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Opchat Magazine Exhibition and Training pagesExhibition and Education News, October to December 2020


CET Rules Consultation by GOC
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers rewards research excellence
GOC launches FtP Focus
All registered clinical ECPs are invited to view PAC Highlights on line with CET provision
Opportunity to join Glaucoma Webinar event at Sussex Hospital
Celebrate the success of Primary Health Care Teams across all providers by viewing the 2020 Awards Lectures
Virtual Imaging Symposium a shining example in how to conduct events online
ABDO Consultation Day spawns Regional Meetings
Optic Disc Dilemmas an important webinar from Heidelberg coming soon
Specsavers delivers clinical conference to 2000 living rooms
Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize goes virtual
AAOF announces the 2020 VINCENT SALIERNO SCHOLARSHIP Recipients
Covid-19 Pandemic and it’s effects on the Pre-Reg population
New Principal for ABDO College announced
Sight Loss Needn't Mean Job Loss - Free 1 Hour Webinar Oct 29th at 4pm
OptiCommerce, launches BYTESIZE, a webinar series with a difference.
ABDO College is supporting the development of dispensing across the world
SILMO 2020 D'Or Awards announce that an unprecedented year deserves an alternative approach!
Three Optometry bodies say funding uncertainty on GOC education plans threatens patient safety and public confidence
More AAOF Fellowships and Grant Recipients announced.
Professor Humphrey Scott appointed as new Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine
Varilux Comfort Max to be supported by large professional package
Archived Exhibition and Education News for July to September

CET Rules Consultation by GOC

December 2020


This consultation seeks stakeholder views on changes we intend to make to our Continuing Education and Training (CET) Rules 2005 (amended in 2012). We are amending our CET Rules in order to underpin the changes that we will introduce at the start of the new three year Continuing Professional Development cycle in January 2022.

This consultation gives stakeholders an opportunity to review our draft amended CET Rules and to provide feedback before we progress with legislative change.

Why we are consulting

We have consulted extensively with stakeholders over changes we intend to make to our current CET scheme. Our aim is to make the scheme more flexible and less prescriptive, allowing registrants greater freedom to undertake learning and development which is relevant to their own personal scope of practice.

We ran a public consultation in 2018 and more recently another consultation from 28 May to 20 August 2020. On 14 November 2020 we sought approval from the GOC’s governing Council to progress with the following changes:

Replacing the competencies which currently underpin the scheme, to the Standards of Practice for Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians.

Allowing registrants more control over their learning and development and the ability to tailor it to their own personal scope of practice.

Enhancing requirements for registrants to reflect on their practice.

Changing the name of the scheme from CET to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). In line with this, from here on in this consultation, we will refer to any future scheme and activities within it as ‘CPD’, and the current CET arrangements as ‘the current scheme’.

Introducing a new proportionate system of CPD approvals.

Consult on a new requirement in our Rules to introduce peer review for dispensing opticians. This would be the same requirement that we currently have for optometrists and contact lens opticians, who are required to do one peer review activity in every three year cycle.

Remove reference in the Rules specifying a set fee of £45 payable by CET providers annuallly to the GOC, instead allowing Council to set the fee at their discretion.

This consultation gives stakeholders an opportunity to review the amended CET Rules to ensure that they do not have any unintended consequences or impact and we welcome any feedback. Once this consultation has ended, we will analyse all the responses before finalising the draft amendments. We will present the amended CET Rules, along with the consultation outcome, to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). In order to amend our Rules we will need legislative change including approval from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Privy Council.

Amendments to CET Rules for consultation 201211.pdf

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers rewards research excellence

December 2020

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) will present bronze medals for excellence in vision research in a virtual ceremony on Thursday 17 December 2020.

The bronze medals are awarded each year by competition. Anyone working in vision research within the UK is eligible and submissions are assessed by a panel of eminent professors drawn from universities and research departments around the UK.

Lewis Fry
The Master’s Medal
for the best first-published paper goes to Dr Lewis Fry (left), a junior doctor and researcher from New Zealand who is completing his DPhil at the University of Oxford.

Under the supervision of Professor Robert MacLaren, his research focuses on genetic disorders of the eye such as choroideremia and retinitis pigmentosa. He is currently working on developing treatments to fix the underlying genetic causes of these diseases using gene therapy and genome editing.

His research investigated why some patients with choroideremia had less severe disease. The team was able to use the findings to deduce the dose of gene therapy that might be required to treat choroideremia patients by replacing their missing copy with a working copy of the choroideremia gene.

The 2020 Ruskell Medal
, for the best paper in the fields of ophthalmology and vision science by a researcher at any stage of their career, is this year awarded to an optometrist who has not yet achieved her PhD.

Reena Chopra

Reena Chopra (right) is an optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and a clinician scientist at Google Health. She is currently a PhD student at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (supported by the College of Optometrists).

In a collaboration between Moorfields Eye Hospital, DeepMind and Google Health, the team were able to train an artificial intelligence (AI) system to predict whether a patient with wet AMD in one eye would develop the condition in their second eye.

Ms Chopra’s research paper, published jointly with computer scientist Jason Yim in the journal Nature Medicine in May 2020, demonstrates the potential for AI to help improve the understanding of disease progression and predict the future risk of patients developing sight-threatening conditions - and in the future could help identify which patients might benefit from preventative treatment.

The winners will attend a special online ceremony introduced by the Chair of the Company’s Professorial Committee, Professor Robin Ali, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics at King’s College London. The medals and accompanying cash prizes will be presented by WCSM’s Master, Mr Huntly Taylor.

Applications will open for next year’s competition in February 2021.

