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Opchat Magazine Industry NewsIndustry News, July to September 2016

Area98: direct distribution growing in Europe.

Neg teams up with clearlab for #wickedwindows halloween competition.

Next generation OCT technology now available on the High Street.

Valeant Appoints Zoetis’ Paul Herendeen as CFO.

Forgan, concludes time at top with Waterside.

Andy Sanders, Chair of FMO Standards Panel.

Essilor broadens online footprint in Europe by acquisition of MyOptique Group.

Is the “change process re-engineering with the internet market” encouraging the larger manufacturers to bypass our traditional manufacturers, wholesalers and eventually the retailer?


Contamac gets Second Queens Award, this time for Innovation.

Grafton celebrates the arrival of Summer.

AWARD SUCCESS: EYESPACE announced as a PWC Private Business Awards finalist.

Lord Hunt visits Adlens® Variable Power Optics™ Production Centre.

Kevin Hughes joins Heidelberg Engineering.

Area98: direct distribution growing in Europe.

September 2016

Area98 strengthens its distribution in a number of European countries; the project is part of the company's growth plan that aims to consolidate the direct presence of its collections in the most strategic markets of the eyewear industry.

Here Area98 has teamed up with Funk Designs in the UK and Ireland, whose agents operate exclusively using a direct distribution formula for the Coco Song, La Matta and Oliviero Contini collections. In this transition phase, the Kaos brand is being managed temporarily by the Area98 headquarters. Opticians have access to a dedicated customer care service.

A direct presence is also growing in Switzerland, the Mediterranean, Spain and France.

"Year after year, the Area98 collections are continuing to carve out their own place in the international eyewear market" - Elisio Tessaro, Area98's Art Director and Marketing Manager tells us - "Each one is individual in its own particular way and it is therefore necessary to think of a selective and targeted distribution which takes all the characteristics of each brand into account including the market each one addresses. A direct presence allows us not only to have a greater sensitivity on consumer trends but also to transfer the quality and uniqueness of our products to the the optician, responding more quickly to his requests and, at the same time, ensuring a timely and efficient after sales service. "

Neg teams up with clearlab for #wickedwindows halloween competition.

September 2016

ClearLab The National Eyecare Group (NEG) has teamed up with Clearlab to offer its members a ‘wicked’ incentive to spice up their practice window displays for the upcoming Halloween celebrations.

“Halloween is fast approaching and thanks to Clearlab and its Clearcolor Phantom range of FDA and CE-approved cosmetic contact lenses, our members can once again take full advantage of the celebrations to maximise their contact lens business,” said Phil Mullins, NEG Director of Business Development.

To take part in the #WickedWindows Competition, exclusive to NEG members, practices should dress their windows with a Halloween theme and then Tweet a photo of their display to @PK_NEG using the hashtag #WickedWindows.

Practices without a Twitter account can email their entry to with #WickedWindows as the subject.

A prize of £250 worth of Amazon vouchers will be awarded to the display judged to be the most ‘wicked’.

Dominique Gastaldi, Country Manager UK, Clearlab Europe, commented: “The UK’s Halloween industry is now worth more than £300m. As a Preferred Supplier to NEG, we want to support its members to generate more business by encouraging consumers to visit their eyecare professional for their lenses, instead of taking the risk of buying them online or at a fancy dress store.”

Point-of-sale to help dress displays may be ordered from Clearlab, and photos must be Tweeted/emailed by 3 November and the winner will be announced at the NEG’s 2016
Building for Success Conference being held on 6 November at the Hilton Metropole Birmingham.

Last year’s winner was NEG member, 4 Eyes of Loughborough, whose Create a Scare promotion focused on students with a low price-point that included a 10-minute contact lens check.

Next generation OCT technology now available on the High Street.

September 2016

John Rose Next generation OCT technology is now available on the High Street as the first optometrist in the UK takes delivery of a SPECTRALIS with OCT2 Module. OCT2 is the latest upgrade* for the SPECTRALIS Imaging Platform and provides a fast scan rate of 85,000 Hz with Heidelberg Engineering’s proprietary TruTrack Active Eye Tracking to provide excellent image quality from the vitreous through to the choroid and an image acquisition speed that is twice as fast as its predecessor.

OCT2 allows deep penetration into the choroid, whilst providing excellent resolution within the inner retina and visualisation of the vitreous.

Crucially, OCT2 is available as an upgrade to existing SPECTRALIS devices, so patient data is preserved and it is possible to continue to scan existing patients to monitor change over time at every follow up visit using the TruTrack Active Eye Tracking facility.

