowship
Kelsy Steele, OD, MS, FAAO
The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Mike Daley / Essilor Ezell Fellowship
Kwaku Osei, OD, FAAO
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry

Michael G. Harris Ezell Fellowship
Afua Oteng Asare, OD, MPH, MSc
University of Toronto

Optometric Glaucoma Society (OGS) Ezell Fellowship
Billie Beckwith-Cohen, DVM, MBA, FAAO
University of California Berkeley School of Optometry

Rod Tahran / Essilor Ezell Fellowship
Rabia Mobeen, BOptom, MPhil
University of New South Wales

This year’s Ezell Fellows will be honored at the AAOF’s Annual Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, October 10, 2020 at Academy 2020 in Nashville, TN.

University of Kent’s Applied Optics Group launches Marie Curie Doctoral School

May 2020

The University of Kent’s Applied Optics Group is co-ordinating the launch of a doctoral school to deliver research and training in the design and build of the next generation of tunable lasers for optical coherence tomography (OCT). Ophthalmologists use OCT to take cross-section images of the retina to detect eye disease or abnormalities.

The Marie Curie Doctoral School has been funded by the Innovative Training Network (ITN). The ITN is a €4.3million doctoral school grant to support Kent and its 13 other NETLAS1 consortium partners to foster training and educate researchers, while developing 12 novel Photonics technologies for several distinct areas of medical imaging and non destructive testing. The launch of the programme is a response to the challenges faced in the field to provide faster, deeper, higher resolution imaging and to enable more versatile testing.

Nearly a quarter of the grant has been awarded directly to Kent, where the doctoral school will be coordinated by Professor Adrian Podoleanu, Dr George Dobre and Dr Ramona Cernat of the Applied Optics Group based in the School of Physical Sciences. The research group will directly train five PhDs and coordinate the training of all ITN 15 PhDs with support of its NETLAS partners in Europe, during 2020 - 2024.

All postdoctoral researchers will benefit from a structured and comprehensive learning experience, including lab training and research, theoretical teaching, transferable skill development and network building, in academic and industrial settings.

Professor Philippe de Wilde, Kent’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: ‘The Applied Optics Group is among the world-leading research groups in the Division of Natural Sciences whose research has applications in medicine and healthcare. The new doctoral school will train future leaders not only in research, but also in innovation. This is important to make sure research delivers benefits for patients as soon as possible. Doctoral schools offer specialised training, and this training is stronger and more universal if it happens in an international context. I am particularly pleased to acknowledge EU funding for this doctoral school.’

Professor Podoleanu said: ‘Kent is focused on driving the next generation of applied optics technology and developing researchers’ expertise to achieve careers with front-line academic and private-sector employers. In four years’ time we intend to impact the world in terms of resolution and speed of application, and we look forward to welcoming researchers to begin this experience with us.’

Specsavers lockdown learning proves popular with practitioners

May 2020

Optical practitioners from multiples and independents alike have been busy earning CET points during lockdown, according to Specsavers, one of the UK’s largest CET providers.

Online Learning with Specsavers
More than 800 optometrists, dispensing opticians and contact lens opticians have enrolled on the company’s distance-learning MiniPAC programme – an online alternative to the company’s annual CET roadshow which had to be paused in March after just two events.

The company rapidly transformed the face-to-face learning into a series of recorded lectures, webinars and quizzes – and made it free of charge to all practitioners, regardless of where they work, until the end of the year.

As a result, Specsavers Professional Training has seen a sharp monthly rise in CET uptake online - more than 4,000 points have been awarded through the company’s CET distance-learning programme in the last two months, an increase of almost 50% year on year.

It has also adapted a number of three-point peer discussions so that they can be delivered with remote participants through video conferencing, and - while the Scheme for Registration is paused - has put together a schedule of self-study materials for its pre-reg optometrists.

Gill Robinson, Director of professional training and development, said: ‘We were, of course, hugely disappointed to have to halt our MiniPAC events – but it’s been really encouraging to see how many practitioners have embraced the online training alternatives. We’ve been very clear that, for furloughed colleagues, any learning or training is optional and voluntary. Regardless, it would seem many clinicians – whether they are still working or at home - are choosing to use this enforced ‘quieter’ period to further their clinical and professional development.

‘Of course, one of the hardest things to replicate is the interaction of an in-person training event with your peers, so it’s been particularly gratifying to see Specsavers teams use the technology available to them to hold peer discussions via video call, or share clinical cases via our online optometrist network on Yammer, which we introduced last year.’

Non-Specsavers practitioners can access the MiniPAC distance-learning CET at

Ocuco Extends Online Learning Programme

May 2020


cuco Lockdown LearningOcuco's online learning schedule 'LOCKDOWN YOUR LEARNINGS', has been designed to help practices navigate the evolving Coronavirus situation. Due to popular demand, this has been extended until the end of May!

The programme is just one of the initiatives developed by Ocuco's COVID-19 task force as part of their commitment to provide valuable tools and resources to optical practices during this time.

Attendees have the opportunity to gain a clinical CET point, learn how to maximise practice visibility and discover how to boost patient engagement online during this challenging time and in preparation for post COVID-19.

Each webinar is hosted by a member of Ocuco's experienced team and is followed by a live Q&A session.
Full details, including the extended schedule and registration details, can be found here

Are you an Ocuco customer?

Take advantage of the extended User Webinar schedule where Ocuco's Professional Services Team will help you increase your PMS knowledge, so that you can utilise your system to its full potential as business begins to resume.

Check your inbox for your invitation or message the team directly through for more information.

AAO announcement of J & J Vision Awards (Contact Lenses)

May 2020

American Academy of Optometry Foundation Announces Recipients of the 2020 Johnson & Johnson Vision Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care Grants

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) is pleased to announce the 2020 Johnson & Johnson Vision Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care Grant recipients. This award recognizes outstanding fourth-year student clinicians who have demonstrated skillful knowledge of the contact lens field. Each winner will receive a $500 educational award and a personalized plaque commemorating their accomplishment.

2020 Recipients and Institutions Attended:

- Alice Han, Illinois College of Optometry
- Tyler Kerr, Indiana University, School of Optometry
- Patrick Patterson, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, School of Optometry
- Nicholas Pike, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, School of Optometry
- Abigail Zielke, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
- Taylor Erhardt, Midwestern University Arizona, College of Optometry
- Esther Lee, New England College of Optometry
- Kristen Moore, Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
- Crystal Victor, Nova Southeastern University, College of Optometry
- Jasmine Barker, The Ohio State University, College of Optometry
- Liandra Jung, Pacific University, College of Optometry
- Janice Chau, Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
- Taylor Kiyota, Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
- Jared Freedman, Southern College of Optometry
- Mariya Klyuzner, State University of New York, College of Optometry
- Mohammed Haque, University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Optometry
- Connie Chen, University of California Berkeley, School of Optometry
- Megan Wagner, University of Houston, College of Optometry
- Caroline Mendus, University of Missouri - St. Louis, College of Optometry
- Camille Leblanc, University of Montreal, School of Optometry
- Nitya Murthy, University of Pikeville, Kentucky College of Optometry
- Brooke Segerstrom, University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry
- Angela Zhang, University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science
- Esther Lautz Abuata, Western University of Health Sciences, College of Optometry

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation is thankful for the professional relationship between the Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Vision. Johnson & Johnson’s outstanding support to raise the bar of optometric education to a new level is a remarkable reminder of their ongoing commitment to the industry’s high standards.

