Death of Bernie Egan

Bernie Egan, one of the best salesmen ever to open a sample case of spectacle frames and sunglasses, died on 29 March after several years battling dementia. He was 85.

Bernie began his lengthy career in the optical industry when he was apprenticed as an optical mechanic at Frank G O’Brien in Sydney’s Camperdown.

When O’Brien’s closed its prescription laboratory, he, and others, were taken on by nearby Australian Optical Company, whose laboratories were in every capital city (except Hobart) as well as Newcastle and Townsville.

That was the beginning of a long association with AOC and owner Polarizers Australia, culminating with appointment as a sales representative for AOC, covering the Sydney city and metro area and the southern half of country New South Wales. AOC was sold and became International Optical Company in 1977.

When Austria-based frames and sunglasses manufacturer Optyl opened its Australian subsidiary, Bernie was appointed its first sales representatives, his initial task being to assist optometrists, optical dispensers and optical mechanics understand the Optyl material, particularly how to handle this new material when glazing lenses and adjusting frames for best fit.

Optyl went on to become clear market leader, the material finding favour with wearers and practitioners alike, as it was light to wear, facial fittings remained in place and there

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By | April 18th, 2018|People|

Death of Tony Gross

Tony Gross, of the pioneering optician and frame stylists Cutler and Gross, has died peacefully at the age of 78. He suffered from a severe stroke 11 years ago.

He met his business partner Graham Cutler at Northampton College while studying optometry. On graduating in 1963 he went into practice but saw an opportunity to make spectacles more exciting.

Cutler and Gross began selling hand-made fashion frames in 1969 and opened a Knightsbridge practice in 1971. The duo quickly became famous for providing eyewear to Icons such as Elton John, Princess Diana, David Hockney and Grace Jones.

Cutler and Gross flourished during the 1980s as the ‘yuppie’ culture grew and in 1983 the pair launched their first ready-to-wear collection from the Italian region of Cadore.

After suffering his stroke, he sold his stake in the business to pay for his health care.

By | April 2nd, 2018|People|

‘Collectively we can eliminate glaucoma blindness’: Glaucoma Australia CEO

Together, we can eliminate glaucoma blindness, the chief executive officer of Glaucoma Australia, Ms Annie Gibbins, said at a ‘Beat Invisible Blindness’ breakfast at Studio Sydney Tower on 12 March.

The breakfast was held to mark the launch of this year’s World Glaucoma Week being held on 11-17 March.

• “Our mission is to eliminate glaucoma blindness. It almost sounds impossible. Can we really do it? Ms Gibbins asked.

• “Yes, I believe, that collectively, we can. In my early 20’s, I had two sets of twins 26 months apart; I’ve trekked on remote mountains up to 6000 metres high; I was a nurse for 25 years and saw miracles happen time and time again.

• “Anything is possible if you focus on the positives, look for synergies and dedicate yourself to making the extraordinary happen.

“Imagine a world where preventable sight loss from glaucoma was eradicated?

“We can make that happen in Australia through increased awareness, early detection and greater treatment adherence.

If treated early, 90%of all  blindness is  avoidable

“If treated early, approximately 90 per cent of all blindness and vision impairment is avoidable or treatable.

“Considering more than 60 per cent of Australians say that going blind is worse than having a heart attack or losing a limb, we should have a very receptive audience.

“We all know the

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By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Share-bikes hazardous for vision-impaired people with guide dogs

Share-bikes are hazardous for vision-impaired people relying on guide dogs for their mobility.

Guide dogs are trained to take their handler to traffic poles to be in a position to safely cross a road, however when share-bikes are abandoned carelessly against a pole or elsewhere the guide dogs may not see them and their handler may become entangled and have a fall.

It isn’t only when riders carelessly let their share-bikes be strewn across; even leaning the bikes against a wall can be a major hazard for people who are vision impaired.

By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Medical students to march over refugee and asylum-seeker health

Medical students are to march in Sydney to its Hyde Park on 7April in protest at Australia’s ongoing policy of mandatory detention at Manus Island and Nauru.

The policy is jeopardizing the lives and wellbeing of hundreds of vulnerable men, women and children by forcefully detaining them in unsafe, unsanitary living conditions that lack adequate access to medical services, according to the Australian Medical Students’ Association.

The AMSA had been in contact with the Department of Home Affairs since December last year expressing concerns about the health and wellbeing of the Manus Island asylum seekers, it said.

“We asked the department to confirm that they are ensuring medical care is being delivered to the asylum seekers on Manus Island in a timely and sustainable manner, without interruption, to a standard equal to that in Australia,” an AMSA spokesperson said.

“The responses have been disappointing. They have not directly addressed the concerns we raised, and have not clarified the health status of the asylum seekers.

“The federal government refuses to be accountable for the treatment of the asylum seekers on Manus Island, insisting that it is the PNG government’s responsibility. But under international law, the government has a legal and ethical obligation to protect and provide adequate health care to these asylum seekers.

“Mandatory detention is

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By | March 19th, 2018|People|

Bits ’n’ Pieces

Safilo CEO Luisa Delgado to Retire

Ms Luisa Delgado, chief executive officer of Safilo Group, has announced her intention to retire her position, for personal reasons, effective 28 February. She is being succeeded by Mr Angelo Trocchia, whoss appointment will be effective 1 April.

VSP Global Names New President/CEO

VSP Global has announced that Mr Michael Guyette has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the comppany. Mr Guyette will succeed VSP Global board member Mr Rob Lynch, who has served as interim president and CEO since April 2017.

By | March 11th, 2018|People|

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|

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|

John McGrath resigns as a director of George & Matilda’s owner

Real estate big noise John McGrath on 9 February resigned as a director of of optical retailer George & Matilda’s owner IPIC Pty Ltd, leaving.

Mr McGrath, as well as the eponymous real-estate company he founded, has been under pressure since a report in The Sydney Morning Herald claimed he was in debt to bookmakers William Hill Australia to the tune of $16.2 million.

His listed company, John McGrath Real Estate Limited, has just reported a $25.5 million loss and all other directors, as well as the company’s chief executive officer, are set to leave this coming week, leaving Mr McGrath as the sole director unless he can find two others before the close of business today to avoid being in breach of the rules of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Stock Exchange, which require a listed public company to have three directors.
The share price of MRE has fallen from its $2.10 float price in late 2016 to 42.5c.



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By | February 18th, 2018|People|

George & Matilda director owes bookmakers $16.2 million in gambling debt: newspaper

A director of retail optical group George & Matilda Eyecare, owned by unlisted public company IPIC Holdings Limited, has racked up a gambling debt of $16.2 million, according to The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The director, Mr John McGrath, 54, is primarily the founder and head of Australian Share Exchange-listed-company McGrath Real Australia Limited, and is reported by The Herald as owing the biggest debt in gambling history by a single person to a single company in Australia.

The huge debt is owed to Tom Waterhouse-run company William Hill Australia, and, while a secret until now, has been rumoured in racing circles for some months.

Mr Waterhouse declined to answer questions on the matter, citing responsibility to clients.

McGrath Real Estate Limited was floated on the ASX in 2005 at $2.10 a share, which has fallen to as low as 48 cents. That company’s chairman, most of its directors and its chief executive officer all recently announced their imminent resignations.

Two days after The Herald’s story, Mr McGrath said in an email sent to staff and seen by The Australian newspaper: “The information in the article so ridiculous … I will deal with it and its authors.”

In addition to Mr McGrath, the directors of IPIC are Messrs Andrew Reitzer (chairman), Christopher Beer, Peter Papas and

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By | February 5th, 2018|People|