GOC launches FtP Focus

December 2020

The GOC has launched a new e-bulletin which explains its fitness to practise (FtP) process. In the first FtP Focus, Dionne Spence, Director of Casework and Resolutions, describes how the GOC receives initial concerns about less than one per cent of registrants and sets out how:

• “The FtP process is not intended to punish you.

Our objective is to ensure that where concerns about your ability to practise safely and effectively are raised, these are considered in a prompt, fair and transparent manner.”

All registered clinical ECPs are invited to view PAC Highlights on line with CET provision

November 2020

Following on this year's Professional Advancement Conference (PAC) - a series of lectures from PAC is now available to all registered clinicians (Specsavers and non-Specsavers). Each session is worth 1 CET point.

• Recall scenarios in Covid-19, presented by Ross Campbell
Accredited for optometrists and DOs

• Avoiding unnecessary complaints during the Covid-19 pandemic – Same but different! presented by Richard Edwards
Accredited for optometrists, contact lens opticians and dispensing opticians

• Safe CL practice in a pandemic, sponsored by Alcon, Coopervision, Johnson&Johnson, Menicon and Thea
Accredited for optometrists and contact lens opticians

Still to come in January...

• Anterior eye - investigating common cases, presented by Judy Lea
Accredited for therapeutic optometrists, optometrists and contact lens opticians

• Living well, seeing well, presented by Meena Puar and sponsored by Thea
Accredited for optometrists and dispensing opticians

Sign up for Free accredited online learning from PAC here

Opportunity to join Glaucoma Webinar event at Sussex Hospital

November 2020

You will need to register this week.

The Webinar is being organised by Ms Tahmina Pearsall, Consultant Ophthalmologist based at Surrey and Sussex Hospital

The title:

Interpretation of glaucoma related visual fields
(1 CET point)

Clinical problem-solving and case discussion

Date: 30th November 2020
Start Time: 7.30pm
Runtime: Approx 1.5hour+Q&A

Speakers: Tahmina Pearsall & Nick Bradshaw

In preparation for the upcoming community-based glaucoma pathways you are invited to join Ms Tahmina Pearsall, Consultant Ophthalmologist at East Surrey Hospital and Nicholas Bradshaw the Local
Eye Health Network Chair for Surrey & Sussex for the second in a series of CET events.

This LIVE CET event explores visual fields in relation to glaucoma with clinical problem-solving and case discussion.

Awarded 1 CET point with a Q&A at the end.

Date : Monday 30th November @ 19:30

Register Here but be quick!!

Celebrate the success of Primary Health Care Teams across all providers by viewing the 2020 Awards Lectures

November 2020

John Horder Awards Night

The John Horder Awards Evening.

On December 10th at 17.30 you can attend for free the virtual Awards Meeting run by the Royal Society of Medicine GP with Primary Healthcare Section jointly with the Centre for Advanced Inter-Professional Education (CAIPE).

The event online and free, Celebrates Interprofessional Collaboration!

Booking Now Open

The Keynote Speaker will be given by Dr Sanjiv Ahluwalia, who will provide the closing address at 18.25.

Leading up to this address will be this year's award winners presenting their work on which the award was conferred.

17.35 Presentation by the winners of the Team Award

Hester Smeets and colleagues from Zorgnetwerk Eslo (Care Network Esloo) in The Netherlands

‘Interprofessional working in the village of Esloo.’

17.55 Presentation by the runner up for the Team Award

Simon Robinson, an advanced care practitioner working in the Beacon Medical Group in Plymouth

‘An interprofessional educational intervention to support the management of feverish under 6s in primary care.’

18.10 Presentation by the winner of the Student Award

Sirat Lodhi from Manchester University

‘Students as interprofessional learners and teachers: Raising the awareness of the support for young carers in primary care.’

About John Horder

John Horder pioneered primary care to critical acclaim as senior partner in the Kentish Town General Practice in North London establishing and providing support and development for a 28 strong multidisciplinary primary health care team.

He is credited with establishing General Practice as a respected discipline within medicine. With others he founded the Royal College of General Practitioners (as it became) and served as its president from 1979 – 82.

He was President of the Section of General Practice of the Royal Society of Medicine in 1967/8 and was Senior Vice President of the RSM in 1988/9.
John was an Adviser to the WHO and a fellow at The King’s Fund.

Future 2021 Annual John Horder Awards

John Horder Awards Night

Enjoy the presentations and consider entering the 2021 John Horder Awards

The RSM’s GPPHC section & CAIPE jointly present the annual John Horder award to either a nominated or self-nominated individual or team working within the community who can demonstrate outstanding principles of collaborative working.

4000 word, Prestigious Certificate and £600 award

There is also a John Horder Student award, an annual essay award will be offered to a student who has been involved with interprofessional learning or working, within the community. The essay will reflect the experience and learning achieved.

2000-word essay Prestigious Certificate and £150 award

The award are open to all working in primary care and all students hoping to become primary care providers.

"This is an opportunity for those involved in Vision Primary Care to be involved on the bigger stage and to showcase our professions. Watching the Awards Live Event will offer a useful steer to those wishing to enter the 2021 Competition, whose closing date is 14th May 2021.Please pass on this information." Bob Hutchinson, Immediate Past President RSM GPPHC Section.

Further information is to be found here:


Celebrates Interprofessional Collaboration!

Live and Free Webinar Zoom Awards Meeting

December 10th 2020

Start 17.30 expected finish 19.00

Book your free place here

Virtual Imaging Symposium a shining example in how to conduct events online

November 2020

Heidelberg Engineering was due to celebrate its 30th anniversary on the 30th-31st October 2020 with a special edition of the annual International Imaging Symposium. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that the event could no longer take place at the Print Media Academy in Heidelberg, Germany as planned. This did not stop the Heidelberg Engineering Academy team in Germany however, who instead delivered the entire 36-hour programme virtually to more than 2000 participants.