John Rose Eyecare in Kingston-upon-Thames was the first optometric practice in the UK to have the OCT2 Module installed. “We were very excited to receive the OCT2 in practice and are already incredibly impressed with the speed and the quality of the scans”, explained John Rose, Optometrist at John Rose Eyecare. “The OCT2 joins our existing family of Heidelberg instruments, including our original SPECTRALIS and HEP perimeter, and I love how Heidelberg networked them all together so they share a common database and I can perform accurate follow-ups no matter which SPECTRALIS device I use.”

Valeant Appoints Zoetis’ Paul Herendeen as CFO

August 2016

Paul HerendeenValeant Pharmaceuticals International has named Paul Herendeen as chief financial officer, replacing Robert Rosiello, the firm announced Aug. 22.

Herendeen, 60, had been executive vice president and CFO at Zoetis since September 2014. Prior to that, Herendeen served in similar roles at Warner Chilcott plc.

Herendeen will receive a base salary of $1 million and could get a bonus of as much as $2.4 million. He also will receive $10 million in cash for equity-based compensation he forfeited in connection with leaving Zoetis, according to an SEC filing by Valeant.

Rosiello will remain with the Canadian drugmaker as executive vice president, corporate development and strategy.

Forgan, concludes time at top with Waterside

August 2016

Bob Forgan


Optical veteran Bob Forgan has relinquished his position as joint Managing Director at Waterside to allow more time for personal projects in both the UK and USA, where he recently became a Vice President of Stella Nova Inc, a Los Angeles based eyewear company which owns a frame factory in Danyang China.

Bob's place will be taken by Paul Salmon who has extensive knowledge of both the optical supply and retail sides of optics, having entered the industry initially with Rayners in 1985.

Paul will jointly run the Southampton based business with Chris Smith, son of Waterside's founder Ray Smith, who is retiring in December after more than 50 years in the industry,

Chris said ‘We must now be the largest lab in the UK that has managed to stay independently owned and only supplying the independent sector. I have known Paul for many years now and look forward to working with him to continually improve the product ranges and service we offer.

Our mission at Waterside is a simple one - to have patients leaving practices with the very best vision possible, by providing our customers with quality lens products and options that allow them to differentiate themselves from their major competitors’.

Andy Sanders, Chair of FMO Standards Panel.

 August 2016

andy sanders FMO

FMO announce that Andy Sanders has been appointed as the new Chair of the FMO Standards Panel.

A group of experienced professionals, the panel collaborates with BSI and its international counterparts to assess and promote essential optical standards. Such standards play a vital role in ensuring consistency and high quality across the optical sector and help organisations improve performance through innovation, reduced risk and best practice.

Looking forward to his new role, Andy Sanders states “I am delighted and honoured to accept this position and will endeavour to ensure that the excellent work carried out by the panel is in the best interests of the Optical Industry as a whole.”

Two members of the Panel will be representing FMO at the upcoming ISO meetings to be held in Sydney, Australia, from 24-27 October 2016. The next meeting of the FMO Standards Panel will take place in November 2016 at the FMO Offices in London.

Essilor broadens online footprint in Europe by acquisition of MyOptique Group.

August 2016

Essilor has entered into a definitive agreement to make the acquirement of MyOptique.

MyOptique is a leading online Rx glasses, contact lenses and sunglass business.

Of interest to UK Opticians will be its ownership of Glasses Direct and SunglassesShop in the UK, and the Nordic contact Lens internet company Lenson, selling throughout Europe and the UK and the German
Lensbest, another c/l internet company.

MyOptique is based in the UK and the MyOptique group has declared its intention to drive innovation and develop several house brands, including London Retro and Scout marketed by Glasses Direct.

Essilor states the transaction is fully consistent with their mission to “improve lives by improving sight”.

The statement says that Essilor’ s online business helps to raise awareness among an ever growing community of consumers about the importance of protecting and correcting their eyesight. It says that it also facilitates access to high quality optical products that improve visual health, thus benefitting all industry players.

MyOptique’s management team is to remain in place.

Is the “change process re-engineering with the internet market” encouraging the larger manufacturers to bypass our traditional manufacturers, wholesalers and eventually the retailer?

August 2016

The Essilor story above continues a year of their acquisition that show a determination to get closer to the retail coal face.

As reported in our March 2016 news, Essilor International had recently bought 60 million euros worth of nine external growth transactions. This included closer to home a recently bought majority stake in ECP a Spanish Company which owns CECOP a group purchasing company with over 800 members in the UK, Italy and Portugal.

It was then reported thaty one of Essilor’s main strategies is to develop the Kodak brand across these sectors.

In the US last year this domination was particularly evident in the purchase of Vision Source a buying group consisting of over 4000 independent eye doctor members.

The contact lens industry has also seen similar moves on who holds the key to the myopic control contact lens market production.

After the purchase of B & L by Valeant, who then went onto to purchase Paragon Lenses, the industry’s feathers were ruffled by an increase in costs to c/l manufacturers for B & L polymer production both to licensed manufacturers and considerably more to unlicensed customers.

