Luxottica’s record financial results in fiscal 2017

Italy based Luxottica Group on 26 February reported record net profit and free-cash flow in fiscal year 2017.

Net sales rose 2.2% at constant exchange to €9,157 ($A14,370) million, while net income increased 24.7% at constant exchange to €1,038 ($A1,630) million, according to the company’s earnings announcement.

Adjusted net income increased 12.2% at constant exchange to €970 million, producing a net margin of 10.6%. Net profit and free-cash flow generation exceeded €1 ($A1,57) billion for the first time in the company’s history.

The last three months of 2017 were “the best of the year for the wholesale business, comparable-store sales, Sunglass Hut in the main geographies … and e-commerce,” Luxottica reported in its earnings announcement.

The company also cited its “most significant initiatives of 2017,” which included the launch of Ray-Ban ophthalmic lenses, “price harmonization across sales channels, greater segmentation and attention to wholesale distribution,” and the continuous development of the company’s proprietary brands’ e-commerce platforms.


By | February 28th, 2018|Business|

Murray-Darling medical school ‘progressing’ despite opposition

The Australian Medical Students’ Association on 28 February reiterated its opposition to a new medical school in the Murray-Darling Basin region, after Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie, confirmed to Senate Estimates that the proposal is progressing.

Senator McKenzie described the Murray-Darling Medical School (MDMS) as part of the Nationals’ “grassroots” policy, despite acknowledging that problems lie with training junior doctors after medical school.

La Trobe and Charles Sturt University have an expert lobby group that is pushing for the MDMS. In the run up to the Federal Budget in May and with Health Minister Greg Hunt announcing a focus on rural health, students are concerned that the lobby is gaining momentum.

“The Murray-Darling Medical School proposal has been gathering dust on ministers’ desks for more than five years because it lacks merit and won’t fix the workforce issues it claims to address,” AMSA president Mr Alex Farrell said.

“New medical schools are expensive, take years to produce doctors, and add to the numbers of medical school graduates when there are already more graduating medical students than available internships and vocational training positions.

“Announcing a new medical school is politically attractive, but it is a short-sighted waste of taxpayer money.”

The MDMS proposal includes a new school in Wagga Wagga, in the electorate of new

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By | February 28th, 2018|Education|

48th MIDO exhibition

The 48th MIDO optical exhibition was held on 24-26 February iin Milan, Italy, attracting 1,305 exhibitors for its 52,000 sqm of floor space in seven sold-out pavilions.

Eye Health Awareness Day, a meeting dedicated to eye health and eye care, was held on 25 February – the first time such an event was held at MIDO that brought together international experts who share an interest in promoting awareness of the importance of eye health.

Participants incuded: Silvio Paolo Mariotti of the World Health Organisation; Giuseppe Ruocco, secretary-general of Italy’s Ministry of Health; and Francesco Bandello of the National Scientific Committee for the Prevention of Blindness.

In the words of Mr Bandello: “The meeting was conceived to bring together international influencers in the field of eye health and eye care with the idea of sharing experiences, programs and good practices, as well as maximising the efficacy of activities and messages about this topic.

“We hope to build new cooperative partnerships among industry players, who will have the opportunity to present their experiences before a highly-qualified audience of visitors from around the world.

“Guests include organisations and associations from Italy, France, the United States and Spain.

By | February 28th, 2018|Trade Fairs|

Lockout laws in Sydney see eye injuries drop

Since the introduction of lockout laws in Sydney’s King’s Cross and some nearby suburbs in 2014, there appears to have been a decrease in serious eye injuries.

St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst has had 41 fewer patients present with fractured eye sockets in two years after the controversial lockout laws came into effect than the two years before.

The number of cases of orbital fracture relating to violence dropped 10 per cent over two years at St Vincent’s after the laws came into effect, according to a study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The report was authorised by the director of the hospital’s emergency department and proponent of the laws.

Cost reduction is conservatively estimated to be $450,000 over the two years.

By | February 28th, 2018|People|

Ulysses comments …


Congratulations Barry Collin

Congratulations are well and truly due to Emeritus Professor Barry Collin, who has retired as editor of Clinical and Experimental Optometry, hanging up his blue pencil after 24 years in the position.

He joined the publication in 1993 after a very successful career in academia, particularly as a researcher, including appointment to the Chair of Optometry at the University of NSW in 1982, succeeding Professor Josef Lederer, retiring from that position in 1992.

During his editorship, the publication grew from a struggling journal to become a highly-regarded, truly-international one.

Professor Collin is succeeded as editor of Clinical and Experimental Optometry by Emeritus Professor Nathan Efron.


What next for contact lenses?

Will the next step for daily disposable contact lenses be just a new way of delivering an old product? That happened with razors (Dollar Shave Club).

Is it going to be a novel, game-changing material that will change the way contact lenses are fitted? Will it be for treatment of diseases such as dry eye, allergies, or glaucoma? Will there be some sort of technological contact lens (‘smart’ contact lens) that provides some sort of advantage to wearers?

Who knows.