The ambitious Virtual Imaging Symposium (VIS) featured a scientific channel, which comprised of 45 high quality presentations, by a faculty of 44 ophthalmologists and researchers located in 14 different countries across the globe. 43 of the 45 presentations were delivered live, demonstrating exceptional coordination from the team involved, considering they were streaming from multiple different time zones, and provided the opportunity for interaction between both the speakers and the audience. Participants of the VIS were treated to lectures on the present and future of diagnostics from all areas of ophthalmology, with live moderation from Dr. Stephan Schulz, Head of the Global Academy, on stage at the original location in the Print Media Academy Auditorium in Heidelberg. This year, the presentations went beyond the retina and glaucoma content typical of the International SPECTRALIS Symposium and embraced anterior segment and healthcare IT topics as well.

In addition to the scientific programme, participants could enjoy a workshop channel, which featured training on image acquisition using the SPECTRALIS and ANTERION platforms, and image analysis using HEYEX 2, as well as MediSIGHT EMR integration. These presentations included high quality live demonstrations of the products and how to use them, which was another technical marvel.

Finally, the Heidelberg Engineering virtual exhibition booth was launched the same week as the VIS. The booth was attended by Heidelberg Engineering representatives for the duration of the VIS, and visitors had the opportunity to chat live and receive virtual product demonstrations.

“The Virtual Imaging Symposium provides a template for how virtual events should be conducted for the benefit of both the participant and the industry partner”, explains Emily Malbon, Head of UK Marketing and Education, Heidelberg Engineering Limited. “The Academy team organised and delivered the entire event in-house, without the assistance of a professional e-conferencing company, which was not the easy option, but gave them complete control to deliver the educational programme of their dreams. They even had COVID-19 tests and quarantined together for several days so that they could run the show as a team in the original venue.

The event was free of charge to attend, making high quality knowledge transfer accessible to all and raising the standards of education across the industry”.

Congratulations to the Academy team for delivering a highly complex and ambitious virtual programme.

ABDO Consultation Day spawns Regional Meetings

November 2020

Following on from its successful online Consultation Day, ABDO has announced a series of Regional Policy Meetings to take place during December.

These meetings will allow members to discover the latest on national and local policy work, including updates on Covid-19.

ABDO Head of Policy Debbie McGill says, “This new series of meetings sets the way for ABDO to engage with members going forward in 2021. It is your chance to meet your regional team, who is on hand to support you locally. There will also be question and answer sessions, giving ABDO members the chance to have their say. And while we are starting with digital events, we hope that 2021 will give us the chance to offer these events face to face, including the delivery of CPD.”

At the events, ABDO’s head of policy and regional leads will be presenting and consulting on ABDO policy objectives, as well as highlighting opportunities available throughout the UK for dispensing and contact lens opticians to develop and deliver further eye health care.

Alongside this, regional leads will update on ABDO’s work with the representative bodies in each nation and the head of policy will update on ongoing discussions with each nation’s government.

As Covid-19 looks like it will remain top of the agenda for some time to come, each meeting will also be a chance for ABDO to discover how members are managing on the front line, to advise on public health advice in relation to infection prevention and control and personal protective equipment, and to offer advice for employers and employees on practice risk assessments and dispensing to children.

Dates for events:

• Thursday 3 December – Wales
• Monday 7 December – Northern Ireland
• Thursday 10 December – England
• Monday 14 December – Scotland

Find out more and book onto the event for your region at

Optic Disc Dilemmas an important webinar from Heidelberg coming soon

November 2020

Heidelberg Academy Webinar

Webinar Content:

Patients presenting with optic neuropathies occur in all age groups and are often a worry for eye care practitioners. The optic nerve is part of the central nervous system and may offer signs of an undiagnosed neurological disorder. Dr. Greg Heath, Medical Ophthalmologist, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK, will show case studies of patients who presented with neurological symptoms (headaches & unusual visual symptoms), which may indicate presence of optic neuropathies.

Guidance on how to take comprehensive medical histories will be emphasised, followed by a synopsis of the methods employed in assessing optic nerve function, including OCT. Most of the cases studies that will be discussed were referred to Dr Heath by optometrists working in high-street practice or through screening services.

They will demonstrate how different causes of optic neuropathies present, and how they are investigated and subsequently treated.

This webinar is accredited for 1 CET point for UK optometrists and dispensing opticians.

Wed, Dec 9, 2020 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM GMT

Register HERE

Specsavers delivers clinical conference to 2000 living rooms

October 2020


Despite event cancellations and social distancing, optical clinicians benefitted from world-class clinical training at this year’s Specsavers Professional Advancement Conference (PAC) - this year in their own home or in practice.

With an online-only programme, PAC brought together more than two thousand optometrists, contact lens and dispensing opticians, in a truly unique month-long conference.

Delegates attended mass interactive discussion workshops via Zoom - listening to tailored lectures in real-time and using breakout rooms and workbooks to further their clinical knowledge through talking with their peers.

As well as Specsavers practitioners, around 100 self-employed or independent clinicians together achieved more than 12,000 CET points. Practitioners came from the UK, Ireland, Australia, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Finland and Denmark.

Highlights included Adam Wannell from the ophthalmology provider Newmedica sharing his expertise and current research on glaucoma and visual fields. OCT sessions were predictably popular, given Specsavers national OCT programme, with advanced OCT case studies discussed by Jason Higginbotham of Birmingham Optical Group for Nidek.

