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MAY 2018

Vision Now magazine



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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.




News 4 7 9 11 13 15

OFNC freezes GOS fees Alcon expands InContact platform Third generation digital lens from Hoya CLPL acquired by SEED Photochromic contact lenses announced SAFE framework launched

Editor’s comment Are you struggling to recruit and retain staff? If so, you may not be alone. The undersupply of professionally qualified staff continues to be an issue for the profession, as evidenced by the number of visitors to the Independents’ Lounge at Optrafair last month keen to speak with Liam Franklin of Orta, an optical recruitment and training company “born out of necessity”.

15 An independent view Succession planning

17 Developing thoughts How’s the market treating you?

18 Clinical practice How to run a dry eye clinic

20 Company profile Bondeye: “People are our business”

24 Optrafair 2018 A fine balancing act

28 Style Spotlight Eyewear designers: visionary innovators

30 Suppliers’ directory @PK_NEG

The College of Optometrists’ 2016 Optical Workforce Survey found a net undersupply of fully-qualified optometrists in the UK, with salaries falling by almost 10 per cent between 2010 and 2015, and female optometrists and DOs unhappily earning less than their male colleagues. Throw into the mix the increase in locum working, leading to all manner of complications relating to employment law and the demands of HMRC, and the situation has the potential to be a real headache for practitioners either looking to expand or step back towards retirement. Last month, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) launched its own sector-wide survey to find out about the career aspirations of optometrists and the experiences of employers. The AOP plans to use results from Optometrists' futures: A survey of recruitment, retention and career aspirations of the optometric workforce to inform discussions with employers, public bodies, education providers and other optical bodies. The idea behind the survey, of members and non-members alike, is to find out what motivates practitioners, and what factors could change the decisions they make about their careers. We look forward to reporting on what insights the AOP’s survey may bring, and will continue the narrative of how NEG is supporting its members in this crucially important area of their business. Nicky Collinson Editor


Nicky Collinson BA (Hons)

Editorial PA

Sharon Hicks

Fashion Editor

Joan Grady

Business Editor Phillip Mullins FBDO Design and Production

Rosslyn Argent BA (Hons)


Michael C Wheeler FCOptom DipCLP FSMC FAAO

The Editor welcomes letters, articles and other 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 materialfor publication is not a guarantee that it will be included in any particular issue. Copyright © 2018 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.

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 P&P Litho Ltd, Ashford, Middlesex TW15 1AB

Vision Now MAY 2018





Optical Fees Negotiating Committee

Members will by now have heard the news that the government has informed the Optical Fees Negotiating Committee (OFNC) that is freezing GOS fees for the third year running. This, says the OFNC, is despite strong evidence for an increase, and at a time when more generous settlements are being offered to NHS staff and contractors. The OFNC was, however, offered small increases of one per cent on CET fees and grants for pre-registration optometrists. The response has been one of deep frustration and anger by the OFNC on behalf of the profession. Trevor Warburton, OFNC chair, said: “This continued freeze on fees is completely unacceptable and a real blow. There is no way the profession could sign up to such a position on fees and this is not a ‘negotiated settlement’. This means that, once again, the Department has imposed a real-terms cut on this key public service.

First to the post for GOS e-claims

Optinet had plenty to talk about at Optrafair last month after becoming the first practice management system (PMS) provider in the UK to be able to send all available GOS claims to the NHS in Scotland. This follows Optinet’s accreditation last month for full integration to the eOphthalmic Web Service. The achievement means that Optinet FLEX PMS users can now submit GOS1, GOS3 and GOS4 claims electronically in Scotland via the NHS Scotland e-Ophthalmic Payments System.


The profession and GOS providers will be bitterly disappointed, especially when seen against more positive settlements being announced elsewhere and the powerful arguments made by OFNC in support of an increase, including the additional cost burdens on providers. The costs of operating community optical practices have increased every bit as much as for other primary care contractors.” OFNC secretary Ann Blackmore added: “OFNC have stressed the urgent need for the Department and NHS England to find funding for IT connectivity in the coming year. The short-sighted rejection of previous bids and lack of risk assessment means that patients’ eyesight is at risk from the withdrawal of fax machines for urgent referrals. NHS Mail will be a temporary fix but the NHS drive to be paperless means the problem will return in spades unless there is investment in the optical sector.”


For patients who want their eyewear to say something about them, look no further than Stepper’s new STS-40135. “Comfort and fit are a given with anything originating from Stepper Eyewear,” said Saskia Stepper, the creative force behind the brand, “but as a StepperS, these ‘upstarts in the family’ are also very much about personal expression and individuality.” With its round eye shape, the style features two-tone colouring; the larger top rim carries the main colour which continues through the cylindrical hinges and partway onto the sides. Crafted in stainless steel, the frame weighs just 8.8g and is available in Gunmetal, Olive and Black.

In developing its FLEX system upgrade, Optinet opted for a fully PMS Integrated Solution so it could offer practices full integration to the e-Ophthalmic Web Service. The integration process started in 2016 to enable practitioners to submit GOS1 forms and receive real-time validation of GOS submissions – and the accreditation process is now complete. Chris Smith, Optinet national sales manager, said: “The now fully integrated solution provides the best user experience for staff as there is no need to switch between the PMS and the Ophthalmic Web Form. By working alongside the NHS in Scotland, Optinet has become the first PMS provider to achieve this status. We are extremely proud to be able to offer this complete service to our customers.”


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Seiko Optical

Alcon has added three new subscription benefits to its digital platform InContact: ‘Aftercare recall’, ‘Invite new and existing patients’ and ‘New notification email’. Launched last year, InContact links independent practitioners to patients, providing enhanced customer care and support. The ‘Aftercare recall’ update prevents patients from ordering contact lenses through if their aftercare appointment is overdue. ‘Invite new and existing patients’ allows practitioners to invite new and existing patients to InContact, encouraging increased orders and re-purchases. Finally, ‘New notification e-mail’ will give practitioners instant visibility of new patients who have registered with their practice on Ray Pasko, business unit head of vision care at Alcon, said: “Launched as a platform to help optical businesses build their practices by expanding their online footprint, our InContact service has been key in helping opticians create long-term relationships with their patients through increased options to meet their patients’ buying preferences. These latest updates take this service to the next level, providing practices with more opportunities to communicate with and manage their patient base.”


Novel method to insert polarising lens film

A new entrant in the polarised lens market is Seiko PolarThin, which uses a patented manufacturing process to precisely place the polarising film within the lens during casting, rather than the traditional method of sandwiching a polarised film between the lens and a top shell of material. “This innovative technique ensures that the film placement is always 0.4mm below the front lens surface,” explained Richard Hollings, Seiko Optical UK commercial manager. “The benefit is clear, Seiko PolarThin lenses can be surfaced thinner than other polarised lenses without the risk of breaking into the polarised film and will be slightly lighter. They will not delaminate and are suitable for both rimless and semi-rimless mounts. “A further advantage of the semi-finished manufacturing process is that the polarisation axis can be fully controlled to the highest level of accuracy even on higher base lenses where historically axis control has been an issue, thus ensuring that the lenses always exceed the requirement of ISO 8980-3 which gives a tolerance of +/- 3˚,” Richard continued. “Seiko PolarThin uses a marking the size of a pin head allowing the full blank diameter to be utilised, making the lenses suitable for larger frames.” Seiko PolarThin lenses are available in 1.6, 1.67 lens materials, brown and grey colours, and a wide range of single vision and progressive lens designs.

Louis Stone (Optical)

Louis Stone (Optical) has just released a luxurious range of soft and hard spectacle cases, all available to view in its new catalogue. From supple leather-feel to delicately textured plastic cases, with practical looks as well as standout ones, the collection promises a Bright, British design spectacle case suitable for any patient. “Inspired by towns and places around the UK, the premium range of spectacle cases exudes the heritage feel of its British design,” said Clare Gaba, head of marketing and communications.


Go Eyewear

The spring/summer Ana Hickmann, Hickmann, T-Charge and Bulget eyewear collections are all now available from Go Eyewear. The SS 2018 campaign theme from Ana Hickman Eyewear is titled, Designed to Envy. Presenting an image of sophistication and contemporary design, the campaign was shot at a luxurious interior design store at Treviso, Italy, in the Veneto area. The layered sunglasses trend is evidenced in model AH3177 (pictured), which provides an iconic three-dimensional look with summery light-gradient lenses. Available also in a squared shape and in five feminine colours, the layered sunglasses are thin, light and comfortable.

