E-Commerce is Growing

E-commerce is growing and consumer behaviour is changing – globally. This makes a sensitive item such as glasses, a worthy topic to discuss in relation to e-commerce.

In America – over the last five years, there was industry growth of almost 4.5% in the online eyeglasses and contact lens sales segment. This has resulted in a revenue of more than $1 billion in 2019. At the same time, online businesses have grown by more than 4.5%. The number of people who are employed has grown by 6.5%.

There are currently more than 1500 businesses providing eyeglasses online. onlinepic1

Good News –

Online sales of prescription glasses in Australia is small. According to statistics, approximately 4 to 8% of all prescription glasses are obtained online.

A large study found about half the online glasses had the wrong prescription or other problems. The consumer watchdog in the UK said 27% of glasses ordered from nine online stores failed quality tests.

Bad News –

Increasing numbers of people are now becoming aware of online savings.

However –

The industry still has time to combat this trend – it still will happen to some degree, but we need to minimise it.

What can your business do NOW to minimise online optical purchases?

Have a strong online presence

  • People will search online first, so ensure your web site, social media, Google AdWords, SEO are regularly updated.
  • Ensure Social Media and Web Site are cohesive.
  • Advertise on Social Media in your catchment area regularly.
  • Have your own online shop – if you can’t sell online you need the strong online presence to entice them to your store
  • Or can you align yourself with an online store? Team up and work with your suppliers?

Steve-Martin-QuoteBe Competitive

  • People can and will search online, even while in your store, for cheaper prices elsewhere – ensure your frame prices are competitive, can you price match?
  • If your prices are not competitive, your staff need to be able to point out the differences and reasons quickly. ie multifocal lenses, build, coatings and scratch resistance, fake frames online…
  • Offer payment plans
  • What is your turn around time? Can you beat an online store?
  • Offer services online stores can’t match – ie style advice, in-store technology, eye testing
  • Can you give them their prescription if they ask but not the pupillary distance
  • Offer breakage repair service or guarantees

optical2Customer Service

  • Ensure your staff are well trained and friendly – customer service is the key
  • Hard sell doesn’t work, but the art of selling does – your staff need to know and be versed in the differences
  • By shopping online customers don’t get to try the glasses on or have someone help them in person – style advice, budget advice, pricing options additional services UV, scratch resistance, polarised etc.
  • After-sales service – an online shop doesn’t do that
  • Remind customers that as Optometrists you are trained, medical professionals
  • Regular eye checks are important and you don’t know if your eyes are changing unless you visit your Optometrist – like your Doctor

Australia wins bid for World Congress of Optometry in 2021

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The World Council of Optometry (WCO) is set to announce that the 4th World Council Congress of Optometry will be held in Melbourne, Australia in 2021.

The winning competitive global tender was put together by Optometry Victoria South Australia (OV/SA) and the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association of Australia (ODMA).

The WCO will run alongside the highly successful Australian clinical conference and trade show O=MEGA21 from 2 to 4 September 2021 in Melbourne, Australia.

Scott Mundle, the outgoing President of the World Council of Optometry, will confirm the partnership at a ceremony at the 3rd WCO in Orlando, Florida, on 26 October.

‘I’m delighted that the WCO is heading Down Under,’ said Mr Mundle. ‘We had a very strong international field of contenders wanting to host the 4th WCO, and the Melbourne bid was quite outstanding. I have no doubt that the Australians have the experience, infrastructure and professionalism to deliver an outstanding event.’

OV/SA President Elise Pocknee-Clem said: ‘It’s an honour to have been chosen to host the 4th WCO. Early September is a great time to visit, get high-quality continuing education, and see how optometry is practiced in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. It will be a tremendous opportunity for our members to come together, share ideas, and make international connections.

‘Melbourne is a wonderful place to bring family and friends. We encourage you to discover the hidden gems of the city, and to spend some time travelling in Australia – one of the most beautiful, safest, and friendliest countries on Earth.’

The Chairman of ODMA, Robert Sparkes, said: ‘O=MEGA21 is the largest and most credentialed clinical conference and trade show in the Southern Hemisphere for optometry and the ophthalmic optics community.

‘It has always been our plan to expand the reach of our new O=MEGA offering, and make it a truly regional event. We are excited about collaborating with the World Council of Optometry and hosting the WCO during O=MEGA’s second stellar conference.’

