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Opchat Magazine Industry NewsIndustry News, October to December 2015

FMO luncheon unites entire optical scene.

AdlensFocuss eyewear beats Apple to win Design Week Award.

Heidelberg Engineering appoints sales manager for the north.

FMO Annual Luncheon to expected to draw large party

AOP re-launches its communications channels

PHN opens its Company Preview Page free for those exhibiting at the show.

Bryony Pawinska to Join FMO.

Medical society hosts FMO.

First Widefield Imaging Module is sent to Optometrist.

Grafton Optical on a roll since their appearance at AIO conference.

FMO Promotes Buying Support Agency Benefit

OC publishes OPTICS AT A GLANCE for 2013 & 2014


FMO luncheon unites entire optical scene.

December 2015

UK optics enjoyed the best spirit of conviviality last week as the FMO’s annual luncheon drew together frame, lens, technology and business providers.

Barry Dibble and Mark Truss FMOMore than 100 gathered together at the Hilton Hotel, Paddington, putting commercial rivalries aside to celebrate the season. Leaders of the optical bodies were present and enjoyed meeting their industry colleagues.

The annual event also saw the new FMO Chairman, Mark Truss, take the chain of office from outgoing chairman, Barry Dibble. Barry, who has served two terms of office as FMO Chairman, as well as a major force in the planning of Optrafair, received a clock from The FMO in recognition of his services.

Mark, who is Group Sales Director of the Norville Group, brings a breadth of experience and knowledge about the optical scene, which is set to benefit the organisation, in conjunction with new Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska.

Maintaining its tradition in recent years, the FMO is to make a donation to Vision Aid Overseas in lieu of sending Christmas cards, but extends the very best of wishes to all of its members and colleagues in optics for the year ahead.

AdlensFocuss eyewear beats Apple to win Design Week Award.

December 2015

Adlens design winnerAdlens®, the UK-based global leader in adjustable focus eyewear, is pleased to announce that AdlensFocuss™ has been named the winner of the 2015 Design Week Award for ‘Consumer Product Design’, ahead of shortlisted competitors including Apple and Seymourpowell.

AdlensFocuss, the company’s first adjustable prescription eyewear, was recognised by an expert judging panel of influential design figures across Britain.

It took home the award after being shortlisted alongside MacBook by Apple, John Lewis Professional Pan Plus ‘Wave’ by Seymourpowell, Nest Learning Thermostat for the UK by Nest Labs and Closer by Diego Grandi for Zucchetti Kos.

Heralded as the most significant leap in lens technology for over 50 years, AdlensFocuss feature Variable Power Optics (VPO™) - a unique technology inspired by the eye's natural flexibility to focus instantly on different distances. It is composed of a static prescription lens for distance and a second lens which can change shape to adjust the focus with dynamic precision.

Adlens winning designThe power of the lens is controlled through a discreet dial inside a fashionable handmade frame.

Dr Rob Stevens, Chief Technology Officer at Adlens, said: “To be recognised from a shortlist that contains some globally iconic and influential product designs is an honour and a true testament to the commitment, diligence and enthusiasm that everyone contributes at Adlens.

“This Design Week Award validates our belief that AdlensFocuss is a game changing, lifestyle enhancing product. Adlens VPO technology has brought the first new type of lens to prescription eyewear for over 50 years – and our patients tell us this is what they have been waiting for. We see endless possibilities for VPO technology and its ability to transform the way people see.”

Providing a stage for the best work across all design disciplines, the Design Week Awards is the showcase event for design with a commitment to recognising and rewarding the very best work. For more information please visit:

Heidelberg Engineering appoints sales manager for the north.

November 2015

Mike Riley at Heidelberg Eng.Heidelberg Engineering has appointed Mike Riley as Sales Manager for the North of England adding another 20 years of optical sales experience to the team.
Mike, who most recently worked for Optos, knows the optometric diagnostics market well and is delighted with his new role .
“In my opinion, Heidelberg Engineering sets the standard which everybody aspires to achieve. It is the absolute gold standard in diagnostic imaging. We are working to ensure that OCT is more integral to High Street optometry. It’s moving towards becoming an accepted piece of technology, not just for optometrists at the top end of the market. The upgradeable SPECTRALIS® OCT platform with the Widefield Imaging Module combined with the Connect investment programme enable the independent practitioner to position themselves very well in the competitive landscape and protect their investment at the same time.”
Mike, who is based in Bradford, covers the North Midlands up to the Borders. He joins an established team providing comprehensive business advice, as well as technical and clinical training within the practice setting, and at the Heidelberg Engineering Academy in Hemel Hempstead.

