100% Optical

Eyes on 100% Optical 

As schedules are finalised and bags are packed ahead of the 10th edition of 100% Optical, OT  heard the latest on the education programme, exhibitor list, and upcoming launches

Liz Lumb presents on stage at 100% Optical      
100% Optical 

As the attention of the UK optometry profession turns to 100% Optical, taking place between 24–26 February, OT sought to gain the latest updates as the final details are revealed ahead of the show.

Bookings opened in January for the packed education programme, curated by the AOP as the show’s official education partner.

Dr Ian Beasley, AOP head of education, and OT clinical editor, highlighted the array of topics covered in the education programme.

Considering how the programme of seminars and workshops at 100% Optical can help professionals to develop and reach for career goals, Beasley shared: “Professionals can expand their scope of practice through taking the opportunity to broaden their understanding and consolidate knowledge.”

Sessions cover core areas of optometry, from optical coherence tomography to myopia and contact lenses, while lectures also touch on innovations in science, technology and approaches, from the use of amniotic membrane in dry eye, to artificial intelligence.

Speakers represent the variety of avenues that a career in optometry can take, with focuses on glaucoma, low vision, scleral lenses, myopia management, advanced dry eye, the voluntary sector, services in special schools and the Easy Eye Care Pathway.

Beasley outlined two approaches to making the most of the education on offer at the show: “Be open minded. Have a full look at the programme and see what areas appeal, or if you have an idea of what you already love, then pick out the relevant sessions of interest.”

“The show provides a great opportunity to network,” he added. “In a world of hybrid education, there are benefits that only face-to-face events can bring; the serendipitous conversations in the breaks or at the water cooler, or bumping into people you wouldn’t expect. Opportunities come your way and there is a great value to that. In-person events have a sense of energy from learning together.”

In the countdown to the show, for delegates who have booked onto education sessions in advance, Beasley recommended taking the opportunity to review plans ahead of the event.

“Due to popular demand, please cancel any sessions that no longer fit with your plans, to release capacity for others to attend,” he said.

Beasley emphasised that space is reserved in the programme for walk-ins, and so delegates without bookings will have the opportunity to drop-in to sessions during each day of the show on a first-come first-served basis. 

Trends, launches and more

The organisers at 100% Optical highlighted exhibitor plans and the sessions that will discuss the top trends for the year ahead, including analysts from Euromonitor who will discuss consumer trends for the year ahead.

Selin Olmsted, co-founder and creative director of the Selin Omsted Studio, will deliver a session outlining nine trends that will define the eyewear landscape in 2025, anticipated to be an insightful session for independent practices “as a strategic guide before committing to the seasonal buy.”

With the show approaching, the 100% Optical organisers shared the latest news from exhibitors, with Zeiss set to host the UK launch of the Zeiss Atlas 500 corneal topographer on its stand (M300). The solution offers corneal topography, pupillometry and dry eye assessment from a single device.

The AOP Lounge

Meet with experts from the AOP and attend a diverse range of CPD on stand W310.

Grafton Optical (stand M440) will host a giveaway of a QuickSee Free Handheld Auto Refractor. Those who book a QuickSee demonstration at the show will be entered into the prize draw.

In the world of frames, Caron Eyewear is launching a new brand, ION, embracing unisex fashion.

Eyewear brands will be bringing collections with emphasis on unique and exciting designs. Roger Eye Design (stand E2) will be at the show for the first time since 2015, bringing frames for individuals who want their eyewear to express their character, while Paname (stand E156) brings its 2024 collection of oversized vintage in its colourful signature style.

The show will see its largest presence of contact lens manufacturers ever, as Alcon joins the show for the first time.

100% Ophthalmology will debut this year as a co-located event with 100% Optical, with delegates able to visit the hub to connect with the wider optical community.

Sessions at 100% Ophthalmology will be sponsored by Birmingham Optical, Haag Streit UK and Zeiss.

What to expect in professional development and employers

A photo snapped of the NewMedica stand at 100% Optical 2023
NewMedica stand at 100% Optical 2023
The provider of NHS and private ophthalmology services, Newmedica, will be delivering education and information from its stand (M250) at 100% Optical, delegates will be able to have a go at eye surgery using virtual reality headsets.

“We will be running three CPD sessions each day. These cover a wide range of topics including general ophthalmology, effective communication and intraocular lens choice, and will be held in the Future Practise area,” a spokesperson for Newmedica said.

Mahmoud Rabie, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and clinical director of ophthalmology for CHEC (Community Health and Eyecare), shared: “CHEC was founded in 2012, so we’ve seen 100% Optical go from strength to strength since the very start.”

This year at the show, CHEC will focus on ‘seeing through the patients’ eyes’ and getting hands-on to treat conditions.

“Our clinical grade simulator spectacles will enable stand visitors to experience what eye conditions are really like for patients to live with every day. We’ll then show them how we treat these conditions are our community facilities and give visitors the chance to carry out the procedures themselves using our state-of-the-art surgical training equipment,” Rabie said.

Visitors to the CHEC stand (B622) will be able to gain an experience of living with glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye conditions, then conduct a simulated gonioscopy assessment or wet age-related macular degeneration injection.

Clinicians in a surgical environment performing a cataract surgery
Clinicians performing a cataract surgery
Grant Duncan, Specsavers director of professional development, said: “At this year’s 100% Optical, Specsavers on-stand CPD will feature a selection of our most popular sessions from our Professional Advancement Conferences.”

The sessions on stand B210 will include “something for every registrant,” covering each of the core domains.

“Topics include how wellness influences clinical performance, an independent prescribing session on how to deal with conditions affecting the anterior eye, the obstacles experienced by people living with low vision, an exploration of contact lens related conditions and a session dedicated to the provision of eye care for those experiencing homelessness,” Duncan shared.

Hakim Group will gather at stand B250, with Sally Litchfield, chief people officer at Hakim Group, sharing: “Our focus at 100% Optical 2024 is to showcase our commitment to attracting the very best talent in the optical industry. We’ll be highlighting the exciting career and ownership opportunities we offer across our family of independent practices.”

Luke Wren poses in front of a large screen displaying the colours and logo of Hakim Group at 100% Optical
Hakim Group
Luke Wren, chief development officer at Hakim Group
Highlighting the importance of flexibility and a “diverse, skilled team,” Litchfield added: “We are looking forward to engaging with individuals who share our passion for advancing eye care in the independent space.”

Luke Wren, chief development officer at Hakim Group, added: “At 100% Optical 2024, we are excited to connect with business owners, who are looking to explore the future possibilities for their independent practice as well as those individuals who don’t currently own a practice, and are looking into independent practice ownership as the next chapter in their professional career.”

“We represent a rapidly growing family of independent practices across the UK and Ireland. Our aim is to connect with practices and potential partners who align with our vision for elevating eye care and hearing care services in an independent setting. Our focus is on fostering collaborative relationships that drive innovation and enhance the overall experience for both like-minded practitioners and patients alike,” Wren continued.

Here’s to a 2024 show of innovation, growth, and connection.