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.

Monday, 13 February 2017 13:21

FMO General Meeting - 8th March 2017

The Spring FMO General Meeting will take place on Wednesday 8 March 2017 at Conference Aston, Birmingham from 10:30am - 3pm.  The morning will start with coffee and tea and a welcome from Andy Yorke, FMO Chair, and a Strategic Plan update from Bryony Pawinska, CEO. Members will then break out into their respective Focus Groups.
In the afternoon session there will be a presentation to our members on 'The Impact of Brexit on the GB Optical Market' by Paul York, Senior Account Manager (Optics), GfK Optics.

Paul is an experienced market researcher who has been analysing the GB and Ireland optical markets at GfK over the past 6 years. He will be speaking to FMO Members on 8th March about the impact of Brexit on the GB Optical Market.

GfK - a trusted source of relevant market and consumer information

More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries.

Read more about GfK at www.gfk.com.
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 11:33

FMO celebrates a successful year

FMO held its AGM on Friday December 2 at the Amba Charing Cross Hotel in London. Outgoing Chairman Mark Truss summarised a successful year, focused on maximising resources under the operational leadership of CEO Bryony Pawinska. Mr Truss paid special tribute to Board Director Barry Dibble for his role in overseeing the transfer of Optrafair exhibition management to the Mark Allen Group and thanked all Directors for their commitment and hard work during the year.
After the AGM, representatives from across the optical sector joined FMO members to celebrate with a reception and luncheon in the hotel Ballroom.
Following lunch Mark Truss emphasised the need for the sector to work together and the important role of the Optical Confederation, of which FMO is a founder member. FMO, said Mr Truss, plays a key role in a diverse sector by representing members who are the very foundation of the industry.
Mr Truss made a number of presentations. FMO invests its share of Optrafair income in the sector, and the first presentation was a donation to the Optical Workers' Benevolent Fund, accepted by Frank Norville on behalf of his fellow Trustees. Mr Norville emphasised the much needed support that the Fund provides for optical workers facing hardship.
Sandie Fisher, FMO's former Office Manager, who retired earlier this year, was presented with a gift from members in recognition of her long service and Mr Truss paid tribute to Sandie's exceptional commitment to FMO.
Stuart Burn, MD of Performance Finance, stepped down as a Director and Chairman of the Equipment Focus Group, and was presented with an engraved photo frame in recognition of his service to FMO. Stuart is succeeded by his Vice Chairman, Krysten Williams, CEO of Heidelberg Engineering UK. Amanda Danson, Sales Director of Birmingham Optical becomes the new Vice Chairman of the Group, and a Director of the FMO Board.
Mr Truss then formally handed over his chain of office to Vice Chairman, Andy Yorke, MD of Topcon Medical who thanked Mr Truss for successfully steering FMO throughout the year, and expressed his firm commitment to working with all of the bodies in the optical sector. Mr Yorke's first duty as the new Chairman was to present Mr Truss with an engraved photo frame in recognition of his service to FMO as a Director since 2011 including terms of office as Chairman of the Frames Focus Group, and as Vice Chairman and Chairman.
Plans for Road Safety Week are underway as the Optical Confederation (OC) work with charity Brake to launch a campaign highlighting the importance of sight tests for safe driving.

With an estimated 2,900 road casualties caused by poor vision every year the optical community nationwide is being urged to support the campaign.

Practitioners and manufacturers across the sector can support by displaying the poster in their practices ahead of the awareness week – which takes place 21 – 27 November 2016 – and by sharing digital content throughout the week.

The OC and Brake poster, which couples sight test with the common driving instruction ‘Mirror, signal, manoeuvre’, highlights that good eyesight is a vital part of driving and safety on the road.

Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest road safety event, coordinated annually by Brake and involving thousands of schools, organisations and communities each year. Activities throughout the week include workshops and demonstrations on road safety as well as community events. This year's theme is ‘Make the Brake Pledge’ focusing on six simple elements to make our roads safer – with sharp vision as one of the vital checks for drivers.



The Board of Directors of FMO is delighted to announce the appointment of Andy Yorke, Managing Director of Topcon Medical, as its new Chairman. Andy is FMO’s current Vice Chairman and will take over from current Chairman, Mark Truss, at a luncheon following the FMO Annual General Meeting on 2 December.

FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska, paid tribute to Mark Truss, who has chaired the FMO Board for the past year, steering it through a period of considerable change, and welcomed Andy Yorke. ‘Andy brings a wealth of experience of FMO and of the optical sector from over 35 years in the UK ophthalmic industry and optical profession and I am looking forward to working with him as FMO delivers its new strategic plan.’

Andy is a Past President of the BCLA, and a past Chairman of the former Ophthalmic Equipment Manufacture Suppliers Association (OEMSA).
On 5 October at Friends House, London, FMO embarked on the process of consultation with its members on its draft Strategic Plan, developed over the summer by the Board of Directors.

FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska explained the process of setting out a vision, mission, values and the overarching strategic aim for FMO, and members in FMO’s Focus Groups for frames, lenses and equipment discussed the draft strategic objectives for the next three years.

Equipment Focus Group Chairman, Stuart Burn, described the meeting as ‘excellent, one of the best the Group has had’ and took the opportunity to feed back to a plenary session on a range of innovative initiatives for FMO to establish over the coming months and years to both build its membership and engage meaningfully with its members’ customers in optical practices.

Mrs Pawinska explained that the consultation process with members will continue for another month and the final plan will be signed off by the Board in November and presented to the AGM in December. The Plan is ambitious and has far reaching consequences for FMO, which is committed to bringing the words in the plan to life and helping their members’ customers to understand what the future of optics looks like.

The keynote speaker was Richard Edwards from the Optical Consumer Complaints Service. This is a service which is funded by the General Optical Council to mediate between parties when customers have a consumer complaint, many of which relate to varifocal ‘intolerance’. It was clear that there is a great deal that FMO can do to help to raise standards in varifocal dispensing, and the Lens Group will work with OCCS on a programme of training for its members as to what dispensers must do to ensure that varifocal lenses do the job they are supposed to do.

The AGM will be held on 2 December at the Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London, followed by a Christmas Luncheon for FMO members and their guests, and the leaders of the optical bodies.
Tuesday, 16 August 2016 16:45


FMO are pleased to announce that Andy Sanders has been appointed as the new Chair of the FMO Standards Panel.

A group of experienced professionals, the panel collaborates with BSI and its international counterparts to assess and promote essential optical standards. Such standards play a vital role in ensuring consistency and high quality across the optical sector and help organisations improve performance through innovation, reduced risk and best practice.

Looking forward to his new role, Andy Sanders states “I am delighted and honoured to accept this position and will endeavour to ensure that the excellent work carried out by the panel is in the best interests of the Optical Industry as a whole.”

Two members of the Panel will be representing FMO at the upcoming ISO meetings to be held in Sydney, Australia, from 24-27 October 2016. The next meeting of the FMO Standards Panel will take place in November 2016 at the FMO Offices in London.

We wish Andy all the best in his new role.
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 15:31


The FMO was delighted to host the EUROM1 General Assembly at its offices in Paddington, London on Thursday 23 June. Eurom is a body which represents the interests of manufacturers from eleven EU member states in the European optical, precision and mechanical industries, with EUROM1 being the Committee which specialises in the optical industry. Ironically, while the vote on the EU Referendum in Great Britain was taking place on the same day, hugely important optical bodies from represented EU states – including Great Britain - met to consider a range of comprehensive and constructive issues which incorporated discussions on European Markets, optical manufacturing priorities and technical and regulatory matters.

Jean Felix Biosse Duplan, Vice President of EUROM1 said “We were delighted with the meeting hosted by our UK member, the FMO, in London. EUROM1 members come from 7 countries and account for more than 80% of the manufacturers in Europe, so we were very pleased that we were able to be joined by David Hewlett, Chair of the European Coalition for Vision, and Paul Folkesson and Peter Gumpelmeyer of the European Council of Optometry and Optics, to discuss how we can all work together in the best interests of eye health, the professions and our industry.”

Ann Blackmore, speaking on behalf of the FMO, said “It was a great honour to host the 2016 General Assembly for EUROM1, which brings together leading players from European and indeed global optical manufacturers. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity to share information and views on the regulatory environment, how the optical market is emerging from the 2008 recession and the social and technological challenges the industry will face.”

