Vision Now October 2023

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Prescription Safety

October 2023

With a rounded lens edge, CONTACT LIFE offers enhanced comfort and allows for optimal tear exchange, ideal for people who experience dry and irritable eyes.

2 Vision Now October 2023 UltraVision contact lenses should be fit through a registered eyecare practitioner. Please read Instructions For Use (IFU) before use. Copyright: ©UltraVision CLPL CONTACT LIFE. is a registered trademark of Wöhlk Contactlinsen GmbH Images: Freepik
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Editor: Nicky Collinson BA (Hons)

Features Contributor: Joan Grady

Business Editor: Philip Mullins FBDO

Art Editor: Stacey Potter BA (Hons)

Editor’s comment

How do you juggle work and wellness in a small business environment such as an optical practice? Not very easily, one should imagine.

As a small or medium-sized business owner, your capacity to offer wellbeing-based support programmes will no doubt be limited. What you can do, however, is actively and regularly signpost your staff to external support and resources with the aim of fostering a healthy, happy workplace environment. You could think of this as ‘business intelligence’ – a topic explored this month by Dominic Watson of Myers La Roche. As Dominic suggests, “In a business landscape with recruitment and retention challenges, a positive culture will go a long way to both attracting and keeping good staff.”

Further avenues to business intelligence include ensuring your financial and transactional processes are streamlined and efficient. As Phil Mullins discusses in his column this month, simply setting up your patients on a direct debit scheme can have a transformative effect on your business accounting – and give your patients peace of mind. And by using Cardnet payment solutions, you can further evolve your business IQ by accessing a detailed overview of patients’ payments and transactions, helping to spot trends and identify customer behaviour.

In product intelligence this month, we hear about Shaw Lens technology –now available from Caledonian Optical – which addresses four major ocular complications: aniseikonia, prismatic errors, monocular magnification errors and amblyopia. We also hear about the continuing success of Menicon Bloom, the complete treatment plan for childhood myopia launched 18 months ago. Finally, we turn to the environment – showcasing a selection of designs that embrace

contributions for publication in the magazine and reserves the right to amend them. Any such contribution, whether it bears the author’s name, initials or pseudonym, is accepted on the understanding that its author is responsible for the opinions expressed in it and that its publication does not imply that such opinions are those of The PK National Eyecare Group Ltd. Articles submitted for publication should be original, unpublished work and are accepted on the basis that they will not be published in any other journal. Acceptance of material for publication is not a guarantee that it will be included in any particular issue. Copyright © 2023 for Peekay Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying and recording, without the written permission of the publishers. Such written permission should also be obtained before any part of this publication is stored in a retrieval system of any nature.

sustainability with true style. Vision Now magazine is published by Peekay Publishing Ltd for The PK National Eyecare Group Ltd, the UK’s largest
for independent opticians. @PK_NEG VISION NOW is published by Peekay Publishing Ltd for The PK National Eyecare Group Limited, Clermont House, Cranbrook, Kent TN17 3DN VISION NOW is printed by CFH Docmail Ltd. St Peter’s Park, Wells Road, Radstock BA3 3UP
purchasing group
The Editor welcomes letters, articles and other
Inside 18 24 9 Vision Now October 2023 3 4 EssilorLuxottica unveils Swarovski collection 7 New European hub for Eyespace 9 Call for views on contact lens regulations 11 Safilo and Amazon collaborate on smart glasses 13 100% Optical opens for business 15 GOS fee rise in Scotland FEATURES 17 Business support Cardnet benefits for members 18 Product profile Shaw Lens technology 20 Product profile A year in Bloom 22 Business matters Improving your business IQ REGULARS 15 An independent view 17 Developing thoughts 24 Style spotlight 26 Suppliers’ directory


Swarovski has partnered with EssilorLuxottica to unveil a new collection of premium ophthalmic frames and sunglasses. Inspired by some of Swarovski’s most iconic jewellery families, the collection includes statement shapes, faceted crystals and sleek metals. The launch campaign was shot by critically-acclaimed fashion photographer, Steven Meisel, and features a striking pair of green sunglasses inspired by the Lucent jewellery family, styled with matching green Millenia jewellery. Each piece is crafted with an innovative hinge design, where multi-faceted, full-cut crystals exclusive to Swarovski bend apart at the temples. These styles are enriched with Swarovski’s iconic brand colours and are available in a variety of shapes.

“We are delighted to offer customers around the globe a new, reimagined eyewear assortment that celebrates self-expression and brings pure joy to the art of accessorising,” said Giovanna Engelbert, Swarovski’s global creative director. “Applying creative vision and fresh details to EssilorLuxottica’s expertise in quality craftsmanship is a dream partnership that allows customers to elevate any wardrobe look with chic eyewear that harmoniously pairs with Swarovski’s timeless jewellery pieces. We look forward to introducing the fall collection and continuing to inspire customers’ style preferences for seasons to come.”

Positive Impact

The optician-only Bruder Moist Heat Compress, said to be the number one practitioner-recommended compress in the USA, is now available from Positive Impact (PI). Bruder compresses are indicated for dry eye, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and blepharitis. Bruder also offers the Eyeleve Compress, claimed to be the only eye compress clinically proven to extend the comfortable wearing time of contact lenses by up to three hours.

Bausch + Lomb

Survey results have demonstrated “outstanding patient and eyecare practitioner (ECP) satisfaction” following a trial with Bausch + Lomb’s Ultra One Day contact lenses, says the company. The survey (‘Assessment of patients and fitters satisfaction after a fitting with Bausch + Lomb Ultra OneDay (sph)’, Gallileo Business Consulting, January 2023) included nearly 10,000 patients aged 18 to 44, who were fitted by some 1,300 ECPs in 11 European

PI managing director, Nick Atkins, said: “Dry eye and MGD are medical conditions and with evidence-based medicine very much a phrase of the moment, there are peer-reviewed publications to support Bruder’s efficacy, something of a rarity in this product sector. We also think the Bruder two-pod design reflects this medical positioning and the patented ergonomic design comfortably fits all facial types, targeting heat to the meibomian glands while avoiding the globe.”

Popular compress now available in UK

countries including the UK.

The survey found high satisfaction rates for both new (49 per cent) and experienced (51 per cent) contact lens wearers in terms of comfort, vision and handling. Nearly nine out of 10 study participants were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the key attributes

of the lens: overall comfort throughout the day (87 per cent), ease of handling (86 per cent), and clear vision throughout the day (89 per cent). Among surveyed ECPs, 92 per cent were satisfied with the results for their patients, and 91 per cent were likely to recommend the lenses to other practitioners.

* The parameter range for Bausch + Lomb Ultra Multifocal for Astigmatism has expanded from 416 to 3,280 parameters –available in a six pack and single trial lens format.

4 Vision Now October 2023 News Want to feature in VN? Email the editor at: @PK_NEG @national-eyecare-group
Campaign image captured by Steven Meisel Patient and ECP satisfaction surveyed
Vision Now October 2023 5
Monthly replacement lenses
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CPD Lecture & Workshop | Exhibition

OCT Biometry and Myopia Management

17th October 2023 • from 5pm (CPD Lecture & Workshop from 7pm)

Knebworth House & Barns, SG3 6PY

CPD Provided by Jason Higginbotham Scan for further details:

Organised By:

4 CPD points available


6 Vision Now October 2023
10mm 20mm 30mm


Eyespace has opened a new distribution hub in Austria, providing its European retail partners with improved access to its products. The hub will feature advanced inventory management systems and a streamlined order fulfilment process. European customers will benefit from reduced lead times, competitive shipping costs and no import duties or VAT on goods received under the EU Single Trade Agreement. They will also continue to have access to all Eyespace brands and collections, with support from the

Hoya Vision Care

Hoya Vision Care has provided an update on its One Vision sustainability programme, launched internally more than a year ago, and based on the three pillars of Environment, Community and Workplace. The programme includes a number of targets including: reaching 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2040, if not sooner, with an interim target of 60 per cent by 2030; to support Orbis International to screen more than 500,000 children across the world by 2025; to expand its on-demand learning platform for employees currently offering more than 16,000 training courses in 13 languages.