FMO Annual Luncheon to expected to draw large party

November 2015

UK optics working together in partnership is the spirit of The FMO’s AGM and annual luncheon which takes place on Friday 4 December.

Hilton at Paddington


The Hilton Hotel, Paddington, is the venue for the annual gathering of all aspects of optics from the frame, lens, equipment, lab and IT companies. Prominent figures from across the optical sector are also regular attendees of the sociable annual luncheon.


“It draws an unrivalled spirit of goodwill across all sectors of optics as more than a hundred normally gather for the event,” said FMO Chairman, Barry Dibble.


Closing date for places is 25 November 2015. Email:

AOP re-launches its OT communications channels after reducing print frequency.

November 2015

AOP app on smart phoneThe Association of Optometrists (AOP) has launched a new website and identity to deliver greater value to members and subscribers of the AOP’s journal, Optometry Today (OT).

The new website offers an improved online experience with self-service functionality and interactive features. This includes a mobile and tablet-friendly platform with refreshed content areas, supported by an easy-to-use content structure.

The three previous websites: AOP, OT and student AOP have been combined into one comprehensive site to ensure a more joined-up approach with a single login.

A new For patients section supports AOP members with patient-facing issues and includes a new animated video to raise awareness of optometry and the importance of sight tests with the public. Fellow health professionals are welcome to use these resources to help promote the important role that optometrists play protecting the nation’s eye health.

In addition to the new website, OT has also changed its look and moved onto a monthly frequency. The new print journal features five CET-accredited articles, plus AOP updates, sector news, opinion and career support. With the launch of the new website and monthly edition of OT, CET exams will now be available exclusively to AOP members and subscribers of OT.

Henrietta Alderman, AOP Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of our fantastic new website and new look OT, with a new, modern brand identity across the organisation. After conducting extensive research and listening to our members, we are confident that the new website delivers even greater value to our members and subscribers. These changes mark an exciting time in the Association’s history – working with and for our members to protect, represent and support them at every stage of their career.”

PHN opens its Company Preview Page free for those exhibiting the show.

November 2015

100 percent

As media partners for the third year running to this most exciting show next February, Primary Health Net has opened additional pages for compamies booked to attend 100% Optical.

There is no charge for this service and regular news items will be linked to the preview page.

Send your word docs and images to

Let us know your stand number and send around 600 words (max) and up to 3 jpegs.

The page will be linked from our home page by banner and whenever we receive publicity either from companies or from our partners at Media 10 we woll link from Opchat News..

Your page awaits! As do our 7000+ weekly readership. Are we on your marketing team's key list?

Bryony Pawinska to Join FMO.

October 2015

The FMO is pleased to announce the appointment of Bryony Pawinska as Chief Executive, with effect from 1 January 2016.

Bryoni PawinskaFollowing twelve years as Chief Executive of The College of Optometrists, Bryony is very familiar with the optical landscape and the priorities to move the industry and profession forward, believes The FMO board.

“Bryony brings with her a wealth of executive management experience and an unparalleled knowledge of the optical market, all of which will be brought to bear for the good of FMO members. The FMO Board is looking forward to working closely with Bryony to develop and improve a prosperous environment for our members. On behalf of our Directors and membership we welcome Bryony to our organisation,” said FMO Chairman, Barry Dibble.

Before joining The College of Optometrists Bryony held a number of Chief Executive positions, including CEO of the Institute of Careers Guidance.
Bryony has great enthusiasm for the new role.

“I am delighted to have found such a fascinating new challenge, where I can continue to serve members in the optical sector. The College has always had a very good relationship with FMO members and I am looking forward to viewing the sector from the other end of the telescope, using my experience not only from the College, but also from past roles in commerce,” she said.

David Hewlett, FODO Chief Executive, said, "It is good not to lose talent. We welcome Bryony to her new role and look forward very much to working with her now from within the Optical Confederation and within 199 Gloucester Terrace."

Medical society hosts FMO.

October 2015

FMO members gathered at London’s prestigious Medical Society for the autumn meeting, and gained an insight into the ophthalmologist’s working day and use of diagnostic technology. 

Nigel DaviesGuest speaker, Mr Nigel Davies, Consultant at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, explained the process of making a diagnosis via Bayesian analysis and the use of technology, raising a number of interesting points -

“What makes an ideal piece of equipment? Short data acquisition time, ease and speed of use, reproducibility of results, small footprint and so much more.  Many in the hospital environment are looking at information governance and want to see all data stored centrally, not on a device within a clinic.”

Nigel discussed the financial aspects of acquiring equipment from purchasing, leasing, and charitable funding which is VAT zero-rated. The fee per use model was raised as an interesting route forward, and already employed by some providers of technology.

