Luxottica collections released in Australia

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Luxottica has released the latest collections from a host of its high profile brands.

Timed to coincide with the northern hemisphere summer, the new offerings include recent additions to high-profile house brands Ray-Ban and Vogue eyewear.

Ray-Ban’s updated range includes re-imagined aviators ‘the General’ and 1960s throwback line of frames the ‘Ja-Jo’, while Vogue’s new collections interpret the edgy contrasts and mixed-media compositions of the latest trends.

Meanwhile, licensed designer frames from Miu Miu, Prada, Prada Linea Rossa and recently acquired Valentino have also been made available. Valentino’s collection – the first with the Italian eyewear giant – all feature the iconic Valentino studded temples and are a mix of sensual shapes, bold metals and glamorous nylon lenses.

Prada’s spring/summer collection is described as a “melting pot of vintage inspirations and conceptual structures, revisited with a modern flair”, while its sports line project – Prada Linea Rossa – stays true to its distinctive, casual roots.

In addition, the new Miu Miu collection is said to be a blend of vintage notes with modern detailing. Iconic stylistic elements are disjoined and recomposed, in the pursuit of giving life to a feminine yet rebellious elegance. more

Plan for second National Eye Health Survey

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 more

Men urged to take care of their eyes

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Medicare statistics published by Optometry Australia (OA) have indicated men are neglecting the health of their eyes to the detriment of their overall wellbeing.

Released to coincide with Men’s Health Week – which ran from June 12–18 – the statistics revealed that men accounted for less than 43% of the 8.67 million optometric services provided in Australia last year. Of those, men between the ages of 45 and 74 utilised the least level of optometric services (around 1.84 million services), compared to those provided to women in the same age group (around 2.4 million). 

This is a concern according to OA’s resident optometrist Mr Luke Arundel, who said vision loss could prevent healthy and independent ageing.

“When you consider 75% of vision loss is preventable or treatable, having regular eye examinations with an optometrist is critical to having good vision for life,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to a report commissioned by Vision 2020 Australia in 2009, vision loss can triple the risk of developing depression and if not properly managed, can also negatively impact on social connectedness and a sense of independence – particularly if the loss of a driving licence also occurs. 

Arundel also said men needed to improve eye safety habits. In 2016, men accounted for 83% of the 11,078 cases registered on the Medicare database in which optometrists removed a foreign body embedded in the eye. 

“While more men than women may require this type of treatment due to male gender skews across certain occupations – in particular trades and labouring – and home duties such as maintenance, renovating and gardening, it does signal that Australians also need to be taking eye safety more seriously,” Arundel said. 

OA recommends the use of Australian standard safety glasses when working in an environment, or with equipment, that generates debris such as wood cutting, carpentry, grinding, etc. more

Industry disruptor adds European brand to range

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Melbourne-based online optical supplier Spectacle Warehouse Australia Distribution (SWAD) has added a new European brand to its range.

The start up – which offers independent optometry practices European-styled frames with no upfront cost – has announced Gino Vega is now part of its stable of brands that also includes Merci Merci, Alternance and Archipelago. 

SWAD gained prominence earlier this year when company director Mr Dheeran Makadia announced a business model that offered to supply independent optometrists up to 200 frames with no up-front costs or long-term contracts. In doing so, Markadia claimed this would avoid the issue of dead stock, and lead to increased margins and bottom-line profit.

“The practice will have the full range on display and as a patient/customer is dispensed, the staff would place the order for frame and lenses via our online portal,” Makadia said.

He explained that the SWAD laboratory would then manufacture a new set of frames and lenses for that customer and dispatch the complete pair to the optometrist’s store. 

“Our lab in Shanghai has over 200 team members producing 3000 jobs per day for Australia, Europe and North America. Our lab has four Satisloh machines being installed into the new manufacturing site, which is the same machines Shamir and other labs use,” Makadia said.

“Over the past month we have showcased our products in five independent optometry practices. All five stores have increased conversion by keeping their patient scripts, and increased gross profit margin as they are getting a package deal with us and therefore increased net profit,” he added.