OV/SA is part of the professional association for optometrists in Australia. It is committed to delivering quality, practical, cutting-edge education for optometrists. ODMA is the leading industry body, and operates the largest eyecare and eyewear show in Australia.

In July 2019 OV/SA and ODMA joined forces to welcome more than 3500 visitors to its first-ever combined event, O=MEGA19.

The World Council of Optometry facilitates the development of optometry around the world and supports optometrists to promote eye health and vision care as a human right, through advocacy, education, policy development and humanitarian outreach.

O=MEGA21 / 4th World Congress of Optometry is presented by ODMA and Optometry Victoria South Australia from 2 to 4 September 2021 at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.


Media enquiries:

Pete Haydon, CEO – OV/SA +61 (0) 428 650 254

Finola Carey, CEO – ODMA +61 (0) 416 007 919

Susan Cooper, Interim Managing Director – WCO +1 314 983 4106


10 signs your child might need glasses

Be aware of possible signs of a vision problem to give your child the best chance of reaching their full potential. 61836845_875783309447396_6647993875329712128_n

Look out for:
1. Lots of squinting or trouble recognising people or things in the distance
2. Frequent blinking or eye rubbing.
3. Using a finger to guide the eyes while reading.
4. Slipping grades.
5. Head tilting.
6. Eyes don’t line up or one or both eyes wander.
7. Complaints of headaches.
8. Sensitivity to light.
9. Closing one eye to read or watch TV.
10. Avoiding using a computer because it hurts their eyes.

Visit your local independent Optometrist for a full evaluation

O=MEGA19 Post Show Report

fb omega - CopyThe Australian optical industry’s largest education, eyecare and eyewear event was well represented across all key segments. The trade show hosted a total of 130 exhibitors offering a range of products and services.
Popular features on the show floor were the Awards of Excellence presentation shortlisting the very best in fashion, innovation and technology, Live Window Dressing & Window Dressing Competition and the Bausch & Lomb Knowledge Centre.
New benchmarks were set by many exhibitors with regards to stand design and the event has a very optimistic future

We have compiled a post-show report with all the stats and facts just click  – omega19 post show report to read it

Are you worried you are being upsold with all of the upgrades when choosing glasses?

When you are choosing glasses, specific lenses and coatings are a must but are not mandatory as it can depend on your lifestyle, how you use and wear your glasses. When your Optometrist offers them to you, you can rest assured this is not a scam as these coatings make a significant difference in the physics of light and how light actually interacts with your glasses and your eyes. OrganizationalHealth-TonyRichards-DecisionMaking

These upgrades can make a real difference for your vision, whether it’s transition lenses, anti-glare coatings, or another high-tech feature.

We have compiled an easy to understand explanation about each type of option so you can decide before you buy it these are of value to you.

High Index lenses

If you have a strong prescription and therefore need thick glasses, high index glasses are thinner and more comfortable. Think about the old fashioned “coke bottle” glasses, these are now a thing of the past with thinner lenses that feel comfortable, don’t weigh down your on face or limit your frame choices.


No matter how well you look after your glasses, scratches are typical, so for the longevity of your glasses anti-scratch is a must,

UV Eye Protection

The risk of eye damage from the sun increases as we get older, so it is crucial that we limit the amount of sun into our eyes as possible. Most UV coated lenses offered by your Optometrist can block up to 99% of harmful UV rays. However, if you wear prescription glasses, be sure to ask your optometrist about the level of UV protection they provide.

The Cancer Council states:

  • “The Australian/New Zealand Standard for sunglasses and fashion spectacles does not cover either tinted or clear prescription glasses. However, some tinted or clear prescription lenses may provide protection from UV radiation. Certain lens materials and coatings provide UV protection. Lenses that darken when exposed to sunlight provide additional comfort by reducing glare but do not necessarily filter out more UV radiation. Prescription glasses used for sun protection should be close-fitting and wraparound to provide maximum protection.”


Today’s advanced anti-reflective coatings can virtually eliminate the reflection of light from eyeglass lenses, allowing 99.5 per cent of available light to pass through the lenses and enter the eye for good vision.  

