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Opchat Magazine Exhibition and Training pagesExhibition and Education News, April to June 2021


The International Opticians Association (IOA) has opened applications for the 2021 IOA Silmo International Optician of the Year Award
Programme announced for business symposium iDay21
One more sign of emerging "normality".SILMO 2021
ABDO College, first day back!
Join an interactive CET webinar addressing data security needs in sight care
AOP launches virtual events to secure interactive CET points
15 winners announced at prestigious West Midlands healthcare awards
ABDO freezes Course Fees
Entrepreneur Academy launched to support health and social innovators across West Midlands
Archived Exhibition and Education News from January to March 2021

The International Opticians Association (IOA) has opened applications for the 2021 IOA Silmo International Optician of the Year Award

April 2021

The event, recognises the importance of the optician in the optical business.

Fiona Anderson BSc(Hons) FBDO R SMC(Tech) FEAOO, President of the International Opticians Association says, “We are delighted to launch the IOA Silmo Optician of the Year Award again in 2021. The calibre of previous entrants and winners has been astonishing and we hope this year continues to highlight the skills and talents of opticians from around the world. We eagerly await this year’s entrants and are excited to review the applications from outstanding opticians worldwide.”

As well as being able to demonstrate that they are a qualified dispensing optician in the country where they practice, the winner of the 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.

IOA members, country members and industry partners may nominate opticians worldwide. The nominees will be contacted and asked to fill in a dossier. The dossiers will be scrutinised by a panel made up 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 May 7 2021 with a paragraph 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 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 15 August 2021. The winner will be announced at SILMO Paris.

As well as the prestigious award, the winner will also win a trip to Silmo 2022.

To find out more visit

Programme announced for business symposium iDay21

April 2021

Early-bird booking has opened for the popular Independents Day business symposium and the full programme has been announced. Reported erlier this year (see original report)

The one-day event is back following a hiatus of over two years and is returning to the venue and date where it all began in 2005. It will take place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on Sunday July 4.

The symposium will be supported by the iShow exhibition, enabling independents to meet up with suppliers face-to-face. The event sponsors are Visioneering Technologies Inc. (VTI), Birmingham Optical, Topcon, Bausch + Lomb, SynergEyes, Essilor and Positive Impact.

The iDay21 event will focus on ‘The Business of Myopia,’ with its keynote speakers, US optometrist and entrepreneur Dr Gary Gerber OD and his co-founder at Treehouse Eyes, Matt Oerding. Treehouse Eyes is probably the first dedicated myopia management clinic anywhere in the world. Dr Gerber will highlight the challenges and opportunities in establishing the business which currently boasts nearly 50 locations in the US. Mr Oerding will focus on marketing myopia management.

Event organiser Nick Atkins said: “This is the first conference held in the UK dedicated to myopia progression management. In fact, it is possibly the first meeting anywhere in the world focussed on changing our commercial approach from a transactional sales model that simply corrects paediatric myopia, to a therapeutic model of managing a child's myopic progression.”

Other speakers include myopia control specialist optometrist Nick Dash, renowned speaker and communication guru, Sarah Morgan and Nick Black, CEO of award-winning BBR Optometry, who will look at charging for myopia management.

Mr Atkins added: “Considering myopia as a disease that can be treated and ensuring no child is left behind, is the biggest step change in how we practise since the inception of the NHS, not only from a clinical perspective, but from a business one too.”

Event co-organiser David Goad concluded: “With the devastation the pandemic has caused business, it seems appropriate that one of the first live events of 2021 will be focussed on business success, more than clinical skills. We look forward to seeing practitioners on 4th July and celebrating our independence, in all its forms.”

Individual early-bird booking for the event is £129 by May 23 but practices booking for a group of three or more will pay just £99 per person (excluding VAT).

One more sign of emerging "normality".SILMO 2021

April 2021

SILMO 2021 Septmber 24 to 27

The attractiveness of SILMO Paris is reinforced with each edition.

