Vision Now July 2024

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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

In an era of fake news and misinformation, the need for evidence-based solutions and critical thinking skills grows ever-more urgent.

In clinical eyecare practice, this might be learning how to look beyond the marketing blurb of products before choosing to stock and prescribe them, or keeping abreast of the latest eye health care research to share with patients.

To encourage working optometrists to contribute to eyecare research, whilst expanding their professional and personal development, the College of Optometrists – in partnership with Ulster University – has launched a series of learning modules titled, Getting Started in Optometric Research. Produced as part of a National Institute for Health and Social Care Research funded project, the initial learning materials are written specifically for optometrists.

Some of the bite-sized modules carry CPD points, and they include: ‘What data are clinically important to my practice?’; ‘The importance of research in everyday practice’; and ‘Implementing evidence-based eyecare’. Participants are expected to learn how to read and interpret scientific papers and correctly interpret results, use outcomes from research to inform clinical practice, and gather data in a clinical setting in practice. If this sounds like a ‘no-brainer’ to you, more information can be found on the College’s website.

For additional ‘no-brainer’ initiatives, strategies and events – look no further than inside this month’s issue. We have a follow-up overview of the NEG Building for Success Conference programme, more business tips and insights from Andy Clark and Dominic Watson, and an update on what’s new with Optinet NOVA. Plus all the latest news, eyewear styles and some important information about changes in UK employment law.

We’ll be back in September so until then – we hope you enjoy a productive and relaxing summer.

Vision Now magazine is published by Peekay Publishing Ltd for The PK National Eyecare Group Ltd, the UK’s largest purchasing group for independent opticians.



New to the UK market from this month is MyCon 2 from Rodenstock, designed to be customised to each child’s individual ‘as worn’ parameters to improve visual performance and manage myopia. Four individual position-of-wear parameters are taken into account to tailor the lenses to the child: pupil distance, pantoscopic tilt, corneal vertex distance, and face form angle.

The lenses build on the principle of horizontal, asymmetric peripheral defocus zones used in MyCon lenses, launched last year. The focus area in the lens is designed to provide the child with sharp vision when looking through its centre, while the progression control areas aims to ensure that light in the periphery does not hit behind the retina. Thereby, eye elongation can be slowed and myopia progression managed, asserts the company.

The principle of horizontal asymmetric peripheral defocus areas, on which MyCon 2 lenses are based, has been tested in an independent clinical study over a period of five years (Tarutta EP et al. Long-term results of perifocal defocus spectacle lens correction in children with progressive myopia. Vestn. Oftalmol. 2019;135(5):46-53). This showed effective reduction in myopia progression and eye elongation in European children.

Optometrist Piyus Tanna has been appointed as professional services manager at Menicon. He joins the contact lens manufacturer from Vision Express, where he was a personal development tutor. Other previous roles include chair of Northamptonshire Local Optical Committee, registrant reviewer for the General Optical Council, and CPD author. Piyus is also the founder of Optometry Wellness and was named Optometrist of the Year at the 2024 Eyecare Awards.

Piyus said: “I am excited and grateful to be joining an innovating company that genuinely wants to make a difference in the world.” In related news, Josie Barlow has moved into the role of head of customer support. “We are thrilled to welcome Piyus to the Menicon team,” said Josie. “His passion for eyecare and commitment to professional development make him a valuable asset to our organisation, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new role.”

Go Eyewear

The new Ana Hickmann Sun Collection offers stylish and on-trend styles in a kaleidoscope of colours from Pantone Colour of the Year peach fuzz to blues and greens. Known for its fashionable acetate designs, the collection features more than 26 sun models to choose from. Model AH3290 seen here blends elegance and versatility with its griffe-inspired square shape and tri-colour gradient lenses available in light and dark blue, grey and brown. The style is also available in a larger format, allowing individuals with different face shapes to find the perfect fit.

MyCon 2: bespoke myopia control lenses
Ana Hickmann model AH3920
Piyus Tanna

Designed by contact lens pioneers, Wöhlk, CONTACT LIFE is the perfect option to introduce to your patient’s daily routine. With a slightly rounded edge profile CONTACT LIFE offers enhanced comfort & allows for optimal tear exchange.

The biocompatible material, Vitafilcon A is well tolerated due to the similarities in the material to naturally occurring substances in the eye. The material allows for great comfort & is a good option for people prone to lupid depositing.

Never Miss The Action with Avanti’s unique design, ensuring the lens stabilises rapidly, allowing for sharp, clear vision all day long, regardless of your lifestyle! Utilising ‘Peripheral Balancing Zones’, Avanti works with your upper & lower eyelids to keep the lens in place at all times.

The Speciality 55AB contact lens offers clear vision, comfort & breathability at a cost effective price.

The Ultrawave lens is a cost effective monthly disposable contact lens with AQUAGRIP™ technology. UltraWave T’s advanced dynamic stabilisation allows for precise astigmatism correction, catering to a broad range of prescriptions, ensuring sharp & clear vision.

This interaction between your eye lids and the lens also increases tear flow, which, when combined with Avanti’s thin design & silicone hydrogel material, promotes healthy eyes and allows you to enjoy exceptional all-day comfort

Collecting plastic in Thailand


CooperVision has renewed its plastic neutrality partnership with Plastic Bank until the end of 2026. With this extension, the partnership has expanded to include a vision care programme to provide vision screenings and vouchers for complimentary eye examinations and spectacles for eligible Plastic Bank collection members in Indonesia, who are essential to CooperVision’s plastic neutral partnership with Plastic Bank.


Calvin Klein Jeans Eyewear has released a Pride collection of limited-edition sun styles. The gender inclusive frames feature angular shapes and bright layers, and are crafted from 60 per cent plant-based resin. They also come with Tritan Renew lenses, created using up to 50 per cent recycled content. Pictured is style CKJ24604S featuring a modified rectangular front with matching wide temples bearing the Calvin Klein monogram logo. It is available in four colour-blocking combinations: grey/yellow, grey/fuchsia, grey/azure and grey/orange.

Calvin Klein’s 2024 Pride campaign, This Is Love, showcases the joyful, confident nature of Pride while highlighting the new underwear and apparel collection. Calvin Klein has committed more than $240,000 to NGOs focused on LGBTQIA+ equity and safety in 2024 to date, including donations to its hero partners – ILGA World and the Transgender Law Center.


Aldo Zucaro, senior director of corporate responsibility at CooperCompanies, said: “As a global leader in contact lenses, CooperVision is committed to helping improve the way people see each day because it improves quality of life. Our collaboration with Plastic Bank now enables us to provide vision correction for qualifying collection members who are making a difference by removing plastic from the environment and oceans, which truly embodies our passion for supporting people and planet.”

Caledonian Optical

Caledonian Optical has doubled its production of anti-reflection (AR) coatings by installing a new state-of-the-art coating machine featuring a 20 per cent faster cycle time. The investment will enable Caledonian to fulfil more orders and deliver products to customers faster, respond more rapidly to market demands and reduce lead times. The machine uses more energy-efficient pumps, resulting in lower electricity usage, aligning with the company’s sustainability commitment to reducing its energy consumption.