Designed to envy Vision Now MAY 2018







g n i z a m A

Contact lenses that feel like nothing2 ALSO FOR PRESBYOPES


1. Maissa C, et al. Evaluation of the Lubricity of DAILIES TOTAL1® contact lenses after wear. Opt Vis Sci Annual meeting 2014. 2. Pérez-Gómez I, Giles T. European survey of contact lens wearers and eye care professionals on satisfaction with a new water gradient daily disposable contact lens. Clinical Optometry. 2014;6:17-23. Opt Vis Sci Annual meeting 2014. 12612 © 2018 Novartis. DAILIES TOTAL1, DAILIES TOTAL1 logo, Alcon and the Alcon logo are trademarks of Novartis AG. GB/VC/DAI/12/17/0152


10 Hoya

Association of British Dispensing Opticians

Sync III lenses designed for the digital age

Clive Marchant receives the ABDO medal of office from Fiona Anderson

Dispensing optician Clive Marchant was inaugurated as the new ABDO president in a ceremony at the ABDO Optrafair Dinner in Birmingham on 15 April. Clive, who is also a contact lens optician and director of the Colin Lee group of practices, said: “I’m delighted to take over the ABDO presidency from Fiona Anderson who has done a fantastic job during her term of office. I now look forward to working with Jo Holmes in her new role as vice president and the rest of the ABDO board and staff, supporting and enhancing the role of Dispensing Opticians.” Focusing on highlights for the coming year, Clive said: “This year we will see the first cohort of contact lens opticians accredited to provide MECS [minor eye conditions services]. This is the first of several initiatives to involve dispensing opticians within the expanding range of enhanced services. We have record numbers of students studying at all levels from level two optical assistant to our degree programmes and specialised qualifications. Demand for training has identified the need for our National Resource Centre in the heart of Birmingham, which will become the home for ABDO examinations.” Special awards were also presented at the dinner with the Medal of Excellence going to Richard Crook and the Hamblin Memorial Prize to Keith Cavaye.



Eyeplan, which provides monthly payment eyecare schemes in the UK, has launched a new scheme giving patients the option of being treated by their local optometrist without the need to visit hospital. Developed with ophthalmology provider Evolutio, Eyeplan Medical has been created to care for patients with non-surgical and non-sight threatening eye conditions in a clinically managed governance framework. The service is delivered through telemedicine and a panel of ophthalmologists via a software platform known as e-connect, enabling optometrists to join the scheme without independent prescribing or advance glaucoma certification. Eyeplan commercial director, Chris Clemence, said: “Eyeplan Medical will enable patients to take back control of their eyecare, closer to home with an eyecare professional they know and trust. For practices, the new

Sync III, Hoya’s third generation of enhanced single vision lenses, have been designed for the digital age – relieving eye strain and enhancing visual comfort. Launched last month, Sync III lenses have three power boost options at the bottom of the lens for different user profiles, optimised for the way patients use their eyes, and a distance power for everyday use. The boost zone has a slightly increased power to help the eye muscles to relax and focus more easily. “The digital revolution has dramatically changed the way we see the world, and our eyes are literally taking the strain,” said Olga Prenat, optometrist and director of the Hoya Faculty. “This is largely due to the fact that our eyes are simply not made to spend long periods of time looking at screens or near tasks. Sync III lenses are. What’s more, our studies tell us that most users of digital devices have not heard of digital eye strain and accept their symptoms as unavoidable. Therefore, educating patients is crucial.”

11 Dunelm Optical

Sealing the deal

scheme will offer greater differentiation in the level of care they can offer and create a deeper and even more loyal relationship with their patients.” Our photograph shows Evolutio CEO, Peter Price-Taylor, Eyeplan managing director Simon Mills, and VSP vice president Terri Wilson, sealing the deal.

Using the latest British designed cotton prints and fabrics sourced from Stitches, Europe’s largest arts and crafts trade show, the majority of Dunelm’s eyewear cases are manufactured ‘in-house’ at its case factory in Leeds. With over 80 different designs in metal, leather, leatherette and cotton with spring top, slip in, velcro and magnetic fastenings, New Metal Safari range there is an abundance of choice in both design, pattern, shape and material to suit a variety of tastes and age ranges. Personalised embossed cases are also available. Vision Now MAY 2018


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

Frame style shown: SI-60171


Contact Lens Precision Labs


Local Optical Committee Support Unit

lenses for over 50 years from the UK, and claims its brand names UltraVision and Kerasoft are the leading custom-made soft contact lenses on the market.

CLPL lab now a subsidiary

Contact Lens Precision Labs (CLPL) has been acquired by Japanese company SEED Co. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of SEED, CLPL produces specialty and custom lenses, selling its products in more than 40 countries. It has manufactured and marketed contact

In a statement, SEED said it had plans to develop higher quality contact lenses by utilising CLPL’s advanced design and optical analysis technology. SEED also intends to expand its UK and Irish sales, two of the largest disposable contact lens markets in Europe, in which the company had previously experienced only limited sales results. CLPL also plans to utilise SEED’s skills and specific knowledge on the mass production of disposable contact lenses in the specialised soft lens industry.

13 SPECS network

Consumer campaign to promote eye health via selfie competition and other initiatives

Now summer has arrived, SPECS network is gearing up for its next national consumer campaign to coincide with National Sunglasses Day on 27 June. The campaign promotes eye health in relation to UV protection and provides practices that are part of the SPECS network with the tools to get involved. A highlight of the campaign is a #sunglassselfie social media competition to win a £200 Virgin giftcard, with an iPad also to be won in a free prize draw. “We want to speak to the younger generation about eye health, but also to bring fashion into the equation – so a selfie competition via the likes of Instagram and Twitter will be a great way to achieve that,” explained Richard Hollings, commercial manager at Seiko Optical UK, which runs SPECS network. After the success of its World Book Day campaign in March, which drew more than 6,000 competition entries, SPECS network is also looking ahead to its remaining two campaigns for the year that coincide with National Eye Health Week in September and National Road Safety Week in November. “Our network is growing all the time and so is our reach to patients across the UK, and those practitioners who get behind our social media campaigns and use the tools we provide are finding it really works for them,” said Richard, who added that a new SPECS network website with enhanced navigability and functionality was in the pipeline.

Christiane Shrimpton

Christiane Shrimpton has been appointed to a new role as director of ophthalmology at the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU). Since 2014, Christiane has led major service reforms as ophthalmology lead for the Better Care Together (BCT) Initiative, which saw almost 6,000 appointments move from the hospital eye service to community optical practices in its first year. LOCSU CEO, Richard Whittington, said: “The reform of NHS delivery and the introduction of population-level, integrated care is a huge opportunity to reduce pressures on the hospital eye service by moving minor eye conditions and routine monitoring of stable conditions into primary care. The fact that Christiane brings both ophthalmology expertise and hands-on strategic skills in pathway redesign is a double coup for LOCSU and the optical sector.” In other news, community ophthalmology provider Newmedica has entered into a framework agreement with LOCSU, which will see patients returning to their optometrist after cataract surgery for postoperative assessment for a set tariff. This is the first national framework agreement of its kind for LOCSU with a community ophthalmology provider. It will be open to all optometrists providing they have successfully completed the LOCSU/WOPEC cataract accreditation.

15 De Rigo Jonathan Frost has been promoted from his former position as De Rigo UK key account manager to De Rigo UK country manager and sales director. Before joining De Rigo UK, Jonathan accumulated more than 26

years of sales experience, including four years with Luxottica. He takes over from Bernhard van Ommen, previous managing director. The new

management team will report directly to the board of the De Rigo Group in Longarone, Italy, and will be working on an ambitious strategy for relaunching the group’s brands in the markets served. Vision Now MAY 2018



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NEWS 16 Marchon


Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society

Dry eye treatment validated by TFOS

Luxury Calvin Klein 205W39NYC sun model

Calvin Klein and Marchon Eyewear have introduced newly rebranded lines of men’s and women’s Calvin Klein 205W39NYC and Calvin Klein sunglasses and ophthalmic eyewear, designed under the creative direction of Raf Simons, the chief creative officer of Calvin Klein. Eyewear for the brand will now be marketed under the Calvin Klein 205w39NYC, Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Jeans brand names in line with the recent global restructuring of Calvin Klein’s apparel and accessories under Simons. “It has been extremely exciting to see the progressive new direction for Calvin Klein under Raf Simons’ tenure,” said Nicola Zotta, president and CEO of Marchon Eyewear. “We are incredibly proud of our longstanding and collaborative relationship with Calvin Klein and the creative and innovative designs and products that we are jointly creating to further grow the Calvin Klein eyewear business around the world.”