Year after year, the event federates an increasing number of professionals of the optical and eyewear industry around the same objective: to explore the future of a profession that is undergoing profound changes.To visit SILMO Paris is to travel through time in pursuit of a glimpse of one’s own future.

To visit SILMO Paris is to access a multidimensional space where the latest technologies and the trends of the future converge, meet and agglomerate to bring forth new projects, rewarding collaborations, and unique ideas.

So much more than just a fair, SILMO Paris is – now more than ever – the key event of the year for the optical world, and the place where brands and opticians encounter tomorrow’s business and their own future successes.

The Future is SILMO

ABDO College, first day back!

April 2021

ABDO College has welcomed back its first group of students today after a year of online teaching.

Small groups of first and third year students will be attending in coming weeks for focussed practical sessions to compliment the in depth online teaching they have already received this academic year.

ABDO College Head of Operations Steve Hertz FBDO says, “We are delighted to be welcoming back our first group of students to the College building today – just over a year since Lockdown 1.

The feedback around online teaching has been really positive, however a consistent theme mentioned by our students was their will to get back to the College. After the Government roadmap was announced in January, the process of risk assessment as well as class preparation got fully underway and we are so pleased to be in the position to offer intensive practical tuition to our Year 1 and 3 dispensing students who have their all-important end of year practical exams this summer.

Welcome back folks, we’ve missed you!”

To find out more about the College and to apply for courses starting in September, visit

Join an interactive free CET webinar addressing data security needs in sight care

April 2021

Ocuco supports an interactive session centred on addressing data security in optometry on Wednesday 28 April, at 6 p.m. BST.

The webinar will see Optometrist Christopher Bagot of Bagot Opticians raise the security concerns central to providing optometry services across the UK. Security gurus Dom Clulow and Darragh Leahy will then share their expertise in addressing these concerns.

The webinar aims to raise awareness around the importance of maintaining data integrity from both a practical and legal perspective. During the one-hour session, attendees will also have the opportunity to learn more about the steps that can be taken to safeguard data.

Topics covered will include:

• The importance of addressing patient data security needs
• Data security regulatory requirements
• Mitigating the risk of a malware attack
• Factors to consider when selecting a PMS solution

The webinar is accredited for one CET point and attendance is free of charge.

Those interested in attending can register at


Christopher Bagot qualified as an optometrist in 2003; he now works in a team of 22 staff including, his father, brother and wife, in a group of four independent practices. Christopher has always had a particular interest in IT and takes a hands-on role in its provision.

Dom Clulow is a retail solutions architect with proven successful large-scale program delivery across complex IT infrastructure and business functions. He is an expert in advancing IT Governance with a business-led acumen guiding the delivery of innovative retail system applications and bespoke advancements.

Darragh Leahy has been with Ocuco for 7 years and currently holds the position of Head of Cloud and Infrastructure Services. Darragh holds academic qualifications in various fields from a number of institutions and is a recipient of multiple professional certifications in the field of IT.


Interactive CET Webinar
Topic: Addressing Data Security in Sight Care
When: Wednesday, 28 April 2021
Time: 6 p.m. BST
Sign up:

Ocuco is a leading provider of software solutions to the eyecare retail, optometry, ophthalmology and lab markets worldwide. It is a long term supporter of Opchat News and PHN and helps us provide the free independent news resource to over 7500 opticians every day.

Ocuco leads the UK and Irish optical markets with their flagship products Acuitas and Innovations.

Acuitas software suite includes Point of Sale, Practice Management, EHR and eCommerce software solutions for eyecare professionals. Ocuco's leading Lab Management solution, Innovations Enterprise, manages thousands of labs worldwide.

Ocuco was established in 1993 in Dublin by CEO Leo Mac Canna. The company maintains its corporate headquarters in Dublin, with offices in the USA, Canada, the UK, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, China and the Netherlands.

AOP launches virtual events to secure interactive CET points

April 2021

Coinciding with the final year of the CET cycle, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is delivering tailored online events to ensure practitioners can gain interactive points during the pandemic.