Register for the webinar: Glaucoma in 2020

May 2020

The cancellation of ophthalmic congresses worldwide leaves a chasm in communication between eye care professionals in 2020.

Heidelberg Engineering has teamed up with Santen and Medisoft to provide a platform for clinicians specialising in glaucoma to present their latest research and other topics of interest to the ophthalmic community.

The live interactive webinar "Glaucoma in 2020" will take place on Thursday 14th May 2020 at 7:00-8:00pm.

It will be chaired by Professor Gus Gazzard, Director of Glaucoma Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital, and will feature presentations from four eminent eye care professionals.

The agenda is as follows:

Welcome and introduction | Professor Gus Gazzard, Director of Glaucoma Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital, UK

Disaster mitigation - saving sight in the climate of COVID-19 | Mr. Faisal Ahmed, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Imperial College NHS Trust, UK

Can we do visual fields in our armchairs? | Professor David Crabb, Professor of Statistics and Vision Research, City University London

Glaucoma treatment paradigms in the post-COVID-19 post-LiGHT era | Professor Gus Gazzard, Director of Glaucoma Service, Moorfields Eye Hospital

Optimising therapeutic management: insights from real world evidence | Dr. Francesco Oddone MD, PhD, Head of the Glaucoma Unit, Britannic Hospital of the IRCCS Fondazione Bietti, Rome, Italy

Question and answer session

This event has been organised and facilitated by Heidelberg Engineering and is also sponsored by Santen and Medisoft. It will contain information about Santen products.


Heidelberg Engineering are long time sponsors of your Free Opchat News written by ECPs for ECPs, please support them as they do for you.See Heidelberg pages here

Lockdown learning: optometrists provide homeschooling pack and advice on protecting children’s eyes

May 2020

Senior optometrists from Specsavers are working with parents who are trying to adjust to the new norm of home schooling and keeping locked down children entertained. This has resulted in the launch of an online learning hub, where children can learn about eyes and eyesight – as well as tips to keep eyes healthy, especially with increased screen time.

Home school help

Home School from Specsavers
For parents looking for inspiration while home schooling, Specsavers children’s activity hub on its website at has Key Stage 1 and 2 educational activities, as well as a free activity pack (with a little education thrown in there for good measure).

With content aimed at children, parents and teacher packs, the hub originated in an information pack that Specsavers optometrists use when visiting schools to teach kids how eyes work. There are eye-themed colouring templates and ‘make your own’ challenges to keep young minds occupied, including how to draw eyes, how to make a pinhole camera, building your own bird feeder

While keeping children entertained, the printable activity packs are also designed to help reduce screen time. Figures show that consumers have logged an extra 5 billion hours online in March compared to previous months. With more than half of seven-year-olds with their own tablet and three-quarters of 12-year-olds in possession of a smartphone, it is not surprising that the amount of screen time youngsters are consuming has increased significantly in recent weeks while confined to their homes - one study shows some children are spending as much as six hours a day on devices..

Specsavers Clinical Services Director, Giles Edmonds, says: ‘Being indoors for most of the day, it’s understandable that children might find themselves spending much of their day online for home schooling, playing computer games, watching TV and watching videos.

‘While it’s important that children keep occupied, if there are not enough breaks, excessive screen time it could be damaging to their sight. Eyes are not designed to be fixated on a single object for a long period of time so can often become strained when we focus on screens, especially if they are a smaller laptop, tablet or smart device.

‘While eye strain is uncomfortable, it is not usually serious, and tends to ease once you rest your eyes. Symptoms to look out for include eye discomfort, headaches, sore or tired eyes, difficulty focusing, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, and increased sensitivity to light.’

To combat these common eye concerns, Mr Edmonds advises parents to encourage their children to have regular breaks and follow the 20:20:20 rule, getting them to look up from their screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds, as this helps relax the eye muscles.
‘Also make the most of your allowed outdoor time. Research shows that taking a screen break and going for a short walk allows eyes to rest and for our mind to regroup’ he concludes.

Prof. John M. Nolan receives Heidelberg Engineering Xtreme Research Award 2020

May 2020

John NolanProf. John M. Nolan, from the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, School of Health Science, Waterford Institute of Technology (Ireland), is the recipient of the Xtreme Research Award 2020 for his research related to macular pigment for vision health and function, as well as for his recent work on how to use macular pigment as a biomarker for brain nutrition and its connection to cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease.

Prof. Nolan has an impressive research track record focusing on the role of macular pigment (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) for visual and cognitive function. With the Xtreme Research Award 2020,

Heidelberg Engineering recognizes his efforts to verify the importance of macular pigment for visual performance in both healthy individuals and AMD patients, standardizing these measurements with an investigational SPECTRALIS Macular Pigment Optical Volume* Module. It also acknowledges his drive to link macular carotenoids to cognitive function and brain health, with the goal of identifying ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Prof. Nolan said: “It is a tremendous honor for me to accept this award from Heidelberg Engineering, which is a result of over two-decades of work studying this nutritional pigment in the eye. I am most grateful to my team for their continued commitment to our research questions, and this award is a true reflection of their achievements. Science is only as good as its measurements, and thankfully we now have access to gold standard technology such as the Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS.

The future of our research and its successful translation and benefits to eyecare will be driven by this innovative technology. My vision is that routine measurement of macular pigment in the clinic setting will be part of best practice and uniquely offered by the SPECTRALIS.”

Until recently, it was difficult to standardize the assessment of macular pigment since previous techniques were unable to provide a full image and measurement results were both subjective and highly variable.

Prof. Nolan is one of the leading researchers that have contributed to the establishment of a comprehensive and objective evaluation of the macular pigment profile for the benefit of patients worldwide1.

Invitation to an Xtreme Research Award Webinar

Due to this year’s ARVO cancellation, the traditional Xtreme Research Award lecture will take place online as an Xtreme Research Award Webinar with Prof. Nolan: “Macular Pigment Assessment with SPECTRALIS”, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM. Heidelberg Engineering invites you to join by registering:

Click here to register

*SPECTRALIS MPOV is currently under development and not available for sale.

Save the date! BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition will return to Manchester in 2021

May 2020

BCLA 2021
The BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition is returning to Manchester next year – with the city set to play host to one of the profession’s most eagerly anticipated events.

Eye care professionals have been urged to pencil in June 11 to 13 2021 in their diaries, with the three-day event once again promising to be one of the highlights of the optical calendar.

BCLA President Jonathon Bench said: “We are thrilled to be heading back to Manchester Central for the 2021 Clinical Conference and Exhibition. 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.