Judy LeaAnd in a first for the event, a peer discussion was taken online. (Judy Lea pictured right)

The focus was very much on COVID-19, with an opening lecture from Specsavers clinical services director Giles Edmonds outlining the challenges and vision for optometry this year and next.
Giles said: ‘PAC has always been a unique event with excellent clinical workshops – and this year it transformed once again into a four-week long series of online-only live discussions.
‘At a time of unparalleled change, the clinical professions have much to discuss and this was our focus for the clinical training.’

Other sessions on the optical track included a discussion workshop on recalls during COVID-19; varifocal dispensing to domiciliary patients and contact lens practice in a pandemic.

Rather than a poor substitute, the new format was well-received. Lynn Morris, from Athlone sums up the feedback from many people: 'The content this year has been outstanding. Although I miss meeting everyone the structure is so good nothing is restricted by time. Well done. Lots of food for thought and definitely room to think outside the box.’

As well as clinical lectures and discussions PAC included podcasts, behind the scenes interviews, clinical quiz nights, prize draws, product presentations and drop-in clinics which gave delegates the chance to meet with product and equipment suppliers.

The annual PAC is the culmination of Specsavers industry-leading professional education programme which sees more than 40,000 CET points awarded during the CET year.


October 2020

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation, an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and VSP Global® are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. Nearly $164,000 were distributed to several top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.

“We are honored to celebrate these incredible students as they move closer to starting their careers in eye care,” said VSP Global Board Chairman Gordon W. Jennings, OD. “The Practice Excellence Scholarship is another demonstration of our 65-year commitment to deliver support and opportunities for optometry’s next generation.”

The scholarships are funded by VSP Global and administered through the AAOF. In total, VSP has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships to optometry students.

The Practice Excellence Scholarship is a long-standing and prestigious award that represents the very best in what optometry has to offer in patient care, practice management and in the communities. Only two recipients from each of the 25 schools and colleges of Optometry were selected from nomination submitted by their individual institutions. Scholarship recipients were selected based on key criteria including the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, and their clinical and academic performance.

“We are very grateful for VSP’s foresight in establishing these awards and their dedicated commitment to support the future of optometry,” said Pete Kollbaum, OD, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. “Through VSP’s support of these future leaders, and their continued partnership with the Foundation, they demonstrate an unwavering commitment to not only advance optometry but more importantly advance the clinical care patients receive for generations to come.”

The recipients were recognized at a special virtual reception hosted by VSP Global®.

2020 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

• Chicago College of Optometry at Midwestern University — Michael DeStefano & Rema Idriss
• Illinois College of Optometry — Phoebe Chow & Randi-Jo Francis
• Indiana University School of Optometry — Sydney Lehman & Nina Rettig
• Inter American University of Puerto Rico, School of Optometry — Safinaz Gamini & Jessica Bertemati
• Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences — Carolyn Te & Cynthia Noorani
• Michigan College of Optometry — Azra Fazil-Jamal & Amanda Kruse
• Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry — Bryan Grossman & Tyler Boyack
• New England College of Optometry — Jonathan Elin-Calcador & Nathan Bates
• Northeastern State University Oklahoma, College of Optometry — Kayla Cook & Kristina Flaig
• NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry — Erik Kelly & Austin Mason
• Ohio State University College of Optometry — Kirsten Sullivan & Veronica Schuver
• Pacific University College of Optometry — Christina Goodrich & Megan Schmauder
• Pennsylvania College of Optometry — Gina Piorkowski & Tanya Vigdal
• Rosenberg School of Optometry — Bilal Ismail & Michelle Nguyen
• Southern California College of Optometry — Bradley Kovach & Lauren Zabaleta
• Southern College of Optometry – Jonathan Eide & Alec Waters
• State University of New York College of Optometry — Anthony Boyd & Emily Shtull
• University of Alabama at Birmingham — Sarah Kate Day & Whitney Powell
• University of California-Berkeley, School of Optometry —Joanna Toner & Jeffrey Kong
• University of Houston, College of Optometry — Linus Klingler & Sarah Wilting
• University of Missouri–St. Louis, College of Optometry — Katelyn Flood & Kyle Carnahan
• University of Montreal, School of Optometry — Anabel Cormier & Ariane Dupont
• University of Pikeville, Kentucky College of Optometry — Hannah Sigmon & Ambrosia Makini
• University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science — Joanne Han Qiao & Christina Chen
• Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry — Suparna Bajaj & Alexander Bennett

Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize goes virtual

October 2020

Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize 2021 will now be a month-long online learning event.

For the first time ever Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize will be a month-long online learning event.

In response to the current pandemic we have altered the event so that it will be engaging and accessible to all members. Most of the sessions are free to attend and are worth interactive CET points.

"Join us for all the highlights from OT2020, from the comfort of your own home!"

The programme offers a range of webinars, peer discussions and discussion workshops (workshops cost £20) available throughout March.

Sessions include:

Webinar: Urgent ophthalmology cases, 2 March (1 interactive CET point)
Discussion workshop: OCT - differential diagnosis of macular conditions, 4 March (3 interactive CET points)
Online peer discussion, 16 March (3 interactive CET points)
Webinar: headache for optometrists, 17 March (1 interactive CET point)

Find out more and book now.

AAOF announces the 2020 VINCENT SALIERNO SCHOLARSHIP Recipients

October 2020

American Academy of Optometry Foundation would like to announce the recipients of the 2020 Vincent Salierno Scholarships.

2020 Vincent Salierno Scholarship recipients are:

Kenneth Dang New England College of Optometry
Der Vang Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry
Richard Martin Pacific University School of Optometry
Ryan Sandberg Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Sarah Supak University of Houston College of Optometry

Vincent Salierno was on the Board of Directors of the Columbus Hospital in New Jersey.

