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Eyewear has always been at the heart of 100% Optical and 2018 will be no exception when it returns to ExCeL London on 27–29 January 2018.

Trendsetting eyewear exhibitors such as Brando, Eyespace and Kilo will be showcasing the shapes, colours and styles that will be seen on the High Street throughout 2018.

Market insight

Co-founder of UK eyewear company Kirk & Kirk, Jason Kirk, enthused to OT about how the industry is lucky to have an optical show that attracts the best frame designers from around the world, and that 100% Optical is a great opportunity to check out the latest trends.

“Any independent optician needs to look for ways to distinguish themselves from the multiples, and interesting frames are the most direct and visible way of doing that,” he explained.

“It is also important to see and hear how brands present and communicate their products so that they can improve their store environments to optimise sales,” Mr Kirk said, adding: “Bring the team along, especially those whose role it is to talk about and sell products, as this will lead to better sales results in-store.”

Director of product development for frames at Specsavers, Kerry Pullin, told OT that it is important to be engaged and involved in the industry, as well as ensuring that the multiple’s own collections are on-trend in a competitive UK market.

“As a multiple retailer, we have to understand the market for our stores and what the opportunities are. I also like to see where the independents are at, to make sure that I’m not missing a trick,” Mr Pullin explained.

“We’ve seen a real upsurge in round eyes and panto shapes. The general trend seems to be back to metal, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response to the colourful frames in our range, particularly the laminated colours on the acetates,” he added.

Mr Pullin highlighted that when looking at eyewear, innovation is the most important factor. “If you do the same old things, you will get the same results. Brands and companies that push the boundaries tend to be the best,” he said.

Skills and scenarios

For attendees looking for eyewear-related CET opportunities at 100% Optical, the AOP has organised an education programme that will feature the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO) and Silhouette.

ABDO will host three discussion workshops that will be repeated every day during the show. ABDO’s head of CET, Paula Stevens, told OT that its CET sessions will cover General Optical Council competencies for dispensing opticians, contact lens opticians and optometrists.

“The sessions will highlight the need to always provide excellent patient care via practice scenario discussions, and will look to the future in manufacturing technology and ophthalmic lens production,” she said.

Sector skills development officer at ABDO, Nick Walsh, will be presenting Lens manufacture and design – now or next? in which delegates will learn about new manufacturing techniques and methods, such as 3D printing, and how these differ significantly from conventional and freeform lens production.

“Dispensing opticians will gain more technical knowledge to underpin their dispensing of innovative lens designs, and learn appropriate applications with full consideration of the patient’s lifestyle,” Ms Stevens added.

Chairman of the ABDO college trustees, Angela McNamee, and ABDO board member, Keith Cavaye, will also be looking at tricky contact lens-related situations in practice. The sessions will offer guidance and problem-solving skills for dispensing and contact lens opticians.

ABDO’s immediate past president, Peter Black, will host Once in a lifetime, or once in a week, designed to remind delegates of their skills as qualified practitioners. The workshop will cover the referral of sight threatening emergencies, potentially life-threatening conditions, as well as complex and memorable dispensing situations.

“Dispensing opticians in need of the difficult-to-get competencies should book to attend as well as anyone wishing to learn about the rare, the weird and the wonderful from their fellows,” Ms Stevens concluded.

Mr Black also shared details of Silhouette eyewear’s activity at 100% Optical 2018. Silhouette’s workshop facilitator explained that the popular Rimless Skills Workshop will return where delegates can learn how to assemble, disassemble and repair-plug rimless frames. “Dispensing opticians can gain practical skills that will better enable them to help customers and avoid expensive mistakes in practice,” he said.

New for 2018 is Silhouette’s Modern Lenses Problem Solving Workshop, Mr Black added: “The session will look at challenging dispensing scenarios, and how modern technology can solve some of the problems associated with dispensing sports eyewear and rimless spectacles.”

“It will also look at the main areas that cause patients to complain and ask for spectacles to be remade,” he said.

From 27 October–2 November, AOP members can take advantage of exclusive advanced booking for 100% Optical education. Don’t forget to register on the 100% Optical site, with your AOP membership number, to gain access to advance booking for all education sessions. Check your AOP e-news for more details. Booking opens to all from 3 November.