Helpful tips to maintaining your lenses and ensuring a longer lifespan

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Anyone that owns glasses can think of a time when their lenses were dirty and they had to use the shirt they were wearing to clean them. While this may not be the best solution to clean your lenses, it’s the small things you don’t see that cause the problems. Small particles and dust can get onto the surface of your lenses. Rubbing off the dust, especially with the wrong cloth or paper tissue, may, unfortunately, scratch them. Follow these easy care tips to keep your lenses in top condition for longer.

DO Clean the lenses and frame regularly with lukewarm water and a drop of mild liquid soap.
DO Dry the lenses with a soft, clean microfiber lens cloth, often provided by your optician.
DO Keep your glasses away from household detergents and beauty products such as hairspray and perfume. These can damage lenses and coatings.
DO Use both hands when you put on and take off your glasses.
DO Keep your glasses in a hard case, often provided by your optician.
DO Ask your optician about anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings, which guarantee comfort, performance and durability.
DO Hold your glasses by the bridge, not the temples.

Don’t Wipe your lenses with tissues, paper towels or paper napkins. These often contain wood fibres that can permanently damage the lens surface.
Don’t Wipe your lenses with a towel that has been washed with fabric softener, as this can leave a misty film on your lenses.
Don’t Spit on your lenses; saliva may contain oil or other damaging substances. Buy a small bottle of lens cleaner and take it with you when you’re away from
Don’t Put your glasses down on heat sources, such as ovens or central heating, or leave them in a hot car.
Don’t Put your glasses down on the curved side of the lenses. This can damage the coating and cause scratches.
Don’t Keep your glasses on your head. This can misalign the frame, affecting the position of the lenses in front of your eyes.

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Emerging technologies in Optometry by Arthur Stevens

In 1983 Gerald Hawkins, in his book “Mindsteps to the Cosmos”, wrote about the different “mindsteps” that have, in conjunction with the accompanying technology, revolutionized the world and led to the inventions of writing, mathematics, radios, spacecraft & computers.1 He wrote that “The waiting period between the mindsteps is getting shorter. One can’t help noticing the acceleration.” This notion that the rate of change in a wide variety of systems increases exponentially was explored by Ray Kurzweil in his 1999 book “The age of Spiritual machines” and referred to as the “Law of accelerating returns”.2

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This article explores a brief moment in this accelerating progress and reviews some of the technologies that are currently investigated and their impact in the optical industry in the coming decades.

The article is divided into 3 sections:

  • Retail
  • Clinical
  • Business


The retail section will look into areas where we can improve the patient experience from online appointments, to dispensing tools and consumer products.

The clinical section will look at the advances in technology that have recently been introduced or is hoped to be introduced in the coming years to ensure we can provide the best diagnosis and management for the patient.

The business section is specifically tailored to the independent optometrist and will explore how, as small business owners, we can embrace the new technologies to ensure that our business continues to thrive in such a competitive environment.  The latest news, labelled a “retail apocalypse” coming into 2020, that so many retail businesses have shut shop, is of concern so any advantage we can utilise to ensure we continue to thrive will be explored3.

The areas that are discussed are by no means exhaustive but ones coloured by my own interests. There are many other topics that I could have covered and are missing from the review but one common theme is that as we head into 2020 technological advances will only accelerate and make working in the profession even more exciting.


  • Online appointments

We live in an era where, as a result of the huge amount of available information and wanting to be in control of how we use that information, we prefer to book many of our appointments online rather than spend, potentially many lost minutes of our lives, calling and booking appointments4.  Further studies, in comparative professions, have shown that “when primary care agents book outpatient clinic appointments online it improves outpatient attendance”5.

Some of the options available to the optometric business include:

  • My health1st6 – Is the most used online appointment book and has been adopted as our method of online booking for our customers at Kosmac & Clemens. One of its major advantages is the ease to set up and use and most importantly, integration with PMS (Optomate & Sunix). Anyone implementing this system needs to decide how many and which appointments they will allocate to online booking.
  • WordPress7 – WPForms claims to be the best WordPress contact form plugin.  It provides you with the options of building your own forms that send the booking request as an email. The staff process the email and reply either by SMS or email. Unfortunately, there is no integration with Optomate or Sunix. Their basics package is very good value and if you like to send marketing thru email /SMS then their plus package is even better value.
  • Apointuit8 – is for medical practices only and does not integrate with Optomate & Sunix. It offers a smartphone app that allows for online booking. Perhaps, the optical industry can adopt the features this package offers.
  • Patient tracking9

Patient tracking (also referred to as PSI – patient identification system) is usually used in hospitals for a healthcare provider to monitor the progress of a person in their care. The healthcare professional has access to the patient’s electronic records, it can be used to store a patient’s imaging files, as well as check-in and check-outs.

In private practice, it can inform the healthcare professional if the patient is in the clinic, can send SMS reminders about when a patient can take their medication & by wearing additional smart devices can inform the practitioner if the patient has taken their medication.  This ensures maximal compliance and the best possible outcome for the patient.  The 2 major concerns relate to cybersecurity and interference with a patient’s privacy.

In optometry, I can envisage the system being used to ensure the patient is taking their medication e.g. glaucoma drops, ensuring the patient turns up for an appointment and for marketing purposes.