17 Transitions Optical/Essilor Transitions Optical has partnered with Johnson & Johnson Vision to make the leading lightadaptive photochromic technology available in a contact lens. To be launched early next year, Acuvue Oasys with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology will create a new category of contact lenses and expand the photochromic category beyond eyeglass lenses. They will feature a dynamic photochromic filter to balance the amount of light entering the eye, including filtering blue light based on the level of activation and blocking UV rays. “Transitions Optical has long been the leader in light management technology, mastering light for over 28 years,” said Chrystel Barranger, president of Essilor Photochromics and Transitions Optical. “We have a history of product innovations from the first successful plastic photochromic lenses to lenses with variable polarisation. Our focus has always been on using innovation to break new ground and grow the photochromic category. This breakthrough technology will revolutionise contact lenses and photochromics by introducing the benefits of light adaptation to more patients.”

The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) international Dry Eye WorkShop II (TFOS DEWS II), whose report was published in the July 2017 issue of the Ocular Surface journal, acknowledges that trehalose is an effective ingredient in association with hyaluronic acid for the treatment of dry eye. Thealoz Duo (trehalose three per cent, hyaluronic acid 0.15 per cent), developed by Laboratoires Théa, is registered as a medical device and is indicated to relieve dry eye disease symptoms. It has a unique mode of action related to its two active ingredients: sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), known for its hydration and lubrication properties, and trehalose, a natural bioprotectant and osmoprotectant found in numerous plants and animals, to allow cell survival in unfavorable environments. Professor Benitez del Castillo of the Spanish Society of ophthalmology and ocular surface specialist, said: “The association of hyaluronic acid and trehalose can be considered a significant progress in the treatment of moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, acting at the same time on dry eye disease and its clinical symptoms.” Emmanuel Muriaux, director of R&D innovation at Théa, added: “The TFOS DEWS II report validates years of research at Théa to offer a safe and effective treatment to the numerous patients who suffer from dry eye disease worldwide.”

19 British Contact Lens Association More than 200 eyecare practitioners have signed up to work towards a certificate in dry eye as part of a new education programme run by the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA). The new CET-accredited programme focuses on clinical skills for ocular surface health (OSH) and dry eye, allowing BCLA members to gain CET points while working towards a Dry Eye Certificate or a higher level to lead to a BCLA

Fellowship. The certificate, sponsored by Thea Pharmaceuticals, can be achieved by any optometrist or CLO who attains six credits and a final OSCE style examination. Professor Christine Purslow, head of medical affairs at Thea Pharmaceuticals, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the BCLA for this course. Dry eye education is essential, and this qualification ensures

practitioners will be best placed to offer the specialist service needed to diagnose and manage the disease.” Dry eye will play an integral role in education sessions at forthcoming BCLA UK events in London and Birmingham, including a peer review and a programme of workshops. The event will include interactive workshops, based on the evidence and findings of the TFOS DEWS II report. Vision Now MAY 2018


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NEWS 20 ABDO College The new 2018 edition of Ophthalmic Lenses Availability is now available from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) College Bookshop in eBook and print formats. Launched at Optrafair last month, the 2018 definitive guide to spectacle lenses, coatings and tints available in the UK collates information from leading lens manufacturers. The guide includes: manufacturers’ data; lens data files; an availability index; PPL corridor length and fitting heights; materials, tints and coatings; and a lens engravings list. ‘Lens bible’ now available ABDO head of communications, Antonia Chitty, said: “Simply known as ‘the Lens Bible’, this essential guide is much in demand every year. Our thanks must go to Phil Gilbert for continuing the complex job of editing the book. Copies sold fast at Optrafair, and are available now in the ABDO College Bookstore for online ordering.” Visit

21 CCEHC The Clinical Council for Eye Health Commissioning (CCEHC), which represents the sector’s leading professions and charity organisations, has launched a new Systems and Assurance Framework for Eye-health (SAFE) to provide a “sustainable, consistent and coordinated approach to delivering efficient eye health and sight loss pathways”. SAFE is aimed at those involved in eye health and sight loss services: clinical commissioning groups and local authority commissioners, local eye health networks and providers across health and social care. Launching the new framework Parul Desai, CCEHC chair, said: “The development of SAFE has been clinically led and clinically driven to ensure safe and effective services are available to meet individual and population eye health needs. This cross-sector initiative provides the basis for the organisation and delivery of pathways of care that patients can reasonably expect wherever they may live, with processes that provide assurance on quality and governance.” Visit to discover more about SAFE.

22 Royal Blind Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, helped highlight the challenges of living with sight loss when she opened Jenny’s Well, a new care home in Paisley run by Scotland’s largest vision impairment charity, Royal Blind, which this year celebrates its 225th anniversary. Sight loss is Nicola Sturgeon with resident, Ruby projected to double over the next two decades in Scotland, to almost 400,000 – and Jenny’s Well is one of only two specialist care homes for sight loss in the country.

AN INDEPENDENT VIEW Succession planning It is fair to say that succession planning in independent practice has not been a strong point for many. Whilst there are some practices that have managed the process well, we frequently hear from members who are planning to retire and have not given the subject much thought. Most independents are fiercely loyal to their patients, many of whom will have been coming to them for years – or even decades. They are concerned that those patients will continue to receive the same quality of clinical service that they have provided and that they will continue to be patients for whoever takes up the reins in their practice. Indeed, the value of a practice is fundamentally dependent on that being the case. At Optrafair, the AIO launched the AIO Practice Support Network that brings together NEG, Eyeplan, SPECS network and Myers La Roche to help aspiring independents realise their ambition to own their own practice and to help newly-established independents make a real success of their practice. The main routes to independent ownership are, of course, setting up a new practice or buying an existing one. There is another way, however, and that is for the aspiring independent to work in a practice for a period of time as a prelude to acquiring the practice from the existing owners on terms agreed between the parties. Frequently, there will be a period when the previous owner will carry on working in the practice to make the transition as seamless as possible for patients and the new owner. The AIO Practice Support Network has been created to help all aspiring Independents whether they set up a new practice, buy an existing one, or take the succession option over a period of time. The Network brings together a unique mix of services, products and competencies that can help to make all aspiring independents as successful as possible in their new venture. Email for more information.

Speaking after the event, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I was delighted to officially open Jenny’s Well. Through our ‘See Hear’ strategy, we are taking action to improve services, care and support for people in Scotland with sight loss, supported by almost £500,000 funding in the current year. The strategy recognises the impact of blindness on people’s lives and I commend Royal Blind for their important work in this area, as signalled by the opening of Jenny’s Well.” Vision Now MAY 2018


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Developing thoughts Phil Mullins reflects on the take-home messages from this year’s Optrafair which, along with the industry, has changed greatly over the past 40 years

How’s the market treating you? As I sit and write this column the day after Optrafair, it gives me a chance to not only recover from a very busy show, but to reflect on how our industry stands, what comments we received from both visitors and exhibitors and, importantly, how we as a Group respond. Optrafair is now 40 years old and in many ways, it reflects the changes in our industry. In the early days, and certainly when I first started attending the show in the late 1980s, Optrafair was biennial and was a massive event, with just about every supplier attending. Now, with so many other events and shows in the calendar, Optrafair is very different. It has a real focus on equipment and clinical CET, but with the ability to put on a great fashion show, alongside many leading frame suppliers. But what are the take-home messages?

MIXED BAG OF EXPERIENCES From the exhibitors, it is very much a mixed bag. The high-end equipment suppliers continue to do well, with all clinicians trying to ensure they have access to the best technology in their practices. Other suppliers offer a more complicated picture of the market. Many are reporting good growth in their business with the chains, but their independent business is flat as a result of the independent market continuing to shrink. But that’s only half the story, because there are an increasing number of suppliers who are really targeting independent businesses, knowing that independent business can be very stable and can off-set the rise and fall of the chain work. From a visitor’s perspective, the whole view was far more positive, which falls in line with our own experience of growing membership and increased turnover. Many of the members who we spoke to admitted

that it is hard work out in the High Street, but they are holding their own and many reported they they do have growth. Most importantly they had come to Optrafair to look for the next piece of kit, or the new frame range or business idea, which might help them to move their practice forward to the next level. Unlike last year’s show, when there was a lot of negativity regarding business, and people looking to sell or retire, this year’s show was the opposite – with several members looking to expand into second or third practices.

