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Opchat Magazine Industry NewsIndustry News, January to March 2020

MEI srl donates 500 thousand euros for the Coronavirus emergency
Norville to provide emergency replacement specs
Lens Companies still providing services during pandemic.
Cantor & Nissel remain open to assist Practices in emergency work.
WinIPRO PMSbuilds on its reliability reputation.
The International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT), warning on fake stem cell covid tech
New Statement from the Chancellor late last night
Newly Appointed Professional Services Consultant for UltraVision
Covid brings back difficult times to our businesses, things to do and check ahead of the slow down
Covid-19 knock on affects on business and what to do form
IPRO appoints experienced optical pro to head UK operation
Optinet purchases PCS Cheltenham assets and IP PMS Systems
HMRC update on off-payroll working reforms I35 especially affecting Locum workers
FMO welcomes three more new members
We are Big in Japan
LOOK – made in Italia: For over 40 years providing independent choice to protect customers
Safilens: New Partnership with Dutch firm Ote’
Colourful collaboration announced
MONDOTTICA INTERNATIONAL announces management changes
Blackfin – timeless memories the new advertising campaign
Read the archived Industry News from October to December 2019

MEI srl donates 500 thousand euros for the Coronavirus emergency

April 2020

To face the Coronavirus emergency MEI, the global leader in the production of lens edging machines, wanted to manifest its solidarity by contributing to the fundraising initiatives launched in the area of its Italian headquarters. Bergamo, Italy is one of the cities most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in the world.

MEI Headquarters
MEI, with the support of its not-for-profit MEI Foundation, donated € 150,000 to the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo and another € 150,000 to the Health Protection Agency of Bergamo.

Furthermore, MEI wanted to support research assuring that the path taken by the Italian Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research can help contrast the Coronavirus emergency. MEI has therefore decided to support the Institute with a contribution of € 200,000.

"With these donations we wanted to give concrete support to our community and communicate our gratitude to all the healthcare professionals and researchers involved in this emergency. The situation is dramatic, the needs are many, from logistical to instrumental ones." - explains Stefano Sonzogni, president of MEI - "Certain that we will win this battle, we hope that the situation will soon return to normal."

MEI Foundation has been active for several years in solidarity projects mainly related to the treatment of vision diseases, especially for pediatric patients, in different parts of the world.

MEI products are available from Mainline Instruments, a supporting sponsor of Opchat News your free ECP News source written by ECPs.See their page here

Norville to provide emergency replacement specs

April 2020

Lens Checking by Norville
Emergency specs are available from Norville, which is at the forefront of responding to the demands of COVID 19 by continuing to support High Street opticians, and hospital eye clinics around the UK.

The Norville labs in Gloucester, Seaham, Bolton and Edinburgh are set up to produce and dispatch specs, on the same day, to the patient’s home address via Royal Mail.

Following verification by a current ABDO member, Norville will make the emergency specs – for both adults and children - from its safety eyewear collections for PPE requirements, and from the long established Allyn range of 23 frames.

Chairman, Frank Norville explained, "This modified procedure, now confirmed by The College and GOC as acceptable even for children’s spectacles, will meet the needs of those who have damaged or broken their specs and need instant help. "

Frank Norville Chairman Norville

" Our Allyn range includes an extensive choice of metals and acetates with a selection of sizes from 48mm to 60mm. Single vision stock range can be produced and dispatched on the same day, surfaced perhaps similar, but tints or MAR to surfaced range will extend the timing slightly,”

Aware of the need to maintain GDPR protocols, the dispatched specs will be mailed with a case and a “With Compliments” slip, bearing the practice name.

“The government has instructed optical practices to continue to provide urgent eye care throughout the crisis to enable people in need, and key workers, to access essential eye care which cannot be postponed. We hope this service will cover any emergency Rx supply requests. Of course, if it is a replacement for a previous order processed by us we will have the exact details in our Rx data base. Having the date of the supply will help to speed up the process.”

There will be no extra service charge for emergency spectacle supply. The cost will be charged to the practice’s account with a £4.50 postal charge.