The event is expected to attract delegates from around the world, culminating in the prestigious BCLA Awards Dinner held at Manchester Cathedral. Full details of the programme will be announced in due course.

Registration is due to open in early 2021. The BCLA Fellowship Viva’s will be held during the clinical conference, and submissions for this award will open from September 2020.

College answers pre-reg students questions on this summer's supervision

May 2020

The College has said this week:

"We realise that there are lots of optometry students who were planning to enrol on the Scheme this summer, so we wanted to provide a specific update for you.

We understand the anxiety and uncertainty you are feeling right now. From early on in this crisis we have been working with the Optometry Schools Committee (OSC), which represents each of your universities, to ensure that you can graduate this summer and, as long as you get a 2.2. or above, be eligible to enrol on the Scheme. This will be the case even if you haven’t fully completed your patient episodes, or even have some of your core competencies outstanding. We are currently working with the regulator, The General Optical Council (GOC) and the OSC so that you will be able to have any outstanding elements signed off while on the Scheme.


Will I be able to start my pre-reg this summer? And when?

We think it’s important to be honest and say that most current pre-reg trainees will be delayed in completing the Scheme, and this is likely to mean a delay in your start date. Many practices can only accommodate one trainee at a time, and this may be more challenging depending on what practice life is like once the lockdown is lifted but social distancing remains. It will also be affected by how long the temporary changes we’re currently looking at for the Scheme will need to remain in place.

However, it’s important to remember that the Scheme is designed to be flexible. Although the ‘enrolment year’ has technically always started in June, you can enrol at any point, and you will have 2 years and 3 months to complete the Scheme from your individual enrolment date. We are talking to employers at the moment about their plans, and have agreed to work with them, and your universities, to ensure that you are supported once you graduate, especially if there is a delay before you can start in practice. We are also reviewing our supervision arrangements to allow more flexibility for practices to take on trainees. We will be in touch when we have more details on both of these things.

Right now it’s important to focus on the rest of your studies and exams. Please be assured that the College have not forgotten students, and just as we are working hard for all current trainees, we are also working hard to ensure that you can enrol and begin your pre-reg period when the time is right.

ESSILOR’S Lockdown Training Drive

April 2020

Essilor Ltd has launched a new online webinar training programme to help ECPs with product training and digital marketing upskilling, during lockdown.

The webinars will deliver fundamental skills, such as how to use pay per click (PPC), social advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO) when communicating with patients and prospects, even when they are not in physical contact with them.

A full schedule is announced each week, and ECPs are being incentivised to take part in the product training sessions with monetary credits for their optical practice on completion of each webinar. A practice can earn up to £200 when all nine webinars are completed.

The webinars are running as part of a wider training and support programme featuring additional CET training courses and resources, peer group discussions, remote marketing consultations, website and SEO analysis and database profiling.

Tim Precious, managing director at Essilor Ltd, said: “The pandemic is having an enormous impact on our personal and business lives and as we strive to be the best business partner for independent practices, we want our training and support programme to help guide them through this period of uncertainty and aid recovery afterwards.

“All training will be delivered virtually by dedicated members of the team and we’ll introduce different topics to help ECPs expand their knowledge each week.

“By adding an incentive to the product training, we’re hoping ECPs will feel rewarded for taking part as they get back on their feet in these coming weeks and months.

“Due to increased demand for CET, we’ve added additional sessions to our existing schedule to allow more ECPs to keep their accreditation on track.

“We’ve also set up an instant messenger group to keep ECPs up to date with training opportunities, updates and news as we announce them.”

BABO to partner IHeartVT virtual Conference

April 2020

The British Association of Behavioural Optometrists (BABO) is proud to be a partner organisation in the IHeartVT virtual Conference that is taking place on-line.

The event brings together over 90 speakers from 20 different countries to present on a variety of topics related to vision and vision therapy.

The event is organised by Vivid Vision, a software development company specialising in software that treats binocular vision problems such as amblyopia, strabismus, and vergence disorders.

Vivid Vision Director of Business Development, Kelin Kushin, said "We wanted to give something back to the profession at this difficult time and felt that with so many conferences being cancelled worldwide and so many people out of work or limited in their ability to work, this was an ideal event to arrange."

So far, 1400 delegates have signed up from 52 different countries for a voluntary donation of $25. All money raised is being donated to the COVID-19 charity Direct Relief and so far over $24,000 has been raised.

The goal of the event is to connect colleagues from around the world in a way that even a physical conference could not. There are sessions running in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and more.

There are sessions applicable to seasoned optometrists as well as optometry students and those new to the profession. Kushin said, "This event helps eliminate limitations of travel, expense, and access. We hope it inspires people to come together and connect now, but hereto forward as well. We hope it sparks collaborations and ideas and in turn helps providers reach patients in new ways and change more lives."

New AOP webinar programme to support practitioners during coronavirus outbreak

April 2020

In response to the UK’s lockdown as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Association of Optometrists (AOP) has launched a new programme of webinars. The sessions are designed to support practitioners through this difficult time.

Covering a range of topics, from practical guidance and wellbeing to managing legal issues, the programme provides learning opportunities, with interactive CET points available, for the practice team.

Speaking about the programme, AOP Head of Education, Dr Ian Beasley, said: “We recognise that practitioners are facing huge challenges at this unprecedented time – with many having to adapt to extraordinary circumstances and a very different way of life. This new webinar programme has been created specifically to tackle some of those issues and aims to help support practitioners – whether it be by building resilience or ensuring they can maintain vital skills for the future.”

Highlights in April include live and recorded webinars on COVID-19 clinical and professional guidance, from Dr Peter Hampson, Clinical Director at the AOP and Managing your mental health during the coronavirus crisis. Allon Barsam, Director and founding partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of London will also provide a CET-accredited webinar, Refractive surgery in 2020: the state of the art.

In May, Dr Nicola Logan, Director of Research for the Optometry and Vision Science Research Group at Aston University will present a CET session on Myopia management: managing the balance of the possible and impossible, alongside AOP Clinical Director, Dr Peter Hampson.

The AOP will also be hosting a legal webinar for students – to replace face-to-face events that ordinarily take place in universities across the UK.

New series of ABDO Management & Leadership Courses available during Lockdown

April 2020

Optical professionals who want to boost their career in management are encouraged to apply now for the new Management & Leadership Diploma and Management Essentials Certificate from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

Study is carried out 100% online and the closing date for applications for training leading to these qualifications is Friday 17th April 2020

The new series of training courses and qualifications are in association with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) who also assess and award the qualification. Pitched at Level 5, ABDO Management & Leadership training is a great way to turn any informal learning into a recognised qualification through an online course of study and assessment.

The qualification awarded by CMI is well recognised. Students get membership of CMI and access to the support and materials that they offer including the fantastic ManagementDirect online resource. It is an ideal way for employers to develop existing managers and train up those aspiring to a role in management.

Nick Walsh from ABDO says, “These courses are the ideal next step for any manager, whether you are starting out or looking to formalise knowledge and experience gained in practice.” ABDO training is via e-learning, and the qualification can be completed at either a diploma or certificate level.