FOCUS ON THE NEXT GENERATION Obviously, we don’t just speak with NEG members at the show, we are there to support the whole independent sector and we were delighted to have a number of conversations with young ECPs who are in the process of buying their first practice or setting something up from scratch. In fact, I had more conversations about new practices than I have ever had, which is a real encouragement for the independent sector and companies like NEG that only deal with supporting independent practices. This all bodes well for the new Practice Support Network, which was launched at the show and brings together the AIO, SPECS network, Eyeplan, Myers LaRoche and ourselves to form a support group for new and aspiring independent practices. The aim is to do more than just talk but give these new practices practical support in those early years of a new practice. As you will know, NEG sponsored the firstever Optrafair Independents’ Lounge, which proved very popular with visitors. We saw hundreds of visitors stopping by to grab a coffee and spend time talking with likeminded independents as well as the visiting experts, who were on hand over the weekend. For me, what was interesting

Many visitors came specifically to buy

about the Lounge, were the issues that visitors were discussing. There was a drive to find good training for all staff, but particularly support staff. This means that Liam Franklin from Orta, who specialise in recruitment, training and retention, was kept very busy. Richard Hollings from Seiko Optical was also kept very busy, as he shared their new independent exclusive partner programme and the benefits of the SPECS network platform. Both areas are exclusive to independents, which is having a growing impact as more practices look to differentiate themselves from the competition. This was further highlighted by the reaction from visitors who looked at Fitting Box, who were in the Lounge demonstrating their virtual try-on software. This offers a unique ‘wow’ factor to a practice and although used widely in many countries, has very little coverage in the UK. This means practices who adopt it now can really stand out. We will, of course, be sharing more about the Independents’ Lounge content over the coming weeks and months, via Vision Now, Newsflash and the website. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about Optrafair, the Independents’ Lounge or the content, please let us know via the usual channels, as it will help us build for the future. Vision Now MAY 2018



How to run a dry eye clinic One must almost begin this article with a question: if you have not yet set up a dry eye clinic in your practice, why not? The answers and excuses are often lack of time, worries about charging and not seeing the business opportunity for what it really presents. In this day and age, it is so important to consider diversifying one’s scope of practice, not only to bring an additional level of up-skilling and job satisfaction but also, importantly, to keep up with (and stay ahead of) the game. With the increase nationally of minor eye conditions services (MECS) schemes, and a desire within the profession for you to be seen as capable of delivering a wide range of clinical care and management within the community, having the ability to properly manage dry eye is an essential part of that development. Personally, I do not feel that dry eye management undertaken correctly falls within the scope of most MECS schemes around the country. Often, dry eye will present acutely to these schemes as a oneoff appointment, but the best form of dry eye management is ongoing care and support for the patient, and this can normally only be achieved with a private clinic in place.

HOW NOT TO… Historically, it has been all-too tempting to cram a bit of hasty generic dry eye advice to the end of a routine eye examination. The patient then attends their next eye examination one or two years later with the exact same concerns, symptoms and issues that they had last time, having done what you said (at best) for a couple of weeks after you said it and then lapsed, never to be repeated and long forgotten. The other issue is that this ad-hoc management sparks the belief, not only in the patient but also in you, that your advice did not work and you can’t really fix the problem anyway. We have to come away from the notion that our time is not valuable. It is.

HOW TO… We are often our own worst enemy when it comes to getting something new off the ground; we are busy keeping up with the


Vision Now MAY 2018

TFOS ambassador, Sarah Farrant, presents a ‘how to’ guide to running your own dry eye clinic on the High Street

hectic routine of practice and daily life. The key with getting a dry eye clinic up and running, and it working successfully, is having a clear idea of the economics, the basic routine, good patient information, confidence and staff training.

ECONOMICS You must from the start charge properly for your clinical time. As optometrists we often undervalue our services and time. From the outset, the clinic must cover its costs (including any kit you want to buy) in order for it to be worth doing. Looking at your ‘per hour’ running costs is a good place to start and deciding on what profit you want to make from the clinic appointments is an important consideration. Given that dry eye disease, once diagnosed, is a life-long incurable condition, these patients will need long-term regular care. Your charges should always be transparent. Direct debit options are now fairly commonly used when it comes to contact lens supply in practices, and can equally be put to very good use in terms of dry eye appointments and product supply. They encourage compliance and regular contact and promote patient retention and loyalty.

BASIC ROUTINE Based on the excellent recent Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS) II report, there is now a clear and simple, evidence-based approach to diagnosing and managing dry eye in practice. This is a free resource and readily available online at The overall notion is beautifully simple: first diagnose accurately the problem using a questionnaire, and a positive score on either tear osmolarity, tear break-up time and/or ocular surface staining. Try then to subcategorise if it is predominantly aqueous deficient (poor tear prism height) or meibomian gland dysfunction (cloudy or thickened meibum on gland expression) or a blended mix of both, and then follow a series of stepwise management principles and suggestions to alleviate the symptoms.

Figure 1: Squeezing thickened meibum from a meibomian gland

I passionately believe that you cannot do a dry eye diagnostic work up without squeezing patients’ meibomian glands (Figure 1) as glands that look normal and quiescent can reveal a hidden minefield of blocked meibum. Regular squeezing can also promote better flow and improved gland condition, so it is a very useful adjunct to your in-practice proactive clinical regime.

TAKING STOCK We know that patient compliance is always a big problem, and one small way of helping is to make things as easy as possible. It helps to be able to provide the patient with all the products you are recommending on the day of the appointment so that they can go home armed with a bag full of the stuff they need from day one. In order to do this, you must pay careful attention to what it is you actually want to stock and recommend. For starters, you should consider a good range to cover what you will need to supply: • Sodium hyaluronate preservative free drops such as Hyabak • Thealoz Duo (cell protectant)* drops • Night time option such as Thealoz Duo Gel • Blephasol, Blephaclean and Blephagel lid hygiene • Product for Demodex • Omega 3 supplements, e.g. Hyabak Caps

PATIENT INFORMATION I find the conversations that I have in the consulting room with a patient who either has mentioned symptoms to me during an appointment, or that I have seen evidence of dry eye during my examination, are best

CLINICAL PRACTICE COMPLIANCE One of the biggest known issues with effective dry eye management is poor patient compliance to a regime. There are a few tricks that can help reduce the issue:

Figure 2. The vicious circle of dry eye disease

laid out straight. I like to use the vicious cycle concept developed by the TFOS DEWS I original report (also available online) (Figure 2). The notion is that once on the circle of dry eye, a patient’s dry eye disease will gradually deteriorate unless you actively seek a route off the roundabout. Making it clear that it is a condition that gets worse with age, and is best managed at the earliest opportunity, is good advice. A very good analogy is teeth. Most people can readily comprehend that if they don’t actively look after their teeth over their lifetime then they will deteriorate and cause issues. The same can be said of a patient with signs of dry eye disease. Once that short conversation has been had (and no advice on ad-hoc management is given) the practice leaflet is handed out or emailed to the patient with information about typical dry eye symptoms, the benefit of the clinic, what can be achieved and the costs involved. They are then free to digest the options at home and book a clinic appointment when they are ready.

STAFF TRAINING Once the clinic is up and running, your staff can be great advocates for patient sign-up. If you have any staff with dry eye disease, then putting them through the clinic (you can also use them to practise on too) is a great idea. They then often become your best advert to prospective patients in the waiting room. Considering that roughly 30 per cent of patients attending a primary care optometry practice will have dry eye disease, there is a ready supply of patients for your clinic currently walking through your door every day. It is also important that staff have a basic understanding of the range of products you stock so they can give advice to patients about drops, etc. Dry eye companies like Thea operate staff training programmes that you can use to achieve this very effectively and efficiently.

• A full management plan: Thea provides a pre-filled Eye Health Regime Pad (Figure 3) you just need to tick for product recommendations that you can give directly to the patient on the day • Stock the range of key products • Provide a named staff member as a point of contact • Always follow up the patient after a set time The recent TFOS DEWS II report has opened up access to a great summary of the latest evidence-based research to support us as practitioners, with the diagnostic techniques and best management approach

for patients. Successful management of dry eye disease is now a very viable option in a dedicated clinic within an optometry practice. This article summarises the key considerations and practicalities when it comes to getting a viable clinic up and running. Armed with these tools, there is nothing to stop you getting started. *TFOS DEWS II referred to osmoprotection such as that from Trehalose, found in Thealoz Duo. Sarah Farrant BSc MCOptom Dip TP IP owns a specialist independent practice managing eye disease in Somerset. She has a particular interest in dry eye and therapeutics, and acts as a consultant to a number of contact lens and ophthalmic companies. She is chair of Somerset LOC and was recently appointed as the UK ambassador for the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society.





