100% Optical visitor numbers hit new heights for a fourth consecutive year

Show enjoys its largest footfall to date of 8051 visitors over three days

100% Optical

More than 8050 people visited 100% Optical at London’s ExCeL Exhibition Centre this weekend (4–6 February).

Representing a record for footfall for the three-day trade show, organisers confirmed a year-on-year growth in visitor number to the event for a fourth consecutive year.

Having broken last year’s attendance record, event director, Nathan Garnett, said: “100% Optical has really cemented itself as the optical event of the year by bringing the industry together to learn, be inspired, do business, network and have fun all under one roof.”

Companies from across optics exhibited at the show, providing visitors with a range of frames, lenses, equipment and business services to explore. With a wide variety of frame companies from around the world present during the show, visitors had the opportunity to browse more than 175,000 different frames, with 75 new brands on display.

As a first-time visitor, dispensing optician, Neil Vedmore, said: “It’s my first time at the show and I’m really impressed by how vibrant it is. There’s a really good mixture of exhibitors.”

Education for all

A comprehensive education programme, which was organised by the AOP, offered over 120 CET points. CET-approved lectures were complemented by career development and skills-based workshops for other members of the practice team, including optical assistants.  

Confirming that the AOP would build on the concept of ‘education for all’ when designing the 2018 programme, the AOP's head of education, Dr Ian Beasley, said: “We identified a gap in education for the wider optical support team and decided to address it. It’s proved to be a big success, with sessions very well attended.

Highlights from this year’s programme included Professor Ed Mallen, who took to the main stage to speak about myopia.

During his CET-accredited lecture, Professor Mallen outlined the most promising myopia control techniques. He highlighted: “Research evidence suggests that practitioners can modify the progression of myopia through a number of methods. The eye health sector is well-placed to offer myopia control therapies and this presents a great opportunity to improve the long-term eye health of our patients.”

Returning to the main stage one year on was Specsavers co-founder, Doug Perkins. Addressing a full theatre, Mr Perkins called on the profession to upgrade their clinical skills and experience to support the advancement of optometry and enable optometrists to deliver enhanced services in the community setting.

“The UK has an estimated two ophthalmologists per 100,000 people currently,” Mr Perkins said, adding: “With these figures, and the growing ageing population, it is no surprise that hospital ophthalmology departments are bursting at the seam.”

Highlighting how the optical sector can use this to its advantage, Mr Perkins stressed that “this gives us an advantage, and if the profession embraces change and upgrades its clinical skills now, it will be prepared and ready when the call comes for it to join healthcare’s top table.”

As a result, it is Mr Perkins’ aim to ensure that no less than 5000 optometrists undergo enhanced training and become MECS-accredited, “allowing them to offer a full scope of optometry services,” he said.

100% Optical 2018 will take place on 27–29 January.

A full review of the show will feature in OT’s April edition.