Lens Companies still providing services during pandemic.

March 2020

FMO provides a list of surfacing and glazing companies available to perform emergency glazing during the Covid Pandemic

The list includes a list of both FMO members and others who currently provide staff to offer assistance for emergency work required by practices. Obviously the situation is fluid but as of now these lens companies are here to help.

The story follows the information provided by Cantor and Nissel announcing their continuation of emergency assistance.

PHN will publish shortly a fixed banner that will link to an archived list of all optical manufacturers prepared to work through the pandemic under our dispensing briefing area.

If your company should be highlighted from whatever sector please ask us to add you to the list. Send to PHN at

FMO Members* and others

Caledonian *


01224 596 006

Dunelm *


01388 420 420

Essilor *


01454 281 281

Hoya *


0844 873 1110

Eye Index *


01480 499 600

Itec *


01582 594 405

Norville Group *


01452 510332

One Optical * 


0141 643 0639

Quincey Eyewear *


01872 571615

Rodenstock *


01474 531122

Zeiss Vision *


0845 300 7788

Advanced Optical


01494 726 037


Barnsley Optical


01226 390481



01254 705402

Berkshire Labs


01635 865050




0131 661 4555

Independent Optics


01954 231545

Industrial Eyecare

St Helens

01695 581222

Jai Kudo


020 8732 9600          

JLL Optics


0141 763 1558

JS Optical


01562 862409




029 2088 3009



0191 271 5050




0151 420 4080        

Optimum Coatings


01524 541540

PKP Optics

Paddock Wood

01892 837979


Pollard Optical


07722 011914

Sales Optical


01722 331544


Tant Labs

Bishop Stortford

email only



02380 429 660

Whatever goods and services you can provide the practices remaing open and wish to be added to our list please send:

Product/Goods Type; Company Name; Town; Telephone Number; Email. to mail

Cantor & Nissel remain open to assist Practices in emergency work.

March 2020

Cantor and Nissel open
Cantor & Nissel remains open, albeit with reduced staff, to offer a service for those needing our extensive range of contact lenses, almost all Medical Devices.

From bandage lenses to artificial eyes, we can supply a large range of lenses in these difficult times.

David Cantor started the original company in 1964 , taking over G.Nissel & Co in 2000.

The company manufactures a complete range of cosmetic and prosthetic soft and rigid lenses together with lenses for a variety of eye conditions.

In fact , almost anything except disposable and moulded products.

The company remains open to provide a service , albeit with a reduced staff .

WinIPRO PMSbuilds on its reliability reputation.

March 2020

WinIPRO, the European practice management system, has launched a new payment plan with rental and one-off price options.

Starting at just £170 per month for a five year winIPRO RELAX contract, the modular system offers great flexibility which is designed to incorporate as many modules as the practice team wish to utilise. The RELAX contract includes the appointment, referral, recall SMS and email, dispensing, contact lens, and remote support modules. Longstanding customers praise the stability of the system and, for many, the fact that it is not cloud-based is a tremendous asset –

“When the internet goes down the practices can just carry on working. It also makes it a very valuable option for those who do home visits, or who work in remote areas of the UK. Our customers keep telling us that they like having autonomy of their customers’ details, rather than cloud-hosted. They also like the fact that small groups are networked to each other and sometimes to a hub lab,” said Carlton Plaatjes, Head of IPRO UK.

The choice to integrate with diagnostic technology, OCT, visual fields, 3D scanners and data mining for the most bespoke recall means that many practices have a very longstanding record with IPRO. Others are being drawn to the software thanks to its hearing aid management system which integrates with NOAH, the de facto standard for hearing devices –
Robert Gough, Dispensing Optician Manager of Praills Opticians in Fareham, Hampshire, has been using winIPRO for 15 years –

“It is very flexible, straightforward, and it never goes wrong! It does what it says it will do on the tin, and the price is very reasonable. The fact that it can link up all the retinal equipment and visual field screeners is very good. We make a lot of use of diary and the online booking function, dispensing, stock control, and epos modules. What really stands out is the way we use recall – we send out more than 40 different types of letters – glaucoma recalls at 3 or 6 months, children’s eye tests, OCT scans and just about everything else,” said Robert.