Anti-Reflective coating allows your eyes to be more visible to others, and it also helps reduce reflections at night time with lights from cars, street lights etc. Reflections become very annoying, so this is a must-have, primarily if you work on computers. Anti-reflective glasses also are more attractive, so you can look your best in all lighting conditions.

 Transition Lenses

If you don’t like carrying around multiple pairs of prescription glasses, i.e. one pair of sunnies, one pair of standard spectacles. Transition glasses may be an option for you. Transition lenses are an all-in-one option that eliminates the need for separate glasses and sunglasses, and they provide 100% UV protection. More modern transition lenses also include blue light protection.

 Multi-Focal lenses

As our eyes age, there is a greater need for multifocal glasses. Multi-focal (also called progressive) lenses correct both short and long-sighted vision, usually in the 40+ age group. You don’t necessarily need multifocal lenses, but you could end up with reading glasses, vision glasses and sunglasses, so multifocal glasses limits the load.

The key is to talk with an optometrist about your lifestyle so that you receive the right glasses for you. While add ons aren’t always a necessity, often they will give you more longevity out of your glasses and lenses, plus take better care of your eyes.





Myopia is on the Rise

It is estimated that by 2050, 50% of the population will be short-sighted, which will create a potentially major public health crisis. Myopic patients in the long term are more susceptible to cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment*.

The aim is to raise awareness about the impact myopia is likely to have on the lives of our children, highlight the critical role optometrists play in treating myopia and help keep practitioners and staff informed about emerging trends in myopia control and management.


The goals are to delay the onset and manage the progression of myopia, giving better visual outcomes for the child in the long term and reduce further deterioration of vision.

Currently, there is no cure for near-sightedness. However, there are proven methods which can be prescribed by an Optometrist to slow the progression of myopia. These treatments can induce changes in the focusing of the eye to reduce the development and progression of near-sightedness.

Myopia control methods can include:

– Multifocal contact lenses

 – Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”)

 – Low dose atropine eye drops

– Executive bifocal eyeglasses

Michael Morton from the Brien Holden Vision Institute is presenting information at O=MEGA19 on why it is important to introduce myopia management into Optical practices. He will discuss key points that optometrists and practice staff need to consider to ensure success in myopia management from both a clinical and a business perspective.

Why is myopia on the rise?

The two main factors are:

Genetics – If there are two myopic parents, there is a 75% chance the child will have the same condition. One myopic parent 40%, and no myopic parent about a 25% chance, so it is strongly related to genes.*

Outdoor activity vs inside near activity – Children who spend a lot of time focusing on near objects, for example, reading or watching a computer screen, may have a greater chance of becoming short-sighted. Also, the lack of time outdoors in natural light may increase the chances of developing myopia.

The Brien Holden Vision Institute runs courses on these topics, click here for details

 Michael Morton profile photo   

About Michael Morton

Michael Morton is the Online Education Coordinator for the Brien Holden Vision Institute. He completed his Bachelor of Optometry at the University of Melbourne in 2003. He practiced as a clinical optometrist around Australia between 2004 and 2010. He joined the Institute as a full-time staff member in 2010, completing his Masters of Public Health the following year.

His work for the Brien Holden Vision Institute has included developing online training, short courses and interactive learning tools for optometrists, presenting train-the-trainer workshops, and creating support systems and curricula for service delivery. He is currently developing and delivering the Myopia Education Program courses and in the past has worked on eye care projects across Asia, the Pacific, Africa, South America and Australia.

*Source: Brien Holden Visual Institute


For further reading







If you build it, will they come?


The time is here – you have booked exhibition space at a trade show, maybe a booth, perhaps something more significant.

You’ve set it up, the products look good, there are banners, flyers, products, catalogues, you name it, it is there. You are pumped and ready to go!

Doors open, attendees are here – then what?

What planning have you done beside the booth design and allocating staff to be there?

How many exhibitions have you been to and staff are eating on their booth? or on the phone? Are the staff dressed like it is the weekend?

It is essential to set some ground rules on stand – no eating, no phone calls – take it elsewhere and dress professionally.  Name tags work well, so potential customers know who they are talking to, maybe even uniforms or a standardised dress code.