1. Heat and massage

Use a warm compress on the eyelids for 10 minutes and gently massage the eyelids immediately. Repeat 2 or 3 times daily for 2 weeks, then as needed.

2. Cleanse

First Start your routine by cleaning your eyelids with Blephaclean twice daily for three weeks.


Then Continue to use Blephaclean once daily or alternatively you may use Blephasol lotion once a day to maintain your lid hygiene ongoing. Also available as a gel format, Blephagel. Instantly cools and soothes inflamed eyelids.

3. Lubricate

Apply one drop in each eye 4 times daily or as often as required.



Contact lens friendly; when putting on contact lenses, drop a drop of Hyabak or Thealoz Duo into the curved inner surface of the lens before inserting the lens.

Additional recommendations

As part of your eye health routine, it is equally important to ensure that you eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of water each day, and try to incorporate blinking exercises into your daily routine. YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT/FURTHER SUPPLIES DUE

Figure 3. Tick sheet to aid patient compliance 13056_THEA_EYECARE_PAD_A5.indd 1

Vision Now MAY 2018 21/04/2017 12:16



“People are our business” Family-owned supplier Bondeye prides itself on being a ‘people business’. We spoke to sales director, Dave Walker, to find out more about this award-winning company… The Bondeye team at Optrafair last month

Established in 2002, Bondeye is one of the UK’s fastest growing suppliers, offering a staggering 3,000 products to independent practices and labs across the UK and Europe. Not only does the company supply eyewear brands, it provides a one-stop optical solution for more than 4,000 customers by offering all the essential products needed for the journey through an optical practice – from eye examination to finished pair of spectacles.

year’s Optical Supplier of the Year category at the Optician Awards after winning the trophy in 2014, and being a runner-up in 2012. “We work hard to ensure a robust supply chain and we work synergistically with manufacturers to always bring innovative products to the market,” explains Dave. Some of the key brands the company represents include: Haseley & Co eyewear,


Roav model Franklin in Gunmetal and Sky


Vision Now MAY 2018

From only a handful of products when the business started out, Bondeye now holds an impressive 3,000 products spread out over 19 categories. “We have seen phenomenal growth in recent years within the eye health category and we are now highly regarded by customers as a major provider of products in this sector,” says Dave. “This year alone has seen us add 300 new products, which represents our biggest commitment to new products in a decade.” The company’s latest brand is the cuttingedge micro-technology eyewear, Roav, described as “the only truly pocketable sunglasses”. Crowdfunded in Los Angeles by likeminded individuals with an engineering background, the world’s thinnest, lightest, folding frames were born using a patentpending screwless spring hinge design. As thin as a smartphone when folded, Roav slips into the tightest of pockets. Constructed from stainless steel, the frames are topped off with a scratch-proof ion plating to ensure longevity. Weighing just over 15g, Roav also offers wearers polarised 100 per cent UVA/B protection.

Bondeye’s dedication to outstanding customer service and quality means the company continues to achieve phenomenal success. In terms of sales, Bondeye has a striking record with 15 years’ consecutive growth – now turning over several million pounds. Bondeye was a finalist in this

Presenting Roav to visitors at Optrafair

Cocoons fit-over sunglasses, Minishades children’s sunglasses, SO merchandising, Macushield, green high performance (GHP) edging pads, Lagad Lacrima, Can-c and Optipets glasses holders. Its most recent launch, making its debut at Optrafair last month, is Roav – heralded as the world’s thinnest folding frame and now exclusive to Bondeye in the UK and Ireland.

Fashion-forward Haseley & Co

Another of Bondeye’s flagship eyewear products is Haseley & Co, an exclusive range of fashionable eyewear, sunwear and merchandising. “Haseley & Co has a core focus on modern styles, high quality materials and delivers on-trend designs

COMPANY PROFILE month. Says Dave: “Our warehouse, fulfilment and stock management is now all controlled here, and their service level guarantee and same-day turnaround on orders now represents one of our key benefits as a supplier.”

Eyewear protection for children

with additional benefits such as low ordering volumes and contemporary merchandising options to complement the range,” explains Dave. Bondeye also stocks a wide variety of polarised sunglasses for children, OveRx sunglasses and sports eyewear. In fact, sports eyewear has been the company’s fastest growing product category in the last 12 months. It’s not just eyewear that Bondeye excels in supplying. In 2009, the company took over distribution of Macushield. “This was a time when the existing market was very small, with less than 100 stockists,” recalls Dave. “In the past, we trained through onsite visits and workshops and even ran our own CET events called Vision Arena and attended all major exhibitions. Sales and advice were key but supporting the practitioner was paramount to the progression of the product.” Dave continues: “Macushield wasn’t available in pharmacies and this enabled all patients to receive clear advice on nutrition through supplements and, ultimately, optimising the levels of carotenoids that wouldn’t usually be achievable in a typical western diet. Sales have increased by 15 per cent since 2009 and Macushield is now one of the biggest selling supplements in the UK.”

SUPPORTING PRACTITIONERS In addition to years of supporting practitioners through education and training, Bondeye now also runs a productrelated scheme called Sign Up and Save. Explaining more, Dave says: “In essence, Sign Up and Save is a customer retention scheme where we deliver our key products straight to the customer’s home through a partner called Adaro. This enables the practitioner to retain more business, market their business and ensures the patient never runs out of products, which helps with compliance.” Another successful partnership Bondeye has been enjoying since 2013 is with the multiservice provider, the Linney Group. Based in Mansfield on a 50-acre site, the family business has been running for 167 years and offers a variety of key services – from branding, advertising, printing, logistics and current fulfilment of five million packages a

Being a people-based company, loyalty and retention is key to Bondeye’s continued progression – both in terms of customers and staff. There are 12 people in the team with a combined experience of more than 100 years in optics. With an average service of seven years across the team, the company uses a wide variety of experience to help move the business forwards – and the business of its customers. “Bondeye is a people business,” confirms Dave, “and having a committed team ensures our customers get the best experience possible, permanently.” In terms of giving something back, Bondeye has long supported charity events providing free products to Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP). The company recently created its own charity fund, Within a Heartbeat, to support three different charities each year. This year’s chosen charities are VCHP, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Cancer Research UK. The target is to raise £3,000 by the end of the year, with donations welcomed via

PUTTING CUSTOMERS FIRST Bondeye’s first customer came knocking in March 2002 when an order was placed by AJ Tyler Opticians in Acocks Green, Birmingham. The company now supports more than 4,000 customers with the products and services they need – and feedback continues to be positive. Dhiren from Butterfield Opticians says: “I have been using Bondeye for a number of years and I have always received the utmost in service and quality of products; it’s like working with family and friends. It is brilliant to see Bondeye grow to what it has become without losing the one-to-one and personal care.” It’s a sentiment shared by dispensing optician, Clare Warrior, who says: “I‘ve been using Bondeye for numerous years after discovering them during a visit to Optrafair. What first strikes you is their customer service: everyone is really friendly and informative. Their product portfolio has grown considerably over the years, whilst still maintaining very competitive pricing. Although there are several other companies that retail similar products, the pricing, but more importantly, the customer service

levels that Bondeye maintain are outstanding. It’s not really about dealing with a company but more about dealing with a great team of people.” Bondeye has been a National Eyecare Group (NEG) Preferred Supplier since 2013. NEG business development manager, Sandi Charlesworth, says: “I recommend Bondeye to lots of our members as a great one-stop-shop. I spend my working life visiting independent practices and I am always impressed by the positive feedback I get about Bondeye. The main areas I hear compliments about are the helpfulness of the staff, the wide range of products, the speed of delivery and the good pricing they get through NEG.