Alan Verrinder, the Dispensing Optician owner of his eponymous practice in Tewkesbury, has been using winIPRO for 18 years –

“It works! The workshop module works very well with our own lab, and we utilise ordering, cash system, EPOS, appointments and document management. The reminders module is very good and we do a few each day so that we never have a great surge. The support is also great.”

The three Probert and Williams practices in a 36 mile radius in West Wales are linked together which makes it very useful for appointments and stock control, explained Gruff Williams, Practice Manager of the Aberaeron branch –

“We like the fact that the system is modular and that you can tailor it to your own requirements. Appointments, reminders, and the great dispensing model which keeps a tally of costs for patients is very useful. It also tells you if the lenses are going to work with that specific frame. We are not the most computer literate team but everyone finds their way around the system very well,” said Gruff.

Joy Gerhard, Administrator of Stony Opticians, Buckinghamshire, said the practice has been using winIPRO for more than 20 years –
“We made the right choice! We have always been very happy with the system. It is so quick and easy to use. No more writing everything down – it is very efficient.”

Carlton Plaatjes added –
“The fact that winIPRO integrates into a lab of choice is very important for many of our 3,000+ users in Europe. Every day they demonstrate – through their use of our system - that optics is so much more than just selling glasses.”

*Data transfer from other systems is also available.

The International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy (ISCT), warning on fake stem cell covid tech

March 2020

ISCT is the global society of clinicians, researchers, regulators, technologists, and industry partners dedicated to the translation of cellular therapy into safe and effective therapies to improve patients’ lives, today and announces it is discussing with scientific and industry organizations and regulators a range of actions against the proliferation of unproven and untested ‘stem cell’–based therapies with claims to treat COVID-19. It also urges patients and families to consult expert medical professionals for the most accurate available information on treatment options.

“Organizations across the life science industry, including the cell and gene therapy (CGT) sector, are currently united in the key focus of finding evidence-based treatments and vaccines for the current COVID-19 pandemic. These therapies and vaccines could save vast numbers of lives globally,” said Dr Daniel Weiss, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of ISCT. “It is critical that these vital and urgent efforts are not hampered by unscrupulous companies profiting by offering false and unproven interventions. These false interventions can cause immense harm by eroding the confidence of the public, investors, and the wider communities in the medical and biopharma sectors at the very time it is needed most.”

ISCT set up its Presidential Task Force in 2014 in its ongoing commitment to address the rise of commercially available unproven cell and gene therapy treatments. In October 2019, it formed a cell and gene therapy sector-wide coalition of organizations across the globe to combat the rise in the number of unproven commercial cell banking services. The PTF also publishes a biennial report detailing global CGT with market authorization which patients and physicians can utilize to make informed decisions on treatments. ISCT is currently in conversations with its consortia partners, as well as regulators and governments globally, regarding options to prevent organizations operating outside of current clinical guidance.

Prior to the current COVID-19 pandemic, ISCT identified that the unproven cell therapy market is currently worth up to USD 2.4 billion and involves approximately 60,000 patients annually, paying up to USD 40,000 per treatment. ISCT believes that during the current COVID-19 climate, the number of patients and the costs of these ‘treatments’ will considerably increase.

“The current climate of a quickly spreading COVID-19 infection and a lack of approved treatments creates a perfect storm that results in a plethora of unethical organizations offering unproven therapies. These organizations offering untested therapies outside of proper clinical pathways for COVID-19 create a real and immediate risk to life. These treatments often lack proof of efficacy, and potentially have a very high cost to desperate patients. Most importantly, these ‘treatments’ produced with no evidence can be even more dangerous to the immediate health of patients and their communities,” said Dr. Laertis Ikonomou, PhD, co-chair of the ISCT PTF on the Use of Unproven and/or Unethical Cell and Gene Therapy. “ISCT will work with government agencies and regulatory bodies internationally to take action against those looking to profit from a pandemic that is affecting so many people across the globe.”

