100% Optical

100% Optical 2023 hailed “best show yet”

Over 10,000 visitors attended the UK’s largest optical event this weekend

100% Optical achieved a record 10,657 visitors when it returned to ExCeL London this weekend (25–27 February).

The ninth edition of the optical trade show saw record-breaking visitor numbers, with a 10% year-on-year increase on its previous attendance.

One highlight of the weekend was a question-and-answer session with presenter, restaurateur and broadcaster Dame Prue Leith. Leith was attending 100% Optical for the first time, to represent her Specs by Prue range of frames with MAC Eyewear.

Elsewhere, attendees saw new products launched, watched catwalk shows, and took part in a packed education programme.

The AOP, which once again delivered the show’s education component, saw fully booked continuing professional education (CPD) sessions and long queues for walk-in entry.

Dr Ian Beasley, AOP head of education, said: “We’re thrilled with the results of this year’s event. Nine years later we’re still seeing the show go from strength to strength. Heading into our landmark 10th year, that speaks volumes about how much practitioners appreciate the opportunity to come together, meet hundreds of exhibitors, and consume education from world class speakers.”

Both optical groups and suppliers welcomed the return of the show, with Essilor saying: “We’ve had some great, meaningful conversations. We’ve been exhibiting here since day one and we feel like it’s the best 100% Optical yet.”

William Morris added: “After attending 100% Optical for many years, the atmosphere is always great. We always look forward to the show’s fashion elements and that’s why we love it here - it’s not just your average trade show.”

Sunday night (26 February) saw the AOP reveal the winners of its Excellence in Eye Care Awards 2023 during a celebration event aboard the Sunborn Yacht.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was handed to Professor Bruce Evans, who called it “a real surprise” and “a huge honour.”

The Recognising sustainable excellence award was picked up by Simon Berry, Recognising excellence in community-led care by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Primary Care Optometry and Secondary Care Glaucoma Teams, and Recognising research excellence by Professor James Wolffsohn

Nathan Garnett, 100% Optical’s event director, said: “This year’s show has been a phenomenal success. From a massive uplift in visitor numbers to the greatest range of top brands in attendance, we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

He added: “The testimonials and rebookings for 2024 give us the motivation to keep growing this show for the benefit of everyone in optics.”

Adam Sampson, AOP chief executive, reflected on the weekend: “This year’s show has been a phenomenal triumph. The one statement I heard time and time again is how the weekend really brings the profession together – we’re proud to help make that happen for our members.

“As the largest UK optical event, and with exhibitors already booking stands for next year, we are delighted to confirm our continued partnership with Media 10 to deliver 100% Optical until 2025.”

Looking ahead

Next year’s event, which will take place 24–26 February, will mark 10 years of 100% Optical.

100% Optical 2024 will see the show expand, adding a new ophthalmology section and education programme. Working with key partners, including the NHS, it is hoped that the new offering will deliver increased value to ophthalmologists attending the show.

The AOP will continue to deliver the education component of the show, while OT will continue in its capacity as official media partner.

For more news and insight from the show, visit OT’s 100% Optical landing page