Investment in Macushield has led to stronger sales

“One area that Bondeye has particularly expanded into is eye health and supplements,” continues Sandi, “and they now even offer home shipping and payment collection on Macushield, which means that practices can offer this service to their patients with minimal effort. As more and more patients look for easier ways to shop for their regular requirements, this is an area which I think will be much appreciated.” Fresh back from their seventh consecutive Optrafair last month, Bondeye was keen to support the show in its 40th anniversary year. “Practitioners are finding themselves busier and busier nowadays, with the day-to-day running of their practices, so taking the time out to meet suppliers at exhibitions and conferences is always mutually beneficial.” In summing up, Dave says: “Our six key focus areas have always been – and will continue to be – price, service, experience, product selection, convenience and delivery. Building the business has thrown up some interesting challenges over the past 15 years, but without doubt we will have some rewarding times ahead of us. We hope to continue working closely with NEG members to support them in everyday practice, by providing the best possible products to meet their patients’ needs.” Vision Now MAY 2018



Innovation showcase Essilor’s first-ever Innovation Conference was held at the Vox in Birmingham on Friday 13 April – a date unlucky for some but not for others, reports Nicky Collinson The full day programme provided a feast of innovations to digest – from the launch of Crizal Sapphire UV to a first glimpse of Essilor Instruments’ “revolution in refraction”, namely the Vision-R 800 digital phoropter. There was big news from Transitions too, with the launch of a new brand identity, large-scale consumer campaign and the unveiling of pop icon Paloma Faith as its new brand ambassador. The team from Essilor Bespoke was also there to present the latest tools to support practitioners in offering a fully personalised lens service.

the back surface minimises visible light reflections at 360° and preserves a high level of UV protection.


Randeep Gill introduces the conference

BREAKTHROUGH IN AR TECHNOLOGY Available from 29 May, Crizal Sapphire UV is said to break the traditional compromise between anti-reflective (AR) performance and UV protection, whilst also offering ESPF 35 protection. In wearer trials conducted in the USA, 91 per cent of wearers preferred the lens to their previous eyewear and 70 per cent judged it more efficient on reflections than even Crizal Forte UV. Aesthetic benefits come from a more transparent lens, which allows the eyes to be more visible at all angles, ideal for the selfie generation.

Crizal Sapphire UV is the result of patented breakthroughs


Vision Now MAY 2018

“We are proud that 25 years dedicated to Crizal innovation has led to this point – an AR lens with the purest vision, best clarity, comfort and aesthetic appeal,” said Essilor commercial director, Randeep Gill. “We are proud of the team who have created it, who are driven by our mission of improving lives by improving sight by supporting wellbeing and quality of life. More than 80 per cent of spectacle wearers experience reflections and 50 per cent are bothered by them. Reflections come from many new sources – more office lighting, light pollution in cities and the emergence of outdoor digital screens. Wearers have to adjust their head and/or posture or remove their eyewear to cope with modern glare.” Crizal Sapphire UV is the result of patented breakthroughs including a dual HMAR architecture in which both lens surfaces interact to tackle reflections that can come from the front, the side and back of each surface. Essilor has created new ways of designing an AR coating to out-perform the ISO standard, which was designed to work around only one frontal range of between -15° and +15°. It has created the first anti-glare coating designed to cut reflections whatever the light incident angle, off both the front and back surfaces. Compared to Crizal Forte UV, the new lens offers up to 25 per cent less reflection, across the angle between -45° and +45°, front and back. An optimised stack on both surfaces of the lens allows it to provide a new form of 360° multi-angular technology, while an innovative nano layer structure on

Unveiling the new Vision-R 800 digital phoropter was Paul Cumber, head of Essilor Instruments in the UK and Ireland, who described the launch as marking a new era in refraction. The Vision-R 800, on loan from Paris just for the day, offers continuous power changes making refraction more precise, easier to perform and more comfortable for the patient, Paul explained. It features an exclusive optical module that controls powers at 0.01D and delivers continuous and instantaneous changes of sphere, cylinder and axis, all at the same time. Describing the accuracy as “unparalleled”, Paul said the phoropter was the first of a new generation of refraction units that would change the way practitioners tested eyes. Paul also introduced delegates to the OrCam MyEye2.0, still available for patients to purchase direct online – but now more widely available to patients who are blind, visually impaired, who have aphasia or reading difficulties via their eyecare practitioner. The device instantly reads text aloud from any surface, recognises faces, products and money notes thanks to its artificial vision incorporated in a smart camera that sits on the side of the frames. It doesn’t require an internet connection to work and is suitable for users of all ages and levels of visual impairment. Discussing the latest innovations from Transitions was Carly Rocyn-Jones, category consultant, who explained how the company was now more specifically targeting the younger generation of lens wearers with consumer campaigns and new branding. With its new logo, tagline, imagery and videos, the aim is to create desire for Transitions’ products in a simple, modern and innovative way – and to communicate a young lifestyle and fun attitude. The new message and imagery is designed to reach a broader range of glasses wearers and to help practitioners more easily raise the topic in conversation with patients.


New Transitions ambassador, Paloma Faith

For the new consumer campaign, a video has been produced for practitioners to display in their practices or on their websites. The video illustrates how photochromic molecules react to light on the surface of the lenses, to make glasses ‘intelligent’. Carly also announced during her presentation that Transitions’ new brand ambassador was Paloma Faith. The Brit award-winning musician was chosen for her quirky and eclectic style to represent the brand’s new image and Style Colours collection in the UK.

LET THERE BE LIGHT The day included a look back at the history of Crizal AR coating technology, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary, to the latest generation of products providing patients with the best visual experience. Aude Bouillet, Essilor product and services project manager, talked about the aforementioned study carried out with wearers, which

The Essilor team celebrates 25 years of Crizal innovation

showed that more than 80 per cent of spectacle wearers experienced reflections and 50 per cent were bothered by them. The implication was that wearers had to adjust their head and/or posture or remove their eyewear to cope with modern glare. Responding to wearer needs in this respect was the driver for the launch of the latest Crizal innovation, Sapphire UV. Andy Hepworth, Essilor head of professional relations, described the R&D behind the lens, which included the development of a new Alpha Criterion and a rethinking of the calculation of AR coating on both sides of the lenses. The new lens subtly moves from a green hue to a blue hue providing improved cosmesis and reducing distracting reflections. Also on the ‘light’ agenda for the day was blue light, with a panel of speakers invited to field questions from the floor. Optometrists Lynne Fernandes, Mike Killpartrick and Kevel Sejpar, responded to questions such as: ‘Can blue lenses protect patients from ocular disease?’ and ‘What about the link between outdoor time and myopia progression?’ The consensus was that there remained a lack of clinical evidence on the subject. Lynne encouraged practitioners to look at the evidence themselves, share this with patients and allow them to make an informed decision. Mike urged delegates to choose their words carefully when discussing the topic with patients.


Aude Bouillet showcases the latest Crizal innovation

In her presentation on ‘Future practice, digitisation and bespoke’, Lyndsay Dickens, head of Essilor bespoke and sell-out training, discussed the need for practitioners to embrace technology in order to succeed in our digital age. Citing the Foresight Project Report, Lyndsay suggested that Essilor’s bespoke strategy could help independent practices futureproof their business by bringing digital

technology to the practice – in training, products, marketing and advertising. “Looking at the retail landscape,” said Lyndsay, “there’s been an estimated 10 per cent decline in High Street sales since 2000. The main reason people buy online is convenience, so offering bespoke products can become a real growth area for the practice. Essilor products such as Eyecode and Varilux S 4D can really set you apart from the competition.” Lyndsay went on to showcase the latest imagery and marketing collateral for Essilor Bespoke, with their more emotive and less technical feel. Looking at the future of the Crizal range, Jonathan Cohen, Essilor head of marketing, talked about the simplification of the offer. “We were told we had too many products – we have got the message,” he said. In the next few months, the company will be reducing the range, removing Crizal Alize from the line-up, replacing Crizal Forte UV with Crizal Sapphire UV, and repositioning Crizal Provencia. “We are aiming to offer three key Crizal solutions at two price points bringing a new simplicity to the range. We want to make it easier for practitioners to dispense the best solution for their patients,” Jonathan added. Rounding off the day, Randeep Gill told delegates that the company was “wholly focused on ensuring independents thrive on the High Street”. Delegates were then invited to attend an Innovation Showcase to see the products discussed during the conference in action, as well as the latest solutions from partners such as Performance Finance, Shopper Anonymous, and other Essilor products including Bolon Eyewear, RoadPilot, the Varilux X series and Sunwear by Essilor. The event was rounded off with a black-tie dinner in the evening, and a celebratory cake to mark the 25th anniversary of Crizal. Vision Now MAY 2018



A fine balancing act Optrafair 2018 provided a balance of education, technology and fashion this year, ensuring a successful outing for both exhibitors and visitors, reports Nicky Collinson Amidst a challenging business climate, Optrafair did what it does best and put on a show by the industry, for the industry. Despite its reduced floor size, and some notable absences, the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO) reported a “spectacular 40th anniversary event” with more than 7,000 visitors across the threeday show in April. There were around 150 stands to visit, showcasing the latest technologies and trends in frames, instruments, lenses and more – with many of NEG’s network of Preferred Suppliers remaining on board. Education was a key draw for visitors once again, and this year’s programme provided 300+ CET points with further opportunities to gain CET on companies’ stands, including Heidelberg Engineering and BIB Ophthalmic Instruments. There were new features to enjoy, based on feedback from last year’s show, which included a Contact Lens Hub laid on by the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) to accommodate the ever-growing interest in contact lens content and products. BCLA staff and members were on hand to field questions about contact lenses and dry eye management, and hosted a series of CET-accredited peer review sessions.