AAOpt and ASCO Establish Virtual Clinical Training Program to Keep Optometry Students on Graduation Track

April 2020

With COVID-19 leaving students unable to see patients in person, the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) is establishing an unprecedented virtual clinical training program to help the nation’s 1,800 4th year prospective Doctors of Optometry accumulate the 350 clinical observation hours they need to graduate.

The Academy and its board members are working with the Associations of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and the deans and faculty of optometric schools, to develop an online experience that will continue students’ clinical education.

As part of their clinical curriculum, optometry students typically shadow doctors and work with patients in a hospital or clinic to gain first-hand patient experience, but in the current environment, many are unable to satisfy this requirement.

The new program entitled, the Student Online Clinical Case Education Program (SOCCEP) will immediately provide several weeks of live streamed and/or recorded experiences, each approximately 30-minutes in length. During each session a faculty or industry presenter will deliver a specific case study. Students will then have an opportunity to ask questions before the session concludes with the lecturer delivering a patient outcome.

Academy Board President Dr. Barbara Caffery said, “This is a direct and rapid response to the coronavirus crisis. Once our Academy Fellows in universities identified the clinical issue, we knew we were the only organization with the membership and reach to quickly pull together the resources they needed.”

While the program was designed to help fourth-year students build clinical hours toward graduation, it is also expected to be utilized as a supplemental and continuing education program for others. The organizers hope it will also help maintain the pipeline of new Doctors of Optometry, crucial to providing continued excellent service to patients after the COVID-19 threat ends. Academy Chief Executive Officer Peter Scott said, “As a leading optometric association, we’re in a unique position to bring together partners from the academic world to make this happen. This is not a time to hold back.”

The SOCCEP program is unprecedented in the Academy’s nearly 100-year history, but it is perfectly aligned with the organization’s new strategic plan that actively seeks deeper engagement with members.

“We are committed to advancing excellence in eyecare and in this time of urgency, that commitment is even more important,” Dr. Caffery said. She pointed out that this is a program that could live well beyond the current crisis. “The Academy is so much more than a meeting. We have the ability to make a positive impact in the daily lives of students, optometrists and the public, and this is the first of our many initiatives that will provide exceptional education, support innovative research, and disseminate knowledge to advance optometric practice and improve patient care.”

Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, Associations of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) President and Founding Dean, Western University of Health Sciences, College of Optometry, concurs. “During these trying times, ASCO understands the education of our optometric students—fourth year students who are nearing graduation in particular–must continue. Our faculty has really stepped up to the challenge and will continue to lead these online clinical education sessions for the foreseeable future. These soon to be Doctors of Optometry will remain a vital part of the healthcare landscape and that has never been more apparent than during this pandemic.”

Free 1 point CET Webinar available on April 16th at 2pm

April 2020

You are warmly invited to a free CET webinar which will bring the low vision patient voice into focus by Visualise Training and Consultancy.

Topic: An Introduction to Visual Impairment (Seeing Beyond the Eyes part 1)

Register here:

MIDO 2020 Reset for February 2021

April 2020

As you are aware, over the last few weeks, the COVID-19 public health crisis in Italy and around the world has continuously worsened. After the USA, Italy has been hardest hit and will soon be forced to come to grips with the colossal social and economic damage incurred. Global expansion of the crisis and its duration far beyond expectations for an end to contagion, make quantifying the damage nearly impossible.

As uncertainty surrounding the pandemic continues, it is difficult to imagine that the conditions exist to optimally stage an exhibition like MIDO in 2020, which requires the efforts of a complex organizational machine, and involves international travel and large-scale investments.

Fueled by optimism and a positive attitude, and hoping the outlook would improve, we have worked energetically to maintain the new dates for the show. Today, however, we made the difficult decision to further postpone MIDO 5Oth Edition.

Another choice we had hoped we would never have to make but, once again, our sense of responsibility prevailed over business concerns, making it our first priority to safeguard you, exhibitors, buyers, stakeholders, our staff and all the people involved in organizing, managing and running the event.

The 50th edition of MIDO will be held Saturday February 6 to Monday February 8, 2021 at Fiera Milano Rho. We are confident this 50th edition will be much more than the celebration of a milestone anniversary.

Haag-Streit offers training videos during our hours of Isolation

April 2020

Haag-Streit is proud to introduce this training video series which explains the slit lamp, its controls and operating elements, the functional principles, the utilized optical phenomena, different illumination techniques and examination methods. Connect here to see the video

Insight Optical Training is relaunching their website as enrolment for the new level 2 qualifications starts by end of this week ( 3rd April)

March 2020


Insight Optical Training is delighted to announce that people can now enrol of its Level 2 optical assistant qualification, endorsed by the awarding body NCFE.

Course Units Duration* Course Fee
Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Optical Practice Any 4 units 6 months £400
Level 2 Diploma in Supporting Optical Practice 8 units 13 months £800

*Duration is only a guideline and learners are free to study at a pace that suits them and their work or home commitments
The qualifications are available via online distance learning courses, giving learners the flexibility to study when they want to. Also, they are open courses, so that they can be started at any time of the year. The assessment will be continuous during the programme, so learners will not have to sit all their assessments at the end of their course.

There are 8 units to choose from: -
• Who’s Who in Optics Communication in Optical Practice
• Eye Anatomy and Why We Need Spectacles The Customer Journey in Optics
• Understanding Frames Understanding Lenses
• An Introduction to Contact Lenses The Optical Screening Process

“It is great that we are now able to start enrolling people onto our first qualification which has been endorsed by the awarding body NCFE. The level 2 is a great start in optics for those new to the industry or who have no formal qualifications. We anticipate a wide range of learners, including receptionists, optical assistants, customer service staff, sales reps and those working in manufacturing“
Anthony Blackman – Co-Founder and Director of Training at Insight Optical Training

Go to the Insight Academy Websitet Now

Eyecare and sight loss sectors- It’s time to work better together to support the 250 people in the UK that start to loose their sight every day!!

March 2020

Daniel Williams, man on a mission with low vision takes a look at how eyecare and sight loss sectors can work better together for the benefit of low vision patients like himself.

There is little doubt that optometry and ophthalmology in the UK provides excellent medical intervention to prevent and treat eye diseases, but for those who have permanent sight loss there is a lack of understanding and support and this can often come directly after suspected diagnosis.

Yet eyecare professionals can work alongside local charities and services, supporting low vision patients to form a continuous chain. Patients, clinics, eye care services, charities and eyecare professionals can all gain immense value.

After you have given a patient a diagnosis of visual impairment, instead of people experiencing the stressful scrabble around to find what they need, it would be so much better if they could be given support to help them to cope. In other words, never assume that once a referral has been made to the hospital eye service that this is the end of your involvement as a practitioner. There is so much more you can do.

By raising more awareness within the optical sector of the various pathways that exist for people with sight loss, thousands of patients could be helped when they do not know to whom, or where, they can turn - this is why the Seeing Beyond the Eyes project has been vital to bridge the gap.

