100% Optical – Bigger, Bolder, Brighter

The UK’s largest optical show, 100% Optical took visitors on a colourful and eye-opening journey of discovery at London ExCeL from 12-14th January.

The “one stop show” attracted visitors far and wide and boasted an impressive 200 plus exhibitors with a comprehensive range of stands in each section, debuting 500 eyewear brands, 100 exclusive product launches and showcasing its strongest equipment area to date with tons of kit for visitors to demo.

100% Optical’s famous catwalk was presented by avid eyewear fan and radio presenter Annaliese Dayes, and wowed optical fashionistas with the latest trends and styles for 2019, showcasing 60 plus frames in a variety of colours, styles and materials.

“It truly has been a bigger, bolder and brighter show this year with catwalk flash mobs wowing the crowds, kids modelling junior frames and spectacled mirrored dancers. We welcomed 9,115 visitors through the doors over the three days and it was evident walking around the show that exhibitors had pulled out all the stops to provide a positive vibe and eye opening visitor experience with lively stands, entertainment and happy hours. This resulted in serious business being done at the show. So far our exhibitor rebooking numbers are up with over 50 per cent of exhibitors already signed for 2020.”

Nathan Garnett, Event Director

The independent eyewear designers including Kristian Olsen, Francis Klein, Anne et Valentin, Naked Runner, Bird Eyewear and Otis had the perfect platform to showcase their latest eyewear to thousands of visitors.

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For me, Roav was the most impressive innovation I saw at 100% Optical. And not just because of its foldablility, cause Persol has been folding frames since 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. These frames are super technical and fold up as flat as a knife. Still sturdy, you can store them anywhere, like in your back pocket. Besides that, they have a high-tech yet fashionable look and are of supreme quality. A must see!

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Dunelm Optical, celebrated its 50th anniversary with biggest stand at the show, using it as a platform to launch its first eyewear collection by Freya and showcasing its vast range of frames and state-of-the-art lens laboratory.

The equipment hub was the largest yet with 20 plus suppliers including the likes of Optos, Zeiss, Luneau Technology, Cerium Visual Technologies, EasyScan, Heidelberg Engineering, Essilor and Mainline Instruments. Grafton Optical demonstrated its newest piece of dry eye equipment, the IDRA Integrated Ocular Surface Analysis System.

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We video interviewed Stefen from Vasuma for the upcoming #TEFtalk, which will be published soon. Here some making of pictures:

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The successful soft launch of Eyewear week set the foundation to help save the high street and raise the profile of the most important fashion accessory there is, with the industry getting behind #eyewearweek selfies and offering positive support to grow the initiative in 2020.

Meanwhile, the world-class education programme which is designed and delivered by the Association of Optometrists (AOP) offered the biggest number of speaker sessions to date and the broadest range of content to appeal to the entire practice team.

“Building on previous years, the programme successfully delivered education for all. A mix of thought-provoking CET sessions covering an array of topics from OCT, myopia and the future of the profession, were complemented by practice team CPD sessions around eyewear styles, dry eye and communication skills alongside hands on workshops.”

Dr Ian Beasley, head of education

A popular conference theme was the future of optics and a packed dispensing workshop chaired by former ABDO president Fiona Anderson explored the public threats and opportunities posed by “man and machine”. Anderson said delegates needed to consider how these advances in optical technology could impact their practice and the patient-optical practitioner relationship and think how to integrate them.

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“Dispensing opticians must be the custodians of new technology and use it to improve public health. They could leverage artificial intelligence to boost resources for an ageing population when there was a shortage of health professionals, detecting conditions with early diagnosis technologies and offering early intervention. Think of the person who self-refracts and orders their spectacles online. How do they know they are correct and are they fit to drive. The threat from self-screening through self-refraction and smartphone-based retinal imaging presented global concerns”? 

Fiona Anderson

Brand new for 2019, the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) supported the AOP in delivering CET for audiology for the first time and looking at the synergies between audiology and the optical sector.

Adding value was the message in a fully-booked session on “Integrating Hearing Services into Practice”. Hearing Care Partnership founder Ryan Leighton, explored all of the options to best introduce hearing care services.

This year, 100% Optical pledged its support for the charity partner, SeeAbility and hosted the most attended Rockaoke party to date.

“100% Optical has been a fantastic opportunity to highlight the eye care needs of people with learning disabilities. We have been able to share the work SeeAbility has been doing with professional bodies and NHS England to ensure all children who attend special schools can access regular eye care and spectacles.”

Lisa Donaldson - Head Eye Health at SeeAbility

On Sunday, 13 January, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) welcomed practitioners from across the optical sector at its annual awards ceremony.

The Royal College of Art Design competition also celebrated optical talent and achievement with six finalists on display at the show. Annie Foo came first in the design competition with ‘Party on Face’, using music and fashion as expression and making glasses light up and flash in time to music.

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100% Optical is back from 25-27 January 2020. Event director, Nathan Garnett offers a sneak preview into what’s in store; “We are delighted to announce that our successful partnership with The Association of Optometrists (AOP) on 100% Optical will continue until at least 2022. ABDO has also confirmed its role in the 2020 event with discussions likely to increase their involvement.

“We now look forward to making 2020 the event that brings the whole optical industry together for a massive celebration of this wonderful sector. We have a string of announcements coming in the next few months so watch this space….”

For more information visit www.100percentoptical.com and follow it on social media @100optical #100optical

Author: maarten weidema

After being a freelance eyewear designer since 1999, TEF founder Maarten Weidema now solely writes about his fellow designers in the optical industry. His passionate mission is to promote independent eyewear to the international optical arena, backed up by a large group of bloggers and journalists from all over the world. He has recently been awarded "International Optical Personality of the Year", "Leading Innovator in Optical Social Media Marketing", "Social Media Marketing Company of the Year" and received several awards for "best eyewear blog" for his efforts to promote independent eyewear to a community of 517.000 eyecare professionals.

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