The UK’s largest optical show, 100% Optical took visitors on a colourful and eye-opening journey of discovery at London ExCeL from 12-14th January.
The “one stop show” attracted visitors far and wide and boasted an impressive 200 plus exhibitors with a comprehensive range of stands in each section, debuting 500 eyewear brands, 100 exclusive product launches and showcasing its strongest equipment area to date with tons of kit for visitors to demo.
100% Optical’s famous catwalk was presented by avid eyewear fan and radio presenter Annaliese Dayes, and wowed optical fashionistas with the latest trends and styles for 2019, showcasing 60 plus frames in a variety of colours, styles and materials.
Event Director, Nathan Garnett said, “It truly has been a bigger, bolder and brighter show this year with catwalk flash mobs wowing the crowds, kids modelling junior frames and spectacled mirrored dancers.
“We welcomed 9,115 visitors through the doors over the three days and it was evident walking around the show that exhibitors had pulled out all the stops to provide a positive vibe and eye opening visitor experience with lively stands, entertainment and happy hours. This resulted in serious business being done at the show.
“So far our exhibitor rebooking numbers are up with over 50 per cent of exhibitors already signed for 2020.”
The independent eyewear designers including Kristian Olsen, Francis Klein, Anne et Valentin, Naked Runner, Bird Eyewear and Otis had the perfect platform to showcase their latest eyewear to thousands of visitors. Nathan Omodei, CEO of Otis who makes mineral glass eyewear, said the show was an amazing success and the perfect platform to launch his company into the UK. He has traded in Australia for 18 years, and in the USA for eight, and he’d taken the advice of his exclusive distributor Bondeye to make this his launch exhibition. “The timing is great to reach UK buyers. I’ve been to other trade shows but this is a great show with a great catwalk to launch our environmentally friendly eyewear.”
De Rigo launched its first ever Mulberry eyewear collection, while Topcon made its debut appearance at the exhibition launching a new image management software and a new tele-Optometry portal, with UK sales director Graham Trevor thrilled to beat their sales targets at the show.
Dunelm Optical, who has already rebooked for 100% Optical 2020, celebrated its 50th anniversary with biggest stand at the show, using it as a platform to launch its first eyewear collection by Freya and showcasing its vast range of frames and state-of-the-art lens laboratory.
The equipment hub was the largest yet with 20 plus suppliers including the likes of Optos, Zeiss, Luneau Technology, Cerium Visual Technologies, EasyScan, Heidelberg Engineering, Essilor and Mainline Instruments. Grafton Optical demonstrated its newest piece of dry eye equipment, the IDRA Integrated Ocular Surface Analysis System.
The successful soft launch of Eyewear week set the foundation to help save the high street and raise the profile of the most important fashion accessory there is, with the industry getting behind #eyewearweek selfies and offering positive support to grow the initiative in 2020.
Meanwhile, the world-class education programme which is designed and delivered by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) offered the biggest number of speaker sessions to date and the broadest range of content to appeal to the entire practice team.
Its head of education Dr Ian Beasley said: “Building on previous years, the programme successfully delivered education for all.
“A mix of thought-provoking CET sessions covering an array of topics from OCT, myopia and the future of the profession, were complemented by practice team CPD sessions around eyewear styles, dry eye and communication skills alongside hands on workshops.”
A popular conference theme was the future of optics and a packed dispensing workshop chaired by former ABDO president Fiona Anderson explored the public threats and opportunities posed by “man and machine”.
Dispensing opticians must be the custodians of new technology and use it to improve public health, said Anderson. They could leverage artificial intelligence to boost resources for an ageing population when there was a shortage of health professionals, detecting conditions with early diagnosis technologies and offering early intervention.
The threat from self-screening through self-refraction and smartphone-based retinal imaging presented global concerns, said Anderson. “Think of the person who self-refracts and orders their spectacles online. How do they know they are correct and are they fit to drive?”
Anderson said delegates needed to consider how these advances in optical technology could impact their practice and the patient-optical practitioner relationship and think how to integrate them.
Brand new for 2019, the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) supported the AOP in delivering CET for audiology for the first time and looking at the synergies between audiology and the optical sector.
Adding value was the message in a fully-booked session on “Integrating Hearing Services into Practice”. Hearing Care Partnership founder Ryan Leighton, explored all of the options to best introduce hearing care services.
This year, 100% Optical pledged its support for the charity partner, SeeAbility and hosted the most attended Rockaoke party to date.
Head of Eye Health at SeeAbility, Lisa Donaldson said: “100% Optical has been a fantastic opportunity to highlight the eye care needs of people with learning disabilities. We have been able to share the work SeeAbility has been doing with professional bodies and NHS England to ensure all children who attend special schools can access regular eye care and spectacles.”
On Sunday, 13 January, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomed practitioners from across the optical sector at its annual awards ceremony.
The Royal College of Art Design competition also celebrated optical talent and achievement with six finalists on display at the show. Annie Foo came first in the design competition with ‘Party on Face’, using music and fashion as expression and making glasses light up and flash in time to music.
100% Optical is back from 25-27 January 2020. Event director, Nathan Garnett offers a sneak preview into what’s in store; “We are delighted to announce that our successful partnership with The Association of Optometrists (AOP) on 100% Optical will continue until at least 2022. ABDO has also confirmed its role in the 2020 event with discussions likely to increase their involvement.
“We now look forward to making 2020 the event that brings the whole optical industry together for a massive celebration of this wonderful sector. We have a string of announcements coming in the next few months so watch this space….”
For more information visit www.100percentoptical.com and follow it on social media @100optical #100optical