Link to the full story and further advice and other clinical briefings here

that optometry-led working is being recognised in its own right and paves the way for future pathways of working within secondary eye care.”

AOP Chief Executive, Henrietta Alderman commented, “The AOP Awards shines a spotlight on the extraordinary individuals and teams who are propelling the profession forward with their knowledge, expertise, dedication and passion. This year is no different – with all the winners, and indeed finalists, giving an impressive account for optometry.”

Other winners included Dr Saleel Jivraj, who was awarded Optometrist of the Year, and Professor Martin Rubinstein, who was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Commenting on being selected, Professor Rubinstein said: “It is a great honour to be given an award by the AOP – it feels remarkable and delightful.”

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

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

Almost 30,000 votes were cast this year. For more information and a full list of winners visit the AOP Awards pages.

ABDO Principal announces retirement

January 2020

Jo Underwoor ABDO retiring Principal

Jo Underwood MSc BSc(Hons) FBDO (Hons) CL (Hons) SLD FEAOO SMC(Tech) PGCE, Principal of ABDO College, has announced her retirement. Jo has been in charge of the college since its inception in 2000 and will be retiring at the end of this academic year.

Jo Underwood says, “It is with some regret that I step down as Principal of ABDO College, but I believe the time is now right for someone new to take over the role and bring in transforming ideas. It is not very often that one has the opportunity to set up something totally new and I am very grateful to have been given that chance. I feel proud and privileged to have been able to fulfil the project aims and would like to thank all of the College staff who have helped to make it a success.”

Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO says , “ABDO College started with Jo, she has recruited all of that academic staff and seen the development of the College building from an empty shell to a fully equipped and high quality facility. Above all, Jo has ensured that the very highest standards of training are in place. Her contribution to the profession is beyond compare. Twenty years ago ABDO College was an aspiration, today it is recognised as a highly successful centre of excellence. Jo has led from the front and delivered a project beyond what seemed possible all those years ago. What an achievement.”

The search for a new Principle will commence towards the end of February.

Essilor Brings New Dry Eye Solution to ECPS

January 2020

TearSTIM by Essilor
Essilor Instruments is bringing a new dry eye procedure to UK ECPs, offering a quick and long-lasting solution for patients, with scientifically proven results.

It was first shown last week at 100% Optical.

It has taken on the sole UK distribution of TearStim by ESW Vision to provide the unique procedure which uses Intense Regulated Pulsed Light technology (IRPL) to get the meibomian gland functioning properly again.

The non-intrusive procedure is performed within a few minutes and involves the optician covering the patient’s eyes with protector shells.

Unlike eye drops that temporarily alleviate the symptoms of dry eye, TearStim fixes the cause of the problem over four short sessions and offers a long-lasting solution to the 40 per cent of spectacle or contact lens wearers suffering with the syndrome.

Studies have proven a significant improvement of irritations perceived by patients, with 90 per cent satisfaction.

Instruments director, Paul Cumber said: “The new treatment offers a simple solution to dry eye management and reviving stressed eyes.

“Dry eye affects all types of people, whether it’s caused by working at computers, hormone imbalances, pharmaceutical drugs or wearing contact lenses, by offering the treatment, ECPs have the opportunity to entice existing and new patients in-store.

“There’s also an element of education needed with many patients living with symptoms, such as watery eyes, but not linking it to dry eyes. Over time, many other symptoms and serious complications can occur, such as infections, styes or corneal ulcers. Making it important to encourage patients to address the issue.

“The treatment not only combats the causes of dry eye, it is also preventive as it takes effect even before symptoms arise, which is another selling point for at risk patients.

“The launch forms part of our on-going mission of improving lives by improving sight, while continuing our role to be the best business partner for independent practices.”

Patient leaflets, window posters and treatment reminder leaflets will be available to support the launch.

How TearStim works

TearStim emits painless light pulses below the eye in the region of the parasympathetic nervous system, and by stimulating the nerve neurotransmitters are released that encourage the secretion of the meibomian glands and contribute to restoring their normal activity. In addition, the quality of the gland secretion is improved, and the lipid layer of the tear film is stabilised.

The procedure involves the optician covering the patient’s eyes with eye protector shells. A special gel is applied below the eyes and a series of 8-10 painless and non-invasive light pulses are aimed at the region below the eyes.

The series is repeated in the same way on the lower eyelid of the other eye and in total, the treatment comprises three to four sessions. The effect will last from a period of six months to three years and then an annual booster session in the form of a single treatment is recommended.

100% Optical release figures on attendance at last weeks show at Excel

January 2020

100% Results

Media 10 who run the commercial optical show have announced the attendance numbers for last weekend's exhibition.

They say that 9570 visitors and exhibitors attended the exhibition held at London's Excel in the East of London.
(Numbers are yet to be audited)

The show had around 200 stands exhibiting over 3 days.

Next years show will be held on the 23rd to 25th January 2021, same place same times.

The IRIS, the new centralised area within Optrafair 20/20 promises to be the font of all learning.

January 2020

The dedicated area will be the place to attend over each lunch hour with the world's leading experts in Vision both demonstrating and discussing with you new concepts in vision care. It will also be the place to network with your friends and colleagues, chew over what hints and new ideas you have discovered both at the IRIS and throughout the action-packed show.

Optrafair 20/20 in this important vision year has listened to what you want to hear and see and ramped up its offering to make this a seriously good conference and exhibition.

SILMO 2020 Oct
Just as one of the many examples don't miss WORLD-LEADING and admired contact lens and AE specialists Professors Lyndon Jones and Philip Morgan.

Yes, the Optrafair 20/20 programme continues to grow with the addition of two of the world's most eminent contact lens and anterior eye specialists, Professor Lyndon Jones and Professor Philip Morgan.

Lyndon Jones is a Professor at the School of Optometry & Vision Science and Director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He graduated in optometry from the University of Wales back in 1985 and gained a PhD in 1998 from Aston University before emigrating to Canada. He holds three of the higher clinical awards awarded by the UK College of Optometrists, as well as being a Fellow of the BCLA and was awarded an honorary DSc by Aston in 2018.Lyndon Jones

As University Research Chair, he has concentrated primarily on the interaction of novel and existing contact lens materials with the ocular environment, dry eye diagnosis and management and ocular drug delivery. He has delivered over 1000 lectures worldwide, spread over 40 countries.

Philip Morgan is Professor of Optometry, Deputy Head of the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry and Director of Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester. His research interests concentrate on the clinical performance of contact lenses. Since 1996 he has managed an international survey of contact lenses.

Philip Morgan
He is the Immediate Past President of the International Society for Contact Lens Research and VP of the International Association of Contact Lens Educators. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and the BCLA.

He has authored over 200 papers, most related to the clinical performance of contact lenses and the nature of the UK and international contact lens market.

Professors Jones and Morgan are currently preparing their presentations, which will cover all aspects of modern contact lens practice. Their session aims to provide a platform to provide clinical-based discussion as well as the opportunity to ask questions, and will take place on the Iris, a flexible central stage which will accommodate all the headline lectures, interviews and presentations.