Have you posted anything on social media to say you are at the show? Take some photos of the setup and the end result of your booth.  Social Media followers love the journey and storytelling. Use social media to introduce your staff who are manning the booth, so when people arrive, they know who you are. Do amusing posts that are engaging and fun – people buy off people they like. Don’t forget hashtags too ours is #OMEGA19

What is the point of difference between your exhibition space and someone else’s? Is it just the same old same old, or is it new and innovative – what would you prefer to see if you were a customer?

Remember the radio station WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?.. you need to be tuned into that as an exhibitor, as all your customers are on that wavelength. So look at your booth and ask yourselves what is in it for our customers and why would they want to visit us? – it might even be a good idea to pre-prepare and ask your customers what they are expecting from the trade show exhibitors, so you can give them exactly what they are after.

Fun and humour is the key. Many exhibitors have much success with games, gimmicks or lollies on their booths as it draws people in. This is good too as long as it doesn’t detract from the main messages of your products. New technology, and virtual reality are aspects worth incorporating. Product designers, and international guests, are all good hooks to bring in the clients.

How often are your customers all in one place at the one time? Of course the problem is, they are also your competitor’s customers. The key to ensuring they visit you is to make appointments with them before the event which will ensure they visit your booth and meet with your staff.

Our show is O=MEGA19 at the MCEC from 19-21 July (trade only) but hope you can take something from this for yours.  #OMEGA19





Refusing to Wear Your Glasses? – In denial?

The old stigma around wearing glasses no longer exists and glasses and the variety of styles available are becoming more popular than ever. So – Why are glasses still not being worn by people who need them?. Whatever the reason is, not wearing glasses can result in serious short term and long term effects.

We all know glasses help to improve vision and if you don’t wear them, it may cause your vision to grow worse. Long term effects may include incomplete development of your eyes. Getting a very clear image to your retina helps your eyes to grow properly, so when eyesight isn’t very clear, it keeps your eyes from growing as they should be.  735fc967eb117c1264a988150418227d

For near-sighted individuals—those who struggle to see faraway objects but can focus well on objects that are up close—not wearing your glasses could lead to a lazy eye. Those who are farsighted and can see objects in the distance with clarity are putting a lot of strain on their eyes if they are struggling to see things that are closer.

Wearers of glasses who want to protect their current eyesight should be committing to using them as needed to prevent eye strain. Glasses with the correct prescription provide the most comfortable vision to reduce eye strain and over-focusing. Not wearing glasses can put eyes through unnecessary stress and lead to the development of headaches and eye fatigue. Although this does not damage your vision permanently, yet it can be extremely uncomfortable. Also spending several hours in front of the television, or working in poor light without wearing glasses can tire your eyes.

When you can’t see as well and you need to drive or get around, you are more likely to fall, cause car accidents or suffer other injuries. If your eyewear isn’t helping your vision or helping you stay alert and focused on driving, reading, etc., it’s time for a new prescription.

Having an eye check and ensuring you have the correct prescription is extremely important when it comes to optimising performance with modern day corrective lenses. Your Optometrist takes into account like the position of the eyes, the angle and position of the frame, and the distance between pupils. These make each pair of prescription glasses unique for each person.

It is extremely important to wear prescription glasses to keep your eyes strong, healthy and in a good working condition. If you have any queries ask your local independent Optometrist for more information.

Colour Vision Deteriorates with age

Have you had your eyes tested lately?


Cells in the retina that are responsible for normal colour vision decline in sensitivity as we age, causing colours to become less bright and the contrast between different colours to be less noticeable. You may not notice it as it has happened slowly over time but it might be worth getting your eyes checked. Particularly if you are over 70.

Abnormal colour vision increases significantly with aging – affecting one-half or more of people in the oldest age groups, reports a study in Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of  American Academy of Optometry. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

While few people younger than 70 have problems with colour vision, the rate increases rapidly through later decades of life, according to research by Marilyn E. Schneck, PhD, and colleagues of The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco. They write, “We find the colour discrimination declines with age and that the majority of colour defects among the older population are of the blue-yellow type.”

The researchers administered colour vision tests to a random sample of 865 older adults — age range 58 to 102 years. The study excluded subjects with any type of congenital colour-vision defect (“colour blindness.”). The types and rates of colour vision abnormalities were assessed in different age groups.

Overall, 40 percent of the participants had abnormal results on one of the two colour vision tests used in the study. Twenty percent failed both tests.

