Monday, 04 December 2017 15:17


FMO held its AGM and annual Christmas Luncheon on Friday December 1 at the Amba Charing Cross Hotel in London. Vice Chair Krysten Williams read a message from Chair Andy Yorke, sending his sincere apologies for not attending due to unforeseen work commitments, and commenting on his first year as Chair in the 100th year of the FMO which he described as ‘a challenging but extremely invigorating year’. Said Andy ‘The process of change is well underway at FMO, change which is necessary to modernise the organisation so it is equipped to deal with the challenges that it will undoubtedly face in the coming months and years.’

Members received a presentation from Ms Williams which captured the modernisation process, especially in relation to communicating with members via a new website and social media, and ensuring that FMO’s trade show Optrafair continued to develop as the ‘go to’ optical event in the UK in line with its strategic plan. A lively debate about the optical trade show scene in the UK followed, and members were urged to attend the next General Meeting on 21 February to discuss this in more detail.

After the AGM, representatives from across the optical sector joined FMO members to celebrate with a reception and Christmas lunch in the hotel Ballroom. FMO invests its share of Optrafair income in the sector, and during the luncheon Ms Williams made a presentation of a donation to the Optical Workers' Benevolent Fund, accepted by Professor Mo Jailie on behalf of his fellow Trustees.

Following lunch Barry Dibble, Immediate Past Chair of FMO, presented Kingsley Sleep, with an engraved photo frame in recognition of Mr Sleep’s long service on the Board. Mr Sleep had been a Director of FMO since its incorporation in 2002 but prior to that he was actively involved in the unincorporated organisation as Chair from 1996-1998 and from 2000-2001. Mr Dibble paid tribute to Mr Sleep’s many years of work for FMO as a key figure in the former OFIMA (the forerunner of the Frames Focus Group) and also in FMO’s standards work. Latterly, as a co opted Director, Mr Sleep had taken on the enormous task of drafting new Articles of Association, and has been a great source of information about FMO for his fellow Directors.

Mr Dibble then presented Honorary Life Membership to former Chair John Conway, in recognition of Mr Conway’s outstanding contribution to the work of FMO and his many years of loyal service.


Monday, 23 October 2017 12:37

FMO General Members' Meeting

FMO supports members with advice on the new General Data Protection Regulations

FMO Chair Andy Yorke welcomed members to the six monthly Members’ Meeting at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Wednesday 18 October, focusing on the new GDPR which will come into force in May next year.

During the first part of the meeting, FMO’s three Focus Groups for Equipment, Frames and Lenses met to enable members to share views, and to decide on priorities. The Equipment Focus Group, chaired by Krysten Williams, CEO of Heidelberg Engineering, is developing plans to accredit training in the use of ophthalmic equipment, the Frames Focus Group, chaired by James Conway, CEO of Millmead Optical Group, is looking at how to identify and meet the trade body needs of the fashion frames industry, and the Lens Focus Group, chaired by Andy Hepworth, Professional Relations Manager for Essilor, is working with the Optical Consumer Complaints Service to develop accredited training to help to reduce the incidence of varifocal lens non-tolerance, which is a cost to FMO’s members who guarantee these lenses and a major source of consumer complaints to OCCS.

After lunch FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska gave a presentation of the aims of the GDPR, key features of the new regulations which will affect FMO members, and went through some frequently asked questions. A round table discussion followed and members asked FMO to provide support for them on GDPR on an ongoing basis.

GDPR is one of a raft of new regulatory changes that will affect FMO members and it was agreed to focus on the new Medical Devices Regulations for harmonising CEN standards at the next general members meeting to be held in March 2018. FMO members present were reminded that FMO is the UK member for Eurom1, which will be actively involved in this work.

Wasim Hamid, Sales Manager for Optrafair, attended the meeting and updated members on how the 2018 show is developing, with additional support for exhibitors from the exhibitions team, and exciting new features for attendees. Coincidentally the experienced team from Mark Allen Exhibitions were at the Ricoh at the same time as FMO, presenting the Engineering Design Show.