  • Frames
    • Materials – Up until now, frame materials have been limited to various plastics, metal and wood. Technological progress and concerns with sustainability means we will see biodegradable frames (e.g. made from castor beans10), high-tech lightweight frames and frames incorporating various sensors, often referred to as “smart glasses”11. The introduction of 5G connectivity will see this technology to be taken to the next level. There is a high possibility that smart frames will compete with mobile phones in their functionality.
    • Print your own frame12 – As 3D printers become more affordable customers will be able to print their own frames based on templates readily available for free download or for a small fee. The potential for 3D printed frames comes from the expression ““The only limit is your own imagination” and the fact that 3D printing allows for the creation of very complex structures which would not be possible with traditional manufacturing. 3D technology also makes screwless hinges more accessible10.  Hoya has taken the process one –step further with its “Yuniku”13 system where “the world’s first vision-centric 3D eyewear , combines 3D scanner technology with advanced algorithms, to position the lenses for optimal vision and then 3D build the frame around the lenses.
  • Lenses
    • Rx measurement

Lens measurements have advanced significantly from using a PD ruler to measure interpupillary distance and heights of a bifocal or multifocal. Some of these include:

Hoya’s VisuReal Master system14 has been designed to look like a contemporary wall mirror. The patient looks at themselves in the mirror. The dispenser operates an end device (e.g. an iPad) which is connected via Wi-Fi with the mirror. The 6 cameras behind the mirror capture information such as – PDs, fitting height, frame size (boxing method), distance between lenses, back vertex distance BVD, inclination or pantascopic angle & frame face form or wrap angle. The device is relatively compact 64.5cm x 22cm x 3.5cm (HxWxD). The software can be installed on a stationary or mobile electronic device, including smartphone and most operating systems are supported.

Hoya have also developed the binocular harmonization technology (BHT)15. The technology claims to relieve eyestrain while wearing standard progressive lenses, particularly if there is a difference in prescription between the 2 eyes.  The patented Binocular Harmonization Technology (BHT) recalculates and adjusts the progressive power distribution according to the actual used positions on each lens so that both eyes will experience the same binocular support.  The technology evaluates a Binocular Clearness Index which takes into account Convergence Difference, Accommodation Demand Difference, Magnification Difference and Vertical Prismatic Difference between the two eyes.  The Clearness Index estimates how clearly the wearer sees an image through the spectacle lens. Balancing this enhances binocular clarity throughout the entire lens.

A simpler version of the VisuReal Master system is Hoya’s Spectangle Pro and Essilor’s Eyeruler 2.  Both are very similar in that they use an ipad or equivalent device e.g. EY-stick or parameter clip (that provides a reference that sits on the patient’s frame) to take pictures and make adjustments.  These technologies are considerably faster and more accurate than the older systems that are available and should provide a point of difference to the customer experience than simply using a PD ruler to take measurements.  This is particularly true for the high end free-form lenses that the companies provide.  In addition to a measurement module the app has a lens selection module, a frame selection module and an augmented selection module that allows patients to take certain lens features for a test ride around your office or pre-built environments. Taking the lens selection process one step further and wowing them along the way.

Dr Wolfgang Wesemann16 in 2010 compared 4 high end video centration systems Essilor: ‘Visioffice’, Rodenstock: ‘ImpressionIST’, Ollendorf: ‘Visureal’ & Zeiss: ‘Remote Vision Terminal (RVT)’ with pupilometers. He concluded that “all tested video-based systems measure the PD to a higher precision than conventional pupillometers”. Furthermore, the “video centration devices present as ‘point of sale’ additional information on high-end spectacle lenses and personalised lens designs.”  This argument holds true today as it did 10 years ago and even more so as the technology has been refined to provide even more accurate results with a reduction in error such as when a customer is not positioned accurately.

Equivalent systems exist for Zeiss e.g. Visufit 100017, iterminal 218. The improved software eliminates the use of a frame calibrating clip and increases the accuracy of centration to maximize optical performance.  Zeiss claims that taking measurements is up to 60% faster for the i.Terminal 2 than using manual measuring procedures and that the measurements are 84% more accurate than a manual process.  For the small business owner who wishes to retain customers, in addition to eliminating remake errors this technology offers exceptional “wow” factor.

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Types of lenses

Lens materials has significantly improved since the 1st half of the 20th century from crown glass with an index of 1.523 and a specific gravity of 2.54 to CR39 which is significantly lighter with a specific gravity of 1.32 but thicker with an index of 1.5. Polycarbonate, Trivex, & high-index materials ranging from 1.6 to 1.9 followed, each with their own benefits.  Looking forward we can expect advances in coatings and even higher indices19 up to 5.5 and only one two-thousandth the thickness of a human hair. Some of these are already in production such as permanent antifog coat20, anti-scratch coats (that actually work)21.

In addition to advances in materials, we will also see advances in design. One of these already in circulation is the Myosmart22 lens from Hoya which uses D.I.M.S. (Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments) technology for myopia control A two-year clinical trial found that MyoSmart lenses were able to reduce myopia progression by up to 59% and halt myopia progression by 21.5%.

It would be great if we can eliminate the biggest bugbear of multifocal lenses, the distortions that are experienced when changing viewing distances from far to near.  Electronic focusing eyewear using liquid crystal display technology has been studied over the last decade and some products are starting to appear23,24.  Currently, they are price prohibitive for most people at ~ US$2,220 a pair – plus tax.


Telehealth – This has probably more applications in medicine than optometry but optometry can certainly benefit from expanded use of telehealth. Telehealth offers significant advantages especially in a country as large as Australia with the remote areas having vastly isolated populations25,26. As Telehealth becomes more utilised it is predicted that more virtual clinical trials occur, increased access to healthcare for remote communities, development of paediatric platforms27.



Various studies have acknowledged that we are facing a global myopia epidemic which may lead to various ocular complications including vision loss28, 29.  There have been various technologies available to combat this progression from education, to specific myopia lenses and contact lenses and medications30.  The science on the exact mechanism and treatment options is still unclear but is expected to make significant progress in the coming decade31.


Amblyopia is the most common cause of monocular visual impairment affecting up to5% of the population. Traditional treatments have included penalisation of the non-amblyopic eye with either patching or pharmaceutical penalisation32-35. Unfortunately, success as measured by visual acuity equalisation or development of stereopsis has been hampered by non-compliance contributing to treatment failures.  Alternative therapies include: vision therapy, binocular therapy, and liquid crystal display eyeglasses have only been sparingly used with moderate success.  The Pediatric Eye Investigative Group (PEDIG) has shown that age should not be a restrictive factor & that “even older patients can show improvement in VA in the amblyopic eye”. Recent studies from Vanderbilt University have learned that visual signals are merged as they arrive in the neocortex to form a singular image36. It was thought that the initial processing happened in the upper layers, but it’s actually in the middle layers. By identifying which neurons are involved in visual processing targeted brain therapies can be developed to treat amblyopia.

