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Opchat Magazine Exhibition and Training pagesExhibition and Education News, January to March 2021


Applications now open for Optical Assistant training in Scotland
Management & Leadership qualifications for those in Optical Industry
Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum
CET Rules Consultation by GOC
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers rewards research excellence
Archived Exhibition and Education News for October to December 2020

Applications now open for Optical Assistant training in Scotland

January 2021

Applications have now opened for the Scotland Level 5 and 7 Certificates in Optical Care.

The courses receive generous funding from NES Optometry, so employers need only pay £200 (Level 5) or £250 (level 7) per person, with everything they need included in the small fee.

Places are strictly limited on a first-come-first-served basis.

For the third year in a row, the courses are being delivered by Insight Optical Training.

“Despite the pandemic, we had really good feedback from our 2020 learners and have made several updates and additions to the training materials to make sure that they remain engaging, relevant, and up-to-date” We are extremely pleased to be continuing our partnership with NES”.

Anthony Blackman – Director of training

About the Courses

These courses are designed to give optical assistants the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the best possible eyecare to every patient.

Level 5 is an entry-level qualification ideal for those who have not studied for a significant length of time, or for those that need a gentle introduction into the world of learning.

Our Level 7 course is slightly more challenging and may be progressed to upon passing Level 5.

In Summary

• Start in April 2021
• Finish in December 2021
• Qualifications are endorsed by NCFE – a national awarding body
• The small fee includes course materials, three workshops and the assessment
• A range of online resources, including lectures, videos, quizzes and activities
• Supported by a printed colour training manual and an experienced personal tutor

Applications can be made online at

NB: Applications go live on Thursday the 21st of January.

Management & Leadership qualifications for those in Optical Industry

January 2021

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians’ (ABDO) Level 5 Management & Leadership qualification is now available to everyone working within the optical industry.

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 training courses are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) which also assesses and awards the qualification.

ABDO members have been able taking part in the training and qualifications since launch in April 2020, with 29 students studying towards diplomas and certificates. Students say that the courses are relevant, resources are easy to locate and use, tutors are easy to contact and respond in a timely fashion with the relevant information, and the courses are good value for money. All students said they would recommend the courses to others.

Mark Turner FBDO SMC(Tech) is working on the diploma and says, “I never realised there are so many tools and theories which can help you in developing, managing and leading individuals. I’d advise always to try and stretch yourself a little: this course offers just that and will be useful to anyone who is already in a similar role or looking to further their career. The tutoring has been very productive: the tutors will check, guide and give constructive feedback on your work. I’d absolutely recommend this course to others.”

Nick Walsh, ABDO’s Sector Skills Development Officer says, “These 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 adds, “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.”

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 Management and Leadership Training is entirely via e-learning and with the support of a tutor, removing the need for time away from the business to complete study. The qualification can be completed at either a diploma or certificate level.

To find out more, go to

Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum

January 2021

This event is free and virtual.

Glaucoma 360

Join us for the 10th annual New Horizons Forum – this year a virtual event – dedicated to speeding the development of new therapies and diagnostics for glaucoma patients.

Register Now.

There is no registration fee for this year's event

Participate in a half-day of virtual panels, presentations and discussions dedicated to the worldwide advancement of glaucoma drugs, devices and drug delivery systems.

View the preliminary Agenda

Who Should Attend

• Early-stage company CEOs and executives

• Business Development and other representatives from companies that offer pharmaceuticals, devices, drug delivery, and IOP monitoring for glaucoma patients

• Key Opinion Leaders, scientific innovators, and leading ophthalmologists and Optometrists

• Industry executives, Venture Capitalists, Clinical Research Organizations

To ensure the health and safety of attendees and speakers, the 10th Annual Glaucoma 360 will be hosted on a global virtual platform.
There is no registration fee for this year's event for the 10th Annual New Horizons Forum on January 30, 2021.

We look forward to seeing you virtually!
Adrienne L. Graves, PhD
Glaucoma 360 Founder & Co-Chair

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.


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