New Statement from the Chancellor late last night

March 2020

The Chancellor, this evening,(20th March) announced further measures to support people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The Chancellor’s statement can be found at GOV.UK.

Updated guidance for employers, businesses and employees is available at:

COVID-19: support for businesses

We will continue to share the most up to date information directly with you as it becomes available.

Newly Appointed Professional Services Consultant for UltraVision

March 2020

Debbie Hopkins UltraVisionUltraVision are excited to welcome Debbie Hopkins as their newly appointed Professional Services Consultant. With over 13 years of experience in the hospital sector, Debbie will play a key role in supporting our hospital customers, offering technical assistance and providing exceptional education and training, including CET accredited content.

Debbie says “I am thrilled to be joining UltraVision’s Specialist Lens Team. My hospital fitting experience combined with UltraVision’s expertise and extensive range of specialist contact lenses is an exciting opportunity to support those working in this niche field.”

Covid brings back difficult times to our businesses, things to do and check ahead of the slow down

March 2020

Eros Business Consulting and its associates in business management, Kinnaird Hill and Face2Face (HR specialists) offer some pointers in the Covid-19 Struggle

We are entering a very difficult period for business. So we have put together some thoughts and advice that may be helpful, or at least thought provoking.

We all need to think clearly and act decisively to ensure that we have a business once the crisis is over.

If you think you may soon have a cash flow problem, act now!


It is early days, the Government are still making policy and in reality it will take them a week or so to really understand the help that could be considered.

Our advice is to tighten belts now.

We have put this list of hopefully useful ideas together with the help of my colleagues at Kinnaird Hill, in St Ives Cambs and with HR assistance from Face2Face.

We do appreciate that all businesses, a few days ago were running good, successful, well managed businesses, and they are now going to have a very hard time for the next few months.

The paper was put together for Eros Business Consulting specialists in Optical and Primary Care Business Strategy and Indirect Taxation for Opticians, by Kinnaird Hill (St Ives, Cambs) specialist accountants in SME’s and GP Practice.

Click to the Business Briefing on the PHN site for information on

VAT … Get on the phone
Tax ….. Get on the phone
Creditors… Get on the phone.
IR35 Private Sector
Sick Pay
Business rates
Business insurance CHECK!
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Mortgage holiday
Human Resources, health and safety and employment issues helpline

Click to the Business Briefing on the PHN site for information on

Covid-19 knock on affects on business and what to do

March 2020

If you are an employer or a business owner we encourage you to read and follow the guidance for employers and businesses.

This guidance will assist employers and businesses with advice on:

the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19

what to do if someone in the workplace becomes ill

advice on sick pay and certification of absence from work resulting from COVID-19

business support measures on rate relief and loans

Business support announced in the Budget and 17 March

In the Budget (11 March 2020) the Chancellor announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

There will be a £10,000 cash grant to our smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority - they do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Finally, the government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.

In addition, the decisions announced by the Bank of England on 11 March 2020 mean that banks are in a better position to provide additional credit to smaller businesses.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

The coronavirus clearly poses multiple challenges for businesses, and I know from regular calls with business representatives that many are concerned about the longer-term effects on investment, cash flow and the future of their businesses.

Supporting companies through this period is a top priority and a whole of government effort. The measures set out in the Budget show that this government will support business through this turbulent time and keep the economy moving. We will continue to review these measures as the impact of the virus progresses.

IPRO appoints experienced optical pro to head UK operation

March 2020

Carlton Platjees at IPROIPRO, the practice management provider for independents and groups, has appointed an experienced optical professional to lead the UK operation.

Carlton Plaatjes, one of the few Dispensing Opticians with an MBA, joins from Barnard Levit optometrists. He has extensive experience of working for very clinical independent practices, High Street multiples and of running an optometry claims department in a private health insurance company in South Africa.