A market source then informed PHN that this was followed by news that Valeant intended to manufacture its own lenses in direct opposition to its own customers.

Some will consider that these changes will benefit the end user whilst others will say that domination of niche markets destroys competitiveness and innovation by smaller companies.

As the Americans say, “It is what it is” and it seems that Opticians are perfectly happy to continue to support large conglomerates because, one assumes, of their product range and satisfaction and they do not see their growing strength as any threat to their high street operation.

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has illegally cornered the market for a key component of rigid contact lenses, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

If you have a view let us know at


August 2016

For a second year running EYESPACE have been nominated for the THE LLOYDS BANK NATIONAL BUSINESS AWARDS.

Eyespace Award

Following Eyespace’s nomination for ‘New Business of the Year,’ and another year of ambitious growth, the multiaward winning frame supplier has been shortlisted for the prestigious ‘Small to Medium Sized Business’ award. The award category recognises highly achieving businesses that have maintained consistent growth and are continually innovating.

With their focus on showcasing the best of British design to the rest of the world, Eyespace have become a firm favourite within a major share of the UK’s independent opticians, and their businesss model has invigorated optics with an innovative customer-centric philosophy. Today, offering over 650 premium quality, fashion-forward frames, sisters and joint Managing Directors, Jayne and Julie Abel tell us how the awards, and this year’s nomination, positively impact their business:

“To be shortlisted in these national awards again is an incredible accomplishment and rewards the hard work, dedication and united vision of our talented team; you only have to look at the calibre of finalists and past winners in our category to know that our investments in world class quality and design are worthwhile. Anyone running their own business knows how hard it can be to establish yourself in the marketplace – particularly in the current economic climate – but our confidence as optical and business professionals has been strengthened even more with this latest success.

We are incredibly proud to be a British business that thinks big, and the coming year looks to advance Eyespace to the next level yet again. Aside from taking time out to enjoy the inspirational and exciting awards evening, it’s full steam ahead for the Eyespace team!”

Contamac gets Second Queens Award, this time for Innovation.

August 2016

In a ceremony taking place at the Contamac’s new purpose-built facility in Saffron Walden last week John MacGregor received the award in front of an invited audience and the entire workforce.

ContamacPresenting the award was the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Baron Petre, well versed in presenting such an award and not least to Contamac to whom he was asked to present a previous Queen’s Award in 2012 for Enterprise.

Also attending was the High Sherriff of Essex, also appointed by the Sovereign, as her legal representative. Other local dignitaries, who had found time to come and congratulate Contamac were the Under-Sherriff, the Chairman of Essex County Council, The Leader of the District Council, The Director for Commercial banking for NatWest, and also the Director of Funding from UKTI who have played an important assisting role in Contamac’s continued success.

PHN’s editor was also invited to the occasion which followed an extensive personal tour of the facility on the previous day on a fact finding exercise for a company profile to be published next week on your PHN Profile Pages.

The Queens award for innovation has been awarded for the formulation of a unique product which has been commercialized for over a period of 5 years and has shown and has shown significant return on investment.

Lord Petre congratulated Contamac on the prestigious award and suggested that these awards have a very powerful affect on the companies receiving them in increased visibility and business. The award stands for 5 years from its presentation in April 2016.

Philipp Polonyi receiving awardIn receiving the magnificent vase and the ability to fly the “flag”, John Macgregor CEO invited his Sales and Marketing Director, Philipp Polonyi, to accept the award as the person who put the greatest effort in data collection into its application.

MacGregor in thanking the audience for its attendance and good wishes said that, he concurred with The Queens comments on these awards in how small and medium sized companies achieve international growth and stature. “He had noticed a growth in stature internationally when the first award was achieved and was hopeful of a repeat scenario following this award for Innovation.

Macgregor also thanked his staff for making the award possible.

Plans are already in place to contend for the Queens Award’s third sector for Sustainability in the future.

The award followed the formulation of the now highly successful and sought after Silicone Hydrogel lens material “Definitive” utilized by many large and small contact lens manufacturers from lens buttons made by Contamac.

Around 13.5 million buttons are made each year by Contamac Ltd.

These lenses (Definitive) have transformed the contact lens market for complicated and specialized lens production to address the need for more specialized lens needs of patients.

The company also provides many different hydrophilic lens materials both for Contact Lenses and for Intra Ocular Lens manufacturing. They have been consistent in product quality and design since the company, a family run business started in 1987.

A full company profile detailing the elements of production, inspection and supply will; be published on PHN shortly.

Grafton celebrates the arrival of Summer.

July 2016

With our Great British weather providing mixed emotions, Grafton Optical have released their “Summer Special Offers” on their whole practice essential equipment ranging from bulbs to lensmeters.