For the first time, 100% Optical will be delivered as a two-day virtual event between Sunday 23 and Monday 24 May. On Sunday 23 May, the optical community will come together to learn in the CET-accredited sessions and network with suppliers. Monday 24 May is exclusively designed for eyewear buyers and business owners to meet.

Sessions will be covering a range of topics. The first session on Sunday will be delivered by the AOP’s clinical negligence legal team – looking at how to spot the red flag signs and symptoms of intracranial tumours. The following session will look at the importance of OCT imaging for detecting peripheral retinal disease and the third session will provide an update on myopia management uptake by practitioners.

Another highlight session will look at the role of the tear film in relation to ocular health and contact lens wear.

Commenting on the AOP’s programme, Dr Ian Beasley, Head of Education said: “The AOP-led programme at 100% Optical provides an opportunity to update practitioners on key clinical topics while also offering interactive CET points across a range of core competencies.

“In addition to the education delivery at 100% Optical in May, an extensive range of interactive CET will be available online throughout the year, offering webinars and peer discussions with key target groups in mind, including locums, independent practitioners and therapeutic prescribers.” he continued.

This week, the AOP is launching the April-July events programme. Online events providing interactive CET include a locum webinar on how the IR35 off-payroll legislation impacts locums, an online peer discussion for therapeutic prescribers and a new health and wellbeing webinar on emotional intelligence.

Visit 100% Optical for more information and to pre-register for the event.

To view and book the AOP’s virtual events calendar visit

15 winners announced at prestigious West Midlands healthcare awards

April 2021

The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) has revealed the winners of its esteemed Meridian Celebration of Innovation Awards. The 15 winning teams, individuals or projects from across the West Midlands were announced in last night’s (30 March) virtual ceremony, hosted by TV personality Des Coleman.

Since its launch in 2015, the programme has been celebrating individuals and organisations that are revolutionising healthcare across the West Midlands with new ideas, technologies, and initiatives.

This year, winners have been selected for their continuous work in implementing positive changes to patient care and the region’s healthcare economy; in spite of the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The winners for each category are:

Above and Beyond’ Adoption of Innovation Award

• Winner: Implementation of the PIGF test at UHCW to rule out pre-eclampsia
• Highly Commended: SaTH NHS Trust NELA team

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Management Innovation Award

• Winner: Impulse AF: Improving outcomes for AF patients in the West Midlands

Driving Digital Transformation Innovation Award

• Winner: Dignio Connected Care: Oximetry at Home with Dudley CCG & WMAHSN
• One to Watch: Yokeru
• One to Watch: SnoRelief

Medicines Optimisation and Management Innovation Award

• Winner: A collaborative stakeholder approach to the development of a streamlined medication ordering process

Mental Health Resilience Innovation Award

• Winner: UHB Coronavirus: Your health and well-being
• One to Watch: 24/7 Patient Access Platform for remote monitoring and management of chronic patients by their GP

Meridian Innovation and Improvement Champion Award

• Winner: Gill Phillips - Creator of the ‘Whose Shoes?’ approach which ensures all voices are heard and reduces inequalities
• Winner: Dr Hesham Abdalla – Pioneer of the first healthcare timebank in the UK, supporting over 1,100 members to improve healthcare services
• Winner: Dr Sarb Clare – A national leader in Point of Care Ultrasound who has led and delivered critical education and training in this essential tool
• Winner: Nina Johns – Creator of a remote monitoring solution for expectant mothers and passionate advocate for innovation in maternity
• Winner: Jodie Winfield – Clinical member of the STP Digital Innovation Group and provider of a community-based service to support patients in the Wolverhampton region remain in their home
• Winner: Sarah Sherwood – Implementor of Observation and Escalation of Deteriorating Residents training across 5 CCGS, including over 300 care homes, during the COVID-19 pandemic

MidTECH Award for Best NHS-Developed Medical Technology Innovation

• Winner: The Volunteer Platform: WHAT Edition
• Highly Commended: Patient Connect: Technology based virtual visiting for hospital patients to reduce social isolation
• One to Watch: Fit 4 Surgery

