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Opchat Magazine Industry NewsIndustry News, April to June 2017

Optical Industry Players welcome new Progressive Lens.
ESSILOR invests in Thornbury Centre of Excellence.
Ivo Benvegnù New Chief Operations Officer at Blackfin.
ACLM Elects a New Chairman.
Heidelberg Engineering strengthens its support team.
Heidelberg Engineering to Expand its Ophthalmic Healthcare IT Business through the Acquisition of Medisoft
WESTGROUPE USA names a new Western Regional Sales Director.

Optical Industry Players welcome new Progressive Lens.

June 2017

Essilor experimental labsThe optical industry has embraced Essilor’s eighth generation Varilux lens with 94% of independents happy to recommend it.

The universally positive response followed a recent launch event in Manchester and Birmingham, where more than 200 independent practitioners gathered to be briefed on the UK launch of Varilux X series.

Speakers talked about how the new lens will change the lives of millions of presbyopes by helping them regain visual agility and spontaneity with very little of the frustrating head movement to “find the sweet spot”.

Based on feedback received from patients, more than nine out of 10 are satisfied with their Varilux X series lenses.

The report also revealed that 98% of those surveyed plan to switch and replace Varilux S series with Varilux X series.

Head of marketing Jonathan Cohen said: “We’re delighted with the positive feedback on the product so far.

“It’s fantastic to have the support of our independent business partners and we truly believe the lens will help many more generation X presbyopes who are multi-tasking all day in an accelerated and online world and always feel rushed. Progressive lenses should not slow them down.”

Varilux X series has been trialled by a selection of industry experts who have all shown their support.

Case studies

Oliver Goldsmith, MD said:

This latest creation Varilux X series is so astonishing, I am really lost for words! The minute I put them on, everything was crystal clear and definitely no "swim effect" as I move my head up and down. It's a revelation to be able to see distance, mid and reading without any feeling of being unstable. It's quite amazing that Varilux has managed to create a lens that feels like a single vision but is a five star varifocal.

Mo Jalie, visiting professor in optometry at the University of Ulster said:

We’re very lucky to be surrounded here in Sussex by sparkling wine vineyards. It is very helpful to be able to read the label completely, even the small print, which one can do with progressives. Varilux X series is the first progressive design to offer customised corridor lengths and placement by actually measuring these requirements for the individual and being able to incorporate them into the design Essilor are able to offer an enhanced and bespoke product.

Gordon Batham, Goatman and Batham owner and optometrist said:

It's a competitive market out there. We try to give patients unique products and high-quality optics and all of those things help differentiate us from the masses. I put Varilux X series on and they are great. I don't see any distortions, they just seem brighter. I can walk around, I can access my phone, and see it and read it. The lenses on my frame are incredibly comfortable. It's an easy thing to do. The optics seem to be sharp, it's a really nice lens. I don't have to take them off to reverse the car which has been a complaint with varifocals in the past – that’s all gone. They are just really functional in that environment.

Jo Underwood, Principal ABDO college said:

The Varilux X series is an excellent product for the marketplace. I've really enjoyed wearing them. I can see for intermediate and I can see for near. They give me that field of view that I need. The advantage of having Varilux X series on is that if I need to stop and map read, I have the ability to do that without fumbling around to find a pair of spectacles and if we want to take photographs it makes it so much easier to do that.

Andy Chapman from Chapman Opticians said:

Varilux X series for me has been great. I've loved wearing the lens and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone else. From a business perspective, we've had a really positive response from patients.

ESSILOR invests in Thornbury Centre of Excellence.

June 2017

Essilor lens edgingEssilor has invested £500,000 in unique leading lens edging technology at its Thornbury based Centre of Excellence laboratory.

It will now offer the new Bisphera MEI edging process, providing a greater level of accuracy to all pre-edged lenses and a wider service offering in frame dispensing.

Jobs such as high base sun wrap frames will be edged on site for the first time allowing a greater range of products to be offered to customers from the UK site.

The new technology will produce more lenses per hour, with the faster turnaround bringing efficiencies to the lab, opticians and end users by improving promised delivery time. It will also help the lab embrace sustainability as the equipment does not require water.

The Bisphera edging machine made by MEI has frame curve bevel positioning and smart bevel for jobs with large differences between lens and frame curves letting the lab edge much more complex lenses.