Essilor’s partner programme, Essilor Experts, has been updated with extra benefits and loyalty rewards. The tiered programme which incorporates a partner, specialist and ambassador package, now offers the ability to unlock additional benefits as they progress up the levels. These include window takeovers, complimentary marketing support for ambassadors, and priority access to customer experience days at EssilorLuxottica’s showroom in Kensington. New loyalty rewards such as iPads, gift vouchers and seasonal gifts are now also available.

Alan Pitcher, commercial director for wholesale lenses at EssilorLuxottica, said: “As an Essilor Expert, you are part of a thriving community, amongst which you can

“We are incredibly excited about the potential that this new machine brings,” said Mark Robertson, head of manufacturing at Caledonian Optical. “Doubling our anti-reflection coating capacity reflects our dedication to providing the highest quality products and the best service to our customers.” The company added that it will now be able to explore new market opportunities and potentially expand its product range. “With the ability to produce more lenses at a faster rate, we are well-positioned to cater to both existing and new customers,” Mark added.

Essilor Experts programme expanded

share and exchange ideas, stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and attend exclusive events organised just for you.”


AR coatings production doubled

APR interest free finance available over 3 years t&c’s apply

36 months of £277.64+vat per month

• Subject to credit approval

• Applies to non-regulated finance only

• Figures provided are correct at time of illustration and subject to current cost of funds

M&S takes vision testing to new heights. The programmable VR Headset with Surface Pro 9 Tablet is powered by our trusted M&S Smart System ® software for fast and accurate vision testing, using a solid BLUETOOTH connection to the headset. Our years of experience and service continue to help your clinic run efficiently. Contact Hilco Vision to organise a no obligation in-store demo.

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Seiko Optical

In a move to “redefine industry standards”, Seiko Optical has launched its most advanced coatings portfolio to date. The Super Resistant Clear (SRC) collection comprises of five coatings attuned to five distinct lifestyle situations. SRC Ultra offers 50 per cent lower reflectance than previous Seiko coatings, and is the collection’s flagship anti-reflection coating. Said to be “nearly invisible due to its low reflective properties”, it is designed to ensure extremely high contrast and maximum aesthetics.

SRC One is engineered for all-day wear, and has a robust, anti-static layer for easy cleaning and longer transparency. SRC Sun is crafted for outdoor life, reducing glare and enhancing contrast. SRC Road is tailored for drivers, providing clear and relaxed vision in low light conditions by minimising the glare caused by headlights and reflections. Finally, SRC Screen is designed for modern digital demands,

reducing eyestrain from prolonged use of screens and exposure to blue light. Each coating is applied to both the front and back surface of the lens, ensuring “unparalleled visual comfort and precision in a range of conditions”.

Positive Impact

The impact of solutions on contact lens comfort was emphasised by Professor Lyndon Jones at two CPD events last month to launch Cleadew advanced contact lens care products, featuring povidone-iodine and exclusively available from Positive Impact (PI). As featured in last month’s issue, the range, manufactured by Ophtecs in Japan, includes multipurpose solutions and has products for soft, gas permeable and scleral contact lenses.

PI managing director, Nick Atkins, said: “The events were a great success, making practitioners think about lens care for maybe the first time in 10 years. We had great audience participation with really engaged people, making for highly enjoyable evenings for everyone.” Professor Jones added: “It was really great to be back in the UK and the interactive components of the CPD really set the events apart, especially from what usually happens in North America where it tends to be just lectures. We got more engagement from the audience and better feedback, making the events more enjoyable for everyone there.”

Association of British Dispensing Opticians

This Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) has announced a tie in with ITN Business ahead of World Sight Day on 10 October. The Association will be raising the profile of dispensing opticians (DOs) by featuring in an ITN Business news-style programme called Global Action for Eye Health. Aimed at raising awareness of – and driving action towards – improved eye health worldwide, the programme will be anchored by Sangeeta Kandola and also feature the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, which coordinates World Sight Day.

Innovations in vision care, and initiatives ensuring accessibility and inclusivity, will be explored – and disparities in eyecare access to promote vision health equity addressed. The programme will also look at digital transformation in eye health care, sustainable practices, professional development, community engagement, and the importance of prioritising eye health. ABDO will provide insights focused on advancing the profession in the UK and worldwide during a one-to-one studio interview.

ABDO chief executive, Alistair Bridge, said: “This year’s focus for World Sight Day is the critical importance of prioritising children’s eye health. Dispensing opticians have a crucial role to play in paediatric eyecare so I’m very pleased that ABDO will be able to support this programme.” Global Action for Eye Health will be hosted on the ITN Business Hub and supported by an extensive digital marketing campaign with further amplification from campaign thought leaders and ITN Business reporters.

New flagship SRC Ultra coating
Professor Jones outlines product benefits
Putting DOs in the spotlight

Same first-lens fit success as spherical lens6-10* >95% first lens fit success6-9*

*Based on lens movement, centration and rotation at initial fitting. References: 1. In a clinical trial to evaluate on-eye performance of TOTAL30® for Astigmatism lenses where n=69; Alcon data on

2021. 2. In a clinical trial to assess overall performance of DAILIES TOTAL1® for Astigmatism lenses where n=134 patients; Alcon data on file, 2021. 3. In a clinical trial to evaluate stability of axis orientation of DAILIES TOTAL1® for Astigmatism lenses where n=47; Alcon data on file, 2020. 4. In a PRECISION1TM for Astigmatism study where n=78 eyes: Alcon data on file, 2020. 5. Hines B, et. al. Clinical subjective performance of two daily disposable toric soft contact lenses. Poster presented at: American Optometric Association, Chicago. June 15-18, 2022. 6. In a randomized, subject-masked, multi-site clinical study with over 150 patients; Alcon data on file, 2005. 7. In a clinical trial to evaluate stability of axis orientation of PRECISION1TM for Astigmatism contact lenses where n=78 eyes; Alcon data on file, 2020. 8. In a clinical trial to evaluate stability of axis orientation of DAILIES TOTAL1® for Astigmatism lenses where n=47; Alcon data on file, 2020. 9. In a clinical trial to evaluate on-eye performance of TOTAL30® for Astigmatism lenses where n=69; Alcon data on file, 2021. 10. Perez-Gomez I, Valente R, Vonbun H. Survey of patient and ECP satisfaction with a new daily disposable toric contact lens. Optom Vis Sci; 2021;98:E-abstract 215040. TOTAL30® are monthly contact lenses for daily wear. See instructions for use, for wear, care, precautions, warnings, contraindications and adverse effects. Find at 15605 © 2024 Alcon Inc. UKIE-DT1-2400038


CooperVision, has achieved another milestone in its sustainability journey with two of its facilities in Hampshire being awarded the prestigious LEED Gold certification. The company’s Mountpark packaging facility in Southampton, and its Delta Park distribution facility near Fareham, were recently assessed across a range of criteria to quantify their environmental credentials. These sites join other CooperVision facilities in Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States that are LEED certified.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the US Green Building Council, is a globallyrecognised symbol of excellence in green building. “We are always looking for ways to operate more sustainably to benefit our employees, customers, business and the planet,” said Jason Burden, vice president global packaging operations at CooperVision. “The Mountpark facility already holds a BREEAM Excellent rating, which is a positive reflection of its


Essilor’s Take Two multi-pair lens promotion has expanded for the summer to include the newly launched Essilor Stellest lenses with sun tints and Transitions Gen S. Essilor Stellest lenses with sun tints provide children and teenagers with the option to continue to wear the myopia management lenses for outdoor activities, offering protection from sunlight. Transitions Gen S, available in eight colours and a new ruby tone, is ultra-responsive to light, reaching category three levels of darkness in 25 seconds and fading back to clear in less than two minutes.