Aside from the new announcement, Makadia also said SWAD was about to finalise the launch of a new range of sunglasses and children’s frames.

IMAGE: Dheeran Makadia, Spectacle Warehouse Australia Distribution director

A selection of Spectacle Warehouse Australia Distribution's Gino Vega range more

Charitable donation supports eye research

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Australian Associate Professor Lyndell Lim has been awarded seed funding to help develop a screening program and clinical database to improve the care of pregnant women with diabetic retinopathy.

Lim, from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA)’s Clinical Trial Research Centre, received the funding as part of the Alfred Felton Bequest. The charitable foundation, established in 1903, supports the development of ideas and catalytic projects that have the potential to enhance the physical and emotional health of women, children and young people in Victoria.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of legal blindness among people of reproductive age in developed countries such as Australia. National guidelines recommend pregnant women with diabetes undertake a comprehensive eye examination in their first trimester, but less than 50% comply with this advice.

Lim said although it’s thought diabetic retinopathy is exacerbated by pregnancy, there are still major gaps in the understanding of how it affects the disease.

“Our project aims to improve the immediate access of pregnant diabetic patients to recommended eyecare to prevent the development of this sight-threatening disease. We are also aiming to address the knowledge gap about the effect of pregnancy on the disease so that improved treatments can be developed for this special group of patients,” Lim said.

“The generous support from the Alfred Felton Bequest will allow us to progress our clinical research at CERA into optimal screening programs during pregnancy to allow critical early intervention. Behind every healthy child is a healthy mother.” more

Optometry Australia appoints new CEO

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Optometry Australia (OA) has selected a new CEO, nearly four months after long-term incumbent Ms Genevieve Quilty stepped down.

The appointment of experienced executive Ms Lyn Brodie ends the search that began not long after Quilty announced her decision in November to leave OA and has been welcomed by national president Mr Andrew Hogan.

Before accepting the position, Brodie most recently was CEO of The Lowitja Institute, a research institute that focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. She has also worked as a ministerial advisor within the Federal Government and was CEO of The Gandel Charitable Trust, one of Australia’s largest philanthropic foundations.

Following the announcement, Brodie, who holds a Master of Business Administration and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, said she was excited about leading OA and working within optometry.

“The organisation has a great reputation. I am impressed with Optometry Australia’s record of achievement and for its fresh, forward thinking approach to leading, engaging and promoting the sector,” she said.
“I am committed to ensuring that our organisation continues to deliver exceptional member value and that we do everything in our power to protect, enhance and grow optometry as a core health service within Australia,” Brodie added.

Meanwhile, Hogan said the board was delighted Brodie was joining the organisation, adding: “Her career has spanned both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She brings to optometry a background in health, policy, stakeholder engagement and philanthropy.
“Ms Brodie has extensive experience in business strategy development and funding diversification as well as first-hand insights into government liaison and legislation planning,” Hogan said.

Brodie started her role at OA on June 8. more

Australian researchers reveal how we process visual cues

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

University of Queensland (UQ) scientists have used advanced electrical recording techniques to uncover new information about the way our eyes compute the direction of moving light.

The research, conducted at UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, discovered that nerve cells within the retina were integral to the process. Specifically, according to study co-author Professor Stephen Williams, dendrites – the branching processes of a neuron that conduct electrical signals toward the cell body – play a critical role in decoding images.

“The retina is not a simple camera, but actively processes visual information in a neuronal network, to compute abstractions that are relayed to the higher brain. Previously, dendrites of neurons were thought to be passive input areas… [but] our research has found that dendrites also have powerful processing capabilities,” he said.

Williams further explained that the ability of dendrites in the retina to process visual information depended on the release of two neurotransmitters – chemical messengers – from a single class of cell.

“These signals are integrated by the output neurons of the retina. Determining how the neural circuits in the retina process information can help us understand computational principles operational throughout the brain,” he said.

Fellow co-author Dr Simon Kalita-de Croft said dendritic processing enabled the retina to convert and refine visual cues into electrical signals.

