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Opchat Magazine Industry NewsIndustry News, January to March 2019

ABC division of Myers La Roche celebrates first sale
Ultra Ltd partners with IED Turin
Kay Pictures Ltd announce discovery of Copyright Infringement
WESTGROUPE USA names new Western Regional Sales Director
Eye-DNA announces a compact kiosk, two new frame collections, and software update.
Mondottica International announces license renewals.
Record growth leads to expansion in size and delivery
HMRC letter provides the latest guidance to businesses about the UK leaving the EU
BELVIE chooses ZED.COMM for European Trade Communications activity as well as the management of Social Media
Heidelberg Engineering appoints new northern sales manager
Read Industry News published from October to December 2018

ABC division of Myers La Roche celebrates first sale

March 2019

ABC from Myers La Roche
Myers La Roche is celebrating a milestone with its first major practice sale in the hearing care market for its new division, Audiology Business Central (ABC).

ABC sold the Heybridge Hearing Centre in Essex to an optometrist practice owner, with the sale completing in a record two weeks. The centre had been successfully trading for five years and had a good patient recall rate, but the owner needed a quick sale and turned to the company for help.

Explaining what the sale means, Myers La Roche and ABC Managing Director, Dominic Watson, highlighted that practice sales in audiology tend to mainly be through hearing aid manufacturers, which limits the market to their customers.

With its parent company Myers La Roche having over 30 years of experience in optics, ABC is able to offer more market exposure for its business owner clients.

“This sale illustrates how rapidly and by how much the optical market is changing,” Mr Watson added. “Practitioners shouldn’t be stuck to a fixed myth on how to grow and sell their business. “There is great disruption across optics now with much change going on in the market but also growth and more opportunities for independents.

“This sale shows that there are huge opportunities to utilise from existing locations and fixed overheads by selling additional services such as audiology.”

Explaining why Myers La Roche entered the hearing care sector over a year ago, Mr Watson said: “There are many synergies across optics and audiology, which we are able to capitalise on. Both have a dynamic and very competitive marketplace, with multiples such as Specsavers meaning that independents more than ever need to be on their game and to differentiate. They need to have their own niche and to be clear who are their customers are, which we can help with.”

Myers La Roche and ABC will be exhibiting at Optrafair later this month (March 30-April 1, Birmingham NEC) on stand C82. They will be discussing their core services of growth strategies and practice valuations, as well as practice sales, exit planning, recruitment and the opportunities of audiology services.

Copies of Mr Watson’s best-selling book, The Rockstar Retirement Programme will also be available on the stand which he wrote to share his expertise in life planning. The book and accompanying portal, aim to help people get the most out of their life and especially their work/life balance.

Ultra Ltd partners with IED Turin

March 2019

Ultra Limited – the eyewear brand owned by the young and growing Italian 450 Srl that has made uniqueness, artisan craftsmanship and color its trademark – recently announced a partnership with IED (European Institute of Design) in Turin. The partnership is a competition dedicated to 31 students in the Packaging course, who will be asked to come up with their own interpretation of the Ultra Limited brand and its visual identity.

After introductory lessons on the brand’s history and product philosophy, the students will be divided into ten working groups, each of which will develop three packaging and visual merchandising proposals for the new Ultra Limited collections.

Their projects will be presented during the final course exams in June and the winning project’s concept will form the basis for the Ultra Limited 2019-20 POP promotional tools and marketing campaign. The projects will be assessed on their ability to combine innovation and inspiration based on the brand’s strengths, as well as their actual feasibility.

According to Tommaso Poltrone, Ultra Limited Co-CEO and Marketing and Export Manager: “We are excited about this project and are positive the competition will afford us and the students a unique opportunity. Ultra Limited is synonymous with creativity, experimentation and exploration: through this initiative, we want to look at new options and be open to the infinite source of fresh ideas and originality that the young design students have to offer.”

IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) was established in 1966 and is now an international school of excellence with all-Italian roots, specializing in higher education and research in the fields of Design, Fashion, Visual Communication and Management. IED is an evolving educational institution; a hub designed to think and rethink its ethos with a clear, sound mission: to offer creative youth a complete education, a “Project Culture” that stays with them for the rest of their lives.