If you can’t see what you are looking for, call Grafton who will be pleased to assist.

Would you like to learn about a new technology that allows you to see much more Retinal detail? If so, click HERE.

Find out more or contact Grafton Optical by visiting their PHN supplier's page.

Grafton Optical are sponsors of your Free Opchat News delivered to over 7000 professionals each week.

AWARD SUCCESS: EYESPACE announced as a PWC Private Business Awards finalist.

July 2016

Eyespace Awrad from PWC
Championing the best of British industry, frame supplier, Eyespace, have been shortlisted for the prestigious uk private business awards in the ‘rising star of the year’ category.

Since the company’s launch in 2013, sisters and joint Managing Directors, Jayne and Julie Abel, have achieved unprecedented success both inside and outside of the optical industry, which has seen them win a plethora of awards for their products and business services. Today Eyespace offers independent opticians a portfolio of over 650 premium quality, fashion-forward frames for every demographic, including the recent premiere of two sunwear ranges; notably, CMS 2000 from the flagship Cocoa Mint Sunwear collection is 2016’s Frame of the Year.

Known as ‘The Diamonds’ the PwC sponsored awards see Eyespace shortlisted alongside 6 other flourishing UK businesses in their category, including Secret Escapes and Rate Setter. Joint Managing Director, Julie Abel commented on the award nomination: “We feel exceptionally proud to be acknowledged as a company that is proving itself and standing out in the UK marketplace, especially within the current climate. To be nominated for such a prominent award is humbling and we are honoured to sit alongside the very best of Britain’s private business owners. This nomination has bolstered our vision for the future and gives us confidence to invest further in order to best serve our customers.”

Partner and UK Private Business Awards’ leader at PwC, Brian Henderson said: “This has been another fantastic year for the Awards with a number of exceptional companies participating across the Private Business space. The shortlist showcases the very best of the companies who have entered across the UK and again recognises and celebrates entrepreneurs, their businesses and their teams. Our independent judging panel had an unenviable task during the voting process and all commented on the quality of the submissions and the passion, drive and stories behind the businesses which have made it to this stage.”

7 finalists for the ‘Rising Star’ award were chosen from hundreds of entries. Winners will be revealed at the awards ceremony in September.

Lord Hunt visits Adlens® Variable Power Optics™ Production Centre.

July 2016

Adlens®, global leader in variable focus eyewear, welcomed Lord Hunt Shadow Spokesperson on Health to its state-of-the-art Variable Power Optics™ Production Centre where Adlens® revolutionary AdlensFocuss™ eyewear is manufactured.

Lord Hunt at AdlensLord Hunt’s visit was sparked by his desire to learn more about the company and understand better the issues surrounding the General Optical Council’s opposition to adjustable-focus eyewear being sold over the counter.

Lord Hunt comments, “Adlens clearly represents British design and manufacturing at its best. This seems to be another example of a British innovation, which sells well overseas being held back in the UK because of the slowness to adopt by the eyecare establishment.”

Adlens®’ Chief Medical Officer, Graeme Mackenzie comments: “it was a great pleasure to show Lord Hunt our state-of-the-art facility here in Oxford. We have sold more than 1.5 million pairs of our eyeglasses across 56 markets globally, including the US, Japan, Mexico and Norway and we welcome the continued support in making our British products more widely available here in Britain. We remain committed to working with policy makers, eye care professionals, regulators, ophthalmic dispensers and other retailers, to ensure our products and their benefits are fully understood.”

Photo Caption: Left to Right Dr Graeme Mackenzie, Chief Medical Officer Adlens, Rt Hon. Lord Hunt, Mike Ferrara Chairman and Chief Executive Adlens.

Kevin Hughes joins Heidelberg Engineering.

 July 2016

Kevin Hughes

Heidelberg Engineering has again extended the UK support team with the appointment of Kevin Hughes as Technical Support Manager.

His appointment comes in an effort to maintain the highest level of customer care following the 450% growth Heidelberg Engineering UK has seen within the last four years.

Kevin has over 16 years’ experience in imaging and IT and specialises in the integration of diagnostic technology with patient management systems.

“I have always wanted to work for a truly dynamic company such as Heidelberg Engineering UK that offers such a direct opportunity to contribute and grow” explained Kevin. “Heidelberg Engineering provides comprehensive diagnostic solutions to improve patient care both within the health care service and the community and I am looking forward to being part of the team to ensure customers always receive the highest level of technical support.”

Kevin, who is based in Wrexham in North Wales, will cover the North of England, North Wales and Scotland. He joins an established team supporting SPECTRALIS, HRT and HEYEX data management installations.

Heidelberg Engineering are sponsors of your Free Opchat News, please visit their pages on the PHN Site.


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