“Hoya’s One Vision, three-pillared


Influenced by the artistry of watchmaking, the Momentum collection from Silhouette has been given an intricate makeover. There are four new lens shapes –geometric, square, rectangular and round – in gold, lavender, teal and black. Central to the reimagined look is the inclusion of Silhouette’s distinctive signet as a tessellation on newly finished titanium temples. A mix of metallic matte surfaces and shiny edges complete the new look.

Silhouette head of design, Roland Keplinger, said: “The slim design and clear lines

Positive Impact

Positive Impact has refreshed and expanded its Dry Eye Zone website, www.dryeyezone., which allows patients to buy their dry eye products online, with their independent practice receiving a percentage reimbursement of their full order value. This means the practice doesn’t

sustainability programme aims to address the impact we as a business have on the world, with our employees, our communities, and the planet – ensuring we are operating every aspect of our business in a sustainable, accountable manner,” said Alexandre Montague, CEO of Hoya Vision Care. “As a global business, we have a clear

company’s UK-based customer service team.

Ryan James, Eyespace international sales director, said: “At the 10-year mark of Eyespace’s journey in optics, we are thrilled to unveil our new European distribution hub as a result of our dedication to delivering exceptional eyewear products and services to our valued customers throughout Europe. This strategic move aligns perfectly with our mission to ensure that our products are readily available to our partners across the continent, while maintaining a hassle-free, gold-standard service.”

responsibility to focus on climate change, work with and give back to the communities where we operate including reducing the vision health gap and to build a strong, highly trained workforce filled with career opportunities to ensure a robust future.” Find out more about at www.hoyavision. com/uk/about-us/sustainability

enable both timeless designs and somewhat more extravagant contours, as is proven with the new lens shapes. The temple

design has also been graphically expanded with a new variation, thus once again demonstrating its versatility.”

have to tie up cash, or practice space, by stocking every product in PI’s Dry Eye Zone or bulk buy.

Maxine Green, PI sales and operations director, said: “At least 95 per cent of dry eye sales go through non-optical channels and we

don’t believe that’s right when manufacturers expect the sector to drive recommendation in the first place. Post-Covid, it is estimated that more than half of consumers prefer to buy online and we are committed to ensuring that our customers don’t lose out when the patient makes that convenience choice.”

Vision Now October 2023 7 News
Makeover for Momentum collection New European hub established Supporting global screening for children

STEPPER (UK) Limited

For UK frame availability, please consult website.


Marchon Eyewear and Linda Farrow, the iconic luxury London-based eyewear brand, have entered into a long-term exclusive agreement for the distribution of Linda Farrow sun and optical eyewear throughout North America, including Canada and the Cayman Islands. The brand is known for its collaborations with acclaimed designers and is well known and loved by celebrities and influencers such as Margot Robbie, Beyonce, Rihanna and Hailey Bieber. Sun and optical frames are conceived in London and handcrafted by master engineers in Japan. Headquartered in London, Linda Farrow currently has boutiques in the UK, Uruguay, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Shanghai and is stocked in more than 1,000 spaces worldwide. “We are thrilled to partner with Linda Farrow, a unique brand with impeccable quality and luxurious style,” said Gabriele Bonapersona, chief brand officer at Marchon Eyewear.


Essilor’s Varilux XR series has now officially replaced the current Varilux X series. Launched in June, the Varilux XR series harnesses the power of behavioural artificial intelligence to deliver “the first eye-responsive progressive lens for instant sharpness even in motion”. Essilor’s R&D team created a digital twin to capture the exact detail a wearer needs a lens to deliver, and then built this insight into the lens with XR-motion technology. This technology reduces the optical disparities between the two lenses, ensuring precise positioning of the focus zones adapted to each wearer.

Alan Pitcher, Essilor commercial director for wholesale lenses, said: “Varilux XR series is our most innovative product in the brand’s portfolio and the switching plan allows our ECP business partners to continue offering patients the very best solution to enhance visual acuity for patients.” Practitioners are encouraged to contact their Essilor business development manager for product training or support.

General Optical Council

The General Optical Council (GOC) is consulting on a draft position statement setting out that it will not enforce the requirement to verify a copy of a contact lens specification where a sale of prescription contact lenses is made under the general direction of a GOC registrant (or registered medical practitioner). The statement also provides a definition of aftercare following the sale of prescription contact lenses under general direction. The statement has been drafted following the


Ophthalmic Instruments

There’s still time to book onto BIB’s ‘OCT biometry and myopia management’ CPD lecture and workshop, being presented by Jason Higginbotham on 17 October at Knebworth House and Barns near Stevenage. Kicking off at 5pm, with the lecture at 7pm, the event aims to provide delegates with guidance on approaching myopia management in practice, whilst gaining four CPD points.

In association with partner companies, including NEG and Optinet, and representatives from Hertfordshire Local Optical Committee, delegates will also enjoy an exhibition with suppliers in diagnostic instruments, frames, lenses, sunglasses, accessories, ortho-k lenses and supplements – as well as receive financial advice. Catering and a fully licenced bar will be provided, and the gardens will be open during intermissions. “We look forward to welcoming you all to a wonderful evening of fun and education in a beautiful setting,” said BIB CEO, Tim Baker. To reserve a place, telephone BIB on 01438 740823.

GOC’s call for evidence on the Act which took place in 2022.

Steve Brooker, GOC director of regulatory strategy, said: “Stakeholders told us that it is now commonplace for contact lens specifications to be provided as electronic copies...which we believe should be accepted. What’s more, it can be difficult to verify a specification with the exact person who signed it which can create inefficiencies that are then passed on to patients as costs.

When it comes to aftercare, stakeholders told us it should include information for patients on how to wear and care for lenses, and advice on how to identify signs of infection or harm and what to do in this event. We believe our definition provides sufficient detail to ensure the public is protected and so that it is clear what sellers of contact lenses are obliged to do to meet their legal obligations.” The consultation closes on 24 October and can be accessed on the GOC Consultation Hub

Vision Now October 2023 9 News
Time to switch to Varilux XR Jason Higginbotham Linda Farrow eyewear
10 Vision Now October 2023 from 3 5 6 1 4 Hydrate 2Massage Supplements Heat Antimicrobial Cleanse Circle-of-Care Dry Eye? We’ve got you covered Supporting Independents – Not available in Boots or supermarkets Telephone: 01424 851375 | Email: Purifeyes ✓ DemEx ✓ HydraMed ✓ TearRestore ✓ Eyes Are The Story ✓ Lash Builder ✓ Dry Omega ✓ Bruder ✓ ® ®


The Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has achieved carbon neutrality for 2022, alongside its National Resource Centre (NRC) education and training facility in Birmingham. ABDO College has achieved carbon neutrality for the second year running. ABDO sustainability lead, Antonia Chitty, said: “Carbon foot-printing ABDO’s work is a significant achievement and I want to thank the staff who have worked on this on top of their existing workloads. It is exciting to know that the offsets mean that ABDO has compensated for its emissions.


Safilo and are teaming up to launch new Carrera Smart Glasses with Alexa, blending Safilo’s Italian design with Alexa technology into two iconic frames. With open-ear audio technology, the new Carrera Smart Glasses direct sound to the ears without covering them, while minimising what others around can hear. Wearers will enjoy up to six hours of continuous media playback or continuous talk time on a full battery charge.