Kay Pictures Ltd announce discovery of Copyright Infringement

March 2019

Kay Pictures Ltd have become aware that Apassamy Associates of Chennai 600 106 India have copied our original Kay Picture Test vision testing optotypes from 1984 and displayed them incorrectly in their IChart Lite, IChart HD and Smart HD digital charts for the past 11 years, together with other random pictures.

Please can fellow eye professionals share this notice to alert colleagues around the world that using this illegal version of our paediatric vision test will not provide the accurate acuity measurement that they would expect from the Kay Picture Test.


Kay Pictures Ltd has not licensed this product, and we are very concerned that medical decisions may have been based on an incorrect test with the Kay Picture Test name on it.
We understand that around 4,500 of these charts have been sold. Please can anyone who has a chart like these in their Apassamy digital vision testing chart please get in touch, via

The directors at Apassamy Associates have been contacted by us several weeks ago to cease and desist but have failed to provide evidence that they have acted on this. We are particularly disappointed that our name is used in their sales literature to promote a test that

Hazel Kay has spent time and effort improving since the very early version.

Below is information from the instruction page in the Apassamy product.

Apassamy Instructions


The new 2016 Kay Picture Test has benefitted from 30 more years of professional knowledge and clinical experience to make it as accurate, reliable and consistent as an optotype test can be.

WESTGROUPE USA names new Western Regional Sales Director

March 2019

Brad Miller Westgroupe

WestGroupe USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Brad Miller to the position of Western Regional Sales Director.

Brad brings with him more than 30 years of sales management experience. Prior to joining WestGroupe, Brad worked for a leading optical company where he led a sales team to incredible levels of success. His knowledge, ability to lead and be a team player will be integral to his success in this new role.

“I am excited about adding someone of Brad’s experience and proven industry success to our management team. Brad brings a great attitude and desire for success over with him and will be instrumental in helping WestGroupe continue to grow in the U.S. market”, says WestGroupe USA’s Vice-President of Sales, Dennis Davis.

“WestGroupe’s philosophy, creativity and energy are inspirational and I’m looking forward to being a strong member of their amazing team”, says Brad Miller.

Eye-DNA announces a compact kiosk, two new frame collections, and software update.

March 2019

The interactive kiosk is now available in a smaller version, which holds 10 frames, and a touchscreen computer running their design app.

The latest v1.7.3 software includes new features such as personal engraving, cloud integration, and ability for opticians to create and share their own collections.

Two new frame collections join the existing four in the shape library. Thin Metals - sleek minimal shapes made from titanium; and Combination - frames comprised of metal temples and bridges, with frame fronts made from acetate, horn and carbon fiber.

Further details about 3DNA:

3DNA eyewear aims to make opticianary more fun and creative by empowering personalized experiences and emotionally connected products. With an easy to use frame design app, ECPs provide user-designed and precisely-fit premium eyewear.

3DNA makes buying eyewear a personal experience, by placing the patient at the beginning of the frame design process, instead of the end. "Try-on, take-off, repeat" is replaced with a collaborative session with opticians whereby the eyewear are rapidly designed and customized.

ECPs interested in differentiating their customer journey or reducing the inventory overhead of mass-produced eyewear, can easily design and order frames on a per-patient basis.

See more in our preview pages for Optrafair Exchange

Black Diamond, The New Blackfin Stand

February 2019

Blackfin StandDiamonds are the quintessence of priceless value in its most tangible sense; a black diamond might be considered the opposite of short-lived.

Blackfin has made cutting-edge product design one of its milestones; its techno-glamour turning point also needed to be acknowledged in the stand ready to be unveiled at MIDO before an international audience. A container that is also the content, not just a sales space but a place for sharing. Sharing of values, of entrepreneurial vision, of a setting in which doing business is also associated with a relaxed cup of coffee, with the feeling that you are a part of something, on a shared journey of growth.