Randeep Gill, commercial director at Essilor Ltd launched the technology with Thornbury mayor Cllr Helen Harrison on June 5.

Randeep Gill said, “Essilor has always strived to be the best business partner to independent opticians and provide high-quality services locally in the UK. This investment keeps our service quality high, maintains the lab as centre of excellence and demonstrates our commitment to local production.

“The equipment will bring more consistency into our edging process in terms of product finish and accuracy.

“It will also help plug the gap when it comes to purchasing second pair products, in particular sunwear and the increasingly popular sun wrap frames for skiing and cycling, with just 2 in 10 people currently opting for these.”

Thornbury mayor Cllr Helen Harrison said, “It’s a great pleasure to be part of this special occasion moving forward in what can be produced.

“Essilor is recognised as an excellent employer in the town and engaging in the community. Thank you for all you do for Thornbury.”

The lab was set up in 1974 and transformed into a centre of excellence for independents in July 2013 by investing in service equipment to specialise in high end, complex prescriptions.

Ivo Benvegnù New Chief Operations Officer at Blackfin.

May 2017

Ivo Benvegnù Pramaor, the company based in Agordo, in the Province of Belluno, specialising in the manufacture of top-of-the-range titanium eyewear under the brand name Blackfin, announces that Ivo Benvegnù has been appointed Chief Operations Officer, reporting directly to CEO Nicola Del Din.

“Our exponential growth of the last few years has made necessary a major reorganisation of our production processes which all take place entirely in-house” – says Nicola Del Din – “We are delighted to welcome Ivo to our team. His long experience and distinguished career in the eyewear industry will be a crucial factor for the growth of our production department, enabling us to cope more effectively and more efficiently with our amazing increase in sales. What’s more, this decision is proof of our resolve to take our corporate culture to the next level, which we at Blackfin call Phase Three. I would like to thank Corrado Rosson, our Head of Design, who from 2014 has performed the dual role of both Product and Production Manager”.

"I’m overjoyed to bring my experience to Pramaor, this young dynamic company” – asserts Ivo Benvegnù – “I’ve taken the time to meet and get to know all the staff members who have impressed me with their passion for their job and respect for the company. The job of organising operations is a vital one and I’m sure that with such a team we will be able to achieve our goals, guaranteeing the company even greater growth."

"Ivo’s arrival is an enormous help, above all providing a marvellous opportunity for Blackfin to grow and consolidate the results we have delivered thus far. Now I can devote myself full-time to product design and development." – adds Corrado Rosson.

Backed by his many years of experience in leading multinational eyewear companies, playing a management role in both production and research and development, it will be Ivo Benvegnù’s job to organise the Blackfin Operations Division, making an important contribution to meeting the turnover target, expected to exceed 10 million euro by the end of 2017.

ACLM Elects a New Chairman.

May 2017

Gordon Jones
At the May AGM The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM) elected Gordon Jones as its new Chairman.

Gordon is a long-standing board member of mark’ennovy Personalised Care Ltd, a past master of the WCSM and has been involved with contact lenses since 1972 through senior positions with Hydron and Allergan.

He also initiated the formation of Euromcontact.

The ACLM continues to be the cohesive voice for UK contact lens manufacturers and suppliers.

At the AGM the ACLM agreed to continue to further develop the UK contact lens market, to work closely with the Optical Confederation and all the other UK optical bodies.

With the Brexit negotiations ongoing and the critical importance of the regulatory requirements for contact lenses the ACLM will continue to be an active member of Euromcontact.

Heidelberg Engineering strengthens its support team.

May 2017

Heidelberg Engineering has expanded its support team with several new appointments in order to enhance the customer experience and maintain excellent technical support standards.

John Tudor and Kevin Hughes have joined the company as Technical Support Managers for the Central and Northern regions of the country respectively. They bring a combined 30 years of experience to the team and are dedicated to providing gold-standard support to customers in their regions. In addition, Debi Robson has been appointed Customer Experience Coordinator. She brings over 13 years’ experience in project management and logistics and will provide customers with a single point of contact for all helpdesk, contracts and order processing enquiries at the head office.

Phil Ennion Heidelberg Overseeing this growing team is Phill Ennion (pictured right) , who has taken on the role of Technical Services Manager. Phill brings over 15 years’ experience with Heidelberg Engineering to his new role.