“Safilo has always looked to the future with an innovative approach, and this is why we are very proud to collaborate with Amazon on this innovative project, offering our Italian design and the unique style of Carrera Eyewear,” said Angelo Trocchia, CEO of the Safilo Group. “Furthermore, we are proud to combine our well-established traditional wholesale distribution model – which encompasses eyecare retailers, chains, department stores, specialised retailers, and boutiques – with Amazon’s incredible


Hoya has pledged to build on its print and digital media campaigns for MiYOSMART spectacle lenses in the UK and Ireland, which it says have reached millions of people. Its ‘Protect how they see the world’ campaign was launched alongside the new MiYOSMART Sun range to help raise awareness of myopia and the importance of time spent outdoors and sun protection for children. The campaigns are also designed to increase footfall to accredited practices.

A recent TV advert on ITVX was aimed at households with children, and included a direct message to viewers to find their nearest MiYOSMART accredited optician.

“The ABDO team has decreased electricity, gas and water consumption,” she continued. “All waste is now recycled. Business travel and commuting emissions have increased as 2022 saw an increase in activity after the pandemic halted much of the Association’s travel. We will be looking at ways to stay on top of this in years to come, and have already made the EV and Cycle to Work schemes available to staff.”

The Association’s emissions, and those of the NRC and ABDO College, are offset using the Larimar Wind Farm Project from Dominican Republic by the Verra registry.

‘The portrait of dreams: a journey into real beauty’ is the title of a new campaign for Yalea, a house brand of the De Rigo Group. The rolling campaign will feature 43 exceptional women photographed by Mihaela Noroc of Romania, famed for her photographic project the Atlas of Beauty. On a journey through nine countries and 13 cities, the campaign aims to capture powerful stories from women of different ages, nationalities and professions.

Sunglasses with Alexa technology online distribution.” Carrera Smart Glasses with Alexa are currently available on the US market only.

The first four Portraits of Dreams feature: Nicole Vindel, food designer and artist from Barcelona; Pauline Grisoni, Parisian journalist and podcaster; Karen Williams, model and empowered ageing ambassador from New York; and Caterina Bianchi, soloist at La Scala in Milan. Our photograph shows Karen Williams, who returned to modelling at the age of 53 to give visibility to women who are ageing. She wears Yalea model SYA125 – oversized cat-eye sunglasses combining different coloured acetates and metal profiles with a coloured wave detail on the side.

encourage the local community to come into the practice to find out more about MiYOSMART spectacle lenses. Watch the advert at

Vision Now October 2023 11
De Rigo
Karen Williams wears Yalea SYA125 Raising awareness amongst consumers A campaign on Mumsnet ran in parallel, carrying the same message and call to action. To support practices, Hoya has provided a full marketing guide to help

The first eye-responsive varifocal lens* Order today.

© Essilor International - September 2023 - All rights reserved. Varilux®, Varilux® XR series™ and Crizal® are trademarks of Essilor International. **Eye-responsive defined as the consideration of two parameters in the design of the varifocal lens: prescription and visual behaviour.

Louis Stone Optical

Louis Stone Optical is continuing to support optometry students at Cardiff University by supplying frames and ophthalmic equipment for the School of Optometry’s Africa projects. The equipment was used during optometry outreach at six different locations in Ghana in July, as well as in Malawi. Over two weeks in Ghana, students collaborated with the University of Cape Coast to perform non-profit sight tests to more than 1,000 patients.

Students also participated in a research project on glaucoma prevalence in the Ghanian population led by a postgraduate team. In Malawi, students provided sight tests, experienced a low vision masterclass and taught registrars refraction. They observed different surgeries and saw a significant number of pathologies for the first time. “The Malawi trip not only allowed us to develop optometry skills, but has given us a whole new perspective on life,” said one student.

British Contact Lens Association

The impact of menopause on female eye health is the topic of a British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) webinar this month. Dr Stuti Misra, a senior lecturer in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland, will present ‘Menopause and its impact on eyes’ at 7pm on 18 October. Dr Misra said: “An optimum balance of several hormones is required to maintain tear film integrity and ocular surface health. The beginning of perimenopause and menopause impact skin and ocular function significantly, as they do the rest of the body.

“Although the general notion of worsening dry eye in post-menopausal women exists, there remains a paucity of clinical data in the literature. This lecture will discuss the various changes the female body undergoes that may affect the ocular surface throughout life – from puberty, menstruation cycles, contraceptive use, pregnancy and, finally, to stages of menopause.” Dr Misra’s research interests include anterior segment imaging, ocular surface diseases, corneal innervation and community eye health. The session is open to all, with one CPD point available to BCLA members. Register for the session, or sign up to membership, at

100% Optical

Registration for 100% Optical 2024 has opened, along with entry submissions for the Love Eyewear Awards. The show will return to London’s ExCeL for its 10th anniversary edition on 24-26 February. To mark the anniversary, a new Best Innovation category is open to eyewear designers, manufacturers and retailers. Other categories include New Designer 2024, Sustainable Frame of the Year and Eyewear Retailer of the Year. The shortlisted nominees will be announced on 22 January and the winners announced on the catwalk during an evening of celebration on Saturday 24 February.

Michelle Whitfield-Jones, 100% Optical’s senior marketing and brand manager, said: “Our goal is always for 100% Optical to showcase the very best designs, products, research and innovation in the world of optics and eyewear, and our increasingly popular awards are the ideal opportunity to shine a light on all of these areas and more. We’re also very excited to see the entries that our brand new category will attract,” added Michelle. The trade show recently won the Best Brand Collaboration award at the Exhibition News Indy Awards for the Association of Optometrists’ partnership with Media 10.

Vision Now October 2023 13 News
Dr Stuti Misra Love Eyewear Awards go live Cardiff students in Malawi
Vision Now * When the ECP followed the fitting guide 1. Bausch + Lomb; 2020. Bausch + Lomb ULTRA® Multifocal for Astigmatism Patient Evaluation. 2. Bausch + Lomb ULTRA® Multifocal for Astigmatism stabilisation study. 3. Gallileo Business Consulting; 2022. Assessment of patient satisfaction with Bausch + Lomb ULTRA® Multifocal for Astigmatism. 4. Bausch + Lomb., 2016. A study to evaluate the product performance of two designs of soft toric lenses Rochester. N UK: 0845 602 2350 Please read the Instructions for Use (IFU) for risks associated with Bausch + Lomb ULTRA® contact lenses. ®/™ are trademarks of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates. ©2023 Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates. UMT.0007.IE.23 FULFIL YOUR PATIENTS VISION NEEDS SOONER AVAILABLE IN STOCK AND READY TO SHIP 3-Zone Progressive Design™ seamless vision near, far and in-between1 OpticAlign™ Design ≤5˚ rotation on 95% of patients2 Easy to fit*3,4 In stock and ready to ship BAUSCH + LOMB ULTRA ® MULTIFOCAL FOR ASTIGMATISM

SightGlass Vision

SightGlass Vision’s CYPRESS study extension, evaluating the myopia control performance of its Diffusion Optics Technology (DOT 0.2) spectacle lenses, has shown “statistically significant slowing of axial length progression and cycloplegic spherical equivalent refraction” (cSER). During the 36 to 48-month timeframe, axial length mean change was 0.13 ±0.02mm for the test group (n=55) and 0.18 ±0.02mm for the control (n=41; p=0.038). cSER mean change was -0.25 ±0.04 D for the test group and -0.38 ±0.05 D for control (p=0.043).