Visitors to the show will have the opportunity to fully interact with Professors Jones and Morgan.

As well as hosting their ‘An Audience With’ discussion, they will be providing hands-on training at Optrafair 20/20’s Dry Eye Tech Live session. They will also be available at Profs’ Corner, where visitors will be able to book private one-to-one sessions with the various professors speaking at Optrafair 20/20.

Join the professors as they lead a clinical-based discussion covering the major issues in modern contact lens practice.

Discover how to optimise patient care and maximise the success of contact lenses with practical messages to aid clinical practice.
This year the show will also have major contact lens involvement.


• The importance of the eyelids and eyelid margins in contact lens success

• The differences between modern soft contact lens materials and their clinical relevance

• The current state of play with the use of contact lenses for the management of myopia

• The current rate of contact lens drop-outs, how they impact the market and how this can be minimised

• How ocular surface inflammation may be critical to our understanding of several contact lens-related problems

• The importance of compliance in contact lens wear and which behavioural steps are the most important for avoiding adverse events

To book sessions you must have registered your interest so do that right away by clicking here.

Like to view the program? Click here

An Audience with Professor Lyndon Jones and Professor Philip Morgan can be seen on Sunday 5 April from 2:00pm - 3:00pm at the The Iris

In this session, the two speakers will present recent research findings across six important contact lens-related areas and how this information can be employed in clinical practice to optimise patient care and maximise the success of contact lenses.

The information will be presented in an interactive manner such that comments and discussion from the delegates will be encouraged.

AIMS: In this interactive session, six major issues in contemporary contact lens practice will be discussed and...WELL just book your place and find out what you need to know!

Presidents’ address and Optical Question Time at Optrafair 20/20

January 2020

Optrafair 20/20 offers world class presentations and debate from industry experts covering the issues and concerns facing the optical industry, as well as providing suggested solutions.

The Presidents’ Address and Optical Question Time are exclusive, brand-new features at a revitalised Optrafair 20/20, which offers delegates a unique opportunity to hear from the Presidents of some of the county’s leading colleges, industry and membership bodies, retailers and practitioners from independent practices and corporates.

The Presidents’ Address will be chaired by Clive Marchant, ABDO’s President, and features Mike Burdon, President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. Colin Davidson, Vice President of the College of Optometrists, Richard Whittington, Chief Operating Officer at LOCSU and Jonathon Bench, President of BCLA.

The theme for the Presidents’ Address will be ‘What are the main priorities for the profession in improving eyecare for the public?’

Optical Question Time is another new feature for Optrafair 20/20, with high-profile entrepreneurs, practitioners and experts from across the optical sectors.

The panellists taking part include Doug Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, David Moulsdale, Chair and CEO, Optical Express and Imran Hakim, Chief Executive, Hakim Group, as well as Lynne Fernandes, Lynne Fernandes Optometrists, Professor Nicholas Rumney, Chair, BBR Optometry Ltd and Dr. Scott Mackie, Co-Founder, Mackie Eyecare and Director, Mackie Professional Services.

We are also delighted to announce that optician comedienne Sarah Morgan will host proceedings.

The Optical Question Time Themes will be:

• Education
• Environment
• The Market Place
• The Future

There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.

Chair of FMO, Stuart Burn said: ‘Gaining the support and commitment of so many of the country’s leading experts and industry leaders for the Presidents’ Address and Optical Question Time, will provide a fantastic forum to discuss and debate the issues that really matter to the industry. Feedback from last year’s Optrafair revealed a demand for top level debate. I can assure you that Optrafair 20/20 will be well worth the wait.’

‘Both the Presidents’ Address and Optical Question Time will offer frank and insightful discussion and debate.

Optrafair 20/20 will offer delegates the opportunity to glimpse into the future of practice and provide practitioners with some valuable thoughts on their future strategy.

Optrafair 20/20 will take place between April 4 and 6 at the NEC in Birmingham. For more information, and to register for the event, and get your place book at the comprehensive eduactaion lecture program click here

Your Opchat News is once again the Co Media partner of Optrafair 20/20. Missed any news them click to the Optrafair pages and links here

ABDO launch new training courses at 100% Optical tomorrow, Saturday 25th January.

Janaury 2020

ABDO Collge

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) is launching a new series of training courses and qualifications in association with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) who also assess and award the qualification. The new Level 5 Management & Leadership qualification for ABDO members will be launched at 100% Optical.

Nick Walsh

Nick Walsh from ABDO says, “These new courses from ABDO are the ideal next step for any manager, whether you are just starting out or looking to formalise knowledge and experience gained in practice.”

He continues, “If you are a manager or aspire to a management role, ask yourself this question: In the last 12 months, how many hours have you spent on structured management training or learning for yourself? As a manager you need to make time for your own development: this will improve the success of the business, the effectiveness of the team and the morale of the team as well as bringing benefits to your career.”

ABDO Management & Leadership training is a great way to turn any informal learning into a recognised qualification through a course of study and assessment.

The qualification awarded by CMI is well recognised. Students get membership of CMI and access to the support and materials that they offer including the fantastic ManagementDirect online resource.

It is an ideal way for employers to develop existing managers and train up those aspiring to a role in management.

ABDO training is via e-learning, removing the need for time away from the business to complete study. There will be optional workshops to allow students to extend their knowledge. The qualification can be completed at either a diploma or certificate level.

To find out more, visit stand Stand B244 at 100% Optical, London Excel

FUTURISSILMO! Dates to save in 2020

January 2020

SILMO 2020 Oct

New year means new SILMO Paris edition which means new visual identity.

Discover now the colours of SILMO Paris 2020.

With this ambition to anticipate, to be reactive and to always think ahead, SILMO Paris unveils its new futuristic communication.

Reserve the dates and embark, from 2 to 5 October 2020, for a FUTURISSILMO.

SILMO are looking foward to welcoming you among 35000 others for a great weekend!

Make a visit to Grafton at 100% in order to benefit your patients.

January 2020

Your patients deserve the gold standard in tonometry care – book to find out more about the Reichert ORA® G3 and the 7CR at 100% Optical on Grafton Optical stand M16. The time for change is now.

Grafton at 100%

Grafton Optical are inviting attendees at 100% Optical 2020 to visit them on Stand M16 to experience the gold standard in tonometry care with the Reichert devices; Ocular Response Analyser (ORA) G3 with Corneal Hysteresis and IOPcc and the 7CR Auto Tonometer with Ocular Response Technology and IOPcc.
The ORA® G3 is the only non-contact tonometer to measure Corneal Hysteresis, a superior predictor of glaucoma progression. Corneal Hysteresis is an indication of the biomechanical properties of the cornea differing from thickness or topography, which are geometrical attributes. An increasing number of hospitals are now using the Corneal Hysteresis metric as a more reliable and objective predictor of glaucoma progression.