Laser correction & IOLs

I’ve put these 2 categories together because I’m referring to patients who want to eliminate glasses and don’t want to wear contact lenses.  With laser eye correction which was introduced in the 1990s first with PRK & then LASIK the techniques have been well refined and the visual outcomes are relatively predictable. The latest option to provide a patient is ReLEx SMILE surgery, (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction), a flapless, minimally invasive procedure. In this procedure, a Carl Zeiss VisuMax laser places a series of precise pulses in the centre of the cornea which form bubbles that are less than 1/100th the width of a human hair, and which outline the tissue that needs to be removed to effectively change the shape of the cornea.  The laser also creates a small incision point through which the surgeon draws out this tissue. No flap is created like in conventional laser eye surgery, so the healing time is significantly faster37.

Clear lens extraction or refractive lens exchange is another procedure that your patient may wish to consider if they do not want or are unable to wear corrective eyewear.  I suggest this procedure to all my patients over the age of 45 who are looking to eliminate eyewear. The merits and complications of this procedure have been discussed but what makes it more appealing is the improved technology of IOLs38-40. The advances to the new IOLs include small aperture IOLs, IOLs that eliminate dysphotopsias, trifocal IOLs, electronic IOLs with the ultimate being an accommodative IOL41,42.


Electronic low vision aids43-45

The numbers of low vision patients is expected to increase, according to the National Eye Institute, and the prevalence of low vision is expected to almost triple by the year 2050. An excellent article in CEO (2014) reviewed the models of low vision care, past, present and future.  The article mentioned the move from low vision aids to a more multidisciplinary, holistic rehabilitation process.  Nevertheless, the changes that will come will be governed by the advances that technology brings. Some of these include:

  • Advanced telescopic devices, in particular wearable electronic binoculars that automatically focus and come with rechargeable batteries that last all day.
  • Portable vision enhancement systems can be made in the form of a tablet and are ideal for people who want more assistance than non-electronic optical aids can provide, but who do not necessarily want a large, cumbersome CCTV. Furthermore, with the addition of speech enabling technology, the devices can be an all in one calendar, diary, and a magnifier to make daily tasks significantly more manageable with a singular device.
  • Head-worn vision enhancement systems are excellent options for those patients with tremors or muscle weakness. The devices offer wide magnification ranges, vision enhancement options, and they can include voice control or remote control.  In the near future, using artificial intelligence, it will be able to communicate with the user providing a description of their surroundings. The main drawback is cost, which ranges from $2000 to $10000, and Medicare does not yet cover magnification devices.
  • Apps and accessibility hardware offer accessibility features at little to no cost and are easy to use and are available on both Android and Apple devices. These features include text enlargement, text-reading, and zoom capabilities. Voice command is probably the most useful feature and allows the users to make phone calls, hear and send text messages, and store lists and reminders. Additional apps that can provide convenience to low vision patients include features that provide assistance with daily tasks like calculating, managing bank accounts, reading aloud text and handwriting, reading bar codes, identifying currency, recognizing colours, and recognizing people. These apps make separate costly devices no longer necessary.
  • Crowd assistance services connect blind and low-vision individuals with sighted volunteers and professionals through live video calls on smart phones or smart glasses. Depending upon the particular service or version, the app may be free for use anytime in certain locations that pay for the service, such as drug stores, airports and federal buildings, or it may require a paid user account or pay-per-minute fee. Service is available anytime, providing an excellent opportunity for independence and safety for visually impaired individuals.
  • Bionic eyes.

Around 35-40 million people in the world suffer from blindness.  The technology has progressed from the Argus II system (2009) where inbuilt cameras in spectacle frames send a signal to a retinal implant which is then interpreted by the visual cortex to more sophisticated systems like the Orion Visual Cortical prosthesis (2019) where the electronics are implanted directly into the brain.46 The current system takes many weeks of training for the patient to learn to use and the images are still rather low resolution.  There are other systems being developed, some of which are under clinical trials, which assist patients in improving their awareness of their surroundings47,48  It is expected these prostheses will become available in the next 10 years.

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Eye diseases

Artificial intelligence algorithms 49-52

Some would consider it strange that a topic entitled eye diseases starts with AI.  However, the single biggest technological development in the industry, particularly going forward, is the development of algorithms which assist the practitioner to come up with not only the most accurate diagnosis but offer the best treatment outcome possible. AI algorithms are basically computer programs, often referred to as neural networks, that have been

written to “learn” from a specified set of data and they use the new formulated rules to diagnose various diseases or predict the success of treatment outcomes.

AI algorithms have been used as screening tools to diagnose various ophthalmic diseases including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, macular edema, glaucoma, keratoconus, post-LASIK corneal ectasia, retinopathy of prematurity, and cataracts.

In the case of diabetic retinopathy, the sensitivity & specificity of the AI programs has improved from 73% & 91% to 97.5% & 98.5% respectively.  The AI can detect CMO using only colour fundus photography although OCT images improve the diagnosis even more.

In the case of ARMD, the AI can delineate the areas of pathologic retinal fluid and even grade the severity of AMD present.  Incorporating fundus autofluorescence imaging has allowed for areas of geographic atrophy to be delineated.

Furthermore, these programs have been shown to be able to predict the prognosis of various ophthalmic diseases. For example an AI program was able to predict with 96% accuracy which diabetic patients would need laser or surgical intervention versus no intervention at all, whilst another program used OCT imaging to predict the need for an anti-VEGF injection in patients with neovascular AMD or the likelihood that an eye with intermediate AMD would progress to neovascular AMD or geographic atrophy.

Whilst most of the AI research is focussed on the retina there has been significant advances in using AI to:

  • automatically grade cataracts and determine which patients will benefit the most from an IOL implant,
  • in glaucoma AI algorithms use ONH & NFL analysis coupled with visual field results to accurately detect glaucoma and provide options for treatment.