“The CYPRESS four-year findings confirm the demonstrated efficacy, safety and overall performance of Diffusion Optics Technology spectacle lenses,” said Andrew Sedgwick, CEO of SightGlass Vision. “Eyecare professionals worldwide are demanding this level of scientific rigor, allowing them to confidently recommend the lenses to children and their caregivers. SightGlass Vision is proud to advance the myopia control category with our latest research and technologies, and enthusiastic about growing opportunities for spectacles in a child’s treatment regimen.”



Optometry Scotland (OS) has welcomed a six per cent increase in the fee paid to optometrists in Scotland for carrying out NHS eye examinations. Fees for all GOS eye exams undertaken in Scotland on or after 1 April 2023 will see the increase (including domiciliary visiting fees) for delivery of core primary care services to the public. The award comes following extensive consultation with OS and is a further increase from the 4.5 per cent uplift agreed in 2022.

Julie Mosgrove, OS chair, said: “We welcome these increases and thank the Scottish government for such commitment to recognising our sector’s ongoing efforts in delivering the best possible standard of community eyecare for the people of Scotland following a particularly challenging few years. Increasing the GOS fee ultimately improves the accessibility of free eye examinations across the country, allowing for the most vulnerable groups within Scottish society to have equal access to world renowned standards of primary healthcare. These examinations also contribute to early detection of health issues, which can provide a real advantage to securing effective and appropriate treatment within the community,” she added.


Will we go the way of dentistry?

Trying to find a dentist that will accept NHS patients can be a real challenge these days. The economics simply don’t make sense for many practitioners and so they have gone exclusively private – and in the main very successfully. Interestingly, the private model includes many of the corporate chains of dentists.

A year or two ago, there were signs that a number of independent optical practices would go the same way –but it is fair to say that this has been more of a trickle than a flood. There is some evidence, however, that a number of independent practices have changed the balance of their work away from the NHS to private work. There does not seem to have been any change to the business models of the multiples.

Why is it that optics isn’t following the same path as dentistry, particularly against the context of the derisory GOS fee? Well, the clinical and retail balance of the two professions is different, with much greater ‘in chair’ clinical treatment in dentistry and much less retail product sales, if any at all. As a result, dentists can exert much greater pressure on the government and the NHS by withdrawing NHS services, and of course there is much media attention on the issue.

So how does optics tackle the issue of derisory GOS fees? Well, clearly not through the Optometric Fees Negotiating Committee, which has seen the fee reduce significantly in real terms in recent years when set against inflation.

There is a strong faction in independent practice in favour of moving to a voucher system for the GOS fee, putting more choice into the hands of patients and giving practitioners the option to levy a reasonable top-up fee to deliver a professional eye examination. This will be the subject of discussion at a panel session at the AIO Conference at Chesford Grange on 7 October and dependant on the views expressed, may be the basis for a lobby to government and the NHS.

Optics is unlikely to go the way of dentistry and so must find its own solution to the issue of the derisory GOS fee.

Vision Now October 2023 15
Four-year study results released Julie Mosgrove

Developing thoughts

A direct approach

It is surprising just how quickly cash and cheque transactions have been largely replaced by card and e-payments – a process undoubtedly accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The logic behind the move is to make life easier for both customers and businesses. No longer do we have to go to the bank (if you can find one), take out the cash or write the cheque. Now we just simply tap and go; or at the very most enter a four-digit pin code. But card payments don’t come without issues, nor do they particularly build loyalty to your brand.

From a customer’s point of view, paying by card, particularly debit card, can often make budgeting difficult. It is so easy to just tap and go and then realise you have overspent. So, what is the answer? Simply put, it’s monthly payment plans. Although you can’t take all payments this way, having patients on payment plans builds loyalty to your business, makes it easier for the customer to budget, improves your cashflow, and increases the value of your business.


The two most widely-used monthly payment methods are standing order and direct debit (DD); often mistaken for each other or assumed to be the same but with very specific differences. With a standing order, the customer has control as the payment is sent from their bank to yours. You won’t know if that payment has been made that month until you search your bank statements to reconcile your accounts.

With a DD payment, you collect and manage the payment. You know if a DD is cancelled or there is an issue with payments. You can also make simple changes to the amount collected, provided you give the customer the correct notice. But why has DD become the go-to method for collecting monthly payments? Apart from how easy it can be to set up, monitor and control, DDs are reassuring to the customer.

With nine out of 10 UK adults having at least one DD, and more than six billon collected yearly worth over £5trn, it is just part of everyday life. DDs also make budgeting easier for customers as they know what they will be paying each month. So if you’re not offering DD as an option then you could be losing out.


But what can you put on a DD? Traditionally, practices have used monthly payment plans for contact lens patients. Now, more and more are practices are putting patients on professional fee plans, where patients pay for all their eye examinations, check-ups and eyecare, including things such as dry eye and glaucoma treatments.

You can also spread the payments of spectacle purchases on monthly payments; and provided you take the payment in less than 12 instalments you don’t need a credit licence to do it. All the time you are using DD monthly payments, you are building patient loyalty because you are making life easier for them. They will be less likely to switch practices, or turn to the internet, if they are paying you for the service. It’s also worth remembering that DDs are very rarely cancelled, so it builds long-term loyalty to your business.


I know that many of you will be using DD already, but if you aren’t then do consider signing up to Optical Payment Services (OPS) – the exclusive DD collection service for NEG members. Powered by Bottomline, one of the country’s leading DD collection agencies, OPS if a fully paperless service with an easy-to-use web-based system. It can also be fully integrated into the Optinet FLEX practice management system.

Once you’ve signed up to OPS, start adding into the system patients who make regular purchases onto DD, such as contact lens or dry eye patients, and then build it up from there. You’ll be surprised how well your patients receive having a monthly payment option – and what it can add to your business.

If you are collecting DDs already, ask yourself if the system you are using is offering you the best value for money. Is it easy to use? Is your service being withdrawn? Are you looking for something that can work with your PMS? If you answer yes to any of these questions, OPS could be the answer for your business.

Transferring to OPS is easy and fully supported by the Bottomline team. More information can be found on our website –or call OPS direct on 0344 8266700. ■

16 Vision Now October 2023
Direct debit schemes help both practice and patient to budget wisely
This month, Phil Mullins looks at how direct debit schemes can build patient loyalty and practice business...

Cardnet: the benefits are plain to see

Thanks to Acceptcards, NEG’s existing deal with Lloyds Bank Cardnet has meant members are now seeing some good savings...

"We’ve been working with Cardnet now for just over a year," explains NEG business development manager, Sandi Charlesworth. "Although the team ran a calling campaign last year to try and speak to as many members as possible and introduce the deal, they weren’t able to speak to every member, so it’s worth reminding ourselves of the many benefits Cardnet can bring to payment solutions if you don’t get a chance to call them directly yourself."

Cardnet offers NEG members competitive rates when processing credit and debit card payments either face-to-face, over the phone or online, and accepts a wide range of card types from all the leading schemes. It is one of the UK’s largest payment processors, and switching is easy as it doesn’t involve changing your bank account.

Cardnet offers fast transaction handling and payment reconciliation – and has a proven track record with more than 30 years’ experience in the card payment industry.

The benefits of Cardnet include:

■ No hidden fees or confusing small print

■ Tools that track your finances and provide customer insight

■ Specialist UK-based support team

■ Helps you to comply with the latest industry security standards


With free access to Cardnet reporting tools, NEG members can access a detailed overview of their payments and transactions, helping to spot trends and identify customer behaviour.

"You can access the tools at any time, on any device type and be able to see or

download the data you need, including statements of monthly fees and charges," explains Sandi. "It is quick and easy to set up, and is ready in minutes, helping you manage card transactions and schedule reports when it suits you."

Cardnet continues to link in with Clover, which remains part of the Cardnet offering to NEG members. Clover is a powerful platform built around accepting payments but powered by cloud-based software and apps to help run the business. It offers customised apps to grow the practice's system’s capabilities, along with software to help analyse, develop and grow the business whilst helping to improve staff performance.