Photo: Members of the Frames Focus Group discussing Optrafair with the Chair of FMO, Andy Yorke, and Wasim Hamid, Optrafair Sales Manager

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 13:43

General Members' Meeting

The next FMO General Members' Meeting will be held at the Richoh Arena, Coventry on Wednesday 18 October 2017 from 10:30am - 3:00pm.

The day will start at 10:30am with registration and refreshments, followed by a welcome from FMO Chair, Andy Yorke, and an update from Chief Executive, Bryony Pawinska. Delegates will then break out into their respective Equipment, Frame, and Lens Focus Group meetings. A buffet lunch will be served at 1pm.

Members will then reconvene for reports back from Focus Group Chairs and will have the opportunity to attend a presentation by Social Media Expert, Zoe Brownrigg on how to "Get Twitter Efficient".

If you would like to attend the event please post, fax or email your reply form to:

FMO, 199 Gloucester Terrace, London, W2 6LD
Tele: 020 7298 5123 Fax: 020 7298 5120 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 14:24

Dates for your diary

The next FMO General Meeting, incorporating the usual members’ meeting and meetings of the Equipment, Frame and Lens Focus Groups, will be taking place on Wednesday 18 October at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.

The meeting will likely have a start time of 10.30am for registration/11.00 am for the meeting start, with a finish time of about 3.00pm. However, final timings, agendas and meeting room information will be available closer to the time.

Please also note that the 2017 FMO AGM is taking place on Friday 1 December at the Amba Hotel, Charing Cross. Again, further information and invites will be issued in the coming months.

Friday, 28 July 2017 16:41

Apprenticeship Standard

FMO members are reminded that there is an approved apprenticeship standard for a Spectacle Maker.  If your company is seeking to recruit an apprentice in this field, the attached link connects to forms which outlines the requirements of the apprenticeship:


Friday, 14 July 2017 11:23

FMO celebrates 100 years

FMO celebrated its Centenary year in style on 11 July with an event in the Weston Pavilion at the Southbank Centre attended by FMO members and guests from all of the optical bodies. Despite the disappearance of the sun after the heatwave, the views from the 6th floor towards the river, Big Ben and the London Eye, were enjoyed to the music of Daisy and the Chameleons, and guests enjoyed a convivial atmosphere to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Although the first General Meeting of the Association of Wholesale and Manufacturing Opticians, FMO’s predecessor body, was held on 17 March 1917, it was almost exactly one hundred years ago that the Constitution was signed, on 17 July 1917.

John Street, Chairman of FMO from 1984-1986, spoke movingly about the challenges facing the sector in the past, with protracted haggling with ‘the Ministry’ over what was known as ‘the Schedule’ – which listed the prices FMO members would charge opticians for NHS lenses which the opticians could recover from the NHS.

FMO is proud to be a founder member of the Optical Confederation, and John welcomed Lynda Oliver, Chair of the Confederation, who explained what she called the ‘breathtakingly simple’ reasons why FMO is such an important part of the Confederation: FMO’s members’ technology drives what we do today, FMO’s members R&D shapes what we do tomorrow, and FMO’s survival is key to the Confederation’s survival.

Before the party got underway, the formal part of the evening was concluded by FMO Chair Andy Yorke, who spoke of the challenges facing optics in the future, not just through technological change and innovation, but also as a result of the economic uncertainty for FMO members and their customers as the UK goes through Brexit.

Andy concluded his speech with an announcement about 2020 Vision, a joint education event involving as many optical education providers as possible, to be held alongside Optrafair 2020 to be held at the NEC from 4-6 April 2020.

centen crowd

Breakthrough standards for providers and clinical teams offering refractive surgery, and which propose new protections for UK patients, have been launched today.

These new standards are intended to ensure patients get the highest quality of care across the board. They are patient-focussed, including new checks and balances on the way a patient’s consent is sought for refractive procedures.

The standards have been defined by a group of leading ophthalmic surgeons and other experienced eye care professionals, along with input from a wide range of stakeholders, including regulators, professional bodies, providers, eye care charities as well as individual patients.

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO, said:

“Eye health needs are expanding rapidly and ophthalmology, optometry and optics are changing to meet new demands. Increasingly professionals are employed or contracted to work in multi-professional teams to meet patients’ growing needs and expectations. These breakthrough standards clearly point the way forward.”