“As part of Haag Streit, IPRO has a background in providing premium optical solutions and winIPRO software provides some tremendous opportunities. Our highly flexible software allows the practice to adapt it to their own way of working. It is not cloud-based and will function even when the internet connection is lost, which is exactly what many practices, and those who are in domiciliary care, are seeking. There are more than 3,000 practices using winIPRO software in Europe. The Paskal 3D binocular refraction software is also an exciting talking point for many who are looking to liven up their eye examinations,” said Carlton.

IPRO’s audiology software, which integrates with NOAH, the standard of audiology measurement, is also part of the company’s modular practice management portfolio, enabling practices which dispense hearing aids to run just a single database.

Optinet purchases PCS Cheltenham assets and IP PMS Systems

March 2020

Mike Preston PCS and Mike Daunt Optinet
Optinet Limited, the IT division of the National Eyecare Group (NEG), has purchased the assets and intellectual property (IP) rights of PCS Cheltenham Ltd.

From 28 February, Optinet has taken on the telephone support of the PCS Practice Management Software (PMS). PCS Cheltenham staff have joined the Optinet team and will continue to offer support to PCS clients.

Michael Daunt, Optinet Managing Director (right) , said: “We are pleased to have finalised the agreement with Mike Preston of PCS Cheltenham to take on the support of the PCS Practice Management Software. We would like to reassure PCS customers that Optinet will continue to offer the highest level of support for the software."

Michael continued: “We see this as just the next step as Optinet continues to grow and further enhances the group's continued support of the UK’s independent sector."

Mike Preston, former owner of PCS Cheltenham, added: “I’m delighted that as I step back from the running of PCS Cheltenham, the software and our customers are in good hands with Optinet, who have a proven track record of supporting independent practice across the country.”

Mike added: “I would like to personally thank all PCS customers for their loyalty and wish them all the success for the future.”

Optinet has been supplying PMS to independent practices since 1987. The team supports more than 400 practices across the UK and offers a fully comprehensive PMS.

HMRC update on off-payroll working reforms I35 especially affecting Locum workers

March 2020

The HMRC has now published an update on the approach it will take to off-payroll working (also known as IR35) reforms during 2020/21.

The changes come into effect from 6 April 2020 and will require large and medium sized companies (as defined) to perform additional checks where they engage off-payroll services via personal service companies (PSCs). The HMRC has already confirmed it will not use information from these new checks to launch an historical enquiry.

During 2020/21 the HMRC has said it will take a light touch approach to penalties during the first 12 months of the new regime, unless there is evidence of deliberate non-compliance. It will also support providers with more information and advice to employers that are required to undertake these new checks.

FMO welcomes three more new members

March 2020

As FMO gears up for Optrafair 20/20 exhibition and conference, three new members have been announced and five more have applied for membership.

Optrafair 20/20, which runs between 4 and 6 April at the NEC, where new members will be exhibiting. Cerium Visual Technologies will be demonstrating the Intuitive Colorimeter Curve, the innovative digital instrument which is revolutionising Colorimetry assessment.

Claire Millar, Director of technical Services, said ‘We look forward to having genuine sales conversations with real decision makers at Optrafair 20/20. We joined FMO to allow us to attend the meetings they organise throughout the year, keep up to date with commercial regulatory developments and generally support the optical industry.’ See Ceriums story on the Optrafair Preview Pages here

Occuity is set to change the field of ocular measurement, specialising in the research, design and production of non-contacting optical instruments.

The first device in their range, a non-contacting pachymeter, will be on their stand at Optrafair 20/20. CEO Dan Daly said ‘Optrafair 20/20 provides the ideal opportunity to exhibit our first device to the optical industry. Further devices based on the patented Occuity technology are currently in development and will provide upgrades to the pachymeter and some very exciting devices designed to screen for diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.’

Hot off the press: Spec-Care have just joined FMO. Since 1985 Spec-Care has been providing technical support to the optical trade.

The company director, Rob Barrow, is himself a qualified Dispensing Optician and SMC qualified technician. These qualifications and experience have helped the company develop a partnership approach with their customers and often work on bespoke designs and fittings commissioned by leading UK paediatric clinics.

