100% Optical postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19 pandemic

With lockdown restrictions likely to extend into the spring, the event will return to its January dates for 2022, but plans for a virtual event are underway

The organisers of 100% Optical, Media 10, have announced that the 2021 show will be postponed until 29-31 January 2022.

Last year, organisers moved the event back from January to May 2021, with the hopes that the industry would be able to meet again.

However, with the country currently experiencing lockdown restrictions, and the possibility of restrictions extending into the spring, event organisers suggested that running an event with limited attendance, and with travel restrictions in place for overseas visitors and exhibitors, “would not be best serving our clients.”

Director of 100% Optical, Nathan Garnett, said: “With restrictions likely to stay with us for longer than we had all hoped and anticipated, we feel it would be better for all of our loyal and supportive delegates, clients and partners to postpone the event.”

The AOP has supported the show since its launch as its official event partner and education provider, with OT the official media partner.

Sharing the AOP’s disappointment at not being able to deliver the event as planned in May, AOP chief executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: “We know this is the right decision for visitors and exhibitors.”

The AOP will continue to work with Media 10 as the official event partner to ensure some of the education content planned for the event is still delivered in May, and to support members to achieve the points they require in the final year of the CET cycle, Ms Alderman confirmed.

Ms Alderman said: “We know that the year ahead will still challenge us, but through our continued partnership we are confident that the next event will be our best yet.”

While the physical event will be postponed, a one-day virtual event will be held in May, which event organisers suggest will offer an opportunity for opticians and optometrists to network, meet suppliers and gather CET points.

“We have exciting plans to share with you on virtual events and digital products to keep the sector as connected as it can be in these challenging times,” Mr Garnett added.

Commenting on the AOP’s plans for education, Dr Ian Beasley, head of education and OT clinical editor, confirmed that: “Although the ability to deliver education in a face-to-face environment remains uncertain, the AOP will continue to adjust its programme of CET to meet member demand in the third year of the cycle.

“An extensive range of interactive CET will be available online throughout the year, offering webinars and peer discussions with key target groups in mind, including locums, independent practitioners and therapeutic prescribers,” he continued.

On the release of the AOP’s event calendar earlier this month, the association encouraged members to earn their CET points at the earliest opportunity as this is the final year of the current cycle.

The 100% Optical show will now return to its original place in the calendar, scheduled for January 2022 in London.

Mr Garnett shared: “We want to come back with a bang. We have the backing now of all the major optical bodies, so I can assure you we will all be pulling together to make 100% Optical 2022 a truly effective trade show for the industry to help recover from this terrible pandemic.”

In July last year, the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO) announced its backing for 100% Optical, with many suggesting that the move would provide “security and clarity” and enable the profession to focus on one major exhibition.

Reflecting on feedback from exhibitors and visitors, Mr Garnett said: “One thing we know for sure – the appetite for a live exhibition experience has grown every day this pandemic has gone on.

“It will be worth the wait; 100% Optical 2022 is going to be a very large celebration indeed.”