The Optical Suppliers’ Association held a summer meeting last week, which discussed UKCA marking, sustainability, new regulations and the use of digital health solutions.

OSA chair, Andy Hepworth, commented: ‘We have a great knowledge resource at OSA. We are here to provide advice and information about impending legislation for our members to ensure the smooth running of their businesses. There are a lot of changes coming and the OSA is here to ensure that new regulation is introduced in the most manageable way.’

Jayne Abel of Eyespace Eyewear and policy consultant Ann Blackmore led an open forum discussion on creating a carbon neutral supply chain for optics.

The OSA team aimed to help reduce single-use plastic and convert to 100% biodegradable or recycled alternatives, with the long-term target to achieve carbon net zero ahead of COP26 targets. The use of printed product catalogues was questioned due to the impact on deforestation.

Abel highlighted Eyespace’s sustainability efforts for key learning opportunities, and said: ‘Here at OSA, we are empowering our members through a ‘Green Charter’ with structured aims to put greener practices into place throughout every level of their business for a brighter, more sustainable, future.’

Blackmore briefed delegates on impending legislative changes at both UK and EU level, the use of CE and UKCA marking, and the registration of medical devices, which included spectacle frames and lenses.

She said that despite no longer being part of the EU, the UK industry needed to ensure that new regulations enable companies to work easily with the foreign market, and those who export to Europe still need to follow EU regulations, such as the European Green Deal.

The rise of digital health technology was also a hot topic, including mobile health apps used in practice or during domiciliary care, and the implication of artificial intelligence for the future. ‘Most health technologies are regulated as medical devices, but the bigger issue may well be regulation that governs how health care professionals can use those technologies. We need to ensure that regulations enable, rather than inhibit, the use of new technologies,’ explained Blackmore.