FMO hopes to announce more new members in the run up to Optrafair 20/20, which runs from 4 to 6 April at the NEC.

We are Big in Japan

February 2020

Shamir Big in Japan
We are excited to announce the opening of Shamir InoTime Japan, in collaboration with Paris Miki - a leader optical retail in Japan, whose annual sales turnover is about half a billion dollars.

The new partnership is uncharacteristic of the Japanese who generally prefer to work with Japanese companies. However, no competitor could match Shamir's new InoTime technology, which won them over.

Shamir Big in Japan
The service will be provided by an InoTime laboratory with exclusivity in Tokyo.

This will allow customers to receive a new pair of glasses, personally customized to them, within one day.

Shamir Big in Japan

Yagen Moshe, CEO Shamir Optical Industry, said, "This is a historic moment for Shamir, and a very exciting moment for me personally. We have officially inaugurated Shamir Japan and were chosen by Paris Miki – Japan's leading optics company – as their preferred business partner. We intend to continue being a leader in the field with Israeli technology throughout the world."

Shamir also had the pleasure of being part of the official launch event including 50 participants from the local media, and national TV.

LOOK – made in Italia: For over 40 years providing independent choice to protect customers

February 2020

Certified to guarantee a product totally Italian in every respect

Look Italia Production Centre
From its inception in 1978 LOOK - made in Italia has chosen to keep production in Italy to guarantee its products and protect its consumers.

The raw materials suppliers, who are carefully selected, allow the company to create, design and make glasses entirely made in Italy, in full compliance with the UE 2017/745 regulations for frames and UE 2016/45 regulations for sunglasses. LOOK – made in Italia products are all non-toxic, hypoallergenic and contain no dangerous substances, in compliance with the CE 1907/2006 regulation (REACH).

“Compliance with the REACH regulations puts health at the centre of all our operations and allows everyone who wears our glasses to be protected by the chemical safety of the product compared to frames made in countries outside of the European Union where there may not be precise regulations in place restricting potentially dangerous substances for consumer health” states Vittore Tormen, CEO of the company that produces glasses with the Lookkino, Look and Materika brands.

Some examples:

A) the cellulose acetate plastic material used for the frames is entirely produced by an Italian company in Italy.

B) the cases that come with the glasses are purchased from Italian suppliers who supply the company with exclusively Italian and European produced articles.

C) Communication and POP material is printed in Italy using only FSC certified paper with solar energy powered equipment.

“We are convinced today more than ever that traceability is the right choice. Furthermore, ISO 9001 certification of the internal production processes and quality tests on both raw material and the finished product, carried out internally and externally at certified and internationally accredited bodies, allow us to constantly guarantee an excellent standard of quality. Only in this way can we always meet expectations, safeguard and protect our customers” concludes Tormen.

The company, staying true to its mission, will therefore continue to regularly supply its clients in complete compliance with the quality and delivery time standards that have always distinguished it.

Safilens: New Partnership with Dutch firm Ote’

February 2020

SafiLens Logo

Safilens, the Italian company that has transformed the contact lens industry with its innovative fusiontechnology™, announces a new partnership agreement with the Dutch firm Oté.

As the result of a mutually advantageous effort begun 10 years ago between the two R&D departments for the development of innovative products, the partnership combines the two companies’ manufacturing expertise and sales teams. It will focus primarily on new formulations of contact lens solutions and calls for Safilens to distribute Oté products in Italy and to include each company’s solution portfolio in the product line of the partner.

Headquartered in Uden, in southern Holland, Oté Optics is a family-run company specializing in the development, manufacturing and sale of liquid medical devices, such as products for contact lens hygiene, eye drops and sprays. Established in 1979, it was the first company in the market to sell private label products to opticians in the Netherlands and now exports to more than 50 countries around the world. From its production plant in Uden, the products are shipped to domestic and international clients and to its international branches: Oté UK, Oté Germany and Oté North-America.

