No bah humbugs this year

Brace yourself – the festivities are fast approaching...

Bah humbug

Are you still in denial? Sorry, but we’ve hit December today and that time of the year is approaching faster than most of us would care to admit.

The run up to Christmas used to be a quiet time in practices, but this year some practitioners have told me that their appointment books are full throughout the month – good news from an eye health perspective and from a business angle too.

Thankfully, the recession, when practices were reluctantly forced to bring their January sales forward, is now a distant memory. As we approach the end of 2016, the feeling across optics is one of optimism and there is a dynamic sense of purpose to grasp the optometric opportunities ahead.

The festive period is a double-edged sword for me as my birthday is just days before 25 December and my birthday cards jostle for space with the Christmas cards on the mantelpiece. The joy of the next few weeks for me is getting together with old friends across the sector. However, I can’t believe that it’s my first optical Christmas event this week, with the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians' annual luncheon.

I’m looking forward to finding out what the frames, lenses and equipment companies are planning to launch in 2017 and will be encouraging (nagging) managing directors to let me share that news with practitioners through OT as soon as possible.

With optics being very much a ‘people profession,’ many optical events and practices will seek to benefit charities during the festivities. Among recent charity examples, Sightsavers is auctioning off celebrity specs on eBay until 5 December and the family of a seven-year-old with corneal dystrophy is raising money for Fight for Sight by selling Christmas puddings.

A more direct initiative for optometrists and dispensing opticians to be involved in is the Crisis at Christmas opticians’ service run by Vision Care for Homeless People. Volunteers are needed for the various clinics, which run from 23–30 December.

As well as charity, Christmas is often about recognition, and to help celebrate the practitioners making a difference to the profession, the shortlisted nominees for the AOP Awards 2017 have been revealed. However, voting for the prestigious accolades closes on Sunday, 18 December. Make sure you have your say by voting.