Alan Pitcher, commercial director for wholesale lenses at EssilorLuxottica, said: “We are thrilled to offer ECPs and their patients the latest advancements in eyewear technology, and our two for one deal not only enhances patient satisfaction and loyalty but will also boost ECP profitability and business margins too.”

A Take Two marketing support package is available for ECPs to promote the offer including digital assets and a poster. The promotion runs until late November. Further details or help maximising the promotion can be obtained from NEG members’ Essilor business development manager.

sustainability credentials, and the award of LEED Gold certification at these two sites is a major testament to the dedication of our team, whose participation made this recognition possible.”

CooperVision has focused strongly on sustainability across its business. The company is committed to taking steps in its manufacturing and distribution to operate more sustainably where possible. This includes taking steps to reclaim its

In other news, Essilor has launched a multi-channel media campaign for its Stellest lenses to create consumer awareness around controlling myopia progression. The campaign, which features a 30 second video commercial and digital display adverts, will run across YouTube, META, LinkedIn and, for the first time in an Essilor campaign, Amazon Prime and Disney+. It will also stage a homepage ‘take over’ on Mumsnet and Netmums. The media campaign will run until late July and is expected to reach more than 30 million people across the UK.

Commenting on the campaign, Alan said: “We’re excited to unveil our innovative Essilor Stellest lenses media campaign, which we hope will be a game-changer in how parents understand and manage their children’s myopia. This campaign will be omnipresent and we’ve strategically selected these great new platforms to reach your customers wherever they are and encourage them to visit their local independent practice to learn more about myopia control.”

He added: “We’re confident our campaign will captivate consumer attention and effectively communicate the revolutionary benefits of Essilor Stellest lenses, to a far

manufacturing materials after they have served their initial purpose. The company is also facilitating the responsible sourcing of materials, and starting to offset waste from its products and packaging that cannot yet be reused. Find out more about CooperVision’s approach to sustainability at, and download the Cooper Companies’ recently-released 2023 Environmental, Social and Governance Report at

wider audience, setting a new standard in myopia control and becoming the go-to solution for millions of children and parents.”

Take Two promotion expanded
CooperVision’s Delta Park distribution centre
New digital campaign for myopia lens

Does your lens supplier give you a single, named point of contact?

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Think independently

Sessions in the spotlight Developing thoughts

Last month, we highlighted some exciting sessions to look forward to at our 2024 Building for Success Conference. Let’s look at the remaining presentations on the programme...

In a follow-up to a feature published in November 2022, Dr Wen Hwa Lee will discuss the concept of the ‘augmented optometrist’. In his presentation titled, ‘Creating Foresight: combining public opinion, data and AI to enable the enhanced optometrists for the future of healthcare’, Dr Lee will explain how the field has progressed in the UK and across the world – and how UK optometrists can play a leading role in research, future-setting and delivering the healthcare of the future through the eyes.

Delegates will hear the latest updates about the Foresight project and how optometrists can participate in this initiative. The project is led by the charity, Action Against AMD, in partnership with the Macular Society, Blind Veterans UK, Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans. These charities connect patients, their families, friends and carers with the broader optometry community – working alongside basic and clinical sciences to discover novel ways to find new treatments, medicines, diagnostics and solutions for eye diseases and systemic conditions. The initiative seeks to firmly secure the role of optometrists in the future of healthcare.


With a focus on spectacle lens technology, Andrew Copley, head of professional services at Rodenstock, will lead us through the company’s drive to find the optimal ophthalmic lens solution for patients. In ‘Biometric intelligent lenses’, Andrew will

discuss how biometric data is incorporated directly into Rodenstock’s lens production, matching individual eye profiles down to the exact micrometre.

“The more accurately the spectacle lens is adapted to the eye of the wearer, the more optimal the visual experience,” says Andrew. “Individual lifestyles are reflected in different visual situations and needs. Therefore, the eye should – if necessary – be supported with spectacles that are precisely tailored to these requirements. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology and know-how at the highest level, spectacles can now be made entirely according to the individual needs of each spectacle wearer. In addition to the biometry of each individual eye, the versatile requirements of the different visual situations of each spectacle wearer are considered.”


“Nothing lasts forever, and no matter how happy you are as the owner of any kind of business, some day it will be important for you to realise the best possible return on your life’s work,” says Ben Colman from Myers La Roche, who will be presenting ‘Build to sell: how to harness the incredible

leverage of early stage exit planning to maximise outcomes and avoid being farmed’.

“Too often the subject of exit planning is an afterthought that when attended to is too little, too late,” continues Ben, who has more than 25 years’ board-level experience in sales and marketing management and strategic business consultancy for international companies. “The reality is that it should be an ongoing, iterative process that underpins your business strategy and offers the opportunity of delivering massive value to you decades before you plan to sell.”

Ben works with independent business owners to plan their future exit strategy, and feels strongly that exit planning means putting the business owner at the centre of all decision making, while optimising the business’s value to enhance its attraction to potential buyers.

During Ben’s lecture, you will discover the secrets to building a practice with fantastic profit levels throughout your ownership. An optimised business gives the owner flexibility to choose how – and when – they work and can eventually attract multiple interested parties. Learn how to make strategic decisions today that will maximise your practice’s future value for a smooth and successful sale whenever you choose.


Jason Higginbotham is an optometrist and dispensing optician with more than 30 years’ experience in the field. He has

Ben Colman
Jason Higginbotham
Dr Wen Hwa Lee
Andrew Copley

achieved a high level of academic success and is still developing his academic career. Jason has worked in independent and multiple practices, owning his own practices, in refractive laser, intraocular lens and hospital low vision clinics, and in domiciliary optometry, so brings a wealth of experience to his session.

In ‘The increasing role of technology in optometric practice’, Jason will examine some of the newest technologies that are starting to enter into the consulting room in UK optometry. These include ophthalmic artificial intelligence, changes to how refraction is conducted, new imaging modalities, new ways of providing tele-optometry and similar services, and new devices to aid both the diagnosis and treatment of a range of ocular conditions.


In conversations about contact lenses, we often hear the refrain that contact lenses

do not ‘hold their own’ in business, or that they are a ‘challenge’ and a ‘waste of chair time’. On the flip side, however, many successful independent practitioners who positively embrace contact lenses report that this aspect of their business not only enhances the quality of patients’ lives – but is a highly profitable proponent of a growing optometric practice.

In ‘Contact lenses: a golden opportunity. How can contact lenses support your business with minimum effort?’, Contact

lens optician, Samantha Watson, will discuss the opportunity that contact lenses present from a patient, practitioner and practice perspective. She will also provide insights into ways to maximise all the opportunities, and make contact lens inclusion within an optical business a straightforward process.