Ote Clean Room
Oté Optics is a Dutch company specialized in the development, manufacture and sale of medical devices such as products for contact lens hygiene, eye drops and sprays.
From its origins in Uden, in southern Holland, in more than 40 years it has become a substantial European business with exports to more than 50 countries around the world.
The high-tech Oté Optics production facility guarantees: quality management based on ISO 13485 and GMP, aseptic filling based on ISO 13408, FDA approval for multi-use solutions, and quality control in its own labs.

The partnership between Safilens and Oté is the first step in what could potentially be a broader global alliance between the two companies.

Daniele Bazzocchi, Safilens General Manager, comments: “The superiority of Oté products paves the way for Safilens Italian creativity to fully express itself. In an industry led by large companies, when two small, unique firms join forces, it is natural to expect big results”. Rob Oorthuizen, General Manager of Oté adds: “Both companies’ vast range of high-quality products, utmost flexibility and Safilens’ exemplary service record with Italian opticians are the ingredients for the ideal business model and I am certain they will lead us to major milestones”.

Safilens was founded in 2001 with the aim of creating innovative, high-quality products for the contact lens industry. It is a robust, innovation-minded company that brilliantly put its founders’ 30+ years of experience into developing products that are always in sync with market developments and the needs of contact lens wearers.

The company’s core value lies in the excellence of its R&D department and its focus on customer care. The significance and effectiveness of this approach are clear in the results: high-performance products, prompt response to customer needs and technological leadership in the industry.

Safilens research points to the release of bio-active substances as the key to being able to physiologically restore the delicate contact lens/tear film relationship, giving rise to fusiontechnology™, the patented technology based on hyaluronic acid and Tamarind-Seed Polysaccharides - a natural polymer extracted from tamarind seeds - capable of ensuring sustained natural wellbeing.

Colourful collaboration announced

January 2020

A new collaboration between the practice loyalty builder tool GLASKLAR and fashion eyewear company Kirk & Kirk was announced on the first day of 100% Optical on Saturday (January 25).

Glaskar and Kirk Handshake on the deal
Under the agreement, GLASKLAR‘s UK distributor Positive Impact will supply Kirk & Kirk with the GLASKLAR lens cleaner in a choice of its 12 colours to match the company’s colourful frames, enabling its independent stockists to gift the sprays to patients in a colour matching their frame purchase.

Positive Impact will also offer Kirk & Kirk stockists a GLASKLAR lens cleaner refill station for their practice at a preferential price. Once a refill station is in a practice, Positive Impact will supply bottles branded with the practice’s own details to encourage the patient back into the practice for free refills, and the opportunity to browse the regularly updated Kirk & Kirk eyewear ranges.

Positive Impact’s managing director, Maxine Green, said: “Kirk & Kirk appreciates that loyalty must work both from supplier to customer, just as much as it does from practice to consumer and GLASKLAR fits their brand ethos so well.

“Like GLASKLAR, Kirk & Kirk champions authenticity, creativity, style and quality. Kirk & Kirk’s unique, distinctive acrylic material in colours that are often imitated but impossible to duplicate are just like GLASKLAR. Using GLASKLAR’s natural cleaning product will keep the Kirk & Kirk colours vibrant and fresh, with the lenses in optimal condition too.”

Positive Impact’s marketing director, Nick Atkins, added: "Even before you think about the customer base for our two businesses, there’s an obvious similarity just by looking at both companies’ colourful product ranges.

"It also tends to be the case that GLASKLAR is most popular with the more boutique, eyewear-focused independent that truly understands customer loyalty and retention. Kirk & Kirk is stocked in such practices and so it was something of a no brainer for our two brands to work together.

"If someone is making a significant investment in their eyecare and eyewear, then there is an expectation of also being given the highest standards of customer care. A complimentary bottle of a quality lens cleaner, that can be continually refilled, is demonstrative of the practice's commitment to its customers’ ongoing care beyond just the sale itself,” he concluded.