Basebox by Eyespace hits the catwalk


Vision Now MAY 2018

Over 7,000 visitors attended Optrafair 2018

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians returned with its ever-popular CET Theatre, which one again operated on a first-come first served basis. Some 1,750 CET points were provided covering a variety of topics from sight loss causes, symptoms and solutions to PPL problem-solving and OCT. Discussion workshops also looked at blue light versus UV light, legal issues surrounding duty of candour and consent in routine practice, and general data protection requirements.

ENGAGING WITH THE PROFESSION Also new for 2018 was the Spectrum Catwalk, showcasing the latest eyewear styles from Bondeye, Eyespace, International Eyewear and Wolf Eyewear in a lively and professionally-choreographed show. Nicky Clement, marketing manager for Eyespace, commented: “The catwalk was a fantastic addition to this year’s show; dynamic, fun and an amazing visual platform for us to showcase our latest designs. The frames and our Video Lookbooks looked absolutely incredible projected onto the super-size screen.” 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of Optrafair, launched in 1978, and the NEC presented a cake to mark the occasion to FMO members who had supported the show for many years. FMO chief executive, Bryony Pawinska, commented: “FMO and our exhibition partners Mark Allen Exhibitions have invested heavily in developing a modern trade show that meets the needs of all exhibitors so that visitors can come to one place to see everything that is new in

optical and ophthalmological technology as well as the latest lenses and frames. If you provide a show where visitors are engaged with the products, not just the CET, and where exhibitors are selling to buyers, then you have it all.” Peter Beaumont of Dunelm said after the show: “There were many highlights from this year’s exhibition. The real delight of this fair, however, is the consolidating of relationships within the optical industry, engaging with existing customers and developing relationships with new customers and businesses alike. We are already looking forward to how Dunelm can build on this year’s success and continue to provide the high-quality services and products our clients expect.” FMO chair, Andy Yorke, said he was “absolutely delighted with the vibrancy and atmosphere at Optrafair 2018”. “Over the three days, we spoke with many customers new and old, and we were extremely satisfied with the outcome of the show,” said Andy. “I’m looking forward to the next

Education was a key focus once again

training staff to get the maximum benefit for the practice, and representatives from Complete Community Opticians explained how independents can build it into part of their business with their support.

Celebrating 40 years of Optrafair

12 months as I truly believe there is a high degree of positivity throughout the whole optical industry.” Ed Tranter, managing director of MA Exhibitions, added: “We’ve been delighted with the response to the event. It’s been another big step forward following on from the success of last year. Developments for 2019 are already well underway, as we look to build on this momentum. Optrafair is already the biggest education exhibition in the UK, so I was particularly pleased with the advances on the fashion side of the show.”

HUB OF INDEPENDENCE Of particular note for NEG members this year was the additional support provided by the exclusive Independents’ Lounge sponsored by NEG, SPECS network, VSP Vision Care and Lloyds Bank. In addition to a complimentary drink and exhibition voucher book, the space provided visitors with one-to-one access to a host of business experts to discuss everything from marketing and finance to recruitment and domiciliary optical services. Richard Hollings from Seiko Optical discussed how SPECS network was promoting independent practices to the public, helping practices to grow their business. VSP Vision Care talked about how joining their network of opticians can help promote the practice by working with businesses who are increasingly looking to improve their employee packages by adding an eyecare option. Liam Franklin from Orta spent the weekend discussing how to go about recruiting, retaining and

The inaugural Independents’ Lounge proved popular

In terms of technology, visitors were keen to try out in-practice solutions such as FittingBox’s virtual try-on technology for eyewear dispensing, and Digitact’s smart barcode technology eGrab, which uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to help make patient frame selection more interactive. FittingBox is not only a novel way for patients to try on frames, but enables practices to have an almost unlimited range of frames to show. The eGrab team demonstrated that when a lens meter is added to the system, practitioners can show the differences between various progressive lenses – with the ultimate aim of finding the best solution for patients and increasing the dispensing value. The team from GiveVision, the London and Birmingham-based start-up developing hightech low vision aids to enhance people’s remaining sight, attended especially to give independents the chance to see first-hand its SightPlus head-mounted solution for patients with a visual impairment. The system can be used to magnify close-up or far-away objects, change the contrast or apply custom filters to anything the wearer is looking at. It is hands-free, portable and easy-to-use for a large variety of tasks, as visitors were able to discover.

NETWORK OF SUPPORT The Lounge also saw the official launch of the Association for Independent Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians (AIO) Practice Support Network (see page 15). Bringing together NEG, Eyeplan, SPECS network and Myers La Roche, the aim of the Practice Support Network is to give aspiring independent practice owners the know-how to realise their ambitions. “The network provides an end-to-end service for those wanting to get into independent practice, by bringing together a number of suppliers and supporters,” explained AIO’s Mike Ockenden. Those who sign up to the network, which is free with AIO membership, will receive a range of services including: the chance to sign up to AIO’s Eye Promise quality mark; mentoring services through an online forum; AIO practice insurance policies including professional indemnity; AIO income protection insurance and other support services. Mike added: “Starting your own practice is a daunting task and many

AIO launches its Practice Support Network

students leave university and join a multiple with the hope of one day having their own practice. We want to help newlyqualified practitioners become independent sooner, with our support.” Summing up the success of the inaugural Independents’ Lounge, Phil Mullins, NEG director of business development, said: “We were really pleased to introduce this exciting new feature at this year’s Optrafair. Over the three days we provided a range of expert advice to our members and other independents. We hope that NEG and our partner companies provided all Lounge visitors with several ‘take-home’ messages and skills to help them increase their dispensing value and profitability once back in the practice.” There was success for NEG member practices at the Optician Awards too, held on the Saturday evening of Optrafair, and hosted by comedian and actor Mark Watson. Amongst the winners were: Central Vision Opticians (Children’s Contact Lens Practice of the Year, sponsored by CooperVision); Vision Optique London (Independent Practice of the Year, sponsored by Hoya); Mellis Eyecare (Ehanced Optical Service Award); and Sue Edwards of Martin Smith Opticians (Dispensing Optician of the Year). “Huge congratulations to our winning members and finalists, and to CooperVision for winning Contact Lens Product of the Year for its MiSight contact lens,” said Phil. Optrafair 2019 will take place from 30 March to 1 April.

Independent Practice of the Year winners, Vision Optique London Vision Now MAY 2018


Providing support to Eyecare Professionals Find out how we can help. Suki Dehal QFP Franchise Development Manager 07780 338656

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RED An influencer in High Street retail design, we hear how RED is helping independents join in the retail revolution

Retail designer and owner of RED (Retail Experience Design), Dean Waugh, has been delivering successful store environments and branding solutions for more than 20 years. During his career, Dean has enjoyed working across a diverse range of clients and projects – from global brands to boutique and independent stores. He’s even bagged a few awards along the way. Now, Dean channels his passion for leading edge creative and considered design through his agency RED – an industry-leading design agency that specialises in providing engaging health, wellbeing and retail environments. The optical market is a core industry for RED, and this is why...

OPTICAL RETAIL REVOLUTION “Over recent decades, the optical industry has seen a retail revolution,” explains Dean. “Industry experts and retailers alike all agree that change first began back in the 1980s – with the move from dispensing in a medical environment to selling in a retail environment. The sale of frames soon followed, and brought a need for product focal points. Following this, designer brands also realised the opportunity and potential, so this created a need to differentiate and promote various products. Yet, the most recent impact and arguably the biggest driver for change is the consumer.”