“The reality is that most of us use a tiny proportion of the device capability and perhaps we should be looking at a vanilla model, or modular version. There is also an argument for putting a device into each consulting room with a central data server for the clinic.”

The FMO’s new Optrafair 2016 show partner, Mark Allen Group, as recent purchaser of OPTICIAN journal, gave delegates a flavour of the enthusiasm that the company has for driving the show forward.

John Benson, Managing Director of Mark Allen Healthcare, said the company was committed to making next April’s Optrafair the “must attend” event in UK optics. 

He was keen to stress that the longstanding and all-encompassing show has two audiences - visitors and exhibitors.

“I am confident that awareness of Optrafair will increase dramatically - we need to reach out to our visitors and exhibitors more.  We have decades of exhibition experience and can deliver large scale events and have experience of holding more than 200 events a year –

“It is a very good time for us to partner with the FMO,” he said.

After a networking lunch delegates at the Medical Society joined their Frame, Lens and Equipment divisions for sector specific meetings.

First Widefield Imaging Module is sent to Optometrist.

October 2015

Alisdair BuchananHeidelberg Engineering UK’s first Widefield Imaging Module, which offers a 55 degree fundus image and simultaneous 16.5mm widefield OCT scan, has been shipped to Opticians Awards Practice of the Year winner Alisdair Buchanan.

Just released, the much in demand upgrade facilitates the detection of peripheral pathologies, as Alisdair said, “One of the great benefits is that with one shot you can see the periphery of the retina, which saves considerable time with each patient. With this one view we are able to diagnose conditions much more easily. We can view the retinal layers and changes well before problems start to occur. To see a 55 degree OCT rather than 30 degrees is amazing, and has brought a fantastic reaction from patients when we explain what we can do now,” said the Kent optometrist.

“After two years in practice the SPECTRALIS has more than paid for itself. Moreover, it has helped us to position ourselves as one of the best practices in the UK.

"One of the key factors in buying the SPECTRALIS is that it will never become obsolete. This upgrade is a clear example of it being updated continuously,” he said.

The Widefield Imaging Module provides a 55 degree field of view for all SPECTRALIS fundus imaging modalities including MultiColor, BluePeak, infrared reflectance, angiography, and also OCT. Covering the macula, the optic nerve head and areas beyond the vessel arcades in a single image, the Widefield Imaging Module facilitates comprehensive diagnostics.

The high-resolution, high-contrast scanning laser images captured with this SPECTRALIS module offer diagnostic capabilities superior to conventional fundus photography.

Grafton Optical on a roll since their appearance at AIO conference.

October 2015

Grafton Optical has a busy conference season ahead of them following their support for the AIO conference last weekend.

This conference overlapped with the London Seco/AOP sponsored Education Destination two day programme held in London at the Bloomsbury Hotel.

Hotfoot the next day Grafton’s skilled consultants attended Monday and Tuesday this week a “Referral Refinement Course” held at Moorfield Eye Hospital.

Their support and supply to the ophthalmology industry is well known in optometry circles providing confidence in their knowledge and in the understanding of the patient journey from primary care to secondary care in eye care. So it is no surprise that they will be attending the UK and Ireland Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons annual event in Leicester later this month.

“Although October has been unusual in so many conferences occurring we find that they are a very important part of activity providing us with an opportunity to demonstrate our very wide and always improving equipment listing to all eye care specialists as well as gaining greater insight in the up and coming needs of all eye care professions. Sourcing products from the best companies in the world allows us to provide a varied selection of equipment to suit all types of eye care delivery.” Remarked James Furness from Grafton.

EasyScan at NOC


Grafton are off to BEAVRS, The British and Eire Assoc. of Vitreoretinal Surgeons in early November but you can meet with their consultants and in house engineers at the Optometric NOC conference at the Metropole Hilton at the NEC on the 5th and 6th November. Take a look at the EasyScan Laser Fundus Camera and see how the reports and images it produces perfectly dovetails into the needs of ophthalmologists reviewing your patients. And the Grafton Shop will display all your practice essentials. SEE THEM on Stand 25



FMO Promotes Buying Support Agency Benefit

October 2105

FMO benefit provider, Buying Support Agency (BSA) has extended its latest cost savings initiatives to include travel booking, legal fees, fuel cards and staff perks.

matt roperMaking the case for “Best Practice Procurement”, BSA Director, Matt Roper explained how the company has geared up to bring additional benefits to FMO members –

“Up to 34% savings can be achieved with the right procurement policy. We are looking at cost savings across some 20 different cost categories. After staff costs, plus sales and marketing, procurement often has the most critical effect on the company’s profit, as every pound that you save hits the bottom line.”

