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ODMA2015 delivers the goods again

16/07/2015
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ODMA2015 delivered the goods once again when the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre came alive with the biennial event organised for the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association by Expertise Events; only the second time in its history that it was held in Brisbane.

Just shy of 3,000 visitors descended upon ODMA2015 to inspect all that was new and on offer from over 100 exhibitors. Over three days, the 2,949 visitors was comparable to the 3,024 unique visitors recorded for ODMA2013. Saturday was the highest attended day, closely followed by Friday. This year saw a much-lauded increase in visitors traveling from both New South Wales and Victoria after several exhibitors in 2013 voiced concerns regarding the number of visitors traveling from NSW.

And a highlight of the event was the well-organised gala dinner held on the Saturday evening, attended by 600 people.

The benefits of an experienced organizer preparing for and executing such an event were obvious, with few, if any, complaints from either visitors or exhibitors.

The attendance figures confirm that both the strategy and tactics employed by Expertise Events and supported by ODMA itself were successful for the second time arresting the downwards trend in attendance, with the ODMA2017 exhibition likely to return to Sydney and bringing an upturn in attendance.


It appears visitors were not disappointed. "There was a lot more at ODMA than I would have ever expected," said Prue Cooper from Paul Harvey Optometry in Quirindi, NSW. "It was excellent to learn about all the new the innovative, dynamic and creative things that are about to come into the market which you wouldn't otherwise hear about in your practice."

Most-if not all-exhibitors Insight spoke to were as equally satisfied with the event. First time exhibitor LOGO Australia was showcasing TAG Heuer Eyewear and FRED Lunettes. The general manager, Mark Blackadder, told Insight: "I was very nervous about outlaying the cost involved and the volume of sales required over the three days to meet budget. The great news is that we achieved budget by Saturday afternoon; and all sales on Sunday were a bonus.

"I would now highly recommend ODMA to any supplier and we hope to certainly be there again in 2017."

Gaye Wymond, managing director of Eyes Right Optical, was equally pleased with ODMA2015 telling Insight: "We were absolutely thrilled with the results from this ODMA. The buyers were making well-thought out strategic buying decisions for the coming two years, which was great news for us!"

The ODMA exhibition is a unique opportunity for eye-care practitioners to network with one another and with exhibitors. With several thousand eye-care practitioners gathering at the one event, it provides a broad-yet-accurate picture of industry attitude and sentiment.

Exhibitor Allon Treves from Aussie Optical commented to Insight: "Our general consensus is that the majority of independent optometrists around the country seem to have found their feet and business is slowly starting to grow for them."I hope this positive growth continues and the independent optometrists and wholesalers keep moving forward," Mr Treves said.

Following its debut in 2013, the CPD conference program returned this year with 30 CPD points on offer and was attended by 420 eye-care practitioners.

The broad theme for the conference was the diagnosis and management of eye conditions. Within that theme, conference sessions incorporated the areas of paediatrics, glaucoma, cornea, retina and inflammatory eye disease. The highlight was keynote speaker Professor Minas Coroneo who presented two sessions; one on the management of dry-eye syndrome and the other a review of the current concepts in surgery for pterygium-induced astigmatism.

"We were overwhelmed by the interest in the conference," Ms Finola Carey, ODMA chief executive, told Insight. "The feedback even at lunchtime was all positive; several delegates said the content was fantastic."Eight masterclass sessions were presented over three days for eye-care practitioners and staff alike, primarily focusing on dispensing and business subjects.

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New to ODMA2015, were free spotlight sessions presented throughout the event to update skills and help develop knowledge on a range of relevant industry topics, blue-light technology, digital freeform lenses, vocational lenses, eyelid exfoliation demonstrations, and frame designs.

The gala dinner again proved to be a glittering highlight in what was an entertaining and memorable night out. Over 600 people enjoyed a three-course meal and entertainment, eventually partying the night away. And again, the optical industry showed it likes to get onto the dance floor.


The night included the Awards of Excellence winner announcements which recognises the best in fashion, innovation and technology. The much-coveted 'Rep of the Year' awards were also announced along with the winners of the best ODMA stands.

A speed-dating session to find a succession partner was also held during ODMA2015, which proved to be popular. It provided practitioners with the opportunity to try to find their perfect match for a partner to join their practice.

For retail inspiration, six purpose-built windows displays were show-cased demonstrating what is considered to be best practice in merchandising, along with useful tips for practitioners to create their own window displays.

On 4th of July, Independence Day in the United States, was declared as celebrating the freedom of independent practices. Dixieland jazz bands, magicians, balloon men, jugglers and cheerleaders roamed about the exhibition entertaining the young and young-at-heart. In the theme of Independence Day, a diner and milk bar were set up offering American favourites such as hot dogs, cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

"The idea of Independence Day came about quite by accident when we noticed that the middle day of ODMA2015 was 4th of July," Finola Carey told Insight. "It had us thinking that 317 million Americans can't be wrong to celebrate independence that day, so the idea was planted for ODMA2015."

In summary, the words of an ODMA2015 visitor, Faith Davy from Victoria, probably sums it up best: "I loved ODMA; so much to see, and the location was brilliant. Continuing education was great as was the social aspect which was enjoyable," Ms Davy said."There was almost not enough time to see all I wanted to see. In 2017, I think I'll arrive Thursday night and make even more of it. Thanks ODMA for a great show.

ODMA2015 Awards of Excellence winners:

Women's optical frames: Eyes Right Optical

Men's optical frames: Logo Australia

Women's sunglasses: Fritz Frames

Men's sunglasses: Bollé

Children's frames: Aviva Optical

Sports eyewear: Maui Jim

Lens design: Hoya Lens Australia

Lens treatment/coating: Shamir

Equipment: Device Technologies

Product environment: Essilor Australia

Rep of the Year Award winners:

NSW & ACT: Roslyn Boland, Rodenstock

QLD & NT: Bonnie Smith, Maui Jim

VIC, TAS & SA: Gary Jones, Hoya Lens Australia

WA: Natalie Alcock, Eyes Right Optical

NZ: Vineet Chauhan, Essilor

Best Stand Award winners:

Best large stand: Eyes Right Optical

Best small stand: LBJ Optical

Best small modular stand: Black Lilly Imports

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