By | February 28th, 2018|Comment|

NSW backs down on attempt to restrict dispensing books to its TAFE courses; future supply is uncertain

The New South Wales government has backed down on a decision by its TAFE NSW bureaucracy to deny non-TAFE NSW courses in optical dispensing and book retailers access to two textbooks – Practical Optical Dispensing and Practical Optical Workshop.

  • The decision affects supply of the textbooks to RMIT University Melbourne, TAFE North Queensland and others, as well as the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing.
  • The three TAFE NSW courses have continued to have access to supplies of the textbooks during the dispute between TAFE NSW and the non-TAFE NSW courses.
  • After receiving an appeal request from the Australasian College of Optical Dispensers, supported by a host of organisations and individuals, the Deputy Premier of NSW, Mr John Barilaro who is also Minister for Skills and is responsible for TAFE NSW, ordered that textbooks due to be delivered in time for the first semester this year be printed and delivered by TAFE NSW Digital (which owns copyright on the books) immediately and up until 30 June, if required.

However nothing is known about what will happen after 30 June.

The ACOD is a Registered Training Organisation established in late 2016, and is headed by two former TAFE NSW staff members, Messrs James Gibbins and Chedy Kalach.

Their resignation from TAFE NSW at the end

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By | February 25th, 2018|Optical dispensing|

Private health insurers want to reduce benefits for intravitreal injections

Private health insurers want to reduce benefits payable for intravitreal injections to treat aged macular degeneration in hospital clinics rather than in ophthalmologists’ rooms.

The funds are complaining about the $44 million annual cost of intravitreal injections delivered in a hospital setting – about 10 per cent of procedures.

Not surprisingly, health funds want to reduce benefits payable for the procedures but because they are delivered in-hospital, they are obliged to pay ophthalmologists nearly $800 more per treatment than what is paid by patients being treated in ophthalmologists’ rooms.

In most instances, it is likely patients may not be aware of the extra charge because they are not ‘admitted’ to a hospital, but treated in a clinic within one.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophhalmologists’ policy is that intravitreal injections may be safely performed in ophthalmologists’ rooms as well as in hospital clinics.

To illustrate the basis for their concern, Medibank Private told The Australian newspaper that 12,500 patients had the procedure performed in hospital in the 2016 financial year, while Bupa said it had seen a 78-per-cent increase in the procedure performed in hospital between 2014 and 2017.

By | February 25th, 2018|Health insurance|

Optometry Australia celebrates its centenary this year

Optometry Australia is celebrating its centenary this year.

A national body for optometrists was established in 1918 under the name The Australian Optometrical Association, bringing together six state organisations.

The six state associations  were New South Wales, which established a state optometry association in 1904, Victoria in 1911, Queensland 1908, South Australia 1913, Western Australia 1916 and Tasmania 1905.

According to A History of Australian Optometry by Barry Cole, (including some excerpts from History of Australian Optometry by Charles Wright, the first national conference of state associations was held in Melbourne on 3-6 December 1918.

Present at the conference were Messrs W Wenborn and WG Kett representing NSW (Australasian Optical Association); WJ Aird, HC Fisher, WHM Browne, W Nott and WP Wood (Victoria Optical Association); AP Greenfield (Queensland Institute of Ophthalmic Opticians); IH Qurban and EC Murrell (South Australia).

The first national president of the AOA was Mr HC Fisher (he was also president of the Victoria Optical Association).

By | February 25th, 2018|Associations|

NZ optometrist missed brain tumour of six-year-old; prescribed glasses

An optometrist in New Zealand misdiagnosed a six-year-old boy with a brain tumour, instead prescribing glasses. The unnamed boy was left blind in one eye.

It is understood the unnamed optometrist no longer works as an optometrist.

The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner in New Zealand, Ms Meenai Dugga,l found numerous breaches by the optometrist of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights, releading her findings on 12 February.

Ms Meenai also found the unnamed optometry practice liable for the optometrist’s inadequate care.

The optometrist first saw the boy in 2014 and did not perform appropriate

By | February 25th, 2018|People|

Ulysses comments …


TAFE NSW: How not to run a business

What remains to be seen now in the optical-dispensing textbooks fiasco is what will happen after 30 June. There is every chance the TAFE NSW bureaucracy (or the NSW Minister for Skills) will decide to re-impose the ban on the supply of two textbooks to non-TAFE NSW optical dispensing courses. After all, a ‘Yes, Minister’ decision that would make Sir Humphrey proud has been made.

No doubt that is being considered by the affected courses.

Good as they may be, perhaps whatever alternative textbooks are found elsewhere may be better – much better – than the two local books, whose much-championed copyright could end up becoming largely worthless.

That would be a great feather in TAFE NSW’s cap; throwing away a nice, regular earner in an attempt to wreak revenge. But remember TAFE NSW lost an estimated $1 billion a few years ago when it was suckered into buying a useless computer system from a now-broke British company that did untold harm, so it’s not surprising.

The textbooks fiasco, while tiny by comparison to the $1-billion one, is an issue that cannot be allowed to get out of hand or to take up any further time to soothe ruffled feathers. It calls for a proper decision to

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By | February 25th, 2018|Comment|