The 7CR device incorporates the Corneal Hysteresis metric to give a more accurate IOP reading, known as IOPcc (Corneal Compensated IOP). IOPcc is minimally affected by corneal visco-elastic properties, thickness, or surgical procedures such as LASIK or PRK. As such it is a better indicator of glaucoma risk than other methods of tonometry, including Goldmann Applanation.

• Not just another non-contact tonometer; make a more confident glaucoma risk assessment with Corneal Hysteresis

• Synergise diagnostics in line with your local NHS Hospital Trust

• No more false referrals

• Minimal training required – no need for a specialist operator

Grafton Optical CEO David Thickens commented “ORA® G3 is being adopted by hospitals across the country wishing to modernise their systems and processes to tackle on going capacity challenges for many ophthalmology department outpatient services. There is much emerging evidence that virtual clinics offer a logical solution to overcome the burden of these increasing referrals. The ORA® G3 and 7CR devices offer the perfect time and money saving solution to both hospitals and optometry practices, and also provide patients with the absolute gold standard in tonometry care.

Optometry practices investing in either of these devices are able to synergise care with their local Hospital Trust, refining patient care and eliminating false referrals. The time to make the change is now.”

Grafton Optical is offering a £500 trade in on any out-dated tonometer when you buy the ORA G3 or 7CR.

To book an appointment on Grafton Optical stand M16 at 100% Optical 2020 to demo the ORA® G3 or 7CR, please click here.

Applications for the John Horder Prizes are now invited by the RSM General Practice with Primary Healthcare Section and CAIPE.

January 2020

The deadline for the John Horder Awards is Friday 1 May 2020.

The annual award was established in memory of Dr John Horder by the General Practice and Primary Healthcare Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE).

The award will be presented at the 40th Primary Care Update to be held at the Royal Society of Medicine in September 2020.

There are 2 prize groups available to all working in the health care professions.

The John Horder Student Award

The student award of £150 is open to prequalifying students from all health care professions. It is given to the student submitting the best essay describing and discussing their experience of interprofessional working or learning.
You can apply here

The John Horder Award

The award of £600 and a Certificate of Achievement will be presented to a nominated or self-nominated individual or team working within the primary health and social care community who can demonstrate outstanding principles of interprofessional learning and working.

Apply here

Both awards are particularly attractive to students and optometrists and health planners working within primary care who have assisted in the introduction of service chains through primary care to secondary care.

This year's Optrafair 20/20 guarantees Inspiring Seminars

January 2020

This year the Optrafair 20/20 programme has been put together by a specialised and experienced advisory board to bring you the best education possible.

Optrafair 20/20 is the UK's most diverse exhibition.

Inspiring sessions will cover everything you need to know, with topics including:

• AI
• Contact lenses
• The environment
• Dry eye
• Low vision
• Myopia management
• Lenses
• Ocular imaging
• Audiology

and MUCH more!
Have you registered free yet??

Sessions are filling up - make sure you book your seminars now to guarantee your space!

Register Now HERE and take a look at the educational program.

GOC withdrawers approval for Portsmouth Masters Degree

January 2020

GOC issues withdrawal notice to University of Portsmouth Master of Optometry programme

The General Optical Council (GOC) has announced the withdrawal of provisional approval from the University of Portsmouth’s Master of Optometry programme from 10 January 2020. Education institutions require approval for their qualifications to be recognised for the purposes of GOC registration.

This follows on from a notice of intention to withdraw, which was issued on 9 December 2019. The university was given a month to object to the decision and no objections were received during this time.

As part of the withdrawal decision, the GOC has permitted the current year 4 (level 7) students to receive a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Optometry. This will allow them to continue their studies and undertake a clinical placement under the College of Optometrists’ Scheme for Registration which could lead to registration with the GOC.

A further request has been submitted by the university for the current year 3 (level 6) students to be permitted to undertake further teaching and assessment to achieve a BSc in Optometry. This is being considered by the GOC separately.

GOC Chief Executive and Registrar, Lesley Longstone, said: “The decision to withdraw provisional approval has not been taken lightly. Protecting the public remains at the forefront of our agenda and we have followed robust processes and worked closely with the University to provide the opportunity for them to address our concerns.
Our role as a regulator is to ensure that all regulated education and training meets our standards, and we take regulatory action when those concerns are not resolved. We have notified the Office for Students, the independent regulator for Higher Education in England, regarding our decision.

We recognise this is a difficult time for students and others affected and have been assured by the university that the students’ interests are their top priority.”

The International Opticians Association (IOA) has opened applications for 2020.

January 2020

The IOA Silmo International Optician of the Year Award 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) is an international body dedicated to the enhancement and development of the profession worldwide. It is a strategic partner with Silmo in the development of the profession worldwide.

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 and industry.
• Advocacy - championing the profession of dispensing.

Judging process:

IOA members, country members and 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 panel made up of a number of industry experts. A shortlist of up to four people will be established and the winner will be announced during the prestigious Silmo d’Or ceremony in Paris France. Nominations should be sent to Elaine Grisdale at before April 13th 2020 with a covering letter stating why the person should be considered for this coveted award taking into account the criteria above. A shortlist will then be drawn up after approval from the IOA Board (deadline end of April 2020) and the shortlisted nominees will be contacted to fill in the final dossier for consideration by the special jury. This judging process will be completed by 1 July 2020. The winner will be announced on Saturday 3rd October 2020 at SILMO Paris.

The winner will be announced on the 3rd October 2020 at SILMO Paris. As well as the prestigious award, the winner will also win a trip to Silmo 2021.
To find out more visit

ISCC 2020 welcomes overseas interested scleral fitters

January 2020

The International Cogress of Scelral Contacts congress starts July 24th to 25th 2020in Fort Lauderdale FL USA

What you can expect at the 5th International Congress of Scleral Contacts (ICSC)!

When you join us for this meeting full of rapid fire, highly interactive presentations, you will get an expansion of your existing knowledge and further increase your confidence to fit the latest technology in scleral lenses.

During this two day conference, you can expect to learn more on topics such as upcoming scleral technologies, side effects of sclerals, solutions for fogging, toric peripheral curves, novel scleral uses, unknowns, marketing your practice, crosslinking, ocular surface disease and much more.

ICSC will feature top expert speakers to a very interactive audience of optometrists, Scleral Lens Education Society Fellows, contact lens practitioners, and ophthalmologists. In addition, there will be vendor supported wet labs that will offer the opportunity to gain fitting tips, and the chance to evaluate various products and designs

You can register here or find out more information

100% Optical 2020, secure your points over the weekend

January 2020

Taking place on 25-27 January 2020, at London ExCeL, this year’s 100% Optical will offer a comprehensive educational programme, delivered by the Association of Optometrists (AOP).

Over the three-day event, delegates will have access to a wide range of education, exhibitors and thought-provoking talks from leading industry speakers. A series of CET-accredited sessions will also take place in the AOP lounge (L03) – an AOP led education space.

Highlights include ‘The evolution of patient's needs’ – discussion workshops that are designed for locum practitioners and aim to give attendees, working with patients of all ages, the opportunity to build on skills. Talks aimed at newly-qualified optometrists will also take place, including a peer discussion on how to avoid common pitfalls with Kevin Wallace, AOP Councillor for Scotland.