Samantha currently works for CooperVision as a professional affairs consultant. She has many years in practice across a wide range of roles, including management. She is a fellow of the British Contact Lens Association, holds a PGCE, and this year gained a first class Master’s degree in Digital Education.


This year’s conference programme is remarkably varied and has something for everyone – so do register your place today. Visit and follow the ‘Register now’ link


Protection of a vital role: dispensing opticians

How do we measure when a title has been adequately protected? If it were a case of asking a member of the public the difference between a dispensing optician (DO) and an optical assistant (OA), I would venture to say they have failed dismally in that regard.

Dispensing is what keeps practices afloat and it is high time the profession as a whole stood up and showed how much they value this contribution. Unqualified OAs no doubt have their place in optometry, but we need to ensure the DO’s role is championed. Optometrists are the first to shout at the slightest infringement in their clinical capacity; we need to do the same to support DOs.

The question is: why has the General Optical Council permitted the steady

erosion of the DO role so that it is now largely indistinguishable from that of the unqualified and unregistered OA, save for a few minor technicalities. The ramifications are actually more wide-reaching. After spending as long in further education as optometrists, most patients ‘see’ the DO on the same professional rung as the unqualified OA.

Would optometrists be happy in that position? Fundamentally, it could be argued that this situation is why DOs, who have similar CPD requirements as optometrists, aren’t eligible for NHS funding like their optometrist colleagues. Yet the GOS3 is completed by a DO – and the fitting and dispensing of paediatric spectacles is one of the few distinguishing features that sets them apart from OAs.

In this case, the blame can (and should) be

laid squarely at the feet of the regulator. It is a protected title and they have done nothing to stop the insidious erosion of the profession. At a minimum, there needs to be a review, with proper consultation, on the role of the DO, and an awareness campaign of the importance of the role with the general public.

As the political agenda moves evercloser to embedding primary eyecare in community optometry, the importance of the DO role could – and should – be enhanced. And last but not least, the NHS should of course fund CPD for DOs as they do for optometrists.

Samantha Watson

Optinet NOVA Advantages and what’s new

Optinet is the IT services division of the National Eyecare Group and a part of the wider CECOP global community. We are a leading practice management software (PMS) developer and provide software solutions, staff training and technical support to our growing user base of independent opticians across the UK. We are committed to being the best PMS provider in the optical market.

Optinet NOVA, our cloud-based PMS, was launched earlier this year and the interest so far has been overwhelming. NOVA not only inherits the strengths and pedigree of FLEX but also introduces a new era of accessibility, scalability and collaboration with the integration of cloud-based technologies. We are seeing a clear desire for businesses to migrate their data to the cloud and leverage all that goes with that. So let’s explore some of the advantages and take a look at what’s new with NOVA in 2024.


The ‘cloud’ is an all-encompassing term that is used when we talk about data, systems, services and infrastructure that is accessed remotely. It is, for the most part, built and maintained by a few market leaders: Amazon with AWS, Microsoft with Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud. Many of the services that you and I access day-to-day are likely hosted by one of these companies, either in full, partly or jointly. According to Statista,

a global data and business intelligence platform, the worldwide public cloud computing market is expected to reach an estimated US$675bn in 2024 – so it is easy to see why businesses of all sizes are making the move. So, how can cloud computing help SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), and what are the advantages to business owners like you?

Lower capital investment

Devices accessing cloud services, like NOVA, do not need to be powerful or expensive – a simple tablet device or PC is sufficient. The engine room for NOVA is in the data centre, where all the hard work and computer processing take place before sending the results back to your device in practice.

Device agnostic and cross-platform

Hybrid working, mobile users and homeworking are now the norms – but with that also comes new challenges, each user choosing their preferred device (tablet, mobile phone, PC, etc), preferred platform (Windows, Apple, Android, etc) and when they work. Moving to NOVA addresses these challenges; anybody can access the NOVA platform from any location on any device so long as they have an internet connection and web browser.

Simplified IT management

Maintenance and updates are taken care of centrally at times that won’t cause disruption. There is no time-consuming software deployment needed – just click and go.

Superior security and reliability

Cloud service providers invest heavily in security, much more than an individual business can afford to. Cloud providers offer a fortress of security layers designed to keep your data safe. Our hand-picked, UK-based data

centre partner has enterprise-grade infrastructure for speed, resilience and flexibility – ensuring your data will always be housed securely in an ISO-accredited, carbon-neutral tier-three data centre.


What sets Optinet apart from our competitors is our commitment to development and our belief that software should evolve with the times. Whilst NOVA has been built from the ground up, we have kept true to what our users love about FLEX and looked at how we can make enhancements to make their user experience even better.

In NOVA, the patient is at the centre of the user experience with their entire history available from the patient record – we call it ‘patient centric’. A vertically scrolling patient record, with quickaccess buttons that stick to the top of the record, allows the user to quickly jump to each section of the record. This is ideal when you are working on a tablet device. We’ve also removed some restrictions. Each patient can now have multiple addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and lifestyle stars. Documents and files can be uploaded and stored against the record. Don’t worry about storage space as we have included one terabyte of space for files and images with every NOVA subscription. You can even upload a photo from a phone by scanning the unique patient QR code on their record and following the prompts on your phone to either select an existing file or capture a new image using the phone camera.


NOVA Clinical puts the practitioner in control, allowing them to build their clinical record how they want it to be. Selecting from a list of pre-built clinical procedures to create clinical record templates makes set-up simple – but don’t worry you can still add procedures

Optinet NOVA is a cloud-based PMS

on the fly if you need to during an examination. Some of the procedures that can be included are shown in Table 1

So, whether you want a specific clinical template just for the sight examination, a contact lens assessment or a contact lens aftercare but also want a combined eye examination and contact lens template, NOVA has you covered.

■ See the previous result as you work and quickly re-select if there is no change

■ Vertically scrolling record design works with tablet or desktop PC

■ Clinical auto-save feature as you work keeps your examination data safe

■ Re-order your clinical sections and add new ones during the examination

■ Quick-access buttons and colourcoded tabs help the user quickly move between each section

■ NOVA Clinical isn’t just easy to set up and use, it’s clever too. It can learn which clinical results are used most often in the consulting room and offers those first, helping to speed up the recording of the examination record

But there is so much more…

■ Integrated eGOS

■ Appointments diary

■ Patient account/invoicing

■ Recall

■ Stock

■ Dispensing

■ Contact lens schemes

■ OPS direct debit payment collection

■ Built-in staff messaging system

■ Online appointment booking

■ Staff tasks

■ Supplier address book

■ Reporting and business intelligence


In the first half of 2024, there has been no slowdown in development, we have been as busy as ever with new supplier integrations and product enhancement.

OPS direct debits

Optical Payment Services (OPS) is an exclusive service for NEG members and Optinet users. It offers a cost-effective way to collect monthly payments from your patients – by direct debit (DD). Regardless of whether you already collect DDs or use standing orders, OPS can save you money. It is an easy-touse, paperless service, which can help you manage your cash flow and increase your patient loyalty.

OPS is now integrated within NOVA to allow users to seamlessly set up a paperless DD for patients whilst they are with them in the practice. The OPS integration can create recurring

Medical assessment

IOP measurements

Clinical assessment Q&As Refractions

Ocular measurements

Images and sketches Contact lens refraction

Contact lens trials

Grading scale

Contact lens fit

NHS Notes Recalls

Clinical billing Staff tasks

payment collection schemes, ideal for contact lens wearers, or fixed-length ‘spread the cost’ schemes to pay for spectacles.