Going forward coupling AI & retinal images allows the medical professional to make medical assessments beyond eye-specific disease that reflect the overall health of the patient such as cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimers.

An advantage of AI is that combining this technology with Telehealth enables it to be used across the nation without transporting specialist across the continent thereby preventing vision loss in remote communities.

Another advantage is that once developed these technologies can be transferred to all parts of the country and are very cost effective, requiring fewer resources than time-intensive and expensive human-led screening programs.

The risks associated with AI include:

  • a risk of deskilling the workforce with implementation of AI technologies
  • despite the impressive diagnostic accuracy of AI programs, some algorithms result in relatively high false-negative rates of detection of disease, which means that the algorithms incorrectly classify eyes as being disease-free or not requiring further evaluation. Hopefully, this risk will decrease as the AI program improves in its diagnostic ability.
  • Potential loss of jobs in the service industry, optometric and even ophthalmological industry.52-54

Contact lens (CL) monitoring

Contact lens technology has evolved greatly over the last half of the 20th century. Since 1987 when J&J introduced the disposable CL, the market has evolved to have options for a variety of needs including reduction of myopia progression, yet dropouts remain high. In addition to new materials, most of which will focus on comfort & wettability rather than oxygen transmission (the technology is such now that any increases in oxygen transmission are irrelevant – the analogy being a car that can go 200 kph in a 100 kph zone) contact lenses will incorporate technologies that will see them being used for medical purposes and for information exchange.

These technologies will be used to monitor glaucoma (like the Sensimed Triggerfish), monitor cancer, as lacryglobin is elevated in human tears in patients with breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancers and monitor glucose levels in diabetics.55-57

Finally, contact lenses can be used to administer drugs in glaucoma, diabetes, uveitis and infections in the elderly where continual usage of drops is not possible.58,59

Another possibility is to develop emebedded circuitry so that the CL functions like the augmented reality eyewear used in Google Glass or Focals, the difference being that Mojo Vision’s contacts have the display integrated into the contact lens.60


The causes of glaucomatous optic neuropathy includes a wide variety of factors that are not fully understood.  The resulting loss of retinal ganglion cells can be shown using OCT imaging and their axons as shown by specific morphological changes of the optic nerve. The corresponding functional loss of the ganglion cell and axon is shown by specific defects in the visual field.

Treatment of glaucoma can be broadly categorised into either medications or surgery (including laser), both of which decrease the IOP.  Many of the medications are used as either monotherapy or combination therapy. Medications to manage glaucoma can be grouped into mode of action or by their pharmaceutical category e.g. adrenergic antagonists such as Timolol or prostaglandin analogues such as Latanaprost. 61

New therapies are continually being developed and whilst the mechanisms are mostly unknown, many of these work by a different mechanism than decreasing IOP and either improve blood flow to the optic nerve or interfere with the mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell apoptosis and provide neuroprotection. There are still no reliably proven neuroprotective treatments related to glaucoma but this is an area which is expected to grow in the coming decade.62,63

A surgical technique that has recently emerged and performed often with cataract surgery is MIGS (Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery). MIGS devices lower the IOP by increasing aqueous outflow through existing anatomical outflow pathways including through the TM into Schlemm’s canal, through the uveoscleral pathway, as well as through alternate pathways, which are created iatrogenically such as subconjunctivally. The main advantage of MIGS is that most devices are non-penetrating and/or bleb-independent procedures, thus avoiding the major complications of fistulating surgery related to blebs and hypotony.  Various studies have shown that MIGS is as effective as eye drops without the complications of patient compliance.  There has also been complications requiring the removal of the CYPASS device due to unacceptable endothelial cell count loss over 5 years64.  It would appear that MIGS procedures will exist alongside rather than replacing more invasive IOP-lowering surgical options.

I think the biggest advance is glaucoma management is not the medication or surgical methods but the care pathways that have been developed as a result of optometry being able to co-manage with ophthalmology. This collaboration between professions has enabled more people to access eyecare without long wait times and thereby reduce the possibility of irreversible loss of vision.65

Going forwards, the challenge of patient adherence to taking the medication still needs to be addressed but this may be overcome by providing new medication delivery systems for glaucoma which can be broadly categorised as on the eye, in the eye, and around the eye66.

  • On the eye: sophisticated new gel drops, contact lenses, or other technologies that release a steady amount of medication over time
  • In the eye: implants that release drug over longer periods, requiring less total amount of medication, thus fewer side effects
  • Around the eye: punctal (tear duct) plugs that release medication over time in a relatively non-invasive manner

I have included genetic testing in this section, although the technology can be applied to all areas of eye disease which has a genetic basis.  The advancements in genetic testing are highlighted in a recent article which reports that researchers at Flinders University in Australia, have identified 107 genes that increase the risk of glaucoma. They have developed a glaucoma polygenic risk score that predicts the progression of glaucoma. It is envisaged that a saliva or blood screening test, will be developed to determine a patient’s glaucoma risk.67 As more genes and their functions are identified this technology will enable earlier treatment thereby reducing the likelihood of vision loss.


Developments in the treatment of macula degeneration are currently restricted to those with the “wet” (also referred to as neovascular or exudative AMD).   The treatment involves regular injections of drugs that block vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) such as Lucentis or Avastin.  Recent developments include:

Abicipar is an anti-VEGF  drug that is long acting drug (lasting up to 12 weeks in Phase III trials).

PDS or port delivery system is a device which stores and slowly releases Lucentis.  It requires a refill every 15 months resulting in fewer office visits and significant cost savings to the patient.

RGX-314 is an anti-VEGF treatment delivered by gene therapy. The gene carrying the anti-VEGF is inserted into an adeno-associated virus and injected under the retina. The treatment has the potential to block VEGF for many years and phase II trials showed no further treatment was required for at least 6 months following the initial injection.

ADVM-022 is another AAV-anti-VEGF gene therapy, but in contrast to RGX-314, it is injected into the vitreous. The advantage being that the procedure can be performed in office rather than an operating theatre.

