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ODMA17  Photo: Lucas Dawson


By Helen Carter


Thousands have flocked to ODMA2017 at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour over three days to see the latest in fashion, innovation and technology in the optical industry.

Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association of Australia chief executive officer Finola Carey said there were 3,271 visitors to the trade fair, which has been held every two years since 1979.

The key buying fair, the only one owned by the Australian optical industry, was held on 7-9 July and featured an exhibition of equipment, frames, sunglasses and lenses.

‘The return of ODMA to Sydney was greeted with enthusiasm and optimism by exhibitors and visitors alike,’ Ms Carey said.

‘The new ICC building wowed visitors with its features and architecture, the sun shone and for the first time in many years there was a palpable sense that independent optometry will not only survive but prosper.

‘One of the major highlights was the variety of educational options. There was The Vision Summit with world class leaders in their field including intense pulsed light dry eye technology inventor Rolando Toyos from America who demonstrated the techniques on the show floor every day,’ Ms Carey said.

The summit, held on 7 July, offered 24 CPD points and was attended by 150 optometrists. Other topics included next generation intraocular lenses and glaucoma shunts, inflammatory eye disease, lens-related disease, ocular microbiology, bacterial resistance, contact lens care systems and ocular defence mechanisms.


‘Masterclasses were a big hit and included future proofing the industry topics by Elaine Grisdale from the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and optometrist Dr Leigh Plowman from Optomly showing how to maximise Facebook to attract new patients,’ Ms Carey said.

‘A number of important current topics were covered on the Knowledge Centre Stage such as Kathy Allen of Dewings Accountants talking about how much your practice is really worth, and Jeff McAnnally from Lunovus, USA, manufacturers of Blephadex, who has launched several online businesses and who spoke about keeping one step in front of Amazon and other online ordering threats.

Design Junction showcased high-end international and Australian eyewear brands with exhibitors presenting their design capabilities and the latest in optical fashion and innovation within the premier brands area of ODMA17. This was a great start for a new zone and included leading optical distributors.’

Ms Carey said ODMA was continually reshaping its offering to the industry but the core of what it did had not changed substantially because that was what the industry wanted. 

‘After every event we survey members, exhibitors and visitors and tailor each new event to the specific feedback,’ she said. ‘ODMA ploughs back all proceeds from its events into projects that support the Australian optical industry.’

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