Payment statuses are updated automatically within NOVA, giving a running balance showing whether the patient is in debit/credit with the practice, comparing payments received against the value of goods collected. Missing payments can be added to the next OPS collection, or taken as over-the-counter payments.

Windcave payment processing

Windcave is a global leader in payment technology, providing solutions across online, in-store and unattended environments, and offering global acquiring for all popular payment methods. Optinet has partnered with Windcave to bring integrated card payment processing to NOVA. This easy-to-use integration gives improved speed of transaction at the point-of-sale as well as:

■ Eradicating keying errors: transaction amounts are sent to the payment terminal

■ Latest touchscreen mobile terminal

■ Competitive transaction rates


Whilst we are committed to ongoing software development, we are fiercely proud of the service and support that we offer, starting with the initial software demonstration which, where possible, takes place in the practice

(or online if preferred). By visiting the practice, we get a feel for the business, meet the owner and the staff in person, and start to plan the delivery of NOVA and the training. We can convert data from other systems to ensure continuity of the business and we offer on-site training at the point of installation, helping new NOVA users to get the most out of the software.

Post-installation, we offer remote telephone support, management 'away-days' and training courses at our Worcestershire offices. Our online customer portal is available 24/7, where practices can look up answers to the most frequently asked questions and log new support tickets.


Our long-standing NEG member offer of a 12-month free trial continues with NOVA. Members can try before they buy with one year free and, if they continue after the trial, benefit from a special discounted NEG members' monthly rental fee.


For more than three decades, Optinet has developed software for independent opticians. We understand practice needs and have the valuable experience that makes Optinet a name you can trust. If you would like to find out more about NOVA or the exclusive NEG free 12-month software trial, email ■

Table 1 Some clinical procedures included in NOVA Clinical Records
NOVA offers a wide range of user benefits

Boost your profits and customer satisfaction with ARIA

First introduced to NEG members in the February issue, ARIA is an alliance of practices and their suppliers dedicated to the long-term success of the independent optical sector. Practice Building’s Andy Clark explains how the programme works to increase both bottom line profits and patient satisfaction...

Regardless of which report you read, it seems that the average UK spectacle wearer purchases just one pair of frames every three years – or even longer. This means that many patients right now are struggling with out-of-date, tired frames and practices are missing out on potential sales and profits.

Imagine a practice with an average dispensing value of £300, a gross profit of 66 per cent and an operating profit of 20 per cent. A patient buys their first pair of frames for £300; the practice pays for the frame, lenses and overheads and makes a 20 per cent profit – or a £60 operating profit. What if that patient then returns and purchases an additional pair for £150, creating a £100 gross profit that drops straight onto the bottom line? The profitability of that patient has gone from £60 to £160.

In 2023, Practice Building undertook a review of our most successful clients to see who sold the most pairs of spectacles per patient without sacrificing customer satisfaction. This led us to on to develop ARIA – a four-part strategy that provides independent practitioners with the opportunity to significantly increase the lifetime value of their spectaclewearing patients and bottom line profits. This year, the ARIA programme has been implemented in pilot practices all around the UK and in every measured case, it has delighted the practice owners by increasing sales and, more importantly, bottom line profits.


ARIA stands for:

■ Awareness: you increase your patient’s interest in, and desire for, specific products before they visit your practice

■ Recommendations: you then actively recommend these products to your patients

■ Invitations: you stay in contact with your patients between eye examinations to build stronger relationships and generate extra sales

■ Affordability: you offer different ways to make it financially easier for your patients to purchase new spectacles

Most practices are doing some of this well, some of it reasonably and some of it not at all. With ARIA, you will be able to bring them all together to:

■ Build increased awareness of, and desire for, your products and services

■ Recruit new patients

■ Build stronger relationships with your existing patients

■ Sell more first pairs

■ Sell more additional pairs

■ See significant increases in your bottom line profits

In short, ARIA is a profit-boosting system that, with the right support, can be easily fitted into the daily routine of an independent practice. So, how does ARIA work?


By presenting your current and future patients with an ongoing flow of carefully-designed messages, you will increase their interest in featured products and their desire to buy them from you. With ARIA, you will be supported by a team of marketing professionals who will create these messages for you and work with you while you implement them.


When you have piqued someone’s awareness, you then offer them an enthusiastic recommendation to purchase the featured products when they visit your practice. The ARIA support system includes a tried and tested training programme for your whole team, which

has been proven to significantly increase sales of first and additional pairs whilst increasing customer satisfaction.


You actively stay in contact with your patients between eye examinations to build relationships, reduce patient defections and generate extra sales. There are three invitations that are successful with ARIA practices:

■ Return and take advantage of a time-sensitive second pair offer, often supported by a lens company

■ Frame or lens events

■ Monthly email updates for all featured products

ARIA will help you with this by providing you with:

■ Monthly email updates for all featured products to send to your database

■ Frame event planning and co-branded marketing assets

■ A database marketing/GDPR compliance guide


We have identified four different affordability strategies designed to offer excellent value to the patient and increase your gross profits:

■ Supplier supported: where you offer an attractive, time-sensitive discount on an additional pair

■ Interest-free credit: where you give the patient the option to pay in instalments

■ High value lower priced bundles: these are excellent for additional pairs

■ Practice supported: where you deliberately change your pricing model to drive additional gross and net profit from repeat sales

If all the above seems like a lot to do, you are going to find that it’s easy when you have a guide.


When you join ARIA, you will get a system that has been proven to significantly increase spectacle sales and practice profits with a dedicated support team who will help you to implement and maintain it.


Your ARIA success manager will offer personalised support. They have vast experience in our industry, they know the ARIA system inside out, and they have been trained to teach, coach and support you as you implement the programme.


In weekly ARIA Live group meetings, your ARIA success manager will take you through a step-by-step process to ensure that you have the system up and running as quickly as possible. You will be able to have your questions answered, and will gain valuable insights from your peers who are also on the programme.


Additionally, access to occasional oneon-one calls with your ARIA success manager will complement your ARIA Live sessions, providing individual support for reviewing your scorecard and fine-tuning your profitability.


Full access to this dedicated online training and support portal will enable you to fully access all the ARIA strategies, tools and tips so you can implement ARIA properly. It will be constantly updated and become a very useful resource for your team training sessions. You will also have full access to the award-winning recommendation system: 'I Can Help You With That'.

ARIA Online also includes:

■ Sales scorecards to help you chart your progress and fine-tune your results

■ GDPR compliance guidelines

■ Frame and lens event marketing packs and detailed action plans

■ Interest-free credit guidelines and customer agreement drafts

■ Profit planning for a practice-led discount system

■ A shopping cart where you can purchase recommendations cards so your patients never forget what their next pair should be


Later this year, you will also have the opportunity to forge Win:Win agreements

(Alliances) with suppliers who are also part of the ARIA programme.

