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100% Optical

100% Optical 2022: “We are planning our biggest line-up to date”

Event director, Nathan Garnett, and OT ’s clinical editor and head of education for the AOP, Dr Ian Beasley, share insight into what is on the cards for the January show

100% optical event

Media 10 and the AOP are gearing up for the return of physical events, with the eighth edition of 100% Optical set to be held at the ExCeL Centre in in London on 22–24 January 2022.

This year saw 100% Optical held as a virtual event for the first time due to pandemic restrictions, bringing together more than 1800 delegates for two days of education, business sessions and networking.

Now event organisers are preparing for the 2022 show and planning to bring the profession back together for an in-person conference and exhibition.

Nathan Garnett, event director of 100% Optical, said: “We are planning our biggest line-up to date of speakers, education, and new and returning features.”

“We have had plenty of time to work with the AOP and our partners on honing the content for this event,” he explained. Suggesting that “there is going to be so much to cover,” Garnett said this will range from clinical education to “discussing and sharing how we recover from the pandemic, what the future looks like with a rapidly evolving High Street, and changes to healthcare more generally due to be felt first-hand.”

Over 220 exhibitors have already signed up for the event, with “all of the big names you would expect,” Garnett said, adding that the team is working to secure “the unique and interesting eyewear brands that people love to see.”

The exhibition will also see the addition of more pharmaceutical suppliers, as well as contact lens providers, and the event organisers are keen to bring back the fashion shows, “a hallmark of 100% Optical” which took a new form this year to adjust to the online edition of the show.

The Optical Suppliers Association (formerly the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians) will be at the event for the first time following the purchase of Optrafair in summer 2020, a move which Media 10 suggests has made 100% Optical “the only major UK exhibition serving the optical industry.”

CPD: the start of a new scheme

OT’s clinical editor and head of education for the AOP, Dr Ian Beasley, shared insight into the education plan for 100% Optical, which will see the return of multiple feature areas and education hubs, providing content delivery across multiple streams. Beasley hinted: “We always bring something new to each event, so watch this space.”

The education programme will see a range of peer discussions, Beasley confirmed, adding that key topics on the agenda will include: “Assistive technology for patients with low vision, diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus, managing dry eye patients, management of patients with choroidal naevi, and many more to follow.”

The 2022 event will follow the launch of the General Optical Council’s new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme, with the current Continuing Education and Training scheme ending this year.

“The education programme will take into account the new changes to the scheme, providing a soft landing for practitioners as we all adapt to this new era of CPD,” Beasley shared. “In the lead-up to the event and over the weekend itself, the AOP will be on-hand to support delegates on meeting the requirements and allow them to get a head start on fulfilling their obligations under the new scheme.”

OT will be exploring the transition to CPD in the October/November edition.

Planning for the return

With the return of physical events more certain and as the country works towards the lifting of restrictions (at the time of writing), Garnett shared: “It is so good to be planning an event again.

“Large scale events coming back is the last part of the restrictions being eased, so it also feels like we are approaching a point where we can learn to live with COVID-19, rather than it curtailing so many normal aspects of our lives.”

Looking back on the impact of the pandemic, Garnett said: “The last two years have made people realise how important the events industry is, and we have been extremely heartened by the support we have had from the optical sector as a whole.”

100% Optical is due to be held between 22–24 January 2022 at the ExCeL Centre in London. Registration will open in September, with more information on the event available here.