His family valued and continued his philanthropy. After his death in January 1973, his widow Rose established the Vincent Salierno Scholarship Fund with Foundation to provide scholarships to students in the field of optometry.

Over the past 30 years more than one hundred scholarships have been awarded.

Students pursuing an optometry degree are nominated by his/her institution for this scholarship. Each recipient will receive $2,000 to apply to their tuition. The Vincent Salierno Scholarship is eligible for automatic renewal provided that the recipient maintains a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and is enrolled in a full-time course of study leading to an optometry degree. Continued eligibility shall be determined annually.


October 2020

A survey of attitudes of optometrists in Ireland and the UK towards Digital Eye Strain (DES), and their approaches to its diagnosis and management has been launched by Aston University.

Aston would like to invite you to participate in a research study. Before you decide if you would like to participate, take time to read the below information carefully.

What is the purpose of the study?

At Aston University, we are carrying out a study to determine the attitudes of optometrists in Ireland and the UK towards digital eye strain (DES) and their approaches to its diagnosis and management.

The use of digital devices at work and in everyday life has become ubiquitous in recent years.

A range of studies have shown a very high prevalence of DES, up to 50% or more, which can cause frequent and persistent symptoms for sufferers, and may even reduce the productivity of employees who work with computers. Given its high prevalence, optometrists are likely to examine patients with DES on a daily basis and are well placed to provide professional advice on its management options. So that we can get information about how you deal with DES in practice we have developed a questionnaire which we would like you to complete.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Most of the questions require you to indicate your level of agreement or disagreement to a statement and there are no right or wrong answers.

You must be an optometrist registered in either Ireland or the UK to take part.

Participation in this study is voluntary. It is up to you to decide if you want to volunteer and you will be asked to confirm your participation using an online consent form

If you start the questionnaire, but decide not to complete it and withdraw from the study, you can close the browser and your responses will not be saved. Note that you will not be able to withdraw from the study after you submit your responses as the questionnaire is anonymous and we will not be able to identify your individual response.


In the survey:

You will be asked to complete the short online questionnaire about your views in relation to digital eye strain, its diagnosis and management. In the questionnaire we will also ask some questions about your area of practice, experience and working environment. The questionnaire is anonymous and will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Note, that there is no 'correct' answer for any of the questions.

No personal information that could enable participants to be indentified will be collected. All data collected will be stored on a secure cloud storage device.
Whilst there are no immediate benefits for those people participating in this study, we hope that the results will enhance our understanding of practitioner views on digital eye strain and its diagnosis and management.

Covid-19 Pandemic and it’s effects on the Pre-Reg population: Call to Action from Profession

October 2020

Black Square

We have all faced challenges throughout the global Covid pandemic, Optics has had its fair share of challenges.

One group in the industry that have faced a unique set of challenges is the Pre-Reg population.

At Black Square we have heard of pre-reg’s being let go half way through their placement and high numbers struggling to find a placement at all.

In response to these trying times BlackSquare has launched an initiative to help pre-reg’s find the support they need.

Black Square has asked their client base and larger network if they can support any Pre-Reg students and a lot of companies have responded very positively with either full Pre-Reg placements or offering Pre-Reg’s employment until they can find a placement.

BlackSquare are not charging the Pre-Reg or Client for the placement, it’s totally free.

" We are happy to be helping the optical community in any way we can and we still need employers who are able to take on a pre-reg, with university towns and midlands being the areas most in need.

If you are able to offer a Pre-Reg a placement or assist in any way at all we can help you connect. Email:

New Principal for ABDO College announced

October 2020

Dr Robert Cubbidge will take over as principal of ABDO College from July 2021.

Rob is currently a senior lecturer in Optometry at Aston University. He has held academic posts there since 1998 including programme directorships of the BSc and MOptom programmes. He has been visiting Associate Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark since 2016.

He has had a long association with ABDO and ABDO College and has been an external moderator for the college since 2014.

He has also been an external assessor for the ABDO programme in Malaysia.

His professional interest lay largely in optics and in his own words he has “a passion for lenses and dispensing”. Rob has extensive knowledge of research programmes and will seek to substantially enhance our progress in this area. He has published a number of books and many articles.

Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO says, “I am delighted that we have managed to recruit such a well-known and respected teacher to build on the tremendous work that Jo Underwood has done and I am sure everyone will give him a warm and generous welcome when he takes up his post.”

Sight Loss Needn't Mean Job Loss - Free 1 Hour Webinar Oct 29th at 4pm

October 2020

Every 6 minutes, someone in the UK starts to lose their sight.

Visual Impairment is indiscriminate and can happen to anyone at any stage in their life so some of your employees or colleagues could be struggling with sight loss without you knowing.

They do their best to conceal the fact that they can’t see as well as they used to which often leads to anxiety, sickness absence, frustration and reduced performance.

With adjustments, assistive technology and the right support, employees with visual impairment can, and do, continue to work successfully.

This free webinar will cover the challenges and solutions available to overcome them and is suitable for everyone working in Occupational Health, Health and Safety, Wellbeing at Work, HR and Management.

Please register here

OptiCommerce, launches BYTESIZE, a webinar series with a difference.

October 2020

BYTESIZE is a guided series of 6 digestible webinars (only 25 mins each!) for optometry professionals designed to provide 6 achievable actions to help build a better online presence.

OptiCommerce is a team of digital and design specialists providing website development, eCommerce solutions and digital marketing to the Optical sector. OptiCommerce was founded in 2008 by Co-Founder and current Director, Paul Clare.

