January 2020, London

January 2020, London

The first international trade fair and conference of the year is 100% Optical at ExCel, London. In the world of optical trade shows this is quite a small event at under 10000 visitors over 3 days. But it is convenient for me and a great way to get my year going.

One aspect the organisers usually do very well is the Lecture Program which gives me access to the latest schools of thought in eyecare and patient care. This year was particularly good with very interesting lectures on Technology in Practice and inspiring stuff in the area of Future Practice.

However, the presentation I enjoyed and got most from was the only one not presented by an optician of any sort, a lecture on Circadian Rhythms, the body clock and the part light plays. The thing I learned, which I knew nothing of before is that there is a 3rd kind of light sensitive cell in the eye. You've probably heard of Rods and Cones (me too). Well there are also light sensitive ganglion cells deep in the retina. These cells don't 'see' as such but they detect light for the purpose of regulating the body's internal clock.

Having a conference and trade show in January gets our year off to a great start. We an early look at what's new and what's coming for the year ahead and it lets us plan all the exciting new things we want to bring to Linlithgow certainly up until the summer. I don't want to tease you too much, not only that but sometimes stuff happens that forces us to change or even abandon our plans. But I can't help myself from giving you a little taster.


I had a really good discussion with a Swiss lens maker. OptiSwiss is based in Basel, famous for precision watchmaking. That same craftsmanship and attention to detail should transfer well to lens manufacture. The technologies they described to me could potentially result in very useful varifocals in particular. The idea is that there's a standard, general purpose design made using the latest FreeForm production techniques but I would also have the option to modify up to 5 individual parameters to tailor your lenses more accurately to your particular needs. And they have, on paper at least, one of the best driver's lenses I've ever seen.

And we went along to see an old friend. Vibeke Andersen used to look after us when she worked for LINDBERG but then she retired (early I should assume). Apparently retirement didn't suit Vibeke so she has joined another Danish Titanium specialist, NINE Eyewear. NINE is so called because all of their frames weigh in at Nine Grams or less. And, coincidentally, the company is Nine years old this year. To be honest, we only went along to see NINE as a courtesy to Vibeke. Then we were blown away by both the beauty and the feel of the frames. They are incredibly comfortable and have that Danish, understated elegance. 

I still believe that LINDBERG make the best rimless titanium frames in the world but I now think that NINE may have the upper hand for the full frame options.

Of course, a weekend in London isn't all hard work.