Like RGX-314, in a phase I trial with 6 patients, none has needed any further anti-VEGF injections in the six to ten months following the initial injection.

X-82 is another VEGF / PDGF receptor inhibitor, but its advantage is that it is delivered orally. These drugs, which are in phase II trials, may work alone or in combination with other drugs injected into the eye. In phase I trials 60% did not require any other treatment whilst 40% required on average 0.68 intravitreous anti-VEGF injections

There are at least 3 combination therapies which usually involve anti-VEGF injections in combination with either Cosopt, OPT-302 (a new form of VEGF) or RG7716 (an antibody targeting Angiopoietin II).  Research has shown that these combination therapies are more effective than anti-VEGF drugs alone.

Additional drug developments are also being tested and some are in clinical trials including the proteins endoglin, activin, and tissue factor. These proteins are involved in the growth of new blood vessels, which is a key process involved in the development of the wet form of AMD.

Whilst no drugs are approved for the dry form of ARMD or geographic atrophy there are several treatments in clinical trials.  These include two drugs which inhibit proteins in the complement cascade.

Apl-2 is a complement C3inhibitor and is in phase II clinical trials. It is injected usually monthly and has been show to significantly inhibit the expansion of the area of atrophy.

Zimura (avacincaptad pegol), inhibits another protein in the complement cascade, C5. In a phase II trials, intraocular injections of Zimura slowed the growth of geographic atrophy by ~ 27% and a reduced loss of vision.

Stem cells are also been investigated and have been injected in trials for the treatment of geographic atrophy. The results appear promising but many more clinical trials are required before this modality can become more routine.69,70


Whilst people will continue to spend their hard-earned money in the future, the small business owner needs to evolve with the changing landscape.  Only those that can quickly adapt to the changing consumer needs and continues to innovate and offer more than just a product will thrive.  To that end I’ve outlined some of the changes that have been identified in the retail sector and have provided examples specific to the optometric sector.

  1. More stores will close as online sales will continue to grow & new stores formats will expand. However, not all consumer transactions will be online. A study by KPMG reported that online penetration is likely to be 35%-40% 10 years from now71 although it will vary across sub-sectors of retail, for example CL, sunglass and frame sales will be significantly higher online than lens sales.  It is important for the small retailer to ensure they have developed their online eCommerce platforms such as Shopify.  See the reference for a list of highly-rated platforms.72
  2. Retailers with tight online to offline integrations will gain a competitive edge e.g. selling Frames & CLs thru website online offers increased revenue for sales & using Facebook/Instagram to advertise will promote the online sales shop as well as the bricks & mortar business.
  3. Independent business owners should be wary of direct-to-consumer stores appearing from major corporates and factor the increasing buying power these corporates have and how, as small businesses, they can effectively survive in such a competitive environment. g. OPSM-Luxoticca  merger73 & Essilor buying out stores in Europe74. Two simple solutions are (i) to acknowledge that these corporations are large and that a small business has the flexibility to rapidly change to changing trends and also (ii) to specialise in areas that the larger retailers do not find financially rewarding75.
  4. Inventory will need to be under tighter control as the cost of rent increases substantially particularly in cities and major shopping centres. An excellent innovation provided by Provision is ProSupply which enables the small business owner to manage their inventory effectively whilst minimizing costs.
  5. A business that is shown to be socially aware and responsible will be viewed more favourably with the current generation of consumers. As a business you will be expected to be part of the circular economy, in an effort to minimise waste and promote sustainability e.g. minimizing CL packaging by recycling, recycling of frames thru organizations such as the Lions Foundation, bioorganic frames made from materials such as wood, beans etc
  6. We will see more private label growth in the retail sector76. In the optical industry, we have already discussed the use of (i) 3D printing & (ii) own labelled frames due to easy access to wholesalers in China especially. This provides increased choice for the consumer & the small business owner.
  7. Social media and retail will be even more intertwined77. In optometry, social media provides the opportunity to educate the patient and Alcon’s initiative is an excellent example where a large corporation has helped expand the industry by increasing the knowledge of eyecare among the public78.  Social media has also been used for education, training and diagnosis in various youtube channels e.g. the excellent myopia resources provided by the Brien Holden Foundation79,80.
  8. Providing your customers with various payment options will become paramount81. Afterpay is one of the standout performers of the sharemarket of 2019 and its buy now pay later model is a growing trend leading to various alternatives which have taken the retail market by storm. It allows the consumer to obtain immediate joy and pay for that in the future without the stress of interest payments.  Optometric businesses where the value of the transaction is on average ~ $500 fits perfectly well into this payment method and should be offered by all small businesses.
  9. In a technologically forward-thinking society where anti-ageing is a hot topic, all aspects of healthcare, including vision will be a top priority82. Your retail strategy will need to take into account your customers concerns of health and vision is considered by many to be their most important sense of all83. Furthermore, recent advances in technology have extended the application beyond the eyes and into the brain where research has shown early diagnosis of Alzheimers may be possible with eye examinations84.
  10. Improvements in IT speeds (introduction of 5G) and faster computer hardware (SSDs), as well as an exponential increase in performance for a given price point, will continue to make inroads into the industry85. This is especially important for telehealth consultations in remote areas or even in cities between colleagues where a nurse or assistant can perform the tests and in real-time a diagnosis can be made. Currently, the data generated by OCT and some other imaging software is too large to transfer in real-time across the internet. Fibre and 5G technology will allow such transfers to occur almost instantaneously86.
  11. The increased convenience that the consumer experiences in the era of food delivery services has altered their mindset to expect similar type services from other industries87. In the optical industry, more retailers will explore subscriptions such as with CLs or dry eye medications where the consumer will order online & receive yearly packages & only come in for an annual eye health check.

 There is no doubt that the retail market is the most competitive it has ever been. One way in which independent optometry can thrive is to join like-minded people in groups like Provision & EyeCarePlus to help the small business owner tackle the challenges they face as we look forward to all the exciting prospects that the 2020’s will give us.