“We now know that movement of light – say, a flying bird, or a passing car – gets converted into an electrical signal by dendritic processing in the retina,” Kalita-de Croft said.

“The discovery bridges the gap between our understanding of the anatomy and physiology of neuronal circuits in the retina.”

It is hoped the new discovery will provide a new template for how neuronal computations may be implemented in brain circuits.

IMAGES: 1. Professor Stephen Williams, study co-author. 2. Dr Simon Kalita-de Croft, study co-author more

Previously jailed online optical retailer charged again

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

An online eyewear retailer who served three-and-a-half years in prison for threatening to stalk, maim and murder customers of his online glasses store has again been arrested by US authorities, this time for defrauding and harassing customers. operator Vitaly Borker, allegedly misrepresented the authenticity and condition of eyewear sold through his new website, and then carried out a campaign of merciless harassment against consumers who were unhappy with the service. 

“As alleged, Vitaly Borker ran his eyewear business,, as an online platform for fraud, selling defective and counterfeit merchandise. And as alleged, when his customers rightfully complained or tried to get their money back, Borker harassed and abused them,” Acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim stated on his office’s website.

The 41 year-old Borker, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, has been charged with wire and mail fraud, each of which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.

According to a New York Times report, one customer claimed that a member of OpticsFast called her 35 times a day after she complained online about a fake and damaged pair of Ray-Bans that she had purchased from the site. She was also called a “total degenerate” and “stupid, stupid lady” in emails from the company.

Evidence against Borker was secured with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), with inspector in charge, Mr Phillip Bartlett, accusing him of cheating consumers. 

“His cool shades couldn’t shield him from the bright light of law enforcement who illuminated his alleged illicit scheme. He should have realised he could never outwit Postal Inspectors,” Bartlett said.

However, while offensive, Borker’s alleged harassment and false advertising would appear to be a toned-down version of the 198cm tall, Ukrainian immigrant’s previous sales tactics, which in 2010 saw him threaten to chop off the legs of one customer, and threaten to rape another.

Borker did so under the pretence that at the time Google’s search algorithm could not distinguish between positive and negative feedback. Thus, the more people complained about his business online, the more prominently it would appear in search results. Google has since corrected the flaw.

Borker’s lawyer indicated he will plead not guilty to the charges and said his role in the business had been overstated.

IMAGE: Vitaly Borker, operator more

Expected guideline reversal a win for vision impaired drivers

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Changes to the Assessing Fitness to Drive (AFTD) guidelines that prevented people with central vision loss from obtaining a licence appear set to be reversed.

The change is in part a response to lobbying from Vision 2020 Australia, who were alerted to the issue by individuals from the vision impaired and telescopic driving community last year. 

Prior to the review the guidelines recommended that, while there were no set standards for telescopic lenses, drivers wanting to use these devices could have their fitness to drive individually assessed by a qualified eye health professional.    

Yet, in what is understood to be an inadvertent change, the wording in the 2016 AFTD was amended to state that telescopic lenses were not an acceptable aid to meet the standards of a conditional licence. This change prevented a number of previously eligible people from obtaining a licence and left others fearful of losing their right to drive.

However, Vision 2020 Australia CEO Ms Carla Northam has said following communication with the National Transport Commission, the changes to the guidelines will be reviewed and likely reversed.

“This will mean Australians with central vision loss, who wish to use telescopic lenses to drive, will go back to being assessed on a case-by-case basis. For these individuals, an amendment to the guidelines will be life changing,” she said.

“We thank the National Transport Commission for looking into this important issue and we look forward to a positive final result. We call on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Transport and Infrastructure Council to hand down a favourable decision.”

A vote on the issue is likely to occur in the coming weeks. Until that time, all state and territory licensing authorities have been asked to follow the pre-2016 AFTD review guidelines until a final decision is made.

State and territory licensing authorities have also been asked to review any licences that may have been revoked due to this change since the 2016 guidelines were published. more

Strabismus and amblyopia patients sought for new study

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 more