Dramatic colour pops give the ‘wow’ factor at Sinead McGurk Opticians

Dean explains more: “Nowadays there is an expectation for a considered, enhanced and positive experience that focuses on putting the patient/ customer first at each stage of the eyecare journey. The revolution over recent years has opened a whole new world for the optical market – a world driven by environment creativity, design, brand and most importantly the customer/ patient. For RED, this new world has brought the opportunity for creativity – it’s been and still is, an exciting journey to be part of and influence.”


Simply stunning interiors at Aston & Woods

Without a doubt, effective retail design can have a tangible and far-reaching impact, as Dean says: “Effective retail design can increase footfall and sales, provide differentiation from competitors and ensure customers/patients are provided with an experience aligned to your business or company ethos. The impact of technology and digital influence continues to change retail and consumer behaviour, so the need for practices to offer a richer experience for consumers is more important than ever before. This applies to both the mainstream and optical retail market. “Customers look for retail environments to offer a bespoke and personal feel, so your brand and identity is crucial,” Dean continues. “It will allow you to connect with potential and existing customers and provide the patient experience they’re looking for. Considerations should focus on touch points in the retail space, such as shopfront signage, window displays, fixtures and fittings and general flow. All of these spaces will need to work together to create a successful retail journey.”


Scandi chic styling at Eyeworks Opticians

RED prides itself on being a down to earth, plain talking agency that simply knows its stuff. The team members’ knowledge and experience across the design spectrum enables them to take a fresh and considered approach to all of their optical projects. RED bring expertise and design techniques from the mainstream retail design world to deliver inviting and successful optical environments. “The philosophy of the agency and our core belief is that listening to our optical clients is the key to creative thinking and imaginative design,” says Dean. “This results in exciting and dynamic environments that enable our customers to connect with their patients and build relationships, ultimately increasing sales and loyalty.”

Yellow accents provide Glimpse with a bold brand identity

RED is extremely proud to have delivered various optical projects for a number of NEG members, most recently Aston & Woods Eyecare of Fitzrovia, London. If you would like to find out more about their design work in the optical profession, visit Vision Now MAY 2018



Eyewear designers: visionary innovators By Joan Grady Jérémy Tarian at L’atelier Tarian Paris

clays, which is a traditional technique to create hand-made marbled crockery.

Fashion creators have long been recognised for specific, individual designs that solidify their reputation with wearers, and the world at large. In the 18th century, Rose Bertin was celebrated for dresses and hats that she designed for Marie-Antoinette. Nowadays, many fashion designers are household names. In recent years, the same recognition has been afforded to eyewear designers: they are frequently known by name and for their particular style. People with creative imagination always love a challenge, and welcome the opportunity to try something new. In this feature, we profile three European eyewear designers from three different countries. Each is appreciated and acknowledged for their eyewear expertise, and they have now branched out into other metiers. Jérémy Tarian at Tarian Eyewear in Paris, Swedish designer Anna-Karin Karlsson, and Italian creator Luca Gnecchi Ruscone, have all launched items that embrace individuality and conviction.


Tarian bowls: “The pieces are to enjoy daily,” says the designer

I made several masks, which opticians really liked, and then I decided to create other pottery pieces as well.” Jérémy’s charming eyewear atelier in the Marais sector of Paris happens to be located next to a pottery studio – a true case of serendipity. His designs are influenced by the rare and precious 18th century mixed

Jérémy Tarian’s interest in pottery began at a young age. As a Parisian schoolboy, his mother enrolled Jérémy in a pottery class when he was 10 years old. As he grew up, the interest remained but his professional life revolved around eyewear. Jèrèmy’s bold, expressive frames have won two prestigious Silmo d’Or awards, and he gives workshops at the famed design school, Head, in Geneva, Switzerland. Jérémy’s interest in pottery was rekindled when opticians requested a display to present the Tarian eyewear designs. “It occurred to me,” recalled Jèrèmy at his exhibition at L’Êtable Saint Germain in Paris, “that I could make a ceramic mask to display the frames.


Vision Now MAY 2018

Making unique pottery pieces in the traditional manner requires experience, skill, creativity and patience. “One of the vases that I make takes a long time, as each layer of the clay must dry for at least a week,” says the designer. Each piece is totally Bold and distinctive platters unique and by L’atelier Tarian Paris signed. The colour variations are lovely: refreshing contrasting colours of ochre, golden brown, almond green, khaki and a touch of blue. Included in the collection are gorgeous vases, intriguing bowls and plates. “I don’t view the collection as ‘art’,” says Jèrèmy, “as the pieces are meant to be used and enjoyed in daily life.”

ANNA-KARIN KARLSSON With her bold, luxurious and dramatic frames, Anna-Karin Karlsson has tread where many eyewear designers dare not. For her new jewellery collection, the award-winning Swedish designer embraces imaginative concepts for pieces that are distinctive and cohesive with what is important to her. “I need to tell a story,” says Anna-Karin, “and I strive to find beauty. In eyewear, I like designs that are graphic and strong, and the same applies to the jewellery.” Traditional techniques highlight Jérémy Tarian’s elegant vases

Anna-Karin has indoctrinated this philosophy in the designs that blend art and jewellery,


Anna-Karin Karlsson

Luca Gnecchi Ruscone

and enhance the wearer with choice and confidence. Many facets of life inspire the designer, including elegant gardens, and roses are one of her favourite flowers. Certain designs are fashioned in resin, an organic substance that can be crafted into stylish statements, including the Rose Necklace and earrings, with 24k gold-plated metal. Exotic creatures frequently inhabit gardens, and Anna-Karin has chosen the Magpie for a necklace that unites art and nature. Magpies are noted to be highly intelligent, curious and dominant. Anna-Karin’s magpie is a charming, fantasy spirit in metal plated with 24k gold and accented with Swarovski crystals. From Empress Eugènie to Coco Chanel, multiple chains have been a favourite for fashionistas. Anna-Karin’s contemporary take is metal 24k gold-plated chains in various sizes that add flair and zest to wardrobes. She enthuses: “I want to create an accessory brand for folks like me who believe that life has to be bigger and deeper than what’s on offer – there is so much half-hearted stuff out there. I want

Rose Necklace and earrings by Anna-Karin Karlsson

the designs to live for a long time, not be disposable, and to make dreams come true.”

LUCA GNECCHI RUSCONE Africa and Italy are the core inspirations for the LGR eyewear brand that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Luca Gnecchi Ruscone adores both countries, and this influence extends to his latest designs – sleek weekender bags and candles. The legendary Muthaiga Country Club in Nairobi, Kenya, inspires the chic leather and canvas bags. Travel cases in Africa demand innovation in bag design, in order to bear the extreme heat, humidity and sand storms of an African Safari. The LGR Weekender meets all these needs in a handsome, durable design in weaved cotton canvas, with thick, water-resistant calf leather, that protects the contents of the bag. Fine craftsmanship in his eyewear and all that he does is essential to Luca, so he searched intensely to find artisans in Italy who could make the Weekender designs to his exacting standards, and every bag is handmade.

The Magpie: uniting art and nature by AKK

Glamorous gold-plated chains by Anna-Karin Karlsson

Stylish getaway: the LGR Weekender

Africa is also the catalyst for the candles. The rugged mountains, locomotives, travelling camels and merchants in Keren, Eritrea inspire the latest LGR candle – Keren – with its woody, earthy aroma. The merchandise mounted on both the camels and the Mallet locomotive share the same destination – the town market. Luca is fascinated by the trek, which has been on going in the region since ancient times. The strong juxtaposition between centuries-old and modern trade was the stimulus for the creation of Keren. Marketing products alongside frames by eyewear designers offers independent opticians lucrative possibilities. Optical practices are increasingly evolving into smart boutiques that offer premium services for eye health care and frames. Presenting beautiful items by noted eyewear designers brings another level of individuality, uniqueness and magic to the business.

African origins: Keren by LGR Vision Now MAY 2018




Preferred Suppliers’ Directory

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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that they can trust their optician to recommend the best contact lenses for them, regardless of cost. Designed for quality minded patients, DAILIES TOTAL1 is so comfortable that 1 in 3 of eye care professionals who prescribe DAILIES TOTAL1 also choose to wear this lens. For more information:

Tel: 03713 760 017

A refreshing perspective To help you enhance your contact lens practice, CooperVision offers an extensive product range designed to meet the needs of even more of your patients.

For more information 0870 9000 055*

*Calls cost 2p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.


Vision Now MAY 2018


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VV The Norville Group Limited, Magdala Road, Gloucester GL1 4DG

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Vision Now MAY 2018


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Vision Now may 18  
Vision Now may 18