Car hire and fleet services, with competitive deals; travel booking for hotels, air and train fares; plus significant reductions in legal fees; fuel cards and staff perks as in cash back and voucher schemes for retails such as M&S, Tesco, Homebase and British Gas, are the latest benefits to be promoted by the company.

“Best practice procurement is all about getting value and gaining a competitive advantage to your business,” said Matt, who previously worked for PWC and Unilever before setting up BSA fourteen years ago.

Matt promotes the benefits of streamlining, having regular reviews with suppliers, and setting targets, “We have a lot of knowledge and leverage with many suppliers, particularly across the aspects of employing KPIs, and setting performance level agreements, with an emphasis on having a back-up plan if a supplier fails.”

The team at BSA promote its broad client base which includes the Institute of Directors, Pret, National Audit Office and the Cranfield School of Management. FMO members using the service include Kent Optic and Seiko, as Seiko UK Managing Director, John Conway said "We have found that BSA`s experience in sourcing best value after reviewing our incremental costs was very good and helps us greatly.”

Key aspects of benefits include providers of:

*Stationery & Office supplies
*Travel Booking
*Print & Packaging
*Gas and Electricity
*Waste recycling
*Business Rates
*Vehicle Fleet & Fuel Cards

Supporting the delivery of strategic and operational change that can boost profit and cash flow, BSA also has an in-depth knowledge of sustainability and ethical sourcing with an online eco shop:

OC publishes OPTICS AT A GLANCE for 2013 & 2014

October 2015

EasyScan at NOCThe Optical Confederation has published the 2013 and 2014 editions of Optics at a Glance - the key source of information about optometry, opticians, the optical market and services available to patients, for the years ending 31 March 2013 and 31 March 2014.

The statistics are drawn from

A survey of Optical Confederation members for the year to 31 March 2013  and for the year to 31 March 201 and                 Government data for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

Also information has been provided by The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM), College of Optometrists, and the General Optical Council (GOC)

Key Points – Government Statistics

Year ending 31 March 2013         

•             The number of NHS sight tests carried out in the UK in 2012-13 rose slightly (by 0.32%) to 15.47 million (from 15.42 million in 2011-12).
•             Comparison of data sets indicates that there is a shortfall between the number of patients who are likely to be entitled to NHS domiciliary eyecare and the number of patients receiving the service, as in the past few years.               

Year ending 31 March 2014

•             The number of NHS sight tests carried out in the UK in 2013-14 rose (by 3.6%) to 16.027 million (from 15.47 million in 2012-13).
•             Although sight tests over the whole of the UK rose Wales saw a decrease of 1.2%.
•             Domiciliary sight tests in England rose by 5.2% and rose even further in Wales by 10.2%.  In Northern Ireland, however, domiciliary sight tests decreased by 8.3%.

Key Points – Optical Confederation Members Survey

Year ending 31 March 2013         

•             2.9% of patients were referred to a GP or hospital (a decrease from 5% in 2011-12). 
•             The average charge to patients for a private sight test, excluding ‘no charge’, discounts and special offers, increased to £25.18 (from £22.24 in 2011-12).
•             The average interval between sight tests decreased to 24 months (from 27 months in 2011-12).
•             93.3% of optical practices stocked a range of spectacles within voucher values for children (a decrease from 100% in 2011 and 2012).  93.3% of optical practices also stocked spectacles for adults. 
•             The proportion of re-glazed spectacles increased to 9.8% (from 6.8% in 2011-12).
•             The annual contact lens care fee increased to £42.53 (from £34.95 in 2011-12).  The percentage of people on a contact lens regular payment scheme was 60.2%.  This was a new category in the survey and the figures had not previously been requested.       

Year ending 31 March 2014

•             3.6% of patients were referred to a GP or hospital (an increase from 2.9% in 2012-13). 
•             The average charge to patients for a private sight test, excluding ‘no charge’, discounts and special offers, increased to £26.00 (from £25.18 in 2012-13).
•             The average interval between sight tests increased to 25 months (from 24 months in 2012-13).
•             93.3% of optical practices stocked a range of spectacles within voucher values for children the same percentage as for adults.
•             The proportion of re-glazed spectacles decreased to 7.7% (from 9.8% in 2012-13).
•             The annual contact lens care fee remained the same £42.53.  The percentage of people on a contact lens regular payment scheme decreased to 55% (from 60.2% in 2012-13.

Key Points – Contact lenses


•             According to the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM) the percentage of contact lens wearers remained the same at 9% of the adult population.


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