Kirk & Kirk managing director, Jason Kirk, said: “GLASKLAR is a high-end product that supports the notion of treating your eyewear with care. By offering a quality lens cleaning solution with our frames, we are adding value to our client proposition.

“This also encourages the consumer to go back to their optician for a free top up of lens cleaner, enhancing the love triangle between Kirk & Kirk, the optician and the consumer.”

Commenting on the background to the collaboration, Mr Kirk added: “Positive Impact is committed to driving the UK optical industry forward in an intelligent and creative manner. We love their communications and are delighted to work with Positive Impact on this project and look forward to more to follow.

“Our industry needs more cooperation and collaborations to show a cohesive message to the consumer so that our end customers understand why they should be spending money on product and service rather than looking for the cheapest option,” he concluded.

MONDOTTICA INTERNATIONAL announces management changes

January 2020

Mondottica International announces that its Founder and CEO Michael Jardine has stepped down from his CEO role effective January 1st 2020.

Michael Jardine
The CEO role has been immediately assumed by the company’s CCO Tony Pessok who joined the Group from Perry Ellis International earlier last year.

Michael Jardine will continue as a substantial shareholder and member of the Board of Directors with the title of Founder and Honorary Chairman. He will continue to work from his office at Mondottica’s headquarters in Hong Kong.

According to Michael Jardine, “Mondottica was started by me two decades ago and there is a nice symmetry in handing over the reins on the cusp of the new decade to come. We have accomplished much in twenty years and I am now excited to see the new C Suite bring it to an even greater level in future.”

When asked about his own plans Jardine replied that he will continue to reside in Hong Kong and remain vitally involved with Mondottica on the Board level, while continuing to focus on his vintage eyewear and vintage brands.

Tony PessokTony Pessok (right) says, “I am privileged to be able to step into this role and take the reins of running what is an incredible business, none of which would have been possible without Michael’s guidance and, most importantly, without the dedicated hard work that the whole team perform on a daily basis. We have some incredible Brand Partners and a varied portfolio which will allow Mondottica to achieve significant further growth over the coming years, elevating us to even greater prominence in the world of eyewear.”

Jardine and his wife, Lene Hoegh, will also spend the coming years establishing a consultancy focused on the environment and sustainability as it relates to the global eyewear industry. In Jardine’s words, “Our planet needs help and every industry needs to undergo radical change if we are to ensure a sustainable future for coming generations. Our remaining time in the optical industry will be spent helping our company and the industry at large, to learn to help and not harm the planet we call Home.”

Blackfin – timeless memories the new advertising campaign

January 2020

Blackfin new campaignThe Great Cretto is the largest piece of site-specific land art in the world, created by Alberto Burri between 1984 and 1989 on the spot where the city of Gibellina (in the province of Trapani, Sicily) was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1968.

A vast expanse of white concrete covers the ruins of the town, almost like a shroud upon which the artist reconstructed the map of the historic town center, transforming the streets into crevices, thus creating a sort of labyrinth measuring more than 80,000 square meters.

An intensely emotional work that is a symbolic remembrance of this dramatic event, this is the site Blackfin chose for its new 2020 Timeless Memories ad campaign.

Blackfin new campaign
Burri’s Cretto offers a barren, almost immaterial background populated with three eyewear styles – two women’s and one men’s – that barefoot, tread lightly, respectful of this dreamlike setting.

At the same time, it is also an absolutely real background, imbued with profound historical, emotional and artistic values that tie it to the eyewear brand.The choice of the location is part of a continuum in the brand’s growth process that, in its three main pillars, acknowledges the company’s shared values: neomadeinitaly, the company’s ethical and historic ties to the land it inhabits; titanium, the concrete material aspect of the product that also characterizes the site of the photo shoot; and credo, as in awareness of the campaign’s message that, in this case, is not only a transfiguration of images, but also of deep meaning and substance.

The atmosphere of the shots is symbolic of an almost undefined place – the Great Cretto becomes a narrative space that issues a strong warning and timeless remembrance of our history. A history made up of memories, always ready to remind us that what we are today is a product of what we were then.

Printer Inks
Primary Health Net