The failure rate was markedly higher in older age groups. Although colour-vision abnormalities were uncommon in people younger than 70, they were present in about 45 percent of people in their mid-70s, up to 50 percent of those 85 and older, and nearly two-thirds of those in their mid-90s.

Nearly 80 percent of the abnormalities involved confusion of the lighter (pastel) shades of blue versus purple and yellow versus green and yellow-green. These “blue-yellow” errors are distinct from the “red-green” errors observed in people with inherited colour blindness, which affects about eight percent of males and 0.5 percent of females. Although the two tests had different failure rates, they detected similar frequencies of blue-yellow errors.

More Severe Defects May Affect Daily Functioning

The results confirm previous studies showing that colour vision “deteriorates measurably” with aging. Most subtle aging-related colour vision abnormalities are likely to go unnoticed, the researchers suggest.

However, they note that nearly 20 percent of older adults failed the easier of the two tests, “designed to only detect defects sufficiently severe to affect performance in daily life.” Dr Schneck and co-authors note, “These individuals would have problems carrying out some tasks that rely on colour vision.”

The researchers discuss factors that may contribute to changes in colour vision with aging, and to blue-yellow defects in particular. These may include reduced pupil size, admitting less light into the eye; increased yellowing of the lens inside the eye; and changes in the sensitivity of the vision pathways. All of these are known changes with age to the human eye.

Increased rates of eye diseases are another potentially important contributor. Dr Schneck and co-authors add, “The most common age-related eye diseases (glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease) all produce blue-yellow colour vision anomalies, at least in the preclinical or early stages.”

While there is no treatment for this normal, age-related loss of colour perception, you should be aware of this loss if your profession requires fine colour discrimination. If you think you aren’t seeing colours as you should, head to our practitioner page to find a colour vision Optometrist near you.


Article Sources:

Materials provided by Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & WilkinsNote: Content has been edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Gunilla Haegerstrom-Portnoy, Marilyn E. Schneck, Lori A. Lott, Susan E. Hewlett, John A. Brabyn. Longitudinal Increase in Anisometropia in Older AdultsOptometry and Vision Science, 2014; 91 (1): 60 DOI: 1097/OPX.0000000000000114

Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Reprint form “Colour vision problems become more common with age, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220102614.htm>.


Why regular vision checks are important at any age

As we all know our vision and the gift of sight is one of the most important and precious gifts we have, but sadly many people wait until they have problems before they see an optometrist. An eye exam is the first step to fix vision problems, the severity of the problem can be reduced if caught with early enough with regular eye exams.

eye-examination-28825735Eye exams have many benefits, as eyes change as we age, we need to stay on top of this to ensure our eyewear prescription is up to date. An essential part of the comprehensive eye exam is the dilated eye exam. This allows your Optometrist to view inside your eye as the drops placed in the eye widen the pupil, which enables your optometrist to see important tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula and the optic nerve. These check-ups are the best technique for early diagnosis of sight-threatening eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, plus many other conditions.

Eye exams can also check alignment in the eyes as sometimes our eyes don’t always work together like they’re supposed to. Patients can often be in pain with crossed or turned eyes with extra strain on nerves and muscles. The alignment can also evaluate the eyes to check if they are focusing at different rates, which can cause blurriness and headaches. Eye exams can also check your eye tone, which measures the muscles that allow the eyes to change focus from short to long range, which may over time diminish due to weak and aging muscles. Corrective lenses can help relieve stress on the muscles and relieve symptoms like blurriness and headaches.

Retina exams are necessary because the blood vessels of the retina are excellent indicators for diabetes and high blood pressure, both life-threatening conditions. Though painless, glaucoma can lead to severe degenerative vision issues that can lead to blindness. Glaucoma generally has no symptoms at early onset, and a routine eye exam can catch the disease before it progresses into a bigger problem.

Diabetic patients need annual exams as they are more susceptible to depleted eye site due to their condition. Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in adults. If you have diabetes, it is essential to have regular eye exams as your eyesight can change rapidly, especially as you get older. For everyone else, once every two years is the average for a check-up, though if you are over 60 good to be checked out every year as this age group has a higher chance of glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Visit your local Independent Optometrist today for a complete eye exam.