Cardnet solutions allow NEG members to accept card payments from all major credit and debit cards using a variety of methods. It works by reading information from a customer’s card using either:

■ Chip and PIN: the card machine ‘reads’ an embedded chip that stores the customer’s four-digit PIN

■ Contactless: the customer touches their card on, or near, the card reader which detects the customer’s details using a wireless technology called Radio Frequency Identification

■ Mobile wallets (such as Apple Pay and Google Pay): these apps use Near-Field Communication to provide the card information

It only takes a few seconds for the cardholder and payment information to be transferred from the cardholder’s bank to Cardnet, and once available funds are detected, the transaction is approved. With no joining fee or confusing small print, tools that track your finances and provide customer insight, and a specialist UK-based support team, Lloyds Bank Cardnet is ready for your business.

To explore improving your existing rates, call 0345 604 2491 and select option two, quoting reference NEG/22. Lines are open 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday.

Cardnet is a registered trademark of Lloyds Bank plc. ® 2019 The Clover trademark and logo are owned by Clover Network, Inc. a First Data company. All Rights Reserved. Lloyds Bank Plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under Registration Number 119278. ■

Vision Now October 2023 17 BUSINESS SUPPORT
A specialist UK support team is available
Photos from stock.

Shaw Lens technology: revolutionising vision care

ergonomic, and flat top multifocal designs. Moreover, they are offered in a range of materials, including clear, photo-adaptive, tintable, and polarised options, ensuring that patients with diverse needs can find the perfect solution.

3. Addressing magnification and distortion: Shaw Lens technology places a strong emphasis on reducing magnification and distortion, which are inherent to spectacle correction due to their position away from the eye’s refracting surface. While complete elimination of these distortions is impossible, Shaw technology significantly minimises them, resulting in a more natural visual experience.


Shaw Lens technology goes beyond standard spectacle correction by addressing four major ocular complications:

1. Image size errors (aniseikonia) (Figure 2): Shaw Lens technology equalises image sizes, which is crucial in eliminating suppression and enhancing depth perception. This feature plays a pivotal role in treating refractive amblyopia, providing a fusion lock for strabismus treatment, and addressing convergence insufficiency with anisometropia.

The ever-evolving field of eyecare has witnessed remarkable advancements and innovative technologies over the years. One such innovation is Shaw Lens technology, which is reshaping the way we address the ocular disorders and pathologies that result from poorly designed spectacles, or acquired and developmental disorders.

Developed by optometrist Peter J. Shaw, this innovative technology has garnered international recognition for its groundbreaking approach to spectacle lens design. A key player in bringing Shaw Lens technology to Europe is NEG preferred supplier, Caledonian Optical. Offered by the Aberdeen-based lens manufacturer exclusively to NEG members, Shaw Lens technology has the potential to provide immense benefits to both patients and practice.

Shaw Lens technology is the result

of years of dedicated research and development to revolutionise spectacle lens design. Traditional spectacle lenses often introduce unavoidable magnification and distortion, leading to discomfort and sub-optimal vision quality for wearers. Shaw technology aims to manage this unavoidable magnification and distortion, tackling these challenges head-on –providing patients with a more harmonious and natural visual experience.


1. Advanced freeform design: Shaw Lens technology utilises a patented, state-ofthe-art digital freeform design platform for manufacturing (Figure 1). This allows for precision and customisation previously unattainable with conventional lens designs.

2. Range of designs and materials: Shaw lenses are available in various designs, including single vision, progressive addition,

2. Prismatic errors: Spectacle correction typically induces image path deviation in various gaze directions, potentially causing diplopia or fixation disparity when errors are unequal. Shaw Lens technology corrects these prism errors, benefiting patients with acquired brain injuries, systemic disorders, and age-related binocular dysfunction, among others.

3. Monocular magnification errors: Spectacle lenses can lead to barrel or pin cushion distortion, especially in the peripheral field of vision. Shaw Lens technology optimises the base curve at the position of wear, reducing these monocular distortions and providing more comfortable, undistorted vision, particularly for contact lens wearers and presbyopes.

4. Amblyopia management: Shaw Lens iseikonic therapy effectively eliminates image size differences, reducing anisophoria and aniseikonia. This approach has yielded impressive results in the treatment of amblyopia, encouraging

18 Vision Now October 2023 PRODUCT
State-of-the-art digital freeform manufacturing Shaw Lens technology address aniseikonia

binocular summation and improving vision motor skills.

In addition to these advancements, Shaw Lens technology offers solutions for patients suffering from macropsia due to epi-retinal membrane and other retinal pathologies.


Caledonian Optical stands at the forefront of introducing Shaw Lens technology to Europe. As the exclusive supplier of Shaw lenses in the region, the company has played a pivotal role in making this innovative technology accessible to optometrists and patients alike. This partnership has had a profound impact on vision care in Europe, offering new hope and possibilities to individuals with complex vision needs.

Stuart Neilson, Caledonian Optical group commercial director (Figure 3), says “We take immense pride in our exclusive offering of the Shaw Lens to NEG members. At Caledonian Optical, our mission is to empower the independent optometrist, enabling them to elevate their patients’ visual experiences. The cutting-edge technology embedded in the Shaw Lens delivers a proven, highly effective solution to address various ocular challenges.

“By incorporating the Shaw lens into your product line-up, we believe it will not only enhance your business – but elevate your reputation for clinical excellence. This, in turn, will foster greater patient satisfaction and loyalty, ensuring a brighter future for your practice,” adds Stuart.

With years of experience in servicing the independent optical sector, Caledonian Optical recognises the importance of quality products and service and is committed to delivering this through its Caledonian Optical Approved Quality Assurance (Figure 4). This includes working with independent

practices to grow their business, pioneering the very latest technology, providing advanced lens solutions, and allowing them to offer superior visual experiences to their patients.


Caledonian Optical’s commitment to advancing vision care goes beyond simply providing Shaw lenses in Europe. For NEG members, the partnership between Caledonian Optical and Shaw Lens holds numerous benefits:

1. Cutting-edge vision solutions: NEG members gain exclusive access to the latest and most advanced vision solutions, enhancing their ability to provide comprehensive care to their patients. Shaw Lens technology becomes a valuable tool in their arsenal to address complex visual needs effectively.

2. Tailored vision correction: Shaw lenses are highly customisable, allowing NEG members to provide tailored vision correction that meets the unique requirements of each patient. This customisation ensures optimal visual outcomes and patient satisfaction.

3. Treatment of complex cases: For patients with complex binocular dysfunction, Shaw Lens technology becomes an invaluable resource. It offers effective solutions for a wide range of conditions, including refractive amblyopia, strabismus and anisometropia.

4. Enhanced patient satisfaction: Shaw Lens technology not only improves vision but also enhances comfort and reduces visual discomfort associated with traditional lenses. This leads to higher patient satisfaction and loyalty.

5. Continual innovation: The partnership with Caledonian Optical ensures that NEG members have access to ongoing innovations and advancements in Shaw

Lens technology. This keeps them at the forefront of eyecare practice in Europe.


Shaw Lens technology represents a ground-breaking advancement in spectacle lens design, addressing the challenges of magnification and distortion inherent to traditional lenses. As the exclusive supplier of Shaw lenses in Europe – and as a preferred supplier to NEG – Caledonian Optical can provide optometrists and patients with unparalleled access to this advanced technology.

For NEG members, this partnership opens up a world of possibilities in delivering tailored vision solutions and effectively treating complex visual disorders. With Shaw Lens technology, the future of eyecare looks brighter than ever, offering improved vision and enhanced patient satisfaction for all.