  1. The author is a member of Provision.
  2. The author has not received any financial incentives from any of the companies mentioned in the article.



  16. PD measuring devices 2010k.pdf
  76. 66

Martin Wells: A Giant in Its Time – By Neil Forbes*

In this Blog we look back at some of the iconic history of our industry –

Spectacle-frame manufacturer Martin Wells Pty Ltd was established in 1954 by Eric Hurst, originally from Czechoslovakia, and Dino Zingarelli, originally from Italy, with Sidney Sinclair, formerly from England, as chairman of the company. Annotation 2020-05-14 085708

Eric Hurst was a great salesman, Dino Zingarelli a technical whizz and Sidney Sinclair a hard-nosed businessman, who was a joint founder of men’s-suit manufacturer Anthony Squires. They made a powerful team.

The company was located at St Marys, a far-western suburb of Sydney, in what was formerly a group of factories that were part of a large complex where ammunition was manufactured and stored during World War II.

The reason for selecting those premises was the plastic material used then for the manufacture of spectacle frames was cellulose nitrate, which was highly flammable. The material was later changed to cellulose acetate.

The concept was that if there was a fire, the ‘blast’ in a storage building some way from the manufacturing facility, would go up through the relatively weak structure of the roof because the walls were very thick and capable of resisting the blast…

There was a major setback early on when the factory was burnt to the ground; however, there was a benefit in the form of the not-so-young plant being replaced under insurance policies.

At the time Martin Wells was founded, the frame-manufacturing industry in Australia was not renowned as a leader, with basic frames, limited colour selections and traditional overseas suppliers, having recovered from the war. Messrs Hurst and Zingarelli, who had come here after the war to work for a local manufacturer, soon saw their opportunity.

Before long, they had opened for business, quickly gaining recognition among wholesalers and practitioners for what their business was producing; the company had distributors in each state, competing against each other, often with the same styles.

MW Womens1

In those pre-Trade-Practices-Act days, disregarding ex-wholesale prices set by the manufacturer to practices was frowned upon, with the threat of being sacked as a distributor ever-present, but in the case of Martin Wells and other frame manufacturers that was never pursued.

By the time the company listed on the stock exchange, it had built outstanding goodwill and the listing was a success.

Part of the reason for that was the addition of marcasite stones to its plastic frames, which gained considerable publicity, then ‘anodised’ frames, consisting of a plastic front with anodised aluminium sides and brow pieces in almost any combination of colour and engraving, with finishes that others could not match.

Over time, the company produced some big sellers, including Super Ambassador, Envoy, 727, 747 and Mustang for gents and Amorette, Spellbound and a host of others for ladies.

In 1968, the company bought its largest wholesale distributor in Australia, Optical Products, followed soon after by its United Kingdom distributor, M Bender Northern, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Later the company bought its distributor in the United States, which turned out to be an expensive mistake.

Apart from its substantial prescription-lens business, Optical Products brought to the table the Rodenstock agency, which from then on was tenuous, given that the new owner of OPs was a rival frame manufacturer.

Meantime the company’s export business continued to grow, reaching just over 50 per cent of total ex-factory sales and covering over 50 countries, with markets in Asia and South Africa being particularly successful.

As a measure of its export success, Martin Wells won a Hoover Award for its efforts, written up as ‘Beating the Giants’, which set out its strategies and tactics to take on European manufacturers. Three export awards were won in later years.

All was well until the advent of sudden and substantial demand for metal frames, commencing in the early 1970s.


Martin Wells tried to resist that, but the tide had turned and the plastic frames that had been popular after World War II were suddenly largely on the way out, and metal frames were in!

That was a turning point for the company, which attempted to resist the advent of metal frames, but before long realised it had to become a metal-frame manufacturer too or continue to lose market share to overseas manufacturers, particularly those in Europe. It did that.

Curiously, later on its metal-manufacturing plant was sold to smaller, rival company Engelhardt in Adelaide, which eventually closed it down and concentrated on importing components and assembling them.

Viewing the success of branded sunglasses, Martin Wells joined the fray, launching its Passport sunglasses brand in 1969, however it did not invest sufficient marketing funds to seriously take on market leaders Polaroid and Sunoroid and eventually the Passport brand was sold to another company.

By the mid-1980s, the whole Martin Wells group had been sold to the Adelaide Steamship consortium, which in turn on-sold it to the Hancock & Gore organisation (now HGL), which in turn on-sold the Martin Wells name to Diane and Mike Quaife’s OPs Optical Products.

The name has now been sold to Van Staveren Eyewear, based in Victoria.

Martin Wells was a giant in its time; no doubt about that. At its peak, it employed 620 staff at its St Marys facility.

*Neil Forbes was marketing manager at Martin Wells from 1967 to 1975, before becoming editor of Insight for just over 40 years – from 1975 to 2016.

Article supplied by John Van Staveren from VS Eyewear Australia click here for website

Top Tips for Selling Sunglasses

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Welcome the customer into the store with a non-business related opening line, for example, What brings you into the store today?

Establish Customer Needs

Ask open-ended questions to determine what the customer wants as well as why they want it. Open-ended questions begin with Who, What, Why, When and How? They are questions that can’t be answered with a Yes or a No.

Product Selection

Once you have established what the sunglasses are needed for, eg for during or playing golf, offer a style with a specialised driving lens or a specialist golf lens.

Recommend Multiple Pairs

Suggest buying a second pair for a specific lifestyle choice or for the glove box in the car.

Polarised Sunglasses

Recommend polarised sunglasses for activities such as snow sand or water. That is because when normal rays of light bounce off any reflective surface they become disorganised and produce glare. Polarisation filters work like mini Venetian blinds organising chaotic light coming through the lens to eliminate glare and reduce eye fatigue.

Recommend Styles

Recognising the best styles that suit a particular face shape (s) is an important part of the product selection. Explain why certain frames suit better than others.