As the implications of COVID-19 continue to be felt worldwide, societies and industries, including the eyecare sector continue to adjust to the ‘new normal’. In line with social distancing regulations, a new patient landscape has emerged; the home has become a health hub.

Patients now expect to complete as much of their journey as possible, remotely. Recent studies show that patient purchasing channels have shifted. Online retail sales in the UK have grown over 26% already in 2020 .

The practicalities of this for eyecare are specific and will enable long term resilience for the vocation and industry.

“The eyecare journey is complex and at times individual to a practice. Although parts of this journey cannot be performed remotely there are certain sections that can. Adjusting an existing “bricks and mortar” patient journey to a “bricks and clicks” edition will

1) Assure patients their safety is your utmost concern

2) Keep your practice transacting regardless of any restrictions in your local area

3) Empower your employees (one of your largest costs) to continue delivering exceptional patient service and upselling products”
explains Paul Clare, Co-Founder and Director of OptiCommerce.

The BYTESIZE program begins on the 14th October and will run weekly until November 18th.

It is free to attend and comes complete with a Bricks and Clicks Eyecare Playbook.

The schedule is flexible with two time slots offered per day. Attendees can also choose to take part in all, or specific modules offered by the program.

Topics were chosen because of their unique affect to enhance a practice’s capability to transact during this challenging time.

Topics include; Google my Business and SEO, Social Media, eCommerce solutions, Telehealth and Teleretail, Virtual Try-On and Blogging.

BYTESIZE promises to be another valuable program of webinars offered by OptiCommerce. Asaria Tanveer, from The Vision Clinic describes attending a Social Media workshop, ran by OptiCommerce earlier this year as “excellent, simple to understand and effective”.


Bytesize Schedule

Looking to learn more or register: Click Here

In 2017 Ocuco acquired OptiCommerce after a successful partnership. Today OptiCommerce is a market leading operation based in London.

Their vision: to deliver valuable online changes that work hard for optical business, delivering online leads and driving instore and online conversions.

ABDO College is supporting the development of dispensing across the world

October 2020

As it welcomes 10 students from South Africa onto the ophthalmic dispensing course.

Optics in South Africa has been through a difficult time since a change in employment law. There is only one university in the country that offers a full time three-year diploma course in Ophthalmic Dispensing, which isn’t a route of study that’s available to all. As a result, ABDO College is delighted to have 9 students from South Africa on the FBDO (Overseas) course, to help the profession grow and develop.

Dr FlesizigThis move is supported by the South African Optometric Association, which includes dispensing opticians in its membership. Jorina Lombard (right) says, ““Having only one institution in South Africa that hosts the dispensing course on a full time basis and no option for part-time studies, ABDO College has given us a platform for distance learning that means the world to our profession. We have so many people working in an optical environment who wishes to further their careers and by having the opportunity to study through the distance learning option, it enables them to do so.

“We are absolutely thrilled about the number of students that enrolled for the first year and I am excited to say that we already have a great interest for next year as well. We are humbled and grateful for the support and effort that we received from ABDO – a special thank you to Sir Anthony Garrett of ABDO and Mr Steve Hertz of ABDO College. They absolutely went the extra mile for us.”

"Like all ophthalmic dispensing students, the South African trainee DOs will complete weekly modules online, and gain hands on experience in practice. Boots Opticians (UK) has also donated a set of books for each student to help them get started. Les Thomas FBDO, Learning & Development Specialist at Boots Opticians says,

“We were delighted to be approached by ABDO College to donate a number of textbooks for South African Student Dispensing Opticians to help with their development in the field of ophthalmic dispensing. We sincerely hope that our donation in collaboration with ABDO College will enable an increase in the number of qualified dispensing opticians in South Africa, so dispensing services can be expanded to a wider population of patients requiring them. At Boots Opticians, we would like to wish these students all the very best with their studies.”

Amanda Visser

South African student DO Amanda Visser (left) says, “I am hoping to complete the ABDO Dispensing Opticians course so that I can take up frontline training again to provide knowledge to more frontline assistants in South Africa. We have such a shortage of dispensing opticians, and my aim is to empower other students to such a level of understanding , that they too will feel they want to take on the journey of becoming a dispensing optician.”

South African student DO Elmar Deysel says, "I think the course will benefit me in the long run to give me a lot more opportunities and knowledge. The course has already made me realize that there is a lot more to dispensing than just choosing frames and lenses. I would also like to use the knowledge I build up now, to help me share and assist others who is interested in oispensing."

If you are interested in courses from ABDO College available worldwide, visit

SILMO 2020 D'Or Awards announce that an unprecedented year deserves an alternative approach!

October 2020


For the first time, the SILMO d'Or award ceremony will be broadcast live on our social networks on Saturday 3 October at 2pm

We couldn’t imagine not supporting those exhibitors who have continued to launch products revealing their talents despite the lock-down.

The Silmo d’Or awards are a compelling spotlight of the entire industry.

The trade fair has adapted to the current situation with an itinerant version, Hors les Murs (Outside the Walls).

How to join in

Saturday 3 October at 2pm on :

Facebook Silmo Paris



Our website

We couldn’t imagine not supporting those exhibitors who have continued to launch products revealing their talents despite the lock-down.

The Silmo d’Or awards are a compelling spotlight of the entire industry.

Three Optometry bodies say funding uncertainty on GOC education plans threatens patient safety and public confidence

October 2020

Joint statement from the Association of Optometrists, the College of Optometrists and the Optometry Schools Council

(The Optometry Schools Council (OSC) represents the collective views of UK institutions providing GOC accredited optometry programmes. Further details, including a list of members, can be found at

The General Optical Council’s proposed new framework for optometric education is untested – and it isn’t yet clear whether education providers will be funded to deliver it safely.