David Teenan, a leading ophthalmic surgeon and a member of the Expert Panel that produced the standards, said:

“These standards will be welcomed by surgeons, optometrists and other clinicians as a pioneering development for the sector. They offer a guide to best practice which is based on the latest ophthalmic research and clinical evidence. This represents a significant step forward that will help clinicians collectively and consistently achieve and deliver to their patients the best quality outcomes.”

The General Medical Council’s Guidance for doctors who offer cosmetic interventions - recognising that it had been developed for doctors only - suggested that the basic principles might provide a helpful framework for other professions. These standards build upon that framework for all professionals and providers, especially those working in multi-professional clinical teams.

The standards have been launched by FODO, ABDO, ACLM and FMO – members of the Optical Confederation, representing community eye care providers. Consultation on the initial draft ran from 2 February 2017- 7 April 2017.

The Multi-Disciplinary Professional Standards for Refractive Surgery Providers and Clinical Teams are available to view and download here:

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Monday, 22 May 2017 12:26

BCLA moving to 199 Gloucester Terrace

BCLA and FMO are delighted to announce that BCLA will be sharing FMO’s offices at 199 Gloucester Terrace from the end of June.

‘199’ as it is affectionately known, was bought jointly by ABDO, FMO and FODO in 2002 and the joint owners are all delighted to welcome BCLA to the building.

Said BCLA Chief Executive Cheryl Donnelly “We have been without a permanent base for a while, using serviced offices in London, and it is a real pleasure for us not just to have found a new home, but to be with the other optical bodies in the same building. It is an ideal situation for us and we are grateful to everyone at 199 especially FMO.”

Said FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska ‘I am so pleased that we will be able to share our beautiful offices with Cheryl and her team from the end of June. FMO is a small organisation, often with just one person in the office so we are all looking forward to enjoying their company as well as the benefits of having BCLA in the same building as the three owners.’
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 14:54

Optrafair 2017

A completely 'revolutionised' Optrafair opened its doors on Saturday 1 April. FMO's Chair, Andy Yorke, and Chief Executive, Bryony Pawinska, cut the ribbon to open the show, and there were long queues waiting for the doors to open on Sunday.

7,122 visitors came from all over the UK to participate in an exceptional range of education provision, from CET for registrants, to business sessions for practice staff, as well as an unprecedented level of on-stand CET.

Exhibitors covered the whole spectrum of optical manufacturing, distribution and supply, including all of the latest equipment and instruments, lenses and contact lenses, glazing and finishing labs, and providers of business services for optical practices.

The show has been running since 1978, owned by FMO, the trade body for the optical industry, and managed since 2016 by Mark Allen Exhibitions. This year's show saw a buzzing bar celebrating FMO's centenary, and plenty of new features including trend forecasting, window dressing, a boutique frames area, and a business theatre.

An incredible 76 per cent of exhibitors have already rebooked for next year's show. Said Bryony Pawinska “this was the first Optrafair show for which Mark Allen Exhibitions had a full year's planning cycle, having taken on the event management mid-way through planning for the 2016 show, and I am delighted at the vibrancy of the new show format. The centenary bar area worked particularly well as a busy central focus and comments from exhibitors and visitors alike have been overwhelmingly positive, with huge loyalty to Optrafair as the sector's own show and praise for the professionalism of the Mark Allen team. The exceptional rebooking numbers reflect exhibitors' satisfaction with the revolutionised Optrafair."

The show also marked the retirement of 'Mr Optrafair' himself, former FMO Chair and CEO Malcolm Polley, who has provided invaluable advice to the FMO and Mark Allen planning team and the occasion was marked with a special cake presented to Malcolm at the centenary bar on Saturday. FMO Director Barry Dibble and Andy Yorke both paid tribute to Malcolm's skill at developing Optrafair over the years and to his passion for showcasing all that is best in the UK optical industry.