Demonstrate Product

Show the customer the features and benefits of the product, for example, wrap-around lens reduce the sun damaging the eyes, or UV coating is beneficial because…

Present with Enthusiasm and involve the Customer

Be genuine, the one thing that puts people off is an overzealous salesperson. Enable the customer to try sunglasses on, explain the reasons for the feel and the fit. Gain their trust that you are helping them make the right decision.

Remember people buy off people they like so be aware of a customers body language and if they want your help or they want to be left alone.

Your Optical Professionals – Who’s Who

Definitions of Eye Care Professionals



Optometrists conduct eye and vision examinations, prescribe spectacles and contact lenses and carry out treatment for eye disorders. Optometrists do not perform surgery but may use drugs to treat eye diseases if they are therapeutically qualified. Optometrists must complete a three to five-year university qualification specifically on the eye and its care before they can be registered to practice. Optometrists may also dispense eyewear, such as glasses and contact lenses, from their own practice. An increasing proportion of the work optometrists do relates to eye disease and problems which affect the way in which the eyes work together (binocular vision). Optometrists provide approximately three-quarters of all eye examinations given by eye care professionals in Australia


Ophthalmologists are medical practitioners who concentrate on treating eye disease with drugs and surgery. Although their specialist training is centered in these areas they also prescribe spectacles. There is a considerable degree of overlap in the services optometrists and ophthalmologists provide. Both perform refraction and prescribe spectacles and contact lenses, both are qualified in the detection of eye disease and there is a growing overlap in the treatment of minor ocular disorders. Only ophthalmologists perform major eye surgery and treat serious eye disease.


Optical dispensers interpret optical prescriptions and fit and service optical appliances such as spectacle frames and lenses. They advise on, fit and supply the most appropriate spectacles after taking account of each patient’s visual, lifestyle and vocational needs. Qualified dispensers have completed a Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing from TAFE or a Registered Training Organisation. An optical dispenser works as part of the eye care team in the optical practice alongside the eyecare practitioners who issue the optical prescription. Behind the scenes optical dispensers are often employed in optical laboratories of large practices and by the lens companies who grind and manufacture lenses.


Orthoptists are university qualified eye health professionals who care for patients with eye disorders. Orthoptists specialise in a variety of areas including (but not limited to): Children’s vision, Eye movement disorder, Low vision care / Rehabilitation, Cataract care, Retinal disorders, Neurological vision disorders, Clinical Research and education. Orthoptists work in a range of settings, including hospitals, private practices, low vision and rehabilitation settings, community health areas, clinical research centres, universities and within the ophthalmic sales industry. Orthoptists may work independently, in conjunction with ophthalmologists or in a variety of multidisciplinary teams.

How to choose an optometrist:

Do things look a little fuzzy these days?

Has your family got a history of an eye disease like glaucoma or macular degeneration?

If no, there are many eye conditions to watch for and while some are more common with age, others can occur at any age. Comprehensive eye examinations, at regular intervals, starting from childhood, ensure that most eye conditions can be prevented or corrected. Eye examinations can also be an important tool for determining your overall health.

So it’s time to see an optometrist.

If you’ve never been before, choosing one can be tricky. There are several kinds of eye care professionals who specialize in different things but the optometrist is the best starting point. Choosing an optometrist to maintain a lifetime of good vision is an important health decision. Statistics say most people choose their optometrist based on convenience but that should not be the only factor you consider.



  1. Think of everyone you know that wears glasses – they will all have been for an eye exam. Ask them about their experience and about the solution provided whether glasses, contact lenses or further investigations. Ask them if they are completely satisfied with any spectacles prescribed.
  2. Optometrists use a test to determine the appropriate lens power needed to compensate for any refractive error (error in focusing of light by the eye). Ask what refractive tests they offer, as new technology can reveal more about your eyes to create better vision.
  3.  Ask how long the optometrist consultation will last – if it is 20 minutes or less- you need to decide how comprehensive that eye exam could be – your eyes are not only the window to your soul but also your general health
  4. Some Optometrists use advanced technology to understand your vision condition more deeply than a standard eye test Inquire what extra services the practice can offer, whether you will receive an immediate report and if they charge extra for these services. Conditions such as impending strokes and brain aneurisms have been picked up by these extra tests at routine consultations so consider it money well spent.
  5. Find out what you will be charged for an eye Some optometrist bulk bill Medicare cardholders meaning there are no out of pocket expenses for the eye test. Just because an optometrist charges more than the rebatable amount doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go there. Whilst we all want to save our pennies unless you are really strapped for cash, paying above the Medicare schedule fee could be the best money you ever spend.
  6. When inquiring about services, ask what types of lenses the practice offers as all lenses are not created equal. The lens choice can make a big difference in the quality of your visual experience. Ideal vision can only be achieved if the lenses are customised for the way you wear them.

Q: Why do glasses cost so much?

A: Actually, if you analyze cost-per-wear, glasses are one of the least expensive things you own! Remember, most people wear their glasses every day, all day, and rely on them to be able to get around safely and read comfortably. Much like mobile phones, jeans, runners and even TVs, there is a wide variety of price points and quality to choose from. Stylish frames are available for every budget but lenses should be chosen for the best optical solution.

The TRUTH about Blue Light

One of the most frequently talked about topics in the eyewear industry is currently blue light and blue light blocking lenses.

This article focuses on blue light and the products being offered which have been designed to reduce exposure. Although the sun is the main source of blue light, the mounting concerns about exposure to it, particularly HEV (High Energy Visible Light) are largely due to society’s increasing use of smartphones, tablets and computer screens, all of which emit HEV light.

These potentially harmful high-energy visible rays also are emitted by modern LED light bulbs and other high-efficiency Indoor lighting.  Blue light from the sun can damage the retina and at-risk groups should be protected including those with a family history of AMD, smokers, and people who are obese.

Young concentrated man using laptop computer at home indoors at night looking at laptop white screen. Hacker

So What is Blue Light?