The Association of Optometrists, the College of Optometrists and the Optometry Schools Council are concerned that this could significantly disrupt future optometry education and training, affecting patient safety and public confidence. We are urging the GOC to agree to monitor this risk closely and only confirm the new framework when it is clear that it is financially viable for providers.

What’s happening

The GOC is currently consulting on final proposals for the new Education Strategic Review (ESR) framework, and is aiming to agree them by December 2020. The consultation closes on 19 October 2020. The AOP, the College and the OSC will all respond to the consultation, giving our individual perspectives and views. But we are making this joint public statement now because we agree the risks around funding are critical, and could cause serious damage to optometry education and training.

The ESR proposals would change the regulatory requirements that optometry education programmes in the UK have to meet.

To enable innovation, many aspects of the new framework are less specific than the current rules. However, the model also imposes new conditions, including the requirement that providers must offer an integrated path to GOC registration, incorporating at least 48 weeks of clinical experience organised by the provider.

This is a substantial change from the current two-stage process, whereby most students undertake a BSc degree followed by a separate pre-registration phase. It will require providers to arrange, manage and quality assure a high volume of placements, which will carry a substantial cost for the providers.

The risks

There are differing views in the optical sector on whether change on this scale is needed, and what the benefits maybe. At times, the GOC has suggested that the practical changes providers have to make may be modest. But, in our view, the level of change for education providers, and for employers and supervisors providing placements, will be substantial.

The AOP, the College and the OSC have all previously said that the GOC must think through the funding implications before introducing such major changes.

The GOC has done some work on this but we have deep concerns that, in the draft Impact Assessment published alongside the current consultation, the GOC has made no assessment of the financial impact its proposals will have on education providers. It has only asked providers to give their views in response to the consultation.

The GOC has recently commissioned consultancy advice on this issue, to inform its Council’s decisions on the new framework; however, the final report will not be available until after the end of the consultation.

We do not think the timeframe and funding for this commissioned work is proportionate to the complexity of the funding implications of the ESR across the four nations.

This inadequate approach will not allow time for informed public scrutiny and debate on the likely financial implications of the ESR before the planned GOC Council decision on the framework in December.

This is not just an abstract concern. If the GOC agrees a final framework that providers cannot afford to deliver, then some providers will exit the market – reducing student choice, cutting the number of trained optometrists available to join the register each year, and impacting on the fulfilment of patient care needs. Other providers may struggle to deliver the new requirements, leading to training that does not meet the revised standards.

Either outcome would threaten patient safety and public confidence in the profession – the things the GOC exists to protect.

The COVID-19 pandemic has considerably heightened these concerns. It is clear that universities are already facing massive resource and capacity pressures because of recent events, but it is too early to tell what the long-term impact will be. The additional financial uncertainty created by the ESR, including for optometry employers that invest in, support and depend on optometry workforce supply, will provide additional challenge and insecurity for providers to manage.

What we are calling for

At this point the AOP, the College and the OSC are not arguing that the new framework should be completely dropped. We believe that the proposals include some positive changes that should not be lost. Each of us will set out our own views on the way forward in our own consultation responses.

Ahead of that, given the high level of uncertainty over the financial impact of the ESR on providers, we are jointly calling on the GOC to:

1) Confirm that it will work closely with education providers and other stakeholders to address the likely financial impact of the proposed new framework and the sourcing of funding to deliver it

2) Commit to establishing that the new model is financially viable in all four nations before taking the final decision on approval

In a separate and subsequent News Release ABDO adds its opinion

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) welcomes the joint statement from the Association of Optometrists, the College of Optometrists and the Optometry Schools Council highlighting the threat to patient safety and public confidence resulting from the current uncertainty about the impact of the GOC’s education plans and how they will be funded.

ABDO welcomed the Education Strategic Review’s original aim of ensuring that student dispensing opticians and optometrists are prepared for the roles of the future and remains committed to working with the GOC, and fellow representative bodies, to ensure that the optical education system delivers consistently high standards and supports extended scopes of practice.

ABDO highlighted at the start of the consultation, however, that the GOC has failed to publish any estimates of the costs of implementing and running its proposed new system and has not provided any explanation of how these costs would be met. It also failed to provide any analysis of alternative options so the relative costs and benefits can be assessed.

Sir Anthony Garrett CBE HonFBDO, ABDO General Secretary says, "Before the GOC makes any final decision, stakeholders must have an opportunity to scrutinise the costs and benefits of both the proposed new system and other viable options. And before making any final decision, the GOC must be able to demonstrate that any changes can be funded and will deliver tangible improvements in the quality of education for the benefit of patients, students, commissioners and employers throughout the UK. The huge financial and practical challenges faced by education providers and optical practices as a result of COVID-19 make it even more vital that any changes to the education system are properly thought through and can be delivered."

More AAOF Fellowships and Grant Recipients announced.

October 2020


The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), in partnership with the Allergan Foundation, is pleased to announce two grant recipients this year in the areas of the anterior segment and glaucoma.

The recipient of the Allergan Foundation Grant in the area of the anterior segment is Suzanne MJ Fleiszig, OD, PhD, FAAO. Dr. Fleiszig is a Professor of Optometry and Vision Science, Microbiology, and Infectious Disease & Immunity at the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry.

Dr Flesizig
As the principal investigator, Dr. Fleiszig has been awarded a $60,000 grant for her project, “Relationship between COVID-19 and the Eye.”

