I had the privilege of being invited to the annual Christmas lunch of the Optical Suppliers Association (OSA) that took place on the 1st of December 2023. Formerly known as the Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO), the OSA has upheld its century-long legacy while continually adapting to the evolving needs of the UK optical sector. Having worked for the FMO long ago, I must say that the transformation it has undergone is truly remarkable. The association has embraced positive changes, evident in the increased presence of female members and the vibrant younger generation who are now joining the OSA, ensuring a bright future for the optical sector.
During the lunch, the chair of OSA Roy Stoner gave us brief summary of what has been happening in the past year and there are 3 key points which I have picked up on.
A significant development in recent times has been the rise of e-health technologies, particularly remote vision measurements. The pandemic has accelerated this trend, bringing to light the necessity for standardized and regulated remote vision testing. The OSA is actively engaged in addressing these challenges, emphasizing the need for clinical validation and standard-setting to ensure accuracy and reliability. This move towards digital health represents not just a technological shift but a paradigm shift in patient care and accessibility.
Regulatory Updates: Navigating a Complex Landscape
Regulatory compliance remains a key concern for optical professionals. The OSA has been instrumental in guiding its members through the intricacies of the UK and EU regulatory frameworks. The recent updates from the MHRA and the EU MDR 2017 highlight the ongoing transition and the importance of staying abreast of these changes. The introduction of the Certified Sustainable Eyewear (CSE) program further underscores the industry’s commitment to sustainability and responsible manufacturing.
Fostering Industry Collaboration: Events and Initiatives
The 100% Optical event stands out as a prime example of OSA’s commitment to fostering industry-wide collaboration. This platform allows members to showcase innovations, share knowledge, and network. Furthermore, OSA’s involvement in optical charities and interdisciplinary events like the Celsa-Nathan 100 Ophthalmology demonstrates its dedication to broadening industry horizons.
Looking to the Future
As we look to the future, the OSA’s role in shaping the optical industry is more critical than ever. From embracing digital health innovations to navigating complex regulatory landscapes and promoting sustainable practices, the association is guiding its members through these transformative times. The optical industry is on the cusp of a new era, and the OSA is leading the charge, ensuring that its members are well-equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.