Your practice wins because you are:

■ Rolling out supplier sponsored @ campaigns. You will receive cobranded monthly marketing assets that would otherwise cost you £1,200 per annum

■ Benefitting from the association with the supplier’s brand presence

■ Becoming a named provider in the supplier’s own national marketing campaigns

Your suppliers win because they are:

■ Building a stronger mutuallybeneficially relationship with a favoured customer

■ Selling more of their products

■ Like you, enjoying increases in their sales and profits


@Campaigns are year-long, cobranded marketing packs that feature a specific brand or product in your practice, [product name] @ [practice name]. For example, 'Fred’s Frames @ Barney’s Opticians'. @Campaigns are refreshed with new assets every month or every quarter, so you will always have something new to share and talk about and the call to action is to book a consultation in your practice.

Each @Campaign pack includes digital point-of-sale assets, website images to build landing pages in your website, social media posts and email banners to send to your database.

Your co-branded frame campaigns will suggest that the patient will enjoy wearing different frame styles from the same supplier in different situations. To make this work you might discuss the following with your chosen frame suppliers:

■ Maintaining a minimum stock profile

■ Presenting the collection as a whole in a designated display space

■ Replenishing your bestsellers every month so your stock doesn’t stagnate

■ Implementing and updating the frame


■ Making time for your business development manager's (BDM) update visits

Your co-branded lens campaigns will suggest the use of a different lens type to achieve optimum vision in a different situation or task every month. To make this work, you might discuss the following with your chosen lens supplier:

■ Promoting and updating the featured lens type every month

■ Featuring the lens brand and lens types on your website

■ Agreeing and achieving a target sales volume of their products

■ Training your team to recommend specific types

■ Making time for BDM updates/training



Full ARIA membership is usually £200 per month paid annually – but as an NEG member you will save £1,200 off your first year’s ARIA membership if you visit before 1 September 2024 and use this 50 per cent off discount code 'PHILS50' when you join.


You can try ARIA completely risk-free with the ARIA 30-day money back guarantee. If, once you have signed up and paid in full, you decide in the first 30 days that ARIA isn’t for you for any reason, just let us know and we will send you a full refund.


ARIA is committed to creating a sustainable future for our profession and the planet. Every practice that joins ARIA in 2024 will also receive a complimentary 12-month membership to Practice Building’s Optician awardwinning Net Zero Optics programme, which would usually cost £660 per practice per annum. You will learn how to make your practice truly sustainable in terms of carbon and plastic without sacrificing profitability.

A typical ARIA member practice with two alliances will receive:

■ Twelve months' ARIA membership value: £2,400

■ Net Zero Optics programme value: £660

■ Total value: £3,060

By signing up before 1 September with the ‘PHILS50’ discount code, NEG members will pay the equivalent of just £100 a month and save £1,860.

Join ARIA today at www. and NEG will add your fee to your next invoice.

Andy Clark is the founder of Practice Building. He has more than 30 years' experience in optics, having owned two large practices himself. He works with independent practices to support their business growth strategies. ■

UK employment law changes

What they mean for you

Major changes in UK employment law have – or are soon to – come into effect this year impacting businesses across all sectors, including optometry. In this feature, HR and employment law experts at NEG partner, Citation, highlight the key changes that members should be aware of...

The optical profession continues to face a range of HR challenges –from staff shortages, scheduling and training needs to ongoing concerns that can impact the overall efficiency and quality of the service being provided. Add to this ever-evolving healthcare regulations and employment laws, there’s a lot to keep up with. For optometrists, dispensing opticians and other eyecare professionals, staying current on these changes is crucial for maintaining smooth operations and compliance. So let’s break down what’s new – and what it means for your business.


First up is changes to flexible working. Employees now have the right to request flexible working from day one of employment. Under the new rules,

employees can make two requests every 12 months, and employers need to decide within two months. This change aims to support a better work-life balance, but it requires careful management in the optical sector, where staff availability is crucial for patient appointments and service continuity.


A new law came into force on 6 April 2024. This gives a new day-one right for all employees to take up to one working week of unpaid carer’s leave per 12 months to provide or arrange care for a dependant with a long-term care need.


Another significant change in 2024 is the flexibility introduced in paternity leave regulations. This applies to employees where the expected week of childbirth (EWC) or placement for adoption begins

on or after 6 April 2024. The new regulations mean that employees can now choose to take their paternity leave as either a continuous two-week period or split it into two separate weeks. Leave can be taken within 52 weeks of birth or adoption (previously, it had to be taken in the first eight weeks).


There’s now greater protection against redundancy for employees on maternity leave, adoption leave, and shared parental leave. This protection requires that if a protected employee is at risk of redundancy, and there are any suitable alternative vacancies, then the employer must offer the protected employee such alternative employment. As of 6 April 2024, these protections were extended as follows:

■ Pregnant employees will have this protection from the date they notify their employer of their pregnancy until 18 months after the birth

■Employees who have taken adoption leave will be protected for 18 months from the date of placement

■ Employees taking less than six weeks of shared parental leave are protected during their period of leave. However, employees taking

Staying current on changes is crucial for compliance
New flexibility in paternity leave regulations

more than six continuous weeks of shared parental leave will be protected for 18 months after the birth


New rules on calculating holiday entitlement, and an option to pay rolledup holiday pay, came into force on 1 January 2024 and apply for holiday years starting from 1 April 2024. These changes apply to irregular hours workers (whose paid hours of work in each pay period are wholly or mainly variable) and part-year workers (employees who have at least one week per year where they do not work and are not paid).

Holiday entitlement for these workers will accrue at a rate of 12.07 per cent of hours worked per pay period. Employers can choose to pay holiday pay when taken or opt for rolled-up holiday pay, supplementing regular pay with an amount representing accrued holiday pay.


In October 2024, the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 will come into force. This will require employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of employees during the course of their employment.


Another one expected to come into force in October 2024 – the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 – will give workers a statutory right to request a more predictable working pattern where their working pattern is unpredictable (which includes those on a fixed-term contract for less than 12 months).


Failing to keep up with these new laws can have serious consequences for optometry businesses. Here’s what’s at stake:

■ Financial penalties: Non-compliance with redundancy protections and other new rights can result in hefty fines straining your financial resources and the stability of your business

■ Legal repercussions: Breaching employment laws can lead to costly legal battles and damage to your business’ reputation

■ Employee morale and retention: Employees who feel their rights are being disregarded are more likely to experience dissatisfaction, which can lead to higher turnover rates and ongoing recruitment challenges

■ Business efficiency: The lack of compliance can disrupt the operational flow of your business, resulting in inefficiencies that compromise patient care and the overall quality of service


With so many changes this year, it’s essential to make sure your business stays compliant. Here are some steps to help you get it right:

■ Review and update policies: Regularly review and update your policies to align with the latest changes in employment laws. This keeps your business practices current and compliant

■ Employee awareness: Make sure your employees are aware of their new rights. Clear communication helps prevent misunderstandings and will make sure everyone is on the same page

■ Training: Provide regular training for your HR team and managers on compliance needs. Make sure they understand the latest updates and their responsibilities, such as handling flexible working requests effectively

Taking these steps, you’ll not only avoid the pitfalls of non-compliance but also create a supportive and positive work environment that benefits both your employees and your business.


Navigating ever-changing employment laws can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. That’s where Citation comes in. With a suite of services tailored to support optometry professionals and businesses, they make sure you remain compliant, and your operations run smoothly.