Her collaborative team of co-investigators include Eva Harris, PhD; University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health and Abby Kroken, PhD; University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry

Dr Stacey Choi The recipient of the Allergan Foundation Grant in the area of glaucoma is Stacey S. Choi, PhD, FAAO. Dr. Choi is an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Havener Eye Institute.

As the principal investigator, Dr. Choi has been awarded a $60,000 grant for her project, “Characterization of inner retinal changes in glaucoma suspects in comparison to glaucoma patients and age-matched controls through adaptive optics retinal imaging.”

Her collaborative team of co-investigators include Nathan Doble, PhD, Mark Slabaugh, MD, and Shelly Jain, MD; all from The Ohio State University,
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Havener Eye Institute.

These highly competitive grants are awarded to talented optometrists and/or vision scientists, who are Academy Fellows, and are currently undertaking cutting edge research in the areas of glaucoma and/or the anterior segment. This is the seventh year the Allergan Foundation has sponsored this generous grant through the AAOF.

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation is pleased to partner with the Allergan Foundation to recognize individuals whose work will contribute to the future of optometric care. “We congratulate Drs. Fleiszig and Choi and their expert clinician-scientist teams on their grants. Their cutting-edge research will directly improve the care we are able to provide for our patients,” said AAOF President Pete Kollbaum, OD, PhD, FAAO.


The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), is pleased to announce the 2020 David and Diane Goss Optometry History Fellowship recipient. Tiong Peng Yap, OD, PhD, FAAO, is a Private Practice Fellow at the IGARD Group in Singapore.

Dr TP Yap.
This fellowship provides support for an individual pursuing research in optometric history. His proposal topic on the history of optometric education in Singapore, was chosen out of five very competitive proposals. Dr. Yap will receive a $1,000 fellowship to further his research.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Yap as well as the other recipients on these impressive honours.

Professor Humphrey Scott appointed Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine

October 2020

Prof. Humphrey Scott New Dean of RSM Professor Humphrey Scott has been appointed Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine, a leading provider of postgraduate education and learning to the medical profession and wider healthcare teams. He will take up the post on Friday 23 October 2020.

Humphrey Scott is a consultant general and colorectal surgeon working in the NHS and is Head of the School of Surgery and Associate Dean for Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex. He is Visiting Professor in Medical Education at Canterbury Christ Church University and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators and the Faculty of Surgical Trainers. In 2012 Prof Scott was awarded the 2012 Silver Scalpel for Trainer of the Year by the Association of Surgeons in Training.

As RSM Dean, Prof Scott will work with the Society’s Academic Board and senior management team to lead substantive changes to the way in which medical education is delivered to healthcare professionals, including trainee doctors who have experienced significant challenges in continuing their specialty education as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Professor Roger Kirby, President of the Royal Society of Medicine, said: “We are delighted that Humphrey Scott is joining us as Dean. He became a member of the RSM as a trainee and since then has been involved in the work of several of our Sections, most recently as President of our Section of Coloproctology in 2017/18. His intimate understanding of the organisation will be of enormous benefit and allow him to play a strategic role in delivering the radical changes required to allow the Society to thrive in the future.”

Prof Scott said: “I am very excited and enthused by this fantastic challenge and the opportunity to support the delivery of excellent medical education to a multi-disciplinary workforce.”

Prof Scott takes over as Dean from Dr Fiona Moss CBE, who will be stepping down after five years in the role this month.

Varilux Comfort Max to be supported by large professional package

September 2020

Varilux Comfort Max The latest Varilux lens the Comfort Max is to be supported by a large educations, social media and promo package both B2C and B2B.

You can read about the new lens launch here and about the making and innovation of the lens here, both reported on Opchat News.

But here let us take you through the background information Opchat News received at the product PR launch today.

As the MD Tim Precious said, these have been challenging times for all industry players bur Essilor has provided new launches, improved webinars for CPD and deferred payment schemes for necessary equipment during the pandemic.

Andy Hepworth introduced the Varilux Comfort Max as providing a huge leap in comfort from the previous lens design.

It provides a great number of increased viewing positions for a wide range of prescriptions from high myopes through to high hyperopes with a standard seg ht max of 17mm and a short seg ht availability of 14mm.
Read our story about how Essilor used the latest technology to make this significant technical link.

So how will Essilor assist the optician to promote the lens?

Firstly, opticians will be receiving e-newsletters with all the information they will need. Plus, Social Media, Facebook and What’s App will be used for communication.
The key part of the full frontal Essilor approach will be training.

This will comprise of


Go to Market Product Brochure and Crib Sheet

For those more technically minded a “White Paper”

Free Fits

And for the first time a helpful guide in communicating to patients assisted by psychologists to particularly assist in conversations with young first time presbyopes.


Varilux Comfort Max

All Max lenses will be available in Transitions Signature Gen 8 plus all available tint colours and mirrors.

The lenses can have Blue Light Protection and are available in High Index 1.74

The AVA system announced this year is also available giving 1/100th Dioptre accuracy

The Optifog coatings along with all other current coatings are also possible


All lenses have a Px 60-day guarantee allowing the Opticians a full 100-day return time.


There are A1 and A2 Posters plus an A4 show card and Cube Shelf promoter.

Other additional marketing is available e.g. Billboards etc


For the public the lens will be added to the Multi Pair Promotions
The “Take Two Offer”

For the opticians:

They will receive a virtual scratch card number which online they can check to see if they have one anything from an Amazon Voucher to Kuoni Travel Vouchers. Didn’t win with first number? Then answer a question on the Max and get a second number for a second chance!

You can order all POS and Social Media blogs from

The public will be reached by fashion journal inclusions and practitioners can use Essilor’s Recall Hub to assist in marketing B2C

See the launch Info here

Read about the making of the Best Lens being bettered here.


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