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We're attending 100% Optical 2024!

By Sam Lingwood

100% Optical has survived (just about). It's had to duck and dive along the way, but the show in February marks 10 years for the flagship vision and eyecare exhibition.

The addition of 100% Ophthalmology is a logical extension to the show, making for an interesting melting pot of creativity, design, education, and innovation… but whether it'll work under one roof remains to be seen (watch out for our post-show review on what we think).

The event never fails to deliver on atmosphere, colour, style, and innovation, and for that reason we are looking forward to another trip to the ExCeL to immerse ourselves into the world we've recruited in for the last decade. 

Me, Ryan and Natasha are heading there in a few weeks time, so I caught up with them to see what they're thinking about this year's event:

Which companies are you most excited to speak to at the event? 

Ryan - I'm really looking forward to meeting Olleyes and seeing their VR AI visual testing platform. The same applies to learning more about Toku Eyes, RetinAI, and LumiThera, they're all showcasing new launches in 2024.

Natasha - Companies I have worked with for many years and people I have strong relationships with including Sharon and Gareth at Optos, Jack and the team at Mainline, Randeep at Hoya, and the teams at Spectrum and Zeiss. I’m also keen to see what the surgical players will bring to the event including BVI, Glaukos and Rayner. And of course, Pop Specs – after their outstanding Dragon’s Den performance, who wouldn’t want to connect with these guys!

What new, emerging tech do you expect to be on show?

Ryan - The pre-show talk is centred around the continued application of AI, VR, and the digital transformation of the patient pathways so I’m expecting to see great things from these fields. 

Natasha - Our eyes will be on the lookout for new names, new product launches and services offerings – the first of its kind dry age-related macular degeneration photo-biomodulation device from LumiThera will be interesting. We’re also expecting companies to showcase their next-generation technology including the ever-evolving field of OCT with products from Altris AI and Cylite and visual screening with products from Olleyes and Eyonics.

What are your overall expectations for the event?

Ryan - I'm optimistic that the new format will work. The quality of the speakers is first rate, and I'm particularly looking forward to the sessions from Dr Jennifer Blackmore (ZEISS) and Buki Anthony (Alcon). I just hope the floor doesn't feel like four separate shows bolted together.

Natasha - This event is a crucial networking in my calendar. Alongside our established network, the exhibition enables me to connect face to face with prospects that I am keen to bring top talent to! I’m hoping to see the genuine collaboration across the eyecare industry and perhaps see how this might develop in the years to come. 

What are you most looking forward to at 100% Optical?

Ryan - Seeing the companies and contacts we've recruited for over the last decade. Jack and the team at Mainline, Gareth and Sharon from the Optos team, and Dani and team Topcon, to name a few.

Natasha - Honestly, post having a baby and maternity leave, just the chance to see you all! The opportunity to visit one exhibition hall for the first time that's filled with players in the industry that cover the full spectrum of eyecare is going to be great. It’s clear the industry is shifting to an “end-to-end” model, with key names in the industry growing their portfolios to meet this demand. I’m also looking forward to seeing the latest trends and fashion in the eyewear market – particularly Wolf and their gorgeous range of frames.

What have you enjoyed the most in your previous years attending this event? 

Ryan - Leaving with an informed view on the talent market, who is planning to move, who is planning to hire, and what companies look most interesting from a product/scale up perspective to offer the best guidance to our candidates and clients.

Natasha - I LOVE immersing myself into the industry in which I recruit for – I don’t think you ever get a better understanding of what it’s like until you see how the shop floor works! The eyecare industry is unique in that it has clinical and fashion elements – so I feel the approach makes it far more exciting than a general medical product exhibition.

So there you have it. We'll be sure to let you all know what we think of this year's event - our review is tradition at this point!

Are you also heading to the event and would like to arrange a chat with the team? Get in touch with Ryan on ryan.luckman@fmctalent.com or Natasha on natasha.szombara@fmctalent.com

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