From helping you draft the right policies and procedures to saving time and reducing errors with professionallycrafted documents and templates that meet the latest legal standards, and providing answers to your questions with a 24/7 advice line, Citation takes the stress of HR compliance away.

As a partner of NEG, you can trust that Citation understands the unique needs of the optical industry. And as part of our excusive limited time offer, you can get your first three months free when you sign up before 30 September 2024 on top of your usual preferential rates. To find out more scan the QR code below. ■

Ensure employees are aware of their new rights

Transforming your business and yourself

PART 2B: Locking in your new goals with metrics and momentum

In the February issue of Vision Now, we learned about setting goals and the challenge of implementing and sustaining new habits. In May, I introduced the role of metrics in tracking those goals and set you the homework of looking at your own numbers and creating a baseline from which to measure.

Remember that this approach advocates using four key steps to improve yourself and your business:

1. Set an overarching goal that carries emotional significance for you.

2. Become mindful of a broad range of metrics. Capture, review and act on them consistently to gain traction and momentum towards achievement of your goal.

3. Source and utilise the power of an accountability partner.

4. Apply the one per cent (Kaizen) rule to your life and your business to achieve continual marginal gains across a broad range of metrics and associated business skills and competencies.


In this issue, we pick up my personal running journey at the point where I hit my first plateau. In the first few difficult weeks, I would weigh myself first thing in the morning and then count lamp posts

and run/walk for a fixed period of time. After five or six sessions, I was able to keep running for a little longer, but the scales remained defiantly unmoving; then after three weeks, I actually gained another pound.

So I decided to adapt and evolve my approach and began exploring different streets and green spaces. This more stimulating environment, and my increasing fitness level, meant that I frequently began to forget I was running at all. Thirty minutes without stopping became 40 then 50 and then an hour. After six weeks, I finally began to lose weight. From this point onwards, all the hard work and persistence began to pay off and to accelerate.

Not long after this, people began to notice and comment on changes they saw in me. Interestingly, my wife, friends, family and colleagues told me that I also seemed happier. Happiness and wellbeing are hard metrics to record and track empirically, but the evidence was irrefutable. This, combined with the satisfaction of ticking off my runs, became a positive feedback loop.

With growing confidence, I sought new sources of metrics to fuel my continued improvement and bought myself a specialised running watch. I chose one that records and measures a

huge number of metrics, which I used to inform my training, much as your practice management system can monitor varied aspects of your business.

I also studied nutrition and dramatically altered my diet, added core strength training to my exercise regime, and mastered fuelling, hydration and race strategies for marathons. All in all, it took me around six weeks to gain momentum, three months for people to notice significant positive change, and around three years to transform into an experienced veteran runner.

Tracking the metrics, understanding how they link together and how to influence them for the positive and to gain momentum were key. Imagine what a similar approach could yield for you and your business. Typically, a training plan to achieve a particular running goal will map out all the runs over a 12-week period. When it comes to business goals, it is amazing what can be achieved in a mere 90 days if you map out the steps you need to take and follow through on them.


We would all benefit from having a fitter, healthier body. Likewise, all practice owners would benefit from running a more efficient, more profitable business. There are few downsides to attaining

this and a myriad of possibilities to achievement. It is perhaps the sheer number of possibilities for practice improvement that dooms many initiatives to fail. Many motivated owners tend to try and do too much too quickly; then when projects fail, they give up citing excuses like, “It’s all very well in theory, but it doesn't work in practice”.

I would therefore strongly recommend starting with a simple, easy-to-define goal that involves just a handful of steps.

A quick example will help you grasp the sort of simple win I recommend. Reglaze rates are infrequently monitored, but in so many instances a few minor changes to pricing and the customer journey can quickly translate to improved profitability. Adding a reglaze fee, or increasing the existing one, can be a quick and easy win. The impact of this measure is an immediate improvement in profit, either by making more from reglazes or increasing the sale value by nudging patients towards buying new frames. However, to accurately measure the impact, you need to first be recording the reglaze rate and other related metrics.

Owners are often nervous about raising prices, but as long as your practice delivers great products and an exceptional customer experience (and as long as your business is targeting and attracting the right customer demographic) you will find customers tend to be less sensitive to price rises than you and your staff.

If you are apprehensive about this, start with small, eminently achievable targets. Try adding just £5 to your reglaze fee. This will allow you to monitor the impact and get your staff comfortable with the new price point. Once you have ascertained that the benefits are being realised without too much resistance, you can add another £5 and so on, until you hit the sweet spot.


When it comes to distance running, there is a clear and obvious link between weight and speed. The rough equation is that every 10 pounds of weight loss leads to a runner becoming 20 seconds faster per mile. Extrapolate this up to the 5k distance and it shaves off a whole minute of time. Over the full 26.2-mile marathon, this translates to nine minutes faster. Getting leaner also leads to a host of other positive advantages: it takes pressure off the joints, reducing the likelihood of injury, and it improves selfimage, self-confidence and a person's sense of optimism about what can be achieved.

Similar benefits are enjoyed by owners who streamline their businesses; their enterprises become easier and less taxing to run. Growing confidence, as the principal becomes a better businessperson and leader, creates a sense of optimism about what can be done, creating a positive feedback loop that accelerates the rate of improvement.

Many of the key performance indicators (KPIs) in your practice are inter-linked in the same way as weight and speed are in running. A change in one area and one metric will often impact on others. If you put your reglaze fee up to £1,000, your reglaze rate would certainly go down to zero. However, this would have a clear knock-on effect. Not all patients would be happy to buy a new frame. Some would vote with their feet, leading to a decline in your conversion rate, revenue and your practice’s underlying profitability.

I use this somewhat extreme example for illustrative purposes to allow me to introduce some practical limitations, and some things to be wary of when it comes to benchmarking and looking at single KPIs in isolation. It is, therefore, critical to look at your metrics in context, as part of your overall business model.

Some highly profitable practices have relatively low conversion rates and very high average dispensing values. Drilling down further into these operations, you will typically find that this is due to the practice having an older, affluent patient base on a one-year recall cycle – or being private. These models work very nicely because on one hand they generate high patient loyalty by not pushing too hard for new glasses every year, but when patients spend, they tend to spend very well.

If you were to benchmark this type of practice against an average conversion rate, it would score poorly. Yet when you look at the other indicators, such as the age profile and average dispensing value, it becomes quickly apparent that the overall practice model is working well. Any attempts to improve the conversion rate – if not carefully targeted to selected patient profiles or under-performing staff who have been specifically identified –might well backfire.


When I first laced up my trainers under the cover of darkness, it started with a very simple goal and a simple set of metrics. Continuing to show up, and by getting just a little better each and every week, has led to progress and an ongoing adventure that has taken me to places and new heights that I could never have


The highlight of my running journey so far has to be meeting and then running in the same race as Olympic champion, Haile Gebrselassie, in his hometown of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The confidence running has given me –and the successful template for change management – has subsequently allowed me to achieve other big goals in unrelated areas: writing books, taking Myers La Roche into the parallel vertical markets of audiology and podiatry, and writing for Vision Now magazine.