Patient Safety and Improvement Award

• Winner: Embedding Parent Knowledge and Ergonomic Principles in a Paediatric Early Warning System

Workforce Innovation Award

• Winner: Hexitime: the national skill exchange for improving health and care services

Meridian Award – Special Focus on COVID

• Winner: Safe Nasendoscopy assisted procedure (SNAP) by endoscope-i

Tammy Holmes, Head of Innovation Exchange at WMAHSN, said: “We’d like to congratulate all of the winners at this year’s Meridian Celebration of Innovation Awards. We received many fantastic entries and are truly humbled by the work that has been taking place within the region, in what has been an incredibly challenging year.

“The awards ceremony may have been virtual, but we still had a fantastic evening celebrating the successes of those seeking to address challenges and offer tangible improvements to our industry and patient care. I would like to extend a big thank you to the many incredible innovators entering this year’s Awards and to all those who tuned in to celebrate with us.”

Anyone who didn’t have chance to view the awards ceremony on the night can catch up online here:

Meridian Innovation Exchange is a platform open to any individuals or organisations to find healthcare innovations, share ideas, build groups, and grow networks to collaborate and improve healthcare provision across the West Midlands.

The platform helps users showcase their ideas, spread good practice, and bring about change with collaborators from across sectors.

ABDO College freezes Course Fees

April 2021

ABDO College has announced that, for all courses where it sets the fees, fees will be frozen for the 2021/22 session.

Applications will open on 1 April for the ophthalAmic dispensing courses, contact lens and low vision courses and optical support courses including Optical Assistant and Senior Optical Assistant. The decision to freeze fees has been made to reflect economic disruption faced by many optical practitioners in the past year, which still continue for some.

ABDO College Head of Operations Steve Hertz FBDO says, “It is great to be able to tell current student and those hoping to apply for the coming session that course fees will remain at 2020/21 levels for 2021/22. We feel it is important to recognise the difficult year that practitioners have had, and that for many trade continues to be disrupted, which will in turn affect the amount they can invest in training. It is part of ABDO College’s mission to encourage as many people as possible to upskill, which could mean signing up their support staff to the Optical Assistant course, or encouraging committed optical assistants to go on the work towards their FBDO diploma. In freezing the fees we hope that as many people as possible will be able to continue their career development.”

To find fees for each course and to apply, visit

Entrepreneur Academy launched to support health and social innovators across West Midlands

April 2021

The Meridian Health and Social Care Entrepreneur Academy is launching this month (April 2021) which aims to support health and social care innovators across the West Midlands.

The Academy is being led by West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) and will be supported by the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). The new Academy will see a programme of activities launched to identify entrepreneurs within health and social care and develop their healthcare solutions, while addressing current priorities within the West Midlands.

The Academy has two entry points; an intensive, free boot camp that allows attendees to explore entrepreneurship and develop transferable skills. This will be open to all health and social care professionals within the Black Country & West Birmingham STP and registration will be managed through Eventbrite.

An additional six-month, on-the-job workforce development programme will also provide health and social care professionals with the commercial skills, knowledge and experience needed to successfully develop and spread innovative solutions to the health and social care challenges being faced across the West Midlands. Applications will be managed through Meridian and will be open from 1st April 2021.

Tammy Holmes, Head of Delivery (Innovation and Commercial) at WMAHSN and creator of the Entrepreneur Academy, says: “There is no better place to find new ideas and enthusiastic individuals than in the organisations at the forefront of delivering patient care and looking after our communities.”

“WMAHSN is pleased to be working with the Black Country and Birmingham STP in offering both clinical and non-clinical healthcare professionals, from the NHS and from valued social care organisations, the chance to develop their ideas and confidence around healthcare innovation, to really make a difference in the region.

“Helping people achieve their dreams and making their ideas a reality is something I'm personally passionate about. I’m excited to meet the NHS entrepreneurs of the future.”
The academy will launch April 2021 with the first Meridian Entrepreneur Boot Camps taking place in May 2021 and the first cohort of the Meridian Entrepreneur Programme starting in June 2021.


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