Dr Ian Beasley, AOP Head of Education, said: “The AOP-led education for 2020 has an emphasis on bringing practitioners together by delivering an extensive range of peer discussions and workshops covering key clinical topics.”

“The programme will also host high profile speakers on the main stage with a 2020 keynote on each of the three days. A series of professional development sessions aimed for the wider practice team ensures there is something for everyone at the event,” he added.

AOP members can benefit from face-to face advice in the form of one-to-one employment, legal and regulatory guidance by speaking to our in-house experts in the AOP lounge (L03).
For all other session bookings, and to register for 100% Optical, delegates should visit the 100% Optical website where, unless they are a student or a lecturer, they should register as a trade visitor. Registration is free.

Publication validates Macular Pigment Assessment

January 2020

New high-caliber publication validates macular pigment assessment with SPECTRALIS®

Prof Joghn NolanThe paper “Standardizing the Assessment of Macular Pigment Using a Dual-Wavelength Autofluorescence Technique”, published in Translational Vision Science & Technology in December 2019, demonstrates how the investigational SPECTRALIS Macular Pigment Optical Volume* (MPOV) measurement provides a comprehensive and objective evaluation of the macular pigment (MP) profile.

Macular pigment has been confirmed as an important dietary variable to enhance and protect visual function, with implications for patients with AMD and other retinal pathologies (1). A challenge for this research has been to standardize the assessment of macular pigment. Previous techniques have been limited because of their inability to provide a full image, their subjectivity and high variability.

This new research work validates the assessment of macular pigment with the investigational dual-wavelength autofluorescence technique of the SPECTRALIS MPOV and introduces a benchmark for the clinical setting. The authors, Marina Green-Gomez, Paul S. Bernstein, Christine A. Curcio, Rachel Moran, Warren Roche and John M. Nolan, state that the SPECTRALIS MPOV “should be considered a preferred metric for the assessment of macular pigment” (2).

The corresponding author, Prof. John M. Nolan, from the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland, School of Health Science, Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland said: “Now that the importance of macular pigment has been verified by substantial clinical studies with positive implications for enhancing visual performance for all populations, including patients with age-related macular degeneration; accurate, validated and standardized measurement of human macular pigment now represents a unique opportunity for eye care. The measurement of macular pigment using the Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS represents the new gold standard for objective assessment of this pigment, and I am sure will empower clinicians to do more for their patients as we prepare for a new standard of vision beyond 2020!"

Beyond proposing that the dual-wavelength autofluorescence technique of the SPECTRALIS MPOV* becomes the gold standard for macular pigment assessment, the authors envision the standardization of macular pigment assessment across research studies and clinical settings as the foundation for normative databases to be created.

For further details, see this direct link to the publication here

Heidelberg will be exhibiting at 100% Optical and Optrafair 20/20 this year.

*SPECTRALIS MPOV is currently under development and not available for sale.

1 Bernstein PS, Li B, Vachali PP, et al. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin: the basic and clinical science underlying carotenoid-based nutritional interventions against ocular disease. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2016;50:34–66.

2 Green-Gomez M, Bernstein PS, Curcio CA, Moran R, Roche W, Nolan JM. Standardizing the assessment of macular pigment using a dual-wavelength autofluorescence technique. Translational Vision Science & Technology December 2019, Vol.8, 41. doi:

Heidelberg are long-time sponsors and supporters of Opchat News allowing us to continue with your free independent news source.

Optrafair Lecture renamed Kanski Lecture in honour of Jack Kanski for Optrafair 20/20

January 2020

Kanski Lecture at Optrafair 20/20
World-class ophthalmologist and author Jack Kanski passed away on 5 January 2019. To honour his life's work, the inaugural Optrafair Lecture has been renamed the Kanski Lecture.

Stuart Burn, Chair of FMO, said: "We are delighted to announce that Optrafair’s keynote lecture from 2020 onwards will now be called The Kanski Lecture. Jack Kanski passed away earlier this year and was one of the world’s foremost optical educationalists. His contribution to optics was immense and Optrafair is thrilled that Jack Kanski’s wife, Valerie, has given her approval to use the Kanski name for its keynote lecture."

The Kanski Lecture has been awarded to leading ophthalmologist Pearse Keane. Having graduated to Master of Science and Doctor of Medicine at University College Dublin, Keane is now consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and NIHR Clinician Scientist at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

Keane will be speaking on the subject: ‘AI and its likely impact on optometry and ophthalmology'.
Free registration for Optrafair 20/20 is open NOW, but sessions are booking up quickly – register free now and save your place before it’s too late.

Keane explains: “The number of eye scans we’re performing is growing at a pace much faster than human experts are able to interpret them. There is a risk that this may cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sight-threatening diseases, which can be devastating for patients.

“The AI technology we’re developing is designed to prioritise patients who need to be seen and treated urgently by a doctor or eye care professional. If we can diagnose and treat eye conditions early, it gives us the best chance of saving people’s sight. With further research it could lead to greater consistency and quality of care for patients with eye problems in the future.

“If this technology can be used more widely – in particular by healthcare professionals without computer programming experience – it will really speed up the development of these systems with the potential for significant patient benefits. The process needs refining and regulation, but our results show promise for the future expansion of AI in medical diagnosis.”

Technological change and innovation are the key themes for Optrafair 20/20, which runs from 4 - 6 April 2020 at Birmingham NEC. Optrafair is owned by FMO, whose Chair Stuart Burn and Immediate Past Chair Andy Yorke have secured a host of keynote lectures from industry leaders.

Regarding his lecture, Keane has said: “I will describe the motivation - and urgent need - to apply deep learning to optometry and ophthalmology, the processes required to establish a research collaboration between the NHS and a company like DeepMind, the initial results of our research, and finally, why I believe that optometry and ophthalmology could be fundamentally reinvented through the application of artificial intelligence.”

Minister confirms importance of AI at Moorfields

Confirming the importance of the research at Moorfields, Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: "This is hugely exciting and exactly the type of technology which will benefit the NHS in the long term and improve patient care”.

Optrafair 20/20, the show with it all

We know time out of practice is expensive and a luxury and that is why the organisers of Optrafair 20/20 have created the most important show of the year in the UK with the widest coverage of all things Optical. Under one roof Optrafair 20/20 provides the education and stimulus your practice needs to kickstart the new decade. A complete showing of fashion, ophthalmic lenses and equipment from every leading company plus the key inspirational speakers that you need to here. We will be releasing news stories about this year's exciting show aimed solely at providing dedicated optical professionals the knowledge they want in order to continue to provide the first-class service they do to the public.

If there is only one show to attend this year it has to be Optrafair 20/20 register now and book your seat at the Kanski Lecture straight away.

Optrafair 20/20 takes place on 4-6 April at Birmingham NEC. Register free to catch Pearse Keane in action alongside a host of other industry-leading speakers.

See Opchat news Optrafair stories as we receive them here.


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