The architecture of the new stand epitomizes the brand’s philosophy. Metal sculpted into form, the black envelope opens to welcome visitors with an impressive gold wall. Inside, the Blackfin concept takes shape through straightforward displays that narrate the products and their story with videos and objects that are an integral part of the narrative. A soaring LED wall towers over the space. The white interior symbolizes the clarity and technical skills that bring elegance into being. Placed almost in opposition, a private area, entirely clad in black metal, ensures the collections can be shown to visitors in a near-intimate setting.

The material qualities of the metal contrast with the temporary nature of the context – a trade show shifts from being a transitory moment to an essential stage on an authentic journey undertaken with a ‘Natural Awareness’ of the direction you want to go.

Mondottica International announces license renewals.

February 2019

Mondottica International proudly announces the global renewal of the eyewear licenses for Hackett London and Pepe Jeans through to the end of 2024.

Hackett London (left) is a classic British menswear outfitter that offers a range of menswear tailoring, weekend attire and accessories, and is proud to offer quality items which cater for a variety of gentleman’s lifestyle needs and daily pursuits.

Handcrafted from the finest materials and meticulously tailored for fit, the Hackett eyewear offering reflects the brand’s aesthetic with a unique collection of sunglasses and optical frames for two ranges, Hackett Bespoke and Hackett London.

Hackett founder Jeremy Hackett says: “Eyewear offers the finishing touch to a gentleman’s outfit and we are delighted to continue our license with Mondottica International making elegant collections and expanding our accessories offering at Hackett London to cater for all men’s needs”.

Born in 1973 on the streets of Portobello in London, Pepe Jeans has been at the forefront of denim-led fashion for the past 46 years, encouraging self-confidence, uniqueness and authenticity.

Instantly recognisable by their striking colourations, bold eye shapes and mirrored lenses, the Pepe Jeans sunglass and optical collections are a breath of fresh air for both adults and kids.


According to Pepe Jeans,(right) "We are very pleased with the renewal of the partnership with Mondottica International and to continue to develop amazing eyewear collections that boast unmistakable Pepe Jeans style".

Mondottica founder and CEO Michael Jardine comments on the renewals: “We are thrilled that Hackett and Pepe continue to be cornerstones of our brand portfolio. Our collaboration goes back almost to the beginning of Mondottica and we would not be the same company today without them. We look forward to continuing our brand partnership and the great mutual growth that has always resulted from it”.

The Hackett and Pepe Jeans sunglass and optical ranges will continue to be distributed through opticians globally, with the sunglass ranges available also through the brands’ own retail networks, websites and selected global stockists.

Record growth leads to expansion in size and delivery

February 2019

OptinetOptinet, the IT services division of the National Eyecare Group (NEG), has declared 2018 its most successful year ever with record installations of its flagship Optinet FLEX practice management system (PMS). Due to this rapid growth, the company has doubled the size of its offices in Malvern, Worcestershire, and opened a dedicated on-site training facility.

Established in 1983, Optinet was born out NEG’s mission to enable its members to order directly from suppliers – saving them both time and money – and to support independent practices in areas such as marketing and communications. Over the years, Optinet has developed more and more features, from patient record and recall to till, diary, stock, dispensing, clinical record and more.

The launch of Optinet FLEX in 2013 took the software to another level, giving users a range of new and enhanced features such as Optical Payment Services, direct debit collection integration, and centralised mailing with Webpost and Docmail. Optinet was the first PMS company to offer a fully integrated option for the Scottish EGOS payments – and this year, Optinet FLEX will integrate with Xero accounting software and the English EGOS system.

To continue improving its software and services, Optinet recently doubled the size of its office space to accommodate its growing customer service and sales teams. The space also houses a new dedicated training facility, allowing practice teams to attend for special training days – such as the ‘new join’ course to bring new members of practice staff up to speed on using Optinet FLEX.

Commenting on these exciting developments, Phil Mullins, NEG Operations Director, said: “From the outset, Optinet’s fundamental aim was to produce an affordable system that was easy for all members of practice staff to use; one that worked with the practice rather than the practice working with the software.
“We are immensely proud of how far Optinet has come over the past 30 years – thanks in no small part to our hard-working Optinet team. We believe that Optinet FLEX is one of the most powerful practice management systems on the market today. We will continue to invest in our success – working with our users to develop the software so that Optinet FLEX remains at the heart of their business success.”