Tuesday, 04 April 2017 14:04

Partnership with Opti-Munich

On Monday 3rd April Optrafair partners FMO and MA Exhibitions announced a new co-operation with the well-established German trade show Opti. This strategic partnership is a very positive step and will ensure that both shows will be promoted to potential exhibitors and visitors to maximise their success.

Andy Yorke, Chair of FMO, enthusiastically supports this collaboration: “This is a great strategic alliance. Opti is one of the fastest growing eyewear shows in Europe and Optrafair showcases the best of the UK’s manufacturing, distribution and supply of ophthalmic optical products and equipment. This partnership will benefit both shows.”

David Owen, MD of Pattern Ltd, Opti’s UK & Ireland agents, said at Monday’s launch. “GHM is an exhibition organiser for trade associations for their selected industries and sees great synergies with Optrafair because of its ownership by FMO. Opti is particularly interested in the technical prowess of opticians in the UK market and see this co-operation as very beneficial.”
In the photo from left to right:
Wasim Hamid, Sales Manager, Mark Allen Exhibitions
Bryony Pawinska, Chief Executive, FMO
Andy Yorke, Chair, FMO
David Owen, MD, Pattern
Ed Wyre, Events Director, Mark Allen Exhibitions
 For more information on these shows please visit:

Following the decision to rotate the Chair amongst its members, following Chris Hunt’s retirement in October 2016, at its meeting on 21 March, the Optical Confederation (OC) Leaders’ Group – the governing partnership of the Confederation – unanimously asked Lynda Oliver to continue in the role of Optical Confederation Chair until October 2017.  Lynda Oliver said: “This is a great honour and I am delighted to take on this role with the support of my Optical Confederation colleagues. We are making good progress on the big strategic issues which will help all our members more than any of us could do alone.”

The chair is to rotate annually between the five OC members, so Lynda will be succeeded from October 2017 to October 2018 by Fiona Anderson, President of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO).

At their meeting, the Leaders’ Group also considered collective strategic approaches to a variety of issues, including the General Optical Council’s (GOC) review of the education and training, the Government’s anticipated green paper on reform of the UK health regulators, which will include the GOC, and the issue of low General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) fees and grants. They also agreed an Optical Confederation public affairs strategy for the coming political session.

On 8 March at Conference Aston, Birmingham, FMO launched its new three year strategic plan following a period of consultation with its members. The plan is attached below. The plan is focused on five key goals including making Optrafair the “go to” optical event in the UK.

Welcoming members to the meeting, Chair Andy Yorke updated members on Optrafair 2017 to be held at the NEC on 1-3 April. Said Andy “This promises to be one of our best shows yet with record numbers of pre-registrations and lots of new features. Since taking over as Chair I have been attending the regular bi-lateral meetings between MAG and FMO representatives – it is at these meetings that major decisions are made jointly. Our contract with MAG is a partnership, where the profits from the show are equally divided, and FMO brings expert knowledge of our sector to the table to complement MAG‟s event management expertise. During the past year many important aspects of the show have been reviewed so that Optrafair is not just an annual event, but a year round, value added programme.”

FMO members from all parts of the sector joined Focus Group meetings held in parallel to discuss priorities for this year‟s Business Plan for equipment, frames and lenses. The Equipment Focus Group members are developing a programme of accredited training for all practice staff, and the Lens Focus Group members are bringing together stakeholders to address steps we could take to reduce the proportion of varifocal returned due to wearer non tolerance. They also developed support we could deliver with the ABDO joint initiative for lab visits for 2nd year dispensing students, and the Group also discussed the issue of over the counter adjustable spectacles. The Frames Focus Group members discussed what support FMO can provide for companies which have to undergo rigorous auditing procedures.

The well received keynote speaker was Paul York, Senior Account Manager at GfK Optics, speaking on the potential impact of Brexit on the optical industry. Although conceding that there is nothing to compare the current situation with, and with so many unknowns it is impossible to be conclusive about any impact, Paul looked at statistics for sales volumes and average spends before and after the financial crash in 2007/8 and the recovery periods and answered questions from members.

The next general meeting will be held on 18 October.


*To view a copy of Paul York's presentation 'Potential Impact of Brexit on the GB Optical Market' please log in to the members' area. The PDF may be downloaded from the General Documents section.

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