“I am excited to be expanding the Heidelberg Engineering UK team”, explains Phill. “We are excited about the combined wealth of experience the new additions to the team will bring, which will ensure we continue to provide the high level of care our customers expect and deserve. The new members of staff will look after our customers Heidelberg Engineering instruments as well as provide networking and I.T. support to ensure smooth clinic workflow”.

Heidelberg Engineering are sponsors of this Primary Health Net site allowing Opchat News free to the profession to improve communications and learning.

You can read more about Heidelberg here

Heidelberg Engineering to Expand its Ophthalmic Healthcare IT Business through the Acquisition of Medisoft

April 2017

Medisoft aquisitionHeidelberg, Germany – Heidelberg Engineering GmbH today announced that it has acquired 100% ownership of Medisoft Limited, the leading UK-based provider of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software solutions for the ophthalmology market.

In healthcare IT, Heidelberg Engineering already offers comprehensive ophthalmic image management and other data solutions that address the requirements of enterprises as well as private practices. The company has also recently announced the establishment of an ophthalmic healthcare IT joint-venture in China with its long-time local business partner.

“Over the past 20 years, the Medisoft team has been dedicated to delivering an ophthalmology EMR that is easy and quick to use by ophthalmologists and other eye-care professionals, and that delivers detailed analysis of medical and surgical treatment outcomes,” said David Johnston, co-founder and Chairman of Medisoft. “Joining forces with Heidelberg Engineering and its broad portfolio of diagnostic imaging systems, image management solutions, and global reach will offer Medisoft a solid platform to accelerate further business growth outside the UK – enabling ophthalmology departments and private practices access to both patient records and their associated images using a combined offering from the two companies.”

“The acquisition of Medisoft brings together a highly experienced team and market-proven EMR capabilities with Heidelberg Engineering’s expertise in image management and diagnostic imaging systems,” said Christoph Schoess, Managing Director at Heidelberg Engineering GmbH. “We look forward to working with the Medisoft team to provide our customers with an increasingly wider range of ophthalmic healthcare IT solutions.”

Medisoft will continue operating out of its headquarters in Leeds, UK. Further, as part of this transaction, Heidelberg Engineering has appointed Arianna Schoess and Kfir Azoulay to the Board of Directors of Medisoft, in addition to current Board members David Johnston, Christian Martin, and Alice Braga Johnston.

“We expect to significantly strengthen our ophthalmic healthcare IT business with this strategic acquisition,” said Kfir Azoulay, Head of Strategy at Heidelberg Engineering. “Incorporating Medisoft’s advanced ophthalmic EMR product to our portfolio will enable the release of comprehensive software solutions that bring disparate data together and significantly improve patient care as well as operational efficiencies for our customers.”

While ophthalmic IT solutions will play an increasingly growing role in Heidelberg Engineering’s portfolio, the company will continue focusing on its core business ofstate-of-the-art diagnostic imaging platforms for eye-care professionals.

Heidelberg alongside Medisoft

Through the acquisition of Medisoft, Heidelberg Engineering has expanded its healthcare IT portfolio with advanced EMR solutions (left monitor) that complement the HEYEX Platform for Ophthalmic Image Management and Device Integration.


Heidelberg Engineering are sponsors of this Primary Health Net site allowing Opchat News free to the profession to improve communications and learning.

You can read more about Heidelberg here

WESTGROUPE USA names a new Western Regional Sales Director.

April 2017

WestGroupe USA is pleased to announce the appointment of Gino Skulick III to the position of Western Regional Sales Director.

Gino Skulick III

Based in California, Gino will play a critical role in leading the US West Coast sales team on to greater levels of success.

Gino joins us with more than 11 years of experience in the optical industry in both sales and leadership roles.

His knowledge, his ability to lead and his problem solving skills will be key assets in his new role at WestGroupe.

“Judging by his experience and his keen leadership skills, we are confident that Gino will be an integral player in the success of the sales team on the US West Coast,” says WestGroupe USA’s Vice-President of Sales, Dennis Davis.

“I am excited about my role with WestGroupe USA and look forward to the challenge of leading the West Coast sales team to surpass their goals,” says Gino Skulick.


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