Firstly, there is no standard definition of “blue light” but this description may help:

Visible light consists of a spectrum of individual light rays, each with its own colour and energy level.  This energy is determined by the wavelength of the individual light rays. The shorter the wavelength, the more energy a specific light ray has, and vice versa. Wavelengths are specified in tiny units of length called nanometers (nm). Blue light is that portion of the visible light spectrum that has more energy than any other rays of visible light. In fact, the highest energy (shortest wavelength) blue light rays have nearly as much energy as invisible UV rays that have been shown to be damaging to the eyes.

Blue light (like all types of visible light) can penetrate deeper into the eye than invisible UV rays. In other words, the cornea and lens of the eye are exposed to UV, but these rays pretty much stop there. Blue light, on the other hand, can pass through both the cornea and lens and reach the light-sensitive retina in the back of the eye. Because of its high energy and ability to penetrate deep into the eye, blue light has the potential to cause unwanted changes in the retina over time.

In fact, some researchers believe too much exposure to blue light over the course of a person’s lifetime may increase the risk of conditions like macular degeneration. In particular, light on the high-energy end of the blue light spectrum (sometimes referred to as “violet-blue” light)—appears to have the greatest potential for causing retina damage. Also, not all wavelengths of visible light come to a perfect focus inside the eye. In particular, short-wavelength blue light tends to be slightly defocused compared with other visible light.
This can create a violet-blue “blur circle” that contributes to a phenomenon called chromatic aberration.

Chromatic aberration especially affects visual quality and comfort when viewing print on computer screens and other digital displays, and is believed to be a factor in eye strain that’s common among users of these devices.

Exhausted young businesswoman holding eyeglasses and looking at desktop computer screen

The Good News About Blue Light

Some blue light—particularly visible rays on the lower-energy end of the blue light spectrum—actually are good for you! The proper amount and timing of exposure to blue light with wavelengths ranging from 460 nm to 500 nm are very important for regulating our biological clock (circadian rhythm) which influences our sleep/wake cycle and general wellbeing. Exposure to this lower-energy blue light during the day releases hormones that help us feel alert and focused. But too much exposure to these rays later in the evening can suppress hormones that help us achieve restful sleep—resulting in drowsiness and lack of focus during the following day from blue light-induced sleep disturbances.

So How Much Digital Screen Time Do Australians Consume?

Prior to the first release of the Apple iPhone in 2007, the world had no cause to consider digital devices a necessity. Statistical data shows that the use of smartphones in Australia reached over 16.5 million users in 2017 with a projected 19.27 million users expected by 2022. In 2017 adults spent an average of 5.5 hours per day on their digital devices, 3.14 hours of which were on mobile devices. 94% of Australian teenagers, 67% of primary school-aged students and 36% of pre-schoolers have their own mobile screen-based device.  Australian children average 4.6 hours a weekday and 4.5 hours on a weekend day on their screens. For parents the average reported daily use on a weekday is 5.8 hours and 5.3 on a weekend day – with the average total weekly usage of 39.4 hours.

Blue Light Filtration

Currently, there are no studies that definitively link blue light exposure with the development of macular degeneration or other serious eye diseases. However, given the growing body of laboratory research that shows blue light can cause damage to ocular tissues, there is legitimate concern about the potential risks posed by cumulative exposure to the high levels of blue light contained in sunlight. Also, there is reasonable concern that additional exposure to significant levels of blue light from digital devices — in addition to increasing the risk of eye strain related to chromatic aberration and the potential for circadian rhythm alteration — may pose incremental risks to eye health, and that it may take several decades before we fully understand the seriousness of these risks. In light of current research on the effects (and potential effects) of blue light on the eye, the following guidelines may help – subject of course to the opinion of the
Eye Care Professional.

Sunglasses. Sunglasses. SUNGLASSES!

With so much talk these days about the potential risks that digital devices pose to the eyes, it’s easy to forget that the sun is BY FAR a more potent source of blue light exposure for most people. Common sense blue light filtration begins with quality sunglasses that significantly reduce the transmittance of HEV blue light.


Given that kids spend significant time in sunlight outdoors and are using digital devices earlier and more extensively than ever before, today’s young children will have a greater cumulative lifetime exposure to HEV blue light than their older siblings or their parents. For this reason, and given the current lack of strong clinical evidence regarding potential long-term effects of decades of increased blue light exposure, it seems prudent to get blue light filtration for all children. In particular, sunglasses or photochromic lenses should be worn outdoors to reduce daily HEV blue light exposure from sunlight.

Consider photochromic lenses 

Light-sensitive photochromic lenses are the most convenient and affordable way to ensure patients have clear and comfortable vision in all light conditions. Modern photochromic lenses can filter up to twice as much HEV blue light than standard clear plastic or polycarbonate lenses indoors and more than 80 per cent blue light outdoors.

High-risk People

Lenses that filter blue light for people with a higher-than-normal risk of macular degeneration may be prescribed depending on the professional opinion of the eye care practitioner. These high-risk individuals may include people with a family history of AMD and those who spend long hours outdoors or using computers and other digital devices. People who have undergone cataract surgery also may be more susceptible to blue light hazards, depending on the light absorptive characteristics of the intraocular lens (IOL) used during their procedure.

Want to know more?

It is important to get to know what products are available to optimise your vision. Talk to your optometrist to find out more.


This article has been compiled by Finola Carey ODMA CEO with assistance from Ulli Hentschel – Hoya Lens Australia.



John G Lawrenson  Christopher C Hull  Laura E Downie The effect of blue light blocking spectacle lenses on visual performance, macular health and the sleep-wake cycle: a systematic review of the literature Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2017

Tsz Wing Leung, Roger Wing-hong Li, Chea-su Kee. Blue-Light Filtering Spectacle Lenses: Optical and Clinical Performances PLoS One 2017; 12(1): e0169114. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169114 

Blue-light filtering intraocular lenses (IOLs) for protecting macular health (Protocol) i Copyright © 2015 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 

Lisa A. Ostrin, Kaleb S. Abbott, Hope M. Queener. Attenuation of short wavelengths alters sleep and the ipRGC pupil response. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 2017; 37 (4): 440 DOI: 10.1111/opo.12385


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

Annotation 2019-10-14 094622

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