HMRC letter provides the latest guidance to businesses about the UK leaving the EU

February 2019

Whilst the letter is aimed at companies that trade only with the EU, the latter half has some interesting and useful links for those who have mixed sales and mixed supply to and from the EU. Many of the frame brands are either made or sold through from the EU including the Irish Republic which is well known for some service companies like Google and Dell who invoice across the borders.

As well as wholesalers who sell on B2C even some practices purchase goods and services from the EU recognised on their VAT returns. So while we await guidance for those further down the export chain, this letter and its links may at least show some of the Governments early thinking.

HMRC Letter:

HMRC have published their latest letter to UK businesses that trade only with the EU, with details of important actions they need to take and changes to be aware of in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. It is our third letter to businesses on preparing for the UK leaving the EU.

The letter asks businesses to take a number of actions to prepare for no deal. These include:

• registering for a EORI number at Get a UK EORI number to trade within the EU

• deciding if they want to hire an agent to make import and/or export declarations for them or if they want to make declarations themselves using relevant software

• registering for Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP), which is a new process to make importing easier than it otherwise would be for the initial period after the UK leaves the EU, should there be no deal – registration opens from 7 February on GOV.UK.

There are also important updates on the way businesses trading with the EU pay import VAT and use EU VAT IT systems if we leave with no deal. You can read the full letter at Letters on 'no deal' Brexit advice for businesses only trading with the EU.

These changes do not apply to trade across the Northern Ireland-Ireland land border. We will set out information about the arrangements for trading with Ireland as soon as we can.

New guidance

We have also published new guides on GOV.UK on:
Customs procedures

Moving goods to and from the UK

VAT IT systems rules and processes

The guides provide further information explaining what these changes mean for UK businesses that trade with the EU. You can find the guides at Trading with the EU if the UK leaves without a deal.

New ‘Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU’ tool

We have also published a ‘Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU’ tool to help UK businesses find out:

• what they need to do to prepare for the UK leaving the EU
• what’s changing in their industry
• information on specific rules and regulations.

All businesses need to do is answer 7 simple questions to get guidance relevant to them and their sector. You can access the tool at Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU

BELVIE chooses ZED.COMM for European Trade Communications activity as well as the management of Social Media

February 2019

lBelvie FR Belvie the French eyewear brand, result of the passion of Optika, a French optician with 7 shops and a 40-year history in eyewear, has appointed Zed_Comm as press office and media relations agency for communications in the trade Europe communication activities and the management of social channels.

The name Belvie means “beautiful life” and the mission of the eyewear brand is seeks to represent the ideal product for those who are looking for quality, technology and aesthetics in their life also through a glasses frame able to convey the true personality of the wearer. Both the prescriptioneyeglassesand sunglass frames can be recognized for their modern design,paired with sophisticated colors, top quality and handmade materials and a perfectly comfortable fit.

With its two offices in Milan and Verona, the Zed_Comm communications and public relations agency has been in business for 25 years. As well as conventional press office, public relations and advertising consulting services, the agency also offers innovative forms of communication, event organisation and marketing strategies designed to ensure visibility and high performance levels.

The experience it has already gained in the industry with various eyewear, fashion and design industry clients, and its innate versatility, make Zed_Comm BELVIE’s ideal partner, able to offer ideas for innovative, wide-ranging communications.

Heidelberg Engineering appoints new northern sales manager

January 2019

Matthew McCaffrey Heidelberg Engineering has appointed Matthew McCaffrey as the new Sales Manager for the northern region to keep up with increasing demand for multimodal imaging solutions and maintain the high standard of customer service that the company is known for.

Matthew began his career as an ophthalmic technician at Wigan Hospital, where he worked for 13 years, before joining the medical devices industry as an account manager for a leading ophthalmic imaging company.

“I used SPECTRALIS during my time in the NHS as an ophthalmic technician and I always loved the platform”, explains Matthew. “SPECTRALIS was a big part of my life during that time and I am excited to be back working with this incredible technology”.

“I am really looking forward to getting to know all my SPECTRALIS customers and feel passionate about exceeding their expectations. Heidelberg Engineering is renowned for their high customer service standards and I am looking forward to contributing to the team”.

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