With the ability to eliminate image size errors, prismatic errors and monocular magnification errors, Shaw Lens technology offers hope and improved vision for individuals with conditions such as amblyopia and strabismus. By addressing these issues, Shaw Lens technology paves the way for more natural and comfortable vision, making it an essential tool for optometrists and vision therapy specialists.

In a field where one size does not fit all, Shaw Lens technology offers customised solutions that cater to the unique needs of each patient. As the technology continues to evolve and expand its reach, it holds the promise of transforming the lives of countless patients by providing them with clear, comfortable and harmonious vision. ■

Vision Now October 2023 19
Scan the QR code below to find your dedicated support manager. Article supplied by Caledonian Optical. Stuart Neilson, Caledonian Optical group commercial director Caledonian Optical Approved Quality Stamp

A year in Bloom

The exponential rise in cases of childhood myopia is no secret –with approximately 30 per cent of the world’s population now affected. With forecasts predicting this could increase to 50 per cent by 2050, myopia presents a real threat to our children’s eyesight.

Myopia is most commonly due to increased elongation of the eye, which continues even when wearing normal visual correction. This results in light focusing in front of the retina instead of directly on it, making distant objects appear blurred.

Despite the rise in cases being partly attributed to children and younger people spending more time indoors and looking at tablet or smartphone screens, clinical research on the subject remains low.

In March 2022, Menicon launched Menicon Bloom to the UK market, a groundbreaking treatment plan for childhood myopia. Almost 18 months on, Josie Barlow, head of professional services at Menicon, provides an overview of how Menicon Bloom has been received by the UK market – and how it’s offering eyecare practitioners (ECPs), their patients and families a treatment plan which is proving to be a game-changer in myopia management.


Having been in development for a considerable amount of time before being initially launched in the Netherlands in 2019, Menicon Bloom entered the UK market last year.

“With such a wide-ranging and comprehensive treatment plan, development was, quite rightly, a lengthy process because the highest priority for Menicon is ultimately patient safety and efficacy," says Josie.

The system combines state-of-the-art professional fitting software, Menicon Bloom Easyfit, and the innovative Menicon Bloom app for patients, as well as two special lenses: Menicon Bloom Night, a specially designed orthokeratology lens; and Menicon Bloom Day, an extended depth of focus soft daily disposable device.

“If we look at the issue, we know that myopia progression in children and young people is far more common than it has ever been," Josie continues. "It’s on the rise globally but in the UK, it’s around 50 per cent higher than what it was in the

1960s and 70s. Unfortunately, no research has taken place to date, which shows how any myopia management intervention has changed the scales on the issue.

“Thankfully, the College of Optometrists in the UK is now reinforcing the fact that the industry, across the board, needs to be having conversations about myopia and how we manage and treat it. This is a really positive and encouraging step."

Josie adds: “Menicon Bloom is such a standout concept and there was nothing like it on the market when we launched. It offers a truly holistic approach for myopia management, with all the tools required, including not only the lenses and lens care solutions, but also the fitting software and protocols, the treatment plans and an app.

“From very early on, practitioners were very keen to look at Menicon Bloom

20 Vision Now October 2023 PRODUCT PROFILE
Myopia is a real threat to children’s eyesight A holistic approach to myopia management

because it offered them everything they needed to fit their patients successfully. There was a lot of positivity and buzz around the launch and this has continued as more practitioners learn about this comprehensive treatment plan.

“We have worked closely with our ECPs customers to understand their expectations, as well as the need and requirements for myopia sufferers. Since we launched, the response has been resoundingly positive, with ECPs now able to offer a proven treatment to their young patients and, crucially, reassure parents that this holistic treatment programme can work."


Given the multi-layered product range, education and training are vital to the process and ECPs are required to undertake rigorous training before any treatment is supplied to the patient. The software and mobile app allow for easier communication between patient and practitioner, with ECPs given expert guidance from Menicon to help them support patients on a successful myopia treatment journey.

The Menicon Bloom team works closely with ECPs on a case-by-case basis to address the specific needs of a patient. The first step in this in-depth process is a full presentation designed to enable ECPs to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with the onboarding process.

Josie continues: “A lot of practitioners are used to using software in their practices and there are lots of equipment, which comes with its own specific software. We have made a number of updates and improvements to the Menicon Bloom Easyfit software since we launched, which has helped to make it really straightforward and simple to use. This helps to save time for both the ECP and the patient, and there are further software changes planned to help make their journey even easier.

“Feedback directly from ECPs has told us that our step-by-step instructions, combined with the Menicon Bloom app, which also allows for patient feedback, brings 'peace of mind' to both patients and ECPs alike," adds Josie.


While a considerable amount of work has gone into developing the Menicon Bloom concept, with the digital tools, the lenses and the accompanying products, the team also wanted to ensure the treatment plan launched with a bang.

An engaging, highly visual and immersive marketing campaign – 'See Their

Imagination Bloom' – was specifically designed to take the fear out of the process for young patients and reassure parents and carers that the system is easy to maintain and can achieve successful results. The strapline, ‘Magic to children, science to grown-ups’, encapsulates the multi-centric approach and is designed to make it easier for ECPs to reassure parents that the treatment is safe, easy to follow and will improve outcomes for their children.

Rosie Roberts, head of marketing at Menicon, adds: “Marketing and visual branding was incredibly important given the fact this concept represented such a step change in the market for how ECPs treat childhood myopia. Therefore, it was important for us to create a suite of assets to help tell the story of the brand and its associated devices from illustrations and logos to social media graphics and photography.”


Just over six months after launching in the UK, Menicon Bloom was named Contact Lens of the Year at the Optician Awards. Kevin Mitchell, managing director at Menicon, said: “Awards like these are a great validation and help spread awareness. It also helps ECPs have confidence that when they work with Menicon and decide to use Menicon Bloom as their myopia management system that it’s going to work.

“Taking home the Contact Lens Award for Menicon Bloom last year was not only a fantastic achievement, but it was also real recognition of the hard work and innovation, which has gone into creating a treatment plan for something that impacts a huge percentage of the world’s population.

“With forecasts predicting levels of childhood myopia could increase to even higher levels over the next 25 years, the threat to our children’s eyesight is very real. We recognise the alarming challenges that


rising levels of childhood myopia present and have successfully developed and rolled out a solution. Menicon Bloom has the potential to be truly transformational in the way we treat and manage this condition.

“The Menicon Bloom family provides allday versatility, comfort and peace of mind to children, young people and their families. It integrates well into the child’s everyday life and becomes a hassle-free part of their daily routine,” adds Kevin.


So, after a busy 18 months, what’s next for Menicon Bloom™?

Josie says: “Menicon is always looking to up the ante. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve. Menicon Bloom was always designed to be a live concept which we could add to, it wasn’t meant to just be about a day lens and a nighttime lens.

“The UK was the second market, after the Netherlands, to launch Menicon Bloom. Given the positive reception, any product updates will be done at a global level and rolled out across the various territories. We are very confident that we have an industry-leading intervention for myopia progression. We want to be a market leader and want to help ECPs help their young myopic patients," Josie concludes. Menicon Bloom, Menicon Bloom Day, Menicon Bloom Night, Menicon Bloom Care and Menicon Bloom Progent are trademarked ■

“The great thing about Menicon Bloom is that it is such a comprehensive myopia control treatment. Menicon Bloom is very easy to use as the step-by-step instructions guide you through the whole process and having the app communication gives extra peace of mind when treating children," Naomi Shead, Robert Frith Optometrists.


“A great resource for novice myopia control ECPs. Outlines all the salient information very well. I have been fitting myopia control products for 10 plus years and have, therefore, completed numerous accreditation processes in those years. This is the best by far,” Craig McArthur, Peter Ivins Eye Care.