Following a successful round table discussion, the meeting concluded with the next General Assembly due to take place in Greece in 2017. However, EUROM1 representatives will continue to meet regularly and help shape and continually improve the optical industry throughout Europe.

The FMO is delighted to announce that it has contracted with the Mark Allen Group to manage Optrafair to 2020. Since taking on ownership of Optician magazine, FMO's media partner, in October 2015, MAG have ensured the delivery of a successful show at the NEC last month. MAG were already contracted to manage FMO's Optrafair 2017 which will incorporate its centenary celebrations.

Said FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska 'we have been very impressed with the fresh approach that MAG have brought to Optrafair, and want to build on our successful relationship not just next year, but in the years ahead when we believe that the sector's own trade show will go from strength to strength.'

The decision was made at FMO's Board meeting held on 4 May at the offices of FMO member Heidelberg Engineering in Hemel Hempstead, chaired by Vice Chairman Andy Yorke. Said Andy 'this was not a difficult decision to make in the light of the really excellent pre-show sales that MAG have already secured for Optrafair 2017. As an exhibitor as well as a Director of FMO, I see this commitment as a real advantage for the whole sector.'

MAG's Chief Executive, Ben Allen, emphasised his company's commitment to the FMO and Optrafair: 'MAG's Exhibitions Division, headed by Ed Tranter, works internationally on many trade fairs in a wide range of industry sectors, but Optrafair is a very special event, with FMO's members and other stakeholders passionate about a very British show that is run by the sector, for the sector. We share that passion and are proud to have our association with FMO consolidated for the next four years, which will enable us to work with FMO on their plans for 2018 and 2019, leading to a sector-wide event to celebrate the turn of the decade in 2020.'
Tuesday, 19 April 2016 14:32

Optrafair 2016

A warm thank you to all who attended Optrafair 2016. Held at the NEC, Birmingham, the successful three day event attracted visitors and exhibitors from across the optical industry. Click here to view a photo gallery of some of the highlights from the show.
Monday, 14 March 2016 12:30

ABDO 2016 Gala Dinner


ABDO will hold its 2016 Gala Dinner, during Optrafair, on Sunday 10 April at the Kings Suite, Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

The event will commence at 7.15pm with a drinks reception, followed by the gala dinner at 8.00pm, which will feature the presidential handover and awards.

Tickets are £80.00 per person and include pre-dinner drinks, a three course meal, wine with the meal and dancing to a live band.

Click here to book online.


FMO’s Spring General Meeting, open to all members and their guests, put the spotlight on the future as FMO prepares to celebrate its centenary in 2017.

Said Chairman Mark Truss ‘We need to grow FMO so that it exists for the next 100 years’. Members of the three industry focuses of the FMO – Equipment and Technology, Lenses and Frames - discussed within their focus groups the role of Optrafair as the bastion of membership, and Jon Benson, Managing Director of Mark Allen Healthcare, updated members on the Mark Allen Group’s management of the event, having taken this over from RBI with the acquisition of Optician late last year. Members heard that registrations are up on the same time last year, and growing more rapidly, with many ‘firsts’ at Optrafair 2016 including an education hub and a Kids Zone.

The thoughts of the focus groups will now be fed into a strategic planning day for the FMO’s Board of Directors to be held in May, but all participants agreed that attracting and retaining members, and developing Optrafair, were central to FMO’s success in the future.

A key part of FMO’s work is ensuring that the education and training of their members’ employees is up to date on new technological advances in the industry, especially in relation to lens production, and it was agreed that this should remain as a priority in the years ahead, working closely with the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, as well as with the Optical Confederation, of which FMO is a founder member.

The meeting ended with an inspirational keynote speech from linguist and wordsmith Dr Jay Kettle-Williams on ‘what is marketing’ in an international context, with Dr Kettle-Williams summarising the answer as ‘what isn’t?’, focusing on differences in culture as well as language in different world markets.

Said FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska ‘This was my first General Meeting following on from my first FMO Board meeting last month, and I have been incredibly impressed with our members’ passion for the industry and their determination that they will work together wherever they can for the success of the industry and for the benefit of those who work within it. That is exactly what a trade body is for and I am very much looking forward to my first Optrafair as FMO Chief Executive.’

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