If you embark on a similar journey of self-improvement as a business owner and leader, where could your journey take you? Could you win a local or national award for your practice? Could you optimise your existing practice and then purchase another? Could you increase your income whilst working one day less? Within reason, all of these are possible once you have a clear vision and hunger – but the key to implementation and achievement starts and ends with the numbers.

As they say, 'What gets measured, gets managed'. KPIs tend to elicit a similar reaction from people as running: some people love them, some people hate them. Whatever your current position, the undeniable fact of the matter is that recording and learning how to understand and influence optical business metrics will make you a better businessperson and your business more efficient, profitable and valuable. A well implemented practice management system will do much of the heavy lifting for you. So, what are you waiting for?

In part three of this series, we’ll look at another key ingredient to successful personal and business growth: utilising an accountability partner to keep you on track.

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. He is a published author, with his debut book being Rockstar Retirement Programme. How to Retire Like A Rockstar. ■

Vintage persuasions “Fashion fades but vintage is eternal”

The recently-staged red carpet season that includes the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and Met Gala, highlighted numerous vintage outfits and accessories. Nostalgia and 'archival fashion' dominated what stars, industry professionals, influential guests, and other luminaries wore as they attended these glamorous occasions. Vintage iconic looks – original versions plus specially designed outfits and accessories with retro ingenuity – were in the spotlight. Vintage design catapulting into the forefront of clothing and accessories is partially linked to the awareness of sustainability and climate change. It’s no longer a fashion ‘faux pas’ – the supposed impropriety of wearing the same outfit twice to a grand event – for celebrities to give a repeat performance to items previously worn. Nostalgia is enjoying a moment as people reflect on the past that, at least in memory, was much calmer and secure than the present.

This blast from the past in vintage notoriety is creatively played out in eyewear, with designers and companies drawing on inspiration from frames that were popular decades ago. Retrograde

reverberations include cat-eye designs, perfectly round frames, tortoiseshell and chunky acetate spectacles that trace their origins to the 20th century.

The Beatles, Elton John, Audrey Hepburn, Iris Apfel, Jack Nicholson and Stevie Wonder continue to resonate with people today – as men and women of all ages wear clothing and accessories with heritage roots. Nowadays, vintage vibes and modern life harmonise gracefully and stylishly.


Stetson eyewear, available from Atlantic Optical, is recognised for its leading-edge

technology and sleek styling for men. Stetson began a campaign in the 1980s that conveyed images of the American West with icons of the era wearing a magisterial Stetson hat and a stunning Stetson frame. The American actor and singer, Roy Rogers, was amongst those in the campaign who symbolised this spirit. Iconic images of streamlined, sophisticated styles captivated male spectacle wearers of all ages and tastes.

Fast forward to now and Stetson’s keen grasp on the desirability of retro is captured in STXL19G, inspired by the original campaign. The frame combines high-tech details in a refined, uncluttered architectural silhouette, that travels easily between boardroom and casual activities. Stetson hats and variations are trending now and chicly worn by rock and pop stars and those who want to engage in the strength and intrepid legend of the American West.

Teresa Faria, marketing and communications director at Go Eyewear, believes that "women can enjoy wearing vintage acetates their whole lives”. She says: “When I look at Anna Hickmann style AH9409-AO1, it reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s."

The latest collection from Anna Hickmann includes a vibrant selection of optical and sunglass designs with retro accents in striking colours, as well as subtle, gracious neutral tones. The distinct acetate geometric shape and detailing on the temples ensures bold expression. Distributed by Go Eyewear, Ana Hickmann is noted for strong, empowering designs: luxurious frames that reflect the Brazilian designer’s desire for women to be recognised and respected for their abilities, talents and contributions to society.

Cowboy legend Roy Rogers wearing Stetson eyewear
Stetson STXL19G captures the retro spirit
Anna Hickmann AH9409-A01 reflects Audrey Hepburn’s timeless style
Aspinal of London ASPL570 celebrates the beauty of tortoiseshell


Tortoiseshell is characterised with luxury, elegance, simplicity and timelessness. Since the 18th century, tortoiseshell has impacted design and eyewear: first in furniture and decorative objects and then, in the 1920s, tortoiseshell began to appear in spectacles. Nowadays, the variety of tortoiseshell interpretations available brings even more glamour to a perennial winner with alluring, desirable spectacles for all ages.

Aspinal of London celebrates tortoise with model ASPL570, eyewear harmony in polished blush tortoiseshell. Distributed by award-winning Eyespace Eyewear, ASPL570 in smooth acetate with a contemporary graceful silhouette is enhanced with metal detailing on the temple and vegan leather inserts. The impeccably streamlined frame is also available in polished grey tortoiseshell.

For nearly 80 years, specialist technicians at Walter & Herbert have designed and manufactured eyewear in Britain. These skilled craftspeople provide premium quality spectacles combining traditional elements with advanced technology. Tortoiseshell is a core of the collection, with expressive interpretations both colourful and subtle. Distributed by Continental Eyewear, Walter & Herbert Cook C2 expresses traditional classicism in glossy acetate and metal sides with a unique pattern.


Clothing, shoes and charismatic eyewear by British designer Paul Smith reflect his preppy, relaxed outlook on fashion. He authentically and superbly combines classical and contemporary components in designs that men and women love to wear. Fans of Paul Smith's aesthetic principles will appreciate the newest spectacle collection with echoes of vintage concepts.

The striking Korda PS24606 easily accommodates bifocal and progressive lenses. Crafted in Italy using 100 per cent acetate, the frame is moulded into a trendy cat-eye silhouette, with a chunky front and solid colour that epitomises the favourite eyewear trend of the 1950s. Shown in elegant azure sea blue – an ideal summer colour – Korda is also available in sought-after tones of khaki, black multi stripe and tortoiseshell. Distributed by Marchon, Korda is amongst the latest Paul Smith eyewear designs that include acetate and metal selections.

Silhouette in Austria has been creating eyewear for 60 years, and knows the recurring desire for – and appreciation of – heritage eyewear. With its unique

shape and aerospace dynamic influence, the Futura frame was launched by Silhouette in 1974 and is still in demand today. The latest incarnation of the imposing design is the Futura Dot, with its strong form and signature dot in the frame centre that is handcrafted with

a coloured inlay. Futura Dot is a sleek style statement for fashion pioneers and trendsetters.

Vintage has the distinction of timeless elegance, beauty, chic and desirability. With vintage-inspired eyewear, independent opticians can appeal to patients – from youngsters to seniors – with spectacles that encapsulate the continuing desire for nostalgia.

The vast selection of retro eyewear available from NEG's preferred suppliers is particularly appealing and diversified, and can be instrumental in manifesting potential business and developing your client base. Stepping into the past offers abundant new opportunities for now and the future. ■

Walter & Herbert Cook C2 expressing tortoiseshell finesse
Traditional and contemporary aesthetics harmonise in Paul Smith Korda PS24606
Silhouette Futura: daring 1974 design still in demand today
21st century interpretation: Silhouette’s Futura Dot

Preferred Suppliers’ directory

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The future of practice management software is here.

Think independently

Scan the QR code or call 0844 873 1110 to open an account.

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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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

STEPPER (UK) Limited 11 Tannery Road, Tonbridge Kent - TN9 1RF 01732 375975

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