PRODUCT PROFILE Vision Now October 2023 21
Marketing assets bring children’s imaginations to life

Business intelligence Is it time to improve your business IQ?

Dominic Watson looks at the value improving your business IQ can bring to your business, your income and to the quality of your life...

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a subject that continues to dominate the headlines in 2023. Putting the more extreme sci-fi-esque predictions of computers taking over the world to one side, the allure of AI for the owners of optical businesses is easy to understand. The trend had already been gathering pace, but since Covid-19 struck, owners have had to contend with unprecedented challenges in securing and motivating human resources at all levels.

At face value, AI represents a huge opportunity to reduce reliance on these hard-to-find and, increasingly, hard-tomotivate staff. Make no mistake, there is a new industrial revolution coming – one that will impact the way we all live our lives and run our businesses – but the practical application of AI to running an optical practice remains unclear, at least for the time being.

Right now, it is business intelligence –rather than artificial intelligence – that holds the key to improved productivity, profits and ownership experience in your practice (as well as a higher future practice sale value).


Having studied within a professional framework for a number of years, one experienced healthcare professional should be as equally qualified as any another to deliver core clinical services. Yes, experience matters, but once you have achieved three to five years in practice,

beyond specialisms, the key thing that differentiates you as a successful business owner is your business IQ. Put simply, it is the acquisition, application and mastery of business skills that ultimately differentiates the success of your practice.

Be honest and ask yourself the question: how much time, application and discipline have I invested in developing and effectively applying business intelligence to my practice? And what difference could doing so make?

Running an optical practice is a multifaceted endeavour, but the business skills you need to master can be broadly broken down into a handful of key areas. We will cover all of these across this series, but in this article we will focus on the importance of vision, values and culture.

However, before we get into the details of these, it is important to emphasise the fact that this is not about becoming a polymath. Business IQ is not about mastering every

business skill and then implementing them all yourself – otherwise you will end up 'owning and running' a job, rather than a business. An essential component of business intelligence is effective delegation, automation and outsourcing.


Motivation for practice ownership varies from person to person, but typical aspirations (the owner’s 'vision') include improved income, a better lifestyle, and the desire for more freedom of choice and selfexpression in the environment and delivery of services to patients.

Yet, without the application of business intelligence, the reality of running a business can be very different. Rather than freedom, a lack of business intelligence can lead to the polar opposite; a business can become a trap, with owners working incredibly hard and sacrificing time and quality in other areas of their lives, to

22 Vision Now October 2023 BUSINESS MATTERS
Having a vision, values and culture are central to your business success

earn little more (or sometimes even less) than they could earn as a locum or employed optometrist working two days a week less. Alternatively, a lack of business intelligence can lead to an owner achieving superb financial outcomes, whilst becoming increasingly time poor.

In his seminal book, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire, and subsequent highly-recommended TED talk, Simon Sinek does an incredible job of explaining the importance of vision, values and culture to business success; yet are still often viewed as 'fluffy' and 'American' by those with an inadequate business IQ.

Make no mistake, having clear, well thought through vision, values and culture is central to the success of any UK optical business. They are the founding principles of your practice, your 'constitution' and your 'declaration of independence' about what makes your practice unique and what you are working for and towards.

They need to be written down and encapsulated clearly; there is no room for vagueness or ambiguity. They spell out the reasons you are in business and what you are trying to achieve. To do this effectively, they need to cover your vision across a number of different areas about what the business is operating to deliver including: for you personally as the owner; the level of service and value you wish to bring to your patients; and the quality of the environment and experience you wish to bring to your staff in their working life and career development.

In an industry focused on improving the vision of customers, it is a sad irony that most practice owners forget to give sufficient time and focus to their own vision. Values serve as the guiding principles that underpin every decision and action in your practice. They define the ethical and moral compass, outlining what it stands for and how it conducts itself.

Values such as integrity, patientcentric care, professional excellence and open, honest two-way communication between employer and employee establish trust with patients and employees alike, fostering an environment where honesty and transparency prevail. When a practice upholds strong values, it is much better positioned to weather challenges, adapt to change, and build lasting relationships with patients and staff.

Like your vision, your values should be conceived carefully and encapsulated in a written document that can be referenced regularly and shared and revisited with staff on a regular basis, which segues me nicely

into the subject of culture.

As part of a vision and values exercise, it is all very well for you as the principal to come up with lofty mission statements and straplines along the lines of “delivering ultimate eyecare and eyewear". But in order for this to manifest in practice, it has to be communicated with, bought into and adopted by your staff. Your culture is the day-to-day manifestation of your vision and values: it is something that needs to be reviewed, developed and nurtured.

Most owners spend more of their waking hours with their staff than they do with their families. A positive staff culture that facilitates working as a team towards shared goals, trouble-shooting, being adaptive and having a growth mindset will improve the quality of your life – and the experience of both your staff and your patients no end. But this will not automatically happen. It is something that needs to be planned, articulated, invested in and nurtured.

In a business landscape with recruitment and retention challenges, a positive culture will go a long way to both attracting and keeping good staff.


Vision, values and culture are not static and need to be revisited on a regular basis. The world changes, the business landscape changes, GOS payment regimes change, compliance changes, the habits and behaviours of patients change. Even more fundamentally, your vision for what the practice is there to deliver for you changes as you move through your business ownership journey and life journey.

For some owners, time and lifestyle have become more important in the last decade of practice ownership. For others, maximising profits and future sale value are key to providing suitable funds for retirement. In all cases, part of your vision needs to include a properly informed and joined up exit plan.

My recent book, Roadmap to Private Practice, documents how many independent practice owners have completely changed their vision, values and culture. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, they have elected to focus on higher value patients. This is absolutely not for everyone, but it illustrates just how much some practice owners have pivoted from their original vision, values and culture.


A great clinical professional does not automatically make a great business person. Just like the development (and retention) of clinical skills, business skills need to be studied, practised and updated as the world moves forwards. If your practice is not delivering the returns or lifestyle you want, invest in your business intelligence. There is no better starting place than the foundational exercise of reviewing, refining and refocusing on your vision, values and culture. Still think vision, values and culture are fluffy? I sincerely hope not.

Dominic Watson is a director of Myers La Roche. He has more than 20 years' experience in the optical and audiology sector as a management and marketing consultant, business analyst and specialist business broker. His first book, Rockstar Retirement Programme. How to Retire Like a Rockstar, is an Amazon Bestseller. ■

Vision Now October 2023 23 BUSINESS MATTERS
Building a positive culture will attract and retain good staff

Putting style into sustainability

Sustainability is an important topic across all industries – and the optical goods market is no exception. Indeed, more than a third (34 per cent) of respondents to an online survey for the Mintel Optical Goods Retailing UK 2022 report cited 'sustainable glasses frames (e.g. from recyclable/biodegradable materials)' as being an eyewear innovation 'they'd be interested in'. It is probably fair to say that this percentage is even higher today.

Industry suppliers are steadily strengthening their sustainability strategies across the board, ensuring practices have access to the best in class when it comes to eco-conscious products. In eyewear, the array of designs flowing ethically downstream are ever more innovative and stylish.


Polaroid launched its first sustainable eyewear collection in 2021 using bio-based and recycled materials. Available from Safilo, the eyewear materials used within the collections include eco-polyamide, biobased acetate, Tritan Renew and recycled metal.

Eco-polyamide is a bio-based plastic composed of more than 40 per cent renewable resources, specifically castor oil from responsibly farmed castor beans. The remaining material is standard plastic, though the company says it is working

to increase the bio presence in future collections.

Tritan Renew is a high-performance BPA-free plastic made with 50 per cent certified recycled content made out of hardto-recycle mixed plastic waste diverted from landfills and the environment. The average Polaroid product is said to recycle the equivalent of three single-use plastic bottles. Finally, reusable metal resources are used from different industries, preserving natural resources and ensuring lower energy consumption.

