The UK’s longest running optical trade show, Optrafair, launched by FMO in 1978, celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend. At Optrafair we can see clearly how every aspect of optics is interconnected; FMO’s member companies are the engine that drives optics, developing the technology and providing the products and services that enable community practices and hospital eye services to provide the very best care for their patients.

Outstanding professional practice needs more than outstanding clinical skills and nowhere is this more evident than at Optrafair. At this special event the professions gather to learn from exhibitors about new products and techniques while keeping their skills up to date with a full programme of education and training for everyone in the practice available in the Business Theatre, ABDO Theatre and CET Theatre as well as on-stand CET provided by exhibitors.

FMO’s members’ customers are the practitioners who belong to the professional and representative bodies. These bodies have always been supported by FMO members, who provide the sponsorship that has made the optical bodies’ member events viable.

But our members have been stretched by the introduction of an annual trade show in London. Since 2014 there have been four shows in a two-year period plus all the events hosted by other optical bodies. At the same time our members have faced economic uncertainty and the impact of Brexit

We know it is time to take stock, and at a special meeting held in February our members did just that, mandating the FMO board to explore ways to improve the situation for our members. The road forward will be complex but there is real drive in the FMO board to overcome the obstacles that are bound to litter the way.