All of Polaroid's sustainable styles come with a case made from recycled paper on the outside and recycled polyester on the inside. The cloths are also of recycled polyester. To emphasise the product's green credentials, 'Sustainable choice' is etched on the frames' inner temples, and on a sticker that can be placed on the front of demo lenses.

The autumn/winter 2023 Polaroid eyewear collection for women, men and children is a riot of colours complete with a new rainbow logo.


Marchon Eyewear has a proud history of commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives. Its long-term, integrated, global action plan – Eyes on Tomorrow – is designed to ensure that its eyewear and processes have a reduced impact on the planet and underscores its commitment to being "the best possible partner to our stakeholders, employees and communities". The programme is built on the three pillars of eyewear, supply chain, and people.

Launched last month, Marchon's new Nike ophthalmic frames are designed with Eastman’s Acetate Renew, which contains at least 20 per cent recycled content by weight (excluding lenses). The collection forms part of Nike’s move towards zero carbon and zero waste.

The eight new lightweight styles are offered in four colourways each, designed to complement all face shapes and sizes. They feature durable spring-loaded hinges paired with soft, rubberised temple tips for all-day comfort – along with smooth metallic foil logos.

24 Vision Now October 2023 STYLE SPOTLIGHT
Polaroid eyewear: consciously colourful Nike frames designed with Eastman’s Acetate Renew Elle Ecollection frames contain plant-based materials


As far back as the 1960s, sustainability has been an important part of Esprit’s design and production efforts. Launched in 2017, the Esprit Ecollection from Charmant is made with responsibly sourced materials. Along with being light, thin, durable and UVresistant, they contain a high proportion of plant-based ingredients.

To create the eco-acetate, special cellulose made from organic sources, including cotton-seed, wood fibres and bio-plasticisers, are mixed, coloured and processed into acetate sheets in Italy by Mazzucchelli – one of the world’s most acclaimed manufacturers in the field. The result is a lustrous, high-quality natural acetate that is biodegradable and compatible with polycarbonate lenses.

Charmant also produces Ecollection eyewear using ocean plastic, refashioned into a nickel-free, corrosion-free, safe material ideal for the creation of lightweight sunglasses. Each Ecollection frame comes in a sustainable case made from recycled paper, specially shaped so it can be shipped flat. And with every pair of Ecollection frames sold, Charmant will fund the growth of a tree and support the mission of WeForest.

Pictured across is new Ecollection model ET33485 for women – available in rich tones of green, red or black with patterned temples as well as warm Havana with opaque temples.

regeneration process that is said to reduce the impact of global warming associated with nylon production by up to 90 per cent. Econyl is incorporated alongside woodpulp bio acetates and sustainably sourced leather accents for Aspinal of London eyewear.

Available in Pink Crystal and Tortoiseshell, Aspinal of London model ASPL551 offers refined vintage styling with a contemporary flair. It is made from sustainable acetate in a cat-eye shape with bespoke sculpted temples showcasing expertly foiled Aspinal branding. In alignment with the Bee Aspinal environmental campaign, the iconic bee motif can be found on the outer tips in gold. The frames feature a self-locking screw and come with biodegradable demo lenses.

A sustainable bio-acetate selection is also available from Cocoa Mint, Basebox as part of the Slimology collection, along with Rock Star children's models made from recycled sea-bottle plastic.


Established in 2016, Neubau Eyewear is known for high-quality premium designs based on a sustainable philosophy. A brand of Silhouette, the Austrian label combines aesthetically designed sunglasses and spectacles with high quality standards and dynamic technological innovation. The brand's idealism is reflected in its utmost respect for people and the planet, along with its use of bio-based materials and resources.

After introducing its 100 per cent bio-based material innovation Natural3D, Neubau continues to develop progressive ideas in style and sustainability.

beta-titanium temples and Neubau's own screwless hinge. As only plantbased plasticisers are used, the material is considered biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Designed and developed in the heart of Austria, each frame is handmade in a carbon-neutral production facility adhering to strict environmental standards.


A pioneer in the collection of rubbish from the ocean floor to repurpose into eyewear, Barcelona born and bred Sea2See showcased its latest sun and ophthalmic collections at Silmo Paris.

Influenced by the iconic decade of the 1970s, the collection offers a broad choice of voluminous, bold designs such as square shaped Claudia and Tulia, masculine rectangular Levante, and cat-eye Malta.

“The 1970s was an important decade in the evolution of eyewear fashion, and we are marking that era with some new oversized styles that are still really wearable," said François van den Abeele, Sea2See founder and CEO. "Of course, the 1970s was a time that we also reflect on as a turning point for the protection of the planet. This was an era when environmental activities to protect the natural environment found widespread support – and this is of course very much at the heart of everything we do.”

The stylish, future-focused collections featured here are just the tip of the eco iceberg – and perfectly exemplify the fact that sustainability and style go very much hand in hand. ■

Aspinal of London model ASPL551 is made from sustainable acetate


In 2020, Eyespace introduced Eco Conscious Eyewear – one of the industry’s first entirely bio-acetate and sustainable brands – and replaced plastic frame packaging for biodegradable alternatives across all products the following year.

In 2021, Eyespace began rolling out sustainable designs across all its brands –including high-profile collaborations with Aspinal of London and Land Rover.

The Aspinal of London collection is the first Eyespace brand to advance the use of Econyl, a premium material produced using regenerated nylon and fabric surplus from the fashion industry. Composed of 100 per cent recycled content, Econyl can be re-moulded and infinitely recycled without losing quality, creating a closed-loop

At Silmo Paris 2023, the brand launched two new ophthalmic models – Gabriel and Celine – made from plant-based material. Gabriel is a classic aviator shape with a contemporary twist. Its distinct colour palette ranges from dark tortoise and black to subtle, fashionable crystal clear and green. Celine is a new version of a timeless butterfly shape offered in cooler colours such as rose and grey, as well as bold colours such as dark tortoise and black.

Both new models are made of 100 per cent plant-based acetate composed of cotton and wood, combined with

Vision Now October 2023 25 STYLE SPOTLIGHT
Stylish, eco-crafted Gabriel from Neubau Eyewear 70s-inspired Sea2See sungalsses

Preferred Suppliers’ directory


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26 Vision Now October 2023
tel: 01580 713698
web: T: 02920 857 122 E: T: 02920 883 009 E: T: 01279 653785 E: T: 01132 883094 E: SUPPLIER – OPTICIAN – PATIENT OUR PARTNERSHIP PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SIMPLIFIED 0845 313 0233 Optinet Flex, the innovative software that keeps your optometry business at the cutting edge. OPTINET DIRECTORY AD - FEB 21_AW.indd 1 01/03/2021 09:47

Preferred Suppliers are suppliers who, by prior arrangement, offer members of the PK National Eyecare Group preferential terms. For full details and terms offered to the membership, please call 01580 713698.


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Windcave Ltd

tel: 0800 088 6040 | email: | web:

20 20 Optical Services Ltd

tel: 01460 929 690 | email: | web:

When you prescribe contact lenses, you prescribe freedom. We’re stepping up to do more, supporting you to Prescribe Freedom for more people than ever

11 Tannery Road, Tonbridge Kent - TN9 1RF 01732 375975

Vision Now October 2023 27
Suppliers’ directory
STEPPER (UK) Limited
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SIMPLIFIED Take control with Optinet Flex, the innovative software with intuitive dashboards and intelligent reporting that keeps your optometry business at the cutting edge. Call us today to book your no obligation, demonstration. 00083102400 • Business Intelligence Order Stock Till Clinical Patient Manager Diary SMS/ Email @ eGos

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